Other raw materials from hemp include by-products from production of hemp seed oil such as Cannabis Sativa Seedcake powder and Cannabis Sativa Seedcake, which may be used as abrasives, as well as derivatives such as Potassium Hempseedate, which can be found in soaps and handwashes, and Ethyl Cannabis Seedate, which may be used as a naturally derived Cyclopentasiloxane (D5) substitute.
Specific European and national legislation as well as international conventions apply to establish which type of extracts and derivates of the Cannabis sativa L. plant may be used in products, including food and cosmetics. Keep reading to find out more about hemp, an incresingly popular ingredient in cosmetics, and the differences in the extracts and derivates of the Cannabis sativa L. plant.
How about detectable THC levels in cosmetics?
Under Regulation (EU) No. 1308/2013, Cannabis sativa L. is considered as an agricultural product and as an “industrial plant” that may be grown legally as long as their THC content does not exceed 0.2%. However, for cosmetics, national legislations from EU Member States on controlled substances may apply. For instance, in France no THC is allowed, while in Luxembourg a THC concentration up to 0.3% is permitted.
How does regulation work outside the EU?
In the USA, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not prohibit or restrict the use of cannabis or cannabis-derived ingredients in cosmetics, and considers the possibility that a product containing these substances can have both a cosmetic and a drug use (for instance, creams to treat dermatitis or acne). Unlike in the USA, however, no therapeutic or medical claim should be asserted for cosmetics in Europe. This applies as well to products containing permitted cosmetic raw materials extracted from Cannabis sativa.
In this context, Regulation (EC) No. 1223/2009 for cosmetics bans the use of CBD derived from resin, tinctures and extracts of Cannabis, as well as cannabinoids, resin and various extracts (e.g. Cannabis Sativa flower extract, Cannabis Sativa flower/leaf/stem extract) from cosmetic use (Annex II). Synthetically produced CBD is acceptable for end use.
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Callaway, J.C., T. Tennilä, and D.W. Pate, Occurrence of “omega-3” stearidonic acid (cis-6,9,12,15-octadecatetraenoic acid) in hemp (Cannabis sativa L.) seed, Journal of the International Hemp Association 3:61-63 (1997).
J.C. Callaway is chief executive officer of Finola ky (Kuopio, Finland; http://www.finola.com/ ). Contact him via email at [email protected] .
For more information about hempseed oil, see the “Hempseed Oil” chapter by J.C. Callaway and David W. Pate in the Gourmet and Health-Promoting Specialty Oils monograph, published by AOCS Press. Edited by Robert A. Moreau and Afaf Kamal-Eldin, Gourmet and Health-Promoting Specialty Oils is the third volume in the AOCS Monograph Series on Oilseeds. Learn more at http://tinyurl.com/gourmet-oils-aocs . See a review of the book on page 164.
The Marihuana Tax Act of 1937 had very little impact on the use of marijuana as a narcotic in the United States, if for no other reason than the Act did not penalize the possession or use of hemp, cannabis, or marijuana. It did, though, penalize persons dealing commercially in these products. Thus, the Act effectively brought all industrial hemp production in the United States to a grinding halt by the next year. Subsequently, the United States re-introduced hemp production in 1942 for the war effort, after the Japanese had cut off hemp supplies from the Philippines and East India. (After the war, US hemp production was shut down yet again.) Petroleum-based polymers quickly replaced hemp and other natural fibers in many common products such as sacks, tarps, and ropes. In just a short time, a carbohydrate culture based on agriculture quickly shifted into a culture dependent on petroleum-derived hydrocarbons. Since then, hempseed and hemp fiber production have been excluded from the technological developments enjoyed by other industrial crops. Nor have there been any advances in nutritional research pertaining to hempseed oil. This prohibition on hemp cultivation continues to this day in the United States, even as remarkable advances are being made with medical marijuana. The irony deepens when one realizes that the main psychoactive component of drug Cannabis, THC, has been available as a synthetic pharmaceutical in the United States as Marinol® (dronabinol) since 1972.
Unfortunately, when one reads the Latin words Cannabis sativa these days, the first thoughts that come to mind may not be of hemp, or its nutritious seed, or useful oil products, or even the durable outer bast (stem) fiber or the cellulose core from the stalk of this old-world plant. These lesser-known features of Cannabis were certainly well known to Carl Linneaus when he assigned its name in 1753. The words “canvas” and “cannabis,” for example, both derive from similar-sounding words in Greek, Latin, and Arabic for the fabric and the plant from which it is made. The second part of the Linnean binomial, sativa, comes from the Latin word sativus, which means “sown” or “cultivated.” Cannabis sativa is one of the oldest cultivated crops, and no other plants can provide such easily available food, oil, fiber, and even medicine. The largest obstacle that currently prevents hemp from fully participating in modern industrial agriculture is its botanical association with the drug cannabis. In fact, the production of THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) and other cannabinoids is under genetic control, so it would take an ambitious breeding project to convert a hemp variety into a drug variety, much like converting a dachshund into a Doberman pinscher. In other words, it would be much easier just to start with drug Cannabis seeds, if that were the objective.
To this day, the US government continues to define hemp as the stalks and fiber of the marijuana plant, and has decided not to recognize any of the varieties that are extremely low in drug content. An analogous situation exists for poppy seed, which is legal in the United States; the seed always contains some measurable amount of morphine, but these amounts are not of sufficient concentration for drug purposes.
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