Efficacy testing of cannabinoids and cannabinoid-containing products

The secret is out. CBD has become one of the hottest new ingredients in skin care, health, and wellness products, with CBD-containing products appearing on the market at a record pace over the past two years. Topical products alone are projected to grow by 21% year-over-year.* CBD products span all areas of the personal care industry, from skin and hair care, to active cosmetics.

Claims for cannabinoids in the personal care industry are diverse. These claims can include anti-inflammatory, anti-itch, anti-acne and anti-aging properties. Despite the widespread use of CBD in topical cosmetic products, there is limited scientific data regarding the effects of cannabinoids in the skin.

Genemarkers, a testing lab based in Michigan, is helping to change this. Testing performed by Genemarkers can validate the efficacy of CBD-containing products using animal-free and cruelty-free testing methods.

“By collaborating with cannabinoid production partners, we have established methods for evaluating CBD as well as other cannabinoids,” said Rishabh Kala, Ph.D., Senior Scientist at Genemarkers. “We have created different gene expression panels to understand how CBD acts on skin or when placed sublingually, under the tongue.”

Gene expression analysis serves as a valuable tool to identify biological mechanisms of action, verify efficacy and validate cosmetic claims within biopharma, personal care and the rapidly growing cannabinoid industry. For example, different extracts, formulations or products will turn on or off different genes to produce different results.

Genemarkers can identify and quantify these on/off changes using rigorous scientific testing methods, ensuring the data is accurate and highly reproducible. The studies are performed using either in vitro human-skin equivalent models or ex vivo skin samples from donors. Using gene expression testing as a screening tool in product development can help improve the efficacy of the final formulation.

Recent, promising research conducted by Genemarkers in 2021 showed the effects of CBD in response to UV exposure in the skin.

“We discovered that pre-treatment of skin with a purified CBD isolate decreased the expression of inflammatory and oxidative stress genes and proteins while increasing genes involved in stress-response pathways that repair damage,” said Kala. “These changes in gene and protein expression suggest that CBD-containing products may mitigate the effects of UV-induced skin damage and help shield skin cells against cytotoxicity and DNA damage.”

In response to client demand, Genemarkers has expanded testing to other cannabinoids, including cannabigerol, (CBG) cannabichromene, (CBC) and cannabinol (CBN).

If you would like to learn more about how you can improve the science behind your CBD or CBD-infused products, please contact Alisha Morrison at Genemarkers at amorrison@genemarkersllc.com.


About Genemarkers
Genemarkers is a CLIA certified and CAP accredited testing laboratory located in Kalamazoo, MI that has been specializing in quality, innovative testing services since 2008. Genemarkers is a privately held business with majority woman ownership that provides genomic research support to some of the world’s leading pharmaceutical, cannabinoid and personal care companies in the pursuit of effective extracts, products, and therapies.


*According to Grand View Research, June 4, 2021: https://www.grandviewresearch.com/industry-analysis/cannabidiol-cbd-market.

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