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Tuesday March 9, 2021

By Erin Haitt

420 Culture

Needless to say, the past 12 months have added up to one helluva year, and no one could blame you for wanting to draw a hot bath, hit play on your favorite Spotify playlist, drop in a fragrant bath bomb or Epsom salts, and forget the world for just a little while. Judging from the amount of money spent on bath products, folks across the globe are doing just that by spending more than $40 billion per year on salts, bath bombs, bubble bath, oils, and scrubs. 

The cannabis industry is no exception. While it’s difficult to tease out just what percentage of that $40 billion or so can be attributed to cannabis or CBD-infused bath salts and bombs, there is no doubt that they’re widely available and consumers are eager to try them. But do they make you high, or cause allergic reactions? And is it worth it to spend that extra money for a CBD or THC-infused bath product?

How do Cannabis Bath Bombs Work?

First, let’s take a look at what happens when cannabis products come in contact with skin, the largest organ in your body. Skin acts as a protector between you and the outside world, but it is not impermeable. Beneath those layers of skin (epidermis, dermis, and subcutaneous tissue, aka fat) flows your circulating bloodstream, a very efficient cannabinoid delivery system. 

However, applying either CBD or THC-infused cannabis to your skin is certainly not the most efficient way to receive the benefits of cannabis, though you will absorb some of it through a process called “percutaneous absorption.” 

A bubble bath and Mary Medicinal's heavinly hash bath product
Cannabis-infused bath products are absorbed through the skin.

The primary obstacle for cannabinoid delivery through a cannabis bath bomb or salt is absorption and bioavailability, which is harder to achieve through the skin. Often, you’ll see bath products with essential oils intended to act as cannabinoid carriers. When you run a bath at a hotter temperature, it will more fully open the pores in your skin, potentially making them more receptive to cannabinoids and their benefits. 

While the research on how cannabis-infused bath products may benefit your skin is few and far between, we know from topical CBD research generally that the non-intoxicating cannabinoid has antibacterial and antifungal effects, and may help to moisturize and soothe skin troubles like rosacea and acne. And Americans are loving their CBD. A 2019 survey found that 50 percent of respondents who said they used CBD did so to help with relaxation and stress and anxiety relief. 

Reactions to Infused Bath Bombs & Salts

As for THC-infused bath bombs or salt, it’s fair to wonder if you could get high from soaking in a potent bath. Given that there are some very permeable tissues in the regions south of the belly button, so to speak. If a high does occur – and this is a big if – you are more likely to have a low-key body high. 

a cbd bath bomb
The high from infused bath products will often be much less intense than other consumption methods. photo credit

As with any bath product, you will want to pay attention to any common allergens like talc, dyes, or fragrances that can irritate your skin or cause an asthmatic reaction. Consumers are advised to rub a bit of the product on the inside of the elbow to see if any redness or irritation appears. Additionally, bath salts can be very dehydrating, so keep that in mind before your soak.

Are Cannabis Bath Bombs and Salts Worth It?

The question for consumers is price. Even a quality yet middle-of-the-road bath product like Lush costs between $5-13 for a bath bomb or salts. Cannabis-infused products, however, are much more expensive and can cost anywhere from $30-65 for a product that will indeed be relaxing and aromatic – but is very unlikely to get you high.

Should you decide you’d like to give a cannabis bath bomb or salt a try, treat it as you would any other new cannabis experience. Use a little less than the suggested portion size, then add more product if needed. Another pro-tip is to steer clear of consuming other cannabis products or alcohol while you soak, at least until you get the hang of how a cannabis-infused bath will affect you.

Do you enjoy cannabis bath bombs and bath salts? Share your thoughts in the comments!

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