CBD Spa Treatments: Is This Spa Trend Here to Stay?

Trends are constantly changing in the wellness industry and while CBD is certainly nothing new, it has recently become popular in spas and salons. Cannabidiol or CBD is a beneficial compound found in the cannabis plant. Unlike its psychoactive cousin THC, it doesn’t product a high when ingested but it does provide a number of significant benefits for the body and mind.

Though CBD has been a rising trend in skincare for some time now, it is starting to become more popular in spa treatments. Read on to learn what CBD is, how it works, and why you should consider incorporating it into your spa menu.

What is CBD and How Does It Work?

Cannabidiol or CBD is a cannabinoid compound and the second most prevalent active ingredient found in cannabis. While marijuana (Cannabis indica) contains high concentrations of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the hemp plant (Cannabis sativa) is known for its CBD content. Both are cannabinoid compounds that interact with the body’s endocannabinoid system, but CBD doesn’t have psychoactive effects.

The effects of CBD on the human body are linked to its impact on the endocannabinoid system (ECS). This is a complex cell signaling system that plays a role in regulating a variety of essential processes and bodily functions including sleep, mood, memory, appetite, and reproduction. The endocannabinoid system is present in all mammals and remains active even if you never use cannabis.

To understand how CBD works, you need to have a basic understanding of the ECS and its three primary components: endocannabinoid compounds, receptors, and enzymes.

The human body naturally produces endogenous cannabinoids (called endocannabinoids) as needed to help keep essential processes running smoothing. Endocannabinoids bind to endocannabinoid receptors throughout the body to signal to the ECS when it needs to take action. The two primary endocannabinoid receptors are CB1 and CB2. Endocannabinoids can bind to either of these receptors and the effects depend on the location of the receptor and which endocannabinoid binds to it.

Researchers still don’t quite understand how the ECS works but they are coming to understand the interaction between the ECS and plant-based cannabinoid compounds.

Tetrahydrocannabinol has the ability to bind to both CB1 and CB2 receptors which enables it to trigger a range of effects in the body. Cannabidiol binds to these receptors in a different way than THC, though more research is needed to understand the true nature of this interaction. Researchers believe CBD may prevent endocannabinoids from breaking down which gives them greater potential in triggering benefits for the body such as pain relief.

A Quick History of CBD in the United States

Until fairly recently, CBD products were lumped into the same category as hard drugs like heroin – at least according to federal drug laws. In 2018, President Donald Trump signed the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 into law. Nicknamed the Farm Bill, this act made hemp-derived CBD and CBD products legal as long as they contain less than 0.3% THC by dry weight. Marijuana is still considered a Schedule 1 drug, but CBD is no longer subject to federal restrictions.

Though it wasn’t until 2018 that CBD became legal, the FDA actually eased regulatory requirements in 2015 to allow researchers to conduct CBD trials. The government’s position on CBD remains cloudy and restrictions vary from one state to another, but CBD products are now fairly easy to obtain. As such, CBD has become a popular ingredient in health and wellness products including, more recently, skincare products.

The Benefits of CBD

Marijuana has been used as a natural remedy for thousands of years but medical research regarding the benefits of cannabinoid compounds is still fairly new. Since CBD was legalized by the 2018 Farm Bill, however, numerous studies have been completed and scientists are starting to gain a better understanding of how cannabinoids like CBD work.

Here are some of the proven benefits of CBD:

  • CBD oil has shown great promise as a treatment for mood disorders including anxiety and depression. It has also been used to treat insomnia and anxiety in children suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). source
  • Extracts of CBD and THC has been shown to reduce symptoms related to cancer as well as side effects of cancer treatment like vomiting and pain. Some research suggests the two compounds are more effect in combination than alone. source
  • Some research suggests CBD may help treat acne by helping balance sebum production and reducing inflammation. Its antioxidant and inflammatory benefits may help with psoriasis as well. source
  • CBD may have neuroprotective properties which can benefit patients with neurological disorders like epilepsy and multiple sclerosis. In fact, the only FDA-approved CBD medication (Epidiolex) is approved for the treatment of epilepsy. source
  • By reducing high blood pressure, CBD may help support heart health and may reduce the risk for heart attack, stroke, and metabolic syndrome. source
  • When applied topical or taken orally, CBD has been shown to relieve pain. It is particularly beneficial for pain related to inflammatory arthritis, though it can also be beneficial for patients with chronic pain conditions. source

There are several different ways to take CBD. Edible CBD products such as oil tinctures, gummies, and even beverages are among the simplest option, though you can also take CBD oil sublingually. For pain relief and skin benefits, topical CBD is available in creams, gels, roll-ons, and more.

Tips for Incorporating CBD Into Your Spa Menu

According to a study conducted by the ISPA, 18% of spa business owners have integrated CBD into their retail sales or treatment menus. CBD is more commonly used in the southwest where these treatments were first legalized. In the southwest, 42% of spas offer CBD treatments compared to just 3% in the south and northeast. In total, only 16% of day spas reported offering CBD treatments in 2019.

Though research is still somewhat limited in terms of the skin benefits of CBD, this natural plant compound has great potential. If you’re thinking about incorporating it into your spa menu, there are plenty of options. Before you do, however, there are a few things you should think about.

Here are some things to keep in mind when incorporating CBD:

  • Restrictions and regulations vary from state to state. Check with your state to make sure CBD products are legal to purchase and sell before adding them to your spa menu.
  • Choose full-spectrum CBD. Broad-spectrum CBD has been processed to remove the THC but full-spectrum CBD contains the full array of cannabinoid compounds and other beneficial plant compounds like terpenes. A theory called the entourage effect suggests CBD is more powerful in combination with THC and other cannabinoids.
  • Do some research into dosage. Because CBD research is still fairly new, there aren’t any standard dosage recommendations quite yet. Some CBD products contain as little as 50mg while others go as high as 1,500mg. You can find CBD oil even more concentrated, up to 6,000 mg.
  • Be clear and specific in your marketing materials. Even though CBD is legal and doesn’t get you high, there’s still a lot of misinformation out there. If you choose to offer CBD treatments, be sure to communicate openly and honestly with your clients about the details.

Cannabidiol can be incorporated into a variety of different spa treatments. For example, CBD oil can be used in massage therapy to enhance relaxation and relieve pain. CBD skincare products can give your facial treatments an anti-inflammatory boost to help with everything from acne to psoriasis.

Your spa is your own and it’s your choice how you run it, but if you’re looking for a simple way to update your spa menu and keep up with current trends, consider giving CBD a try.