Safety of CBD for use in cosmetics

We conclude that CBD is safe for use in cosmetic products while respecting the advised maximum acceptable quantities in finished products.
Zoran Gavric
By Zoran Gavric
Senior Consultant Regulatory Toxicology

CBD in cosmetics

The demand for cosmetic products containing CBD has been surging over the past years. Increasing numbers of suppliers are seeking to satisfy customer demand by offering a wide variety of CBD-containing products in many different cosmetic product categories. These products are primarily offered for online sales, most frequently by shops that already supply other cannabis products and have decided to extend their product range.

Due to a rapidly growing product offer, significantly higher quantities sold, and the functional properties and claimed beneficial effects, CBD has come into the focus of research and legislation. Concerns have been raised about the safety of CBD for use in cosmetics, and the availability and quality of substantiation of the many alleged beneficial effects.

Toxicological Risk Assessment

Cannabidiol (CBD) is one of the naturally occurring cannabinoids found in cannabis plants. It is a 21-carbon terpenophenolic compound which is formed following decarboxylation from a cannabidiolic acid precursor, although it can also be produced synthetically.

CBD is non-intoxicating and non-narcotic, but exerts a number of beneficial pharmacological and physiological effects. CBD is generally isolated from industrial hemp, in which it is present in concentrations ranging from 0,5 to 4% in the upper third of the plant. CBD is increasingly used as a food supplement and as an ingredient in cosmetics. Comprehensive public literature reviews on the safety and side effects of CBD show that even high doses of CBD are safe and well-tolerated without significant side effects.

In experimental models of abuse liability, CBD appears to have little effect on conditioned place preference or intracranial self-stimulation. In an animal drug discrimination model CBD failed to substitute for THC. In humans, CBD exhibits no effects indicative of any abuse or dependence potential. CBD is generally well-tolerated with a good safety profile. Reported adverse effects may result of drug-drug interactions between CBD and patients’ existing medications. To date, there is no evidence of recreational use of CBD or any public health-related problems associated with the use of pure CBD.

In our risk assessment, we focused on the hazards of CBD, the corresponding exposure and related risk assessment of CBD when used in external topical applications such as cosmetic products.  

Conclusion / Insight

Based on the currently available data and our assessment, we conclude that CBD is safe for use in cosmetic products, respecting the advised maximum acceptable quantities in finished products.

To learn more about the use of CBD in cosmetics, the safety assessment and regulatory compliance of cosmetic products containing CBD, please contact me personally without any obligations.

Published: August 2019