How to make CBD and CBDA Menthol Salve to relieve aches and pains

It’s easy to make a homemade hemp salve to help soothe your achy joints.  I use it at night for arthritis pain in my hands.  I made this batch with hemp flower that I ordered last year when it first came on the market.  I bought a lot more than I needed and I mixed a little over an ounce together.  I decarbed 3/4 of the total in order to convert the CBDA to CBD.  I left the remaining 1/4 “raw” so that the salve contained some CBDA as well as CBD. While CBDA has not been as widely studied as CBD, there is evidence that it is a COX2 inhibitor (like Celebrex).  These substances are a subclass of NSAIDs – non-steroidal antiinflammatories. – which are used to treat arthritis.

Homemade help salve to help aches and pains.

Homemade hemp salve to help relieve aches and pains.

The first step is to infuse some coconut oil with the CBD and CBDA. Infused coconut oil is especially easy to make with a Magical Butter machine or an Infusium 420, but there are also recipes that use a crock pot.   If you are using one of the machines you simply load in 8-12 ounces of coconut oil (which is semi-solid at room temperature) and an ounce or more of plant material (and optionally a small amount of lecithin). Run the machine through a cycle, using either the oil button or the butter button.  You strain the resulting warmed liquid oil and pour it back into the jar.

If you let this sit at room temperature it will harden again.  You can actually use it in edibles as well as in salve. To make the salve from the infused coconut oil follow the following instructions:


  • 1 cup infused coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/3 cup beeswax (or shea butter or cocoa butter)
  • 1 TSP menthol crystals
  • Other essential oils as desired.  Some to consider are calendula, lavender, arnica, and tea tree oils.

In a double boiler or a pan set on top of a pot with simmering water, melt infused coconut oil. (I set the jar of infused coconut oil into a pyrex bowl and added almost-boiling water from a tea kettle to melt the oil.)

Add olive oil to the infused coconut oil. (This is said to help create a smoother finished product and improves absorption.) Break-up the beeswax or heat it so that it dissolves in the coconut oil.  (The beeswax is to reduce greasiness.) It can take a long time for the beeswax to dissolve. Remove from heat and add the menthol and the essential oils. Stir or whip the mixture until a smooth texture is achieved. Place in cosmetics containers and cool completely. (Based on a recipe from the Infusium 420 cookbook.)

You can optionally add some powdered CBD isolate to the salve to boost the CBD content. I did the math estimating that 75% of the CBDA from my original plant material made it into the infused coconut oil, and I wanted a stronger finished product. I added 1 gram of CBD isolate powder to the hot mixture and it dissolved readily.

You can, of course, make a similar salve from marijuana and you will have THC and THCA in your salve instead of (or in addition to) CBD and CBDA.  There is good research suggesting that a blend of THC and CBD may relieve pain better than either alone.  Living in an illegal state, my salve is made from hemp.

How to make your own Green Dragon Cannabis Tincture

Before prohibition cannabis was available at drug stores in the form of a cannabis tincture.  These tinctures contained alcohol infused with cannabis.  Neither CBD nor THC are water soluble, so either alcohol or oil are needed as a solvent for the activecannabis-tincture2ingredients in cannabis.  Today the word tincture is sometimes used to refer to CBD oil as well as to alcohol-based tinctures.  The principle is the same. Cannabis is first heated to “decarb” or decarboxylate the plant matter.  This is the process that converts the inactive THCA to the intoxicant THC. It also converts CBDA to CBD.  After this decarb process the plant material is soaked in grain alcohol and one of several techniques is used to speed up the process of infusing the chemicals from cannabis into the alcohol.

I’ll list three methods that can be used at home. These techniques can be used with CBD hemp flower or with marijuana bud.  Before you start you should decarb most or all of the plant material (unless you want to include some THCA and/or CBDA in the tincture).  Decarboxilation is a process of heating cannabis to convert THCA to THC and CBDA to CBD.  If you are smoking or vaping you are decarbing the material as you smoke or vape.

The slow method: 

  • Mix your flower or extract in a mason jar with high-proof alcohol (such as Everclear)
  • Close the jar and let it sit for a few weeks, shaking it once a day
  • After a few weeks, filter it with a coffee filter

The shake method:

  • Grind your herb finely, either before or after decarb. Mix in a mason jar with high-proof alcohol (such as Everclear)
  • Shake for 3 minutes
  • Strain the mixture and store

The high tech method:

  • Use your Magical Butter machine or an Infuzium 420.  These machines make infused oils and butter, but they simplify the process for tinctures as well.  I chose the Infuzium 420 because it has good reviews, it’s cheaper, and it allows me to make smaller batches if I wish.
  • Just dump in the alcohol and the herb (grinding not necessary) and push the button for tinctures.  The machine heats the mixture safely and stirs it for you. Strain the end product with the strainer included with the machine.  Straining again through a coffee filter removes even more of the fine solids.

If you are using hemp flower to make a CBD tincture you should consider including some raw (not decarbed) plant material in addition to the decarbed material.  CBDA is a COX2 inhibitor and may inhibit some tumor growth.  Similarly, THCA is being studied for a number of health benefits, including treating some seizures.

Whichever method you choose you will end up with a tincture that may burn if you put it under your tongue.  If it does, then take it with a sip of water and swish it around in your mouth for a minute or so before swallowing.  Adding a drop of peppermint extract and a splash of stevia will make it easier to tolerate too.  Putting it in the freezer for 24 hours and then straining it through a coffee filter will remove some of the bitterness too.

You can roughly calculate the dose if you have good lab results on your cannabis.  You will likely capture 75% or so of the CBD or THC, so include this in your calculations.

References: Leafly guide to tinctures.

How to make CBD Oil for Morning and Evening

(This is a continuation of previous posts on How to make CBD Oil and How to make Broad Spectrum CBD Oil.)

If you are making your own CBD oil you can tailor your blends of terpenes to include terpenes that are activating for morning use and terpenes that are sedating for evening use.  I’m not suggesting adding anything that does not naturally occur in cannabis. Some people sell CBD for evening use that is blended with melatonin.  I think that’s stupid. Melatonin is cheap (in the U.S.) and there’s no need to start adding it to CBD.  It’s also not a good idea to take melatonin except right before bedtime.  Taken at the wrong time of day it can actually give you jet lag.shutterstock_547722112

Adding naturally relaxing/sedating terpenes such as myrcene and nerolidol is different. It is a way to mimic some of the chemical makeup of a sedating cannabis strain in a THC-free CBD oil.  In my most recent batch of CBD oil I made three slightly different blends.  I used the basic technique in How to make Broad Spectrum CBD Oil, including blending in some Kanabia Golden Harvest oil in order to get an entourage effect from added CBD-V, CBG, and THC-V.  (This is the only oil with such high levels of these cannabinoids and code cannap15 still gets you 15% off.)  I made the oil stronger by using more CBD isolate than in my last batch; and less MCT oil.  The contents of the final result is below.  The bold ingredients are the ones that distinguish activating from sedating:

AM-Activating: 29mg CBD/ml.
Hemp-derived terpene blend, harlequin terpene blend, Durban Poison terpene blend
D-limonene, b-carophyllene, linalool
CBD-V, CBG, THC-V (from Kanabia oil)

Neutral: 29mg CBD/ml.
Hemp-derived terpene blend, harlequin terpene blend
D-limonene, b-carophyllene, linalool
CBD-V, CBG, THC-V (from Kanabia oil)

PM-Sedating 29mg CBD/ml.
Hemp-derived terpene blend, harlequin terpene blend, myrcene, nerolidol
D-limonene, b-carophyllene, linalool
CBD-V, CBG, THC-V (from Kanabia oil)

As you can see the only differences are the addition of Durban Poison terpenes in the morning and the addition of the sedating terpenes myrcene and nerolidol in the evening. The result is three slightly different CBD oils. I definitely notice the extra sedation in the evening.  I sometimes get “couch-lock” where I end up dozing in my recliner rather than asleep in the bed.

I’m not sure yet about the activating blend.  It doesn’t make me sleepy, but I’m generally drinking a cup of coffee in the morning too. Leafly describes Durban Poison as:

This pure sativa originates from the South African port city of Durban. It has gained popularity worldwide for its sweet smell and energetic, uplifting effects. Durban Poison is the perfect strain to help you stay productive through a busy day, when exploring the outdoors, or to lend a spark of creativity.

Another option for an activating blend would be to add individual terpenes that are thought to be activating. You can buy combinations of food-grade terpenes that are sold as either sedating of activating as well.

Have you made different blends of CBD oil?  What is your formula?  Please comment below.

How to Make Broad Spectrum CBD Oil (not as cheap)

In my last post I shared an easy way to make CBD isolate oil. This is CBD oil with no ingredients except CBD and oil.  There is evidence that CBD may work better when other natural compounds (cannabinoids and terpenes) are also present (the “entourage effect“). Full-spectrum hemp oil contains mostly CBD but also smaller amounts of these cannabinoids and terpenes.  The amount of delta 9 THC is required by law to be very low (less than 0.3% in the U.S. and less than 0.2% in the E.U.).  Cannabinoids are fat-soluable, however, so they tend to build up in the body over time. It can take up to a month to flush THC from the bloodstream.  Some people taking higher doses of full-spectrum hemp oil have reported failing workplace drug tests.

Broad-spectrum hemp oil is CBD isolate with terpenes and/or other cannabinoids added back in.  There’s no THC so you are very unlikely to fail a drug test. Here’s how to make your own.

Basic Instructions – for making Broad Spectrum CBD Oil

Follow the directions from the post “Make your own CBD Oil (cheap)” but buy an extra

Terpenes and cannabinoids to add to CBD oil

Some of the ingredients you might add to CBD oil

60ml (2 oz) empty bottle (for a total of 4 instead of 3).  You will still be making 6 ounces (180ml) of CBD isolate oil in this first step.

In addition to this you will need:

  • A small bottle of food-grade terpenes from a high CBD cannabis strain.  I’ve found both ACDC and harlequin terpenes on Amazon. These come in tiny bottles and you only need a few drops for each 2oz bottle.
  • A bottle of a broad spectrum CBD oil such as “Kanabia” Golden Harvest (use code cannap15 for 15% off).  This oil has relatively high levels of CBD-V, CBG, and THC-V along with CBD.  You will be diluting this so that the total of these three cannabinoids are not as strong in your final oil.
  • A bottle of beta-caryophyllene (optional).  This terpene is also a cannabinoid that binds to the CB2 receptor. It smells and tastes like purple gum drops.
CBD, CBD-v, CBF, and THC-V

Kanabia CBD+ Oil

Add the contents of the bottle of Kanabia oil to the CBD isolate oil that you made in the mason jar. (If you already divided the oil among different small bottles you can either divide the Kanabia oil evenly among the small bottles or re-combine the contents into a mason jar.)

Add 16-20 drops of terpenes to the mason jar. (Add more later if you choose.  Read the instructions.)

Add 20 or more drops of beta-caryophyllene to the mason jar (optional).

Stir or shake well and then divide evenly into the 4 empty bottles using the small funnel.  (The small bottles won’t be quite full because the Kanabia oil bottle was only 50ml.) Approximate dosing remains the same, except you now have a broad spectrum oil that includes CBD along with smaller quantities of CBD-V, CBG, and THC-V, terpenes, and possibly extra amounts of the super-terpene beta-caryophyllene.

[Edit – April 24, 2019: Part 3 of this series is live: How to make CBD Oil for Morning and Evening.]

How to Make your own CBD Oil (cheap)

CBD oil/drops can come in several forms.  CBD isolate oil is the simplest. It contains CBD alone suspended in oil – often MCT oil made from coconuts. MCT stands for “medium chain triglycerides”. MCT oil is a clear flavorless and odorless liquid. CBD isolate oil gives you the benefits of CBD without any trace amounts of THC. This may be important if you have to pass workplace drug tests. CBD isolate is also a good way for marijuana enthusiasts to add some CBD to the mix.  This can “mellow” the THC high and decrease the paranoia.  Studies show that dosing is trickier when you are taking CBD isolate alone because you don’t get the benefit of the entourage effect – the improved benefits when other trace cannabinoids and terpenes are present.

Once we have made CBD isolate oil we can add terpenes and even other cannabinoids so that we have a broad spectrum oil that still does not contain THC. It’s easier than you may think. To make three or four 60ml (2 oz) bottles of CBD isolate you need:

  • 3.5gm CBD isolate powder
  • A carrier oil (such as MCT oil).  This is available on Amazon.
  • Hot water (optional – to set a jar of oil in so that it heats and absorbs the powder more easily)
  • A mason jar
  • A heat resistant bowl (optional)
  • A tea kettle or other way to heat water (optional)
  • An oven/cooking thermometer (optional)
  • A small funnel
  • Small bottles (2oz/60ml) with graduated medicine droppers (Available on Amazon).

CBD isolate is a 99+% pure crystalline powder form of CBD. It is extracted from hemp, not made in a lab. One gram (1000 mg) of CBD isolate contains 990+ mg of CBD. Good sources of this include CBDistillery and Fully Activated. Both of these companies have good prices and they will provide you with lab testing results. I will often order the next biggest size (3.5 grams) to make three or four 2oz bottles of oil.

Basic Instructions – for making CBD Isolate OilCBD-oil

You will be mixing the CBD isolate into the MCT oil in a mason jar.  Be sure that the mason jar has marks for ounces / milliliters on the side.  (After you have made the isolate oil you can decide what terpenes or cannabinoids to add.)

Fill the mason jar up to the 6 ounce (180ml) line with MCT oil.  Add the CBD isolate powder.  Stir or shake to mix thoroughly.  The process will go much faster if you heat the oil – but the oil is flammable.  To heat the oil you can heat water in a tea kettle to just before it boils.  Pour the hot water into a heat resistant bowl and set the MCT oil/isolate mixture in the bowl.  Be sure to keep the temperature of the oil 180 degrees F (82 degrees C) or lower.  Continue stirring.

When the isolate powder is completely dissolved you have your CBD isolate.  If you are not adding terpenes or cannabinoids you can use the funnel to divide the oil among the three glass bottles.

Each bottle of oil will contain 1167mg of CBD.  Each 1ml dropper full will contain 19.4mg of CBD.  For a 10mg dose you will want to use just a bit over half of a dropper.

See PART 2 – my next post – for information on how to add both terpenes and cannabinoids to make a broad spectrum oil that may work better than CBD isolate, but will still have zero THC. Check out sources here.