Making your own cannabis-infused topical lotions and salves is not as difficult as you might think. If you’ve ever made cannabis-infused butter or oil, the recipe is remarkably similar and can be used in a variety of ways.
Preheat your oven to 240 degrees Fahrenheit and spread your dried ground cannabis on a baking sheet. When the oven is preheated, decarboxylate your cannabis in the oven for 25-30 minutes.
How to make a basic cannabis salve
Keep in mind that your lotion will still be fairly thick, so we don’t recommend trying to put it in a lotion pump.
Infused lotions, salves, or balms are a great item to keep on hand as they have been shown to provide immense relief from chronic or acute localized pain. Because topicals are applied directly to the skin, they won’t get you high, which means they’re a great pain reliever to use at work or during the day when you can’t responsibly consume cannabis to relieve painful symptoms.
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.
You can choose to use any carrier oil you like for the rest of the oil in your salve. To reap the other benefits of hemp, you could use a hemp seed oil for the rest of your oil content. The disadvantage of using hempseed oil is that it is a more delicate oil that tends to go rancid more quickly, especially when not stored in a cool, dry place. There are ways to extend the shelf life, though, if you don’t want to keep your salve in the fridge. One way is to add an antioxidant like Vitamin E at around 0.5% of the weight of the recipe. If adding in Vitamin E, you’ll want to do so as the salve is cooling as it is a delicate constituent itself.
When formulating a homemade salve, I’d probably shoot for a minimum of 100mg per ounce and maybe start out somewhere in the middle ground like 300mg per ounce. You can always adjust your next batch up or down as needed.
Hemp-derived CBD oils (vs. marijuana-derived CBD oils) are legal in all 50 states and most countries. But, it isn’t quite that simple…
Choosing your carrier oil for your CBD salve
I normally use beeswax, but candelilla wax is a good vegan substitute for those who avoid using beeswax. If you choose to use another wax, you may have to experiment to make a salve with a nice consistency. Some waxes, like carnauba wax, are harder than beeswax, so you’ll want to use less. If you’re using a soft floral wax, you’d likely want to add more.
If you don’t feel like making your own salve, they also sell ready-made salve and whipped body butter!
CBD oil derived from marijuana plants (not hemp plants, but cannabis sativa varieties with more than 0.3% THC) are legal in some states and not in others (and the legalities may vary based on the situation such as if you have a medical need for it or not).
If you live outside of the US, like me, it is your responsibility to research the legalities for your country.