CBD has been a hot topic in 2019, and this trendy ingredient has been popping up in all sorts of skincare and cosmetic products. From serums and oils to salves and balms, beauty brands both small and large are capitalizing on the buzz and perceived benefits of CBD. But the world of CBD can sometimes be confusing; terms are often used interchangeably, creating the mistaken impression that products are delivering health benefits. Uninformed consumers are paying a premium for benefits that they are not actually receiving. This misinformation has inspired me to do some investigation… On a recent trip to Ulta to pick up some beauty staples, I noticed a lip balm that had marijuana leaves on the packaging. I chuckled as I picked it up and read the tagline aloud to myself: “Good vibes lip balm, with cannabis sativa.” But what is cannabis sativa, and how does it differ from CBD? Let’s dig in.

Cannabidiol Cannabidiol, better known as CBD, is a phytocannabinoid, which is a molecule that’s synthesized by plants. It comes from the varieties of cannabis plants that contain 0.3% or less of THC and is often referred to as hemp. CBD claims several health benefits, including pain relief, anti-inflammation, and acne reduction. With these perceived benefits, it’s no wonder we’re seeing the “miracle” ingredient pop up in beauty and skincare products. It’s also an expensive ingredient, with average prices ranging from $0.10 to $0.15 per mg, which means a 30ml bottle that contains 50mgs of CBD per mL could run you from $150 to $225.

Cannabis Sativa Cannabis sativa, sometimes called cannabis sativa oil, is better known as hempseed oil. Hempseed oil isn’t a new thing; it’s been around for a long time, used in skincare products as well as cooking. It’s different from CBD in that it comes from the seeds of the hemp plant only, so there are no phytocannabinoids, meaning it doesn’t contain THC or CBD. It’s super-rich in antioxidants, omega-3 and -6 fatty acids, won’t clog pores and is super moisturizing, which is why it’s used in so many skincare products. It’s also incredibly inexpensive in comparison to the CBD oil – averaging around $0.50 per fluid ounce. So, what about the lip balm that I bought that had the marijuana-looking leaves and the words “cannabis sativa” stamped on the packaging? It contains hempseed oil, which may not be such a bad thing if I continued to use the product in the long run given its skincare benefits.

Evaluation of CBD and Hempseed Oil Products While Sensory Spectrum does not evaluate products containing CBD currently pending legalization, we have been evaluating products containing hempseed oil. I purchased a few lip balms containing the product and had a few of our personal care product experts gather to provide some quick feedback on the items.


• Moderate high slip in application
• Low moderate stick
• Slight waxy as pressing lips
• Low gloss
• Moderate shine
• Increases skin texture visibility.

Other Comments
• Citrus and mint/green flavor.
• Sensation of cooling/tingle/burn.
• No plumping aspects.

• High slip in application
• Greasier than KUSH
• slight stick
• less waxy than KUSH
• lower skin texture visibility, and spreads more evenly than KUSH
• Less color coverage than KUSH.
• High shine/gloss.

Other Comments
• Distinct floral/rose fragrance.
• Solvent and bitter flavor.
• no cooling/tingle/burn.
• Easier to remove than KUSH, but there is a slight sticky residue.

• Mod-High stick
• slight opacity
• uneven coverage, doesn’t stay put (it wanders on the lips)
• thick coating/feels heavy on lips.

Other Comments
• Vanillin in flavor,
• Pearlescent pigment
• difficult to remove
• sticky/tacky residue.

• Very high gloss
• mod sticky
• slight gritty
• slight wax in application
• heavy but not as thick/heavy as Pacifica.

Other Comments
• Citrus flavor, slight spicy green/minty
• slight tacky in removal but easy to remove

For more information about Sensory Spectrum’s product evaluation capabilities, including descriptive and consumer research methodologies, please feel free to contact us!

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