The only drugs I’ve taken are those that can be found in a pharmacy. Puff, puff, pass? More like “let’s just pass because I know my body and know it would not react well to anything psychoactive.” Though I currently take Prozac for anxiety and OCD, I am closely monitored by my doctor and am aware of how much I can handle when it comes to balancing out my brain chemistry. I wasn’t planning on adding anything else to my medicine cabinet…until the CBD trend swept the nation (it’s been estimated that the CBD industry has doubled in size the last two years).
CBD (or cannabidol) is a compound that can be found in cannabis. It’s one of 400 different compounds in cannabis, 60 of which are specific to the plant and are known as “cannabinoids.” One such cannabinoid is CBD, which High Times explains is a key part of what makes marijuana both medicinal and therapeutic. A small 2011 study specifically found that CBD reduced anxiety in participants who ingested an oral dose of the cannabinoid, and that same year, another study found that anxiety was lessened in subjects coping with social anxiety disorder when they participated in a public speaking simulation while under the effects of CBD. It’s important to mention that CBD is not psychoactive, so it won’t get you high like the cannabinoid THC.
After hearing about the benefits of CBD from friends (and headlines everywhere), my curiosity was piqued when my favorite L.A. massage boutique, The Now, announced the addition of a CBD massage.
Codie Feldman, the retail and marketing assistant at The Now, added that the CBD enhancement has been selling out since its arrival in stores.
What I personally found interesting is that the CBD-infused massage cream can help ease stress and anxiety. As someone who carries stress in my neck and shoulders, I wanted to see if the CBD would make a difference. I wanted to know: Would the CBD cream ease the tension in my body? In my mind? In both? To answer these questions, The Now kindly allowed me to give their new massage a try.
Upon meeting my massage therapist, the amazing Sims Holland, I was captivated by a tiny plastic cup in her hand. It contained the CBD cream, which I presumed she had to retrieve from a safe in the back (my imagination runs wild). After chatting for a bit and telling her about my neck and shoulder issues, Sims gestured to her plastic cup of magic and asked if I would like the cream concentrated in those areas. I eagerly nodded, wanting to know if the enhancement would have an effect on these tense areas of my body.
Immediately, I could feel a difference. As the cream worked its way into my upper back, I felt a tingly sensation followed by a sense of calm. My shoulders melted into Sims’ hands and my neck didn’t feel nearly as stiff as it normally does. As someone who has had massages at The Now before, I noticed that I was able to relax faster with the CBD massage.
Normally, I’m hyperaware of the fact that I’m naked on a table in a foreign space where a stranger is about to touch my entire body. This time, I didn’t give a fuck. I felt present in the moment and accepting of the fact that this was my time to shed pounds of stress. For once, I leaned into my relaxation time, all thanks to the effects of the CBD.
Verdict: The CBD massage is the best massage I’ve ever received.
After leaving the boutique, I was shocked at the fact that I didn’t feel tense while driving. I’m an anxious driver, and my body often conveys that. My shoulders become tight, my neck immobile. This time around, I felt loose and flexible and actually enjoyed my ride home.
Once I reached my house, I made up my mind to try my boyfriend’s vape pen from Level Blends (though they do not currently sell the CBD-specific product he has). He’d been recommending that I try vaping CBD oil for weeks, to help with my anxiety, but I was afraid to give it a try — despite knowing the benefits and that it’s not psychoactive. However, this massage opened me up to the world of CBD and days later, I tried the vape pen.
After inhaling the CBD vapor, I noticed heightened mental effects when compared to the massage. While the CBD massage primarily helped ease the muscles in my neck and shoulders, the CBD vapor mainly affected my mental state. It lessened my anxiety, made me happier, and later helped me fall asleep. It did relax my body, but it was more of a general feeling of relaxation that wasn’t specific to a certain area of my body.
After my two experiences with CBD, I’m interested to try the cannabinoid in other forms. CBD honey? CBD latte? CBD bath bomb? I’m game. As a woman who has trouble relaxing, I can use all the non-psychoactive help I can get.