Beauty and wellness products infused with cannabidiol (CBD), a non-psychoactive compound found in the marijuana plant, is expected to become the next big thing in skincare worldwide. South Korea, China and Japan are moving to grab leadership in this new market segment in Asia.

But they’ve got to legalize marijuana use first.

Worldwide, the market for beauty products made from CBD is projected to be worth $25 billion by 2029, or 15 percent of the total global beauty market over the next 10 years, according to financial services company Jeffries Group LLC.

CBD beauty products are already big in Canada and the United States where customers accept CBD can treat a range of health ailments such as epilepsy, anxiety, insomnia and skin conditions due to its anti-inflammatory properties.

Already on Canadian and U.S. market shelves are CBD-infused products such as Estee Lauder’s Origins “Hello, Calm” hemp mask, Murad’s hemp face serum (from Unilever) and Kiehl’s hemp-based face oil cream.

Upscale U.S. department stores such as Barneys and Nordstrom, and many other mainstream retailers now carry a range of CBD-infused beauty and wellness products, and this trend will continue to grow. More than 35,000 U.S. retailers have shown a keen interest in carrying CBD products.

The legal marijuana industry worldwide is set to grow from $150 billion today to $272 billion over the next decade, according to Barclays. In addition, the legal market for edible and smokable marijuana is expected to be worth $66.3 billion by 2025, said consulting firm Grand View Research.

That’s the picture worldwide and in the West. Now, what’s the situation in Asia? Pretty much catching-up.

That’s because cannabis is illegal throughout much of Asia. This was about the same situation in both Canada and the U.S. a few decades ago. Today however, Canada legalized recreational marijuana on Oct. 17, 2018 while medical marijuana is legal in 33 U.S. States and Washington D.C. The U.S. federal government is widely expected to decriminalize marijuana use.

Asia has still a long way to go in this regard but Asian beauty movements such as K-beauty (Korea) and J-beauty (Japan) will definitely embrace the CBD beauty trend.

China will become a major force but this country’s strict drug laws preclude the legalization of medical marijuana any time soon. Cannabis has been illegal in China since 1985.

Medical cannabis, however, is gaining traction in Asia. Thailand legalized medical cannabis in February 2019, becoming the second Asian country after South Korea to do so.

South Korea legalized medical marijuana in November 2018. Legalization came to effect in March this year. South Korea’s goal in legalizing medical marijuana is to expand treatment options for patients with epilepsy and chronic pain among others.

This March, Japan approved clinical trials for the cannabis compound Epidiolex, a CBD oral solution used in treating epileptic patients.

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