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How to Make DIY Cannabis Lotions

February 19, 2021 4 min read

Making cannabis salve with beeswax

With the federal legalization of CBD, cannabis salves without THC have hit the shelves, however there is a benefit of both THC and CBD topicals. Cannabis topical creams and lotions are very trendy at the moment and many people are starting to realize its advantages for localized treatment. The best part about cannabis lotion and other topicals is that you can make it yourself at home with just a few tools.

What are cannabis topicals?

Topicals refer to anything that is applied directly to the body and not ingested. Lotions, creams, balms, oils, and salves are all considered different types of topicals. All of these can be infused with various natural ingredients like plants, essential oils, and cannabis. Indigenous people knew about the medicinal properties of the wild plants that grew in their area and would make many kinds of all-natural healing balms to treat various ailments when they arise.

Cannabis lotion uses

Cannabis lotion and topicals are applied to the surface of the skin and absorbed into the bloodstream for localized relief. While not many studies have been done on the effects of cannabis topicals, researchers believe that CBD lotion works best as an anti-inflammatory and neurocontroller, while THC topicals are an anesthetic and help to reduce pain. Everyone however, agrees that a combination CBD and THC lotion works best for most types of treatment. Cannabis lotion is also an antioxidant and is naturally antibacterial. Unlike your typical pain relieving cream that you can purchase at the drugstore, when massaged in, cannabis topicals penetrate much deeper, providing more comprehensive relief. CBD is non-psychoactive and these topicals will not get you high.

Do I need to decarboxylate before making a salve?

Yes! Decarboxylation is an important step in releasing and activating the chemical compounds in the plant through heat. When smoked or vaped, your pot is exposed to a direct flame and instantly decarboxylated. For edibles and topicals, dry herb must be decarboxylated for a longer time on lower heat to get the full effects. But don’t worry, the process isn’t as difficult as it sounds. All you have to do is pop your bud in the oven and wait (or take a few bong rips in the meantime).

Homemade topical recipe

This easy cannabis salve is a thick, cream-like consistency, but can easily be turned into a more liquid homemade cannabis lotion by adding a few more ingredients at the end. The best part about this cannabis salve recipe is that it uses a cannabis-infused coconut oil as the base. If you end up making too much, use it in your next weed edible recipe!


  • 7 grams (¼ ounce) of dry herb (normal or high CBD weed can be used)
  • 1-1 ½ cups of coconut oil (depending on desired potency)
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • ⅓ cup beeswax (vegans can substitute shea butter or cocoa butter)
  • Essential oils (optional)

Cannabis salve step by step:

  1. Begin by decarboxylating your pot. Place the finely ground dry herb evenly on a baking sheet and bake in the oven at 240 degrees Fahrenheit for 30 minutes.
  2. Combine the olive oil and coconut oil in a pot or double boiler and simmer on the stove on very low heat. Make sure to continuously stir the mixture.
  3. After baking is complete, add your cannabis to the oil mixture. Keep the stove on low heat and continue to stir for roughly 20 to 25 minutes. Never leave this mixture alone without stirring. It is very quick to burn.
  4. Add the beeswax and continue to whisk until it is fully melted. If you plan on adding essential oils, do that now. Peppermint, tea tree, and lavender are great choices.
  5. Transfer to a bowl and allow to start cooling. When partially solidified, whip before transferring the mixture to a clean jar with a lid. Old face cream containers are perfect for this.

Important dosage information:

The cannabis salve recipe above is based on a typical THC level of 20%. This would make your salve have 29 mg of THC per teaspoon. You can use marijuana with a lower THC level or add an additional ½ cup of coconut oil to the recipe to lower the THC content. For example, if you’re going to be using the THC salve on your entire back, you will definitely want to change the ratio.

Cannabis lotion recipe

To take the salve one step further and turn it into a quick-absorbing cannabis lotion, you’ll need to do one extra step. Just after removing from the stove, add in one cup of aloe vera gel, two teaspoons of vitamin E oil or another type of moisturizing oil, and two tablespoons of shea butter of cocoa butter. This will create a thinner salve that is similar to a creamy lotion, however it will still be quite thick.

Do you want to get high before making your homemade cannabis topical? Check out our huge selection of water bongs, dab rigs, dry herb vaporizers, and herb grinders on our online headshop.

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