Why THC Is as Important as CBD in Your Skincare

Guest post by Bridget May, Founder of Green Bee Botanicals.

CBD skincare is everywhere these days. I’ve even seen it at a gas station. I just did a Google search for “CBD skincare” and got over 32 million results. Do a search for “THC skincare” and you’ll get less than 2% of that, and most of them are people asking if THC in skincare will get you high (it won’t).

The main reason CBD is so popular right now is that some CBD is derived from hemp, which is legal in all 50 states. But hemp is unregulated, so consumers don’t know if their hemp CBD skincare contains pesticides or other harmful ingredients or how much CBD is in it. In fact, some hemp “CBD” skincare products don’t contain any CBD at all!

The lack of information on THC and dozens of other healthy cannabinoids (THCA, THCVA, CBN, CBDV, etc.) may lead you to think that CBD is the only skin-friendly cannabinoid. But that is far from the truth. While CBD has many benefits, it is only part of the story, and you are really missing out on a valuable tool if you leave THC out of your skincare regimen. 

But wait — won’t I get high if I use skincare with THC in it?

No. When used topically, skincare containing THC is non-psychoactive for two reasons:

  1. Skin is an extremely effective barrier built to protect us, so very little is able to get deeper than the dermal layer, including THC.

  2. The THC molecule is relatively large, so it’s difficult to pass through the cellular structures of the skin.

How your skin interacts with cannabinoids

The human endocannabinoid system, which oversees skin, pain, stress, the immune system, metabolism, mood and more, has receptors that bind with plant cannabinoids, including CBD and THC. When I first discovered this, it blew my mind. It’s the science behind why cannabis is incredibly healing, especially for our skin. 

Many scientific studies (here’s one of many) show that CBD and THC work best together. The two known types of endocannabinoid receptors — CB1 and CB2 — interact differently with THC and CBD, and both help regulate essential functions of the skin, including:

    • The elimination of free radicals and damaged cells (the villains of premature aging)

    • New cell growth and cell turnover

    • Healthy sebum production

    • Pain and itch sensation

    • Inflammatory response

    • Immune function

THC and CBD often have opposing effects in the skin. One example: in our sebaceous glands, THC activates the CB1 and CB2 receptors, while CBD blocks them. The result is that THC will encourage the skin to produce more oil if it’s dry, and CBD will do the opposite for skin that is overly oily. In other words, THC and CBD work in tandem to maintain skin homeostasis.

Takeaways

  • THC skincare products will not get you high if applied to your skin

  • THC provides benefits that CBD can’t provide by itself, and together, THC and CBD keep oil production in perfect balance

    • THC-rich serums are best for extra dry skin 

    • CBD-rich serums are best for acne prone and oily skin

  • Hemp is unregulated so investigate your hemp CBD sources carefully 

  • If your want to be sure your CBD/THC skincare is clean and free of harmful chemicals and heavy metals, buy it from a regulated cannabis dispensary or delivery service