Posted by Glenn Beierle on 08/29/2017 in Consumption
Updated on December 6, 2018. Medical content reviewed by Dr. Richard Koffler, MD, Board Certified Physiatrist
Cannabis is a natural ingredient that can be added to many types of products. There are several ways to consume medical marijuana — most typically it’s ingested through the lungs or stomach. However, marijuana can also be useful as a topical product and has some health benefits when applied to the skin. Adding it to soap can make those health benefits more easily accessible by adding them to a daily routine like showering.
What Is Cannabis-Infused Soap?
Marijuana is starting to turn up in all sorts of products, and now it’s in soap. Cannabis soap is a fairly new product that attempts to capitalize on the organic-loving nature of cannabis users.
People suffering from chronic conditions or undergoing chemotherapy are especially sensitive to synthetic products. There are many products on the market that contain ingredients that can be linked with cancer and other chronic conditions. When your body tends to react to foreign substances, you have to be careful about everything you touch, including soap.
Cannabis soap is marketed as all-natural and good for your skin. Some varieties claim to heal dry or sensitive skin and promote good health. Although you don’t consume the soap, you do expose yourself to its ingredients by rubbing it on your skin, the largest organ in your body. Skin absorbs different substances and can react to them.
The active ingredient in marijuana can be absorbed through the skin when cannabis products are used topically. Most cannabis soap varieties claim the cannabis in the soap only goes skin deep, meaning it offers soothing and healing properties for your skin, but doesn’t have any other medicinal value.
How Is Cannabis Soap Made?
Making cannabis soap is no more difficult than other forms of homemade soap. You can easily make your own cannabis soap if you have the right ingredients and equipment. It requires heating oil, water and lye and mixing it with cannabis oil before forming it into bars and letting it cool. It’s a bit like making candy.
The key ingredient in soap is lye. You’ll need a few ounces of lye in your soap for cleaning strength. Lye is what breaks up dirt and oil on your skin. It’s a very harsh substance that can burn your skin and eyes before it’s diluted with the other ingredients. When working with lye, you should take safety precautions like wearing gloves and eye protection.
Here are the steps to making cannabis soap:
- Mix 2.32 ounces of lye and 4 ounces of water together carefully, avoiding inhaling any lye or splashing it into your eyes or on your skin. Use a heat-resistance container made of glass or metal since the lye will heat up quickly. You want to use it when it reaches 100 degrees.
- Combine 5 ounces each of olive oil and cannabis oil with 6 ounces of coconut oil in a separate container. Heat the mixture to 100 degrees and then add the lye mixture.
- Blend with a hand mixer until it thickens. When you pull the mixture out, the soap should create soft peaks that flatten out slowly. Mix in 2 teaspoons of an essential oil if desired.
- Pour the mixture into a mold. You can use a regular soap mold or a square pan lined with plastic wrap. Cover the soap and let it sit for 24 hours. When it’s set, cut it into pieces and let those cure for a week or two to become good and solid.
You can vary your soap by changing the type of cannabis oil you put in it. You can also mix in some cannabis flower or leaf for aesthetics. The flower in the soap won’t have any effect when you use it — it just gives it an organic look. The oil is what will add to your soap.
Your choice of essential oils will mainly determine the aroma of your soap. Select oils with relaxing or invigorating properties according to your goals for the soap. Essential oils in the soap will also give off a pleasant aroma when mixed with the hot water in your shower.
How Does Cannabis Soap Work?
You’ll get clean if you use cannabis soap. The lye and oil mixture is the basic recipe for soap — lye cleans and oil protects the skin from excessive drying. The cannabis oil in the soap should have an aromatherapy effect similar to the essential oils you use. Using your cannabis soap may give you a relaxed or invigorated sensation depending on which strain of cannabis you used.
Cannabis soap delivers a very small amount of marijuana, if any. It’s not likely to get into your bloodstream, although it may reach your brain through your nasal passages. The effect of cannabis soap is quite different from consuming marijuana.
Best Uses for Cannabis-Infused Soap
Cannabis soap is best for patients suffering from skin ailments. It helps normalize the pH balance of your skin to keep it healthy and impervious to fungi. Marijuana soap can also be good for skin rashes because it prevents skin from drying or cracking and promotes skin regeneration.
Soap infused with cannabis tends to be made from natural and organic ingredients, so it won’t expose your soap to chemicals that may trigger an allergic reaction. It’s good for normal skin cleansing, especially if your skin is particularly sensitive. People undergoing chemotherapy and other strong disease treatments can be vulnerable to environmental contaminants, and cannabis soap helps protect them.
Cannabis soap can be obtained without a recommendation from a physician, but for stronger cannabis applications you need to consult a marijuana doctor. Talk to a marijuana doctor about how the effects of cannabis can be used to improve your health and quality of life. There are also other topical cannabis products that might be appropriate to treat your skin condition.
Cannabis products treat more than just skin conditions, as you’ll learn from your marijuana doctor. Topical oils and lotions can be used to relieve localized pain, for example. Edible and smoked marijuana products are useful in resolving nausea or reducing the length and severity of seizures. Start the process by finding a marijuana doctor near you and qualifying for your state’s medical marijuana program.