The USDA wants to research hemp-based personal care products

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Hemp is returning to the status it held in society 100 years ago through new research

Hemp seed oil has begun to have great importance over the past several years, providing different benefits to multiple people who seek to solve their conditions with natural medicines. With the goal of expanding this market and provide better research, a new cooperative research and development agreement (CRADA) involving scientists from the USDA’s Agricultural Research Service (ARS) and the Midwest Bioprocessing Center (MBC), a Peoria, IL-based company, will now join forces over the next 24 months. This agreement is based on a patented process developed by different experts called “biocatalysis.”

The idea of this process is to use enzymes instead of other products that may be considered chemically aggressive. During previous research, this specialized team set about the task of using this process to create different compounds called feruloyl soy glycerides (FSGs) from soybean oil. Once this goal was achieved, it was given the green light for commercialization, so that it could be used in ingredients for specialized skin and personal care products.

Fascinating results were clearly expected, especially because of the ultraviolet (UV) absorbance and antioxidant properties they offered. In order to complement this research, the team will now look into certain other options based on ferulic acid from biocatalyzed hemp seed oil. If positive results are seen, this would mean that the market for this product would be expanded to 90,000 acres of US industrial hemp, which is a version of cannabis Sativa that was legalized under the Farm Bill three years ago.

Today, products containing cannabidiol (CBD) have been found to be beneficial to people’s health and personal care, so the ARS-MBC team will focus on biocatalyzing hemp oil to manufacture “cosmeceuticals,” skincare ingredients that perform specific functions, including protection from ultraviolet light, moisture retention and stabilization of other active ingredients used on the skin.