How CBD-Infused Oil Changed My Self-Care Routine

Photo: Milles Studio

There are many, many things to love about Colorado, and their embrace of therapeutic cannabis is but one of them. I’m not just talking about dispensaries—I recently had a full-body massage with a CBD-infused oil at this forward-thinking spa and it changed the way I care for my muscles, joints, and other pains.

CBD, or cannabidiol, is one of several hundred active compounds in cannabis; unlike THC, it has no psychoactive effects (so no giggling and "this is great stuff, man"), but it does seem to have a host of health benefits when it’s absorbed through the skin or swallowed in tiny doses—think fighting off inflammation, reducing muscle tension, and quelling anxiety.

Based on my post-massage blissed out, stress-free version of myself: I’m a believer. My masseuse used this hemp cream from a nearby organic, biodynamic farm. It felt like normal deep-tissue massage, but I was loose and limber for a full 24 hours afterward, which never happens. Normally I start tensing up again within an hour of any massage sans cannabis. I took home a tub of it to try to keep the good vibes going, and I am a total convert—I can’t stop recommending the product to friends. Here are five of my favorite rituals inspired by my newfound love of CBD-infused products:

1. Soothes achy feet.

I’ve been seeing specialists about my various foot problems since sophomore year of college, and while I’ve mostly figured out what shoes and orthotic insoles keep pain at bay since then, occasionally I’ll sprawl on the couch or lie down in bed and notice just how loudly my dogs are barking. When that happens, I apply CBD cream from toe to ankle, following my college physical therapist’s advice to massage toward the heart with slow, deep strokes.

2. Reduces strain from old injuries.

I slipped on a patch of ice and badly sprained my wrist several winters ago, and to this day, the joint bugs me—it’s a bit like having carpal tunnel syndrome. Now I massage a dab of cream onto my wrist before bed every night and I’ve noticed a huge improvement. For the first time in years, I can get through an entire vinyasa class (so many chaturangas!) without having to toss in the occasional knees-chest-chin or child’s pose to give the wrist a break.

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3. Calms down a painful sunburn.

When I started to turn coral-pink after a day at the beach, I rubbed my arms and back with the hempy-smelling cream. Poof: Within a few hours, the pain had disappeared, and the redness had faded.

4. Rejuvenates sore muscles.

I’m a sucker for tingly creams when my muscles feel sore—say, after getting myself to a Pilates class after a long hiatus—but I hate using them at night because I swear the minty smell and aggressive prickling keeps me up. Plus, there aren't any long-term benefits. Unless infused with mint essential oils, CBD cream doesn’t bring any tingle, but it does fight soreness overnight, so I wake up feeling rejuvenated.

5. Relieves period pain.

I got this idea from Julie Holland, M.D., author of The Pot Book: When cramps strike, I rub the lotion on my low belly and pelvis every few hours. It works like a charm—the pain goes from blowtorch-inside-my-guts unbearable to a totally tolerable occasional contraction.

Next time you're experiencing pain, soreness, or aches, try picking up a CBD-oil-infused oil or cream. Look for one that's organic and sustainably sourced, and get ready to feel the bliss!

If you love massages too, check out this self-massage how-to.

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