Cannabis tours, cannabis dinner parties, cannabis party buses — the legalization of recreational marijuana has changed the game for travel to Colorado. Activities include everything from sushi and joint rolling to cooking with cannabis classes, and even hotels have started allowing guests to get high in the rooms. The state is even rich in ways to experience the touted health benefits of cannabis even if you aren’t keen on getting stoned. How? Cannabidiol, or CBD.

CBD doesn’t get you high, but proponents say there’s a myriad of health benefits from relieving stress to reducing inflammation. It’s everywhere in Colorado if you know where to look, and for many, CBD has become synonymous with a trip to Colorado. Here’s everything you need to know about CBD in Colorado.

First off, what exactly is CBD?

Photo: Mitch M/Shutterstock

Cannabidiol is the full name for CBD, but nobody wants to say that over and over. CBD is one of the 100-plus cannabinoids from the cannabis plant, and can be isolated both from the marijuana flower and from hemp. Pretty much all cannabis products contain CBD, but CBD products made from hemp don’t have THC, and many made from the cannabis flower have a nearly undetectable amount of THC.

CBD will not make you “high” on its own. Specialty CBD producers do not extract THC for use in their products — everything they sell is grown from the hemp plant and has 0.3 percent THC or less. Consuming CBD is similar to consuming essential oils or other compounds extracted from plants. If you’re taking part in outdoor activities while in Colorado, try CBD cream or salve for sore joints or muscles — the experience is actually quite soothing for joint pain and inflammation.

CBD acceptance has, in part, increased the acceptance for all cannabis products for the general population. It’s been one of the hottest health topics over the past couple of years, and though the health benefits are still being tested, CBD has opened the door to the positive benefits of the plant for legions of otherwise skeptical consumers, lawmakers, and doctors.

What types of CBD-specific products can I buy?

Since legalization, and particularly since the passage of the 2018 Farm Bill by the US government, the CBD industry has rapidly grown. Colorado is among the most progressive states in terms of what products you can buy, and many of Matador Network’s favorite CBD products for travelers can be found nationwide. CBD oil can be infused into just about anything one can consume, and because of this, CBD is an all-day phenomenon that often starts with the first cup of coffee. Beyond the specialty foods and drinks infused with CBD, these CBD-based products are available at dispensaries and some drug stores:

Tinctures: Liquid drops that are taken sublingually by dropping a small amount into your mouth.

Hemp oil salve: A lotion that’s rubbed onto the skin to ease aches and pains. Like other topical treatments, salves are available in multiple scents like lavender and menthol.

Capsules: Just like taking traditional capsuled medication, many dispensaries sell capsuled CBD.

Gummies: CBD infused into candy and other food.

Lip balm: Yes, you can even rub CBD on your lips nowadays.

The industry has been a major boost to Colorado’s economy.

Along with the bigger picture of cannabis legalization, the CBD industry’s growth has also been a major boon to the state’s economy. This extraction process, of course, requires trained technicians and scientists. Growing and harvesting the plant requires growers and caretakers. Packaging requires warehouse staff. And then there are sales reps, buyers, and dispensary staff. The result is a full-on industry that has brought in over $6 billion since legalization took hold on January 1, 2014. Because much of the production happens in rural areas far removed from the booming economy of the Denver metro area, this industry has brought thousands of jobs to parts of the state where they are needed the most.

“It’s exciting to see the job opportunities and the growth in the economy,” said Rianna Meyer, vice president of operations at Veritas Farms outside of the city of Pueblo. “The fact that we’re creating job opportunities in more rural communities is huge.” For cities like Pueblo, population 111,000, and smaller towns along the state’s southern I-25 corridor, the industry has helped to infuse a bit of life into stagnant economies. In 2018, the Denver Post reported that the industry had put $58 million into the economy of Pueblo County alone.

Veritas Farms employs over two dozen full-time staff and regularly brings in temp workers for harvests. They’re one of many such farms in southern Colorado and in a nod to the industry’s secure presence in the country’s economy, the company has now traded on Wall Street. “We’re a publicly-traded company,” Meyer said. “It’s legit. Everything affects everything, and if everyone is profiting, it’s a win-win situation.”

The best places to buy CBD products in Colorado

The most common place to buy CBD-infused products is at recreational cannabis dispensaries found across the state. There are dispensaries in most towns, but not all, as certain municipalities ban retail marijuana sales. CBD is also available outside of recreational cannabis shops in specialty CBD stores, regular retail stores, and infused in products like coffee and cocktails at cafes and bars. As long as you’re in a town of moderate size, finding a shop selling products is never far away. If you’re short on time in the state, though, experience the best of the best by hitting up these CBD joints — no pun intended.

Photo: p r e s s e d/Facebook

1. Pressed Coffee and Wine Bar — A coffee shop in the western Colorado town of Palisade, Pressed infuses coffee drinks with a shot of CBD upon request. Pressed brought the concept to the state’s western slope, but many shops in Denver, like Mattina Cafe and Drip Denver, have similar CBD options.

Where: 392 W. Third St, Palisade, CO 81526

2. Glazed and Confused— Located in Aurora, Glazed and Confused takes the cake — or dough — for the coolest way to consume CBD by straight-up injecting it into its doughnuts, though workers will gladly pump it into your coffee too.

Where: 2501 Dallas St, Aurora, CO 80010

Photo: The Nickel/Facebook

3. The Nickel — Inside the Hotel Teatro in downtown Denver is one of the first bars in the state to add CBD-infused cocktails to its drink menu — and plenty of bars around Colorado have followed suit. It will even teach you how to properly infuse CBD into your own cocktails if you sign up for the class on how to do so.

Where: 1100 Fourteenth St, Denver, CO 80202

4. Gelato Junction — Grand Junction’s spot for ice cream topped with CBD-infused honey, possibly the best after-work treat ever.

Where: 449 Main St, Grand Junction, CO 81501

5. Habit Doughnut Dispensary — A Denver shop that also infuses its doughnuts, coffee, and cocktails with CBD through butter, tinctures, and bitters. It also directly infuses its doughnuts with booze through little pipettes, if you’re feeling extra naughty.

Where: 1553 Platte St, Denver, CO 80202 and 2200 California St, Denver, CO 80205

6. Althea’s Cheese by Design — A pizza shop located inside the music venue Quixote’s True Blue in south Denver that makes CBD-infused pizza.

Where: 2014 S. University Blvd, Denver, CO 80210

7. Nomad Taqueria and Beer Garden — This Golden taqueria has tacos made with CBD-infused mahi-mahi on a limited basis. Nomad is a 15-minute drive from Red Rocks Park and Amphitheatre, if you want to make a night out of it.

Where: 18485 W. Colfax Ave, Golden, CO 80401

8. La Xochitl — A Denver food truck that delivers via Uber Eats and infuses CBD into menu items on request.

Where: 2740 W. Alameda Ave, Denver, CO 80219

Photo: The ART, a Hotel/Facebook

9. ART— A boutique hotel just south of downtown Denver that offers a “CBDreams” package. Order it for $209 and your room will be complete with a variety of CBD products like lotions, edibles, and tinctures.

Where: 1201 Broadway, Denver, CO 80203

10. CVS — Keep it simple and affordable at CVS, which sells a variety of Colorado-made CBD products, including those from Veritas Farms. You can also buy its products online and ship them to all 50 states.

Where: Statewide