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How to Make Homemade Cannabis Salve (CBD or THC)

Learn how to easily make potent and healing homemade cannabis salve at home.. Cannabis salve can help to reduce inflammation, soothe skin irritation, joint pain, eczema, psoriasis, and more!
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time1 hr 15 mins
Decarb Time (if not already done)25 mins
Keyword: Cannabis Oil, Cannabis Salve, Cannabis Salve Recipe, Cannabis-infused salve, CBD Oil, CBD Salve Recipe
Servings: 2 cups

Equipment

  • A double-boiler, or make-shift double boiler (such as a glass pyrex bowl or stainless steel bowl perched on top of a saucepan with water below)
  • Cheesecloth, like this organic unbleached cheesecloth
  • Fine mesh strainer
  • Glass bowl
  • Glass storage jars or salve tins
  • Recommended: a probe thermometer
  • A baking sheet, if not using already-decarboxylated cannabis

Ingredients

  • 1.5 cup Coconut oil
  • 1 cup Loosely ground decarboxylated cannabis. To be more precise, I suggest to use a kitchen to weigh out approximately 7 to 10 grams (a quarter ounce or just over) (If not yet decarbed, see Step 1 below)
  • Optional: 5 grams of raw cannabis, dried and cured
  • OR 1.5 cups already-infused cannabis coconut oil (see notes about using different types of oil below)
  • 1/3 cup Olive oil
  • 1/3 cup Beeswax (vegan option: replace with the same amount of organic soy wax, candelilla wax, or carnauba wax)
  • 1 tsp Vitamin E oil, or 1 Tbsp shea butter (optional)
  • 4-5 drops Essential oils of choice (optional)

Instructions

Decarb Cannabis

  • If your cannabis is not yet decarboxylated, grind or tear it up into fairly small pieces. Spread evenly on a baking sheet, and heat it in the oven on 250°F for 25 to 30 minutes.

Make Cannabis-Infused Oil (skip to next section if you already did this)

  • Add water to the bottom pan of your double-boiler. Now add 1.5 cup of coconut oil to the top section of the double-boiler. Heat until it melts.
  • Stir in 7-10 grams of decarboxylated cannabis into the melted oil. Feel free to also include an optional few grams of raw ground cannabis if you desire.
  • Continue to heat the cannabis and oil over a low heat for 30 to 60 minutes, stirring occasionally. Use a probe thermometer to check the temperature. Adjust the heat as needed to maintain the oil below 200°F. (We aim for 130 to 150°F, and infuse for one hour)
  • When the time is up, line a strainer with cheesecloth and position it over a glass bowl. Pour the cannabis and oil mixture through the strainer. Gather the cheesecloth and gently squeeze out the excess oil from the cannabis. Warning: the oil will be hot, and your hands will get greasy! You may want to wear food-grade gloves.
  • Keep the strained cannabis oil aside for now. It will be added to the salve mixture soon.

Mix Salve Ingredients

  • If you're using solidified cannabis-infused coconut oil that you previously made, I highly suggest mixing everything in a double-boiler once again (since you’ll need to heat it longer and hotter to re-melt your oil). OR, if you just made your cannabis oil and it is still liquified, you can do this step straight in a pot on the stove – keeping the heat as low as possible once the cannabis coconut oil is added.  
  • In either a pot or double-boiler, add ⅓ cup of beeswax. Heat until it is completely melted. Now turn down the heat to low.
  • Next, stir in 1.5 cups of strained cannabis coconut oil and ⅓ cup olive oil, along with optional vitamin E plus a few drops of optional essential oils as well. 
  • Stir until everything looks completely combined. Once it is, quickly remove the liquid salve from the heat and transfer it into your storage containers of choice.
  • The cannabis salve will harden as it cools, and then it is ready to use!

Storing & Using Cannabis Salve

  • Store the finished cannabis salve in a cool dark location because light degrades cannabinoids (amber/colbalt glass jars or salve tins will block UV). Keep out of reach from children.
  • Apply a thin, even layer to the affected area. You should start to feel the results within 5 to 20 minutes, depending on the severity of your issue and strength of your salve. Repeat several times per day as needed.
  • When stored in ideal cool and dark conditions, homemade cannabis salve should last up to a year. The potency will only slightly decrease during this time. I try to use clean hands when I dig into my salve jars, to avoid introducing any contamination that could make it potentially mold or spoil faster. 

Notes

Notes on Strength:
It is nearly impossible to determine the exact potency of homemade oils and salves (without lab testing, not practical or affordable) no matter if you are using homegrown or dispensary cannabis. There are simply too many variables and opportunities (time/temp) for the THC or CBD to increase or decrease in concentration throughout the process.
 
Notes regarding oil options and scaling:
If you want to scale this recipe up or down, the general rule of thumb for salve is to use about 1 part of beeswax to 4 or 5 parts oil, including both coconut and olive oil. Since we use virgin coconut oil that is solid at room temperature, we can get away with lesser beeswax and the salve will still set up well. If you use a different carrier oil that is liquid at room temperature, either omit the extra 1/3 cup olive oil mentioned above, or increase the amount of beeswax pastilles to 1/2 cup.