Since the legalization of recreational cannabis in Canada in 2018, the plant has been popping up all over the marketplace, including in skin-care products that contain cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). Skin-care companies tout CBD for having anti-inflammatory benefits and THC as offering topical pain relief without any psychoactive influence. When paired together, as they are in the lotion pictured here, these molecules are said to have a greater impact through what’s known as the “entourage effect.”
Some medical skin-care experts, however, are looking for more scientific studies to back up the benefits, a research gap that many in the cannabis industry attribute to the fact that it was considered an illicit drug until recently. “My thoughts at the moment are that there is a real lack of quality evidence for the use of cannabis in skin-care products,” says Dr. Gurbir Dhadwal, a dermatologist in Vancouver. He points out that, beyond the current lack of studies on product efficacy, there’s also quite a variance in the ingredient itself – as any cannabis user can attest. “Different strains of cannabis have different amounts of THC and CBD and other active substances that can have an impact on the immune system,” Dhadwal says.
I tried this lotion to gauge its effect on my sore muscles following a strenuous workout in my living room and did experience some temporary relief. But was it the cannabis extracts, the tingly peppermint or the fact that I’d spent some time massaging it in (or all of the above) that helped soothe my body? The jury is still out.
Apothecanna x 48North Extra Strength Body Creme, $29 through select government-operated online stores (apothecanna.com).
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