Hemp has been known for thousands of years to be a useful substance. It has been used to produce rope and clothing, among other things. In recent decades, the plant has been associated with intoxicants. Hemp, also known as cannabis, can be used for so much more. Today, it is used as a natural fiber, an oil to relieve pain, and an ingredient in foods, skin and hair care products, and cosmetics. CodeCheck Insights explains in the series “Ingredient of the Month” how manufacturers can score points with conscious consumers with hemp as an ingredient.

Plant of 1000 uses — useful hemp, intoxicant, and active ingredient

The plant was already cultivated 12,000 years ago in China and Persia. Until the second half of the 19th century, it was the most frequently cultivated crop in the world. In recent decades, intoxicating cannabis products such as marijuana or hashish, obtained from the mature, dried female inflorescences of the hemp plant, have become popular. Consumption is particularly intoxicating due to the cannabinoid THC (“tetrahydrocannabinol”). However, THC also plays an important role in medical applications. In the past, various studies have shown that cannabis has a positive effect on chronic pain, asthma, multiple sclerosis, and cancer. Therefore, cannabis-containing drugs have been approved in Germany since 2017.

Drug-free food and cosmetics — hemp oil and CBD

Food and cosmetics, on the other hand, are not about THC, but about hemp oil and CBD. Hemp oil is obtained by pressing the seeds of the hemp plant, while CBD, which is related to THC but not intoxicating, is obtained from the entire plant. CBD contains a variety of important vitamins, fibers, minerals, and proteins and is, therefore, important for the beauty industry. Because hemp oil contains important vitamins, omega-3 fatty acids, and gamma-linolenic acid, it is also an exciting ingredient. A combination of hemp oil and CBD is often used in beauty products.

Annual winner — hemp, present in over 400 new products this year

The trend towards hemp as an ingredient can no longer be stopped. Between January and October 2019 alone, the CodeCheck database registered 347 new cosmetic and personal care products, 72 new foods, and 15 new beverages containing hemp. Hemp is well received by conscious consumers because it is a natural, biodegradable, and environmentally-friendly ingredient that can be applied to the skin without hesitation.

Beauty favorite — hemp in cosmetic products

CodeCheck Insights shows which new products use hemp as an ingredient. Between January and October 2019, CodeCheck registered 76 new face creams containing hemp, 50 new shampoos, and 46 new body creams and oils. Hemp is also used in soaps, hand creams, facial cleansers, deodorants, lip care, and sun creams.

The benefits attributed to the use of hemp in cosmetics and personal care products come from its antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and soothing properties. Consumers see hemp as a natural ingredient that helps cleanse the skin of impurities. One challenge for manufacturers is the strong inherent smell of hemp, which some consumers find difficult to get used to. According to Statista, global sales of skincare products with CBD are expected to rise from USD 710 million in 2018 to USD 959 million in 2024.

Superfood — hemp in food and beverages

The trend has also arrived in food and beverages; for example, in muesli bars, chocolate, and even beer. In Berlin, the first café was recently opened that focuses on food and drinks with hemp, and the number of online shops dealing only with CBD is also increasing. However, hemp does not yet play such a major role in food and beverages as it does in cosmetics. Currently, we can see at CodeCheck Insights that especially teas and iced teas with hemp are on the rise, but so far, they have a below-average rating by the CodeCheck community.

Hemp is particularly popular as a dietary supplement. On the one hand, CBD oil is currently experiencing a boom. It has a calming and pain-relieving effect. On the other hand, hemp is present in numerous protein and muscle building preparations. Hemp protein is regarded as one of nature’s best sources of vegetable protein and contains all 20 amino acids, including all nine essential amino acids. Hemp is rich in omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, which promote energy production and strengthen the immune system. Hemp protein is also said to have a cholesterol-lowering effect.

Hemp has come to stay — media like the women’s magazine Barbara have recognized the trend. And the US magazine Glamour shows how you can manage your entire beauty routine with CBD products.

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Methodology: All interactions triggered by CodeCheck users are measured. This includes scanning, searching, product page views, comments, voting and rating.