Is Cannabis Sativa Seed Oil Good For Skin

Hemp oil skin care products are increasingly popular. Find out the benefits of hemp oil for the skin and what science really tells us about its effectiveness. Hemp oil is trending—especially in the beauty industry. Keep reading to learn more about its benefits for skin, according to dermatologists. Contrary to popular belief, due to its association with the cannabis plant, hemp seed oil does not contain mind or mood-altering THC, but it is one of nature’s greatest gifts for our skin health. Hemp seed oil is extracted from the hemp seeds of the cannabis sativa plant, unlike CBD, which is extracted from the leaves

How to Use Hemp Oil for the Skin

Verywell Health articles are reviewed by board-certified physicians and healthcare professionals. These medical reviewers confirm the content is thorough and accurate, reflecting the latest evidence-based research. Content is reviewed before publication and upon substantial updates. Learn more.

Leah Ansell, MD, is a board-certified dermatologist and an assistant professor of dermatology at Columbia University.

Hemp oil, more accurately called hemp seed oil, is the cannabis product most often used in topical over-the-counter skin care products, cosmetics, and cosmeceuticals. What is unique about hemp seed oil and why are so many people using it in their skincare routines?

What Is Hemp Oil?

Hemp seed oil is obtained from pressing the seeds of the cannabis plant (Cannabis sativa L.). Unrefined hemp seed oil is a dark greenish color with a mildly nutty aroma. Refined hemp seed oil is clear with little to no smell, but it doesn’t contain as many of the skin-health benefits.

Hemp seed oil has become a very popular skincare ingredient. It’s also used in cooking.

Cannabis, Hemp, and Marijuana

Understanding the differences among cannabis, hemp, and marijuana can be confusing because marijuana and hemp all come from the same plant, Cannabis sativa. The distinction is the variety of the plant.

Cannabis is the name of a family of plants. Hemp is a variety within this family, and marijuana is another variety in the family.

Think of the types of tomatoes you find at the grocery store, like big beefsteak tomatoes versus small Roma tomatoes. Both come from the same plant (tomato vine) but are different varieties, and therefore, they produce different results if you were to cook with them. They would vary in nutrients, taste, texture, and more.

In the case of cannabis, the varieties differ in the amount of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) that they contain. THC is the psychoactive constituent responsible for the high that cannabis gives.

Hemp generally contains very little THC, so it has no psychoactive effects. As a result, hemp seed oil contains trace to no amounts of THC.

This, however, is under some scrutiny as some studies have shown that certain hemp seed oils may have detectable levels of THC. This could be the result of the oil becoming contaminated with other parts of the hemp plant during production.

Hemp seed oil won’t get you high. It is legal to be used and sold in skincare products.

Hemp Oil vs. CBD Oil

Hemp oil and cannabidiol (CBD) oil are also often confused with one another. Although they are obtained from the same plant, hemp oil and CBD oil are very different.

CBD is a chemical compound found in the cannabis plant (both marijuana and hemp). You may be surprised to learn that hemp seed oil is naturally rich in CBD.

Hemp seed oil is comprised of a wide variety of different compounds, with CBD being just a tiny part. CBD is found throughout the entire plant, including stalks, seeds, leaves, and flowers.

While hemp seed oil is produced by simply pressing the seeds of the hemp plant, CBD oil is created by extracting and isolating the CBD compound. This compound is then blended with different ingredients to create a CBD product. Olive oil is most often used as a base to create a CBD oil.

CBD itself does not have psychoactive effects, but it can be formulated with THC for a product that does cause a high.   CBD oil is often used for medicinal purposes.

Hemp-extracted CBD oil is also used in over-the-counter skincare products, but it’s not nearly as common a cosmetic ingredient as hemp seed oil.

It’s also important to know that hemp oil is not the same as marijuana oil or cannabis oil, either. Cannabis oil is extracted from the entire plant and has both CBD and THC. Cannabis oil is legal only in states that have legalized marijuana.

Skincare Benefits

Hemp oil is widely incorporated in many skincare products and cosmeceuticals. In fact, it’s become quite a trendy ingredient. Hemp oil is not just trendy, but it can offer benefits for your skin.

  • Moisturizing: This is the biggest and most well-verified benefit that hemp seed oil can deliver. Hemp oil is emollient and leaves the skin feeling soft and supple.
  • Antioxidant qualities: Hemp seed oil is high in antioxidant constituents: fatty acids like gamma-linolenic acid (GLA), and vitamins A, C, and E. Antioxidant skincare products may help give your skin some protection against premature aging.  
  • Anti-inflammatory: Hemp oil contains components that have anti-inflammatory properties, and current research suggests it may help relieve skin inflammation.   There’s more research that needs to be done here, though, to fully understand how this works on the skin.
  • Potential antibacterial qualities: Studies also suggest that hemp oil has antibacterial qualities.   What effect this has on the skin, if any, is still being looked at.
See also  How Long Do Cannabis Seeds Take To Mature

Hemp oil, CBD oil, and other cannabinoids are being studied as possible treatments for a vast array of skin conditions like acne, eczema, psoriasis, rosacea, and skin cancer.  

Side Effects

Hemp seed oil has no side effects on its own, although it’s possible you may be sensitive to the ingredient.

When trying any new skincare product for the first time, be on the lookout for any signs of irritation: redness, itching, burning, or rash. If you notice any of these, stop using the offending product and give your healthcare provider a call if irritation doesn’t improve after several days.

Choosing a Hemp Oil Product

Hemp oil is incorporated in many cosmetic products, from soaps, lotions, balms and salves, facial products, and bath products.

  • Take a look at the ingredient listing. Sometimes manufacturers will put just a small amount of hemp oil in the product, simply so they can market their product as a trendy “hemp” product. Hemp oil needn’t be the first ingredient, but it shouldn’t be last, either.  
  • Consider your skincare goals. Don’t just choose a skincare product simply because it contains hemp oil. Consider what the product is designed to do and see if it aligns with your skin’s needs. For example, if your skin is dry, you’ll be happier with a more emollient cream rather than a light lotion.
  • Look at the other ingredients. The other ingredients in a product are going to have a lot to do with how the product functions, too. For example, if you’re looking for a highly moisturizing product, one that also contains hyaluronic acid is a good bet. For anti-aging, retinol or glycolic acid are good additions.  
  • Experiment. All hemp oil skincare products are going to feel differently on the skin. If you don’t care for one, don’t be shy about switching it out for another brand you may like better.

How to Use Hemp Oil for Your Skin

You may decide to forgo the store-bought products and apply unrefined hemp seed oil directly on the skin, too. Hemp oil is considered noncomedogenic, which means it isn’t likely to clog your pores.

Hemp seed oil is considered a “dry” oil. This means it absorbs rather quickly and has a non-greasy feel, as far as lipid oils go.

Some ideas for using hemp seed oil:

  • Massage a few drops over a cleansed and moisturized face, for a DIY facial serum.
  • Apply after bathing or showering as a body oil.
  • Use as a carrier oil in aromatherapy.

Unrefined hemp seed oil is fragile and can quickly go rancid. To extend its shelf life, keep your hemp oil in the refrigerator.

A Word From Verywell

More research is being done to really know how hemp oil works on the skin. Although preliminary findings are intriguing, much more research needs to be done. Overall, you should like the way a product makes your skin feel and be happy with the results (and the price).

For treating skin problems, though, you should not rely on hemp-based skincare products for improvement. Many skin problems can be treated by your primary care physician. Your healthcare provider can also refer you to a dermatologist if necessary.

Remember, hemp oil is a unique addition to your daily skin care regimen, but it’s not a miracle cure. It shouldn’t be used as a substitute for a healthcare provider’s care.

Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.

Bruni N, Della pepa C, Oliaro-bosso S, Pessione E, Gastaldi D, Dosio F. Cannabinoid delivery systems for pain and inflammation treatment. Molecules. 2018;23(10). doi:10.3390/molecules23102478

Ganceviciene R, Liakou AI, Theodoridis A, Makrantonaki E, Zouboulis CC. Skin anti-aging strategies. Dermatoendocrinol. 2012;4(3):308-19. doi:10.4161/derm.22804

Mounessa JS, Siegel JA, et al. The role of cannabinoids in dermatology. Journal of the American Academy and Dermatology. 2017;77(1):188–190. doi:10.1016/j.jaad.2017.02.056

Tabassum N, Hamdani M. Plants used to treat skin diseases. Pharmacognosy Review. 2014;8(15):52–60. doi:10.4103/0973-7847.125531

US Food & Drug Administration. Cosmetics labeling.

Mikulcová V, Kašpárková V, Humpolíček P, Buňková L. “Formulation, Characterization and Properties of Hemp Seed Oil and Its Emulsions.” Molecules. 2017 Apr 27;22(5). pii: E700. DOI:10.3390/molecules22050700

Mounessa JS, Siegel JA, Dunnick CA, Dellavalle RP. “The Role of Cannabinoids in Dermatology.” Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology. 2017 Jul;77(1):188-190. DOI:10.1016/j.jaad.2017.02.056

Tabassum N, Hamdani M. Plants Used to Treat Skin Diseases. Pharmacognosy Review. 2014 Jan-Jun; 8(15): 52–60.

Yang Y, Lewis MM, Bello AM, Wasilewski E, Clarke HA, Kotra LP. “Cannabis sativa (Hemp) Seeds, Δ9-Tetrahydrocannabinol, and Potential Overdose.” Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research. 2017; 2(1): 274–281. DOI:10.1089/can.2017.0040

Hemp Seed Oil Is Amazing for Your Skin—Here’s Why

Audrey was an associate editor at Byrdie. She has also worked with Allure, New York Magazine, InStyle magazine and Refinery29.

Karen Kagha, MD, FAAD, is a Boston-based board-certified dermatologist. She is currently a Cosmetic and Laser Fellow at Harvard Massachusetts General Hospital.

Gary Goldenberg, MD is a board-certified dermatologist based in New York. He holds an expertise in many areas including laser resurfacing of wrinkles and acne scarring, melasma and hyperpigmentation treatment.

  • FACEBOOK
  • PINTEREST
  • EMAILSHARE
See also  How To Produce Cannabis Seeds

Liz deSousa for BYRDIE

In This Article

By now, we’ve all learned that essential oils are a necessary part of our routine if we want to keep our skin in tip-top shape. Clear skin, a brighter complexion, evened-out discoloration—there are a lot of purported benefits to incorporating an oil or two into our everyday skincare. From coconut to Moroccan oil, it seems that we’ve heard ad nauseum about every oil we need—until now. Allow us to introduce you to the next “It” oil in skincare: hemp seed oil. We spoke with several experts and asked them to break down the benefits of hemp seed oil, from how great it is for dry skin to why we should mix it into a salad.

Keep reading for all you need to know about this multi-use ingredient.

Type of ingredient: Hydrator

Main benefits: Reduces inflammation, hydrates, regulates oil production.

Who should use it: In general, people with acneic or combination skin.

How often can you use it: As often as you would use any oil—roughly twice a day.

Works well with: Acids and retinoids as it may mitigate the irritation they cause.

Don’t use with: Hemp seed oil can be used universally.

What is Hemp Seed Oil?

Hemp seed oil—not to be confused with hemp oil, which is a blanket term for all oils that come from hemp and can include cannabidiol (CBD) oil—is made out of purely hemp seeds. CBD oil, in turn, is made from leaves, stalks, and flowers of hemp (and sometimes seeds as well). “Hempseed Oil is the oil derived from the seeds of the hemp plant which is a cannabis plant cultivated for non-drug use. The oil is legal and used in large quantities for cosmetics, nutritional supplementation, and skin oils. It can be legally used when it has a tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) content of less than 0.3 percent,” says Raymond Schep, a Member of the CA Association of Toxicologists.

“It can be marketed on its own or as an ingredient in moisturizing topicals,” says Jennifer L. MacGregor, MD, a dermatologist at Union Square Laser Dermatology. “Make sure you know the difference between hemp seed oil and CBD oil. The latter absorbs into the skin and binds to cannabinoid receptors in the brain. It can have effects that are only beginning to be understood on anxiety, mood, sleep, and many other conditions. CBD can also have low levels of THC which has obvious psychoactive effects.”

While other kinds of hemp oil are rich in cannabinoids as mentioned, hemp seed oil typically has no-to-few cannabinoids and contains mostly omega fatty acids. So, if you were worried about getting high off of hemp seed oil, you won’t. You can already find it in a variety of skincare products, and you can even eat it.

Benefits of Hemp Seed Oil for Skin

  • Locks in hydration: According to Amity Spiegel, an esthetician at CAP Beauty in Manhattan’s West Village, hemp seed oil is high in omega acids 3, 6, and 9, all of which help repair the skin barrier and form a seal over the skin to keep moisture trapped inside.
  • Attracts moisture: “It is also a humectant, so it draws moisture to the skin,” she says.
  • Anti-inflammatory: Those same omega acids in hemp seed oil also help lower inflammation in the skin.
  • Soothes skin: “Hemp seed oil is rich in fatty acids, which help hydrate and soothe inflamed skin,” says Joshua Zeichner, MD a dermatologist and Associate Professor of Dermatology and the Director of Cosmetic & Clinical Research in Dermatology at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City.
  • Anti-acneic: Zeichner also says it “may even modulate skin oil production,” which is huge for people with acneic or overly oily skin.

How to Use It

Naturally, hemp seed oil is being integrated into plenty of beauty products as a hydrator and anti-inflammatory. In particular, we love to use it with retinoids or after acids because it’s so effective at staving off inflammation. It works wonders for redness and acne, too. It’s pretty easy to know how much to apply—just use as much as you would any other oil.

Tammy Fender, an esthetician and founder of her eponymous beauty line, is also a huge fan of incorporating hemp seed oil into your diet because its nutrients are so good for your body. “I especially like to use raw hemp seeds in cooking, because they are in their natural state, so the body can absorb all the nutrients they offer most easily,” she says. “Hemp seeds are great in salads, granolas, smoothies, and mixed in with grains, deliciously delivering vitamins A and E, but also essential trace minerals and a wealth of antioxidants.”

“It has a crispy, nutty taste and can be used on salads as a replacement for olive oil,” adds Spiegel. “It is high in omegas and full of essential amino acids that help make younger, smoother-looking skin and reduce inflammation in the body.” Because it is a highly volatile oil, she does say it must be kept refrigerated and not heated.

The Best Products with Hemp Seed Oil

This product from Herbivore comes in both CBD-free and CBD-inclusive versions, and which one you use is up to you. While the CBD-inclusive iteration is great for inflammation, the mixture of hemp seed oil, adaptogens, and squalane will likely be good for you regardless of which one you buy.

See also  Cannabis Seeds Utah

When Milk Makeup came out with a full line of hemp oil-based products, we were a little skeptical. It’s the perfect marketing gimmick. But we soon fell in love with the nourishment the Kush line provides—in particular, this lip balm, which comes in four shades as well as clear and leaves your lips hydrated.

Everyone loves a good retinol, but we don’t feel as positively about the irritation that comes along with them. MARA uses hemp-derived CBD and cannabis sativa seed oil meant to mitigate the inflammation you may experience, as well as fermented green tea, so you can get your antioxidant fix, too.

Kiehl’s was one of the first brands to get on the hemp seed oil train, which is why their oil is now a crowd favorite. It also includes oregano oil, something else we don’t see advertised much in skincare, for purification and elimination of bacteria.

Dr. Bronner’s very well may have been your first foray into the world of natural beauty—it was for plenty of us, although we didn’t know it at the time. But what you probably didn’t realize is that hemp oil is one of the primary ingredients of the basic multi-use soap, and yes, it’s been that way forever.

Cannabis sativa seed oil is particularly great in masks, this one from Origins being one of the most popular items to utilize it as an ingredient. This mask promises anti-inflammatory and hydrating properties that make quick work of plumping your skin and getting rid of any redness. It’s perfect for a night out.

For those who want CBD in their products, you can’t beat CBD- and manuka-honey-based brand Cannuka. Their skin balm is wonderful for any kind of skin irritation or even soreness.

Topical hemp seed oil has no known side effects.

Consult with your doctor before ingesting hemp seed oil. When taken orally, hemp seed oil can have the same skin benefits.

Hemp seed oil is considered safe for mostly everyone to use.

Byrdie takes every opportunity to use high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial guidelines to learn more about how we keep our content accurate, reliable and trustworthy.

Parke MA, Perez-Sanchez A, Zamil DH, Katta R. Diet and skin barrier: the role of dietary interventions on skin barrier function. Dermatology Practical & Conceptual. 2021. doi:10.5826/dpc.1101a132

Hemp Seed Oil for Skin: 5 Benefits You Need to Know

Contrary to popular belief, due to its association with the cannabis plant, hemp seed oil does not contain mind or mood-altering THC, but it is one of nature’s greatest gifts for our skin health. Hemp seed oil is extracted from the hemp seeds of the cannabis sativa plant, unlike CBD, which is extracted from the leaves and flowers.

We created a special collection of clean skincare products featuring hemp seed oil to give you a relaxing spa experience that soothes your skin and calms your mind. Slip your hands and feet into instant comfort and moisture with our Collagen Gloves and Collagen Socks with Hemp Oil, or enjoy a stress-relieving pedicure with our all-in-one Hemp Relax Pedi in a Box 4 Step spa system. For your daily hydration needs, there’s always our Hemp Relax Velvet Luxe vegan hand and body lotion to nourish your skin from head to toe.

Here are the top 5 reasons you should try our hemp seed oil products:

1. Reduces Inflammation

One of the main benefits of hemp seed oil is its ability to soothe and heal tired, stressed-out skin. Hemp seed oil decreases inflammation and irritation and provides relief for discomfort related to certain skin conditions. It is often recommended by dermatologists as an alternative solution for acne, psoriasis, eczema, and atopic dermatitis as it promotes the growth of new healthy skin cells.

2. Deeply Moisturizes

Hemp seed oil is a dry skin savior! It rejuvenates and nourishes tight or dry skin and prevents flakiness and itchiness. When used on the face, it controls oil production to moisturize without clogging pores. Hemp seed oil restores the skin barrier and helps it to retain moisture, which results in skin that looks healthy, hydrated, and supple.

3. Contains Anti-Aging Properties

Youthful skin, delivered. Hemp seed oil is high in antioxidants – such as vitamin A, C, E, and F and fatty acids – that strengthen the outer layer of the skin so it can preserve water. This keeps skin looking and feeling firmer and reduces the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.

4. Prevents Free Radical Damage

Shield your skin and keep harmful toxins at bay. Hemp seed oil repairs the skin barrier and protects against environmental aggressors that damage the skin and cause premature aging, such as sunlight, radiation, pollution, cigarette smoke, and exposure to extreme hot and cold temperatures.

5. Relieves Stress

Get peace of mind and body. Hemp seed oil is an all natural method of reducing anxiety and stress. The unique scent brings instant comfort and is the perfect way to end the day! Don’t worry, there will be no psychological effects from using our products that contain hemp seed oil.

In need of some self-care or “me time?” Try out our Hemp Relax Collection. We promise chill vibes only!