Interest in cannabis and its plethora of active cannabinoids, particularly cannabidiol (CBD) has gained significant ground in recent years across various industries, including beauty and personal care. But what precautions must be taken when sourcing cannabis raw materials to use in formulations? And are there any issues specific industry needs to exercise caution on?
CBD cosmetic testing demands ‘increasing’ and ‘diversifying’
International laboratory testing specialist Eurofins Cosmetics & Personal Care recently developed a complete CBD testing offer for companies in Europe, North America and Asia to respond to what it had identified as a rising need.
The testing offer spanned consulting on formulation; regulatory and toxicology services to profile ingredients, validate labels and ensure compliance; analytical tests to check for heavy metals, impurities and characterise different carabinoids; in vitro studies to evaluate product safety; and clinical studies to support cosmetic claims like ‘moisturising’ and ‘soothing’ as well as confirm safety.
Sarah Bachir-Levy, international marketing manager for cosmetics and personal care at Eurofins, said demand for CBD testing in cosmetics and personal care was clearly a “trend that is increasing”.
Importantly, Bachir-Levy told CosmeticsDesign-Europe the trend for CBD cosmetics testing was also “diversifying”, in terms of the kind of products being tested and cosmetic claims being studied. And interest, she said, was coming from all corners of industry – from smaller indie brands right through to the top beauty players.
“It’s a trend that started mainly in the North American market, where we have developed great expertise, and has gained ground in the European market, where we have also developed expertise.”
Biggest issues to consider when testing CBD cosmetics?
Sébastian Cavelier, business developer for cosmetics and personal care at Eurofins, said that as CBD cosmetics testing had increased, some important knowledge gaps had been highlighted.
“Regulations are not well known or mastered, and this can create huge risks for the brands. For example, in particular for the selection of ingredients and the associated toxicological files,” Cavelier said.
In a “strict regulatory context”, Eurofins noted it was “essential to select raw materials which are fully compliant, in order to ensure the safety of the product and its efficacy”.
Common challenges when working with certain cannabis ingredients in beauty had become clear, Cavelier said, most notably around THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol) levels – the main psychoactive compound found in cannabis.
Determining the level of THC in finished beauty products was “much more complicated” than when looking at the raw material, he said, and the “low threshold” of THC permitted was also a key issue when conducting tests.
On the formulation side, there also remained important challenges, Cavelier said. “The most important is to find the right balance between CBD and the other ingredients. The use of CBD in certain forms, such as resin, requires the selection of a specific solvent, for example.”
Cosmetics CBD claims a future opportunity
Cavelier said that within all of this, there remained significant opportunities to diversify cosmetic claims associated with these CBD beauty products as testing and formulation knowledge advanced.
Bachir-Levy agreed, noting that products dedicated to acne-prone skin held particular promise as well as those targeting well-being, though this latter claim was more challenging to precisely quantify.