I Tried CBD Hemp Body Lotion as a Moisturizer—Here’s My Review
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Hemp body products to look and feel better
The year 2020 was not normal by any stretch of the imagination. To get through my daily anxiety, stress, and boredom, I found myself obsessively searching for self-care, beauty, and wellness products that would make me feel better.
Not every product was a success. Sure, retinol gummies tasted good, but they didn’t do anything for my skin. Still, a lot of the products I tried delivered on their promises and worked their way into my daily self-care routine. (Curious? Here’s my Bearaby weighted blanket review and my rebounder trampoline review.)
As part of what I’m calling my “15 days of feeling better,” I used an entire bottle of CV Science’s PlusCBD grapefruit hemp body lotion ($30)—over time, not all at once.
I wanted to see if it would moisturize my skin better than a drugstore brand and do anything for the occasional eczema flare-up I get in winter. Here’s how it went.
What is hemp?
A relative of the marijuana plant, the hemp plant is a variety of Cannabis sativa. Like marijuana, it contains cannabidiol (CBD). The biggest difference between the two: hemp has little or no THC (delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol), the component that gives marijuana its high. (Learn more: Can CBD get you high?)
In recent years, CBD products have boomed in popularity, thanks to purported health benefits. Though scientific evidence is limited right now, research has pointed to possible benefits of CBD for the treatment of seizures, depression, migraines, chronic pain, and other health conditions.
Most CBD in the United States is produced from hemp. In fact, the 2018 Farm Bill made it legal for farmers to grow hemp, provided its THC level reached no more than 0.3 percent. Now hemp-based products—like CBD oils, edibles, and lotions—aren’t considered controlled substances in many states. (Although federal law is a bit murky).
(Here’s everything else to know about hemp.)
What does hemp body lotion do?
The hemp business has surged over the past decade, but it’s been used throughout history for things like rope and textiles. It’s also an important natural ingredient that can help keep your skin moisturized and refreshed. If it contains CBD, it may offer additional benefits, like pain reduction.
Hemp oil can be extracted from the plant or its seeds, then combined with other ingredients to create all-natural hemp lotion. How hemp oil is produced determines whether it contains CBD. Oil made from hemp seeds doesn’t have CBD, or THC for that matter.
Other hemp oils, like those in the lotion I tried, are made from other parts of the hemp plant, like the leaves. These contain CBD and sometimes traces of THC. If you’re looking for a lotion that not only moisturizes but also imparts benefits of CBD oil, this is the way to go. (What is CBD oil? Here’s what you need to know)
Why use hemp lotion?
I never thought that much about the lotion I used. I tended to pick out whatever smelled nice at Target and use the bottle until it was empty or the fragrance made me feel slightly nauseous from overuse. Then I’d move on to whichever product caught my fancy.
However, I began to notice that my skin was dry and itchy in the winter. (Get healthy winter hands with these expert tips.)
A dermatologist explained that what I assumed were occasional dry patches on my toes and ankles were actually eczema flare-ups. Gasp! It was time to pay more attention to body lotion. I’d heard about the moisturizing properties of hemp lotion and decided it was worth a trial run.
JGI/Jamie Grill/Getty Images
How does hemp body lotion work?
The hemp body lotion I used is infused with 200 mg of CBD, so I got a double whammy of benefits.
“Hemp is rich in omega-3 fatty acids and other compounds, called phytonutrients, that have anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant properties,” says Bonni Goldstein, MD, medical director and owner of Cannacenters, a medical practice in Los Angeles. ” Additionally, hemp works as an emollient, leaving the skin feeling moisturized.
It might even benefit the complexion. “Studies have shown some antibacterial properties as well, which may benefit acne,” says Dr. Goldstein, who authored the book Cannabis is Medicine. (Here are some surprising home remedies for acne.)
What about my eczema? There was a chance hemp oil with CBD could help.
“There are many anecdotal reports of eczema and other skin conditions, such as psoriasis and rosacea, improving with topical hempseed oil,” says Dr. Goldstein. “Additionally, products that contain CBD also show benefits for those with skin conditions, as CBD is a well-known anti-inflammatory and antioxidant.”
Other ingredients in the body lotion
The ingredient list for the CV Science’s PlusCBD grapefruit hemp body lotion includes argan, safflower seed, and marula oils; bergamot; and shea butter.
Coming out of the bottle, it felt the slightest bit pulpy, but it still went on smoothly. I noticed an immediate moisture boost. I usually shower and apply lotion before bed, and in the morning my skin still felt silky and smooth where I’d applied the hemp lotion. Love that!
What does hemp body lotion smell like? The one I used was infused with grapefruit oil, so it had a light, refreshing citrus scent. It’s also available in lavender if you prefer a floral fragrance. Unscented hemp products don’t have much of a fragrance at all.
What to know before buying
There’s only one CBD drug approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA): Epidiolex, which treats rare, severe forms of epilepsy in children. But the CBD oils, edibles, creams, lotions, and other products that are so popular don’t go through FDA approval and aren’t regulated in any substantial way.
While advertisers aren’t allowed to make health claims for their CBD products, there’s no regulating body to make sure what you’re buying is what’s advertised on the label. You may end up with more or less CBD than stated, and you can’t be certain of its quality.
Is it safe to use hemp lotion?
Generally speaking, yes. As with any botanical or plant, there’s a risk of skin irritation for people who are allergic to hemp. It’s smart to do a patch test before trying any new product. Consult your medical doctor or dermatologist if you have chronic skin issues or allergies. (Here are some myths about skin allergies.)
It’s a smart idea to buy CBD products that have been tested by an independent lab and from a manufacturer that provides a certificate of analysis (COA). The COA will contain the tested content of CBD, THC, and other cannabinoids, as well as ensure the product’s free of of toxins like pesticides and heavy metals.
One of the reasons I like CV Sciences products is that the company is transparent about where its products come from. The hemp is grown as a dual crop with strict environmental standards in the Netherlands (that’s part of the reason the lotion is $30).
It’s extracted to combine the fatty acids found in the seed with the cannabinoids, including CBD, from the flowering top of the hemp plant.
All of this growth information is worth the money and research.
“One of the biggest concerns with hemp that is being applied to skin or taken internally is the possibility of contamination,” Dr. Goldstein says. “Hemp is a bioaccumulator, which means that it can absorb heavy metals and chemical waste from the soil, in essence ‘cleaning’ the soil. If large amounts of hemp are being grown for human use, it is imperative that the soil is sufficiently monitored to avoid these unwanted compounds from contaminating the final products.”
CV Sciences shares the certificate of analysis for its products, which puts my mind at ease.
How to use hemp body lotion
Using hemp lotion is easy: Apply it to your skin like you would with any lotion. Since hemp has moisturizing properties, concentrate on dry areas, like feet and elbows. I liked to apply it straight out of the bath, while my skin was still slightly damp.
Did using hemp body lotion make me feel better?
I used every drop of hemp body lotion I could pump out of the bottle, and then cut it open with scissors to scoop out the rest. That’s how much I loved this stuff. It performed wonderfully as a thicker body moisturizer in the winter.
I also had success with applying it to the eczema that sometimes crops up on my toe and ankle. I noticed less redness and itching a few minutes after applying. (These are the eczema facts you should know.)
Plus, the grapefruit scent smelled amazing, and I found that I felt relaxed after application—maybe an effect of the CBD oil, or maybe the relaxing ritual of showering and applying lotion. Ten out of 10, hemp body lotion made me feel better.
Next, here’s everything you need to know about using CBD oil for anxiety.
- Bonni Goldstein, MD, medical director and owner of Cannacenters, a medical practice in Los Angeles, and author of Cannabis is Medicine: How Medical Cannabis and CBD are Healing Everything from Anxiety to Chronic Pain
- Food and Drug Administration: "FDA Approves First Drug Comprised of an Active Ingredient Derived from Marijuana to Treat Rare, Severe Forms of Epilepsy"