Oregon legalized recreational marijuana in 2015. In 2016 you could purchase topical cannabis (ointments, massage oils, salves, etc.) and the Oregon Board of Massage Therapists permitted licensed massage therapists (LMTs) to use recreational topicals in their massage business.

However, this doesn’t apply to topicals obtained from a medical marijuana card as it isn’t within the scope of practice for LMTs to administer medications and prescriptions and some cannabis topicals and oils contain higher levels of CBD and/or THC.

Having access to cannabis topicals for massage is really cool but it’s important for practitioners to follow the simple rules laid down by the Oregon Board of Massage Therapists before jumping right into it!

1. Both client and therapist must be 21 years or older and the therapist has seen proof with client’s ID.

2. Obtain and sign a written consent form from the client.

3. LMT must wear gloves to apply the topical if THC content is higher than 0.3% content.

4. As a massage therapist in the state of Oregon you cannot charge clients extra for the use of a “marijuana product” (meaning THC content is higher than 0.3%) topical in a massage nor can it be sold by the therapist to clients. This excludes hemp products and cannabinoid topicals with less than 0.3% THC content. 


What is cannabis?

The genus of plant shared with marijuana and hemp.

What is cannabinoid (CBD)?

The chemical compounds in cannabis plants. Cannabis contains more than 100 active cannabinoids.

Isn’t it the same as THC?

Nope. THC is a cannabinoid but has psychotropic effects. CBD is not psychoactive. Big difference.

Marijuana is a cannabis plant that is bred for different levels of THC.

What’s the deal with Hemp?

It’s a cannabis plant too but contains less than 0.3% THC.

What does THC stand for?

Tetrahydrocannabinol. Rolls off the tongue doesn’t it?

What are natural emollients?

The word emollient comes from the Latin verb “mollire,” to soften. They are part of moisturizers. Emollients soften dry skin by filling in open spaces on the surface and between the cells in your skin with fatty substances, or lipids, derived either synthetically or through nature.

If emollients have a high content of oil they become occlusive. Basically it means the skin will be coated with a thin protective layer that seals the water in your skin. This is great if the skin needs hydration but can irritate conditions like acne and eczema if the pores are clogged.

What does this have to do with anything?

In most cannabis topicals the active ingredients list the percentage or amount of THC, CBD, menthol, lidocaine, etc. Sometimes the oil or extracts are just part of a laundry list of inactive and active ingredients that may or may not be easy to read. If you come upon “natural emollients” that means they used plant or animal-based emollients such as rosemary essential oil or beeswax.

Synthetic emollients are commonly made from petroleum, glycerine, benzyl alcohol, and hard to pronounce chemical names for what used to be animal bones or fat. Did you know Lanolin (found in most lip balm) comes from the Latin “lāna” aka wool and “oleum” aka oil, which basically is wool grease secreted by the sebacious glands of animals with wool! Fun little factoid…

Anyway, it’s important to be aware of the content of the topical that you are using as a massage therapist or as a client that brings their own into a treatment. What may appear to be “all-natural” because of its containing CBD could actually be quite the opposite. A local company called Grass Valley Medicinals use quality emollients, essential oils, and farm-grown hemp.