With growing public interest in the health benefits of CBD, a number of local spas and massage therapists here in Massachusetts, such as Interlock in Newburyport, E-motion Sports Massage in Everett and Saltwater Massage in Gloucester, have introduced CBD-infused massage as part of their offerings.

CBD massage helps to relax clients, reduces muscle tension and inflammation, leading to a better overall massage. Here’s what Andrea Kennedy, a Remede Spa client in California told the San Francisco Chronicle about her CBD massage experience: “Seriously, it was 90 minutes of heaven,” she said. “I had a hard workout that morning, and I wasn’t even the slightest bit sore after the massage.”

If you’re a massage therapist or someone who enjoys a professional massage, you may have reservations about CBD, need more information before offering it in your professional practice, or seeking it as a client. As experts in the home cultivation of cannabis, we’ve done extensive research on the use and benefits of cannabis and its extracts, like CBD. We’d like to share answers we’ve found to some of the most common questions about CBD and massage therapy.

What is CBD and how does it work?

Cannabidiol, commonly known as CBD, is an active ingredient in both hemp and low-THC strains of cannabis.

CBD works with the body’s own endocannabinoid system, where naturally produced cannabinoids bind with receptors throughout the body to balance heart, digestive, endocrine, immune, nervous, and reproductive functions. CBD does not bind directly with these receptors, but can positively influence their molecular signaling systems, their receptors, and ion channels, thereby helping to reduce such problems as inflammation, pain, insomnia and anxiety.

While herbalists have appreciated the benefits of cannabis for millennia, medical science has only recently discovered a number of positive uses for CBD. These applications have been proven effective, or have indications of positive physical/mental impact:

  • Providing pain relief
  • Reducing inflammation
  • Treating chemotherapy symptoms: nausea, loss of appetite and insomnia
  • Relieving anxiety
  • Treating epilepsy
  • Preventing diabetes
  • Reducing symptoms of Alzheimer’s
  • Quitting smoking
  • Reducing opioid abuse
  • Preventing the spread of cancer

What are the benefits of a CBD massage?

CBD, infused into massage oil, is absorbed through the skin into your body, where it quickly acts on muscles, helping to ease tension and reduce pain & inflammation, allowing therapists to go deeper in their body work. While not psychoactive, CBD can create a sense of calm, helping you to relax into the massage and achieve all its positive effects.

Will CBD make me high?

CBD is not psychoactive—neither massage therapists nor their clients will get high from CBD.  While most CBD used in massage therapy is derived from hemp, some massage therapists choose to use CBD derived from cannabis. They do this for what is known as the “entourage effect”—the positive interaction of CBD and THC which is believed to improve the effectiveness of CBD. While THC is the compound that produces the traditional marijuana “high”, the potency levels in cannabis-derived CBD oil are too low to have that effect in massage.

Is a CBD massage legal?

CBD oil derived from hemp is legal in the U.S. based on the 2014 Farm Bill. With hemp-based CBD oil treated as a dietary supplement and widely available in stores and on-line, massage therapists can sell this kind of CBD to their clients.

While medical and recreational cannabis products are legal in Massachusetts, they can be sold only in licensed dispensaries.  Cannabis-based CBD can be used in massage, but sale of the oil outside a licensed dispensary is currently prohibited.

Will CBD from a massage show up in a drug test?

No—most drug tests do not test for CBD.  Even CBD oil with low-levels of THC will not register as abusive levels on drug tests.

Further Reading

If you’d like to learn more about CBD and massage therapy, consider these useful articles:

Harvard Health Publishing: “Cannabidiol (CBD): What We Know and Don’t” 

Leafly: “What’s Better than a Massage? A Cannabis-infused Massage” 

Infinite CBD: “A CBD Massage Provides Stress Relief, Relaxation and Improved Posture” 

Shape Magazine: “Why You Should Really Get a CBD Massage” 

US Drug Test Centers: “Can You Fail a Drug Test Due to CBD?”