How is Cannabis Used in Clothing and Skincare Products?

Stephen Andrews
25 May 2024

Cannabis sativa is better known to the world for giving marijuana and hashish, however, it can also be processed for hemp fiber and even cosmetics. That would of course depend on the variety. The varieties grown for smoking and other recreational consumption typically have larger amounts of THC, while those for hemp fiber only contain trace amounts of the psychedelic compound.

The type of cannabis plant or cultivar that gives the pre-rolls you smoke is probably not the same one as used for your CBD anti-age cream. 

Hemp and marijuana are two separate varieties of the plant species Cannabis sativa, where hemp is rich in CBD and may only have around 1% of THC. A great deal of clothing and skin care products are manufactured from hemp. Some of the most potent hemp cultivars may contain up to 25% of CBD, which is frankly said a lot of CBD. 

Hemp for clothing is grown industrially, and manufacturers typically look for those hemp cultivars that can produce the best fiber. 

There is substantial evidence that suggests hemp or fiber-type cannabis has been used for more than 10,000 years. It’s been utilized for clothing, textiles and ropes, and also in paper production. Nowadays, there’s also a boom for hemp or CBD in cosmetic products, such as in oils, soaps, liquid hand washes, creams, lotions, lip balms and more. 

Which Cannabis Plants Are Used for Clothing and Skincare Products? 

Cannabis plants contain a hundred different biologically active medicinal compounds. The two compounds that are widely known around the world and which you have probably used both are of course delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol or THC and cannabidiol or CBD. The levels of THC and CBD can vary greatly depending on the type of cannabis. 

As an example, Cannabis sativa L. which is native to Europe and some parts of Asia has a significant CBD content, and has traditionally been used for fiber production. As of more recently, this species of cannabis plant is also utilized for skincare products, cosmetics, nutritional supplements and other pharmaceutical goods. 

However, the same cannot be said for Cannabis indica, which originally comes from the Indian subcontinent and is known for the superior amounts of THC its varieties contain. This type is therefore most appropriate for the production of smokable marijuana or other types of potent concentrates. 

Even if they may come from the same plant, marijuana and CBD are not the same thing. Marijuana can contain various compounds, including high amounts of THC and perhaps smaller amounts of CBD as well as trace amounts of other minor cannabinoids. On the other hand, CBD can be isolated as a single compound and thus infused in edibles, cosmetics, beauty products and more. 

In addition, some skincare products are produced from hemp seeds and hemp seed oil, extracted from the seeds of Cannabis sativa L. as well as Cannabaceae which is the generic name for hemp flowers. The prevalence of THC or CBD in hemp seed oil is next to zero. 

How is Cannabis Best Used for Cosmetics and Skincare Products? 

Several types of hemp extracts are put in cosmetic products, including seed oil or hemp seed oil from Cannabis Sativa, seed water from Cannabis Sativa, and other raw materials from hemp. 

Hemp seed oil is rich in nutrients that can nourish the skin. Notably, it’s rich in omega-3 fatty acids, gamma linolenic acid, vitamins B and C, arginine, magnesium, calcium and iron. Because of its high nutritional value, hemp seed oil is added in products like soaps, hand creams, massage oils and shampoos, but it’s also used as food. 

Cannabis Sativa seed water is what you get from steam distillation of hemp seeds, and it’s how hemp hydrosols are derived. Hemp hydrosols are potent moisturizers, and as such they are put in face creams as well as in hair products for conditioning the hair. 

Cannabis cosmetic and beauty products can also be made from CBD, which is either isolated as a single ingredient from Cannabis plants or synthetically derived. CBD is praised for its antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and anti-aging properties. CBD cosmetics include face creams, face fluids, anti-aging cream gels, anti-hair loss shampoos and lotions, and the list goes on and on. 

How is Cannabis Used for Hemp Fiber? 

Only one part of Cannabis sativa is used for fiber, and that’s the outer layer of the stalk. From this layer, hemp manufacturers can produce premium textile articles. On the other hand, the woody core part of the hemp stalk, which is known as the hurd, is saved for stuff like bio-fuels, hemp bricks and animal bedding. 

By most parameters, hemp is a superior material compared to cotton or other synthetic textiles. Fabric produced from hemp fiber has a similar texture to cotton, and at the same time it looks more sturdy than cotton. Hemp is the more durable material of the two and it’s also a better color-absorbent. Other qualities of hemp include its resistance to mold, its ability to protect against UV lights, and it’s an anti-bacterial material. 

In cultivation, hemp fabric requires less water, chemical fertilizers or pesticides than other crops grown for fabric. Hemp is on the list of eco-friendly textiles together with organic cotton, linen, bamboo and wool. 

Also read on Soft Secrets: 

Hemp in Fashion. It’s a Thing Now.

Cannabis in Beauty Products

Is Cannabis Skincare Good for Your Skin?

Stephen Andrews