The Complete Medical Cannabis Skincare Guide

More than half of the states in the U.S. have now legalized medical cannabis in some form. And those that haven’t, are considering bills that will introduce some sort of statewide cannabis legislation.

Medical cannabis is used in all facets of alternative healthcare, but one area that’s seen tremendous improvement in recent years has been medical marijuana for skincare. Cannabis boasts wonderfully beneficial properties for the skin, but as a medical cannabis user, how are you to sort between the overwhelming number of products that are out there?

Let’s dive into the topic…

Understanding Medical Marijuana Skincare Products (Hemp, CBD, High-THC, etc)

If you go to a dispensary looking for cannabis skincare products, you’ll find a dizzying array of options. There are products made from hemp that contain CBD, products made from marijuana that are high in THC, and a million combinations of these two extremes.

What are you to make of all the options?

Like marijuana, hemp is simply a distinct phenotype of the cannabis plant. In fact, both have the scientific name Cannabis sativa. The major difference is that marijuana produces high amounts of the psychoactive compound THC (tetrahydrocannabinol). Hemp, on the other hand, contains less than 0.3% THC. It is, therefore, legal in many parts of the world.

If you don’t want to experience any sort of intoxicating effects when using medical cannabis skincare products, go with a hemp extract (CBD) product. Since these products are low in THC, they are entirely void of mind-altering effects.

That being said, it’s important to be able to distinguish between authentic hemp extract skincare products, and skincare products that are made from hemp seed.

Cannabis Skincare Products: Hemp Extract (CBD) vs. Hemp Seed Oil Products

The active chemical components in cannabis (both hemp and marijuana) that offer beneficial skincare properties are known as cannabinoids. Cannabinoids are abundant in the flowering parts of cannabis, but not in the seeds. For this reason, medical cannabis skincare products that are made from hemp seeds, will likely not offer much in the form of therapeutic results.

Hemp seed oil, for example, doesn’t have any particularly notable anti-inflammatory benefits. This is because the seeds of the plant do not produce CBD – hemp’s active therapeutic ingredient. CBD is a potent antioxidant, and has strong anti-inflammatory properties. If you’re looking for medical cannabis skincare products to add to your daily regime, you need to check that they contain CBD (sometimes broadly defined as hemp extract), rather than hemp seed oil.

What Are the Skin Benefits of Medical Cannabis?

Depending on where you’re buying your products from, cannabis skincare products may contain CBD, THC, or a combination of the two. For example, you can easily go online and order hemp-based CBD skincare products and have them delivered to your home, no matter which state you live in.

While some of these products can be very effective, you’ll typically find the more potent, higher-quality products in cannabis dispensaries. These only exist of course in U.S. states that offer legal medical or recreational cannabis laws. If you have access to a cannabis dispensary, go there to buy your medical cannabis skincare products.


If you live in a state or area where legal cannabis is not an option, do some online research and try to find a reputable hemp-derived product. Hemp is now a legal plant in the U.S., meaning hemp-derived CBD products are also (mostly) legal.

Anyway, now that we’ve briefly outlined the basic medical cannabis skincare products that are on offer, let’s take a look at some of the beneficial skin properties that these products offer.

Relieve Skin Irritation

When applied topically, cannabinoids (both THC and CBD) may offer localized pain relief while reducing swelling. This makes cannabis-infused skincare products ideal for helping with skin abrasions, scratches, and even bug bites. CBD soothes and relaxes the skin, and is often used to treat dry skin, rashes, and even more serious skin conditions like eczema.

Alleviate Symptoms of Psoriasis

Psoriasis is a skin disease characterized by painful, itchy red patches on the skin. According to a 2007 study, cannabinoids in the cannabis plant inhibit the buildup of dead skin cells, which is a direct cause of psoriasis. While further research is needed, anecdotal evidence suggests that cannabis may help alleviate psoriasis symptoms.

Combat Acne

Cannabis is filled with essential fatty acids that provide hydration – something that is often lacking in people with acne. The antibacterial properties of cannabis can help to treat the bacterial infection on the skin. Cannabis skin care products are rich in antioxidants, they have anti-inflammatory properties, and they are non-comedogenic (which means they won’t clog pores).

Fights Bacterial Infections

Cannabis contains antibacterial and antimicrobial properties that may help fight skin infections. Both CBD and THC have been found to provide relief for a variety of bacterial skin infections. This includes cellulitis, impetigo, boils, and even folliculitis.

Helps with Skin Aging

When applied topically, cannabis may slow the aging process. One particular study found that CBD is a more potent antioxidant than vitamin C and E. This gives it a lot of potential with regard to reducing things like fine lines and wrinkles. Furthermore, cannabinoids may also help neutralize free radicals and keep them from damaging elastin and collagen in the skin. This helps provide tight, radiant skin that is youthful in appearance.

Boosts the Protective Shield

Cannabis contains vitamins A and D that contribute to the natural barrier function of the skin. These vitamins help protect against damage from smoke, the sun, and other environmental pollutants. Also, fatty acids can help protect and strengthen the outer layer of the skin, giving you a healthy and more radiant complexion.

How to Choose the Right Medical Cannabis Skincare Brand

A simple Google search that includes the words “medical cannabis” or “CBD” and “skincare,” will produce tens of thousands of different options. As if finding a skincare product isn’t overwhelming enough, choosing one from the CBD category only adds to the confusion.

But don’t let that deter you. If you want to give CBD skincare products a try, there are a few checks you can do to ensure you find a balanced selection for your skin — and your overall health.

  • Read through the ingredient list: Ensure that the product actually contains CBD and not just “hemp seed oil.” Remember, hemp and CBD are not interchangeable terms. Also, ensure that the product is certified organic. This way you’ll know it contains no herbicides or pesticides.
  • Check how many milligrams it contains: Check the number of milligrams of CBD in the product, as well as dosing instructions. If this information isn’t on the label, it should raise a red flag.
  • Look for a quality assurance stamp: It’s important to check that your skin care product has been third-party lab tested. This means that an independent party has reviewed the product to ensure it meets quality, safety, and performance standards.
  • Choose a carrier oil that offers benefits: If you’re buying a CBD oil, the product will likely include a carrier oil like MCT, grapeseed, olive, or hemp seed oil to preserve and stabilize the CBD and help your body absorb it. These oils can offer additional benefits to the skin, so choose wisely (we prefer products that use MCT or pure coconut oil).

Final Thoughts on Choosing the Right Medical Cannabis Skincare Products

If you’re a medical cannabis patient, choosing the best marijuana or CBD skincare product for your personal needs will be easy. Speak with your doctor, and try to develop a consistent regimen wherein you use the same product (and the same dose) on a daily basis to produce results.

If medical cannabis is not an option for your skincare needs, spend some quality time researching reliable hemp-based CBD products. As we describe above, these products are widely available online, and can be ordered and delivered to most parts of the USA. Brands like Pure Kana, Green Roads, and Premium Jane are typically good go-to options, but do your own research and find the brand that fits your personal needs best.

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