For better or worse, there is a great deal of mystique surrounding the cannabis plant. It’s a plant that inspires such varied and strong reactions that when it comes to the rapidly increasing number of cannabis-derived products, what may present as exciting to some people may also come across as nefarious to those who maintain negative connotations to drug culture. For companies trying to promote the benefits of CBD, a substance that is new to so many people, transparency is particularly vital.
Of course, CBD in itself isn’t “new” by any means. CBD, short for cannabidiol, is one of the active substances found in the cannabis plant, which has been cultivated for thousands of years by cultures all over the world for its many documented health and wellness benefits. But only recently, after a century of prohibition due to its association with THC, the psychoactive substance of the cannabis plant, has it caught on as a mainstream ingredient in all sorts of products, from CBD cream for skin, to CBD cosmetics, to CBD dietary supplements. There’s no doubt about it: CBD is a hot ingredient these days, and more and more companies have been cashing in on the trend.
Because of this rapid influx of new products in such a short time, the CBD market is currently still a highly unregulated space. This has led to the phenomenon of “weedwashing”, a term derived from “greenwashing”, in which companies use eco-friendly marketing and PR spin in order to appear more sustainable and environmentally conscious than they really are. In the CBD space, weedwashing refers to the lack of transparency of some manufacturers of CBD and hemp oil products. By using cannabis images, certain terminology, and intentionally vague ingredient lists, companies can make unsubstantiated claims or imply associations with CBD that don’t truly check out.
CBD’s health benefits for the skin
Weedwashing leads to a lack of trust surrounding a substance with real potential to help people, especially with regard to skin care. Topical CBD products have proven effects on sebum regulation and skin conditioning, and CBD is a known antioxidant. Topical CBD cream is also currently being studied for anti-inflammatory effects, as well as its ability to provide relief from pain and itchiness. Taken orally, ongoing studies are looking at CBD’s potential for anxiety reduction and pain relief, among other promising possibilities. Learn more about what CBD can do for sleep. CBD’s list of effects continues to grow, but because research is still in progress, questions of its effectiveness remain when it comes to the full range of its applications and dosages.
As a CBD skin care company, it’s always been our goal at J’TANICALS to educate consumers on CBD and its effects, so that they can make informed decisions. We want our consumers to understand what is already scientifically proven and what isn't. Too many companies take advantage of the unknown to make dubious claims about their products, or to broadly allude to the wider culture surrounding CBD in order to make sales.
Recognizing weedwashing in action
Understanding the various ways companies use weedwashing can help you make more informed choices as a consumer. One common issue is that companies will use terminology or imagery to suggest that a product contains CBD, when in reality it might only contain hemp seed oil and no active substances (e.g. some products only use “hemp fragrance”). Some brands’ products may contain CBD, but either in such low doses or in applications that make CBD’s known benefits unlikely to take effect. For example, it’s doubtful that a 100mg CBD bath bomb dissolved in 180 liters of water can truly benefit the body.
Confusion can also arise when it comes to declaring CBD concentration. It’s often easier to know the concentration of CBD oil, as ingestible products typically display their CBD contents in milligrams (mg). But for CBD skin creams, although brands are legally required to display ingredient concentration in percentage, most companies don’t. Some don’t even list an amount in mg, claiming only that the product “contains CBD.” Even when mg amounts are listed, the average consumer doesn’t know how to calculate CBD content as a percentage that would disclose the effectiveness of the product. For instance, most people wouldn’t be aware that the 90mg of CBD in their 45ml face cream is only a concentration of 0.2%. For comparison, J’TANICALS’ premium CBD face cream contains 1%. But many brands use this vagueness in order to sell their products at high prices.
Finally, many brands take advantage of the hype surrounding CBD to sell seemingly random CBD-infused products-- mascara, for example-- that don’t necessarily make sense from the perspective of CBD’s proven benefits, whether or not the product truly contains CBD. This practice leads to more confusion surrounding the true nature of CBD’s capabilities. Check out this article for a realistic, research-based look at CBD’s list of benefits for the skin.
How to find clarity about your CBD skin care
Considering all these pitfalls, it’s important to know where you can get more detailed information on the CBD content of your skin care products. We recommend referencing the International Nomenclature of Cosmetic Ingredients, or INCI. The INCI list, accessible online, can give you a relative indication of the concentration of ingredients in a given product, as ingredients in the database are listed in order of highest concentration to lowest. When looking for CBD creams, be aware of products that contain even less CBD than fragrance/perfume. This is a red flag, as perfumes are usually the least concentrated ingredients.
Transparency and J’TANICALS
We believe that companies need to be transparent and honest about the CBD in their products, and at J’TANICALS we take steps to ensure a balanced relationship with our customers. First, we disclose the certificate of analysis of the cannabinoid profile of our hemp plants. We clearly list the percentage of CBD on all of our products, the lowest being 0.5% and the highest 3.33%. And as a CBD skin care company, we only use CBD in products for which CBD actually has proven benefits. When you’re as proud of your product as we are, transparency is only natural.
At J'TANICALS we use a clear % labelling of the CBD content in our products. Our Floral Collagen Magic face oil contains 3.3.% CBD