CBD … Snake Oil or Modern Miracle?


Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past few years, you’ve likely seen those 3 letters popping up everywhere, from coffee shops to high end massage studios, to seedy vape stores & gas station gummies. Even your staunchly conservative anti-drug boomer uncle has lauded its benefits and sung its praises over holiday dinners. Whether ingested or slathered on, CBD is showing up literally everywhere you look. 

So, what even IS this stuff? What’s the point? Is it really worth all the hype?

Honestly … because CBD is showing up in so many forms, & in so many different places, it can be hard to cut through that noise to figure out if this is a bandwagon you want to jump on or let pass. So, if you find yourself confused, but curious; read on sister! Find out why CBD might just be what you didn’t know you were looking for!

CBD: What is it, & why is it suddenly everywhere?

We’re going to keep this as simple as possible! 

CBD is short for cannabidiol. YES, it is derived from hemp, which, we know, seems like a dirty word. The Cannabid sativa plant comes in two forms: hemp & marijuana. Both of these forms contain CBD … hemp is mostly CBD, with any THC content being negligent or non-existent. 

The marijuana version of the plant will also contain CBD and varying levels of THC. Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is the psychoactive, gets you ‘high’, component of the plant. 

Essentially, both of these chemicals work with our own Endocannabinoid System (more on this later) to make you feel good, but they can be separated and put to work in different ways. CBD, without THC, won’t cause any feelings of euphoria, sedation, or an altered state. 

The whole point of CBD is to get some of the ‘feel good’, therapeutic effects known to come from the Cannabis plant, without worrying about the unwanted high that goes along with it.

Ok, hold up … is this stuff legal?

First, a little history. Industrial hemp was totally legal & growing like, well, weeds, until Congress passed the Marijuana Tax Act in 1937. Behind this legislation had been heavy lobbying from the cotton industry, which was struggling to compete with the hemp industry. How do you eliminate your toughest competition? Vilify them, & legislate them out of the way! As a result, many scientists claim that we’re actually now decades behind in research that could have been done regarding the myriad possible health benefits from the cannabis plant. But … we digress. 

The 2014 Farm Bill said that states can regulate the production of hemp, & as a result, of CBD. A new, updated farm bill was passed in 2018 making growing hemp legal on the federal level. So, purchasing a CBD product is NOT illegal … even if you want it to be, you rebel you!!

There are still wide variations among the states when you consider marijuana & THC. (some CBD products may contain small amounts of THC) Americans for Safe Access has a helpful guide to laws in each state if you want more info.

Are you & CBD meant for each other?

Well, yeah, kind-of. Seriously!

Humans have a whole system that works with cannabinoids, for real! 

In the early 1990s, researchers discovered that humans have cannabinoid receptors in many of our cells. You can think of these receptors like a lock, & only the right key will work with it. 

Eventually, it was determined that there’s a relationship between the cannabinoid receptors in our body, called endocannabinoids, & the receptors in cannabis compounds like CBD & THC, called phytocannabinoids. This communicating system became known as the Endocannabinoid System (ECS). This system works hand in hand with the immune & nervous systems to keep them functioning optimally. Even before a purpose could be determined for this system, it was clear that our bodies are designed to interact with these compounds. Mind … blown!!

Further research is constantly revealing new information regarding how this system works, & how we can use these compounds to our advantage, & for better health. Whether CBD is ingested or used topically, it is clear that it has beneficial therapeutic effects for many ailments.

Free Radicals.

I’m pretty sure that in the history of forever, there has never been a commercial for a skincare product that didn’t mention ‘free radicals.’ Show of hands…. Does anyone have a clue what a free radical is, & why we are supposed to be so scared of them?? Let’s nerd out for a bit.

Bullets. Free radicals are essentially bullets; tiny bullets ricocheting around our tissues leaving a path of destruction in their wake. 

A free radical is any molecule that has an unpaired electron, & has therefore become unstable. Electrons like to be paired up, & when they’re not, they can behave badly. The molecules become highly reactive, meaning that they’re on the move & looking to either pick up an electron to complete the pair, or to unload the lone electron. 

In their quest, these little buggers wreak havoc, & can cause physical damage to biologically important molecules like DNA, proteins, carbohydrates, & lipids. They particularly affect DNA in our cell nuclei, or cause damage to cell membranes, the very structure that provides the integrity of our cells. This is known as oxidative stress; & it sets off a chain reaction that disrupts homeostasis on the tissue level. 

Free radicals are produced naturally in our body as a by-product of some reactions. We even produce free radicals when we exercise. Doing something good for ourselves, can lead to something bad … hardly seems fair! We can also pick them up from the environment through exposure to things like X-rays, cigarette smoke, environmental pollutants, industrial chemicals, & pesticides. 

If we’re not paying attention, & many of us probably aren’t … the adverse changes brought on by free radicals can really accumulate throughout the body as we age. The good news is that there is an antidote! Antioxidants minimize or reverse the damage caused by free radicals. To maintain good health, we need to balance the amount of free radicals being produced by using antioxidants.

This is a critical balance. If we don’t keep these free radicals in balance with antioxidants, it can lead to everything from premature aging to major diseases. Premature aging isn’t just about vanity, it’s a sign that the tissues are aging & deteriorating at an accelerated rate. Oxidative stress is thought to contribute significantly to inflammation, which is strongly linked to diseases such as arthritis, heart disease, stroke, emphysema, Parkinson’s, alzheimers, the list goes on. The interaction of free radicals with our DNA can cause mutations, which can lead to cancer. 

Antioxidants are our best weapon in the fight against these little wrecking balls. Isn’t it great that we KNOW how to take prevention into our own hands? The principle antioxidants are B-carotene, vitamin C, & vitamin E. B vitamins facilitate the construction processes occurring in the skin, which helps prevent dermatitis. Vitamin A helps with skin repair. C & E protect our skin’s collagen & elastin. Our bodies can not manufacture these, so they must be obtained through diet and/or topical application.

The food, pharmaceutical, & cosmetic industries relied heavily on synthetic antioxidants for years. But, these have come into question as of late due to their carcinogenic nature. People have really pushed back against these synthetic versions, & embraced the idea that natural, plant based nutrition & skincare is far better for us in the long run. Bella Botanicals was founded on this belief. 

Why put CBD in skincare?

Much of the focus in the CBD world has been on its potential to treat major illnesses like epilepsy, Parkinson’s, anxiety, etc, through ingestible supplements; but its potential to improve the health & appearance of skin has largely been overlooked … until now!

CBD itself is also a powerful antioxidant. Just like the others listed, it helps protect our skin from the free radicals we are exposed to everyday. But, here’s the bonus: CBD contains the antioxidant vitamins A, C, & E! Two (or four) for the price of one! Free radicals cause damage that can lead to pesky fine lines & wrinkles, and CBD can provide protection & help fight those visible effects. 

CBD also works as an anti-inflammatory agent. What’s neat about this, is that CBD interacts with our receptors to stimulate our own built-in anti-inflammatory response. CBD helps signal our body to do its own thing & maintain homeostasis. Take acne for example … acne is an inflammatory response. It’s often next to impossible to determine the root cause of this inflammation, so most treatments treat the symptom, the acne that we see. CBD helps in two powerful ways. It helps trigger our anti-inflammatory response to diminish breakouts and reduce redness. And, CBD helps control oil production which prevents future breakouts in acne prone skin. 

How CBD interacts with our skin

Our skin is made up of basically four types of cells: keratinocytes, mast cells, melanocytes, & sebocytes.

Keratinocytes are the main cell making up our epidermis, the outermost layer. These cells produce keratin, a protective protein. By binding with our cannabinoid receptors, which are found in all four skin cell types, CBD has been found to regulate the cell’s activities. By doing so, it lessens allergic inflammation, causes the release of endorphins to lessen pain, and helps keratinocytes absorb antioxidants. 

Mast cells are the carriers of histamine, which is part of our allergic response. These cells are also active in wound healing, our immune response, and building blood vessels. CBDs interaction with the receptors on these cells shows promise for CBD helping with skin allergies.

Melanocytes are little melanin factories. Melanin is our skin pigment, it gives you your natural color, and is what tans your skin in response to the sun. This tanning is actually a protective response. Your cells pump this melanin up & out, like opening a tiny umbrella; & the point is to shield your DNA from UV radiation. UV can poke little holes in these melanin umbrellas over time & repeated exposure, and that UV radiation can scramble and mutate your DNA, which can eventually lead to a cancerous growth. Cancer of the melanocytes, melanoma, is the deadliest form of skin cancer. Cannabinoid receptors help to mediate the initial UV damage, & other research has shown that they may have potential to slow tumor growth.

Sebocytes produce oil, which is another protective feature of our skin. If overactive, this excess oil can lead to acne; if underactive, you can have dry skin. CBD seems to balance out oil production, either suppressing it or boosting it depending on what our skin needs. Many acne treatments can be too harsh & dry out the skin, while many lotions for dry skin can be too greasy, and lead to breakouts. CBD seems to strike the perfect balance to keep our skin in the ‘just right’ zone.

So, is CBD a perfect match for your skin? With all the benefits of CBD, and the fact that our skin has built-in receptors for it, it might just be the ingredient your skin is craving!

Ready to Feel Confident in the Nude?  

At Bella Botanicals, our mission is to support and empower women throughout this journey called life. Part of this journey is taking care of ourselves in the best way possible, so that we can be here for each other and our loved ones, and be the healthiest versions of ourselves. 

Bella Botanicals was born out of the need for safe, but effective products. You shouldn’t have to compromise your health for beautiful skin. Nourish it with these natural, plant-based products that work with your skin, not against it. 

Imagine not feeling the need to wear makeup everyday. Imagine skin that glows from the inside out. Imagine the feeling you’ll have when people ask you, “What are you doing differently? Your skin is beautiful!” This is what Naturally Beautiful Skincare can do for you!

So, are you ready to feel more comfortable in your skin? How about feeling so much better that you’d willingly go nude? (makeup free, not clothing free … but, to each their own) We want women to be liberated from the self-conscious need to put on a mask before leaving the house. Makeup should be something we get to play with, not a requirement. If you’re not sure your skin is ready to make it’s nude debut, why not give our skincare a try?

Become a Bella Insider! Sign up now for our email list to get the latest news, promotions, product notifications, & some female empowerment! As an added bonus, when you join our email list, you’ll receive 10% off your first order. Don’t just take our word for it, see the product reviews on our website! People have great things to say, & we think you will too!

I’m Leslie, the founder of Bella Botanicals. My journey into CBD started pretty early in my skincare journey.  I was amazed by the positive impact that this ingredient had on my skin. Through harnessing CBD’s ability as an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory I have been able to create skincare that nourishes and moisturizes the skin. I have seen the health of skin be renewed, and achy joints and muscles eased with our unique & powerful products.


This article was written by Pamela Hansen.

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