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THC-infused lotion takes massage to the next level
As I walked out of LoDo Massage's RiNo studio near downtown Denver I felt centered and straightened, corrected and focused. The body tuneup I'd just received was like nothing I'd ever experienced.
Actually, I take that back.
This feeling, the physiological equivalent of a Washed Out jam or Sigur Ros ballad, was familiar. As I made my way to my car, I wasn't walking. I was floating. And I'd floated like this before — after my first acupuncture treatment, which was so life-altering that I immediately wrote a short story about it in an attempt to capture the essence of a feeling I never knew existed outside of science fiction.
And somehow this otherworldly sensation was sensibly fitting, this subtle float to my car and back to the newsroom. I had just received a 60-minute Mile High Therapeutic Massage that used a THC- and CBD-infused lotion. Between the skilled therapist's focused work and the potently medicated lotion, it was one of the most gratifying therapeutic exercises I've ever experienced.
And now a few pre-emptive answers:
No, I wasn't high.
I didn't smoke or vaporize before or after the massage.
And no, the lotion didn't get me stoned. (That's not how topicals work.)
As I floated to my desk in the newsroom and looked around, I saw everything as it was: straight up and down, but with a gentle focus. The gentle focus part is always there after a solid massage, but rarely do I see linear structures and surroundings as straight up and down — because rarely am I straight up and down.
I could tell you about my left shoulder blade for the next 30 minutes, but I won't. I told massage therapist Taylor Diller about the constant pain and discomfort I'd been feeling there before the massage, and she gently said, "Yeah, that makes sense," when she first felt the knot that permanently resides in my upper-left back.
And then she went to work. She favored my left shoulder but also intuitively paid careful attention to my calves and neck, which were also particularly sore that afternoon. At first, the lotion — from the Colorado company Apothecanna — worked like any other massage lotion. But about 20 minutes into the massage its unique ingredients warmed up and turned my skin into a particularly malleable canvas.
In the past six months of experimentation with infused topicals, I've learned that not all of these salves and lotions and balms are created equally. I have favorites, and there are also other brands I would never spend money on again. After a half-hour of this massage, Apothecanna was immediately at the top of my topicals list.
Again, infused topicals don't get you stoned. But the best topicals I've used have a way of opening up the skin's sensory profile, like a more nuanced Icy Hot. Rub the topical into the area that experiences pain or pressure. Give the topical time to take root. And then gently rub it in, taking time to work the surface skin and the muscles and tendons underneath.
When combined with the hands of a learned massage therapist, these topicals become even more powerful weapons against pain. This massage had an elevated quality to it, and I felt especially attuned to my shoulder knot as she worked and worked and worked on it. I noticed the lessening tension with each sweep Diller took, and by the time I floated on down the street to my car, I realized I was indeed walking straight up and down — and without the tension that has occupied my shoulder for five or six years.
Each 8-ounce bottle of Apothecanna's Pain Cream sells for around $45 and includes 240 milligrams of cannabis extracts, "approximately 80 percent THC and 4 percent CBD," said Apothecanna founder James Kennedy.
Mind you, this THC-infused lotion is not a miracle potion. But it's superior to any other lotion or oil I've encountered in previous massages. It felt like it enabled my massage therapist to do the work she was trying to do. And I was so impressed with her work that I immediately rebooked.'
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