In a move that was inevitable, if not out of an upscale version of Cheech and Chong’s Great European Cannabis Adventure, the first cannabis wellness spa has now opened its doors in Switzerland.
Promoting itself through the German-speaking press as a place to relax aus hanf —in other words, an interpretation of cannabis luxury wellness of the cannabidiol kind, it is certainly a well-timed venture. It is not only safe from changing regulations (although the country is launching its own recreational trial), but also bound to attract COVID-weary adventurers looking for a luxury getaway.
Hemp muesli and yoga with CBD oil-scented massages certainly sounds enticing, particularly as an après ski event. The winter season lasts through April in this part of the world.
Beyond this, of course, luxury wellness never really goes out of style.
Cannabis Wellness Retreats
While still staying in safe territory, this CBD Schlosshotel is clearly the beginning of a massive, cannabis-themed wellness trend now on schedule to roll out through this part of the world. It will not be long before higher THC offerings are part of the mix. The Swiss experiment with full cannabis legalization almost guarantees that.
None of the projects of this ilk will be on the budget side for a while—but give it time. The hostel, hotel, and hospitality business, particularly when mixed with wellness cures, is a long-established tradition in this part of the world. Don’t forget that beyond winter sports, whole towns in Switzerland and across the DACH region were established just as wellness retreats, often around a bubbling mineral well or two—and frequently available for summer as well as winter getaways.
Cannatourism is coming to Europe. This is just the first crest of a very large wave.
The Issues Involved with Cannabis Wellness Retreats
Legally, such establishments are on the forefront of several developing aspects of cannabis case law across the region. This includes applications of so-called Novel Food as well as loopholes now being carved in sovereign Narcotics Laws. However, Switzerland is a very interesting place for this kind of cannabis-hospitality model to begin to flourish given the waivers now being accepted by the government as the country implements a unique experiment in the region.
Edibles, including those containing THC, will be available from not only the country’s pharmacies, but also “cannabis clubs.” A wellness experience that incorporates a higher level of THC is only a matter of time here.
What About Other EU Countries Outside of Switzerland?
Given the delay right now across the DACH and EU border on all things recreational cannabis reform related, any unique development in neighboring countries is bound to be both studied if not potentially copied down the road. The German Alps feature cultural and wellness experiences not so far afield from Zermatt, even if occasionally of a more budget friendly kind. However, fairly radical changes in the law here, unless certain regulations are waved (as the Swiss have done) will be necessary before this kind of retreat would be possible in either Germany or Austria.
That said, nothing is entirely off the table. It is all just a matter of time. Not to mention the success of such experiments right across a German-speaking border or two.
In Spain, there are experiments like this afloat, although sometimes occurring in “secret” locations. But so far, such establishments have limited themselves to CBD, at least on their promotional material, for understandable reasons.
One thing is for sure. The cannabis luxury wellness experience is here to stay. Other kinds of similarly-themed vacations and destination spots are absolutely sure to follow.
Marguerite Arnold is a veteran cannabis industry journalist, covering the market from Germany since 2013. Her second book, Green II: Spreading Like Kudzu, about the inside story of the first German cannabis cultivation bid, is on sale now in English and German.