Cannabis-infused topicals represent an ideal solution for those seeking an effective natural and non-addictive way to treat joint pain, inflammation, and muscle soreness. Also, anecdotal evidence points to cannabis topicals as an aid in treating other ailments such as cramping, headaches, itching, dermatitis, and psoriasis.
With the exception of transdermal patches and sensual lubricants, products infused with cannabis do not breach the bloodstream. As such, they are not psychoactive. This means they can be taken by those not desiring the euphoric high often found when consuming cannabis via other delivery systems. In addition, cannabis topicals work well for those who view smoking any product as a health hazard.
For those who like to dabble in homemade remedies, cannabis infused topicals can be made at home without having to purchase any fancy equipment. Here’s an easy recipe for making a cannabis healing salve.
Prepare The Oil
Melt out 2 cups of coconut oil. Ideally put the oil in the sunlight where it can melt though you can put it into the microwave. Just be careful not to burn the oil. Put the oil into a saucepan. Choose a saucepan with a heavy bottom that won’t burn easily.
Prepare The Cannabis
The cannabis needs to be prepared before it can be used for topicals using a process called decarboxylation (decarb for short). Preheat the oven to 200 degrees. Crush cannabis with your hands. The cannabis should be dry and crispy. One advantage to making topicals is that you can use all parts of the cannabis plant – buds, leaves, stems, and even the roots. The entire plant can be used. Just be sure to clean off any dirt particles before crushing the cannabis. Measure out 2 cups of crushed cannabis and place in a Pyrex baking dish. Put in the oven for 10 minutes. Then remove from the oven.
Make The Infusion
Place the heated cannabis in the saucepan containing the coconut oil. Simmer anywhere from twenty minutes to an hour. Do not bring to a boil. Strain the mixture through a cheesecloth and set aside.
Melt one ounce of beeswax in the saucepan. The beeswax is there to firm up the cream so it’s not as liquid. So, if you want a firmer cream, add a bit more beeswax. Add the coconut and cannabis mixture and stir together over low heat. Then remove from heat and add 1T of Vitamin E Oil. If you like, add in lavender or other essential oils depending on your preferences. Put this salve into glass containers and allow to harden. Store in a cool, dry place. Should the topicals get a bit on the liquid side due to exposure to the sun, simply put it back in the refrigerator until the cream hardens to the desired consistency.
Making Topicals with the Magical Butter Machine
The above method works well for those who like to make a infrequent batches of cannabis topicals. Those who truly enjoy making topicals on a regular basis should consider investing in a Magical Butter machine (MBM). This machine can be used to make other cannabis infused products like tinctures and cannabutter. And it eliminates any mess caused by cooking over the stovetop and then straining the product with a cheesecloth.
Bill Stewart of Half Baked Labs offers these suggestions regarding how to make a cannabis salve in the Magical Butter Machine. First decarb the cannabis for 30 minutes at 250 degrees. Pour two cups of coconut oil into the MBM. Add cannabis, and process at 160 degrees for 2 hours. Next strain and clean the MBM. After cleaning the MBM, return the strained oil to the MBM. Add 3/8 cup of beeswax. (This is 3x the batch size on the original recipe, but is the smallest amount you could do in the MBM.) Run for 1 hour at 130 degrees. Then add 1T Vitamin E oil, and any desired essential oils. Pour this cannabis salve into containers and let it cool. You can wait until it is thickening but not set, and fluff it up in a mixer before putting it in a container if you’d like a fluffier consistency.