How to Make Cannabis Lotions at Home and How to Use It Properly?

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Added 10 December 2022

Skincare is underrated. It’s almost unbelievable what a few skincare products can do — they can make your skin glow, make you look fresher and younger, and give you more confidence.

But more importantly, many skin care products can help you deal with various skin conditions like acne, scars, wounds, and a lot more. 

But there’s a catch — the skin care products you find in your local supermarket are often made with harsh chemicals that may worsen your skin over time. So, what do you do then? How do you take care of your skin in a safe, healthy way?

By choosing cannabis. Cannabis is a promising plant that can help you take your skincare routine to the next level with cannabis-infused lotions. 

You can use these lotions to reduce wrinkles, make your skin glow, treat acne and eczema, and a lot more. Additionally, cannabis lotions can also help you with various other conditions like arthritis and inflammation.

And you don’t need to empty your wallet for it, either. It is cheap and easy to make at home with only a few ingredients that you will find in your pantry already. Learn all about cannabis lotions and how to make them at home in this article.

What are Cannabis Lotions?

What are Cannabis Lotions?

Cannabis topicals — products that you can apply on your skin — come in a variety, one of which is lotions. And cannabis lotion is just a skincare lotion with infused cannabis within. Cannabis lotions work by delivering cannabinoids and terpenes from the cannabis plant transdermally to the epidermis and dermis receptors. 

So, if you want to consume cannabis for a specific reason, primarily skincare, and don’t like the idea of getting high, smoking, or consuming edibles, cannabis lotions are a perfect solution to your problem. This is because they offer various benefits, such as the following:

  • Cannabis lotions can deliver THC to your body without causing a head high
  • Cannabis lotions can work in a localized area, so if you have acne on your back, you can use it there and not worry about any side effects on the other parts of your body 
  • Plus, these lotions are super easy to use — just dab a little lotion on your skin and you are done
  • Since lotions are easy to dose, the risk of getting too high or facing side effects of a large dose is minimal — even if you do take a larger dose, a lotion won’t cause any unwanted side effects
  • Cannabis-infused lotions release the cannabinoids slowly, offering a fast onset but a steady release for a couple of hours, and you can always apply more lotion if required
  • Edibles lose concentration and potency when they get metabolized by the body before reaching the bloodstream, but lotions bypass this metabolism entirely, which keeps their concentration and potency intact 

Depending on your preferences, you can either use CBD or THC lotions as they both offer different benefits. 

Just like CBD, THC can also influence the ECS or the endocannabinoid system when used as a topical. But in this case, THC acts more directly since it has a stronger affinity to CB receptors. So, THC may probably help in various conditions of the skin, including inflammation, proliferation, and apoptosis. 

For example, THC lotions can have the following benefits:

  • Reduce inflammation and pain in a specific part of the body
  • Reduce pain and inflammation of certain types of arthritis
  • Alleviate itching on the skin
  • May help your wound heal faster 
  • May help you deal with symptoms of psoriasis and other skin conditions
  • Treat acne 

On the other hand, CBD seems to offer more benefits than THC with respect to the skin. But this may be partly due to the research gone into CBD specifically and how it treats skin conditions. CBD lotions can have the following benefits:

  • Alleviate joint discomfort and pain
  • Protect your skin against signs of aging and wrinkles
  • Relieve itchy or dry skin 
  • Can work as a potent moisturizer 
  • Clear blemishes or acne on the skin 
  • Work as a terrific massage lotion
  • Can be used for shaving or waxing 

You can use THC or CBD individually since both have more or less similar benefits — both are anti-microbial, anti-inflammatory, can relieve pain, relax your muscles, etc. But these benefits can be more optimized when you take CBD and THC together, which produces the entourage effect. 

Additionally, cannabis also has other chemicals that can benefit you, such as:

  • Terpenes that can help with inflammation, wound healing, and fungal infections
  • Flavonoids that may be anti-inflammatory, anti-aging, and antiproliferative

While we will discuss how you can use cannabis lotion later on in the article, it is crucial that you first consult your doctor before using cannabis lotions as a medicinal remedy for your skin conditions, injuries, wounds, pains, and inflammations. 

How to Make Cannabis Lotions at Home?

How to Make Cannabis Lotions at Home?

Making cannabis lotions at home is relatively easy, despite not having the expensive R&D and machinery that a manufacturing unit would have. And if you have ever made cannabutter at home, you already know how to make a lotion as most lotions are nothing but a mixture of water and oil. 

Follow these steps to make cannabis lotion at home.

1. Gather the Ingredients

To create an effective cannabis lotion at home, you need the following ingredients:

  1. 7 to 10 grams of cannabis — ground and dried 
  2. One and a half cups of coconut oil
  3. ⅓ cup of olive oil (optional)
  4. ⅓ cup beeswax
  5. One cup of Aloe vera gel
  6. 1 teaspoon vitamin E oil
  7. 2 tablespoons shea or cocoa butter
  8. Essential oil of your choice 
  9. Baking sheet
  10. Saucepan
  11. A glass jar
  12. Cheesecloth, coffee filter, or any kind of thin mesh filter

2. Decarb Cannabis Buds 

Decarbing, or decarboxylation, is the process of activating cannabis, where THCA and CBDA are converted into THC and CBD, respectively. THCA and CBDA are naturally present in cannabis, but to turn them into THC and CBD, you need to heat them up in the decarbing process.

Here is how you can decarb your cannabis buds:

  1. Preheat the oven to 240°F or 115°C
  2. Spread your ground-up cannabis buds on a baking sheet
  3. Once the oven is ready, place the baking sheet in the oven for 30 minutes 

Don’t forget to stir the cannabis granules every few minutes to distribute the heat evenly. And do not exceed the recommended duration and temperature as it can destroy the cannabinoids and terpenes.

3. Infuse Cannabis into the Oil

In this step, you will infuse the decarbed cannabis with coconut and olive oils. To do this, follow these steps:

  1. Add coconut and olive oils to a saucepan
  2. Cook the oil mixture on low heat and stir continuously
  3. After a few minutes, add the ground-up decarbed cannabis to the oil mixture 
  4. Maintain low heat and keep stirring the mixture for 20 minutes 

You need to keep the heat very low to prevent cooking off the cannabinoids and terpenes in cannabis. Also, olive oil has a lower smoke point, so keeping low heat is crucial to keep the quality intact. 

4. Strain the Mixture

After around 20 minutes, remove the saucepan from the heat and pour the cannabis and oil mixture through a filter of your choice. Set the container aside and clean the saucepan for the next step.

5. Melt Beeswax and Add It to the Mixture

Next, you need to melt beeswax, which will thicken the mixture’s consistency. So, in the same saucepan, add beeswax and heat it until it melts. Once it has melted, slowly add the cannabis and oil mixture to the saucepan. 

At this stage, you also need to add a few drops of your choice of essential oils. A few drops are enough, so don’t go overboard with it. 

Once the oil and wax are mixed thoroughly mixed, remove the saucepan from the heat and transfer the salve into a container.

6. Prepare the Lotion

Once your salve is ready, you need to turn it into a lotion. Follow these steps to turn your salve into a lotion:

  1. Add aloe vera gel, vitamin E oil, and shea or cocoa butter to the salve 
  2. If you want to make it more fluid, add more olive oil (or any other oil)

That’s it. Your cannabis lotion is ready.

You can use any container to store your cannabis lotion but ensure it is opaque and airtight. Preferably, you should use glass jars. And since the lotion is too thick, avoid putting it in a lotion pump. 

And you need to do is store it in a cool, dark place to preserve it for longer. 

Remember, this is just a guiding recipe, you can always experiment with different ingredients to create a lotion that is tailored to your needs. Here are a few examples of how new ingredients can transform your lotion:

  • Add frozen raspberries to the coconut oil and beeswax mixture to turn it into a naturally tinted lip balm
  • You can also create chocolate-flavored lip balm by adding cocoa powder to the mixture 
  • If you want to use your cannabis lotion for arthritis relief, we recommend using cayenne pepper as it will improve the lotion’s pain-relieving benefits 
  • Add 20 drops of peppermint, tea tree, lavender, or eucalyptus oil to the mixture to turn it into a migraine or headache-relieving cannabis lotion
  • And adding a few dried rose petals and chamomile oil can also turn it into a relaxing lotion that you can use to sleep better

Troubleshooting Common Problems when Making Cannabis Lotion

Troubleshooting Common Problems when Making Cannabis Lotion

When you are making your cannabis lotion at home, you may face a few problems. But most of these problems are easy to fix, just follow these tips:

  • If your lotion is too gritty, add one tablespoon of vegetable glycerine to the mixture
  • If the lotion is too thick, add aloe vera gel and whip the lotion until it gets thinner
  • And if it is too thin, remelt shea butter and coconut oil in an even ratio, let it cool, and blend it into the lotion one tablespoon at a time
  • If the lotion is not potent, add more cannabis oil and whip the mixture for some time until it is evenly mixed 

Making cannabis lotion at home is a journey — there is a learning curve — so while your first batch may not turn out to be the best, you will get better with time. All you need is some patience and consistency. 

Now, how long will the lotion last? It depends on how you store it. Although it may last for at least a week or two in the refrigerator, it won’t last even a couple of days outside since there’s a lot of water content in the form of aloe. Also, if you decide to add other ingredients such as blueberries or strawberries, it reduces the shelf life even more. 

You won’t be able to see bacteria growth but a mixture of oil and water is perfect for bacteria to multiply, especially if you just keep it on the counter. 

If you want a lotion that lasts as long as the commercial ones, you’ll need preservatives. Whether you call this cannabis body butter or cannabis lotion is up to you, but you’ll need a broad-spectrum preservative such as Optiphen and the lotion will last for at least 6 months. 

Can You Make a Cannabis Lotion with Raw Cannabis?

Can You Make a Cannabis Lotion with Raw Cannabis?

In the recipe mentioned above, we recommended you to decarb the cannabis first, but you can even make a cannabis lotion with raw cannabis. 

As mentioned earlier, decarboxylation is the process of heating cannabis until the raw THCA and CBDA are converted to their non-acidic forms, THC, and CBD, respectively. This process happens automatically when you smoke or vape cannabis, but for making edibles or topicals, you need to do this manually using an oven.

And the reason it is recommended is that decarbed THC and CBD have a lot of medicinal benefits, and let’s not forget, THCA is non-psychoactive but THC is psychoactive. 

But recent studies are suggesting that even THCA and CBDA can have some terrific medicinal benefits. For example, one study showed that THCA can reduce muscle spasms, inflammation, cancer, and arthritis. Another study shows that CBDA can fight inflammation and tumors

Additionally, cannabis has various other cannabinoids — over 200 — each of which has its own benefits. Considering these benefits, while it is recommended that you decarb cannabis when making lotion at home, it is not a necessary step.

If you want to experiment with raw THCA and CBDA, you can use raw cannabis and skip the decarbing process entirely. But remember that the benefits are not guaranteed as the potential benefits of raw cannabis are still being studied and there isn’t enough data to back any claims so far. 

How to Dose Homemade Cannabis Lotion?

How to Dose Homemade Cannabis Lotion?

Dosing a DIY cannabis lotion is easy, but it does require a little bit of mathematics. Follow these steps to correctly dose your homemade cannabis lotion:

1. Convert the lotion quantity from cups to milliliters

  • (amount of cups) x (0.236588 l) x (1000 ml)

2. Calculate how much THC (in mg) is present in the lotion (in mg)

  • [(grams per ml of THC added) x (total ml added) / (total ml from Step 1)

3. Convert ml to teaspoons

  • (answer from Step 2) x (5 ml per teaspoon)

The final number you get is the rough estimate of how much THC is present in a teaspoon of your homemade cannabis lotion. But remember, this is only a rough estimate since it involves some guesswork. 

If you want a precise dosage, you would have to send your lotion to a lab for testing. That’s too much effort and not worth it. 

How to Apply Homemade Cannabis Lotion for Maximum Benefits?

How to Apply Homemade Cannabis Lotion for Maximum Benefits?

No, you don’t have to rub your homemade cannabis lotion for 2 minutes with a heavy hand on your skin. That would not be so effective. Instead, follow these steps:

  1. Wash your hands and skin with mild soap and let them dry completely
  2. Apply a thin layer of the lotion and gently rub it over the area 
  3. If you are using your cannabis lotion for sore muscles, you can gently massage the area, too 
  4. Wash your hands

Since this is a skincare product that uses various ingredients, it is recommended that you carry out a patch test before using a new type of lotion. This will allow you to see if your skin reacts negatively to the lotion. 

Just apply a smidge to a small part of your skin and wait for at least 12-24 hours for any signs of reaction. If your skin does not react negatively, you can use it freely on your skin.

Which Conditions can Cannabis Lotion Help With?

Which Conditions can Cannabis Lotion Help With?

Cannabis is truly a magical plant and it can help you in various ways when used in the form of a lotion. Here are some of the most common ways cannabis lotion can help you make your life easier.

1. For Wounds and Pain

Cannabis lotion can help heal your wounds faster and even relieve pain. But that does not mean you apply the lotion to an open wound — that is strictly not recommended. Applying any kind of lotion to an open wound can lead to infections.

Instead, you can use cannabis lotions once the wounds have completely closed or around the wound, and in areas where you feel pain. 

CBD is effective here because it binds to TRPV1, a receptor site that perceives pain. And some studies even suggest the potential antimicrobial action of CBD, but more research is required in this regard.

2. For Acne

Cannabis lotion is perhaps the most popular for treating acne, which occurs when your skin produces excess sebum (an oily compound that lubricates and protects the skin). This sebum blocks hair follicles, resulting in pimples. 

While research is still limited, some experts believe that cannabis can influence the human sebocytes that create sebum and also treat inflammation at the acne site, which can significantly reduce acne on the skin.

3. For Eczema

There are hundreds of products for eczema on the market, but they don’t work for everyone. Fortunately, cannabis can. 

Inflammation is one of the major symptoms of eczema, and CBD may help treat the inflammation by affecting proinflammatory cytokines levels in the skin and reducing T-cell proliferation. 

At the same time, CBD can boost endogenous cannabinoid levels in your body, which can alleviate the root cause of eczema, like a weakened immune system.

4. For Sunburn

Excess UV light from the sun can cause sunburn, and while a tan looks gorgeous, sunburns are a pain to deal with. Literally. It can cause redness, pain, and peeling of the skin, and over time, it can even cause cancer. 

CBD lotion can work as a terrific way to treat sunburn. According to researchers at the Medical University of Bialystok, Poland, cannabinoids may protect the skin against changes due to UV exposure

5. For Healing Tattoos

Tattoos come with a fair amount of pain and require a few weeks of healing. Many people choose to use cannabis lotions to dampen the pain and quicken the healing process. 

But if you are planning to use a DIY cannabis lotion on your new tattoo, ensure the risk of infection has passed before applying the lotion to the skin. There is a severe lack of research on cannabis’ ability to aid tattoo healing. 

Other Conditions 

Additionally, you may find cannabis lotion useful for the following conditions:

  • Psoriasis
  • Rashes
  • Itching
  • Inflammation
  • Symptoms of arthritis
  • Muscle aches
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome 

We only know a little about cannabis’ role in skincare, but many ongoing studies show a lot of promise. It is perhaps only a matter of time before more and more benefits of cannabis for the skin come to light. 

Summary: How to Make Cannabis Lotions at Home and How to Use It Properly?

So, now you know how to make cannabis lotions at home. Frankly, we think it's more of a body butter or salve for that matter. But you could call it a lotion if it's thinner.

Isn’t it easy to make a DIY cannabis lotion at home? A few basic supplies and an afternoon are all you need to make a cannabis lotion at home. But remember to follow the steps and tips mentioned earlier properly; otherwise, your lotion may not come out as expected.

Even then, your lotion may not be perfect. And that’s okay. It’s part of the learning curve. Take your time and keep improving your skills, and within the next couple of batches, you will be able to create lotions that can give premade lotions a run for their money. 

Lastly, don’t forget to experiment. The best part of making lotions at home is that you get to decide how your lotion feels, smells, and works. 

Want your lotion to smell like strawberries? Add more strawberries. 

Want the texture to be thinner, add more aloe vera or a similar product to the lotion.

The possibilities are endless. 

And use it to treat a variety of skin conditions, including sunburn, tattoo injury, muscle aches, acne, eczema, dry skin, and many more. 

And let us know below how you customized your cannabis lotion for your skin. Did you add blueberries or strawberries?


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