Jun 22, 2019

Beauty giants cash in on wearable weed

Photo: Istock/rgbspace

You don't have to smoke, eat or vape it. Now, you can smear it on your body.

The big picture: CBD skincare products — which claim to hydrate, moisturize, cure acne, reduce wrinkles and even combat aging — are a big market, but nobody knows for sure if they really work.

Big dollars: The growing market of cannabis-infused skincare products could generate $25 billion in revenue in the next decade, according to an analysis by Jefferies, the Wall Street bank.

  • Beauty and retail giants are trying to cash in on the hype: Just step into your nearest American Eagle, Sephora or CVS for CBD-infused lip balms, mascaras and moisturizers.
  • A search for "cannabis" on Sephora’s website yields 38 products, including a popular $100 "Royal Oil" from Lord Jones that claims “oils so pure, they retain the original aroma of the cannabis plant.”
  • Then there are luxury brands like Nannette de Gaspé, which stocks a $325 Bain Noir Cannabis Sativa Bath Soak Treatment.

How it works: CBD can be extracted from marijuana or from another strain of cannabis — hemp. The 2018 farm bill legalized cannabis products with less than 0.3% THC for the first time, green-lighting hemp. This makes the hemp-derived CBD in most beauty products legal in all 50 states.

But CBD skincare products have “outpaced our scientific understanding,” according to a recent study to be published in Clinics in Dermatology.

  • Joshua Zeichner, director of cosmetic and clinical research in the department of dermatology at Mount Sinai Hospital, tells Axios a lot of research is being conducted right now on CBD oil and it "will likely have widespread uses in dermatology."

The bottom line: One study found cannabis seeds extract cream helped men with acne while another found some anti-inflammatory effects. But there haven't been any large-scale human trials on the efficacy of CBD in skincare.

Go deeper:

Go deeper

Tech's long hot summer of antitrust

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Google, Facebook and other tech giants face a summer of regulatory grilling as long-running investigations into potential anticompetitive practices likely come to a head.

The big picture: Probes into the power of Big Tech launched by federal and state authorities are turning a year old, and observers expect action in the form of formal lawsuits and potentially damning reports — even as the companies have become a lifeline for Americans during the pandemic lockdown.

Palantir CEO hits Silicon Valley "monoculture," may leave California

Palantir is "getting close" to a decision on whether to move the company out of California, CEO Alex Karp said in an interview for "Axios on HBO."

The state of play: "We haven't picked a place yet, but it's going to be closer to the East Coast than the West Coast. ... If I had to guess, I would guess something like Colorado."

A reckoning for Russia's space program

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

SpaceX's first attempt at launching astronauts from American soil this week is a historic moment that will stress the decades-long relationship between the U.S. and Russia in space.

Why it matters: Since the Cold War, the U.S. and Russia have collaborated intimately in space. As the U.S. regains the ability to launch people with its own rockets, the future of Russia's already struggling civil space program — and how the U.S. will collaborate with it — is unclear.