Life & Style

Loving the leaf: Cannabis in your beauty and health routine

In 2016, Whoopi Goldberg launched a line of medical cannabis products. Called Whoopi & Maya, they help menstrual pain. Maya Elisabeth, the other founder, also has a brand called Om Edibles, which has won seven High Times Cannabis Cup awards. Lady Gaga takes cannabis for her fibromyalgia, and Michael J Fox uses it to improve symptoms of Parkinson’s. A study published in the European Journal of Internal Medicine this year found that after six months of treatment with cannabinoids, more than 18% of Parkinson’s patients had either reduced or discontinued use of pain killers.

Even though the world is now waking up to the potential of marijuana, it has always been an inherent part of our lives in India. In mythology, it is revered as an offering to Lord Shiva, and during Holi, bhang-laced sweets are enjoyed as part of the celebrations. While excessive use of the herb is considered poisonous in Ayurveda, in ancient times, it was used in small quantities to treat mental, digestive and respiratory diseases.

Top of the charts

Personally, I believe it has therapeutic benefits in small amounts. (Hemp has a lower count of the chemical compound THC than marijuana, so it does not give you a euphoric high.) For me, the interest in cannabis is a positive move — in more ways than one. I still use The Body Shop’s Hemp Foot Protector (₹995). It was one of the first canna products, with a thick, rich texture, and a strong smell of hash. While I do not like my feet smelling like pot, the cream is quite nourishing. Eve Lom’s Radiance Face Oil (₹3,800) has hemp and avocado oil with vitamin C. Milk Makeup’s Roll + Blot sheets (₹700) are made with unbleached hemp fibres. And Fresh (of the natural face masks) has Cannabis Santal and Rose fragrances (₹3,250).

Loving the leaf: Cannabis in your beauty and health routine

Obviously, one wonders if marijuana’s sudden popularity has something to do with its recently legalised status in a few parts of the US and Europe. Lobbies do have a way of bringing an ingredient to focus. So, is it just fad or is there some substance?

Expert talk

Harshvardhan Reddy Sirupa, a Bengaluru-based engineer, headed a firm that did clinical research on humans back in 2006. Later, he worked with Onyvax, a company that produced cancer vaccines using stem cells. “Working in these two places gave me a deep understanding of the human body,” he says. “Unfortunately, Onyvax was bought over and shut down by pharma companies.” Ever since, Sirupa has been on a quest to look for alternative therapies to work with cancer treatments. His search led him to marijuana, which is already being utilised to improve symptoms of chemotherapy.

Loving the leaf: Cannabis in your beauty and health routine

Berry high
  • Meanwhile on Instagram, a chic blue-and-gold box of cannabis-infused gumdrops is finding fans. Wild Sigurberry is the latest from luxury edibles brand Lord Jones, in association with post-rock band Sigur Rós. The limited-edition offering is inspired by the flavours of foraged berries from the band’s home country, Iceland. The packaging features a Sigur Rós crest designed by London-based illustrator Andrew Rae. At $60 (approx ₹4,100), on shop.lordjones.com.

Lovneet Batra, sports nutritionist and founder of Arbhavya in New Delhi, says, “Marijuana reduces pain by working as a sedative. It also improves appetite and reduces nausea in chemo patients.” Hemp seeds are also the new health food, being sprinkled on salads and whisked into sports recovery drinks. “They help in tissue and injury repair, and with omega 3-6-9, vitamin E and magnesium, you have a complete skin food,” she adds.

While Sirupa’s research in the medical field is still going on, he is using hemp oil to create a range of body care products called Satliva. The USP: he prepares them only after the orders come in. “I freshly extract the oil and combine it with natural butters and beeswax to create a nutrient-rich product devoid of preservatives or synthetics,” he says, adding that to really show results, hempseed oil must be completely pure — even food-grade preservatives can destroy its benefits. The products are beautifully packaged and sound absolutely delicious: hemp with mango butter and lavender face cream (₹450); hemp with jojoba body oil (₹1,450).

Loving the leaf: Cannabis in your beauty and health routine

Results and relief

“Hemp oil is an interesting concept, but I’m not sure about its applicability,” says Delhi-based dermatologist Dr Kiran Lohia. While it can counter stress when in your blood supply, it may not have the same results when applied. She considers it a cool fad, although it has not shown results like rose hip or seabuckthorn oil. “It has great marketing, but even if you apply it morning to night, your skin won’t be 10 years younger. No one ingredient can do that,” she says. But Lohia adds that cannaboids by its very nature is calming, as it reduces inflammation. “I wouldn’t put it in my cream, but I’d use it for massage if I had arthritis,” she says.

Bee Ham, founder of the green beauty brand H Is For Love, uses hemp oil in her RAPHA Harmonizing Oil Cleanser. “It’s such a great oil for replenishing the skin’s lipid barrier,” she says. While she doesn’t smoke pot, Ham takes Plus CBD Oil Drops (₹2,500), which has significantly reduced pain in her neck.

I firmly believe that science only discovers what tradition already knows. The current marijuana craze may be fleeting, but there is little doubt that it is therapeutic. Whether it is the ultimate skin booster, only time will tell.

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Printable version | Dec 2, 2020 8:35:02 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/life-and-style/loving-the-leaf-cannabis-in-your-beauty-and-health-routine/article23924220.ece

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