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Cannabis & Wellness: The Spa Connection

To gain insight on what is causing the momentum, I decided to talk to Sandra Hinchliffe, author of The Cannabis Spa at Home. How to Make Marijuana-Infused Lotions, Massage Oils, Ointments, Bath Salts, Spa Nosh, and More.
09/09/2015 10:25am ET | Updated December 6, 2017
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Cannabis aka marijuana prohibition is entering its 78th year in the United States. But attitudes toward the plant are changing. Compared to 1968 when only 12% of the population supported legalizing marijuana, today the majority supports legalization.

Earlier this year I was very surprised to read that spa and wellness authority Spa Finder had listed "Cannabis: New spa and wellness connections" as their number two trend for 2015.

To gain insight on what is causing the momentum, I decided to talk to Sandra Hinchliffe, author of The Cannabis Spa at Home. How to Make Marijuana-Infused Lotions, Massage Oils, Ointments, Bath Salts, Spa Nosh, and More.

LH-How did you become interested in cannabis therapy?

SH-Well, I live in California and it is legal here used medicinally. I have a medical card. I'm an autoimmune survivor and have inflammatory arthritis so I have a lot of issues with chronic pain. I discovered that occasionally in the dispensary I would find lotions for pain relief. They weren't consistent but I was intrigued. I liked using them for muscle or joint pain because I could still work or drive without the "high" as when vaporizing or ingesting. So I started making my own salves and soaks at home. Because of my allergies I could choose hypo-allergenic ingredients as well.

LH-How did the book come about? Did you receive a lot of resistance from the publishing world?

SH-I actual had quite a few offers from publishers. Rita Rosenkranz is my agent and she's perfect for me as a first time author. I come from a retail, e-commerce background as a webmaster. In 2010 I launched Hempista.com as a blog. In 2012 I began publishing my recipes on the site and people were very excited so I decided to put them in a book. Rita shopped my book around and Sky Horse Publishing was interested. My editor, Nicole Frail is wonderful, she really did a lot of work on my book which launches on October 20. I have a Spa Kind app as well which was funded in just five days on Kickstarter.

LH-What are the origins of your recipes?

SH-All of the recipes are my original creations. The bath salt recipes you won't find in any other publication online or in historical literature. The concept behind the recipe is a full emulsion of distributing the cannabinoids and cannabis oils throughout using an herbal process so the essential oils are not floating on top of the water.
I have a few influences like Ayurveda. I'm using a lot of ginger, turmeric, black pepper and other herbs that are in everyone's cabinets. They smell wonderful and make great spa preparations.

LH-I love that some of the recipes use olive oil too.

I think that my quick start preparations and bath salt chapters are the crowning jewels in the book. Olive oil is versatile. Used at room temperature it's perfect for massage. Refrigerated it becomes an ointment consistency and if you freeze it, it becomes a balm. Frozen, I think it's fabulous for pain relief.

LH-Awesome. I'd love to try it for migraines. But what if marijuana is not legal in the state where you live?

SH-I'd suggest that people explore the benefits of hemp seed oil. Hemp is a form of cannabis and it's legal in all 50 states. You can buy it in Whole Foods and it contains no THC. You can substitute a little of that in my recipes.

LH-What are your thoughts on the influence of the spa industry in this area?

SH-I think that the spa industry has a real opportunity to spur cannabis use for people with health needs like chronic pain. I've spoken to people in European spas where it's used, Czechoslovakia for example. It's very different than in the U.S. They are more traditionally wellness and health driven. I would like to see cannabis playing a larger role in this. And you know the book's description is "75 recipes that can be made in the home or professional spa". Many people have allergies and want to know what ingredients are in the products. Here's a perfect marketing opportunity where spas can talk about what they've made.

LH- I found the information on the difference between THC and CBD very interesting. I had never heard about CBD.

SH-I lot of people have misconceptions I think. Cannabinoids are the active medicinal chemicals in cannabis. Only THC is known to cause the primary psychoactive effect. CBD, which may also be found is non-psychoactive and has many healing applications including pain, inflammation and anxiety relief. CBD has also been shown to be effective in controlling seizures particularly with children. Dr. Sanjay Gupta has spoken about that on CNN.

I had an opportunity to see a PDF file of Sandra's book. The images are beautiful, the recipes lush and easy to follow. As a spa professional I can easily see how it could become a "must have" item for any spa wishing to incorporate cannabis therapy into their repertoire of products and services.

But how do you feel about this? Please share your thoughts.

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