Make Your Own Cannalotion and Topicals at Home

Make Your Own Cannalotion From Home

How To Make Topicals

Whether you sprained your ankle, went a little too hard at the gym, dealing with cramping, got attacked by mosquitoes, or simply suffer from conditions like arthritis or eczema, cannalotion can provide incredible pain relieving and anti-inflammatory benefits. Unlike smoking, vaping, or eating cannabis products, cannalotion can’t pass through the blood-brain barrier, meaning you can’t get high. For those trying to mitigate symptoms without getting “stoned” or those need to be able to pass a drug test, topical cannabis products can be an ideal option for pain management.

While many products exist on the market that can provide topical pain relief, making your own means you can select specific benefits and tailor your needs to the product directly. By making your own topicals you can customize the ratio of THC to CBD by selecting a specific strain or a combination of strains to pinpoint your specific needs.  Though DIY skincare can seem intimidating, making your own topicals only takes a few steps and a handful of ingredients.

What You’ll Need

  • 28 grams ground cannabis (trim or shake can be a less expensive, yet effective option here)
  • 1  cups Coconut Oil
  • cups Olive Oil
  • cups Beeswax

Optional Ingredients:

  • 1 cup Aloe Vera Gel
  • 1 tsp Vitamin E Oil
  • 2 tbsp Shea Butter
  • Essential Oils for fragrance

Our recipe is scaled to use one full ounce of dried bud, but–until you feel confident–you might want to half or even quarter the recipe to try it out.

Cannalotion Steps:

  1. Preheat the oven to 215-240F. The best way to make an infused cannabis oil is to decarboxylate your product. Fresh cannabis has almost no THC. Instead, the plant is full of cannabinoids like THCA and CBDA, non-psychoactive components. There are several methods to turning THCA into THC, such as the application of heat (like smoking or vaping). Drying and curing can decarboxylate the herb to a degree, but to fully decarb your flower, you’ll need to toast your pot. The slower the temperature you use, the longer the process will take. But don’t go over 240F or you’ll risk destroying the precious cannabinoids we’re trying to preserve.
  2. Grind your herb until broken apart, but not a powder. We will later strain out the plant matter, so if it’s too finely ground you’ll get texture in your final product. Spread your product evenly across a lipped baking sheet. Make sure the pot has room to breathe and heat up evenly. If you’re making a smaller batch use a smaller pan.
  3. Next, place your product in the oven and bake for anywhere from 15-40 minutes. The time will depend on the temperature and environment. The first time you make an oil infusion, watch the oven carefully! You want your product to be a toasty brown color—but not burnt! If you overcook your flower, you’ll end up destroying valuable cannabinoids.
  4. Once toasted, remove cannabis from the oven. In a double boiler or small sauce pan, place coconut and olive oil on low heat. Stir continuously until blended together. Slowly fold decarb’d flower into the oil. Keep the heat low and continue stirring for 20-25 minutes.
  5. Remove from heat and carefully strain oil infusion through a cheesecloth, collecting the oil in a jar. In the same pan or double boiler, begin melting the beeswax on low or medium-low heat. Slowly stir in the infused oil and mix thoroughly.
  6. Once mixed, remove from heat and pour into a jar or tub for future use. If you’re concerned about the product being too viscous, try incorporating aloe vera gel (good for additional anti-inflammatory and anti-irritation properties), vitamin E oil (beneficial as an antioxidant with restorative properties), and/or shea butter (which contains several vitamins, helps protect against harmful UV rays, and can help reduce inflammation).

Bonus Information:

These products can add fluidity to your product and change the consistency. If you’d like to add fragrance, you can incorporate essential oils, but do so sparingly! Some essential oils can be irritating to the skin and counterproductive to the cannafusion you just created. Vanilla is a non-irritating fragrance that can help make your product feel luxurious without causing sensitizing or adverse effects.

Once you’ve perfected the recipe you’ll be able to consistently make quality cannalotion without leaving your kitchen. Keep your product in an airtight, light-proof container to maintain the longevity of the cannabinoids and the potency of your product.

Apply as needed to the skin avoiding delicate areas, like the eyes or broken skin. Cannalotion can be an excellent incorporation to body massages and can even help take the edge off an aggressive pimple.

Cannabis Research

Why I have trust issues:

If you’ve been in the weed game for longer than five minutes, you probably already know the problematic nature of cannabis research. Since the scheduling of cannabis deemed it to be a narcotic with “no medical value,” laws make it nearly impossible to do clinical research. An article in the L.A. Times reported, “Some prominent researchers complain approval is unreasonably tough for scientists whose work aims at finding beneficial uses for the drug.”

Until recently, scientists in the United States performed studies under the directive of proving the dangers of cannabis. Propaganda ensued. Regrettably, claims of lowered IQ, premature aging, lung disease, and addiction (among scads others) enveloped the plant in misinformation. The government even released a study claiming that cannabis kills braincells. However, researchers have never been able to replicate these claims and have largely debunked them. Regardless, concerned parents across the country still quote this when confronted with cannabis.

But even research that indicates cannabis can help treat symptoms of diseases should be approached critically. Because research institutions have national grants and must comply with federal law, scientists must research exclusively with the federally legal source of cannabis, provided by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA).

Where does research weed even come from?

Until very recently, 12 acres of campus at the University of Mississippi has provided all the cannabis used for studies. The director of the Marijuana Project at Ole Miss, Mahmoud A. ElSohly, leads the long-time legal grow operation. The garden has begun gearing up to grow around 30,000 plants to facilitate the growing demand by researchers.

ElSohly runs the heavily regulated, out-door facility. He grows the plants for scientists seeking to research its effects after receiving special licensing through several federal agencies, including the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). ElSohly has been quoted saying, “Pot should never be smoked. You do that to get high and there are ways to move the curative chemicals into your system without getting stoned…THC is not absorbed through the rectum,” in an article for the L.A. Times in 2014.

With regards to legalization happening across the country, ElSohly said in the same article, “The liberalization of those laws really scares me. To have marijuana available just like that? I feel sorry for Colorado and Washington state. In a few years, you are really going to see the impact of the liberal laws they have there.”

To date, Washington state has collected around $401 million from the cannabis excise tax, greatly impacting local communities.

Though ElSohly does believe in the potential benefits of cannabis, he has also admitted having never consumed it. Many long-time cannabis growers have scoffed at his admission. Some compare growing cannabis to professional chefs: how are you going to make a good sauce if you’ve never tasted the recipe?

What does that mean for research?

Basically? Research bud is bunk schwag. And a recent study out of the University of Colorado can confirm.

Using statistics provided by NIDA and lab results from Steep Hill from Denver, Oakland, Sacramento, and Seattle, researchers compared data. “Our results demonstrate that the federally produced Cannabis has significantly less variety and lower concentrations of cannabinoids. Current research, which has focused on material that is far less diverse and less potent than that used by the public, limits our understanding of the plant’s chemical, biological, psychological, medical, and pharmacological properties,” the study reported.

It’s kind of like only testing Xanax at an eighth of a dose.

And while centuries of use—spanning cultures and generations—teaches us incredible amounts about the herb, we still have so much research to do. What are the full effects of cannabis on things like tumor growth or movement disorders? We don’t yet know.

Lab Cannabis Testing

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Should we trust cannabis testing results for product potency?

Customers comment often that the coolest quirk of legalization is cannabis testing. Don’t guess which strain is fire: our consumers feel it only takes a quick compare/contrast of the tiny test results on the back of each baggie before they know which product is powerfully potent. But how effective is that?

Experts across the state have raised their collective eyebrow, questioning the accuracy of these tests by up to 10%. Any budtender will tell you, if you have four different grams for sale, it doesn’t matter if gram A is the frostiest. The highest testing will sell out first.

Customers rely heavily on printed numbers,” a Pot Shop budtender explained. “I’ve looked a customer in the eye and explicitly said, ‘I’ve tried all of these. Don’t believe the numbers. This one is the most potent,’ only to have them nod along and grab the highest testing anyway. Even when it clearly won’t look, taste, or smoke as good.” This attitude proliferates through the cannabis community.

But I thought numbers don’t lie?

Due to regulations, most consumers put blind faith in the numbers on each bag, but mounting evidence suggests we shouldn’t. “There are clear indications that a large number of potency values are higher than reality,” Donald Land, a chemistry professor at UC Davis and part-owner of Steep Hill Labs, told Seattle Weekly. “That’s not because of errors, that’s intentional.”

The issues stem from laws requiring regulations, without laws clearly defining regulatory standards. That means Washington says that cannabis must be tested, but doesn’t yet specify how. Through this grey area, laboratories around the state (and in other cannabis-friendly states) can pad their numbers, ensuring growers return to that lab for more fast-selling lab results.

Not only that, but the natural variations of a plant means that differences will occur flower-to-flower on the same plant. Just like how one rose bush could produce five flowers. The top flower might grow to be enormous and fragrant. But another flower could look sickly and only half bloom, from the same plant. That happens with cannabis too. The plant’s biological components vary enormously. Yet the state only requires tests of one bud from one strain. This leaves space for natural variability and major inaccuracy.

So what is WA State going to do about testing?

In light of testing inconsistencies, the WA Liquor and Cannabis Control Board have proposed requiring labs to test three samples of each product. According to Joanna Eide, the coordinator for the LCB: “The hope is that [average] is a more accurate potency of the plant.”

But Land has reservations about this change. “Just doing the three samples alone won’t solve the problem of bad actors. Bad actors can manipulate three measurements just as easily as they can manipulate one,” he says. And he’s right. Since nothing stops labs from using “business-friendly” results currently, nothing would stop them continuing that practice.

Others have suggested that the three samples be tested by different labs, ensuring independent numbers, and (theoretically) more honest averages. The conversation, however, is ongoing.

Currently, the LCB has opened up the topic of cannabis regulations to the masses. A public hearing will be held 11 January 2017, before a vote on 25 January. If you have opinions on the validity of cannabis testing (and as a consumer, you should), contact the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Control Board.