The word is out about the health and wellness benefits of (cannabidiol) CBD, and more spas are featuring this natural cannabis compound in treatments and retail offerings. In 2019, the International Spa Association (ISPA) US Spa Industry Study reported that 18 percent of spas featured CBD offerings in 2018. Looking ahead, 56 percent of spas indicated plans to add CBD offerings over the next two years. Clients may already be asking about CBD and, if not, it may just be a matter of time before they do.
You’ll first want to explain that CBD is one of the over 60 cannabinoids or naturally-occurring chemicals found in industrial hemp and marijuana. Cannabinoids interact with the body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS), which comprises endocannabinoids or neurotransmitters that send chemical messages between neurons, the cells that transmit nerve impulses. The ECS has CB1 and CB2 cannabinoid receptors. CB1 receptors are mostly located in the brain; CB2 receptors are mostly found in immune cells and a few neurons.
The ECS acts to restore balance whenever something happens with one of the body functions, such as appetite, sleep, immune response, and more. When CBD interacts with the CB2 receptor, it inhibits pain and inflammation. It also releases tension that causes anxiety.
Topical Pain Relief
CBD topical products have the ability to work their way deep into the tissues and so are being used for musculoskeletal and joint pain relief. Treatments using CBD have been shown to relieve arthritis, neurological disorders, broken bones, and overworked muscles.
A study reported in the European Journal of Pain looked into the effectiveness of a topical CBD gel on rats to reduce inflammation and pain from arthritis. The CBD was applied to the rats for four consecutive days. Results indicated a significant drop in joint swelling and signs of pain. The data indicated that topical CBD has therapeutic potential to relieve arthritis pain-related behaviors and inflammation without evident side effects.
It’s best to apply CBD products directly to problem areas. Other areas of the body can benefit from topical relief:
Elbows, knees, and other joints
All areas of your feet
Clients who seek massage to help lower anxiety can benefit from CBD-infused massage treatments. Many Americans are already turning to CBD to help lower anxiety. A recent survey on the use of CBD found that among those that use CBD, about 55 percent of those who have tried it say they used it to relax, and another 50 percent said they were looking for stress and anxiety relief.
A 2011 study found that CBD reduced Social Anxiety Disorder (SAD) among participants in a simulated public speaking test (SPST). Pretreatment with CBD significantly reduced anxiety, cognitive impairment, and discomfort in control patients' speech performance and significantly decreased alert levels in their anticipatory speech. The placebo group presented higher anxiety, cognitive impairment, discomfort, and alert levels when compared with the control group.
You’ll also want to incorporate CBD into skin treatments as well as massage. In addition to its pain and anxiety-reducing benefits, CBD has anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial, and anti-itch qualities, making it effective for treating chronic inflammatory skin conditions. Among its other skin benefits, CBD:
It contains essential fatty acids such as Omega-3 and Omega-6, which keep the skin hydrated and supple and promote collagen production.
It helps restore the skin and promotes cell regeneration to repair the skin barrier, which defends against damaging environmental effects and keeps the skin from losing moisture.
It shows promise in reducing sebum production, the oily substance found in skin and hair, which leads to acne, clogged pores, and other blemishes.
You probably have even more questions about CBD effectiveness. There is a wealth of information online, and we’re happy to answer any questions you have. We also have a few treatments you may want to try to get you started on your CBD massage therapies:
 Whitby, Megan, “ISPA’s US Spa Study: cannabidiol is industry’s next big things say 43 percent of respondents,” Spa Business, October 2019. https://www.spabusiness.com/wellness-news/ISPA%E2%80%99s-US-Spa-Study:-cannabidiol-is-industry%E2%80%99s-next-big-thing-say-43-per-cent-of-respondents-/343425
 Mackie K. Cannabinoid receptors: where they are and what they do. J Neuroendocrinol. 2008 May;20 Suppl 1:10-4. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2826.2008.01671.x. PMID: 18426493. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/18426493/
 Hammell DC, Zhang LP, Ma F, et al. Transdermal cannabidiol reduces inflammation and pain-related behaviors in a rat model of arthritis. Eur J Pain. 2016;20(6):936‐948. doi:10.1002/ejp.818. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4851925/
 Kopf, Dan and Avins, Jenni. “New data show Americans are turning to CBD as a cure-all for the modern condition,” Quartz, April 15, 2019. https://qz.com/1590765/survey-shows-americans-use-cbd-to-treat-anxiety-and-stress/
 Bergamaschi MM, Queiroz RH, Chagas MH, et al. Cannabidiol reduces the anxiety induced by simulated public speaking in treatment-naïve social phobia patients. Neuropsychopharmacology. 2011;36(6):1219‐1226. doi:10.1038/npp.2011.6. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21307846/