by Seshata on 31/12/2014 | Medicinal

How to make cannabis balm for skin complaints

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.

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.

Cannabis balm has remarkable anti-inflammatory, analgesic and potentially even anti-cancer properties
Cannabis balm has remarkable anti-inflammatory, analgesic and potentially even anti-cancer properties

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.

A rich, heavy oil such as coconut oil will act as the perfect base for topical cannabis balms (© mealmakeovermoms)
A rich, heavy oil such as coconut oil will act as the perfect base for topical cannabis balms (© mealmakeovermoms)

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.

As with cannabutter, dried cannabis is added to fat and gently simmered (© Walt74)
As with cannabutter, dried cannabis is added to fat and gently simmered (© Walt74)

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.

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I make a cannabis-infused salve and add other plants and herbs I grow or wildcraft. It really has proven to aid in all sorts of pain from a torqued back, arthritis and more. It is all I use anymore for pain!



@ maury can you send me a good recept for a cannabis salve? Would be great would use it against neurodermitis. Thanks



In all the videos and blogs I've checked out, no one uses rubber/silicone scrappers to get everything out of their container. Why is this? A lot of them also state to not use plastic and seem to use regular silverware or wooden stirers/spoons. Arent most of things BPA free, if thats the concern, but no one says why not?



For such medical, topical salves/creams is it necessary to only use the female marijuana buds, or can we also use other parts of the plant such as leaves and stem of a plant of any sex?



I would like to know how to salve or ointment from marijuana to hopefully help with palmo/plantar psoriasis. The pain is awful but the itch is horrific. I am not on any meds. Went the medical route and it was a failure, now trying to go natural. marijuana is a natural. Any help will be appreciated.



Can I use leaves from the bud plant to make salve



I am allergic to coconut oil, what would be a good base to use besides that? Can I use Hemp Oil? Thank you


Scarlet Palmer

Hi Ash,

Thank you for your comment. Yes, hemp oil would be a good base, be sure not to overheat it; as the article says, keep it on a gentle simmer. Good luck!

With best wishes,



Maddison hunter

Hi I'm hoping to use this recipe to put on my lips (angular Chelitis) and eczema over my body but will this make me high?
Thanks for the recipe :)



Also when you say to use two pans one smaller then the other how do you mean?



If using a slow cooker, how long should I cook it, and on high or low? Thank you.



will you tell me how to make an ointment or salve with marijuana? I have palmar/plantar psoriasis. The pain is terrible and the itch is horrific. I went the medical route and the meds were a failure, am now going the natural way. Marijuana is a natural herb. and I understand it may help with psoriasis. Is there a special way to use Marijuana in any form? I thought a salve might help with the itch, right?
Any help will be appreciated.


Scarlet Palmer

Hello Littledove,

I'm sorry to hear about your condition. Following the directions in this post should enable you to make cannabis salve. Although as stated there is evidence that this can help with psoriasis, Sensi Seeds is unable to give medical advice as we are not licensed medical practitioners. I would recommend that you check with your doctor as to which base would be best for making salve, either out of the two mentioned above (coconut oil and petroleum jelly) or something different, to find what would least irritate your skin. Good luck!

With best wishes,




I have neuropathy in my feet and I've been using this recipe for over a year. It's about time I thank you for it. I add shea butter and beeswax to make it creamy and my feet have never been smoother and I don't have to take as much medication as I used to. I've shared it with friends and family and they keep asking for more! It helps them with arthritis, back pain, migraines. My nieces suffers from anxiety and even with that, she feels better right away! I know for a fact that it doesn't get into your system; my friend owns a drug testing company and my husband and I have taken the test, just to make sure. Unfortunately, because of the state I live in, I can not offer it to more people. I'm involved with NORML to lobby for legalization. Let's not give up hope!



I see thwt the recipe calles for the raw material. If i want to use the pure canabis oil do i cook that too? Is cooking it is hiw it brings out the healing properties or i can make it just by mixing?


Scarlet Palmer

Hi Nzusas,

Thanks for your comment. If you mean cannabis oil like the kind made by extraction from psychoactive strains, there is no need to heat or cook it again as decarboxylation (the process by which the cannabinoids become "active") has already taken place so just mixing it in should be fine. You can find more information on decarboxylation here. I hope this answers your question :)

With best wishes,



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