CannabisLifestyleCannabis Complexion

June 11, 2019by John Cooper

The 2019 Future Market Insights report, CBD Skin Care Market: Global Industry Analysis 2013 – 2018 and Opportunity Assessment 2019 – 2027, found the global CBD skin care market to be nearly $370 million dollars in 2017 and is expecting a revenue increase of over 33% between 2019-20271. CBD oil, especially hemp-derived, is predicted to continue to hold the major market share. With the growing number of retailers advertising CBD-infused skin care products, what are the real benefits?

Cannabis-related topical products are applied to the skin for relief from pain, soreness, and inflammation. These products are infused with cannabinoids that can be sourced from what is naturally present in people (Palmitoylethanolamide (PEA), Anandamide, 2-Arachidonoylglycerol), plants (Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), Cannabidiol (CBD), Cannabinol (CBN), Cannabigerol (CBG)), or synthetically-derived (N-(2-chloroethyl)-5Z,8Z,11Z,14Z-eicosatetraenamide, WIN 55,212-2). For example, PEA-containing creams have been shown to reduce itching in cases of allergic contact dermatitis and atopic dermatitis2-5. Symptom relief is likely due to reducing inflammation. The cannabinoid receptors, CB1 and CB2, are highly expressed in the skin, which further supports the direct role cannabinoid-containing topicals could play in symptom relief.

The emerging market for cannabis products, especially containing CBD, is cosmetic skin care. CBD can now be found in face washes, shaving cream, and daily moisturizers. Partially attributed to CBD not having psychotropic effects and due to the 2018 Farm Bill, hemp-derived CBD products are being incorporated into a range of products. Claims surrounding the potential for CBD to reduce inflammation and irritation are supported by growing research in this field6,7. Recently, CBD has been shown to reduce cytokines, indicators of inflammation, in a model for allergic contact dermatitis8. While CBD applied to the skin may potentially reduce acne breakouts9 and have antibacterial properties10, the evidence is preliminary and needs to be further investigated in humans. Understanding of the potency and side-effects from cannabinoid topicals is needed to determine the optimal frequency and quantity to apply. In addition, comparing the effects of the different endogenous and exogenous cannabinoids is necessary to identify the components most likely to improve skin health.

Caution should be observed when first using cannabinoid-infused topicals since you don’t know how you’ll react. In addition to some of the skin-focused DNA tests offered by Pathway Genomics, our newest at-home DNA test, CannabisDNA, will help you understand your predisposition to common cannabis-related traits. Learn more about how this test can help you personalize your cannabis experience and order your $129 test here.



  1. Insights, F.M. CBD Skin Care Market: Global Industry Analysis 2013 – 2018 and Opportunity Assessment 2019 – 2027. (2019).
  2. Stander, S., Reinhardt, H.W. & Luger, T.A. [Topical cannabinoid agonists. An effective new possibility for treating chronic pruritus]. Hautarzt 57, 801-7 (2006).
  3. Petrosino, S. et al. Protective role of palmitoylethanolamide in contact allergic dermatitis. Allergy 65, 698-711 (2010).
  4. Vaia, M. et al. Palmitoylethanolamide reduces inflammation and itch in a mouse model of contact allergic dermatitis. Eur J Pharmacol 791, 669-674 (2016).
  5. Milando, R. & Friedman, A. Cannabinoids: Potential Role in Inflammatory and Neoplastic Skin Diseases. Am J Clin Dermatol 20, 167-180 (2019).
  6. Burstein, S. Cannabidiol (CBD) and its analogs: a review of their effects on inflammation. Bioorg Med Chem 23, 1377-85 (2015).
  7. Biro, T., Toth, B.I., Hasko, G., Paus, R. & Pacher, P. The endocannabinoid system of the skin in health and disease: novel perspectives and therapeutic opportunities. Trends Pharmacol Sci 30, 411-20 (2009).
  8. Petrosino, S. et al. Anti-inflammatory Properties of Cannabidiol, a Nonpsychotropic Cannabinoid, in Experimental Allergic Contact Dermatitis. J Pharmacol Exp Ther 365, 652-663 (2018).
  9. Olah, A. et al. Cannabidiol exerts sebostatic and antiinflammatory effects on human sebocytes. J Clin Invest 124, 3713-24 (2014).
  10. Appendino, G. et al. Antibacterial cannabinoids from Cannabis sativa: a structure-activity study. J Nat Prod 71, 1427-30 (2008).


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