DIY Cannabis Topicals: A Step-by-Step Guide

Cannabis isn't only great for the mind but also for the skin!
15 February 2021
13 min read
DIY Cannabis Topicals: A Step-by-Step Guide

Contents:

When it comes to marijuana, the methods of consumption seem to be limitless. In fact, given weed was only reborn into today's society relatively recently ago, we are still finding newer ways in which this magic plant seems to work.

However, marijuana isn't a modern world, or rather contemporary, substance. In fact, marijuana plants have been in use for over ten thousand years ago, in Ancient cultures such as China, India, Egypt, Greece, and the Netherlands. 1

What has changed though, is that, with our more advanced technologies, now we have the science to prove the actual benefits and uses of the different products, and make the most out of them. 

 

Follow this DIY cannabis topicals guide to make your own weed lotions.

Follow this DIY cannabis topicals guide to make your own weed lotions.

 

For instance, some weed-based products always prevail in their usual form, no matter the time being. Cannabis topicals, a.k.a. lotions, creams, and salves are one example of this. 

Besides, there isn't that much science involved in making such cannabis-infused lotions, creams, or salves. Let's find out how to make them in this article. 

1. How Do Cannabis Topicals Work?

Marijuana-infused topicals, such as lotions, creams, salves, oils, balms, and lubricants are all forms of weed products that take action directly on our skin, working on the targeted area by entering the first two layers of our skin, the epidermis and dermis

The best aspect about cannabis topicals is that they make a great alternative for those people who want to benefit from the use of marijuana but they would rather not get high. Since topicals don't get into our bloodstream, unlike transdermals which do, there should be no worries about getting the typical weed high. 

So, if marijuana topicals sound exactly like what you've been looking for, let's find out how to make your own at home!

2. How To Make Cannabis Salve

The good news is that making cannabis topicals is quite easy in fact, so gather your necessary supplies and let's get to it! In this article, we'll cover a couple of different recipes for making weed topicals. 

Ingredients and Supplies to Make Cannabis Salve

To make a weed salve you'll need the following tools and ingredients: 

  • 7 to 10 grams of dried, cured, and grinded marijuana buds;
  • 5 grams of raw weed, optional;
  • 1 ½ cups of coconut oil or other oils, coconut is a great option because it blends well with cannabis; 
  • 1/3 cup olive oil, optional;
  • 1/3 cup beeswax;
  • A baking sheet;
  • A saucepan;
  • A glass jar;
  • Cheesecloth or a thin strainer;
  • And a few drops of any essential oil of choice.

Once you've gathered all of the required supplies you're ready to start making your weed salve!

Step 1: Decarboxylating Your Marijuana Buds

The first step towards making your own cannabis salve is decarboxylating your weed buds. What is decarboxylation? Allow us to explain. 

Decarboxylation is the process through which we convert the acidic form of weed's cannabinoids, present in raw weed, into their active version. How does this happen? Two major factors are required, heat and time.

 

Decarboxylate your buds to activate the cannabinoids for your cannabis lotion.

Decarboxylate your buds to activate the cannabinoids for your cannabis lotion.

 

When we first harvest marijuana, it's through the curing process that part of the decarboxylation process takes place. The buds start to transform as they age and get oxygenated. This is also why it's important to store your buds correctly, too much oxygen could overdo the decarb process and render your buds useless. 

The second part of the decarboxylation process involves heat. When we smoke or vape weed, this takes place instantly. But when we need to use our buds for cooking recipes, or for making topicals, we need to put our buds through the decarb process ourselves. 

Let's see the chart to understand at which temperature the raw form of THC, THCA turns active:

 

 TemperatureTime
Turning THCA into THC90 to 110 °C / 200 to 230 °F30 to 45 minutes

 

To decarb your buds, separate them into smaller pieces and place them over a baking sheet on an oven tray. Bring the heat somewhere between 90 and 110 °C and put the tray inside for 30 minutes, although, do perform checks in between to prevent a catastrophe from happening: your buds getting burned. 

Read the full article on decarboxylation ahead:

Step 2: Making Cannabis Oil

The next step to make your cannabis salve is quite similar to making weed oil, the same in fact but with slightly more oil. 

 

To make cannabis lotion you'll need to make cannabis oil first.

To make marijuana lotion you'll need to make cannabis oil first.

 

As your buds decarboxylate in the oven, take a saucepan or a double boiler, place the coconut and olive oil inside over low heat and keep stirring continuously. Once the buds have finished decarboxylating, throw them into the pan along with the oils keeping the heat low.

Important! 

Do not bring up the heat to accelerate the process or you might risk overheating your buds and burning off the THC, which will, in turn, diminish your lotion's properties. 

At this stage, if you choose to use raw cannabis as well, then you should throw it in the saucepan as well. Keep stirring at low heat for 20 to 25 minutes, then remove from heat and strain with a cheesecloth or muslin cloth into a glass jar. Finally, squeeze tightly the cheesecloth to strain any remnants. 

Step 3: Blending Everything Together

Taking the same saucepan you were using for the oil, add the beeswax in and bring it to heat until you melt it completely. As it's melting, take the cannabis-infused oil and add it into the mix as you stir. 

If you want to throw in some drops of essential oil to the mix in order to add some fragrance, this is the part where you're supposed to do that. Lavender oil makes great for a soothing salve, tea tree oil also works great, but feel free to explore your options. 

 

Pour the mix into a container and ta-dá, your cannabis lotion is ready!

Pour the mix into a container and ta-dá, your cannabis lotion is ready!

 

C'est fini! All that's left now that the infused coconut and olive oil and the beeswax have blended well together is pouring the mix into the container where you'd like to keep your weed salve. Store it in a dark and cool place to preserve it better.

3. Turning Your Cannabis Salve Into Lotion or Cream

As you might have noticed, your homemade marijuana salve is quite hard on consistency. If you'd rather turn your salve into more of a lotion or cream, with a more liquid consistency, follow through with the next guide.

Necessary Ingredients to Make Weed Lotion

  • 1 teaspoon of oil (it can be olive, almond vitamin E, or any kind of oil);
  • 1 cup of aloe vera gel;
  • And 2 tablespoons of shea or cocoa butter. 

Now all you need to do is add the oil and the shea or cocoa butter into the mix as you heat it in your saucepan. Lastly, throw the cup of aloe vera gel in and mix well. Pour into a container and voilá, your weed lotion is ready to use (once it's cooled down).  

Keep in mind that the lotion will still be slightly consistent, so we would suggest using a container rather than a lotion pump. 

 

Play with the ingredients! Add lavender for a soothing cannabis lotion.

Play with the ingredients! Add lavender for a soothing cannabis lotion.

 

If you feel inspired and like creating, you can vary and play with the ingredients to make your own personalized cannabis balms and creams. For instance, add some color and fragrance to the mix by throwing in some rose petals. Throw in some chamomile oil as well and you'll have an extra soothing cannabis balm there, great for use before heading to sleep. 

What about cannabis lip balms? Add a teaspoon of honey into the mix, and some frozen berries into your coconut and beeswax blend to create your own homemade flavored cannabis lip balm. Cocoa powder is also a great flavoring option. 

4. The Benefits of Cannabis Topicals

Cannabis topicals provide amazing benefits, not only due to the cannabinoids present in the mix but because all of their ingredients are great natural components as well, especially coconut and olive oil. 

Marijuana salves and lotions can be specifically great for people struggling with muscle pain or skin disorders, such as psoriasis and eczema. The main properties of these cannabis-infused products are their anti-inflammatory and analgesic action, helping with sore joints, arthritis, muscle aches, and more. 

 

Cannabis lotions are great for muscles pain or skin disorders.

Cannabis lotions are great for muscles pain or skin disorders.

 

When adding certain ingredients to the mix, for instance, lavender, eucalyptus, or chamomile oil, you enhance the relaxing properties of the balm, ideal for a good night's sleep or to relieve migraines. 

5. The Bottom Line

Didn't we tell you making weed balms, creams and lotions was super easy? Hopefully, this step-by-step guide helped you make your own cannabis-infused cosmetics at home. 

And of course, allow your inspiration to travel and expand, play with your ingredients and test out the different results! And don't forget to comment on what are your favorite marijuana topicals recipes!

 

EXTERNAL REFERENCES

  1.  "Cannabis in the Ancient World. Marihuana: the first twelve thousand years." Ernest L. Abel. 1980.

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