The heart of the posh Solage, an Auberge Resort, where a room can cost more than $1,000 a night during the high season in California's Napa Valley, is its 20,000-square-foot spa. Treatments here include lavender butter body scrubs, oxygen facials, and the Solage signature “mudslide experience,” featuring mud customized with an essential oil of your choice.
Among the most extravagant services is CBD Mellow Me Out. The 135-minute “ultimate head-to-toe indulgence” uses cannabidiol-infused products, such as cannabidiol (CBD) coconut sugar scrubs and CBD oils, in every step of the journey — from scalp massage and foot rejuvenation to full-body exfoliation, massage and body wrap. Price tag: $420. (Guests can also add CBD oil to any massage for a mere $10.)
CBD is becoming as commonplace at luxe spas as plush robes and cucumber-flavored water. At spas in hotel brands such as Hilton, Marriott, St. Regis, and Ritz-Carlton, you can choose recovery massages that use CBD-infused salves and balms to relieve sore muscles; facials with CBD oils to impart an extra glow; and CBD-forward “journeys.” At the Rhapsody spa at the Westin Nashville in Tennessee, the Vital Body CBD Massage promises to “induce deep relaxation” with an “artisan crafted aromatic massage cream” (at $205 for 80 minutes, it's priced $20 higher than a similar service sans CBD).
You don't need to check into a hotel to enjoy a spa service spiked with hemp-derived CBD. You can likely find one in your own neighborhood.
Color Up Therapeutics, a Denver-based brand of CBD-infused facial, body, and wellness products that's sold primarily to estheticians and spa professionals, was launched less than five years ago, and is already available in more than 1,500 spas across the U.S., including at outposts nationwide of the posh Red Door Salon & Spa. There, you can add a CBD enhancement to a pedicure for $10 or, for $55, to a massage. CBD facials are coming soon. At Bellacures nail salons in Los Angeles, the Cannacure pedicures and Cannacure manicures ($65) pamper your hands and footsies with Kush Queen Relieve Pure CBD Softening Soak, Kush Queen Renew Sugar Scrub, and Kush Queen Melt Away Pain Relief Lotion.
The spa industry is poised to take even greater advantage of the healing properties — and the financial upside — of CBD. In August, American Spa magazine will launch its first-ever American Spa CBD Summit. The three-day trade show, which will be held in Aurora, Colorado, will include workshops such as “Budding into Wellness,” “CBD and the Skin,” “5 Steps to a Successful CBD Massage Launch,” “How to Incorporate CBD into Your Spa Menu,” and “Elevate the CBD Customer Experience.”
In “Break the Stereotype: Separate CBD, THC, and Marijuana,” spa owners and directors, estheticians and masseuses will likely learn the ABC's of CBD; namely that cannabidiol, a prominent compound of the cannabis plant, has a wide range of wellness benefits. While CBD can leave clients blissed and relaxed when it's incorporated into a spa service, it won't get them high, unlike THC, the intoxicating molecule in the marijuana plant.
Cannabidiol (CBD) spa treatments can be more affordable if applied specifically to areas of the body experiencing pain, said Rachel Rock, director of the Agave, The Arizona Spa in the Westin Kierland Resort and Spa in Scottsdale. (Photo courtesy of the Westin Kierland Resort and Spa)
As Julie Keller Callaghan, the event founder and American Spa's publisher and editor said in announcing the conference: “We have been watching and reporting on CBD for the past several years and have been amazed and inspired by the explosive growth of this market.”
Brooke Alpert, a dietitian who incorporates cannabis counseling into her practice, sees a strong upside to the CBD spa trend. “I believe the more people start seeing CBD in everyday settings, the more it helps destigmatize the use of CBD and cannabis,” she told Weedmaps News. “And when high-quality CBD is used in the spa by people who really know what they're doing, the benefits can be great. After all, CBD is an anti-inflammatory agent that's loaded with antioxidants.”
Be CBD-Savvy at the Spa
Still, Alpert cautioned that spa consumers need to be well informed before they book that CBD upgrade. Here are key questions to ask the spa:
What Are the Origins of the CBD You'll be Using?
“There are so many CBD companies out there, it's really important that the consumer is knowledgeable,” said Shauna Blanch, co-founder of Color Up and its chief operating officer. Hemp, as she notes, is a “bioaccumulator,” absorbing heavy metals and other chemical toxicants from soil. That's why it's a good idea to avoid CBD from hemp that is grown industrially and opt instead for a CBD brand that uses hemp grown organically on smaller farms in the U.S. and that enlists an independent third-party lab to verify the quality and purity of the products. The spa should be able to show you the CBD product or, if you're booking online or by phone, refer you to the product's website.
What is This Product Going to Do for My Skin or My Body?
“Therapists should be educated on the treatments they're providing,” said Ella Cressman, vice president of sales and education at Color Up Therapeutics. “And that means for starters, that they have a deep understanding of the body's endocannabinoid system. If an esthetician is offering a CBD facial, she should be able to explain why a CBD facial will benefit your skin. Studies, for example, have shown that CBD helps control oil production, has anti-inflammatory properties, and boosts cell turnover.”
Likewise, Blanch added, your massage therapist should be able to tell you how much CBD will be used in your treatment. “Our own analysis of studies and the anecdotal information we've gathered at our CBD Wellness center suggests that about 30 milligrams of CBD is a good dose to provide pain relief and reduce inflammation during a massage,” she said. “However, as an educated massage therapist will tell you, realizing benefits is not only about the amount of CBD. Other ingredients, like hempseed oil and coconut oil, will make that CBD more bioavailable, while topical ingredients, such as arnica, also relieve muscle soreness and pain.”
How Much Extra am I Paying for the CBD?
Add a CBD enhancement to your spa service and you might pay a premium of just $10 or many times that amount.
One example of pricing: At Agave, The Arizona Spa at the Westin Kierland Resort and Spa in Scottsdale, Arizona, a “CBD remedy” is offered as a supplement to services that include their athletic recovery massage, craniosacral energy therapy, and hot stone pedicure. These spot-specific CBD treatments utilize the Muscle Freeze topical and Elite Compound transdermal balm from Mary's Nutritionals, a Denver-based company that sources its hemp extract from organic U.S. grown plants. The cost of the add-on remedies: $19 to services that cost about $170 for 50 minutes.
“We had guests calling and receiving CBD services,” said Rachel Rock, Agave's spa director, “and we've been able to keep the costs affordable with these products. Instead of using the CBD all over the body, we focus treatment on specific areas, like the knees, neck, shoulder or back. Used in a pedicure, the relief these treatments provide for plantar fasciitis, which is an inflammation of tissues on the bottom of the foot, has been pretty incredible.” Rock notes that CBD treatments receive raves from both spa guests and staff. “Our spa therapists tell me that when they apply these CBD products on their clients they've noticed they get relief, too,” she said. “They experience a lot less strain in their own hands when they're doing massages for hour after hour.”
Alpert said that Agave's pricing seems fair. “If you're already spending $100 or more on a spa treatment, another $20 doesn't seem like a big deal and you probably will realize some benefit.” On the other hand, Alpert said, “if someone is saving up their money to have a pricey spa treatment because it uses CBD, I'd much rather they buy the product and use it at home for a month.”
In fact, many spagoers purchase a CBD product to take home after experiencing it in a treatment. “We have a wide range of CBD products in our spa boutique,” Rock said, “and the first ones to sell out are always the products that we use in the treatment rooms.”
Alpert cheered this news. “CBD spa services put these products in the hands of consumers who can really benefit from them.” However, she added one final cautionary note: “I think it's important to have realistic expectations of a CBD spa service. I don't think the answer to every problem is to pour CBD on top of it, and CBD spa services are not a miracle cure. These products take repeated use to provide real benefit.
“That said, I could go for a CBD massage right now.”
Find the top CBD brands on Weedmaps with self-care products ranging from CBD oils, vapes, edibles to topicals, flower, and more.