Polish researchers have published a study that shows potential benefits of components of the cannabis family (cannabis and hemp) for skin health in the form of CBD balms.
Some manufacturers are already marketing skin products containing the cannabinoid CBD (cannabidiol), but to date the evidence supporting their use has been largely theoretical.
The new research, published in Molecules provides evidence that “hemp extracts can be a valuable source of biologically active substances that reduce oxidative stress, inhibit skin aging processes and positively affect the viability of skin cells,” the investigators from the Department of Technology of Cosmetic and Pharmaceutical Products, at the University of Information Technology and Management in Rzeszow, found.
Hemp extracts were tested in a number of in vitro and cell-based assays. The water-ethanol extracts contained 15 percent CBDA (cannabidiolic acid), 3.1 percent CBD, and minor amounts of other cannabinoids.
Extract-containing hydrogels applied to the forearms of healthy volunteers improved hydration compared to hydrogels without cannabinoid extracts, suggesting hemp-containing cosmetics might act as natural moisturizers.
The researchers also found that in vitro, the extracts were able to increase the activity of superoxide dismutase (SOD), which is an enzyme that acts as the first stage of antioxidant defense and protects cells from damage by reactive oxygen species.
In addition, the researchers also present in their paper the possibility that the hemp extracts my help in preventing the degradation of collagen and elastin fibers by decreasing activity of elastase and collagenase enzymes.
The extracts were shown to lack toxicity to the keratinocyte and fibroblast cell lines tested — pretty important if cannabinoids are being added to cosmetics and skin care products.
“The results obtained in these studies indicate the lack of cytotoxicity of Cannabis sativa L. extracts to skin cells, especially fibroblasts, which may suggest their potential use as biologically active compounds in the pharmacological, dermatological and cosmetic industries,” the researchers wrote.