Cannabis Salve Guide

cannabis salve

Cannabis salve is a great product to make with your leftover rosin chips or buds that aren't suitable for making bubble hash. A salve is a healing topical product that generally comes in the form of a balm, ointment, or cream. It's typically viscous and remains shelf-stable for a long time, especially when stored in a refrigerator.

Cannabis salves are highly valued for their anti-inflammatory and skin-healing properties. The combination of cannabis and oils (the other key ingredient in a salve)—such as coconut oil, olive oil, emu oil, vitamin E oil, calendula oil, and sweet almond oil—is especially moisturizing and healing for the skin.

How to Make Cannabis Salve

There are several ways to make homemade cannabis salve. Some of the most popular recipes use either a coconut and olive oil mixture or a coconut oil and beeswax mixture for the base. This is because both coconut oil and beeswax give the salve a firm texture and have beneficial properties of their own.

Our recipe uses an infused coconut oil base which is then combined with shea butter and essential oils. The shea butter provides the desired firmness. We also recommend adding emu oil in the final liquid stage of the recipe for enhanced absorption. We demonstrate the process in our video How to Make Rosin Salve/Balm.



Cannabis Salve Ingredients

The most basic ingredients of cannabis salve are cannabis and one or more carrier oils. You will generally make infused oil first and then mix the cannabis oil with the rest of your ingredients.

Our cannabis salve recipe uses the following ingredients:

  • Coconut oil: Coconut oil binds with cannabinoids like CBD and THC because it has a high saturated fat content. It is also moisturizing for the skin and has antibacterial properties.
  • Spent rosin bags: Rosin chips contain cannabis plant matter and residual cannabinoids after being pressed in a rosin press. The residual compounds in rosin chips are perfect for making infused oil.
  • Shea butter: Shea butter contains fatty acids and vitamins that are good for your skin. It also has anti-inflammatory and soothing properties.
  • Emu oil (optional): Emu oil has been used by Indigenous Australians for a very long time. It offers several skin benefits, including anti-aging effects and wound healing, and is recommended for use in the treatment of seborrheic dermatitis.
  • Essential oils of choice: Essential oils add specific fragrances and health benefits to your balm.
  • A blade: You will use this to open your rosin chips.
  • A strainer: You will use this to strain the infused oil. A food-grade stainless-steel strainer is ideal.
  • A crock pot: This is for infusing the coconut oil. You can use a double boiler on low heat if you don't have a crock pot.
  • An immersion blender: An immersion blender is a handheld device that consists of a blender on the end of a stick (as opposed to the regular kind of blender with a jar that sits on top of a base).

Steps to Make Cannabis Salve

Melted Coconut OilFollow these steps to make cannabis salve:

  1. Add the coconut oil to the crock pot.
  2. Set the crock pot to 250°F.
  3. Stir until the coconut oil is fully melted.
  4. Slice open all of your rosin bags.
  5. Add the sliced bags to the warm coconut oil and press them down until they’re submerged.
  6. Keep the crock pot at 250°F for Mixing Rosin Chips In Salve4 hours and stir occasionally.
  7. Use the strainer to scoop out and drain the bags.
  8. Pull off some coconut oil for cooking (optional). Grab a 25μm bag and funnel and pour the coconut oil through the bag into a heat-resistant jar to filter it. Allow it to cool and store it in the fridge.
  9. Add shea butter to the warm coconut oil in the crock pot (2 coconut:1 shea ratio). You can adjust these ratios however you like to determine consistency.
  10. Mixing Rosin Chips In SalveReduce the heat to a minimum.
  11. While it’s cooling down, add the emu oil (optional), any other oils you would like to add, and your choice of essential oils. We like eucalyptus and peppermint. Please note that the number of drops used will dictate the strength of the scent.
  12. Grab another 25μm bag and funnel and filter the oil mixture into a mason jar.
  13. Once filtering is complete, use an immersion blender to homogenize the salve.Salve In The Fridge
  14. Seal the jar and place it in the fridge overnight.
  15. You can open up your balm/salve the next day and begin use!


  • Use CBD-rich hemp rosin chips and CBD oil to make a CBD salve.

How Does Cannabis Salve Work?

Cannabis salve works by delivering cannabinoids to CB1 and CB2 receptors in the skin. These cannabinoid receptors are part of the peripheral endocannabinoid system.

The cannabinoids in cannabis salve don't reach the bloodstream (or only in minute amounts) or the central nervous system, so there aren't any psychoactive effects.

Benefits of Cannabis Salve

The topical application of cannabinoids has several potential benefits:

  1. Cannabinoids have antibacterial properties. This makes cannabis salve suitable for use on wounds.
  2. Cannabinoids prevent a buildup of dead skin cells, which is a direct cause of psoriasis.
  3. Topical CBD can reduce pain from acute lower extremity injuries. Topical CBD can also reduce peripheral neuropathy or nerve pain.
  4. Topical THC reduces pain by interacting with CB1 receptors in the skin. The message to reduce pain reaches the brain via the peripheral nervous system.

Uses of Cannabis Salve

People use cannabis salve for:

  • Muscle aches
  • Arthritis
  • Muscle and ligament healing
  • Wound healing
  • Relaxation during massage

You can personalize your cannabis salve with your choice of carrier oils and essential oils to target a certain condition more effectively. Think about the intended use of the salve (either for yourself or to sell commercially) and add ingredients that are known to be helpful for that condition.

How to Use Cannabis Salve

Rub a small amount of cannabis salve on and around the affected area. Repeat as often as needed. You should begin to feel the effects within 5 to 20 minutes of application.

Enjoy the Therapeutic Effects of Cannabis Salve

Cannabis salve represents a value-added product that you can make for yourself and your family or sell commercially as an additional revenue stream. If you distribute cannabis salve to dispensaries, remember that you must have it lab-tested and label the contents (and cannabinoid percentages) accurately.

The most effective salve recipe will ultimately include several ingredients that work together to provide specific benefits. Experiment with different ingredients and try the products out for yourself. You should soon find several winning formulas!

Article written by

Levi Lanzrath

Levi Lanzrath is a cannabis extraction expert and founder of Lowtemp Industries.