Cannabis at 360° – Textile and cosmetic uses

The Cannabis plant is a good natural alternative for the textile industry. Since the antiquity it has been used both in the East and in West: in China, since the prehistory, it was used for manufacturing ropes and fabrics; the Phoenicians equipped with hemp sails their ships, and as regards our peninsula, the first cultivations with textile purpose in the Pianura Padana dates to the Roman epoch.

When the hemp is cultivated for textile purposes textile fibres can be gotten (20%), straw (10%) and wood or canapulo (70%). This plant is very productive, one of the most productive cultivable in the temperate zone: a cultivation of the duration of three and a half months, produces a biomass four times greater of that produced by the same surface of wood in one year. Moreover, as it grows very fast it escapes the light and it suffocates all the other present grasses on the ground and free it from all the weeds, better than the herbicides.

Retire, before the advent of the prohibitionists laws of the first half of the last century, by the world of the synthetic fibres (nylon, viscous, etc), cannabis enjoys today of a deserved revival thanks to a greater ecological conscience (we can also call it fashion) and thanks to the fact that modern technologies can make this fibre, that is longer, stronger and more resistant than the cotton, thin as we wanted. Dresses in hemp are by now really very common.

Another very important use is the cosmetic one, both from the therapeutic point of view and from that purely aesthetical. In this case it is not the fibre to be used, but the oil of seeds.
The oil of Cannabis seeds contains one of the more high-levels of Essential Fat Acids (AGE) and Acid range – linolenyc: 75% around. These AGE introduce the good relationship among sour omega 6 and omega 3: (3 to 1). They constitutes the necessary phosphor – lipids to build the cellular membranes and the relationship 3 to 1 it is that required by the human body for an optimal cellular growth. The lack of the AGE provokes weakening of the epidermis with consequences like eczema, psoriasis, desquamation and also hair losses. The range – linolenyc acid is naturally synthesized, beginning from the acid – linolenyc, through the delta-6-desaturasi, and it is a precursor of the prostaglandin that has a key role as biological mediator. Unfortunately, the enzymatic activity of the delta-6-desaturasi decreases with the age, as for the other AGE the acid range – linolenyc must be taken from outside.

Cosmetic properties and benefits

It contains elevated levels of Essential Fat Acids and Vitamin E.
It is not greasy.
It has a rapid absorption.
Being very fluid, it is a good vehicle for other active principles.
It protects the skin from the external factors that could cause the aging.
It hydrates and gives softness and elasticity to the skin.
It gives brightness to the enfeebled hair.
It reduces the brittleness of the fingernails.

Today the hemp oil is available in form of ” virgin oil “, gotten from the cold squeezing of the hemp seeds, both as “refined oil”, suitable for more sophisticated cosmetic formulations, where it’s required less odour and less colour. The hemp oil is characterized by an elevated fluidity and by the fact that it penetrates very easily. Among the massage oils, it is certainly to be considered the best one for its prerogatives just exposed and for the fact that is moderately greasy. For the fact that it has a so high level of essential fat acids, it is to be considered a good ingredient for products (creams, milks, gel, etc.) destined to the treatment of dry skins, dehydrate, senile skins, an essential ingredient in the preparation of that type of cosmetic above remembered, that today go under the Anglo-Saxon denomination of “anti-ageing”. The Cannabis oil is also highly suggested as ideal component of solarium products (especially in after sun creams) and of soaps.

Sources:,, Paul Poggi and Roberta Donadelli (Erboristeria Domani – October ’99)

Edited by the TIACCACI productions

Published on Dolce Vita International 2