Going Green: Weed Is The Best Beauty Product You Never Knew About

by Gigi Engle

Looking for your next high? What if we told you your next spliff might be best used for your face?

While you might've thought the benefits of marijuana were limited to a recreational high and an economy booster, it turns out the magical plant improves hair and skin. And the beauty industry is commoditizing big time.

In fact, according to data from Nutritional Outlook, the US is the leading market for hemp-based beauty and food products:

The Hemp Industries Association (HIA; Summerland, CA) estimates 21.2% retail sales growth in 2014 for hemp food and body care products, putting the 2014 total at $200 million.

The sticky icky isn't just worth its weight in cash, but also in environmentally-friendly cosmetology.

Cannabis can help with a load of different skin ailments, from skin disease and acne to aging.

Though this might be the first you're hearing about it, going green isn't exactly as novel as you might think.

According to the Huffington Post, Medical Marijuana Inc., a company specializing in cannabis beauty products, launched an anti-aging beauty line featuring super-concentrated, cannabis-enriched hemp oil as long ago as December 2013.

Now, even more companies are eagerly jumping on the green highway express to create their own cannabis skincare and haircare lines.

Here's how you can get in on the latest, greatest and haziest craze.

You've got the urge to herbal.

Remember those hemp bracelets of yore? They're not just good for identifying other stoners. As Truth In Aging points out,

Hemp is particularly ubiquitous in shampoos and conditioners as it is rich in omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids and is such a great emollient for hair.

Omega-3 and omega-6 are also essential for healthy skin so really, it's a win-win.

Forget the salon; look no further than your dealer for lustrous locks. The ingredients in cannabis can turn you into a total smoke-show.

You'll never run dry.

Hemp seed oil is great for hydrating your skin. Another weed-inspired company, Curan, uses cannabidiol-rich hemp oil in its skin ointment, skin lotion and body oil.

As the Huffington Post notes, cannabis oil is packed with vitamins, antioxidants and easily absorbs into pores, which means it acts as an all-natural alternative to moisturize dry skin, soothe inflammation and redness, and reduce signs of aging.

Dermatologist Zeichner told ABC News cannabis can even improve hydration, adding,

The seeds of the cannabis plant are rich in nutrients and essential fatty acids. The oils can help hydrate the skin and improve skin barrier function.

No more acne in this joint.

Well... hopefully.

In a study published in the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology, researchers in the UK, Germany and Hungary found THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), the active ingredient in marijuana -- the stuff getting you high -- is akin to  "endocannabinoids," a substance naturally created in the human body.

According to Metro, endocannabinoids are produced in the body to support our immune system and restore the health and balance of cells; they're also loaded with antiseptic, antibiotic and anti-inflammatory properties.

This means the properties found in cannabis could help eliminate the bacteria causing acne and help your skin heal after a bad breakout.

It's good to be in the weeds.

Since marijuana is legal -- for either recreational or medical use -- in 23 states now, Elle has created a perfectly legal face mask using hemp oil. Because THC is an antioxidant and an anti-inflammatory, applying it topically can have wondrous effects.

As an antioxidant, THC helps combat wrinkles and fine lines.

Scientists and dermatologists are currently studying ways THC could combat skin conditions like eczema and psoriasis.