Cannabis seems to have come out from under a cloud of suspicion and is quickly becoming one of the buzziest ingredients in skincare. As an increasing number of states are legalizing its use for medical and recreational purposes, cannabis is shedding its stoner image and is being recognized for its therapeutic properties. Analysts predict the legal cannabis market will soar to nearly $15 billion by 2021, with the beauty and health and wellness industries representing a big part of that boom. In the past year, there’s been a notable increase in the number of indie brands offering moisturizers, healing balms, lip products, and candles infused with cannabidiol (CBD), a natural, non-psychoactive compound found in the flowers, leaves, and stalks of the Cannabis sativa plant.
Although CBD oil may be new to the marketplace, CBD has a long history as a therapeutic botanical. It has been used to treat joint (no pun intended!) injuries, ease chronic pain, and soothe skin. More recent clinical trials have found its antioxidant and sebum reducing properties could be beneficial in treating acne and its anti-inflammatory benefits could alleviate redness and inflammation associated with rosacea and other skin conditions. Ongoing research on CBD oil is probing whether it can regulate cell growth and improve skin hydration.
A crop of luxury beauty brands has emerged with CBD oil as their hero ingredient. Vertly’s CBD oil lip butter and body lotion boast Instagrammable packaging and a luxury pedigree (founder Claudia Mata is a former editor at W magazine). Cannuka, a brand that blends CBD with another buzzy ingredient, Manuka honey, offers skin and eye balms along with soaps and body lotions. Perhaps the most cutting edge is Lord Jones, a Los Angeles-based brand offering luxuriously packaged products including lotions containing both CBD and THC oils as well as a line of CBD edibles. The highly-publicized Whoopi & Maya brand (currently only available in California and Colorado) offers a line of medically inspired products that offer relief from P.M.S. and menstrual symptoms like cramping and achiness including a bath soak, herbal tincture, and balm.
The CBD Debate
Will CBD brands catch on with the mainstream? It’s debatable. CBD is currently legal in the U.S., but it remains unclear whether regulations will remain the same under the current administration or if CBD will be classified as an FDA-regulated drug versus a botanical ingredient. Many brands hesitate to invest in developing a product that may later get pulled from shelves. Alternatively, some mainstream brands, such as The Body Shop and Lush, are bringing hemp oil products to market. Hemp oil, produced from the seeds of the hemp plant, is rich in omega-3 and omega-6 oils, vitamin E, magnesium, and vitamin B, but doesn’t contain the healing properties of CBD. For now, we predict that CBD-based products will stay in the domain of more nimble indie brands.
What Consumers Say
In a study of more than 1,500 women across North America, 60% said they were curious about the benefits of cannabis skincare. Although it remains to be seen if CBD-based products will actually catch on with a mass audience, consumers are always excited to try new brands, especially those with a compelling story or ingredient provenance.
Women’s Marketing leverages our deep understanding of the beauty and health and wellness categories to inform go-to-market strategies for our brand partners. Contact us to learn how our insights and trend analysis can help your brand grow and flourish.
Sources: Flare.com Cannabis Skincare: The Buss on this Budding Beauty Segment 2018, HonestMarijuana.com 2017, The New York Times Beauty’s New High: CBD Oil 2018, Business of Fashion Can Cannabis Beauty Go Mass 2017