According to sources1, 2, at the topical level, cannabidiol (CBD) acts as an adaptogen, which means that it is capable of increasing the ability to adapt to environmental factors and avoid the damage caused by them. This is why CBD will be use  in cosmetics.

This molecule binds to different receptors3 (CB1 and CB2) found at different levels of the skin involved in maintaining skin homeostasis. Various cannabinoids are attached to these receptors, including CBD, acting in the regulation of different epidermal processes.

The adaptability of this ingredient and its possible implication in maintaining skin homeostasis, which translates into an interest in using it in anti-aging and sebum-regulating cosmetics, leads us to carry out an analysis on the legality of its use .

CBD in cosmetics: FDA4

Currently, the FDA does not have an established regulation that regulates the use of CBD in cosmetics. Despite this, based on previous studies, they do not recommend its use in pregnant or lactating women in any type of preparation, as it can cause damage or slow down the development of the baby.

Although cosmetic ingredients and products do not need approval by the FDA, prior to their marketing in the United States, before launching a cosmetic in this market we must ensure that it is safe and effective, since this agency does not approve, but it does you can recall a cosmetic from the market. That is why the only legislation established by the FDA for ingredients like CBD is that:

  • We must ensure that the product is safe for consumers when used in accordance with normal conditions of use.
  • It should not be mislabeled, in terms of concentration and function of the ingredients it contains.
  • If the CBD cosmetic can affect the structure or some function of the body, it can also be considered a medicine and must be approved by the FDA. This is so because for this organism there is a dual classification of a product.

CBD in cosmetics: European legislation5

According to European Regulation 1223/2009, the use in cosmetics of narcotic drugs included in the Single Convention of 1961. Although CBD is not on this list, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is.

That is why the use of CBD in cosmetics, in Europe, is prohibited if it comes from extracts, tinctures or resins of the “Cannabis Sativa” plant as it may contain THC; but it can be used, if it comes from seeds or leaves. In these cases, it is necessary to have documentation that corroborates that it comes from these parts of the plant, and not from others. In addition, documentation is needed indicating its tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) content.

On the other hand, the use of synthetic CBD is allowed, which is currently the safest and most recommended, since we ensure that there is no presence of THC.

Although there is currently no legal framework that regulates the percentage of THC allowed in cosmetics, the WHO Expert Committee on Drug Dependence (ECDD) proposed in 2019 possible changes to the Single Convention of 1961, which would include an indicative note: “Preparations that contain predominantly cannabidiol and less than 0.2% THC, are not under international control ”.

Basically, this ingredient generates great interest in the cosmetic industry as a source of innovation. Despite this, there are still no well-established legal frameworks to indicate what can be done with it; but it is clear under what conditions we cannot use it.


  1. Oláh A, Tóth BI, Borbíró I, Sugawara K, Szöllõsi AG, Czifra G, Pál B, Ambrus L, Kloepper J, Camera E, Ludovici M, Picardo M, Voets T, Zouboulis CC, Paus R, Bíró T. Cannabidiol exerts sebostatic and antiinflammatory effects on human sebocytes. (2014) The Journal of Clinical Investigation. 124(9):3713-24. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25061872
  2. Papaseit E, Pérez-Mañá C, Pérez-Acevedo AP, Hladun O, Torres-Moreno MC, Muga R, Torrens M, Farré M. Cannabinoids: from pot to lab. Int J Med Sci 2018; 15(12):1286-1295. doi:10.7150/ijms.27087. Available from http://www.medsci.org/v15p1286.htm
  3. https://www.mentactiva.com/cbd-en-cosmetica-natural/
  4. https://www.fda.gov/consumers/consumer-updates/cosmetics
  5. Reglamento (CE) 1223/2009 del Parlamento Europeo y del Consejo, de 30 de noviembre de 2009, sobre los productos cosméticos. https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/ES/TXT/PDF/?uri=CELEX:02009R1223-20191127&qid=1589956569387&from=ES

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