Divios™ THC and UV Protection Guide
Learn the science behind a true innovation in sun protection and cannabis topicals.

First things first.

THC (scientifically known as Tetrahydrocannabinol) is the molecule and active cannabinoid found in the plant genus Cannabis that is well-known for its psychoactive effects — meaning it's the reason you get high when you smoke, vape, or ingest marijuana.

The compound was originally discovered and isolated from the cannabis plant in 1964 by famed Israel chemist, Rafael Mechoulam, who also identified CBD. However, it wasn’t until Dr. Allyn Howlett’s groundbreaking work on the endocannabinoid system in 1988 did we fully understand the connection between THC to our brain.
The endocannabinoid system (ECS) is integral to regulating the functions of the body and brain — our natural mechanism for balance and homeostasis because the ECS is directly tied to our nervous and immune systems.

When you consume cannabis, you introduce cannabinoids into your body. Once inside, they’re metabolized and enter the bloodstream. By way of cannabinoid receptors, located in the brain and all over our body (including your skin), cannabinoids such as THC can engage with specific anatomical features and physiological functions.
The two most recognized cannabinoid receptors are the CB1 and CB2 receptors.

CB1 receptors throughout the brain and central nervous system “modulate movement, memory, cognition, sensory perceptions and even time perception”. Generally speaking, THC over-activates the functions typically regulated by the ECS like mood, appetite, cognition and perception. Sound familiar? It's thanks to our CB1 receptors that THC can offer us the euphoric feeling of “being high”. If you’ve even felt “too high”, it’s the same process in motion, just in excess.
CB2 receptors correspond to our immune system, which is why THC can act as a powerful anti-inflammatory and pain reliever. Because CB2 receptors are found in our skin, THC can be a very effective, therapeutic agent for protecting and restoring our body’s largest organ (again, our skin).

Thanks to the science of cannabis, we have one of the most complimentary, all-natural resources to keep our bodies and skin healthy and happy.
Cannabis and Sun / UV Protection
While the legal history of cannabis in the United States, including industrial and commercial hemp, has created a very challenging research framework for scientists, evidence from lab studies, field tests and crop yield statistics has generated extremely valuable insight to the UV protective qualities of the cannabis plant.

For starters, hemp seed oil, as outlined in the Journal of Food Chemistry, can be used as a supplementary “UV protectant with relatively high shielding power (SPF) and protection factor (PFA) scores”, providing “protection against both UVA (an origin of oxidative stress to the skin) and UVB.”
What’s important to know about THC and sun protection?

Our understanding of THC as a sun protectant is rooted in the advancement of marijuana cultivation techniques that arose in the 1980’s, specifically the use of artificial UV light sources and indoor grow houses.

When cannabis cultivators moved growing the plant from outdoors to indoors (greenhouses), they removed a lot of dangers to the plant: wind, soaking rains, animals, insects, and more. While this dramatically increased the crop yield and the plant grew well, something was different. These large, robust marijuana crops were far below their THC potential.
The reason? These new indoor-grown marijuana crops were not subject to the same direct UVB light as they were before under direct sunlight. And here is our first correlation point between UVB and THC.

What subsequent studies revealed was that THC has very high UVB absorption rates, meaning it acts as a sunblock of sorts for the cannabis plant.

Therefore, without the stress of UV rays, the plant adapted and produced less THC — devoting its energy and resources to other areas. So what did growers do? Since higher levels of THC has traditionally been the ultimate goal (for medical and recreational purposes), many growers increased the exposure to UV (as much as they could without damaging the plant) and wouldn’t you know, THC levels rose.
Beyond this grow house explanation, this direct correlation between THC and UV is evidenced from the study of various cannabis strains and their natural environments.

For example, some of the world’s most notable hashish production areas (Rif Mountains of Morocco, the Beqaa Valley of Lebanon, the Hindu Kush) all have noteworthy common denominators: they are all close to the 30th Parallel North (30 °N latitude on the globe), have excellent marijuana-growing climates, receive healthy levels of sunlight, and all rest at higher elevation points. Closer to the equator means higher UV levels because the suns rays have a shorter distance to travel; higher elevation means higher UV levels because a thinner atmosphere filters less UV radiation.
And there it is — the cannabis plant produces THC (at least in part) to protect itself from UV (specially UV-B) rays, which is why we have used it to fully round-out our all-natural approach to sun protection.

Both Divios’ Protect and Protect PLUS products are also fully UV Broad Spectrum Protection.

In our preliminary blind testing lab results, our THC infused formulas added (on average) an additional 10 point SPF boost to our already based score of 30+ SPF. More research is underway, but to date, our Protect product lines have both been rated ‘Ultra’ on the Boots Star Rating system (for UK, EU labeling), which is the highest grade category assigned for sunscreen testing, and quite frankly, an area that most sunscreen companies and their products (especially chemical ones) are routinely ‘Average’ or below.