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There are a lot of things that can be made from using cannabis. From topical pain relievers to medications that can cure seizures, we see that quite a number of these derivatives can be made at home. Cannabis salve can be quite expensive, which means that making it at home is a very efficient and cost-effective way to enjoy cannabis salve for common folks.

In this article, we'll learn how to make a cannabis salve recipe at home. But before we get into the details, let's highlight what cannabis salve is. Why it is essential, what it does, and how it exerts its effects on the body.

What is Cannabis Salve?

Have you ever been massaged with a healing ointment or oil? If yes, then you are familiar with what a salve is. Many people have many varying opinions about what a salve is. Some say that it is different from healing ointments because they are softer than balms and do not contain added water.

However, at a closer look, you'll realize that the content of this powerful cannabis balm works similarly compared with the other healing oils you've known before. In fact, it's been shown to be relevant in treating skin conditions such as eczema or psoriasis, inflammatory pain from arthritis, and so on.

Essentially, a cannabis salve is a marijuana pain relief cream made from cannabis flowers or buds, which contains nourishing and healing ingredients for the skin. Cannabis salve can be applied topically on the skin to treat insect bites, minor burns, soothe painful irritations, and dissipate the kind of pain that comes from inflammation and arthritis. Salves can be found as balms, creams, and lotions.

Unlike some of these transdermal lotions in nature (can be absorbed into the bloodstream when applied to the skin), cannabis salve only functions topically. It cannot cross the skin or be absorbed into the bloodstream.

Remember that the useful compound in cannabis is THC and CBD. Therefore, these will only bind to the skin's receptors (and provide localized relief from pain) since it cannot enter into the bloodstream.

Essentially, this is one of the ways of consuming cannabis that won't get you high. However, you can be sure of getting relief from pains in the muscles, joints, lower back when you apply cannabis salve to those areas.

How Does It Work?

Remember that our body's nervous system has an endocannabinoid system regulating several physiological processes, such as appetite, pain-sensation, mood, etc. This system is made of receptors that naturally interact with cannabinoids like CBD and THC.

When cannabis salve is applied to the skin, the CBD and THC in the oil penetrate the skin, bind to, and activate the localized receptors on the skin, which affects the skin's conditions.

Homemade Cannabis Salve Recipe

The good thing about cannabis salves is that you can make some for yourself at home. The product can be quite expensive on the market. An essential ingredient for making cannabis salve is cannabis-infused coconut oil.

You can buy already made cannabis-infused coconut oil from local dealers, or you can make your cannabis-infused coconut oil. It's an excellent idea, and it's typically quite handy.

Are you looking to learn how to make your homemade cannabis salve? Then here's what you'll need.

  • 1 cup of cannabis-infused coconut oil
  • Half cup of olive oil
  • ⅓ cup beeswax (you can use cocoa or shea butter for a vegan option)
  • 4-5 drops essential oil
  • Saucepan or pot for heating
  • Airtight container for storage

If you have 1 ½ cups of cannabis-infused coconut oil, you may not need to worry about a half cup of coconut oil.


In four simple steps, you can make cannabis salve in your kitchen. Note that if you need to make your cannabis-infused oil yourself, you'll also need to factor in the time required for making the cannabis coconut oil. Typically, the process can take up 8 hours. This is because the process involves decarboxylation of the cannabis and its infusion with coconut oil. 

So, if you're making salves on the same day as your cannabis-infused coconut oil, be sure to factor this in. So, here we go:  

  1. Add beeswax or cocoa butter to the saucepan

Add the beeswax into the saucepan or pot, then place it over the stove. Allow the beeswax to heat to medium temperature. Make sure to stir the melting beeswax frequently to ensure even distribution of heat. Once it has completely melted, bring the temperature to low to avoid scalding it. 

    2.  Reheat your cannabis-infused coconut oil

Measure out one cup of the infused coconut oil and a half cup of plain coconut oil and add both to the beeswax in the saucepan. As mentioned earlier, if you have 1 ½ cups of cannabis-infused coconut oil, you may use it instead. Continue to stir at regular intervals to ensure the wax melts completely and mixes well with the oil.

    3.  Add a fragrance of your choice

At this point, you can add in any essential oil you like. Add as much as you want to the mix until you get the feel and flavor you want. Ideally, 4-5 drops of the oil should give you the desired flavor.

However, do note that the presence of the fragrance will not mask the scent of cannabis. It will only add a pleasant layer to the scent of your homemade cannabis salve. If you do not know which one to settle for, we'd like to recommend rosemary essential oil for this particular recipe. As before, stir the essential oil properly so that it mixes well into the content of the saucepan.

   4.  Turn off the heat and store the final product

Unlike when you're making cannabis-infused coconut oil, you don't have to heat for long. Once everything is well-mixed, you may then turn off the heat and transfer the mixture into a container. This is where the airtight container comes in.

It must be able to seal properly and keep out the light. A good option is an opaque container that's capable of shielding its content from light. Once the mixture cools, transfer it into the container and store it in a cool, dark place. It should last up to a year if well stored and kept away from light. The salve will eventually harden when it cools off.

Your homemade cannabis salve is now ready for use!

What Can I Use Cannabis Salve For?

Cannabis salve is essential because it effectively treats or manages a significant number of body and skin conditions. And this is besides its ability to offer significant relief to body aches and pain. Generally, cannabis salve can be used for any of the following conditions:

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  • Arthritis
  • Sore joints
  • Eczema
  • Psoriasis
  • Skin rashes and irritation
  • Inflammation
  • Muscle aches and backaches
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome
  • For checking irregular growth of cells

You can apply a little amount of the salve to your neck muscles, thighs, heels, shoulders, wrists, and other places you see fit on the body.

Finally, please note that you can quickly stop at the nearby dispensary and purchase a bottle of cannabis salve for your use at home. However, if you prefer to get down to business yourself, then use this guide to make your cannabis salve at home.

To learn more check out the premier cannabis education school, Cannabis Training University.

Karen Getchell, expert cannabis writer
Karen Getchell

Karen gained expertise in developing training programs and technical documentation as a Senior Editor at Cisco Systems. She began her journey in cannabis as a patient, searching for a way to heal herself. When she perfected a method for making cannabis oil, other patients began to seek her out. An early adopter of CBD medicine, she started her CBD-infused-products business in 2014. Over the last two decades, Karen has taught hundreds of patients and caregivers how to select strains, infuse oils, and extract cannabinoids.

When she isn’t teaching cannabis cooking classes, Karen works as a cannabis business consultant, writes for online cannabis publications like Cannabis Training University, Leafly, and Weedmaps, and runs a CBD-infused-product business.

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