By Kee Foong
Aug 27, 2021
WHEN THE LANDMARK MANDARIN ORIENTAL became Hong Kong’s first luxury hotel to launch cannabidiols (CBD)-based spa treatments, I wondered: Is it really legal? Will I get the munchies and the urge to order pizza, or have an uncontrollable case of the giggles? Maybe I’ll just quietly drift into dreamland.
I had to find out for myself, and so made sure I was first in line to experience the new CBD Sleep Therapy at the hotel’s fabulous (it’s also star podiatrist Bastien Gonzalez’s exclusive outpost in the city) spa – all in the name of research, of course.
The therapy is a 90-minute holistic massage that includes ingesting and applying certified CBD potions, lotions and oils by Swiss company Kiara, using plants plucked from the alps, all the better – supposedly – to help me relax and sleep better.
On arrival at The Landmark Mandarin Oriental Spa, I’m presented with a mysterious herbal brew that contains a sleep-enhancing tincture made with CBD oil and plant extracts, then taken to the lovely Sanctuary Suite, complete with its own bubbling vitality pool and amethyst crystal steam shower.
My therapist, Shanti, hands me a thimble-sized cup of water mixed with drops of pure CBD oil. Curious, I bring it to my nose and inhale deeply before drinking, and discover that, rather than reeking of a reefer, the oil is completely flavorless, odorless and easy to consume.
We follow with breathing exercises, and I then select one of the spa’s signature scented oils. Asked if I would like extra CBD oil and salve slathered on my forehead and joints, I reply: “Bring it on.”
Tough decisions made, I surrender to 90 minutes of blissful, head-to-toe massage using CBD and essential oils. I float off on a cloud of calm, with no drama, and no trippy episodes, just a strong sense of wellbeing. For the next two nights, I have the best sleep in weeks. Maybe it’s all in the mind, but count me as a convert to the joys of cannabis-based spa treatments.
CBD Sleep Therapy at The Oriental Spa HK$1,800 weekdays, HK$2,000 weekends.
All photos courtesy of The Landmark Oriental Hong Kong
Know before you try
Since legalization, Hong Kong has become a hothouse for cannabidiols, with CBD products, drinks and snacks readily available. The compound is believed to help with pain relief, anxiety, stress, depression, insomnia and more, but strict rules exist on making health and medical claims.
While CBD and THC are both derived from cannabis plants, the former won’t get you high, while the latter can, and is illegal in Hong Kong, as is cultivation of plants. Traces of THC are usually found in CBD, but must be removed entirely to meet legal requirements. Marijuana, also from cannabis plants, has enough THC to send you off with the fairies, and maybe jail, if you are caught with it.
Courtesy of Anantara Chiang Mai Resort (2)
Japan and Thailand are two other jurisdictions in Asia where CBD is legal. In the latter, Anantara Chiang Mai has just introduced a special cannabis menu that includes dishes made with cannabis leaves for their nutritional value. But in much of the region, CBD use is at best a gray area, and at worst, illegal, and possibly punishable by death in Singapore and Indonesia. That said, the World Health Organization has declared CBD safe and non-addictive – so if you can, enjoy responsibly and hopefully relaxingly.