A full Guide on CBD Salves

Before we jump into explaining what a salve is and how it is made, it is important to know some information about CBD (cannabidiol) topicals. These are cannabis-implanted oils, balms, tinctures and moisturisers which are absorbed via the skin for natural alleviation of pain, soreness or any other discomforts. Basically speaking, CBD topicals are natural and effective skin health care products that can relieve muscle soreness, dermatitis, irritation and any other skin issues without inducing any psychoactive effects. 

Salves, oils, butter, balms, tinctures, creams, lotions and moisturisers are all terms typically used in the CBD commercial market. Many recreational users, as well as people suffering from different medical ailments, are attached to topically applied cannabis for several reasons, pain relief being one of them.

In this article, we take a deeper look into what salves are, how they are made, their medical benefits, and the difference between them and CBD oils. Read on to know more.

What is a CBD salve?

CBD topicals have been used for hundreds of years. Ancient communities used them for their disinfectant, anti-infection and pain-reducing properties to treat infections on the skin, bacterial diseases, foot inflammation as well as localised pain. Though their use had declined, in modern society, the use of CBD for medicinal purposes is starting to grow after the legalisation of cannabis in many states.

What is a CBD salve? A salve is a medicine-infused concoction whereby the CBD is administered directly onto the skin. Generally speaking, there is no definite distinction between salves, balms and ointments; these three terms can be used interchangeably.

CBD creams and lotions contain water and moisturising agents whereas salves, balms and ointments do not use any water, they contain fatty oils and wax

How are they made?

Salves are basic concoctions which can be made in several ways. There are actually very many recipes available out there, but all of them are similar in that contain the following ingredients: 

  • Natural wax like beeswax
  • Fatty oil base
  • Medicinal (therapeutic) compound

For the natural wax ingredient, non-enriched beeswax is usually the most common. Beeswax is a sticky, dense material that needs to be melted down first to gain any form of fluidity. Waxes derived from vegetables like Candelilla wax are also effective, but they are mostly incorporated in items that are meant to be purely vegan. In most cases, beeswax is generally a better choice. 

The fatty oil base carries the medicine compound contained in the salve. Different oils are used in making CBD salves; coconut oil, for example, is highly preferred mostly because of its rich content of fatty acids. These fatty acids are responsible for carrying the active CBD. The higher the levels of fatty acids in a type of oil, the more cannabidiol it will carry.

In infusing the fatty oil base with active cannabidiol, a specific kind of cannabis plant is ground into smaller bits, but not to powder form. From here, it is steeped for hours at over 90° Celsius in the oil. The purpose of the heat is to decarboxylate the CBD into an active molecular form which the fatty acids in the oil can latch on very easily.

After the oil has been infused with the active form of cannabidiol, it is mixed in with the melted beeswax or any other natural wax to make the salve.

When shopping for CBD calves, be on the lookout for what type of wax the brand has used, the oil base, and other ingredients. If you are not certain of where the cannabidiol has been sourced from, you can consult the main manufacturer to ask them. Many brands source their CBD from hemp. 

CBD Salve Sample recipe

Here is a sample recipe for making a CBD salve:

240 millilitres of CBD infused oil
5 teaspoons of natural beeswax
5 teaspoons of refined Shea butter.

How to make it: Create a double boiler by placing a small pot over a bigger pot that contains some water. Put CBD infused oil into the small pot and let the water simmer. Add the natural beeswax to the heated oil and stir continuously with a wooden skewer. When the wax is almost fully dissolved, it’s time to add the Shea butter. Stir it also until it is fully dissolved. Cautiously pour the hot blend into containers or tins. Leave them undisturbed for about 1-2 hours to allow the mixture to fully solidify.

Now you have your own homemade salve which smells amazing. You can use it for relieving pain, treating acne, rashes, wounds, or any other skin-specific conditions.

How do CBD salves work?

The skin is the largest organ in the body, which is very active and has many functions. It acts as a barrier against any dangerous foreign substances, functions as a molecular passageway, and quickly absorbs lipid-based oils, like the ones found in CBD salves.

When a CBD salve is applied topically, the CBD-carrying fatty acids contained in the oil base get transported throughout the skin membranes, and the CBD starts to impact its healing properties on the surrounding skin cells and tissues. This is why salves are an ideal option for treating joint aches and skin-particular conditions such as acne, psoriasis and eczema. Apply the salve directly on the affected area to initiate therapy.

Cannabidiol interacts with the endocannabinoid system (ECS) in the human body to initiate its healing mechanisms. The existence of the endocannabinoid system was discovered in the early nineties. This system is made up of a network of natural cannabinoids and receptors that are used in regulating and maintaining appetite, skin sensitivity, immune response, inflammation, memory and pain.

When cannabidiol comes into contact with the natural receptors of the ECS (these receptors exist in every cell type found in the human body), it helps the body to work better and have greater control of homeostatic processes.

Dr Tamas Biro from The University of Debrecen based in Hungary is of the opinion that the human skin has the ability to produce its own endocannabinoids, and most skin functions are controlled by the local skin ECS. Dr Raj Gupta from Follium Bioscience believes that the human skin has its own ECS, and the superficial application of cannabidiol can be really helpful.

Medical benefits of CBD Salves

Direct skin application is the best way to ingest CBD oil because it enables the healing element to go directly to the source of the problem. Cannabidiol salves have been proven to be effective in treating arthritic joint aches, inflammation, localised muscle aches, soreness and chronic skin problems such as eczema and dermatitis. Orally consumed forms of cannabidiol are more effective for treating anxiety, depression, and immune system illnesses.

In a study done by the department of pharmaceutical sciences from the University of Kentucky, it was established that topical CBD application on the skin has the therapeutic potential of relieving pain and inflammation in arthritic joints without any side effects. Moreover, the School of Biomedical Sciences from Nottingham University conducted an experiment that showed that cannabinoids can potentially be used in treating psoriasis.

CBD salves have also been shown to have a useful impact in combating acne, rashes, wounds, skin infections, and muscle soreness. Dr Biro and a group of researchers from The University of Debrecen did research on human skin cells which were developing in a Petri dish. They discovered that the endocannabinoid system (ECS) controls skin inflammation. CBD has properties that help to boost the functioning of this endocannabinoid system.

To sum it up, here are the health benefits of CBD salve:

  • Relieving pain and inflammation related to arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis and immune system disorders.
  • It helps to combat skin conditions like wounds, acne, psoriasis, eczema, dermatitis among others.
  • It does not induce psychoactive effects, because it does not contain THC.

There are very many ways in which CBD can help to alleviate health problems, and is legal in many states.

Do CBD salves have any side effects?

CBD salves do not have any major side effects, but if you have overly sensitive skin you may be reactive to a portion of the ingredients such as beeswax, olive oil or vitamin E oil. In any case, these ingredients are useful for the skin; therefore it is highly unlikely that you will experience any major problems.

How you may encounter any sensitivity is dependent on whether you orally ingested the salve or applied it topically. Any CBD that is ingested through eating, vaping, and smoking or directed sublingually can lead to a dry mouth as well as a reduction in the liver’s ability to process pharmaceuticals. If you are on heart pharmaceuticals, adding CBD to the mix will completely negate the benefits that the heart medications bring to your body. As a result, you should consult your doctor before using any CBD product to avoid complications.

But obliviously, CBD salves are not for oral consumption. They should simply be rubbed on the affected skin area. But all factors considered you do not have anything to worry about because you will not feel any side effects from a CBD salve.

Differences between CBD oils and CBD salves

  • The main difference between CBD oils and CBD salves is the fact that oils are ingested orally whereas slaves are topically applied to the affected skin regions.
  • Slaves normally work much faster than oils because they are applied directly at the source of the problem, and do not have to go through stages of absorption and metabolization in the digestive tract.
  • The effects of cannabidiol salves can be noticed almost immediately, whereas orally administered oils take over 1 hour to take full effect.
  • You can read all about CBD Oils here.

Things to consider when shopping for CBD salves

CBD salves are consumed via the skin, and they will not get you high. If you were unsure of using hemp or other cannabinoid-related products out of fear that they would get you “stoned”, there is no need for you to tense. The greater portion of CBD-products is derived from industrial hemp, not marijuana. In spite of belonging to the same species, hemp is a substantial strain from the cannabis plant that contains almost no traces of THC. This is a compound that is responsible for inducing psychoactive effects in marijuana.

While extensive research has been conducted on CBD salves and their potential medical benefits, they do not generally have the same effects on everyone who uses them. You should do your own research when looking for the best CBD salves. Experiment with different measurements and different items to know which one works best for your particular situation.

Always exercise caution when buying CBD salves or other topical products containing cannabidiol. While there are many trustworthy items available in the market, there are also false products out there.


Rather than using cannabis via smoking, you can go for the topical options to relieve skin conditions. If you are suffering from localised pain in any area of the body a topical CBD slave is a great solution. Using CBD salve does not get you high, and relieves pain and inflammation in arthritic joints. However, you should always practice caution when shopping for the most suitable salve products and consult your doctor before ingesting any products. But all in all, CBD slaves are natural, simple to use, advantageous, and non-addictive. They are safe for use.

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