Entourage effect: Japanese firm to apply CBD-like butterbur bud phytocannabinoids in cosmetics

By Hui Ling Dang

- Last updated on GMT

Butterbur bud phytocannabinoids have been found to exert a CBD-like effect, particularly in anti-inflammation. ©Saticine Medical
Butterbur bud phytocannabinoids have been found to exert a CBD-like effect, particularly in anti-inflammation. ©Saticine Medical

Related tags Japan CBD anti-inflammatory anti-ageing

Japanese firm Saticine Medical is looking to widely apply butterbur bud phytocannabinoids in cosmetics, after discovering its CBD-like properties, including anti-inflammatory and anti-ageing effects.

The company is not only a manufacturer for D2C cosmetics brands, but is also actively engaged in the R&D of new plant-based ingredients.

Among the cannabinoids derived from cannabis, cannabidiol (CBD) is non-psychotropic and is reported to have various cosmeceutical effects on itching (atopic dermatitis), psoriasis (barrier failure), inflammation (sebum and acne), and more.

According to Saticine Medical, although consumers are interested in the efficacy of CBD, they are reluctant to use cannabis-derived raw materials.

As such, the firm has been searching for phytocannabinoids from Japanese plant materials that have CBD-like effects.

Butterbur is rich in terpenes (aromatic compounds) unique to the plant, such as isopetasin, which has almost the same molecular weight as CBD and is similar in structure.

Additionally, butterbur buds store bitter compounds called sesquiterpenes to protect themselves from predators.

Based on this, Saticine Medical conducted a study on “butterbur bud phytocannabinoids” and found that the compound could exert a CBD-like effect, particularly in anti-inflammation.

Notably, the anti-inflammatory effect was significantly higher when purified CBD (99% purity)  and butterbur bud phytocannabinoids were combined.

This is known as the “entourage effect”, whereby greater synergy and activity take place when other cannabinoids are applied together with CBD, compared to the use of CBD alone.

“As unrefined cannabis-derived raw materials are contaminated with tetrahydrocannabinol (THC),which is prohibited under the Cannabis Control Act, the use of refined CBD is mainstream in Japan. However, CBD has a higher physiological effect when in a state that contains multiple cannabis-derived phytochemicals, rather than when used alone (isolate).

“In the study, purified CBD had no anti-inflammatory effect, whereas the addition of butterbur bud phytocannabinoids significantly increased it. This indicates that butterbur bud phytocannabinoids can be used alone as an ingredient with CBD-like action, or combined with CBD to enhance the effects of each other,” ​the firm said.

Skin stabiliser

Skin inflammation tends to occur during the change of season, when environmental factors such as temperature differences between spring and autumn, dry air and pollen dispersion from winter to spring, and the increase in ultraviolet rays from spring to summer, weaken the skin’s barrier function.

Oxidative stress, which can also be caused by external stimuli, increases dry skin leading to roughness and sensitive skin.
In Japan, seasonal pollen is one of the major causes of exogenous dermatitis. The incidence rate of hay fever in the country is said to be one in two people, but pollen-induced dermatitis is known to occur even in those who do not have hay fever symptoms.

Furthermore, different types of pollen are dispersed in Japan throughout the year, such as cedar pollen in spring, grass pollen in summer, and ragweed pollen in autumn.  

In the study, cedar pollen was selected to evaluate the anti-inflammatory effect of butterbur bud phytocannabinoids in epidermal cells.

When cedar pollen allergen Cryj1 was added to cultured keratinocytes, the production of reactive oxygen species (ROS) in the cells was significantly promoted.

This is the cells’ response to external stimuli, consequently causing inflammation in the body and accelerating skin ageing.

The results showed that butterbur bud phytocannabinoids have the ability to suppress ROS production and inflammation, and thus have potential to improve various signs of skin ageing, including rough skin, sensitive skin, dryness, wrinkles, and dark spots.

“We will incorporate butterbur bud phytocannabinoids into many cosmetics to alleviate problems during seasonal changes when the skin is more susceptible to external stimuli.

“In addition, we will consider making products with enhanced efficacy by combining the ingredient with CBD, which is expected to become more popular due to the law revision. At the same time, we will continue to utilise Japanese plants in unique ways to develop highly effective cosmetic ingredients.”

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