CBD cosmetics


CBD cosmetics: Regulation about its use

CBD is, without question, becoming increasingly popular in all kinds of products. The active ingredient comes from marijuana and has enormous therapeutic potential, and is now gaining traction in the cosmetics industry, too.

Cannabis sativa is the botanical name for marijuana, and hemp. The difference between the two is the cannabinoid content:

  • Marijuana: contains THC (psychotropic) and variable amounts of cannabidiol.
  • Hemp: does not contain THC and contains traces of cannabidiol. This last compound is what gives it cosmetic properties.

According to sources,1, 2 cannabidiol acts as an adaptogenic on the skin, meaning it increases the body’s ability to adapt to environmental factors and prevent any damage caused by them. This explains the imminent use of CBD in cosmetics.

This molecule binds to different receptors3 (CB1 and CB2) found at different levels of the skin involved in maintaining skin homeostasis. Various cannabinoids bind to these receptors, including CBD, helping to regulate different epidermal processes.

The adaptability of this ingredient and its possible involvement in maintaining skin homeostasis, translating into an interest in using it in anti-ageing and sebum-regulating cosmetics, has lead us to carry out an analysis on the legality of its use.

CBD in cosmetics: FDA4

Currently, the FDA does not have a fixed regulation to regulate the use of CBD in cosmetics. Despite this, based on previous studies, they do not recommend the use of CBD in any type of preparation during pregnancy or while breastfeeding as it can harm or slow down the baby’s development.

Although cosmetic ingredients and products do not need to be approved by the FDA prior to being sold in the United States, before launching a cosmetic in this market we first need to ensure that it is safe and effective. This is because although this body does not approve ingredients, it can recall a cosmetic from the market. That is why the only legislation established by the FDA for ingredients like CBD is that:

  • We must ensure that the product is safe for consumers when used under normal conditions of use.
  • It should not be mislabelled or misbranded in terms of the concentration and function of the ingredients it contains.
  • If the CBD cosmetic affects the structure or any function of the body, it may also be considered a medicine and must therefore be approved by the FDA. This is because this body considers the possibility that a product can be classed as both a cosmetic and a drug.


CBD in cosmetics: European5 Legislation

According to European Regulation 1223/2009, the use of narcotic drugs included in the Single Convention of 1961 in cosmetics is not allowed. Although CBD is not on this list, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is.

Therefore, the use of CBD in cosmetics in Europe is prohibited if it is derived from extracts, tinctures or resins of the Cannabis Sativa plant as it may contain THC; however, it can be used if it comes from the seeds or leaves. For such cases, documentation that corroborates that it comes from these parts of the plant, and not from others, is needed.  Documentation indicating its tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) content is also required.

On the other hand, there is no ban on the use of synthetic CBD, which is currently the safest and most suitable option as we can be sure that it is free from THC.

Although there is currently no legal framework that regulates the percentage of THC allowed in cosmetics, the WHO Expert Committee on Drug Dependence (ECDD) proposed changes to the Single Convention of 1961. Specifically, they suggested that a footnote be added stating, ‘All preparations containing predominantly cannabidiol and no more than 0.2% THC would not be under international control.’

All things considered, this ingredient is attracting strong interest from the cosmetics industry as a source of innovation. Despite this, there are still no well-established legal frameworks that lay out what can be done with it; however it is clear under what conditions we are not allowed to use it.



  1. Oláh A, Tóth BI, Borbíró I, Sugawara K, Szöllõsi AG, Czifra G, Pál B, Ambrus L, Kloepper J, Camera E, Ludovici M, Picardo M, Voets T, Zouboulis CC, Paus R, Bíró T. Cannabidiol exerts sebostatic and antiinflammatory effects on human sebocytes. (2014) The Journal of Clinical Investigation. 124(9):3713-24. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25061872
  2. Papaseit E, Pérez-Mañá C, Pérez-Acevedo AP, Hladun O, Torres-Moreno MC, Muga R, Torrens M, Farré M. Cannabinoids: from pot to lab. Int J Med Sci 2018; 15(12):1286-1295. doi:10.7150/ijms.27087. Available from http://www.medsci.org/v15p1286.htm
  3. https://www.mentactiva.com/cbd-en-cosmetica-natural/
  4. https://www.fda.gov/consumers/consumer-updates/cosmetics
  5. Regulation (EC) No 1223/2009 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 30 November 2009 on cosmetic products. https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/ES/TXT/PDF/?uri=CELEX:02009R1223-20191127&qid=1589956569387&from=ES


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