Spas taking treatments to new level by adding CBD to massages

NEW YORK - CBD is a big trend in wellness this year.

CBD, or cannabidiol, is a compound in cannabis. Some tout it as a wonder drug able to stop pain, promote relaxation and ease various body issues.

And as Kenneth Craig discovered, some spas around the country are taking their treatments to a new level by adding CBD to massages.

Breanna Arrington spends her life being active. She's an actor and a personal trainer, so when she recently injured a muscle in her hip, it was a major setback.

"An injury will not only not allow me to do my job, but also it takes a little way - some of me dies," Arrington said.

Physical therapy didn't help, so a few months ago she turned to massages using cream infused with CBD. And she quickly saw results.

"I'm here twice a month and I'm back doing the things that I love to do," she said. "I'm back at taekwondo, back lifting, back sprinting, using my body in dynamic ways."

The compound is derived from cannabis but doesn't contain THC, the chemical that gets you high. And advocates believe it may be the answer for all kinds of health problems.

Related: CBD products pop up in stores throughout Hampton Roads, but are they safe?

"CBD is great for relieving inflammation and pain, and it's also good for relaxation and reduction of anxiety and stress," said massage therapist Demetri Travlos.

CBD is popping up in drinks, snacks - even cosmetics. But experts say it's happening faster than the science can catch up.

"We are are still at the beginning of trying to understand what CBD does in the body," said Dr. Margaret Haney at Columbia University Medical Center.

Dr. Haney is internationally recognized for her research on cannabis. She says while she's excited by CBD's "potential," right now there is little evidence to support its medical claims.

"We don't know as scientists if it gets absorbed, how it's acting, what dose one needs, so there are so many unanswered questions. I need placebo-controlled evidence to be convinced," Dr. Haney said.

Arrington, however, believes it's only a matter of time.

"It works great for me; it might not work great for everybody," Arrington said. "So if I feel better, I'm going to take that as a win."

And she says that's all the evidence she needs.

Products made with CBD are not currently regulated by the FDA.

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