High Country: A trio of cannabis massages to try in Aspen | AspenTimes.com

High Country: A trio of cannabis massages to try in Aspen

Katie Shapiro

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, it 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."

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."

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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:

Head in the Clouds

Heaven on Earth Day Spa

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. $155 (60 minutes), heavenonearthaspen.com

CBD Healing Customized Massage

St. Regis Aspen

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.

$250 (60 minutes), stregisaspen.com

The Bohemian

O2 Aspen

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.

$200 (60 minutes), CBD oil upgrade to any service ($50), o2aspen.com

Katie Shapiro's ski legs swear by Apothecanna's Circulating Cream. She can be reached at katie@katieshapiromedia.com and followed around high country @kshapiromedia.

NEXT LEVEL LOVE

Keep your Valentine’s Day celebration going all month long and try one (or all!) of these sensual cannabis products at home:

1906 High Love

Artisan-infused chocolatier brand 1906 has created the world’s first edible cannabis aphrodisiac — a feat that took more than two years of research and development to complete. Founder Peter Barsoom explains, “We not only made it our mission to create a product that delivered a pleasurable experience to both men and women, but to deliver that experience via the most powerful plant medicines in the world.” After experimenting with hundreds of different botanicals, High Love “sex chocolate” combines the strain Blue Dream (known for its euphoric effects) with the healing and stimulating extracts of damiana, catuaba, muira pauma, theobromine and ashwagandha.

Shop: Native Roots, $28 (beans), $23 (chocolate), nativerootsdispensary.com

Foria Awaken

Two words: cannabis lube. Foria was the first on the market when it launched in 2014 and since then has heightened the sense of awareness and pleasure in the best place possible. Formulated with full spectrum CBD from organically grown Colorado hemp along with a synergistic blend of eight all-natural aphrodisiacs including kava kava, cacao, hemp, vanilla and cinnamon, the edible, vegan and gluten-free oil increases blood flow, promotes natural lubrication and heightens sensation. Foria instructs to “allow 30-40 minutes to relax and fully absorb the medicine into the vagina — a great time for foreplay or sensual massage.” PSA: it is not compatible with Latex condoms.

Shop: Silverpeak, $45, silverpeakaspen.com

Apothecanna Sexy Time, $50

Apothecanna’s answer to intimacy oil works just as well, concocted with jasmine, coconut and argan to enhance sensitivity and increase blood flow. With a shorter activation time and lighter consistency, “apply to neck, chest and other erogenous zones” 15 minutes before intercourse for an orgasm that’s out of this world.

Shop: Green Dragon, $50, greendragoncolorado.com

Mary Jane’s Medicinals Massage Oil

DIY cannabis massage a.k.a. “ganjassage” with this cannabis oil blended with grape seed, avocado, jojoba, almond and lavender oils. Easily absorbed into the skin, it was formulated by Telluride-based masseuse turned topical queen Dahlia Mertens.

Shop: Roots Rx, $31 (2oz), rootsrxstores.com