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Cannabis could be the secret to anti-ageing — and a research collab between UTS and a medical marijuana company wants to get to the bottom of it

Sharon Masige
  • The University of Technology Sydney and ASX-listed medicinal marijuana company Bod Australia and are looking into the development of an anti-ageing cream that incorporates cannabidiol (CBD), a chemical compound in cannabis.
  • It comes after three years of research by the organisations, which found certain cell proteins that can act as a carrier for CBD into the body.
  • While the research is still in its early stages, Bod Australia believes the results could be used beyond consumer products and into the therapeutic industry.

The use of cannabis in skincare is stepping up a notch.

Australian medicinal marijuana company Bod Australia has released findings of its research partnership with the University of Technology Sydney (UTS), which could see an anti-aging skin cream developed that incorporates cannabidiol (CBD), a non-psychoactive chemical compound within cannabis.

Under the research collaboration — which was been underway for the last three years — scientists discovered a family of proteins in human cells that act as anti-ageing agents. Now Bod and UTS are exploring the combination of those proteins with CBD in topical anti-ageing skin creams.

Adele Hosseini, chief scientific officer at Bod Australia, told Business Insider Australia that there are two different parts to the proteins — it can act as an antioxidant by itself and has the potential to carry drugs like CBD into the body.

At the same time, Hosseini said there is some research that shows that CBD by itself does have some antioxidant properties as well.

While she made clear the research is still in its early stages, and declined to reveal the commercial terms of the partnership with UTS, Hosseini said the outcome of the research could have broad applications.

"Skincare is quite popular [at] any age," she said. "So we are not limiting ourselves to any particular age group."

In addition, Hosseini hopes the findings from the research could be used not just for consumer products but within the therapeutic sector as well.

The cannabis plant produces several cannabinoids, two of which are THC — the psychoactive ingredient that makes people 'high' - and CBD - which has anti-psychoactive effects. CBD is an essential part of medical marijuana, according to Harvard Medical School and research is being done on its potential to treat schizophrenia and epilepsy, the Alcohol and Drug Foundation reported.

In Australia, the federal government has legalised the cultivation of cannabis for medical or scientific purposes.

Hosseini said cannabis regulation in Australia is "quite dynamic" and changes day by day. She believes certain rules surrounding the plant should be relaxed.

"We especially we think that the rules need to be relaxed a lot more around the non-psychoactive cannabinoids because they have definitely proved to have fewer side effects," she said. "And it can benefit a wide group of patients and people in general."

UTS Acting Head of School of Life Sciences, Professor Stella Valenzuela also highlighted the potential of this new discovery.

“They offer a number of new opportunities for translation of our research into products for use in the beauty and health care area,” she said in a statement.

Bod develops healthcare and skincare products using cannabis and hemp extracts. It sells both prescription and over the counter products to more than 1000 pharmacies and retailers around Australia.

The UTS and Bod partnership signals the growing cannabis market in Australia. Earlier in August, Aussie importer and distributor of medicinal cannabis Greenfield MC, became a cannabis grower, under a new deal with US-Canadian company Emerald Plants Health Source (EPHS).

The two companies will create a joint venture business, Greenfield MC Cultivation, which will develop a cannabis growing operation in Australia for export across the Asia-Pacific market, which EPHS tipped to become the world’s largest.

So it looks like Australia is ripe for the medicinal - and health related - cannabis market.