Welcome back to Weed Needs, in which we review new and dope products coming out of the cannabis industry!
If you’re like me, in that you have terrible posture, have had a couple close calls with carpal tunnel (damn you, piano lessons), wear shoes that aren’t comfortable but are cute as all hell, and sit at a computer pretty much all day except for the times that you’re lying down at a computer, you might have come to accept the idea that pain is sort of the background music of your life.
Sure, we could make some crucial behavioral changes, like sitting properly or going outside every once in a while or paying out our butts for an ergonomic chair. But where’s the fun in that? Enter Apothecanna’s Relieving Body Spray, a topical spray meant to provide pain relief that contains CBD, a molecule in marijuana that's sort of like THC's cousin.
At first sniff, the spray is relaxing, minty, and sweet—call it “eau de Listerine.” I asked my roommate to spritz my lower back (twice, as recommended) with the product and was pleasantly surprised not only by how quickly the sensation kicked in, but how strong it was. My first thought was, "Holy shit, this is what I’ve been waiting for."
Like many other topicals meant for pain relief, the spray had an “Icy Hot” sensation but it felt much more concentrated: less Icy Hot and more A Song of Ice and Fire. There was a surface-level cooling sensation as well as a deeper radiating warmth. And while taking a weed bath definitely got me a little stoned—because, um, THC-infused water got in my vagina—this weed spray is purely topical (do NOT apply to your vagina unless you’re looking for what I can only imagine to be a Red Wedding-type situation down there), so no psychoactive effects. Turns out you can have a grand old time with cannabis without even getting high.
“The perception of marijuana is changing and to understand that you can use a product with marijuana that is not going to get you high is one of those lightbulb moments that people have,” Joie Meffert, who cofounded Apothecanna back in 2009, told me over coffee. “Seeing it in very clean, official, packaging also helps with that.”
It’s true. The first thing you notice about Apothecanna products is that they look like any other skin care line. It doesn’t scream “WEED” or “HIPPIES.” There’s a leaf in the logo and the label for this particular product is green (their other creams have different colored labels), but it’s not like there’s tie-dye or the font Papyrus or anything that would suggest it’s a product of The Marijuana.
“I think it’s important to have the leaf because it’s part of the provenance. It’s not something to hide,” she said. “It’s not to be demonized. It’s about all of the ingredients together.”
Meffert explained that the pain-relieving spray contains arnica, peppermint, and juniper, all of which have anti-inflammatory properties, along with CBD, which has little-to-no psychoactive effects and a wide array of potential medical applications ranging from anti-seizure to anti-cancer to anti-inflammatory.
The second time I used the spray on my back, I didn't feel the initial burning sensation I did the first time (Was I already building up a tolerance? Is that a thing?), but within a minute, I felt the familiar icy tingling going to work. I also sprayed the stuff on my knee, which wasn't in pain, just to compare the sensations. While my knee did get that sort of gentle stinging sensation, the sensation on my neck was much stronger, as if the more pain I felt, the more the spray responded to it. I'm clearly not a doctor, and I don't play one on TV, but that's just how it felt, bro.
While Apothecanna does offer a medicinal line that contains THC (the psychoactive compound) and is therefore only available in Colorado, California, and Oregon, the CBD that they use in their main line (which includes the Relieving Spray) is derived from hemp and therefore legal because marijuana laws are basically ¯\_(ツ)_/¯.
Interestingly enough, though, the largest stigma Apothecanna has had to face is not that it’s a product derived from marijuana, but that it's a marijuana product that doesn’t get you stoned.
“From the beginning, people would ask, ‘Does it get you high?’ And when we said, ‘No it doesn’t,’ they didn’t want it,” Meffert told me. Classic stoner move. But since then, Apothecanna has broken down barriers, becoming be a trusted name when it comes to cannabis topicals.
I’d definitely recommend the pain spray, which costs $26 for a 2 oz bottle—not exactly a drop in the bucket, but a little bit goes a long way. In the meantime, maybe take a break from your computer and get outside every once in a while?