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The Totally Not Confusing World of Various Cannabis Oils

Over the weekend a big-time natural skincare company announced the upcoming launch of a “Cannabis based” product, and it was interesting to see how they played with buzzwords to make it seem like more than it is (kindof). I forgot to ignore my Aries instincts and regrettably trolled a troll in the comments, so to redeem myself I’m breaking down the different types of “cannabis oils” that are finding their way into skin products as of late, and the different ways they each interact with the human body. Fair warning they pretty much all sound the same to purposely confuse the shit out of you. #dontblamethemessenger

In general: topically applied Cannabis - even those utilizing THC - *rarely* produce psychoactive effects. Our skin is meant to act as a filter between our organs and the outside world, making it difficult to penetrate by design. This isn’t to say it’s *not possible* and certain factors, like the permeability of your skin (regularly well moisturized, freshly hot showered increases likeliness) of a psychoactive possibility, but again - you’re an anomaly if that happens. Instead, #CannabinoidReceptors (both CB1 and CB2) located in various layers of the skin interact with cannabinoids and handle the messages they deliver.

+ Cannabis Oil - cannabinoid rich concentrated extract derived from the flowers and sugar leaves of the female Cannabis plant, generally with high levels of THC(a, depending on process) in addition to other cannabinoids such as CBG, CBN and CBD. Rick Simpson, CO2, Distillate, BHO, Sauce, Shatter (I’m probably missing some...) are all considered cannabis oil.

Skincare products made with this type of extract directly activate the Endocannabinoid System (ECS) and are only legally available at dispensaries. They are great for moderate to severe pain, inflammation, muscle tension and severe skin conditions such as excema and psoriasis.

+ CBD Cannabis Oil - similar to Cannabis Oil, except extract utilizes plants that have a considerably high CBD content in addition to a THC content over .3%. Common CBD:THC ratios are 1:1, 2:1, 4:1 and 20:1.

Skincare products with high CBD and low THC are great for mild to moderate pain, inflammation, tension and skin issues. Stick to the more equivalent ratios (1:1) for more severe issues. These products both directly and indirectly stimulate the ECS, are also only available through a dispensary.

+ CBD Oil/Hemp Oil - Hemp and CBD oil refer to extracts derived from the from the female Cannabis plant, with a considerable CBD content and THC content under .3% (giving it the nickname Hemp). The two subcategories define the extraction process and overall product:

1) CBD oil generally refers to a full spectrum (often CO2) extract that is rich in multiple cannabinoids (CBDa, CBD, CBG) and the natural terpenes of the plant.

2) Hemp Oil often refers to isolated CBD that has been added to a carrier oil.

Skincare products featuring either of these “cannabis oils” are available nationwide (check your state’s specifics, some* are isolate only). Assuming the skincare product features additional ingredients, both types of CBD rich oil interact with body similarly - the CBD indirectly activates the body’s own Endocannabinoid System, encouraging increased production of the (endo)cannabinoids our own body makes to remedy the problem.

These products are great for occasional, mild to moderate pain, inflammation, and skin issues.

+ Cannabis Sativa Seed Oil (CSSO)/Hemp Seed Oil (HSO) - buzz word play is so funny. CSSO is the scientific name for HSO, referring to the multipurpose cooking/beauty oil produced from the seeds of the Cannabis (Hemp) plant (bc no one is wasting high THC seeds). You can find organic CSSO/HSO pretty much everywhere nowadays, since it neither directly nor indirectly stimulates the ECS. It’s not worthless though, as HSO contains a healthy dose of Omega-3 & Omega-6 essential fatty acids. Researchers have discovered that a diet high in balanced doses of these two promote an increased presence of CB receptors on cell growth. Read: our skin cells renew every ___ days. By (topically and internally) feeding them the essential fatty acids they need, you ensure the new skin cells will have an increased presence of CB receptors. More receptors = more endocannabinoids naturally being produced = healthier skin.

Cannabis Infused Oil - just for one last confusing clarification, this is the kind I’m always talking about. For me, and I’d think most makers that list it in their ingredients as such, Cannabis Infused Oil refers to when the carrier oil acts as the solvent to extract the plant magic (as opposed to melting a concentrate into other ingredients). Pictured is such utilizing fresh-from-the-plant flowers and MCT oil.

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