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Mixing up a cannabis salve from The Cannabis Spa at Home book
Mixing up a cannabis salve from The Cannabis Spa at Home book

Given the healing and pain-relief cannabis offers, highlighting these properties in a spa setting makes sense. Herbalist and Hempista.com publisher Sandra Hinchliffe wrote The Cannabis Spa at Home that offers dozens of recipes for soothing spa treatments from masks to foot soaks, outlining each step clearly and offering several options based on what resources you have available.

Cannabis is the key ingredient in this book, but what makes The Cannabis Spa at Home stand out is the comfort and grace in which cannabis is discussed in its pages. The expected warnings are posted in the beginning — cannabis is not legal in all states, check your state’s laws, etc. But the warm and friendly tone that Hinchliffe uses to outline her recipes and stories is refreshing.

The standard design tropes for cannabis-themed books are notably absent: The book cover isn’t green with a large indica leaf, and the photos are soothing images of the spa products you’ll be making rather than weed porn. To make a long story short (too late!), cannabis isn’t just used here as a gimmick to sell a medicore spa book. There is actual substance presented in a comfortable, soothing and professional package.

Basics Both Novice and Seasoned Need to Read

Hinchliffe starts by tackling the basics: explaining what cannabis is, how cannabinoids and terpenes work, and defining terms. That last one is important. Hashishin Frenchy Cannoli pointed out in a recent article that not having industry-standard terminology is a challenge –If the industry doesn’t define what exactly “keif” is, for example, then how can you grade its quality or incorporate it as a source into a business plan or a medical treatment plan, much less a spa treatment? She defines several terms, including keif, so don’t skip this section. She also addresses questions from likely beginners, such as if topicals can get you high (not really) and if you’ll test positive on a drug test from using topicals (always assume so). Review continues below photo.

The Cannabis Spa at Home book by Sandra Hinchliffe
The Cannabis Spa at Home book by Sandra Hinchliffe

The Cannabis Spa Recipes

The Quick Start Guide outlines a base with a few spicy variations that can be turned into salves, ointments, or massage oils. I tried my hand at making two of these: the Healing Spice Trinity Quick Start Cannabis Salve and the Cooling Herbs Healing Quick Start Ointment (more info to come on how these recipes worked out).

From a few foundation recipes, you can create cannabis-infused spa products including lotions, bath salts, soaps, and poultices with the recipes found here. Hinchliffe also outlines spa treatments that make good use of these infused products, such as the Full Body Fever Plunge and the Hot Wrap. The instructions are outlined well for each recipe and they usually give you several options.

Not all of the ingredients may be readily available to you where you live, though some are quite common in U.S. kitchens. Hinchliffe takes time to describe each of the ingredients in Chapter 1 along with the do’s and don’ts for each, so it’s easier to navigate unfamiliar waters when looking for these sometimes exotic elements. Though I still managed to make a few purchasing mistakes, I can hardly blame the book (it clearly says liquid sunflower lecithin, but I got powdered).

Some of the best recipes use the herbal leftovers from foundation recipes, and there is even one to extract the last remaining goodness out of vaporized flower leftovers.

References, Please

While I find the book engaging and instructional, I can’t help but note the lack of referencing. As in, facts are stated but few specific references are cited. This applies to both historical references in the cannabis movement and the efficacy and long-practice of herbal medicine. I realize this is a spa book and not a medical reference manual, but where information comes from and how it’s presented are important to understanding a topic fully. That being said, I didn’t note any glaring omissions or misrepresentations of fact. I just always want to know where information is sourced.

Part 2 — Trying the recipes. In progress now and will go up soon!

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