How to Make Cannabis Salve
The CBD oil craze is sweeping the nation!
And for good reason- CBD oil isn’t just a fad, it’s an exciting remedy with countless benefits. Hemp is making a comeback, and it is finally getting the attention it deserves after being unfortunately illegalized in the US for years.
Hemp was officially removed from the Controlled Substance Act on December 20, 2018. This means that any state can grow hemp, and we can finally free-dive into all the amazing benefits offered by hemp and hemp products, including CBD oil!
The extra-exciting part is that you don’t need to buy expensive CBD oil. It’s super easy to make your own! Along with homemade elderberry syrup and echinacea root and flower tincture, CBD oil is one of my favorite natural remedies to keep on hand for when I need it.
What is CBD oil?
CBD is short for cannabidiol.
CBD comes from hemp plants, the flowers specifically.
Hemp is an incredibly useful plant! It has been used for way more than just CBD oil throughout human history. For example, the word “canvas” sounds close to the word “Cannabis” because early canvasses were always made from hemp fibers. And the Declaration of Independence was written on hemp paper!
So what about the CBD oil in hemp?
Hemp plants actually have more than 100 cannabinoids (which are closely related compounds that are useful for all sorts of things, more on that below) but CBD makes up the majority. Hemp and marijuana are both Cannabis plants, but hemp has a low THC content (the psychoactive component) to ensure that you can’t get high or mentally impaired from CBD-rich hemp.
Is CBD oil legal?
There has been lots of confusion given the changing rules on hemp and marijuana in the US. Thankfully, more and more individuals and lawmakers are realizing the amazing potential of hemp and CBD, and so new rules are coming into place that allows hemp to be regulated separately from marijuana.
Currently, CBD oil is legal in the United States for consumption without a prescription.
As long as the CBD is actually from hemp and not psychoactive (meaning it has less than 0.3% THC content), it’s available to everyone to buy and consume.
The only problem is that, as of this writing, not every state can grow hemp. So if you want to make your own CBD oil at home, it might be tough to find a source for quality hemp seeds or plants in your state. You might need to just order CBD oil from a state where hemp is legal. For my recommendations on where to buy CBD oil, scroll to the bottom of this post.
CBD oil and drug tests
If you work at a job that does drug tests or might have to take a drug test in the near future, be aware that current drug tests are incredibly old-fashioned. They can’t tell the difference between marijuana and hemp, and sometimes drug tests can come up with a positive result for marijuana when you only have CBD in your system.
You might want to talk to your employer if you’re worried! You can explain how you’d like to take a non-psychoactive substance as a natural aid to ease your symptoms.
CBD oil benefits
The cannabinoids of hemp plants have numerous benefits, but the cannabinoid known as CBD is one of the most beneficial parts of hemp. CBD interacts with your body’s cannabinoid receptors in the endocannabinoid system to help balance the body and support wellness.
A review of studies from the British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology has shown cannabinoids to have many amazing properties: they’re anti-depressant, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antipsychotic, and help fight nausea, seizures, and even tumors!
Many people use CBD oil to help with mood, seizures, arthritis, pain, sleep, memory, and more!
People also use CBD oil for pets, especially dogs, to help with anxiety, stiffness, or arthritis.
I personally use it to help with stress and anxiety– I’ll take CBD oil about an hour before I know I’m going to be in a stressful situation, such as being around a group of strangers. It helps a ton! I don’t feel high after I take it, just more relaxed and better able to deal with stressors. CBD oil has been especially helpful in balancing my Lyme symptoms and Lyme anxiety!
And it isn’t just the CBD that makes CBD oil beneficial– the various other cannabinoids all interact in a way that makes full-spectrum CBD much more effective and beneficial than taking CBD isolates.
The plant is created to be taken as a whole plant, not a synthetic version of one compound!
How to make CBD oil
Ready to try making your own high-quality CBD oil? Making CBD oil is surprisingly easy, healthy, and much cheaper than buying CBD oil at a store!
Here’s everything you need to know!
Where to get hemp for CBD oil
Unfortunately, sourcing your hemp plants or seeds for CBD oil isn’t something I can directly help you with.
There are too many different laws in different countries and states to be able to give specific advice in this area. Just make sure you’re getting high-quality seeds or plants, and research the strand you’re getting. Different types of hemp plants are more beneficial for different uses. For example, there are plants that are raised for their fiber, and they wouldn’t have as good of oils as plants raised for their CBD.
And make sure your plants haven’t been sprayed! (Hemp is naturally organic but some farmers choose to spray their plants anyway.)
If you live somewhere that industrial hemp is legal (which will be everywhere, soon!) then you can do what I did- just befriend a nearby hemp farmer and ask if you can help yourself to a couple plants during harvest! There are always some plants the harvesters miss, and most hemp farmers are pretty friendly and laid back.
I can also tell you that hemp plants are beautiful and easy to grow! They are naturally organic and don’t need pesticides, and they also don’t use that much water. There are many different varieties- some grow straight up and some grow more like Christmas trees, and there are even purple hemp plants!
If you live somewhere where hemp isn’t grown, then you might find it easier to simply buy CBD oil. It can be shipped freely throughout the US.
Make sure to check out my post on what to look for to make sure you’re buying high-quality CBD products!
You can also scroll to the bottom of this post for my recommendations on my favorite hemp company (and a discount code!)
Choosing a CBD oil carrier
The type of oil you choose for making your CBD oil is important.
If you’re going to be ingesting your CBD oil, then the best option, in my opinion, is to use MCT oil. This oil is super healthy for you on its own!
Combined with hemp, the fatty acids in MCT oil are meant to help increase the bioavailability of your CBD, making it more beneficial because it is more easily delivered to places in your body for the CBD to be metabolized. (source) You can find more about dosage and administering CBD oil below.
If you’re going to be making a CBD salve, then you don’t need to use an edible oil. I wouldn’t recommend coconut oil or fractionated coconut oil, because it could clog your pores. Things like sweet almond oil, jojoba oil, and even olive oil make good choices if you’re going to be using your CBD oil topically.
Why decarboxylate hemp?
Just like MCT oil helps to make CBD more bioavailable, there’s something else you need to do to ensure that your body can use the CBD in hemp.
You need to decarboxylate hemp before making your oil. This is simpler than it sounds- all it means is that you heat your hemp buds to 230 degrees F for 40 minutes before putting the oil together. This changes the CBD to a form that your body can use.
So as you can see, it’s necessary to decarb your cannabis before making your oil.
To decarboxylate your hemp buds correctly, first remove the buds from your hemp plant. You don’t need to remove all the leaves, but take out any large leaves- they usually don’t have as much oil on them and you don’t want them to burn! It’s technically possible to make CBD oil from leaves, but it won’t be nearly as beneficial since there isn’t very much oil available. It’s best to stick to just the buds.
Preheat the oven to 230F, and separate your buds into small pieces. Place the hemp buds spaced out on a cookie sheet, and bake them for 40 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes. They’ll shrink some.
When they’ve browned for 40 minutes, take them out of the oven and put together your oil! Easy peasy.
Homemade CBD oil recipe
Now that you’ve decarbed your hemp, let’s get on with how to make your own high-quality CBD oil at home!
What you need for homemade CBD oil
- Decarboxylated hemp buds (see above for how to decarboxylate hemp)
- A carrier oil (You can use MCT oil for ingestion, sweet almond, jojoba, or olive oil for topical use)
- Small jars
- Amber dropper bottle
For my topical CBD oil, I used a half-and-half mixture of sweet almond oil and olive oil.
And note that this is a recipe for how to make cold pressed CBD oil. It’s easier to make than having to heat the oil, but it does take slightly longer to infuse the oil. Give your CBD oil 6-8 weeks of sitting time before using.
See below for tips on CBD oil dosing!
How to make your very own high-quality CBD oil at home. Use CBD-infused oil for ingestion, topical use, or for use in a CBD salve or balm!
- Hemp buds
- MCT oil, or sweet almond, jojoba, and/or olive oil
Preheat oven to 230F
Break up hemp buds into small pieces, remove any large leaves
Put hemp buds spaced apart on a cookie sheet, and bake at 230F for 40 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes
After buds have cooled, fill your jar 3/4 full of hemp
Fill jar the rest of the way with oil (MCT oil for ingestion, or sweet almond/jojoba/olive oil for topical application)
Cover tightly and store in a dark area such as a pantry, shaking regularly (once a day or so is fine)
After 6-8 weeks, strain your CBD oil into a dropper bottle using a strainer and funnel
CBD oil dosage
One of the only downsides to making your own CBD oil is that you don’t know the exact concentration. There’s no label with the milligrams of CBD on it! You could get your oil tested, but that’s usually expensive. It’s also unnecessary since CBD oil is very safe to take!
When you begin using your homemade CBD, it’s best to start with very low amounts and work your way up. If you’re using the amber dropper bottles recommended above, I would start with half a dropper full, or about half a milliliter.
To administer CBD oil, just squirt the drops under your tongue, hold in there for about 30-45 seconds, then swallow.
Wait for a couple of hours to see how you feel. If there’s no difference in symptoms, try taking a little more.
Do this until you find the optimal dosage. This might mean taking half a dropper of CBD once a day, or two droppers full twice a day. It just depends on your body and how it reacts to the CBD.
And even if you’re taking CBD oil for something inconsistent such as anxiety or depression, it’s still best to take CBD oil every day to help your body find balance.
CBD oil dosage for pets:
- Under 15 pounds: 3 drops
- 15-30 pounds: 6 drops
- 30-60 pounds: 12 drops
- Over 60 pounds: 20 drops
If you’re administering CBD oil to your pet, you can put the drops straight into their mouth, or put it on a treat.
For my dog, before we’re going somewhere with lots of strangers where she might get skittish or feel anxious, I’ll put CBD oil drops on a piece of bread and feed that to her.
CBD doesn’t just have to be ingested, it’s useful when applied topically too!
Now that you have your CBD infused oil, why not try making it into a salve or balm?
The only extra ingredient you need is something solid – I’ve seen the most success with a combination of beeswax and shea butter. You’ll also probably want some tins or an empty salve stick to store your salve.
CBD salve benefits
Just like taking CBD oil sublingually has many benefits, applying CBD topically with a balm or salve also has many benefits.
CBD salve is useful for any skin or muscle issues that involve inflammation, stiffness, or pain, and can help ease symptoms of things like arthritis and gout.
You can use a CBD salve as a moisturizing hard lotion or even for massages! Don’t use your CBD salve on broken skin.
Hemp oil salve recipe
What you need to make a CBD salve:
- CBD oil (see above)
- Beeswax pellets
- Shea butter
This CBD salve made with CBD-infused oil is perfect for topical application. It’s easy to make lots of this moisturizing salve in bulk for gifts!
- 1/4 cup CBD oil
- 2 tsp beeswax pellets
- 1 tbsp shea butter
Combine the CBD oil, beeswax, and shea butter together in a double boiler
Heat over medium heat until completely melted
Remove from heat and quickly pour into tins
Let salve harden, and store in a cool, dry place