From The Editor's Desk

CBD presents both significant opportunities and hurdles

By Simon Pitman

- Last updated on GMT

CBD presents both significant opportunities and hurdles
Cannabidiol, better known as CBD, has taken the cosmetics and personal care world by storm over the past year or so, evinced by a plethora of new product launches across all major markets.

But despite its huge growth in popularity and the obvious opportunity for more ingredient companies and brands to get in on the act, there remain some clear hurdles to overcome, namely with respect to consumer perception and the legal status of CBD and the finished products that might contain it.

CBD is being heralded as a wonder treatment for a plethora of illnesses and disorders. But now an increasing number of consumers are being drawn in by claims that is can also do wonders for skin care, and to a lesser extent, hair care too.

So what is the big fuss about CBD?

CBD was discovered in the early 1940s and is one of 113 identified cannabinoids found in cannabis plants. Although it is derived from cannabis plants, the process of extracting it means that it only contains minute amounts of the psychoactive Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).

THC is the substance that that provokes the psychoactive high associated with smoking or ingesting cannabis, but CBD oil generally has very low levels of THC, which means it cannot make the user feel in any way ‘stoned’.

So if it cannot get you high, what does it do? CBD contains anti-inflammation properties, essential fatty acids and is also packed with vitamins, including A, D and E, giving it a broad range of skin care applications.

It can be used to treat common skin conditions such as acne, eczema and psoriasis, while its anti-inflammation properties also makes it great as an all-round skin soother and tonic, in turn putting it in the anti-ageing category.

Celebrity endorsements are a sure sign that a cosmetic and personal care trend has made it big, and A-list stars from Melissa McCarthy to Busy Philipps and Mandy Moore are all swearing by its beautifying properties.

What’s not to like about CBD?

For many it does seem like it’s the new wonder ingredient for skin care treatments, but, as mentioned at the beginning of this article, the legality of CBD does have some fuzzy areas, while consumer perception of what it is about is still a barrier for some.

On the issue of legality, strictly speaking CBD has to be made from industrial hemp, which means it has lower amounts of THC, but if it is going to fulfill legal requirements, it has to be processed to ensure it has sufficiently low amounts of the substance.

As a rule of thumb, most regulatory authorities agree that CBD should contain no more than 0.3% THC in its dry form.

But precariouis legal status of the ingredient comes about because internationally it is still far from being universally legal, and in many cases its status is ambiguous.

Currently in the US it is legal in 29 of the 50 states, while rules governing its sale in those states are determined by the 2014 Farm Bill, which legalized the sale of CBD in participating states. On top of that, CBD containing cosmetics also have to be approved by the FDA.

Elsewhere, particularly in Europe, CBD is classified as a novel food and is also regulated for medicinal purposes, whereas in Europe it is expressly listed as a legitimate formulation tool in the EU Cosmetics Ingredients Database.

Consumer perception also needs working on

Then there is the matter of how consumers view CBD in general, and more specifically for use in cosmetic products. There are an increasing number of very savvy, informed consumers who know all about the attributes of CBD and are actively seeking this type of skin care product.

But those consumers are still likely to be in the minority. The biggest challenge with the majority of consumers is in educating about the properties of CBD skin care products, and perhaps most importantly, to get the message across that they will not risk getting stoned.

It is still very early days for the CBD trend in cosmetics, so an essential part of the pioneering brands that are helping to shape the category has been and will continue to be to educate the consumer about how the ingredient works and the benefits.

Look out for the Cosmetics Design CBD webinar

At this point it is worth mentioning the fact that Cosmetics Design has scheduled a webinar panel discussion about CBD, which will gather industry experts to discuss all of the issues mentioned in this article and many more.

Titled ‘CBD – the next big thing in skin care’, the webinar will take the form of a panel discussion that will include experts from the formulation, regulation and branding arenas, who will all be sharing their stories and tips on how to get it right.

Currently the Cosmetics Design team is looking for panelists in any of these disciplines to share their experiences about CBD skin care, so if you would like to get in touch with us about that, please click here.

In the meantime, the webinar is scheduled to take place on the 2nd​ of September 2019, so please add this date to your diaries.

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