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.
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.