I Tried a Cannabis Massage and This Is What Happened
I know what you’re thinking: Did it get you high?
That’s all anyone asked me after I got a massage with cannabis cream in Denver, where marijuana is legal.
While I consider myself a connoisseur of spas and weed (only where it’s legal, of course), I still wasn’t entirely sure what to expect from the LoDo Massage Studio. I booked the studio’s signature Mile High Massage using Apothecanna’s Pain Cream, a massage lotion laced with cannabis (plus arnica, peppermint, and juniper—but who cares, right?).
Topical cannabinoids are, according to doctors, antioxidants and anti-inflammatories with, according to The Dude Lebowski, pain-killing properties. I’m going to be honest here—I’m suspicious of the never-ending health claims that position cannabis as a panacea: You can cook with it; it will cure a headache or help you sleep like a baby. It seems too good to be true.
But my massage was ridiculously good. I’m one of those “Harder! No, harder!” massage people. (Does this make me a masochist?) This one was intense even by my yardstick, but still I floated through it in a blissed-out blur. After the massage ended, I felt loosey-goosey relaxed and ready for a nap. Or an order of fries. Maybe someone could throw fries in my mouth while I napped? If I didn’t always want fries and a nap, I’d think there might be something to this topical cannabis business.
The only thing to do was investigate further! For science! So off to Primal Wellness in Englewood, Colorado, the “world’s first cannabis-infused spa.” Yes, that line is trademarked, and yes, every service here—facials, waxes, lash extensions, manicures—can be enhanced with something cannabis.
“Our gateway treatment for women is the manicure,” says Danielli Martel, who co-owns the shop. “We use Zoya natural nail polish and organic, vegan cannabis-infused oil during the hand massage. That’s when they get hooked.”
Since it doesn’t penetrate the bloodstream, topical cannabis has no psychogenic effects (meaning you won’t get stoned), but it relaxes muscles so the therapist can go deeper without causing pain. And as I discovered, the power of suggestion can make you feel high. Cannabis oil is also used at the spa to reduce the redness and sting of waxing and to calm stressed-out skin during facials. (“Put cannabis oil on a zit overnight,” says Martel. “You’ll look like a witch with a green wart, but it’ll clear up.”) Even getting lash extensions includes a depuffing cannabis mini massage around your eyes.
Later, therapist Angie Borgeson gave me the first Swedish massage I have ever enjoyed in my entire life. Her strokes were subtle and precise, like an experienced cat burglar picking a lock. “That’s cool,” I murmured into the face hole. “Hey, is there a big variance in how cold people’s feet are?” No idea why, but it seemed very important at the time.
So did it get me high? That depends on your definition. I didn’t get baked, but I felt something between a runner’s high and post-coital bliss, along with the certainty that massage and marijuana go together like peanut butter and chocolate. And I could definitely go for a Reese’s right now.
Update: Stoners aren’t exactly known for their business acumen. In the time it took to write this, Primal Wellness spa went out of business. But don’t worry: You still have options.I know what you're thinking: Did it get you high? That's all anyone asked me after I got a massage with cannabis cream in Denver, where marijuana is legal…. ]]>