If the phrase “cannabis wrinkle creams” sounds strange to you, you’re not alone. Much like cannabis toothpaste, it doesn’t sound like something that needs to exist (or should, for that matter). However, recent studies show it might be far more practical — and effective — than you might have guessed.
Cannabis-infused products have taken over the beauty industry in recent months, and at times it can be hard to separate the breathless hype from the hard evidence. But when it comes to reducing wrinkles, there’s a rapidly growing body of research that suggests cannabis might be the real deal.
There are two main reasons why cannabis is such an effective wrinkle reducer. The first is its ability to counteract the harmful effects of free radicals, and the second is its ability to moisturize.
Free radicals are tiny molecules that are found all throughout the body. Although they’re “natural” (and in fact, essential to human life), if left unchecked they can cause oxidation of the skin cells — which is a direct cause of fine lines and wrinkles. This process can be accelerated by sun exposure, radiation exposure, alcohol consumption, and smoking.
Neutralizing free radicals is essential for preventing wrinkles, and this is where antioxidants come into play. These are substances that kill off free radicals inside the body, thus preventing them from harming skin cells. Many foods have antioxidant properties, especially those that are rich in vitamin C and vitamin E. However, researchers have recently discovered that the chemicals in cannabis can be even more effective.
Two of the most effective antioxidants found in cannabis are cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). Both of these compounds work with the body’s endocannabinoid system(ECS), a network of receptors that protects against oxidation and other kinds of cell damage (among many other functions). By activating the endocannabinoid system, cannabis wrinkle creams help heighten the body’s natural defenses against free radicals.
Keeping the skin soft and supple is one of the most important measures you can take to stave off fine lines and wrinkles as you age. Imagine a field of bare soil under the summer sun — if you do nothing, day after day, it will soon start to crack. However, if you keep it moist, the soil will look much more vibrant (and feel nicer to touch). The same thing goes for your skin. So, maintaining a good level of moisture in the skin is the best preventative measure you can take to keep your skin looking younger for longer. But how can cannabis help?
Again, the answer lies in the ECS. It’s responsible for helping the skin maintain homeostasis, meaning it controls the production of protective oils like sebum, which keeps the skin from drying out. It may be helpful to think of the ECS as your skin’s natural irrigation system — when it senses a drought, it kicks into action.
When it comes to harnessing the wrinkle-reducing qualities of cannabis for your own skin care regimen, there’s no shortage of choices. The one that works best for you will depend on your personal needs and preferences — here’s a quick guide to the three most popular options.
Cannabis-infused topicals are the most obvious method. These products include everything from serums and eye masks to cleansing foams and body butters. One benefit is that you can apply them directly to the area you want to target (for example, your face). On the flip side, it’s hard to know what you’re actually getting when you buy one, as some brands make misleading claims about the amount of cannabis their products contain.
Ingesting cannabis in the form of edibles or a cannabis oil product is another useful way to feel the effects of the plant on the skin. Edibles are becoming more common and more interesting across the United States (for example, CBD jelly beans are now a thing), and while they’re not as useful as topicals for fighting wrinkles in a specific area, they do offer many of the same moisturizing and antioxidant benefits. A word of warning, though — some people experience a lengthy delay between eating an edible and feeling its effects, so don’t be too quick to reach for another if “nothing’s happening yet.”
Cannabis vape oils are becoming increasingly common, too. Scientists say that vaping is the fastest way to feel its effects, which is great news for anyone who’s using it to treat pain or seizures. But is it also the fastest way to get beautiful, wrinkle-free skin? Probably not. There are also some concerns among experts about toxic chemicals found in vape oils, so this might not be the safest option.