CBD – Chemical of the month

By Mariam Tauhaybeche, Pharmacist

What is CBD

Cannabis is a psychoactive drug extracted from the Cannabis plant, primarily from the flower or fruit part and used for medical or recreational purposes. The main active parts from cannabis plants are Cannabidol (CBD) and Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).

THC is the psychoactive constituent of cannabis where CBD is non psychoactive and used in clinical research studies of its effect on anxiety, pain, cognition, inflammation and movement disorders. CBD does not have the same psychoactivity as THC.

The effects and benefits of CBD has created interest in using CBD for other purposes for example in food and cosmetics.

What is the problem?

There is a lot of interest in using CBD in cosmetic products although the legislation is misleading and diffuse. It is confusing for both the manufacturer and the consumer. Our take on it is as follows.

The EU Cosmetics Regulation 1223/2009, under entry 309 “Narcotics, natural and synthetic” of Annex II, prohibits the use of cannabis and cannabis extracts in cosmetics, as they are banned substances in Schedule I of the Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, signed in 1961.    

The confusion arises as CBD is not mentioned in this convention. The European Commission has since then added two entries to the cosmetic ingredients database, CosIng, in order to clarify about CBD. The Commission separates CBD in to two different categories: CBD ´synthetically produced´ and CBD ´derived from extract or tincture or resin of cannabis´. 

The most important is that natural derived CBD (can be from the cannabis plant, Cannabis resin, flower, tincture or extracts) is prohibited in the EU. Synthetically produced or hemp-derived (coming from either cannabis seeds or leaves without tops) CBD is currently allowed to use in cosmetic products. If you want to learn more about which specific INCI that is allowed to use, you can learn more at The Danish Environmental Protection Agency.

There is no limit on using CBD in cosmetic products. Most crucial is which part of the plant is used and how it has been treated that results in whether the cosmetic product is safe for the consumer.

What do the experts say?

There are limited studies about CBD, however the existing research shows that CBD may have some medical and cosmetic benefits.

An article describes evidence on CBD’s potential on skin inflammation which is especially relevant to CBD’s potential to benefit various skin conditions. Another study show that CBD may have anti-acne effects. A few other studies describe CBD’s ability to alleviate symptoms like dryness, itchiness, burning etc. therefore this new ingredient may bring relief to people with skin conditions as dermatitis and psoriasis.


There is no evidence that CBD can cause contact dermatitis or have any harmful reaction on the body when used topically. Therefore, we allow CBD in AllergyCertified products, except for products where ingestion is a risk. The CBD has to comply with current legislation.
We will follow the development within research of CBD and adapt our criteria when relevant.


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