Cannabis Sativa Seed Oil In Cosmetics

There are many different hemp-derived products that can be added to cosmetics and skincare. Here are the main differences between hemp seed oil and CBD oil. How are hemp and other Cannabis sativa L. extracts used in cosmetics? Specific European and national legislation as well as international conventions apply to establish which type of extracts Hemp has been a growing trend over the last few years. Despite the challenging regulatory landscape, Symrise identified Hemp Oil as an innovative cosmetic ingredient with high potential.

Cannabis Sativa Seed Oil In Cosmetics

Hemp-based ingredients thrive in the world of skincare and cosmetics, but the differences between hemp seed oil and CBD oil can sometimes be unclear. It is important to understand these hemp ingredients so you can better determine a formulation that meets your needs.

CBD oil and hemp seed oil are both derived from the hemp plant, but don’t get them confused! Both hemp seed oil and CBD oil hold their own unique benefits for cosmetic products, but they are not interchangeable.

Hemp-Based Basics

First let’s review the hemp plant itself. Hemp is a form of cannabis with less than .3% THC and can be grown and processed legally in the United States. The hemp plant contains hundreds of valuable ingredients, including cannabinoids, terpenes, fiber, and seeds. Though all sourced from the same plant, there are various ways to grow hemp in order to increase the yield of a particular component.

Hemp plants grown for CBD vary greatly from the hemp plants grown for seed. High-CBD hemp plants grow like small bushes and are carefully monitored to ensure proper cannabinoid content is developed, which is very important when creating premium distillates, isolates, and bulk terpenes.

Hemp plants grown for hemp seeds are typically grown closer together and are planted at different times of the year. These plants grow tall and strong like bamboo, and are left to seed in large fields, then harvested and processed. The seeds can be ground, toasted, hulled, or pressed for hemp seed oil.

CBD Oil in Cosmetics

CBD oil has become increasingly popular in many products throughout the last few years, and for good reason. The term CBD oil typically refers to a full or broad spectrum distillate in a carrier oil. CBD oil is derived from the hemp plant itself, not the seeds, and boasts powerful soothing benefits for the skin when applied topically. The CBD molecule has been shown to reduce inflammation in the skin by working with our Endocannabinoid System.

CBD oil may increase the efficiency of your skincare or cosmetic product because inflammation can be the underlying cause of many common skin concerns. Products targeting blemishes, excess oil, dryness, fine lines, loss of elasticity, or even hyperpigmentation can get a helpful boost when formulated with CBD oil.

Hemp Seed Oil in Cosmetics

Hemp seed oil is well known for being non-comedogenic, which means that it does not clog pores. This makes it an ideal skincare ingredient or carrier oil. Unlike other oils, hemp seed oil is lightweight enough to be used on both the face and body and can provide optimal moisture without feeling heavy on the skin. Hemp seed oil is also rich in omega fatty acids, which have been shown to calm inflammation and repair the skin’s lipid barrier, which is vital for optimal skin health.

When used together, hemp seed oil and CBD oil can increase the calming and soothing properties of a product while protecting the skin from environmental damage.

Discover Hemp-Based Ingredients For Your Products

To learn more about utilizing hemp-based ingredients in your cosmetic and skincare products, check out our FREE Guide to Hemp-Based Cosmetic Ingredients.

How are hemp and other Cannabis sativa L. extracts used in cosmetics?

Specific European and national legislation as well as international conventions apply to establish which type of extracts and derivates of the Cannabis sativa L. plant may be used in products, including food and cosmetics. Keep reading to find out more about hemp, an incresingly popular ingredient in cosmetics, and the differences in the extracts and derivates of the Cannabis sativa L. plant.

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What is hemp?
Hemp is a variety of Cannabis sativa L. Hemp is a dioecious plant, which means that it can be separated into male and female plants. In hemp fields, there is usually a concentration of female hemp and sporadic placed males to pollinate the females and produce nutrient-rich seeds. Hemp has been used for over 10,000 years to make paper and fibres for clothing and fabric, but also in cosmetic products, particularly as an oil but also as other extracts and derivatives.

What is the difference between hemp, CBD and marijuana?
The Cannabis plant contains over 80 biologically active chemical compounds (cannabinoids). However, the most known ones are delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD). Different taxonomic classifications of the genus Cannabis vary in their THC and CBD content. For example, Cannabis indica originally from India contains a high THC content associated with marijuana hashish production, whereas Cannabis sativa L. from Europe and western Eurasia has a high CBD content, traditionally associated with the textile industry, and more recently to applications within the cosmetic, food and pharmaceutical sectors. Unlike THC, CBD has no psychoactive effects.

Marijuana and CBD are not the same even if they both come from the same plant. CBD is a single, isolated compound in the cannabis plant, while marijuana contains many naturally occurring compounds, including THC and CBD. Hemp seed oil, extracted from the seeds of Cannabis sativa L., Cannabaceae, has next to no THC or CBD.

How is hemp used in cosmetics and what are its properties?
There are several types of extract from hemp used in cosmetics:

  • Cannabis Sativa Seed Oil (Hemp seed oil): it is extracted by cold-pressing hemp seeds. Hemp oil is rich in properties that makes it a very effective moisturizer functioning as an emollient to soften and smoothen the skin. Hemp seed oil is high in essential fatty acids (omegas 3 and 6), polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) and other nutrients that keep the skin in a good condition. Due to its cosmetic properties, hemp seed oil can be found in products such as soaps, shampoos, lip balms, hand creams and massage oils.
  • Cannabis Sativa Seed Water: it is the aromatic water resulting from the steam distillation from hemp seeds. Hemp hydrosols are used as a base ingredient for face creams due to their moisturizing effect. Aside from skin conditioning, they can be used as well in hair products to condition the appearance and feel of the hair.

Other raw materials from hemp include by-products from production of hemp seed oil such as Cannabis Sativa Seedcake powder and Cannabis Sativa Seedcake, which may be used as abrasives, as well as derivatives such as Potassium Hempseedate, which can be found in soaps and handwashes, and Ethyl Cannabis Seedate, which may be used as a naturally derived Cyclopentasiloxane (D5) substitute.

Can cannabidiol (CBD) be used in cosmetics?
Cannabidiol (CBD) is a type of cannabinoid that can be synthetically produced or isolated from Cannabis plants and used as a single ingredient. In cosmetics, CBD can function as an antioxidant and facilitate anti-aging properties.

To this date, cosmetic regulatory compliance of CBD as an ingredient itself relies on the part of the plant from which it is extracted. For instance, seeds when not accompanied by tops are acceptable, although these do not contain CBD, whereas CBD prepared from Cannabis extracts or tinctures from flower/fruiting tops where the resin has not been separated, as well as the separated resin, are not allowed for use. Indeed, the UN 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs defines controlled cannabis as “the flowering or fruiting tops of the cannabis plant”, but does not consider Cannabis sativa seeds or leaves as controlled substances (as long as they are not accompanied by the tops).

In this context, Regulation (EC) No. 1223/2009 for cosmetics bans the use of CBD derived from resin, tinctures and extracts of Cannabis, as well as cannabinoids, resin and various extracts (e.g. Cannabis Sativa flower extract, Cannabis Sativa flower/leaf/stem extract) from cosmetic use (Annex II). Synthetically produced CBD is acceptable for end use.

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How about detectable THC levels in cosmetics?
Under Regulation (EU) No. 1308/2013, Cannabis sativa L. is considered as an agricultural product and as an “industrial plant” that may be grown legally as long as their THC content does not exceed 0.2%. However, for cosmetics, national legislations from EU Member States on controlled substances may apply. For instance, in France no THC is allowed, while in Luxembourg a THC concentration up to 0.3% is permitted.

How does regulation work outside the EU?
In the USA, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not prohibit or restrict the use of cannabis or cannabis-derived ingredients in cosmetics, and considers the possibility that a product containing these substances can have both a cosmetic and a drug use (for instance, creams to treat dermatitis or acne). Unlike in the USA, however, no therapeutic or medical claim should be asserted for cosmetics in Europe. This applies as well to products containing permitted cosmetic raw materials extracted from Cannabis sativa.

Transparency and traceability
Following baseline regulatory compliance, for the formulation and subsequent claims made about natural and organic cosmetics, transparency and traceability are key to ensure that any substance extracted or derived from hemp used in a product ensures certain verifiable qualities. When using raw materials from Cannabis in cosmetics, brands should choose reliable supply chains that give proof of the traceability of these plant extracts from crop-to-shop. This is a key aspect for regulatory compliance but also for end consumers because it reassures them about the origin and qualities of these substances when used in a cosmetic product.

Article written by Ana Ledesma, Communications Officer at NATRUE

Hemp Seed Oil – Trendy, sustainable, with proven efficacy for skin

Hemp has been a growing trend over the last few years. Despite the challenging regulatory landscape, Symrise identified Hemp Oil as an innovative cosmetic ingredient with high potential.

Sustainable sourcing of Hemp Oil (Organic) with a 360° approach

To ensure regulatory conformity, traceability, sustainability and also direct access to the fields and farmers, Cannabis Sativa​ Seed Oil used in our Hemp Oil (Organic) is organically grown in Europe and mainly in Germany.

In many ways hemp plant cultivation presents sustainable benefits. Hemp cultivation requires low amounts of water, thanks to the structure of its deep roots, the plant is able to access deep water and to thrive in drought-damaged soils.

Moreover, industrial hemp is a resilient plant that grows well and quickly. Therefore it is unnecessary to use pesticide or herbicide and organic farming can be easily applied. Organic cultivation combines best environmental practices, a high level of biodiversity and the preservation of natural resources.

The long roots of the hemp plants help loosen the soil for the next crops and are beneficial for crop rotation. It constitutes a perfect solution to restore the soil and to protect against soil erosion caused by monocultures. In addition, hemp supports and protects the local biodiversity. It offers a source of pollen for insects, as hemp is flowering during summer; this makes pollen available for bees later in the year.

Hemp is a versatile plant allowing a 360° approach since the whole hemp plant can be valued and upcycled. The seeds are used for the oil for food and cosmetic industries and seed press cakes for the protein for food and pet food industries. The leaves and stems are mainly used for their long and strong fibers in agriculture for insulating soils or as mulch, for the textile, car or construction industries.

Regulatory challenge

The Cannabis​ plant is commonly known as a drug and for its psychoactive properties, therefore the cultivation and the use of this type of plant are regulated and controlled all over the world. Despite the fact that Cannabissativa​ species is known for having a low level of THC compared to other species, this parameter is closely controlled, due to its psychoactive effect. To bring Hemp Oil (Organic) on the cosmetic market, we had to first comply with the regulations of the country of cultivation, which is Germany for our oil. Next we monitor the laws all over the world to be able to export and market the oil for cosmetics.

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Each year the list of Cannabis Sativa​ varieties allowed for sowing is reviewed. The farmers have to buy their sowing for the coming crop only from approved varieties listed in the OECD List of Varieties eligible for seed certification. Farmers are not allowed to use their own seeds coming from the previous crop. They have to renew each year their sowing with certified seed varieties. The aim is to grow hemp plants that will not develop a high THC content.

In addition, the farmers have to register their field with the government each year. During the cultivation period, authorities come and control the field. Especially before harvesting the field and the hemp seeds, the farmer needs to get approval of the local authorities.

Skin efficacy

Hemp and especially hemp seed oil is a trendy and innovative cosmetic ingredient. After ensuring the right sourcing and the compliance in terms of regulation, the objective was to study the benefits of our ingredient Hemp Oil (Organic) for the skin in order to bring this product to the cosmetic market.

The buzz around hemp may have generated confusion around this misunderstood ingredient. However as explained above, hemp seed oil used in personal care products has no psychoactive effect and brands are marketing with emotional claims like mood-enhancing and well-being benefits.

Like all vegetal oils, it has a unique fatty acid composition and therefore a good affinity to the skin. This composition helps reinforce the skin barrier and to limit water loss. In addition, this oil is used in cosmetics to calm and soothe the skin, or balance oily skin.

We studied especially the soothing properties of hemp seed oil. Inflammation within the skin can be induced by various factors, for example shaving or environmental aggressors like wind or sun. These factors trigger the release of mediators within the skin and this can lead to skin redness.

We looked at two of those mediators: IL-8 and TNF-alpha. By applying Hemp Oil (Organic) on the test models, we observed a dose-dependent inhibition of the gene expression for both mediators. In addition, inhibition of IL-8 secretion could be observed in the models after treatment with hemp seed oil. Based on these data, we concluded there is evidence for an anti-inflammatory effect of Hemp Oil (Organic).

Also the skin feeling of hemp seed oil was tested and assessed by a 20-person panel, and experts in formulation. The panel declared when applying Hemp Oil (Organic) that this oil shows a “pleasant texture” and “quick absorption”, and stated also that the “skin is smoother”.

This was confirmed by expert formulators at the lab. They described Hemp Oil (Organic) as a light oil, spreading well on the skin and quickly absorbed without leaving a greasy feeling.

This interesting skin feeling is an additional asset for this oil to be used in cosmetics since Hemp Oil (Organic) can be incorporated in formulations at a high concentration without a negative impact on the formulation sensoriality.

Thanks to the 360° approach we show here that Hemp Oil (Organic) is a versatile cosmetics ingredient. First trendy and making the buzz, hemp seed oil is now becoming a must-have among vegetable oils. Sourced locally and with care, the hemp plant has a lot to offer as cosmetic ingredient.

Content provided by Symrise and not written by the editorial team. For more information on this article, please contact Symrise.