A trio of cannabis massages to try in Aspen

First things first: cannabis-infused topicals do not get you high. I repeat, they do not get you high. Even when said creams, lotions and potions are formulated with THC.

Most products on the market, though, are CBD-based, which when applied to the skin (and not absorbed into the bloodstream) provide a plethora of healing properties from reducing pain and improving circulation to providing hydration and fighting inflammation. Short for cannabidiol, CBD is the non-psychoactive cannabis compound extracted from the plant. It’s another term to know in the ever-expanding legal lexicon and might already just be the biggest buzzword of the year.

The World Health Organization announced in late 2017 that after an initial review, CBD doesn’t warrant international scheduling. And now that the golden gates of California have opened to recreational cannabis, it’s only the beginning of a wellness revolution.

One Aspenite ahead of the trend? Heaven on Earth Day Spa owner Pila Xian, who started offering cannabis massages two years ago when she discovered the Denver-based line Apothecanna through her yoga teacher.

A migraine sufferer, Xian was handed a bottle of its extra-strength cream and her migraine “immediately went away,” she says. “After that moment, I started researching cannabis lotions and called the company to find out more.”

(Photo by Anna Stonehouse, The Aspen Times)

Founded by a former product development executive at Aveda, the line is wildly popular across dispensaries in Colorado, which carry its THC and CBD combination formulas made with “all-natural, wildcrafted plant ingredients.”

Xian says that there’s no noticeable difference in effectiveness when using its CBD-only formulas, offered in its portfolio to enable retailers and spas outside of dispensaries to carry (and ship) its body oils and creams.

“CBD helps decrease muscle inflammation and turns off the pain receptors in the skin, making it ideal for use in massage,” she explains. “So many people are living with chronic pain, and CBD is an instant, better alternative than taking a Tylenol — or even worse — opioids.”

Last summer, Irisha Steele, director of Remède Spa at the St. Regis Aspen, introduced a CBD product line into its service offerings — the first-ever property in the five-star resort’s portfolio of international destinations to do so.

“Christopher Cook — our lead therapist and visionary behind us implementing this service — was passionate about the results that he had personally experienced from using That’s Natural!” Steele explains.

Founded in 2005 by Tisha Casida, the Aspen-based company is an industry leader that uses Colorado-grown hemp, a clean CO2 extraction process and is solvent- and preservative-free. As a hands-on partner, Casida has also worked with Steele in creating specially stamped St. Regis Aspen CBD-Rich Hemp Oil, Super Salve and Body Lotion products for sale in its boutique.

Calling the partnership “a perfect fit for our clientele in Aspen,” Steele says she continues to hear life-changing feedback.

“One of our regular guests has been in pain for 10 years due to a previous injury, and after receiving our CBD healing massage his immediate response was that the pain was gone. He now comes back biweekly for a CBD healing massage treatment. We’re also seeing a lot of skiers and snowboarders coming in after injuries for quick recovery to get back out on the mountain.”

So now that the snow is finally falling, here’s where to find a cannabis massage in town so you can make the most of every powder day:

Apothecanna products used in the spa treatment. (Photo by Anna Stonehouse, The Aspen Times)

Head in the Clouds

Heaven on Earth Day Spa

Price: $155 (60 minutes)

During Xian’s signature cannabis massage, she alternates between Apothecanna’s Extra Strength and Circulation body creams paired with long, flowing strokes for an even deeper deep-tissue session focused on pain relief and muscle relaxation.

The CBD-infused massage at St. Regis. (Courtesy of the St. Regis Aspen Resort)

CBD Healing Customized Massage

St. Regis Aspen

$250 (60 minutes)

As with all Remède Spa massages, therapists work with every client to tailor each treatment. Whether seeking relief from muscle soreness and tension to reducing anxiety and stress, That’s Natural!’s CBD-Rich Hemp Oil, Super Salve and Body Lotion products (all also available for purchase in the boutique and legal to travel with) will leave your mind, body and spirit feeling better than ever.

The Bohemian is another marijuana-infused spa you’ll find in the high country. (Photo provided by O2 Spa)

The Bohemian

O2 Aspen

$200 (60 minutes), CBD oil upgrade to any service ($50)

Spa director Ferris Nickerson says she “truly believes in the healing powers of the cannabis plant.” So, the latest addition to O2 Aspen’s treatment menu? A therapeutic massage with hemp lotion from Nature’s Root — the world’s first-ever hemp-based spa in Longmont. After taking a yoga or pilates class in the gorgeous new studio (which celebrates its grand opening on Saturday, Feb. 17), head downstairs for the ultimate post-workout recovery.


Katie Shapiro’s High Country column also appears in The Aspen Times. Follow her on Twitter at @kshapiromedia.


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