Acne. Fine lines. Irritation. Whatever your skin issues, experts say the power plant can help. Consumers often ask us if Cannabis sativa seed oil is the same as hemp seed oil. First of all, what is Cannabis sativa? Cannabis sativa is a plant species that describes both the plant that contains high levels of THC commonly know as marijuana, and also the low THC variety commonly known as hemp. While there are ov Hemp oil skin care products are increasingly popular. Find out the benefits of hemp oil for the skin and what science really tells us about its effectiveness.
Cannabis Oil is the New Trendy Ingredient in Skin Care—Here’s Why
There are buzzy skin-care ingredients (turmeric! probiotics!). And then there are skin-care ingredients with buzz. In the beautysphere right now, there’s nothing buzzier than hemp-derived ingredients, such as cannabis sativa seed oil. This type of oil is loaded with plenty of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants that are anti-inflammatory, next-level skin moisturizers.
It’s no surprise, then, that skin-care brands are betting big on ingredients from the hemp plant. Case in point: The new Green Releaf collection from Peter Thomas Roth, which includes the Therapeutic Sleep Cream and Calming Face Oil, both of which are infused with hemp-derived cannabis sativa seed oil.
With the recent passing of the Farm Bill, which legalized the production of industrial hemp, more products will flood the market, making it more difficult to weed out the highs from the lows. And, you might be teeming with Qs: Will slathering it on give me the munchies? Is it even legal in all 50 states? What’s the best way to add hemp-oil into your skin regimen? Quick answers: No, yes, and glad you asked.
So. what is Cannabis Sativa Seed Oil?
We know, the science surrounding Cannabis in all of its many forms can get confusing. Here are the basics: There are more than 80 different cannabinoid compounds that can be extracted from the cannabis sativa plant (otherwise known as weed). Of these, the two compounds that are the most well-known are CBD and THC—the latter being the one that produces a high when you eat or smoke it (a.k.a. it makes you stoned). Although Cannabis Sativa Seed Oil is derived from the hemp plant—hemp oil comes from the seeds, while CBD is derived from the leaves—it doesn’t contain any CBD or THC compounds, but it is naturally rich in many skin-smoothing, calming, and moisturizing properties.
“Hemp seed oil is oil extracted from the hemp plant,” explains Joshua Zeichner, Director of Cosmetic and Clinical Research at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City. “Hemp seed oil is an outstanding natural oil for the skin,” Zeichner adds, which is precisely what makes it such a powerful skin care ingredient.
How does it work?
While the exact mechanisms by which hemp-derived oils work on the skin (and in the body) are still being sorted out by scientists, here’s the gist: “Hemp seed oil has been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties, making it useful in treating a variety of skin conditions,” Zeichner explains. “The compounds on hemp seed oil have a soothing effect.” Why is this important? “Inflammation is the root of all evil, whether that’s acne or the signs of aging,” explains New York City dermatologist Dendy Engelman. So, if you’re prone to redness, chronically dry skin, or you’ve started to notice the formation of fine lines, inflammation is likely a contributing factor, and hemp oil can help.
benefits of Cannabis sativa (hemp) seed oil for the skin
Consumers often ask us if Cannabis sativa seed oil is the same as hemp seed oil. First of all, what is Cannabis sativa? Cannabis sativa is a plant species that describes both the plant that contains high levels of THC commonly know as marijuana, and also the low THC variety commonly known as hemp. While there are over 100 known cannabinoids within the cannabis plant, CBD and THC are the two cannabinoids that have stolen the show. It’s pretty much common knowledge by now that THC causes psychoactive effects within the body, and that Cannabidiol aka CBD is known for its non-psychoactive effects within the body. They both work within the body’s endocannabinoid system. A different type ingredient entirely, Cannabis sativa (hemp) seed oil is not a chemical compound – it’s a nutrient-dense oil containing many vitamins, proteins and amino acids that come from cold pressing the seeds of this powerful plant.
Now, you may be thinking, “There are hundreds of oils on the market. Why should I care about Cannabis sativa (hemp) seed oil?” You are correct, currently there is a lot of talk about hemp seed oil, but let’s talk about its skin care benefits and why High Beauty has chosen to formulate with this exceptional oil.
Cannabis sativa (hemp) seed oil has numerous health benefits, including those that improve your skin health. Cannabis sativa (hemp) seed oil is nutrient-dense, containing Omega 3, Omega 6 and Omega 9 essential fatty acids, vitamins, beta carotene, phospholipids, minerals and twenty amino acids. Here are some of the benefits of this oil:
Comedogenic Rating of 0 (zero)
Will not clog pores.
Moisturizes and Soothes Inflammation
Omega-6 also known as gamma-linoleic acid (GLA), acts as a powerful anti-inflammatory, while encouraging skin growth and new cell generation. This powerful essential fatty acid can help calm inflammation and irritation in all skin types – including blemished skin.
Helps Control Oil Production
Cannabis sativa (hemp) seed oil is beneficial for all skin types as it will moisturize without clogging pores. It will help regulate an oily skin, while keeping it moisturized, balanced and acne-causing bacteria at bay. Did you know that dryness can cause your skin to over-produce oil? Hemp oil will soothe dry skin and moderate oil production.
Linoleic and oleic acids are essential fatty acids contained in hemp seed oil. Neither are produced in our bodies, but are very beneficial to the health of our skin. Linoleic and oleic acids provide anti-inflammatory, moisturizing and healing support, as well as fight acne and keep skin supple and youthful looking. These essential fatty acids found in hemp seed oil will also reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles and fight early signs of aging.
Rich in vitamin E and antioxidants, cannabis sativa (hemp) seed oil will help protect skin from environmental damage.
Restores Tone and Texture
The phytosterols in hemp seed oil will help boost collagen production to help restore and rejuvenate skin’s tone and texture.
Why Not CBD?
It’s really pretty simple, while CBD has lots of practical applications for well-being, high skincare is created to help you reach your skin’s highest potential.
We aren’t afraid of a stigma or believe using CBD is taboo. It just simply is not the most potent part of the plant for skincare. We’re not here to chase a fad or ride a bandwagon. We’re here because there is a part of the cannabis sativa plant that is truly revolutionary for skin care. – the oil from the plant’s seeds.
Want additional information on Cannabis sativa (hemp) seed oil? Head to our science page here. If you have any questions regarding this topic, please reach out to me at [email protected]
How to Use Hemp Oil for the Skin
Verywell Health articles are reviewed by board-certified physicians and healthcare professionals. These medical reviewers confirm the content is thorough and accurate, reflecting the latest evidence-based research. Content is reviewed before publication and upon substantial updates. Learn more.
Leah Ansell, MD, is a board-certified dermatologist and an assistant professor of dermatology at Columbia University.
Hemp oil, more accurately called hemp seed oil, is the cannabis product most often used in topical over-the-counter skin care products, cosmetics, and cosmeceuticals. What is unique about hemp seed oil and why are so many people using it in their skincare routines?
What Is Hemp Oil?
Hemp seed oil is obtained from pressing the seeds of the cannabis plant (Cannabis sativa L.). Unrefined hemp seed oil is a dark greenish color with a mildly nutty aroma. Refined hemp seed oil is clear with little to no smell, but it doesn’t contain as many of the skin-health benefits.
Hemp seed oil has become a very popular skincare ingredient. It’s also used in cooking.
Cannabis, Hemp, and Marijuana
Understanding the differences among cannabis, hemp, and marijuana can be confusing because marijuana and hemp all come from the same plant, Cannabis sativa. The distinction is the variety of the plant.
Cannabis is the name of a family of plants. Hemp is a variety within this family, and marijuana is another variety in the family.
Think of the types of tomatoes you find at the grocery store, like big beefsteak tomatoes versus small Roma tomatoes. Both come from the same plant (tomato vine) but are different varieties, and therefore, they produce different results if you were to cook with them. They would vary in nutrients, taste, texture, and more.
In the case of cannabis, the varieties differ in the amount of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) that they contain. THC is the psychoactive constituent responsible for the high that cannabis gives.
Hemp generally contains very little THC, so it has no psychoactive effects. As a result, hemp seed oil contains trace to no amounts of THC.
This, however, is under some scrutiny as some studies have shown that certain hemp seed oils may have detectable levels of THC. This could be the result of the oil becoming contaminated with other parts of the hemp plant during production.
Hemp seed oil won’t get you high. It is legal to be used and sold in skincare products.
Hemp Oil vs. CBD Oil
Hemp oil and cannabidiol (CBD) oil are also often confused with one another. Although they are obtained from the same plant, hemp oil and CBD oil are very different.
CBD is a chemical compound found in the cannabis plant (both marijuana and hemp). You may be surprised to learn that hemp seed oil is naturally rich in CBD.
Hemp seed oil is comprised of a wide variety of different compounds, with CBD being just a tiny part. CBD is found throughout the entire plant, including stalks, seeds, leaves, and flowers.
While hemp seed oil is produced by simply pressing the seeds of the hemp plant, CBD oil is created by extracting and isolating the CBD compound. This compound is then blended with different ingredients to create a CBD product. Olive oil is most often used as a base to create a CBD oil.
CBD itself does not have psychoactive effects, but it can be formulated with THC for a product that does cause a high. CBD oil is often used for medicinal purposes.
Hemp-extracted CBD oil is also used in over-the-counter skincare products, but it’s not nearly as common a cosmetic ingredient as hemp seed oil.
It’s also important to know that hemp oil is not the same as marijuana oil or cannabis oil, either. Cannabis oil is extracted from the entire plant and has both CBD and THC. Cannabis oil is legal only in states that have legalized marijuana.
Hemp oil is widely incorporated in many skincare products and cosmeceuticals. In fact, it’s become quite a trendy ingredient. Hemp oil is not just trendy, but it can offer benefits for your skin.
- Moisturizing: This is the biggest and most well-verified benefit that hemp seed oil can deliver. Hemp oil is emollient and leaves the skin feeling soft and supple.
- Antioxidant qualities: Hemp seed oil is high in antioxidant constituents: fatty acids like gamma-linolenic acid (GLA), and vitamins A, C, and E. Antioxidant skincare products may help give your skin some protection against premature aging.
- Anti-inflammatory: Hemp oil contains components that have anti-inflammatory properties, and current research suggests it may help relieve skin inflammation. There’s more research that needs to be done here, though, to fully understand how this works on the skin.
- Potential antibacterial qualities: Studies also suggest that hemp oil has antibacterial qualities. What effect this has on the skin, if any, is still being looked at.
Hemp oil, CBD oil, and other cannabinoids are being studied as possible treatments for a vast array of skin conditions like acne, eczema, psoriasis, rosacea, and skin cancer.
Hemp seed oil has no side effects on its own, although it’s possible you may be sensitive to the ingredient.
When trying any new skincare product for the first time, be on the lookout for any signs of irritation: redness, itching, burning, or rash. If you notice any of these, stop using the offending product and give your healthcare provider a call if irritation doesn’t improve after several days.
Choosing a Hemp Oil Product
Hemp oil is incorporated in many cosmetic products, from soaps, lotions, balms and salves, facial products, and bath products.
- Take a look at the ingredient listing. Sometimes manufacturers will put just a small amount of hemp oil in the product, simply so they can market their product as a trendy “hemp” product. Hemp oil needn’t be the first ingredient, but it shouldn’t be last, either.
- Consider your skincare goals. Don’t just choose a skincare product simply because it contains hemp oil. Consider what the product is designed to do and see if it aligns with your skin’s needs. For example, if your skin is dry, you’ll be happier with a more emollient cream rather than a light lotion.
- Look at the other ingredients. The other ingredients in a product are going to have a lot to do with how the product functions, too. For example, if you’re looking for a highly moisturizing product, one that also contains hyaluronic acid is a good bet. For anti-aging, retinol or glycolic acid are good additions.
- Experiment. All hemp oil skincare products are going to feel differently on the skin. If you don’t care for one, don’t be shy about switching it out for another brand you may like better.
How to Use Hemp Oil for Your Skin
You may decide to forgo the store-bought products and apply unrefined hemp seed oil directly on the skin, too. Hemp oil is considered noncomedogenic, which means it isn’t likely to clog your pores.
Hemp seed oil is considered a “dry” oil. This means it absorbs rather quickly and has a non-greasy feel, as far as lipid oils go.
Some ideas for using hemp seed oil:
- Massage a few drops over a cleansed and moisturized face, for a DIY facial serum.
- Apply after bathing or showering as a body oil.
- Use as a carrier oil in aromatherapy.
Unrefined hemp seed oil is fragile and can quickly go rancid. To extend its shelf life, keep your hemp oil in the refrigerator.
A Word From Verywell
More research is being done to really know how hemp oil works on the skin. Although preliminary findings are intriguing, much more research needs to be done. Overall, you should like the way a product makes your skin feel and be happy with the results (and the price).
For treating skin problems, though, you should not rely on hemp-based skincare products for improvement. Many skin problems can be treated by your primary care physician. Your healthcare provider can also refer you to a dermatologist if necessary.
Remember, hemp oil is a unique addition to your daily skin care regimen, but it’s not a miracle cure. It shouldn’t be used as a substitute for a healthcare provider’s care.
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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