It’s a weird time for topicals in the cannabis space, after becoming the 2nd country to legalize the plant, Canada has prohibited the manufacturing or sales of cannabis products like creams, salves or ointments - basically anything that can be applied to the skin - until further regulatory guidelines have been put in place. While they’ve promised to be permissible in Canada within one calendar year from the date of legalization, consumers are eyeing the benefits toted by brands in other parts of the world where the ban on topicals has been lifted and demand is on the rise.

But, are contraband cannabis creams worth the risk? We wanted to break down the trends we see in places where topicals are legal and help simplify the facts to JADEO readers who have been feeling just as confused as the rest of us.

In a recent feature by the Globe and Mail, the sales of CBD products in everyday retail shops begged a spotlight to be shown on the legalities consumers must navigate when purchasing products. “There is a lot of confusion in the industry about what is legal, what is CBD, what is cannabis, what is hemp. There’s a lot of education that has to happen.” Said Geraldine Brouwer, founder of a BC based Pet Food company which previously offered a CBD product for pets.

We wanted to get to the bottom of the difference between CBD from cannabis and CBD from hemp. Hemp and Marijuana are both varieties of the same plant species, Cannabis sativa. Industrial hemp contains no more than 0.3% THC—a low enough percentage as not to affect any psychoactivity. Comparatively, and depending on breed and strain, the cannabis sativa plant contains on average between 10 and 30% THC—enough to get you high. CBD is found in both plants. If you need a refresher, CBD is one of over 85 compounds called cannabinoids, isolated from the cannabis sativa plant that has a host of medicinal benefits the medical community is just waking up to worldwide.

CBD, unlike THC, does not get you high. In Canada, only licensed producers may make it, and only registered retailers may sell the products if derived from cannabis sativa. CBD derived from industrial hemp however is legal in Canada and all 50 states. As we see the buzz around CBD bring its status to a household name, consumers are plagued with questions around its usage for a broad spectrum of wellness interests, including beauty.

In legal states like Colorado and California, we’ve seen a flood of CBD-infused products hit the beauty sector, giving us a glimpse into what is likely to occur in Canada once topicals become legal. From Milk Makeup’s new Kush extension, which includes Kush High Volume Mascara and Kush Brow Gel to new brand Hora Skincare’s CBD-exclusive range of products, it seems like we are going to see more and more companies jumping on the canna-bandwagon to capture part of the market craze. Even the Kardashian’s favourite hairstylist recently launched a CBD-infused hair and scalp scrub under the OUAI umbrella of products. Celebrity mother-daughter duo Goldie Hawn and Kate Hudson are known to be fans of Radical Skincare, which uses CBD in some of its products. With a vast range of proposed benefits from its anti-inflammatory to anti-aging properties, the buzz of CBD in the beauty industry is only going to grow.

So what do consumers in Canada think about CBD in beauty products if they can’t access them legally on the market? Connor Christine, JADEO co-founder is one of the most excited on our team about topicals soon becoming legal. Her first experience with CBD topically came from a few items; lip balm and bath bombs, she received in a bag at a conference prior to the imposition of the Cannabis Act on October 17th.

She explained her experiences first hand: “A bath is naturally glorious, but I find that compared to regular, store-bought bubble bath or bath bombs, the CBD bath bombs are far superior to the rest of those on the market. Seriously, the moisture for winter is incredible. I don’t know the actual dose in the tub but I love the idea of it, and it feels like I notice a difference that when I get out of the bath and dry off, my skin is not instantly dry.”

Being a chapstick aficionado, we wanted to know if the application on CBD to the lips was delighting her as well as the bath bombs: “The chapsticks I can’t live without. Using regular chapstick just isn’t cutting it anymore. In fact, I only need to put it on once or twice a day.” We wondered if she had found any comparable products made with hemp CBD? She scoffed: “I bought a hemp CBD chapstick, used it one time and I don’t even know where it is now. That’s how you know when a chapstick doesn’t work.”

We asked if she had tried any CBD products on other parts of her face and as of yet, she had not: “I’ve been wanting to order HORA CBD skincare serum, but we can’t get it in Canada. It’s very expensive. Their super serum and overnight mask are $100 US but a bunch of bloggers I follow swear by it.”

Vertly Hemp CBD Lip Balm

So as we wait for the prohibition to lift on topicals, Canadian consumers want to know what can we legally purchase and try. Products like Vertly lip balm which boasts the benefits of industrial hemp CBD are readily available - but with Connor’s review on hemp CBD chapstick and an expected wait of several more months before legal topicals, you might want to roll up your sleeves and DIY. After all, it is possible to learn a simple recipe for lip balm with a combination of wax, oil, and essential oils if you like, then increasing the medicinal benefits by adding your own CBD oil to the mixture from a licensed producer. It may sound like a bit of work, but potentially well worth it if you aren’t willing to wait through the harsh Canadian winter for the kind of moisture locking promise offered by Connor’s anecdotal beauty hacks.


Remember to always consult a medical professional before starting any new health care regimen.

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