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Here's why the beauty world is embracing cannabis products like never before

If you hear the word “cannabis,” do your thoughts turn to edibles or a debate about the merits of Premium Jack versus Grape Stomper?

Sure, years of popular movies, TV shows and music have elevated the stoner stereotype to the top of the pop culture heap. But cannabis is making its mark in another arena, and the utterance that caught your attention may have pertained to hairstyling products, soaps or body lotions.

The beauty world is embracing cannabis like never before.

Often these products include hemp seed oil, which has been used in folk remedies for centuries and is said to ease dry skin, reduce inflammation and alleviate skin issues such as eczema.

It’s one of the ingredients in the Jasmine and Henna Fluff-Eaze hair treatment offered by Britain-based beauty brand Lush Fresh Handmade Cosmetics, known for its natural ingredients, whimsical packaging and playful products.

This hair mask, says Meghan Campbell, a North American brand and product trainer for Lush, is “intended to provide a lot of nourishment” for stressed-out locks.

“You have the cold-pressed hemp oil working with extra virgin coconut and olive oil,” Campbell says. “And it helps to increase elasticity. ... Your hair can withstand heat styling and processing. It really helps to keep it strong and less prone to breakage.”

Hemp oil comes from a variety of the cannabis sativa plant that is grown for industrial use, not drug use. The hemp strains that are grown for oil production have a minuscule percentage of psychoactive compounds and, after the seeds are processed, that level is reduced to zero.

All of which means the shampoos, body washes, facial oils and perfumes that include hemp oil can be purchased at a variety of brick-and-mortar locations from grocery stories to department stores as well as a growing number of online retailers.

Products in the Marley Natural body care line — which bears the name of reggae legend Bob Marley and includes lotion, soap, lip balm and body wash — contain cold-pressed hemp oil.

Marley Natural spokeswoman Berrin Noorata cited in an email the benefits of the oil’s omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, which, she says, contribute to good skin health. Other beneficial properties of hemp seed oil, she wrote, including a series of plant-based organic compounds and vitamin E, “offer an ideal balance for maintaining healthy skin.”

The Marley Natural body care products, she added, do not “contain any ingredients that will induce a physical high.”

A smaller number of beauty products on the market include CBD (cannabidiol), a non-psychoactive compound in cannabis that is believed to have a variety of medical uses (easing pain and anxiety and soothing irritated skin, among other things) and does not cause a marijuana high.

CBD-related products are a “rising trend” in the beauty world, says Andrea Revivo, a product manager for Spa De Soleil, a Sun Valley-based company that specializes in private-label, personal care manufacturing.

“We’ve been seeing this step away from the stigma of cannabis and [people] really understanding the benefits and healing properties,” she says. “We’re seeing people wanting it in their skin care and anti-aging creams ... face mists ... face masks and lip balms. And now I’m seeing the rise of luxury skin care with CBD.”

Some products with CBD can be purchased from a growing number of online emporiums. Others are sold at local dispensaries, where you’ll need a medical marijuana card, which, in California, is available to anyone 18 and older. If you’re hoping to purchase beauty balms with THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), the psychoactive ingredient in some varieties of cannabis sativa that has made medical marijuana a billion-dollar industry in California, you’ll need to visit a dispensary as well.

As local dispensaries get more upscale, you should expect to find a number of cannabis-related skin care products, including body balms, soaps and oils, from celebrity labels and homegrown or regional brands.

The much-publicized Whoopi & Maya line (from Whoopi Goldberg and her partner, Om Edibles founder Maya Elisabeth) bills its offerings as “medical cannabis products.” The brand’s website lists several Southern California marijuana shops where products can be purchased.

The Whoopi & Maya brand focuses on relief from menstrual pain. However, the lavender bath soak and the body balm have been praised by beauty bloggers who evaluate skin care products.

Apothecanna, which says its mission is “to spread the wisdom of traditional plant medicine,” sells cannabis-infused products at some dispensaries and online. The line includes colorfully packaged CBD lotions and other products, including personal intimacy oil and face and body oil. The brand also offers a $12 Lip Buzz for “distressed lips” and a $70 Mile High Gift Set of body creams.

Another cannabis label — one with a regal-sounding name — Lord Jones makes its confections in small batches by hand and uses Golden State-grown “cannabis extract.” Lord Jones’ website notes that its body care products, in white or bright green packaging, were developed by “a veteran team of personal care experts” and offer “relief from pain, inflammation and a variety of skin conditions.”

Lord Jones’ 1:1 Pain and Wellness Formula Body Lotion ($40) has “notes of sage, mint and green citrus,” according to the brand’s website, and is “non-psychoactive when used as directed” and an “ideal massage therapy lotion.” However, the lotion contains THC, and the product website says Californians “must have a valid doctor’s recommendation to join our collective and order.”

California is already home to a stable of cutting-edge beauty brands. With Proposition 64 (which legalized the adult recreational use of marijuana) now the law here, the Golden State is positioned to capitalize on post-prohibition product development. The seed has been planted, and time will tell where it grows from here.

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