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Global|Getting High on Beauty: Cannabis Wellness Products

Jan 1, 2019.Stephanie WuTokyo,Japan
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With the legalization of recreational / medical marijuana in parts of the United States, Canada, and Europe, various cannabis infused products are emerging and the beauty industry isn’t about to miss out. Is it ‘highly’ effective or a passing trend?

In order to understand what the market is out for, we must briefly understand the plant itself − it’s complex and has hundreds of different chemical compounds that affect the natural biology of the human body. Hemp, cannabis, or marijuana, can be terms to describe parts of the plant depending on its viability. The psychoactive element, THC is what gives us the high while terms listed with CBD (Cannabidiol) is legal and non-psychoactive. Studies show myriads of health claim benefits ranging from pain relief, anti-inflammatory components, insomnia, anxiety, depression, is antioxidant, the list goes on. In a Harvard Medical School article, CBD’s strongest evidence is the therapeutic effect, and in the European Journal of Pain, its studies showed that on the skin, it lowers inflammation and pain. There’s still much more to be researched on the efficacy, as it’s relatively new to the beauty industry. With that in mind, here are a few products carving its niche in the market.

Herb Essntls (pronounced ‘essentials’) launched in January 2017 began its expansion selling in 30 stores including ECs. Fortified around CBD oil and a mixture of organic ingredients, the properties counters overproduction in clogged pores and regulates the skin’s natural oil production to keep it hydrated. They have 5 products in total and are still on the way to developing more skincare products and researching new formulas. According to sources, the brand’s sales numbers in 2017 had tripled with growing interests from Europe.

Unlike Herb Essntls who dedicates to producing CBD products, skincare brands such as Khus+Khus has included CBD oil with other herbal blends in 3 products out of their range: Copious Body Serum, Sen Facial Serum, and Premo Hand + Nail + Foot Supreme Treatment. All mentioned products have added CBD extracts that works to moisturize, protect against aging, combat anti-inflammation and increase cellular turnover.

Cannuka combines the ultimate potent ingredients to combat anti-inflammation: Manuka honey and CBD. Cannuka CEO, Michael Bumgarner says since introducing his products and receiving positive feedbacks from customers’ before-after pictures dealing with skin problems such as eczema, acne, rosacea, sunburn, dry skin makes it worthwhile to introducing CBD. The brand is also making an impact through sustainable farming, as Bumgarner says, “Cannabis is one of the most environmentally friendly commodities or crops.” 

CBD is growing in the U.S. and will soon be a $22 billion industry by 2022 (according to market research firm, Brightfield Group). Canada is one of the first G7 countries to allow recreational cannabis and is the largest producer in the industry. China too is becoming a quiet superpower according to an article from South China Morning Post. It’s expanding market is questionable as China’s history in the opium drug wars leave citizens convinced the evils of drugs in general. There is however a gradual introduction to CBD products such as China-based company, CBD Biotechnology Co. Ltd. that entered China’s largest EC, T mall in October. “We estimate that from October 2018 to September 2019, the total sales of CBD skin care products will have the opportunity to reach 12 million RMB,” says the CEO of CBD Biotechnology.

Australia-based Elixinol Global, who has been importing CDB to Japan since 2016, had a CBD oil advert inside the train station of Tokyo’s fashionable district, Omotesando last year in May. Though CBD is legal in Japan, the approval on commercially advertising the non-psychoactive compound is a leap from a parents’ effort in shielding their children from hearing a taboo word. ‘Hemp’ is the safe go-getter as its non-drug purposes have been used in skincare for many years especially at The Body Shop since the late nineties.

With this in mind, there’s a new form of acceptance in the market view on the plant that’ll be normalized. Parts of North America and Europe have accepted the plant in parts of the region in comparison to its Asian counterpart. Regardless of how politically charged the topic is, cannabis will soon have its foothold in the beauty and lifestyle industry. It’s efficacy still needs to be thoroughly researched as it’s still marred with grey areas, however can only be brought to light when it’s been open mindedly accepted.