Your best friend moving across the country is not an ideal situation. But soaking in a big hotel bathtub filled with cannabis-infused bath salts absolutely, unequivocally, is.
I’m not talking about just CBD here. CBD can be derived from either marijuana or hemp (they’re both cannabis plants) and it’ll make you feel calm, or maybe even sleepy. You can find it in products like Lord Jones’s gummies, or Gossamer’s Dusk tincture. But hemp plants don’t produce THC, the psychoactive compound that makes you feel stoned—or, they do, but only in quantities of 0.3-percent or less, which won’t affect you at all. If you’re looking for the fun stuff (you know, cannabis products with THC), you’ll have to plan a little more. Recreational cannabis is currently legal (if you’re over 21) in 11 states, and in only seven can you actually buy it: dispensaries have been set up in Alaska, California, Colorado, Massachusetts, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington. Maine, Vermont, Michigan, and Illinois legalized recreational cannabis, but as of right now no dispensaries have been authorized yet.
I flew four hours—in flight math, that’s two movies or half of Jia Tolentino’s Trick Mirror—to Denver to meet my friend. Her hair was blonder and curlier, and my face immediately felt tight from the altitude and lack of humidity. We ate vegan ice cream and caught up. We also ate: breakfast burritos, caramel-covered apples, empanadas recommended by Guy Fieri. (A lot of Denver tourism, when not hiking or biking or immersing oneself in the red rocked bounties of nature, is food.) And then we wandered into one of Denver’s over 500 dispensaries to take a look at the selection.
If you think of cannabis-infused products as that one brownie you ate at a party in college, you should know this isn’t that. You should also know: the above description of casually popping into a dispensary is a boldface lie. Using the app Leafly, I tracked down several dispensaries and went into all of them, just to see the selection. Because they vary! There’s so much stuff. There’s the candy, like gummies and lollipops, chocolate bars and tins of Altoid-like mints. There is a slew of beverages in flavors like hibiscus and mango. There’s olive and coconut oils for cooking, sublingual strips and tinctures, patches, balms, suppositories for period cramps, lube.
What I really wanted this time was bath salts. After a weekend of dry-as-bone Denver air and a trek up a mountain that highlighted my out-of-shapeness, a good, long soak sounded downright divine. But I had never tried them before—would they really work? Yes, advised the budtender, they really would. And women feel the effects more than men because… well, orifices (sorry). He advised me to use one capful—an equivalent of 10 milligrams of THC and 10 of CBD, which is a standard dose. (For reference, a 20mg edible will knock me out and anything above that makes me sick to my stomach.) I must have looked skeptical because he added, “My girlfriend didn’t listen to me and used like half the bottle, and I had to go over to her house to physically pull her out of the tub.” Duly noted.
When I got back to the hotel that night, I ran the bath hot and dropped one capful of the salts in. They were meant to smell like lavender, rosemary, and cedarwood, but mostly they smelled like rubbing alcohol. Not at all like weed. The alcohol smell dissipated once they were dissolved, and after the tub was filled, I put on some Kacey Musgraves, got in, and waited.
Here’s what it feels like to take a cannabis-infused bath: like you’re in the most relaxing spa in the world, like you just got acupuncture and are all zen and floaty, like nothing, not even your increasingly pruney fingers, really matters. I wasn’t stoned stoned (reader, trust me, I would know if I were) but I did find myself smiling at the bathroom wall, which meant on some level I was feeling something. More than anything, I felt soooooo calm. I actually got to enjoy the time sitting in a tub of standing water without feeling antsy and wishing I could watch TV or look at my phone. I got to just be. The next morning I’d say a weepy goodbye to my friend and board a flight back to New York, leaving the rest of my bath salts with her to enjoy. But that night, I slept like a rock. It was perfect.
Photo via ITG