Are You Using CBD in Your Spa Services? (Maybe You Should Be)

by Jamie Newman | October 12, 2018

Kate Leydon started carrying Cannabidiol (CBD) products in her Chicago spa and shop, Ruby Room, two years ago. Then, she wasn’t sure how customers would receive it, so she started small with keeping a few edibles on retail shelves.

According to “CBD is one of the 104 chemical compounds known as cannabinoids found in the cannabis or marijuana plant, Cannabis sativa. Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is the main psychoactive cannabinoid found in cannabis, and causes the sensation of getting “high” that’s often associated with marijuana. However, unlike THC, CBD is not psychoactive.”

As CBD has gained popularity in the past year for its calming and anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant properties, with more companies coming out of Colorado and a growing awareness of it, Ruby Room has gained more of a reputation and cult-following because of CBD products they carry—companies with expanded lines including skincare, tinctures, bath salts and more—and new guests seek out the space for them.

According to, humans have been cultivating cannabis since 4000 years BCE. In 1533, scientists and physicians began studying the medical benefits of cannabis. In the mid-1950s, when scientists could extract cannabidiol and prove that CBD is a non-psychoactive component of the cannabis plant, the study and subsequent legal battle for CBD began.

The article continues:

“By the 1950s, CBD had been outlawed in all 50 states. Following the developments in scientific and medical research, the legality of CBD was brought back into question. Major landmark events must be noted in the legalization of CBD. On October 7, 2003, the United States government patented the first CBD based patent (used as a neuroprotectant) under U.S. Patent #6,630,507 [7]. In 2017, the first steps were taken for the FDA to approve CBD for medical uses.”

A Farm Bill came through that allowed more of the mass production of hemp, allowing farmers to legally be able to start growing the hemp plant. In states where marijuana has been legalized, there has been a lot of knowledge, experimentation and a acceptance of what the plant can produce. Word has spread, and CBD has become more and more mainstream seen on tradeshow floors, in beauty products and, in Ruby Room’s case, spa treatments.

Ruby Room’s CBD massage was launched six months ago. Leydon researched high-end CBD ointments that could be used for the treatment before she landed on one from a company based out of—you guessed it—Colorado. The product is used in the treatment and applied to the neck, décolleté, hands, arms, and feet.

“It’s really taken over,” says Ali Starbuck, Ruby Room’s lead esthetician. “Once you’ve gotten the CBD massage one time, you don’t want to go back; your massage has now turned into a CBD massage.

“Leydon got out in front of the movement because not a lot of salons and spas in the area offer CBD massages. It’s become really popular.”

Starbuck says she can watch as her guests feel the ointment’s effects as they become more relaxed and “literally melt onto the table” and leave looking like “a wet noodle.”

There are plenty of benefits of integrating CBD into the massage for both the guest and the esthetician. First off, due to the anti-inflammatory properties of CBD, the practitioner is able to get deep into the client’s tissue. Besides CBD, the cream contains menthol, which gives the treatment a cooling effect on the arms and legs that eventually warms up.

And, as the aesthetician, Starbuck says you are also feeling the effects of CBD.

“If I do three or four CBD treatments in a row, my hands feel like they’re really cold, like in ice, because of the menthol in it, but then I am relaxed,” she says. “I have to sometimes reground myself and refocus for my next treatment because I’m kind of in a chill mode. I usually feel the effects for eight hours. And the next day I’m really relaxed. It’s rejuvenating as well; it’s like that reset button.”

Starbuck adds some guests are a bit hesitant to try CBD retail and treatments at first, due to their preconceived notions on the cannabis plant. She educates them on CBD and explains how it is derived from resin from a hemp plant, which doesn’t contain THC. The benefits of CBD also tend to sway potential clients. Starbuck thinks CBD’s popularity is only going to continue to rise as more research is conducted and more people are proven its benefits. In fact, scientific studies have confirmed it may help treat a variety of ailments like chronic pain and anxiety, and the first CBD-derrived prescription drug in the U.S. Epidiolex, a prescription medication for epilepsy, was unanimously approved of by FDA’s advisory panel back in April.

Ruby Room’s CBD massage has seen tremendous success since its launch. Existing guests are hooked after they try it, and word-of-mouth brings in more new guests curious about treatment. And after experiencing it first-hand herself, this editor can say she never wants to get another massage without it.

To learn more, visit

Originally posted on Salon Today

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