It’s no secret that we Sundorwīcians are deeply interested in herbalism and often engage in DIY projects related to said interest.
Being something of companion piece to our previous article, Wyrtlār: Hemp/Cannabis, this article will feature our hearth’s recipe for making cannabis salve; a non- psychoactive topical which we regularly use for stiff and painful joints and muscles.
But, before we dive into the step-by-step, it might be worthwhile to explain what a salve actually is and how it differs from other products.
Unlike lotion, salves do not require water and are simply the combination of oil(s) and a wax (typically beeswax), which, when mixed and cooled, harden to form a topical application which is less fluid than conventional lotions or creams. The absence of water and introduction of beeswax also provides salves with a long shelf life without the need for added preservatives. Salves are – at least in my experience – superior to lotions when it comes to applying cannabis topically, as it takes longer to absorb into the skin and as a consequence of this, provides a long lasting protective coating over the affected area.
Step 1 – Making Cannabis Oil
The first and arguably most important step, is the creation of the cannabis infused oil. To create this oil, you will need:
- 1/8 – 1/2 an ounce of dried cannabis flower or decarboxylated cannabis flower. To decarboxylate cannabis, one must bake dried and ground cannabis flowers on a baking sheet for 30-45 minutes at 240 degrees Fahrenheit or 115 degrees Celsius. One can also used the golden-brown cannabis flowers left over from vapourizing, as they are already decarboxylated.
- 4 cups food grade or cosmetic grade oil, which you can purchase at most health and wellness shops. Coconut oil works extremely well for this.
Add your 4 cups of oil to a medium saucepan and gently stir in decarboxylated cannabis flowers. Heat the oil on a very low temperature for about three hours, making sure that the oil doesn’t boil or burn. The idea is to keep the oil warm, not to cook the cannabis! Then strain the oil concoction using a cheesecloth or coffee filter to remove unwanted bits of dried flower. You should be left with a transparent oil free from sediment, unless you used an oil which is solid at room temperature, such as coconut oil.
That’s your cannabis oil completed. You can also use this recipe to make edibles as long as you used food grade oil.
Step 2 – Making the Salve
What you will need for this step is as follows:
- 1/4 cup of cannabis infused oil
- 1/4 cup of cosmetic or food grade oil (coconut oil, grapeseed oil, hemp seed oil etc.)
- 2 tablespoons of grated beeswax (grating the beeswax is annoying, so if you can find it in pellet form, buy it!)
- 1/4 teaspoon of vitamin E oil
- 6-10 drops of essential oils of your choosing (optional)
In a mason jar or heatproof bowl, mix together your cannabis oil, your carrier oil and your beeswax. Don not add your vitamin E or essential oils at this point, as the heating process will essentially destroy them. If using a mason jar, place the mixture in a saucepan half-filled with water (make sure water doesn’t get into the mason jar!). If using a double boiler, place your heatproof bowl on top of the saucepan. Heat until all of the beeswax has melted into the oil over medium-low heat. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly for 5(ish) minutes. Add vitamin E oil and essential oil blend and stir repeatedly for 2 minutes. At this point, your salve can be transferred into appropriate containers and allowed to cool and harden. The salve can keep up to one year at room temperature without the use of added preservatives.