Home' Spa and Clinic : Volume 61 May 2015 Contents TREND REPORT
recently stated that national US legalisation
of marijuana is attaining “an aura of
inevitability”. Globally, everyone will be
watching trailblazer Uruguay in 2015, the
first nation to legalise possession for citizens.
Every week, we read about different
national legislatures debating more
legalisation - from Austria, to Australia,
Colombia and Jamaica (where activist
associations list “wellness, travel and spas”
as some key markets ripe with opportunity).
And even nations that mete out harsh
punishments for possession are investing
in the market. In fact, more than half the
medical/wellness cannabis patents filed
with the World Intellectual Property Office
have come from Chinese companies.
So what is happening in the markets
where legalisation has already occurred at
There are 66 unique chemical
“cannabanoids” locked within the plant
(many with therapeutic uses), even if the
world tends to narrowly associate it with just
one, Cannibas Sativa with THC, the only
component that actually produces a “ high.”
In now-legal medical/recreational
markets, the way that psychoactive THC
is getting delivered is being radically
innovated: less healthy “pot smoking”
is being replaced with odourless new
vaporiser pens (“vapes”), with haute cuisine
edibles developed that could grace a Bon
Non-THC cannabanoids are seeing new
applications for pain, anxiety, epilepsy,
MS and other neurological disorders and
are the key ingredient in more and more
topical lotions and beauty products.
Because cannabis has been long
criminalised, both medical studies and
pharmaceuticals have been held back.
However, over 100 trials on medical
cannabis exist (the vast majority positive),
with the strongest ev idence of benefit
for nausea, wasting in AIDS and cancer,
epileptic seizures, multiple sclerosis,
glaucoma and chronic pain.
According to recent articles in Scientific
American and Newsweek, there’s new
research/interest in how psychoactives like
cannabis, and more intense psychedelics
like “magic mushrooms,” peyote and LSD,
“could revolutionise healthcare”.
In the US, in states where medicinal
usage is decriminalised, traditional medical
spas have taken up the opportunity with
doctors recommending or prescribing
Both Restorations Wellness Centre and
Spa in Denver and MD Medical Spa and
Wellness Centre in Boston and Cape Cod,
Massachusetts, are using this practice as
well as topical cannabis products in spa
services, but interestingly their websites still
do not advertise this fact. These are doctor-
based medical spas with traditional and
aesthetic medicine facilities utilising the
therapeutic benefits of THC.
On the other hand, business models are
exploding that are dedicated to medicinal
supply. Because the cannabis supply is so
profitable, competitors are offering “added
values” to draw business.
The 100,000 customers of Harborside
Health Centres in Oakland and San Jose,
California, have access to free qi gong,
tai chi, yoga, reiki, meditation and TCM,
along with chiropractors, naturopaths,
hypnotherapists and western herbalists.
competitor to spas (with an advantage of
Medicinal (and recreational) cannabis
dispensaries adopting the look and menus
of spas and boutique fitness centres is a
smart move, reassuring patrons that these
are places of safety, community and healing.
RECREATIONAL PRIVATE USE
On the recreational side (for stress reduction,
help with sleeping and so forth) the issue
is “cannabis compared to what?”. Alcohol
accounts for more health damage, deaths
and violence than all illicit drugs combined,
and people are far more likely to become
dependent on alcohol than cannabis.
New markets and trends spawn
new language rapidly with the new
wave “cannabusiness” market led by
sophisticated “ganja-preneurs” essentially
taking marijuana use from dorm room to
boardroom, from plastic bag to Hermes
bag, and from counter-culture to over-the-
counter, with sleek dispensaries that are
channelling Apple stores.
We read about the website Leafly, with
its 70,000 -plus strain and dispensary reviews
(covering the US, Canada and Spain), or
The Denver Post, the first mainstream
newspaper to hire dedicated pot reviewers.
And companies like Dixie Elixirs producing
slickly branded edibles that would not look
out of place on the shelves of Whole Foods,
duking it out with Bob Marley’s estate’s
new brand, Marley Natural, to become the
global “Starbucks of cannabis”.
But while new models are making the
former possible, the fact is that the cannabis
and spa/wellness connection is taking
diverse playful and serious forms.
It’s striking how intensely cannabis
businesses yoke themselves to the familiar
language of “health and wellness”. Many
dispensaries, like Capital City Care
(Washington DC), report that their look
has been ver y consciously designed to be a
“cross between a spa and doctor’s office”.
Scanning thousands of dispensaries,
you’re hit with names like Mindful (a
Colorado dispensary network), Wellness
Caregivers (Los Angeles) and Pure
Mission statements typically align with
those of the Harborside Health Centres: a
“ dedication to changing the perception of
cannabis to one of wellness and healing”.
And if one rising cannabis store design
trend is “Apple Store”, the more prominent look
is “spa”: warm, aspirational, wellness/clinical,
w ith smartly dressed women “ budtenders”.
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