Today I’ll be showing you how to make a basic homemade CBD salve using a CBD oil that can be easily obtained in the United States and many other countries. Many people use CBD salves and other topical CBD products on their achy or stiff joints and muscles.
What is CBD oil?
CBD or CannaBiDiol is a non-psychoactive compound that is extracted from the marijuana or hemp plant. It interacts with cannabidiol receptors in our bodies and can be balancing or even healing.
Cannabidiol may be anti-inflammatory and have antioxidant (inhibit oxidation and free radicals that can cause disease) and neuroprotective properties (reducing damage to the brain and nerves). Because of these properties, CBD oil may help with everything from arthritis to Parkinson’s or multiple sclerosis. It may also help with sleep, pain, mood, and inflammation, amongst other things.
Will hemp-derived CBD oil get you high?
CBD oil comes from the cannabis sativa plant, just like marijuana does, but it doesn’t possess enough THC, the psychoactive compound in marijuana, to get you “high.”
Within our central nervous system, we have what is known as the Endocannabinoid system (ECS) with receptors that may help control our mood, appetite, and pain sensation, amongst other things.
When CB-1 receptors react with THC, you end up feeling the psychoactive effects that are known as feeling “high.” On the other hand, CBD is what is known as a neutral antagonist. When CBD binds with these CB-1 receptors, it doesn’t activate them, but it blocks THC, not allowing it to bind there and cause its psychoactive effects. It then activates other receptors that control mood, pain, anxiety, etc. So, when you use a product with a high percentage of CBD and a very low percentage of THC, you end up with a product that may have positive effects on your mood, sleep, inflammation, etc., without the psychoactive effects associated with THC. In a product with a more even ratio, the CBD would dampen the effects of the THC.
Is CBD oil legal?
Hemp-derived CBD oils (vs. marijuana-derived CBD oils) are legal in all 50 states and most countries. But, it isn’t quite that simple…
First, what is the hemp plant (vs. a marijuana plant)?
The hemp plant is a cannabis sativa plant with less than 0.3% THC. Hemp plants can be legally grown in the US in certain states for certain purposes.
CBD oil derived from marijuana plants (not hemp plants, but cannabis sativa varieties with more than 0.3% THC) are legal in some states and not in others (and the legalities may vary based on the situation such as if you have a medical need for it or not).
What gets more confusing, though, is that federal laws in the US haven’t caught up to the changing state laws. While most places that sell CBD oil will tell you it is legal in all 50 states, according to the 1970 Controlled Substances Act, full spectrum CBD extractions are illegal. So, technically, any marijuana-based product, even a full spectrum hemp-derived CBD oil with no THC, is still considered a Schedule 1 drug by the Federal government. Despite that fact, DEA spokesman Rusty Payne answered this in an interview…
it would not be an appropriate use of federal resources to go after a mother because her child has epileptic seizures and has found something that can help and has helped. Are they breaking the law? Yes, they are. Are we going to break her door down? Absolutely not. And I don’t think she’ll be charged by any U.S. Attorney.
Ironically, this summer, the FDA did legalize a CBD oil product as a Schedule 5 drug (Not Schedule 1!), meaning it has medicinal qualities and a low potential for abuse. The new drug is marketed under the name of Epidiolex, and is the only federally legal CBD product in the US. As can be expected when the FDA gets involved, it comes with a hefty price tag. (GW Pharmaceuticals estimates the price to use it as around $32,500 per year, depending upon your size or age. That’s around $96 per day!)
The new drug approval has no effect on other CBD products which are still considered Schedule 1 drugs by the outdated Federal laws. Of course, that makes absolutely no sense as Schedule 1 drugs are not supposed to have medical benefits and they also have a high potential for abuse. Despite there being only a limited amount of studies on CBD oil, there is already enough evidence to show that neither of those statements is fair or accurate.
There are many companies selling CBD oil and CBD oil-based products in the US with absolutely no issues. In fact, even your typical health food store these days sells a wide variety of CBD oil based products!
So, for now, at least, the state laws seem to trump the Federal laws. The DEA admits to being more focused on opiate drugs and their spokesperson basically stated that nobody is going to have issues buying and using CBD oil. In the end, the true legality of CBD in the US in quite ambiguous, perhaps intentionally.
So, interpret all that as you like. This is not meant to be legal advice!
What you may want to consider, though, is that if your job does mandatory drug testing, you may want to be especially careful if you are wanting to use any marijuana or hemp-based product with full spectrum CBD extractions, regardless of the amount of THC in it or the method you are using to reap its benefits.
If you live outside of the US, like me, it is your responsibility to research the legalities for your country.
You can find more information about the legality of CBD oil here.
Watch how I make this CBD salve:
Are topical CBD products effective?
While topically applied CBD oils aren’t likely absorbed into the bloodstream, they can still be absorbed by the skin and pass the skin barrier by entering through our pores. They can then react with the cannabinoid receptors in the subcutaneous tissue and our skin’s sensory nerve fibers.
Some say that unlike other CBD applications, like sublingual drops or vaping that deliver CBD throughout the bloodstream, topical applications can provide immediate and focused relief directly in the area that needs it.
What effects do topical CBD products have?
The proteins, fatty acids, vitamins, and minerals in hemp derived CBD oil make it a nourishing oil for our skin. It may also help protect us against free radicals and damage from the sun.
While one can’t make “drug claims” for what a product may or may not do, we can look to anecdotal evidence for its other possible benefits. Many people say that CBD topical products have helped them reduce pain and inflammation in achy or tight joints, reduce itchiness after swimming in chlorinated pools, or even just given their skin a more youthful appearance.
How much CBD should you use?
After checking out the available topical CBD products sold online, I noticed that several of the CBD salve type products available had around 100mg of CBD for each ounce (30ml) of product. Their common sized salves available were either a tin with 2 ounces and 200mg of CBD or 1/2 ounce products. The latter were often sold in lip balm type applicators, with around 50mg of active CBD.
On the other hand, I have also seen companies offering creams, salves, or body butters with 300mg-500mg per ounce and have heard of other topical products with even higher amounts.
When formulating a homemade salve, I’d probably shoot for a minimum of 100mg per ounce and maybe start out somewhere in the middle ground like 300mg per ounce. You can always adjust your next batch up or down as needed.
If you’re making your own CBD salve using a homemade CBD oil from plants you’ve grown yourself (And I can show you some ways to do that soon too), you won’t really be able to easily calculate the exact amount, which is fine. You’ll just have to experiment a bit as to how much you’ll need to add for whatever your purpose it. If, on the other hand, you are making a salve from a CBD oil that you have bought, you can use those amounts as a guideline for how much CBD oil to use in your CBD salve.
Where to find a high-quality CBD oil?
I’ve been trying to source a good CBD oil for some time now. My son has been having issues concentrating in school, and one of the things that I’ve wanted to try is having him take CBD oil in the morning and see if it helps him focus. A friend of mine has been very successfully using CBD oil for her son with Asperger’s Syndrome, and one of my cousins is also about to try it with her son who is pretty extreme on the autistic spectrum. She’s tried just about everything up until now, without much improvement, so we’re keeping our fingers crossed.
When my cousin asked me for advice on where to buy, I did more investigation and have found a couple of great options.
For those of you in the US, one of the best options is Purium. Not only is the Purium CBD+ oil a high quality, organic CBD oil, but if you compare oils mg per mg, it is also one of the most affordable options out there. Purium has discount codes available (mine is keephealthywithtracy ) for those who are new to buying, and they also provide you with a discount on each of your subsequent orders if you’re a repeat buyer.
Buying CBD oil with a discount
If you want to try out Purium’s CBD oil at $50 off (or any other Purium products order of $75 or more), click on the link to their website and use the code: keephealthywithtracy (I recommend copying and pasting the code to avoid any issues.) This code will get you either $50 off or 25% off- whichever is more!
If you decide you love it and stick with using their oil and/or other products, you will automatically be considered a “loyal customer” after your first order and will continue to be able to buy at a discounted rate. As long as you order every month, you will save 25% on your purchases. You’ll also start to earn Rewards Points. If you forget to order one month, you’ll receive a 15% discount instead. To get back to receiving a discount of 25% off, make sure you order within 30 days of your last purchase.
Unfortunately for me, Purium doesn’t sell CBD oil here in Europe (yet!), but I have been using some of their other products. I may stock up on their CBD oil next time I make my way to the US. Here in Europe, Purium has many of the same products for sale, some with slightly different names. The company here sells under the name Platinum Health. If you live in Europe and are interested in buying one of the Platinum products, you can also get 50 Euros off (but not 25% off) any order with my code. You would also get future discounts as a loyalty customer. The code here is the same: keephealthywithtracy
Endoca oils and ready-made salve
For those who live outside of the United States or for those within the US who want another option for a company with a wide variety of products, Endoca is another great alternative for finding organic CBD products with high-quality control standards. Endoca is a company that extracts and purifies their oils in Northern Europe, but they have bases in both the US and Europe.
What I really love about Endoca is the wide variety of products that they sell. They sell everything from oil, capsules or pure CBD crystals to suppositories, edibles, and even chewing gum! On their site, you can also find some great information about what method for taking CBD might be right for you.
Calculating the amount of CBD oil to use in the salve recipe
So, let’s get to formulating a salve! We’ll aim for around 300mg per ounce of salve. That’s a higher amount than many of the topical products out there, but less than some others. It’s a nice middle ground that makes for a good starting point. You can adjust it as needed to suit your needs.
Purium CBD oils have 1500mg in a 30ml bottle. That means that each ml of their CBD oil had has 50mg CBD.
If we want to make 60ml (2 ounces) of a CBD salve with around 300mg per ounce, we’ll want 600mg in our 2-ounce salve. That means we’ll want to add 12 ml of the Purium CBD oil to our recipe.
Calculating the amount of total oil in the CBD salve
I’m going to begin by showing you how to make a salve because it’s a very simple product to make that only uses oils and waxes. A good guideline for making a salve is to use roughly 4 parts oil to one part beeswax (or candelilla wax as a vegan alternative), by weight. That would make a somewhat hard salve. If you prefer a softer salve, you can soften it slightly by adding just a tad more oil, getting it closer to a 5:1 ratio.
If we have a 2 ounce (60ml) container, and we want to work by weight, we could shoot for making around 56g of salve. I say 56g because oil and wax both weigh slightly less than water. 60ml of water would weigh 60g, but 60ml of salve will weigh slightly less (somewhere between .9 to .97g per ml, depending on the oil or wax). Of course, we will likely lose a small amount of the salve when it gets left behind in the pan we are using or on our mixing utensils. So you could just shoot for 60g and rub the excess product on any painful joints you may have. 😉
To make 60g of a soft salve, then, you could use around 50g total oil (combining the CBD oil with another carrier oil) and 10g of beeswax. For a slightly harder salve, you could use 48g oil and 12g beeswax.
Customizing this CBD salve recipe
Choosing your carrier oil for your CBD salve
You can choose to use any carrier oil you like for the rest of the oil in your salve. To reap the other benefits of hemp, you could use a hemp seed oil for the rest of your oil content. The disadvantage of using hempseed oil is that it is a more delicate oil that tends to go rancid more quickly, especially when not stored in a cool, dry place. There are ways to extend the shelf life, though, if you don’t want to keep your salve in the fridge. One way is to add an antioxidant like Vitamin E at around 0.5% of the weight of the recipe. If adding in Vitamin E, you’ll want to do so as the salve is cooling as it is a delicate constituent itself.
Another way to help extend the shelf life is to combine the hempseed oil with a more stabilizing oil like jojoba (which is really an oily wax) or meadowfoam oil.
On the other hand, it may just be easier for you to use a carrier oil with a longer shelf life like olive oil, or, even better, fractionated coconut oil. (Just shoot for around 50g total oils:10 g beeswax when making 2 ounces of salve. Got it?)
It’s your salve and your choice! That said, I’ll give you a decent recipe which you can tweak to suit your needs with whatever materials you have on hand in your house.
Choosing your wax
I normally use beeswax, but candelilla wax is a good vegan substitute for those who avoid using beeswax. If you choose to use another wax, you may have to experiment to make a salve with a nice consistency. Some waxes, like carnauba wax, are harder than beeswax, so you’ll want to use less. If you’re using a soft floral wax, you’d likely want to add more.
You can also play with using a combination of waxes to get the consistency and texture of your choice.
Adding essential oils
As many people make CBD salves in the hopes of reducing muscle and joint aches and pains, it only makes sense to add essential oils that may also have anti-inflammatory or pain-reducing effects. Some great essential oils to consider are camphor essential oil and/or turmeric essential oil. Peppermint essential oil also has a cooling effect that may help soothe sore muscles.
Another great essential oil to consider is copaiba oil because it would boost the amount of cannabinoids in this recipe! Copaiba oil is high in BCP, or β-caryophyllene. BCP binds with CB2 receptors and may help reduce pain and inflammation.
How to make a CBD Salve
CBD Salve Recipe
- Weigh out the beeswax and the jojoba oil in a double boiler insert.
- Heat the two ingredients over a double boiler until the wax melts, and stir them together well. (While you could melt the wax with both oils, I prefer to add the more delicate hemp seed oil after the wax has already melted to reduce the time I'm heating that oil.)
- Add in the hemp seed oil, and then gently heat the ingredients together again, if needed, while stirring, until they have all come together evenly.
- Add in the CBD oil and mix again thoroughly. If you need to, you can slightly heat the mixture to incorporate the CBD oil, but try not to overheat.
- Remove the insert from the heat source and allow it to cool for a moment. The remaining ingredients are all heat sensitive, so you'll want to add them as the mixture cools, but not when it's so solid that you won't be able to easily pour the salve into your storage container.
- Add in the desired essential oils and vitamin E. These are all optional ingredients, but the vitamin E is an antioxidant that can help extend the shelf life of your product, and the essential oils can add a pleasant scent and may add other anti-inflammatory and/or other beneficial properties.
- Mix quickly yet thoroughly, and then pour the mixture into your storage container. I used an amber colored 60ml glass jar.
- Allow the mixture to completely cool before using it.
Remember that if you want to try out Purium's CBD oil at $50 off (or any other Purium products order of $75 or more), click on one of the links to their websites (the CBD oil is on a separate website) and use the code: keephealthywithtracy (I recommend copying and pasting the code to avoid any issues.) This code will get you either $50 off or 25% off- whichever is more! Here's an example of a double boiler insert.