At this moment, half of the United States has voted in favor of reformed regulations on medical cannabis, thus beginning the long-overdue embrace of the plant and all its therapeutic potential. Though the federal government may be reluctant to admit it, the benefits of the ancient herb are numerous, staggeringly complex, and far-reaching.

cannabis for the skin

Cannabis works naturally with the body’s endocannabinoid system, which governs every cell type in the body. Since the skin is the body’s largest organ, it should come as no surprise that the wonders of cannabis extend literally from head to toe. Obviously, inhaling combusted plant matter and smoke doesn’t do too much good for the skin, and smoking cannabis isn’t the cure for acne. However, when applied topically or ingested orally, cannabis can have amazing anti-inflammatory, anti-aging, antibacterial, and antioxidant effects.

Worth a try

The major compounds in the herb have been found to have a plethora of dermatologic uses. Though results vary among individuals, relief is in many cases astonishing, whether the ailment lies on or beneath the skin (such as muscle soreness or joint inflammation). And, side effects are virtually nonexistent.

hemp seed face cream

Hempseed oil is an especially popular base for skin-care products. You can already visit any major department store and find all types of skin-care and beauty products like soaps, lotions, scrubs, and balms containing hemp.

Hemp—the non-psychoactive cousin of cannabis, a.k.a. “marijuana”—is still, illogically, illegal to produce within the United States for other than research or educational purposes. As a result, most hemp products are currently made of hemp imported from China and Canada, and thus can be a bit pricey. But, even if many available skin-care products containing hemp extract are quite reasonably priced, shelling out cash at a retail store isn’t the only way to introduce cannabis into your skin-care regimen.

Make your own

Thankfully, anyone in search of cannabis-based products for the skin can easily make their own at home, ensuring quality and purity. Skip the chemistry degree, and check out the MagicalButter botanical extractor. With this machine, cannabis can be infused into oils and butters to create the base for culinary and topical treasures alike. After all, the line between food and medicine is often quite blurred, anyway.

RELATED: For a cornucopia of cannabis recipes, how-to videos, and how to get your own botanical extractor, check out

For example, simply replacing your regular cooking oil with cannabis-infused coconut oil can give a surprisingly healthy boost to your diet. The healing properties of the cannabinoids in cannabis combine with the lauric acid in coconut oil make a formidable opponent to everything from eczema to epilepsy.

After you’ve added cannabis-infused coconut oil into your diet, make your own topical cream with cannabis oil and mango seed butter to sooth everything from razor burn to cuts and scrapes to psoriasis. Healthy skin has never been so affordable and accessible—or so delicious!

No, rubbing hempseed body lotion on your hands or face won’t get you high. With most topicals, cannabinoids can’t reach the circulatory system; they penetrate only as far as the CB2 receptors. But it can moisturize the wrinkles and dry patches out of your skin fast enough to make you think you’re hallucinating.



Born in Arizona and raised in Maryland and Guinea, West Africa, Zach Brown claims the D.C. metro area as his home turf. He is currently back in Africa writing, teaching English as a second language, and making music in Bamako, Mali. Zach is an Eagle Scout who earned a B.A. in English from the University of Maryland. He was also president of the UMD chapters of NORML (National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws) and SSDP (Students for Sensible Drug Policy).