Written by Coni Longden-Jefferson Published on 26th June 2019

From restorative fitness classes to Kim Kardashian hosting a CBD themed baby shower, it’s clear that CBD oil is having a bit of a moment. Whilst early adopters have been reaping the benefits of this legal derivative of cannabis for a while now, this year has seen it truly hit the mainstream  - with it even making its way in to our femcare products.

Google searches of ‘CBD’ have reportedly doubled in the last twelve months, Ben and Jerry recently announced plans for a CBD infused ice cream and it has even found its way on to the menu of some of London’s most Instagrammable restaurants. On both sides of the Atlantic, the trend has been fully embraced - a recent report  claims demand for CBD oil in the UK has doubled since 2017 and in the US the market could reportedly hit $22 billion by 2022.

So, what even is CBD oil?

In simplistic terms, CBD oil is a concentrated liquid extract of cannabis. Cannabis plants produce compounds known as cannabinoids, the two most commonly known compounds being THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) and CBD (cannabidiol).

Whilst on paper these molecules look similar, they are two very different compounds with very different effects. THC is the psychoactive compound of cannabis (aka the bit that gets you high), so when you picture uncontrollable giggling in a college dorm or bleary eyed tourists on the streets of Amsterdam -  THC is responsible. CBD on the other hand is not known to have any psychoactive properties, which makes it an attractive alternative for those who want to remain sober but still benefit from the positive properties many believe CBD oil has.

Can CBD treat medical conditions and illnesses?

Cannabidiol has most commonly been linked to reducing stress and anxiety, easing insomnia and relieving chronic pain - and although more research needs to be done, a lot of studies seems to back it up. In one study, people with social anxiety reported a significant reduction in their stress levels when tasked with a public speaking challenge after taking CBD and another proved that CBD oil reduced inflammatory and neuropathic pain by targeting the glycine receptors.

Research has also shown that it can be effective in treating more life threatening conditions including cancer, Parkinson’s disease and epilepsy. Last year the FDA approved the first medication derived from cannabis to treat some rare forms of epilepsy known as Dravet syndrome and Lennox-Gastaut syndrome.

Is it legal?

The lack of psychoactive properties means that not only does CBD not alter your mental state, but it’s also more easily accessible. Whilst medical marijuana has become increasingly accepted in the US, it is still illegal in 17 States. CBD oil, however, is legal nationwide - if the product in question doesn’t contain any THC. Likewise, in Britain, CBD oil is legal, as long as it does not contain THC, which is a controlled substance under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971. Getting your hands on it is now easier than ever since the UK relaxed its laws around cannabidiol elated products last year.

CBD in the beauty industry

This rise in popularity means that CBD usage is migrating away from the purely medical and finding a home in the luxury beauty market. Its healing properties have made it a firm favourite of beauty editors and bloggers looking for a more organic skin care routine inspired by nature.Recommendations can now be found in the pages of Vogue and online beauty retailer Cult Beauty are now carrying a full range of CBD related products in its wellness section.

CBD is a natural anti-inflammatory, meaning it has the ability to soothe and calm skin, which makes it an ideal treatment for acne. Research indicates that CBD can help diminish breakouts by limiting the production of oily sebum and can also reduce redness in sensitive skin. CBD oil also has antioxidants which reduce environmental damage whether it is from the sun or pollution. Antioxidants inhibit free-radical damage which has remarkable benefits for all skin types, including reducing the visible signs of ageing. Well known beauty brands such as Kiehls and Disciple have recently released CBD and Hemp related products, whilst specialist beauty company The CBD Skincare Co. have built an entire business off the back of this latest trend.

CBD and femcare

From our faces to a more intimate area -  treating gynecological issues, such as period pain, with cannabidiol is also becoming increasingly popular. Using CBD to help relieve symptoms of menstruation might sound like a very millennial pursuit, but this is no 21st Century fad. Gynaecological uses of cannabis can be traced back to Ancient Egypt and it’s been reported that even Queen Victoria was prescribed tincture of cannabis (liquid concentrations of the drug) to help her deal with period cramps. Nowadays, technology has advanced so that the healing properties of CBD can head straight for the source.

London based Femtech start up Daye have created a range of CBD infused tampons, set to launch this Autumn. The brand, founded by Valentina Milanova, has already secured $5.5m in funding from investors on both sides of the Atlantic and are dedicated to creating femcare products that puts the female experience firmly at the centre of medical innovation, with the vast majority of their time and money going into research projects based around real women’s issues.

Whilst cannabis related vaginal suppositories have been around for a while (even comedy icon Whoopi Goldberg has her own range), Daye are spearheading the progress for ready-to-wear CBD tampons, which are also organic and sustainable - making them green in more ways than one.

Can CBD change your sex life?

The trend for cannabis related femcare isn’t only restricted to pain relief - CBD is also here to change our sex life. A growing trend has seen couples enjoy both the relaxing and stimulating benefits of CBD oil in enhancing their pleasure. These products not only help to relieve performance anxiety, allowing couples to enjoy a more mindful sexual experience, but many CBD fans claim that the natural oil actually intensifies arousal.

FORIA has created a CBD lube which claims to increase tactile sensation meaning that although your mind will feel totally zenned out, your body will be wide awake, making for better orgasms. The ‘multi aphrodisiac’ formula includes CBD oil, cacao and vanilla - all of which have been linked to sexual desire across different cultures. UK sex toy giant LoveHoney is also getting in on the action, with its Intimate CBD massage oil. Another treat for all the senses, the oil helps you relax into foreplay and enjoy an intimate sensual experience with your partner.

From food and medicines to skin creams and lubricants, CBD seems to be infusing its way into every aspect of our lives. Whilst it may seem like a fad, research indicates that this multi faceted natural oil could actually be as beneficial as its fans claim it to be - this could be one trend that’s popularity stays high for a very long time.