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CBG: The Second Legal Cosmetic Cannabinoid in the EU

The cannabis industry has experienced a major boom in recent years, as consumers seek out alternative ways to treat health conditions without the potentially harmful side effects of prescription drugs. As a result, cannabis has made its way into everything from lotions to pet treats, edibles, and even coffee.

Earlier this year, updates to the EU-wide cosmetic regulation legalized specific cannabinoids for cosmetic use. The cannabinoids CBD and CBG have been used in natural skin treatments for centuries and have recently found popularity in the cosmetics community. 

In early 2021, the EU added natural hemp-derived CBD to its CosIng database as a legal ingredient. Prior to that point, only synthetic CBD was permitted in the EU. CBG, another cannabinoid, was also added to that same database shortly after. This means that both ingredients can be legally manufactured to use in beauty products, including topical lotions, balms, and serums. CBD and CBG are now the first cannabinoids to be legally entered into the EU’s cosmetic scene.

The appearance of both CBD and CBG as permitted cosmetic ingredients is a huge leap for the legal cannabis industry. With the growing popularity of cannabis products, companies are racing to meet consumer demand and find new ways to capitalize on the plant’s seemingly endless potential. This is also a huge win for CBD manufacturers in Europe, who will now have the option to expand their market to offer beauty products that contain CBD or CBG. But why would a cosmetics company want to use CBD or CBG as ingredients in their products? This question can be answered by elaborating on the characteristics of these particular cannabinoids.

What Are Cannabinoids?

Although there are around 400 chemical entities in cannabis, there are around 60 well-known compounds that can have different effects on the body. These compounds are called cannabinoids, and they’re what give cannabis its medicinal effects. Cannabinoids are a class of chemical compounds that act on cannabinoid receptors in cells that repress neurotransmitter release in the brain. Studies have shown that there are two types of cannabinoid receptors in the brain: CB1 receptors and CB2 receptors.

The endocannabinoid system (ECS), consisting of the cannabinoid receptors (CB1 and CB2), their endogenous ligands (endocannabinoids), and the enzymes that synthesize and degrade endocannabinoids, have been shown to modulate a variety of physiological processes, including pain sensation, mood, appetite, and memory. CB1 receptors are found primarily in the brain, but can also be found in both peripheral tissues and in immune cells. Likewise, CB2 receptors are found in both the brain and peripheral tissues.

Cannabinoids are one of the most exciting areas in the study of cannabis. As mentioned, there are hundreds of different types, and with more research, we’re beginning to see just how widespread their effects are. That said, it’s still a relatively young field of study, and there are still many aspects of the endocannabinoid system that we don’t fully understand. One example is the difference between CBD and CBG. Both are cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant, but while they’re closely related, they can have slightly different effects.

CBG vs. CBD

While CBG interacts directly with the CB1 and CB2 receptors, CBD interacts less with these cannabinoid receptors. The receptors are responsible for regulating skin health. When CBG is applied topically, it interacts with the receptors in your skin and reduces inflammation and irritation. As a result, CBG has been put to use in a variety of products, including lotions, salves, and balms. Broad and full-spectrum CBD products all contain several cannabinoids, including CBG. 

CBG is one of the lesser-known compounds in the cannabis plant, but without it, there wouldn’t be THC or CBD—the two most common cannabinoids. CBG is not an active ingredient in the plant; rather, it is the precursor to the active ingredient THC. Although CBG is a critical component of most hemp products, it is not present in large amounts in the flower of the plant. CBD and CBG are both naturally occurring in the resin of the cannabis plant. Because CBG and CBD are not psychoactive, they do not produce the high effects of THC. 

Benefits of CBD and CBG in Cosmetics

The cosmetic market for cannabis-based products has grown exponentially in recent years, with new people discovering the benefits of CBD and CBG daily. CBG and CBD’s anti-inflammatory properties can help with acne, psoriasis, and other skin problems. Other common treatments for these conditions include antibiotics and anti-inflammatory medications, but CBD is a great alternative for people who are sensitive to these medications or who want a natural alternative. CBD may also be an alternative to conventional cosmetics, which use a number of chemicals that can irritate sensitive skin. 

Cosmetic manufacturers have turned to CBD and CBG to include in a number of different products, most commonly skin care products. CBD can also have a positive effect on acne-causing bacteria. Studies also show that CBD can help with anti-aging due to antioxidants, which help reduce fine lines and wrinkles. CBD can also serve as a replacement for other chemicals that are often found in these products. 

Additional uses for CBD in beauty products include using CBD as an ingredient in moisturizers or as an ingredient in the creation of CBD makeup. CBD can also be added to body care products, such as lotions, salves, and bathing products. Skincare products use CBD oil to help moisturize, while makeup products use CBD oil for the same purposes, but with the added benefit of hydrating the skin.

Since the legalization of CBD and CBG for cosmetic use, we will likely see the emergence of many products that contain these ingredients. Given that cannabis has been used for thousands of years for its healing properties, it’s no surprise that consumers are willing to try products that contain cannabinoids.

This article was written by Philipp Fuhrmann. Philipp is currently the President and CEO of CanX CBD Processing Corporation, a wholesale manufacturer of premium CBD. Mr. Fuhrmann also has a background in corporate structuring and has raised funds for a variety of projects ranging from technology to medicinal marijuana, hemp, and CBD.

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