Let’s Get Salty: CBD Bath Salts —Worth the Hype and $$?
“I wish I could fill a bathtub full of CBD and just soak it in.” I’ve uttered (and thought) these words on many, many occasions over the past several years. And I don’t know if the universe is throwing me a bone, or all that manifestation stuff I read about in The Secret is actually real, but it seems that I spoke it into reality, because I’m fresh out the bathtub — and it was filled with Lord Jones’ new super bougie CBD salts.
A brief refresher if you’re unaware: Lord Jones is like, the Gucci of CBD. It’s luxe as hell, and one of the most sophisticated cannabis brands I’ve ever encountered in my years of reporting. They’ve got hands down the tastiest gummies, and you can find them in Sephora and at SoulCycle. But this sh*t ain’t cheap (I told you — Gucci). The salts are going to cost you $65 plus tax.
I’m a sucker for marketing and was recently told by a dear friend that I am easily “fleeced,” so I started calculating. Epsom salt is like, a dollar* for the same amount of product. Is it worth the extra $64 to get CBD infused? Does it provide 65 times the relief? (Granted, this is right on the heels of me looking at my budget for perhaps the first time in two and a half decades of life, so I’ve been extra conscientious about money) By contrast, a Lush bath bomb is about $8 and lasts one bath — so if I get 12 baths out of this Lord Jones jar, that’s a little less than $5.50 a bath. “Not bad,” I reason with myself before tiring of math and moving onto a bath.
*it is not actually a dollar
I take my wellness routine pretty damn seriously. I get a monthly massage as preventative healthcare (my last one, in fact, was an 80-minute-deep tissue CBD massage at Burke Williams, bless up). I do Pilates and yoga weekly. I take hot baths with Epsom salts. I get at least eight hours of sleep, I meditate, I’ve got a skincare routine to decompress… FFS, I color in an adult anti-stress coloring book. So, to me, adding a CBD soak into my routine feels like a very logical fit.
But back to that whole “does it work and is it 65x better than regular salt” assertion. I spoke with Dr. Perry Solomon, MD, a cannabis expert about topicals. He was apprehensive at best, given that the CBD is diluted in water, but noted he has no research to inform his opinion — yet (read: it’s conjecture as he hasn’t tested or studied this application).
“We’re doing a study right now with a cosmetic company using CBD in their cream; it’s a single blind study to see a difference between something that has CBD and something that doesn’t,” he said. “It’s observational to see whether they [the test subjects] notice a subjective effect. An observational study with a vetted product is the only way we can test this.”
Since that study isn’t out yet, and I didn’t want to wait, I figured I’d do my own, zero-blind observational study to gather my own subjective report. I had a vetted product from a very trustworthy brand, and I had some back pain (it’s like I woke up on my birthday in the back half of my twenties and was like “OW MY BACK!”). I was due for a soak.
I tested each bath soak on days when I was particularly sore, so I could have a similar “before bath” pain ranking. Obviously, this isn’t like a controlled study, and is even more obviously my own subjective and unique experience based on one use, so take it how you will.
Lord Jones High CBD Formula Bath Salts ($65 for 12 ounces, about $5.41 per ounce)
Pre-Bath Pain Ranking: 5
Pre-Bath Evaluation/Notes: I’ve been writing (#journalism) on the couch all day and my lower back is sore AF. I’m also low-key very stressed with an upcoming move, packing, etc. and need to chill out.
Product Experience: OK so this smells like wayyy better than I thought it would. It’s actually so lovely, and full-on aromatherapy. There are some botanicals in here that float around, so it’s somewhat of a floral bath, which feels very bougie. Something about this bath experience makes me feel like I’ve gained a million Instagram followers, a hedge fund, and some Restoration Hardware furnishings. On top of that, my muscles feel incredibly relaxed, and I’m feeling no back pain during this soak. I stood up once the bath sesh concluded, and felt nice and loose, with some residual pain, but a noticeable decrease… maybe like 30- to 40-percent?
Post-Bath Pain Ranking: 3
Conclusion: There was enough of a difference to notice. Was it placebo? Who can say. Was it the small flowers and aroma of lavender wafting through my bathroom? Potentially. But I was feeling better, and that’s what mattered to me. I also felt way, way less stressed, and enjoyed the overall experience immensely. It made my Lush-bomb bath experiences look like fricken’ child’s play.
SF Salt Co. Epsoak Epsom Salts ($6 for 32 ounces, about 19¢ per ounce)
Pre-Bath Pain Ranking: 5
Pre-Bath Evaluation/Notes: Lower back is still sore AF, and I have some aches in my shoulders.
Product Experience: This is my run-of-the-mill Epsom salt that I’ve used for years as part of my routine, so this experience — though trustworthy and relied upon — feels a bit monotonous. That said, I do feel tension relief, and my muscles started to loosen up quite a bit. Though I’ve had dozens of Epsom salt baths in my time, I’m paying much closer attention this go around, which maybe helps me feel deeper, more profound effects.
Post-Bath Pain Ranking: 3.5
Conclusion: The pain and tension relief I have come to rely on, but (loosely) quantified. I will say, it’s similarly relieving to my CBD bath, but a bit less so. Maybe like 25- to 30-percent. I think the mindfulness of this experience led me to be more aware of how this ritual was impacting my body and wellbeing. And CBD is expensive, so it makes sense that Lord Jones would be priced significantly higher than dime-a-dozen (ounces) Epsom salt.
Theoretically, combining topical CBD and Epsom salts would provide a more potent, more powerful effect on your muscles, joints, parasympathetic nervous system, etc. Theoretically, I also should’ve tested this at least three times to get a better picture of how this works (I feel like first tests can always be a fluke, but I’m no PhD).
The verdict? The Lord Jones salts provided a much more luxurious experience overall and edged out the Epsom salts in terms of muscular tension and pain relief. I want to keep A-B testing the two to ensure I get a more accurate read, but my first impression is that overall, I preferred the CBD soak. Is it drastically different enough to warrant the additional cost? That comes down to preference. Given that CBD can potentially calm inflammation of the skin and soothe skin woes, it stands to say that this may help on a more topical level and not just in terms of muscular relaxation.
If it’s within your budget, this stuff is botanical bliss in a bottle, and I’d highly recommend checking it out. Make the most out of it and treat your soak time as a more serious self-care treatment (#tooblessedtobestressed). I have the propensity to go through these rituals in an automated way since they’re part of my routine, but sometimes it takes dropping a little extra dough for me to pay more attention and make the most of it, and maybe you fall into that camp too. As for how much more effective a CBD soak can be, I’m going to say you’re gonna have to play a little “6th grade science class” and use that good ol’ scientific method yourself.