New research into the skincare role of cannabis-like substances suggests the belief that marijuana cleans the body and mind may be more than just a pipe dream.
Taking a leaf out of the Rastafarian book, scientists have suggested that cannabis-like substances may hold the key to healthy skin.
Researchers from Hungry, Germany and the UK say the human body produces compounds that resemble the active ingreident in marijuana, THC.
Body produces cannabinoids for protection
Not only are they similar but they also play an important role in the maintenance of good looking skin.
"Just as THC is believed to protect the marijuana plant from pathogens, our own cannabinoids may be necessary for us to maintain healthy skin," said researcher Gerald Weissmann.
The study into the properties of "endocannabinoids" will be published in the October issue of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASB) journal.
Endocannabinoids regulate lipid production
The team of scientists said "endocannabinoids" are important in regulating lipid production and may therefore be useful in the management of problems such as acne and dry skin that are associated with sebaceous gland dysfunction.
They hailed the paper as the first evidence that human sebocytes use an endogenous cannabinoid signaling system for the control of lipid production and death.
"Our preclinical data encourage one to explore whether endocannabinoid system-acting agents can be exploited in the management of common skin disorders," said Tamás Biró, a senior scientist involved in the research. "It is also suggested that these agents can be efficiently applied locally to the skin in the form of a cream."
Cannabis has already made its mark in the cosmetics industry especially as the natural and organic markets light up.
Oil derived from the hemp plant is increasingly being used for its moisturizing properties in creams, cosmetics and deodorants.
Big natural players such as Burt's Bees in the US and Neal's Yard Remedies in the UK have both launched products containing hemp seed oil over the past year.