CBD Soap: Why + Why Not

At Ology Essentials we have chosen not to make hemp CBD soap. It isn’t that we don’t know how to make soap—it is that we don’t believe soap in the best delivery method for hemp CBD. Soap is a wash off product that leaves your skin quickly.

I (Kayla Fioravanti) have been making soap as far back as 1995 so it was natural to wonder if soap would be a good product to make using hemp CBD. Early on I suspected that the majority of CBD used in soap would end up going down the drain, but I wonder what the saponification process would do to hemp CBD.

In 2018 I spoke about hemp CBD at the Handcrafted Soap & Cosmetic Guild Conference and wanted to double check with the expert of all soap experts Kevin Dunn. I knew that if anyone knew the facts of what happens during saponification it would be Kevin Dunn, the author of Scientific Soapmaking: The Chemistry of the Cold Process.

Kevin Dunn explained, “Two reasons not to use CBD in soap. The most important you already said—in a wash off product, nearly all will go down the drain. Almost none will be absorbed through the skin. The second reason is that CBD will react with lye to produce the sodium salt of CBD, which is water soluble, not fat soluble, so even lower chance of absorption through the skin. Only one reason to use CBD in soap: label appeal, in which case use as little as possible just to get it on the label.”

So what is saponification? For a good soapers definition I went to Lovin’ Soap, “Saponification is the chemical reaction that occurs when we mix oils with a lye solution. This process usually takes about 24-48 hours to occur. During saponification the sodium hydroxide and oils are binding, doing their love dance and turning into salts of the fatty acids.”

So that is the long story of why Ology Essentials does not make hemp CBD Soap.

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