Renu Day Spa in the Spotlight
This article was published in the Lake Forest Leader, unfortunately it is only available to subscribers but we have it here for free for your enjoyment!
Maureen Sreenan will be the first to talk about the pain-relieving powers of hemp oil.
The 52-year-old Lake Forest resident is a firm believer in body products that contain cannabidiol, or CBD, a cannabinoid found in the in the cannabis sativa plant.
“It takes all the pain away in your body — it can give you a high in your body without being high up here,” she said, pointing to her head.
In 2008, Sreenan was diagnosed with breast cancer and underwent chemotherapy and a mastectomy, and later suffered from cases of shingles on her back. She tried a topical cannabis cream to try to ease her pains, and she said she immediately felt relief.
“But it would keep coming back a few months later,” Sreenan said of her shingles.
So when she discovered Renu Day Spa in Deerfield was debuting hemp-infused body products last April, she began researching the differences between hemp and cannabis.
Hemp and cannabis come from the same species of plant, cannabis sativa, yet hemp contains very low amounts of THC, the ingredient that spurs psychoactive responses in users.
But what is important in the cosmetics world is that hemp contains more CBD than cannabis does. A 2013 study by the British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology classifies CBD as a phytocannabinoid with therapeutic properties.
Sreenan purchased a topical CBD oil from BioCBD+ at Renu Day Spa, and when she felt her back itching — a sign of an oncoming case of shingles — she applied the oil to her back.
“[The itching] went away instantly. It was right before the blisters, and I never got the blisters. And I haven’t had [shingles] since,” Sreenan said. “And, it smells way better.”
Now, she uses the oil, which costs $49 for a 2-ounce bottle at Renu, on a daily basis — on her knees, her hips and occasionally on her face to treat her eczema. She says some of her pains are effects of the chemotherapy, but others are just a part of getting older.
Anna Pamula, the owner of Renu Day Spa, is careful to not refer to her hemp-infused products as healing or curative, as the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has not recognized all forms of cannabinoids as medicine. Instead, the labels on her European-imported products contain language such as “nourishing,” “soothing” and “reduces irritation.”
Pamula, who does not recommend using marijuana for relaxation (in fact, the one time she smoked marijuana she said she heard bugs in the wall and lost control of herself), is applauding the United State’s march toward acceptance of cannabinoids for medical use.
“In our country, the door slowly but surely opens for marijuana medicinal use,” said Polish-born Pamula, who immigrated to the United States in the ’80s.
In 1937, hemp was deemed illegal to grow in the United States. And not until 2014 did a bill signed by President Barack Obama remove hemp grown for research purposes from the Controlled Substances Act. Now, a handful of states — not Illinois — are producing hemp, which in addition to having medical benefits, is seen as a potential clean energy source.
Pamula is not shy about advertising that her spa, located on 617 Central Ave. in Deerfield, carries hemp products. A green sticker in the shape of a leaf carrying the phrase “Legalize lotion” is stuck on the front door, and posters within the spa read “Your mom uses weed cream” and list the potential reasons to use the cream: sore muscles and joints, arthritis, stress, menstrual cramps, sun burns, bug bites, and the list continues.
“I’m a big advocate of it because of how it’s helped me, how it’s natural, how it’s harmless,” Sreenan said.
Time will tell if the usage of products containing CBD in the United States grows, but there’s no doubt Sreenan will continue to be a loyal consumer. Tellingly, she says her next venture will be to try oral CBD supplements.