Welcome to the World of Topical Cannabis
My first official blog! Welcome to the world of topical cannabis! I began this journey 4+ years ago in 2014 when a friend and mentor asked me what I knew about topical cannabis and using it in a full body massage. At the time, I didn’t know anything but my curiosity was peaked. It has been a long and winding road and I am excited to begin sharing with you what I have learned and continue to learn. There is so much we don’t yet know or understand about the Cannabis Plant and the Endo Cannabinoid System. New research and products are coming out every day and my hope is to educate you and help you to make the right choice for you and your clients.
Hopefully you have spent a bit of time going over my website – which I created sort of as a Cannabis 101. When I started this journey – I honestly didn’t know much about cannabis – not really my thing. I certainly had never thought about using any form of it in my practice. Here I am 4 years later and I use topical cannabis in my practice every day. I have created a 4-hour class to teach other massage therapists what I have learned and to share my excitement for the future of this amazing plant in massage therapy.
I want to be very clear that my mission is to focus on the use of topical cannabis. There is plenty of information out there on the internal use of cannabis – and while I am not opposed to internal use – it is not my focus. In the massage industry – it is not in our scope to diagnose or prescribe – thus my focus on topicals. Topical cannabis-infused lotions, oils and salves will not cross the blood brain barrier and will not get either the massage therapist or the client high.* To date – all the drug testing I have done on my clients and myself has come back negative for cannabinoids. There are a few caveats to this statement: Assuming the product you are using does not have any ingredients that “push” the cannabinoids into the bloodstream – like emu oil or DMSO. If a client were to receive a full-body massage with a topical cannabis product that contained THC and immediately took a hot bath – it would be possible that the product could come off in the water and be absorbed through the mucus membranes of the body sitting in the bathtub. I don’t want to focus too much on the small stuff – but it is important to consider.
For my first blog, I wanted to tell you how and why this has become a passion of mine. In subsequent blogs I hope to tell you about my journey along the way and highlight many of the people whom I have met and learned from along the way. I am super excited to launch full steam ahead teaching classes about the history, the biology and chemistry, and the laws surrounding the use of topicals. I have met so many people along the way – perhaps the best way to go is chronologically.
My friend and mentor, Dr. Penny Domm DC asked me what I knew about topicals to which I said – “nothing.” Pandora’s Box was open now and I couldn’t stop thinking about whether or not this was something that merited my time. I was conflicted because I was serving as a board member at the Oregon Chapter of the American Massage Therapy Association, I was a mother of two high school students (and cannabis was not legal for recreational use in Oregon at the time). Plus I am married to a trial lawyer, which actually had it’s pluses and minuses. Nevertheless, when I traveled to Washington State University to see my niece compete in a volleyball tournament, I happened to drive by a cannabis shop and decided to be brave and go in to see what it was all about. Of course I made my sister in law go in with me! Besides the extreme flood of terpenes to my olfactory senses – it wasn’t a dark and seedy place that I had imagined. I spent about $200 on my first batch of topicals and was skeptical but excited to try them on my regular clients. It was their reaction and feedback to the products that has landed me here today.
The journey will continue. Thanks for reading!
I promise at least one blog per week, but I hope at the beginning to get most of the origin story out so I can move on to telling you about the producers and products plus up to date research and changes to the law. For everything topical – stick with me!
*I am not an expert – I am a middle aged, college-educated, curious, open-minded, professional licensed massage therapist who spends lots of time doing research and talking to people in the cannabis industry. I love learning and being informed – so if you know something that I don’t – or I get something not quite right – please, please contact me!