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Written by Sheena Beronio

The lift on the ban of natural CBD on cosmetics is a victory for the European cannabis industry. In 2019, the European Commission or E.C launched a non-legally binding provision that removed natural CBD (in cosmetics) from the protection of the law. The provision favored the inclusion of synthetic CBD in cosmetics instead. In a lobbying campaign led by Lorenza Romanese, Managing Director of the European Industrial Hemp Association or EIHA, E.C’s provision was successfully overturned.

Romanese said that “the initial change only suited a few cosmetic companies as synthetics are extremely expensive. The process involved also produces a lot of chemical waste, which needs to be recycled at a later stage. But, the European Commission has changed the catalog and we can now use leaves in cream and other cosmetics.  This is a massive boost for the wider European industry and the smaller hemp and CBD business we represent.” 

E.C’s prior decision was fueled by the legal confusion surrounding hemp and cannabis. Indeed, even outside Europe, varying laws and regulations about cannabis in different countries is confusing. To add more confusion, cannabis has varieties in types and strains, and each of these varieties has provisions. In an attempt to establish a clearer legal stance on cannabis, the European cosmetics regulators created a classification for CBD based solely on the 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs or SCND.

The classification resulted in the inclusion of natural CBD under the category of ‘derived from extract or tincture or resin of cannabis’ and the approval of synthetically made CBD. EIHA countered this move saying that industrial hemp isn’t included in the SCND list of banned ingredients.

“The decision last April was based on the view CBD was a narcotic, but we proved to them that industrial hemp is excluded from the SCND as it is not a drug, and does not have psychotropic effects,” as per Romanese.

People involved in the cosmetics-cannabis industry were pleasantly delighted in the lift of the natural cannabis ban. One of them was Julie Mackay, founder of a UK-based skincare company, Kaneh.

“Kaneh has been wanting to export to our European neighbors, particularly Germany and France, who are key natural skincare and cosmetics markets, so we are delighted the ban on natural CBD extracts has been lifted,” said Mackay.

CBD, as a natural ingredient, is a cult in skincare and cosmetics brand. Studies show that it has antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial, and anti-sebum properties that come in handy when producing high-quality health and beauty products.

In a report by Prohibition Partners’ Disrupting Beauty’, CBD-infused products comprise 10% of skincare sales in the world. In 5 years, the report values the CBD-infused skincare market at $1 billion.

It further added that “CBD beauty is an emerging category, with brands across the beauty spectrum weighing up the possibilities of launching products within their existing portfolios or of going all out with a CBD-inspired product range.”