New legislation prohibiting the use of cannabis and cannabis extracts in cosmetics is being proposed by the Chinese government, Jing Daily reported on 29 March from an announcement on the National Institutes for Food and Drug Control’s (NIFDC) website.

The legislation would include Cannabis sativa kernel fruit, Cannabis sativa seed oil, Cannabis sativa leaf, as well as cannabidiol (CBD).

China’s proposed ban contrasted with the Western approach where the complex regulatory landscape was being simplified, Jing Daily wrote, although it was in line with measures taken in other Asian countries where the oversight of CBD products was still restricted. CBD is one of the two most common compounds found in cannabis, the other being tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). CBD does not contain any psychoactive properties, unlike THC.

Marijuana is classified as a dangerous narcotic drug in China and the possession of hemp seeds is criminalised.

However, if China continued to prohibit cannabis-related ingredients in cosmetics, some industry figures claim it would lead to the loss of a huge market opportunity, Jing Daily wrote.

According to George Deckner, personal care and cosmetics industry expert at Prospector, cannabis derivatives are “some of the hottest, most talked about ingredients in cosmetics” and the use of CBD skin care and beauty products has become a major trend.

An AlixPartners survey had shown “a common interest in natural and organic beauty products” in China, France, Germany, the UK and the USA with 90% of the Chinese respondents stating it “was important to purchase healthy or clean products”.