Homemade cannabis salve recipe

Cannabis can have healing properties in many forms. Topical lotions and salves have become increasingly popular over the months, so this blog will help shed some light on how to do it yourself. It's easier than you think. Our trusted shop expert, Jenna, gives us some tips on how to make your own homemade cannabis salve.

This recipe can be made in either a Magic Butter Machine, or a crock pot. If using a crock pot, try and use one that you can program the temperature to 160 degrees Fahrenheit, and has a thermometer. Most standard crock pots have a low, medium, and high setting. The low setting is normally 160° F, and that would be the maximum you would want your mixture to cook at. The Magic Butter Machine recommends making a batch with no less than 2 cups of oil in their machine. So, I like to stick with that amount for the crock pot also.

I have found 1 ounce of flower to 2 cups of oil works perfectly for a nice, strong salve. The amount of finished marijuana product after straining ends up making about 12-14 fluid oz. That can be too much for some people, so you can cut that in half for a "half batch" (1 cup oil- 28 grams flower, yielding about 5-7 fluid oz.) That would need to be made in a crock pot which does not have a set recommended minimum amount of oil. The entire process, which is 4 different steps, takes about 5 hours. So, to make it worth your effort, do at least a half batch.

There are quite a few different oils and butters you can use. I like to stick with coconut oil being at least one of the two cups of oil used. Almond oil is another really great one for the skin. You can mix and match with other things like cocoa butter or shea butter if you want to get more luxurious. This recipe is all oil based, so finished product can have up to a year of shelf life if stored at a normal room temperature.

As far as choosing flower, it is up to you and your preference. For example, I use flowers high in THC that end up making a potent formula which helps with my pain and swelling. I then add in oils like arnica and other essential oils to give it more deep relieving effects. I personally have found using high quality buds, and not trim or leaves, makes for a more balanced potent topical. I try and source flower that has gone through a third-party certification (Clean Green Certified, Certified Kind, or Dragonfly Earth Medicine) practices to make sure my medicine as clean as possible. 

Ingredients list for a full batch:

  • 1 oz. of flower (28 grams)
  • 2 cups of coconut oil (or whichever oil you choose)
  • 2 teaspoons sunflower or soy lecithin (helps cannabinoids bond with oil, more easily absorbed in the skin)
  • 1/2 oz. of arnica oil (if making a pain blend)
  • 2 teaspoons of vitamin E oil (optional)
  • 2 teaspoons of beeswax pellets (adjust amount to type of oil: if using almond or olive oil, double amount of beeswax shown here)
  • 30 drops of lavender essential oil (or whichever you pick) 
  • If you prefer a stronger or lighter Lavender smell in your topical, feel free to add additional Lavender essential oil, or to use less, until you achieve your desired scent.

Additional materials needed:

  • Several yards of non-bleached natural cheesecloth.
  • 1, 24 oz. wide mouth mason jar, and rubber band for jar.
  • Small glass jars for storage (1 oz. glass jars work great)
  • Latex, or latex free fitted examination or cleaning gloves, a glass bowl, rubber spatula, slotted spoon.

Here are the 4 steps in the process of making a cannabis based oil

STEP 1

Decarboxylating flower:

  • Place your flower on a cookie sheet lined with foil, spreading it all out evenly.
  • Cover the flower with another sheet of foil. Set your conventional, or toaster oven to 260 degrees Fahrenheit for 1 hour.
  • Make sure to check halfway through the hour just in case your oven burns hotter or is at a high altitude.
  • The flowers should be a nice light golden brown and not over toasted or burnt!

STEP 2

Cooker:

  • Pre-melt 2 cups of oil in a double boiler or microwave, then pour into your machine with the decarboxylated cannabis.
  • Add in the 2 teaspoons of sunflower or soy lecithin, then stir until blended.
  • Let oil and bud mixture cook for 3 hours, stir gently every hour or so.

STEP 3 (Gloves needed throughout STEP 3)

Straining your oil:

  • When the 3 hours is up, take off lid to let cool for at least 10 minutes.
  • While the oil cools, secure some cheesecloth over the top of the mason jar with a rubber band.
  • Spoon flower material out from the oil and into the cheesecloth covered jar. Then undo the rubber band, and squeeze the cheesecloth over the jar. You will probably need to do this 2-3 times to get all of the flower squeezed. **Caution material will be hot!**
  • Take the oil that remains (from the oil that the flower was taken out of) and pour that through a fresh piece of cheesecloth (folded over 3 times) into the mason jar. If there are still small amounts of green material present, go ahead and pour it through one more strainer.
  • Pour all of strained oil into mixing bowl.
  • Now is the time to add whatever healing essential oils and pre-melted beeswax into the warm oil. Stir gently, but thoroughly. 
  • Have your final storage glass containers clean and ready to pour the oil mixture into.
  • Depending on what oils you use, adjust the amount of beeswax accordingly. If using oils that solidify at room temperature, like coconut oil, cocoa butter, or shea butter, you need less beeswax. Too much beeswax can make the salve too waxy, and not rub in as well.

STEP 4

Finalizing product consistency:

  • Place the filled jars in the refrigerator for an hour and a half, or freezer for 40 minutes. This will help the oil cool, and set more evenly. Additionally, this will help if you are using 2 different types of oil with different solidifying temperatures.
  • After the chill, let salve hang out in room temperature for an hour or so before putting lids on.
  • To make your home a little safer, please label jars with ingredients including cannabis first, also that it is for topical use only.