Topicals vs. Cosmetics: What’s the difference?

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Beautiful bottles and jars are appearing on dispensary shelves that are very different from the dried and cured buds we’re familiar with. Cannabis topicals are anything that can be applied externally to the body in the form of creams, balms, sprays and lotions.

For decades, underground experts combined cannabis oils and distillates into functional solutions for athletes, patients and relief-seekers. Newly legal states and countries have allowed for a whole new generation of functional cannabis skincare products like facial cleansers, hand treatments, and hydrating mists.

All Function, No Form

There are currently 69 topical products listed on the Ontario Cannabis Store, Canada’s largest provincial wholesaler. The overwhelming majority are hyper-functional formulations that are intended for either infrequent or therapeutic use:

  • Bath bombs
  • Salt scrubs and soaks
  • Oils for warming, soothing or lubrication
  • Cooling gels and muscles rubs
  • Creams, balms and salves
  • Transdermal patches
  • Soap and toothpaste

This general selection is a holdover from pre-legalization, when cannabinoids were added to functional formulations because they were needed for a reason. Now with cannabis freely available, experimentation and refining has truly blossomed.

CBD is more than just anti-inflammation, and it has a role in these kinds of products that can potentially help with concerns like acne, ageing, antioxidant protection, sebum-regulation, and moisture barrier protection. Cannabis cosmetics can live in both your skincare routine and pain relief activities.

Cannabis Cosmetics

Cosmetics are applied to the body, usually the face, to improve overall appearance. Millions of Canadians apply make-up, moisturisers, cleansers and lotions in a daily effort to combat the signs of ageing, stress, lack of sleep and exposure to the elements. Until recently, daily incorporation of cannabinoids into these rituals was reserved for those who grew their own or who needed to for medical or wellness reasons.

In the four short years since the United States passed their Farm Bill that allowed hemp-derived CBD on store shelves, there has been an explosion of products that incorporate CBD, from make-up to pillows. While cannabinoids, CBD included, remain regulated but legal in Canada, incorporating cannabis into daily beauty routines is becoming easier and more common.

Cannabis and Cosmetics Speaking the Same Language

New brands that focus entirely on cannabis cosmetics, or ‘Nu’ in the case of Nuveev, are speaking the language of L’Oreal and Estee Lauder:


“Ethically Sourced, Naturally Derived Ingredients”


Not only are they speaking similar languages, cannabis skincare products are incorporating ingredients that are familiar like shea butter, niacinamide, squalane, argan oil, allantoin, aloe vera, hyaluronic acid and jojoba seed oil.

“In all my years in the skincare industry, CBD skincare is one of the most exciting revolutions I've come across. The way it performs so differently from every other skincare ingredient we’ve come to know and love, combined with the benefits they see that our community shares with us, makes us that much more excited to continue to launch products centred around innovation and efficacy,” Samantha Marchione, co-founder of Nuveev, told Cannabis Wiki.

Nuveev offers complimentary virtual masterclasses that explain their products and how to incorporate CBD into your skincare routine. You can sign up to the ‘Nu Beauty School’ here.

Nuveev takes it a step further to reinforce their brand as the height of daily pampering and treating yourself - their line of products expand past cosmetics into an entire spa experience, with a CBD-infused soothing mist with a light cucumber scent and even a refreshing grapefruit beverage packed with CBD.



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