Topical cannabis: Secrets from Mary Jane’s Medicinals

by Anya Jaremko-Greenwold

Dahlia Mertens, founder of Telluride’s Mary Jane’s Medicinals, told us some secrets of her trade. Her products are all topical (applied directly to the outside of the body), rather than ingested (taken internally), and the topical application of cannabis has been demonstrated as effective for pain management, healing of injuries, relaxation and improving skin health and appearance. Cannabis used topically doesn’t really produce the psychoactive effects that ingesting it does (getting high, in other words), so pain relief and healing are these products’ primary focus. MJM products are available in multiple dispensaries around Durango.

The genesis of the businessI was a massage therapist for several years, and I’ve always been interested in natural and herbal medicine. Then one fall, I went out to northern California to help on my friend’s medical marijuana farm. I got exposed to someone who had some grape seed oil out there; this woman asked if she could rub some on my neck. I didn’t think it was going to do anything, and I’d never heard of cannabis being used topically before. But the muscles in my neck and arms and shoulders were all tight from swimming, and I could feel my muscles relax right away when she put it on.

What the products doThe THC doesn’t actually enter the bloodstream with these, so they don’t get you high. I started developing the line in my kitchen, using massage oil, playing with different recipes and using them on my massage clients. At first, I thought it would just make for a more relaxing massage, but then a lot of my clients started coming back to me with chronic issues going away. One woman had a radiation burn, a double mastectomy, six or seven different surgeries. Really bad scarring on her chest, nerve damage. With a lot of skepticism, she tried my salve. And her radiation wound closed up in two weeks, a lot of the nerve damage was healed and the scarring became a lot less.

The productsOur most popular product is the pain-relief salve. We also make a body lotion, a massage oil, a lip balm, a topical tincture and a bath soap.

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Anya Jaremko-Greenwold


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