Keep in mind that your lotion will still be fairly thick, so we don’t recommend trying to put it in a lotion pump.
If you’re not sure what containers to use, many containers used for cannabis flower can also be used for topicals and lotions. Our personal favorite is the classic 4 oz. glass canning jar, easily bought in bulk and useful for a number of purposes.
You can also add essential oils to your mixture–we recommend lavender, peppermint, or tea tree oils. Just a few drops will do.
How to make a cannabis-infused lotion or cream
In the same saucepan or double boiler, add the beeswax and heat until it is melted. As the beeswax melts, slowly add the infused coconut oil.
Remove your decarboxylated cannabis from the oven and mix it into the coconut oil. Maintain a low heat and continue stirring the cannabis and oil mixture for 20 to 25 minutes.
Note: Keep the heat very low, especially when using a saucepan and not a double boiler–if the heat gets too high, you’ll scorch the cannabis and burn off the THC, decreasing the oil’s potency. This is especially pertinent if you’re using olive oil in your recipe, as olive oil has a lower smoke point than other oils.
Once the beeswax and coconut oils are thoroughly mixed, remove from heat and transfer into containers for your infused salve.
Keeping the balm sealed tightly in a glass jar in a cool, dark area should help maintain freshness and potency. Do not refrigerate or freeze CBD balms.
Dr. Melanie Bone, board-certified OB-GYN and cannabis specialist, summed up the process this way: “To make your own CBD balm, you need to put a concentrated form of CBD into a carrier oil such as coconut oil or jojoba oil as well as a beeswax base for structure. After melting these together at low heat (such as the top of a double boiler), the secret sauce is the addition of essential oils and other additives to make it more effective.”
CBD balms, also called CBD salves, have become popular supplemental treatments for muscle pain, inflammation, and skin conditions. Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps
How do you make a pain relief balm?
There are some ingredients you can add to a CBD balm to make it potentially more pain-relieving, especially for general muscle aches and conditions like arthritis. “Adding products such as menthol or emu oil can make a product that is good to use on muscle tenderness,” Bone suggested.
Here are the ingredients you will need to make your own CBD balm:
Proper storage is essential to maintain your CBD balm. “The balm needs to be stored in a container that will neither interact with the product nor allow heat or light in to degrade it,” Bone stated.
You’ll also need the following supplies:
But there is an argument to be made for simply believing the CBD adds that special something. "Scientific literature says there's a 33 percent chance of the placebo effect helping people, so for some, just using a cream they believe can help will provide some relief," adds Dr. Colberg.
So do you need CBD? All of the experts here agree that until there's more peer-reviewed research, all claims should be looked at as marketing hype and not evidence-based. (Or, they can be anecdotal. Read what happened when one woman tried CBD for anxiety.)
Hemp creams for pain relief are typically is made from infusing high-quality cannabis flowers in some kind of quality oil-coconut or olive typically-which extracts the active compounds, either CBD, THC, or both depending on the type of hemp used. (Here's a guide to the difference between THC, CBD, cannabis, and hemp.) This oil is then blended with other therapeutic herbs, such as arnica or lemongrass essential oils, that are thought to also ease pain.
What Science Says About Hemp Creams for Pain Relief
Interest piqued? Learn more about hemp cream for pain relief and all its variations.
There is an argument to be made for the simple fact that science hasn't caught up to the trend (and laws) of cannabis yet. (Here's what research has to say about the potential benefits of CBD and cannabis so far.) And there are doubtlessly researchers testing the efficacy of CBD creams for pain relief as we speak.
Finally, you have receptors called TrpV1 that detect and regulate your body temperature. When activated, they put out heat, soothing your pain receptors. Using this channel, CBD makes these pain receptors hyperactive for a period of time, causing them to get hot, desensitizing them and downregulating those pain-sensing nerve endings.
Let's start simple: Endocannabinoids are natural signals in your body that help maintain homeostasis by detecting and regulating hunger, pain, mood, and memory. (They're actually part of your post-workout exercise high.) CBD helps elevate your natural levels of pain-relieving endocannabinoids by blocking metabolism as they're moving around your body.