High times at the spa

A look at the burgeoning trend of cannabis- and hemp-infused products and spa services.

It’s a perfect marriage for pain relief: cannabis and topical treatments, together at last. With the growing popularity and mainstream acceptance of recreational marijuana—not to mention the legalization of it in Colorado, Oregon, Washington, Alaska, and the District of Columbia—it’s high time that pot seeps into other parts of our lives; naturally, skincare and therapeutic spa treatments are two of its first stops.

First, a Primer: CBD vs. THC
CBD and THC, both remedial ingredients in marijuana, are the two acronyms to know. CBD is cannabidiol and is non-psychoactive. CBD is also found in hemp, another variety of the cannabis plant. Both CBD and hemp are known to help calm anxiety and pain. THC, on the other hand, has psychoactive effects on its users, which is the "high" many people feel from marijuana. 

Remedial Applications
In states where marijuana is legal, some spas and massage studios are starting to incorporate topical THC and CBD treatments into their offerings. LoDo Massage Studio in Denver is one such place: Its Mile High massage (available as deep tissue, Swedish, sports therapy, and more) has numerous lotions and oils from which clients can choose, but one is Apothecanna's Pain Crème, which uses cannabis to help relieve inflammation. The THC only soothes; it doesn't enter the bloodstream, so its psychoactive effects aren’t felt. More upscale spas will certainly follow suit as the laws change. 

Massage lotions and oils aren’t the only products being infused with healing powers of marijuana. Companies such as Mary Jane’s Medicinals incorporate it into vast assortment: Heavenly Hash Bath uses cannabis leaves alongside Epsom salts, lavender, and chamomile to provide a soothing soak; it’s great as a hangover cure and is used by many insomniacs for better sleep. The Topical Tincture spray delivers a calming spritz to aches and injuries, proving especially helpful on headaches—just spritz it on the temples for quick relief. Another company, Care By Design (notice the acronym it creates), offers sprays and oils in graduating ratios of potencies of CBD and THC.

Buying & Legality
For the time being, you’ve got to adhere to state laws when purchasing any CBD- and THC-infused products. Hemp products that have less then 0.03% THC are legal in every state, and often sold at big retailers. However, if ordering something more potent online, it is against the law to ship to a state where pot is not yet legal—yes, even though these are topical applications which cannot deliver a proper high. It’s illegal to cross state lines with such goods, too, so proceed with caution. The severity of laws vary by state, so investigate your local ordinance; California, for instance, has more relaxed laws around remedial marijuana usage, so it’s going to have a more relaxed outlook than most others. Of course, many state laws could change during the next election cycle.