Skin care While hemp-oil based creams and lotions have been available commercially for many years, it remains practically impossible to source cannabis-based topical ointments, salves, unguents, and so forth, which actually contain cannabinoids as their active ingredients.
While hemp-oil based creams and lotions have been available commercially for many years, it remains practically impossible to source cannabis-based topical ointments, salves, unguents, and so forth, which actually contain cannabinoids as their active ingredients.
Commercially-available cannabis topicals
The pioneering medical cannabis research company Cannabis Science recently announced positive results on four patients suffering from an aggressive form of skin cancer, basal cell carcinoma, using their cannabis ointment. They now hope to gain FDA approval for the treatment, and also have plans for a range of over-the-counter medications such as lip balm, sun cream and moisturizing lotion.
There have been various studies attesting to the efficacy of topical cannabis treatments, as antibacterial, anti-inflammatory and analgesic agents, even for conditions as debilitating and difficult-to-treat as multiple sclerosis and fibromyalgia. In 2003, researchers at Munster University, Germany, demonstrated that topical application of cannabis was also effective at treating headaches. As long ago as the 1950s, initial research into cannabis as a topical oral treatment for ulcers and gingivitis yielded promising results.
Make your own cannabis balm at home
Thankfully, for those of us with no access to medical cannabis, making one’s own treatments at home is simple and effective for a range of ailments—although of course, anyone suffering from serious conditions such as cancer should seek conventional treatments prior to experimenting with home remedies.
A simple technique for making cannabis salve is broadly similar to that for making cannabutter, except coconut oil or petroleum jelly is used in place of butter. Using a double-boiler or crockpot, so that the mixture is heated gently and cannot burn, is a fundamental starting point. Two large saucepans, one slightly smaller than the other, can be used for equally good results.
The chosen oil is placed into the pot and allowed to melt. Then, dried, powdered plant matter is added in an equal ratio (e.g. 2 cups oil to 2 cups cannabis matter), and the entire mixture gently simmered for up to one hour. After this time, the mixture can be strained through cheesecloth or muslin and left to cool.
The resultant salve should be similar in texture and appearance to the original fat, with the intensity of the green colouration varying according to the cooking time. This basic mixture can be tweaked in various ways to achieve the optimum result—some like to blend with beeswax or vitamin E oil to produce a range of different textures, and fragrance or medicinal oils can also be added.
For a more fluid end product, e.g. for oral application, use a thinner oil such as sunflower or olive oil. Tea tree oil can be used to make cannabis mouthwash, but should not be heated; instead simply infuse the cannabis matter in the oil for up to six weeks before straining.
Some trial and error will be needed before the perfect result is achieved for specific requirements, but with a method as fast and simple as this, anyone can create their own cannabis salves at home with a little practice.