Yo, what up my fellow cannabisseurs? If you’re looking to add some extra pizzazz to your skincare routine, have you ever considered adding some cannabinoids and terpenes into the mix? Our skin has endocannabinoid system components, so why not influence this vital system by lathering on some THC, CBD, and other phytochemicals? Keep reading to find out how to make your own organic cannabis salve at home, and keep your skin glowing and happy.
What Is Cannabis Salve?
Cannabis salves or balms are topical products made using beeswax. This gives the mixture a hard finish and a long shelf life. These preparations vary in their ingredients and contain a host of other botanicals that are beneficial to skin health.
The process of making cannabis salve involves extracting cannabis phytochemicals into a fat source, meaning the end product contains a variety of cannabinoids, terpenes, and other molecules that might benefit our biological barrier.
Why Use Topical Cannabis?
Why do people choose to apply cannabis to their skin? Why not just smoke, eat, or vape it? Well, it all boils down to the intention behind the application. If you’re aiming to get high or want cannabinoids to enter systemic circulation, these methods of administration work just fine. But if you’re using cannabis for the sake of skin health, it makes perfect sense to put it exactly where you want it to work.
Topical cannabis delivers cannabinoids and other phytochemicals directly to the skin. But what does it do there? The herb contains myriad cannabinoids. Many of these molecules, including the psychotropic component THC, bind to cannabinoid receptors in our body. These sites make up the endocannabinoid system (ECS), alongside signalling molecules and metabolic enzymes.
To keep things simple, the ECS basically helps to keep our bodily systems in balance. It stops things from getting too sluggish or from going overboard. It fulfils this regulatory role almost everywhere, from the brain and gut to the skeleton and skin. The ECS facilitates a biological balancing act in the skin, and plays a role in cell growth, differentiation, hormone production, and controlled cell death.
But don’t worry homies, you won’t get high by lathering up your skin with high-THC cannabis salve. When applied to our protective barrier, only extremely tiny portions of cannabinoids make it through to the bloodstream. Instead, the vast majority of constituents perform local effects on skin cells.
How Does Cannabis Salve Differ From Lotions and Creams?
There are many different topical cannabis products out there. But what exactly makes salves different from lotions and creams? Let’s break it down:
Salves: Salves are a combination of oils and beeswax. These ingredients serve as the basic foundation to which crafters often add essential oils, nut butters, and vitamins. Salves contain no water, which gives them a hard consistency.
Creams: These preparations contain both oil and water. For this reason, creams have a lighter consistency than salves. Because water and oil naturally repel each other, the addition of an emulsifying agent keeps them incorporated. A water content of around 45% makes them easy to spread across the skin.
Lotions: These topicals contain an even higher water content than creams. They are easy to apply across a larger area of skin, weigh less, and are non-greasy because of the lower oil content.
THC Salve vs CBD Salve
The contents of cannabis salves depend on the material used to make them. High-CBD flowers will render a different product than THC-rich buds—so which one should you choose?
Ongoing studies are still exploring the skin-related benefits of both compounds. Each interacts with the ECS in unique ways. Whereas THC directly binds to ECS receptors, CBD takes an indirect but equally intriguing route. Still, we need more research to determine exactly how both work on human skin cells.
Organic Cannabis Salve Recipe: How To Make THC or CBD Salve at Home
Now that you’re aware of what constitutes a cannabis salve and why people use them, it’s time to get to our organic cannabis salve recipe. It’s easy, straightforward, and good for the skin. Gather the items listed below and get your crafting on!
Equipment & Ingredients
Grab the following equipment and ingredients to make your own organic cannabis salve at home.
– Double boiler (saucepan and Pyrex bowl)
– Mixing bowl
– Shallow storage jar
– Baking tray
– Aluminium foil
– 7–10g cannabis buds of your choice
– ⅓ cup olive oil
– ⅓ cup beeswax
– 1½ cup coconut oil
Disclaimer: You experiment at your own risk
Step 1: Decarb
First things first; you need to decarboxylate your cannabis flowers. This word sounds complex but it simply refers to “activating” your buds through heat. Raw flowers contain cannabinoid acids in the form of THCA and CBDA. Decarbing knocks the “A” out of the equation using nothing but heat and time.
Follow these steps to decarb your buds:
1) Grind up your bud.
2) Preheat your oven to 230°F.
3) Line the baking tray with aluminium foil.
4) Spread the ground bud evenly across the tray.
5) Place in oven for 40 minutes.
6) Remove and let cool.
Step 2: Infuse Coconut Oil
Next, you’ll need to extract all of that goodness from your decarboxylated material. Cannabinoids are lipophilic (they absorb well into fat), so coconut oil does a great job at extracting them.
1) Set up your double boiler by placing your saucepan on the hob with a few inches of water.
2) Slot your Pyrex bowl into the saucepan making sure it sits above water level (empty some water if it touches the bottom).
3) Add coconut oil into bowl along with broiled bud:
4) Set heat low (130–150°F) & simmer for one hour stirring occasionally.
5) Remove oil from heat & strain through cheesecloth into mixing bowl.
Step 3: Mix Everything
Now clean your double boiler again and add beeswax, olive oil, and now-infused coconut oil.
1) Place all three ingredients into the double boiler and place over low heat.
2) Stir until all components melt together.
3) Remove from heat and allow to cool for a few minutes before transferring to shallow storage jar.
4) Let cool further before use.
And that’s it! You now have your own homemade cannabis salve ready to use. Apply it directly onto the skin and allow a few minutes for the product to sink in. Enjoy!