Emulsifying wax vs beeswax

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The Chemdawg

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Hi, I'm new to this forum, and this will be my first post. Maybe a little controversial of a topic for some of you, but I am a medical marijuana patient and I apply the use of marijuana concentrated oils into balms/gels for therapeutic use. It is great for pain, and does not get you "high" when applied topically, however it does relieve the pain caused by many conditions, including burns, arthritis, muscle pain, joint pain, bone spurs, and many many other conditions/disorders.

For the balms I have traditionally used beeswax, but have heard that emulsifying wax penetrates deeper into the skin. This is essential for me, because for the medicine to work in the most effective manner it must penetrate deep into the skin to apply the medicine where it's needed most.

If any of you know the answer to this, it would be greatly appreciated. Any other advice on getting lotions/balms to penetrate deeper would be phenomenal. I'm also looking into other essential oils to add into the mix, to aid in the analgesic/anti-inflammatory/antispasmodic process.
 
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lsg

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You might just try mixing the marijuana concentrated oils with macadamia nut oil as it is easily absorbed into the skin.
 

Lindy

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If you are wanting to make a lotion or cream then emulsifying wax is going to work better. Beeswax acts like a barrier preventing access to the skin. This is great when you are trying to keep moisture in as well as preventing external moisture from gaining access to the skin.

For a minute, let's talk about essential oils and which ones you are wanting to use. Please make sure you do proper research on them for therapeutic levels, contra-indicators and that includes with any other medication and yes that would also be medical marijuana. The reason essential oils are so effective is that they are over the counter drugs. If you need help clarifying an oil, please feel free to ask. There are a few of us aromatherapists (I'm certified clinical) who are happy to help.
 

green soap

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I make a sore muscle balm a little similar (not exactly) like tiger balm. Instead of petroleum products I use calendula from my garden infused in OO and coconut oil. I use bees wax in mine. My balm penetrates and one can feel first the cold, then the heat (clove oil). I use a blend of essential oils and the carrier oils.

I was not aware that cannabis can be used topically. I have read about many other health benefits so I found your post very interesting. Do you mind sharing your infusion/extraction process?

A couple of comments about ewax and bees wax. Ewax is an emulsifier, you would want to use it if you are making an oil and water emulsion as in for a cream or lotion. It works very well for this, but is is synthetic, manufactured in a lab. Bees wax has a lot more appeal to my customers because it is natural. It also has more appeal to me. I get mine from our local bees keeper.

For a balm you just melt the wax and oils, so you do not need an emulsifier. I would say instead of switching to ewax, pick some carrier oils that will be more penetrating, and keep the bees wax. Just my $0.02
 

The Chemdawg

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Thanks a lot for the replies. I am very new to the lotion-making world, and to all the surrounding topics, essential oils included. I'd love to hear more about essential oils and their therapeutic usage in lotions and creams. I am not dead set on a balm texture, it is just a good solid to use topically, really anything that works best is what I'm looking for.

And of course, I'm very willing to answer any questions anyone has, because I am very new to your world, yet many of you may be new to mine, and considering they are so closely related I feel we could all learn something from each other.

My extraction method is very simple, and easy to recreate for anyone. I use a coconut oil to extract all the necessary goodies from the marijuana, as THC dissolves into fats, alcohols, and some sugars (like honey, or vegetable glycerin) along with many other of the cannibinoids (healing agents) inside. However, before extracting these, a "decarboxylation" is required of the herbs. This simply means to remove the carboxyl group (Carbon dioxide/water) from the product, and can be done in multiple ways, heat, freezing, or dry air. In reality, this happens very slowly as the cannabis degrades, but to get the quickest finish I just throw the cannabis in the oven covered in tin foil at 220 degrees Fahrenheit for about 25 minutes before I turn off the oven and let it cool inside, with the door just cracked a little. This can be better accomplished without destroying some cannibinoids with a food dehydrator, as it uses less heat, as many cannibinoids are destroyed through heat. This process essentially activates the cannabis to be used medically.

With the decarboxylated product, I then grind it up into a powder, and mix with lecithin and coconut oil. The lecithin is great for making the cannabis more bio-available, which helps your body absorb it. The coconut oil is also my personal preference as it contains medium chain triglycerides which are most easily absorbed into our bodies. There is no specific amount I use, just enough coconut oil to fully immerse the cannabis, with powdered lecithin generously sprinkled on top, and mixed up.

I then reheat the mix in the oven for about an hour and a half, taking the mixture out halfway through and mashing up the product with a potato masher to further extract what is inside. After the full hour and a half in the oven, I just shut off the oven and let it cool, keeping the door closed in this step. Once cool, the mixture is put in the freezer for a minimum of 3-4 hours, which helps break down the plant material and what is inside even more. After the freezing period, and once the dish reaches room temperature (to avoid breakage), I place it in the oven again just enough to liquify it. At that point it can be strained for immediate use, or stored in a dark place to be used later. By this time most everything is taken from the cannabis, but I like to keep the plant matter in the oil as long as possible before I strain it, to make sure everything is in the oil and not in the throwaway plant matter. Also, storing the oil in a dark place for a couple weeks increases the bio-availability of the medicine a lot; I store for a minimum of 2 weeks, but cannabis extracts have an unusual way of becoming more and more effective the longer they sit.

Once strained, the oil can be used in a great many ways. Like I said, I have only used menthol crystals and eucalyptus so far, to add a cooling sensation to the oil, but I'd like to experiment with capsaicin, rosemary, nutmeg, and other essential oils which would seemingly complement the effects of the cannabis.

A side note, it is always important to let the dish return to room temperature before removing the top or placing in the freezer/oven, as cannibinoids vaporize at very low temperatures, and must settle first, and glass dishes cannot be shocked by different temperatures, or they could crack.

Similarly, for my alcohol extract I use 100% isopropyl alcohol and decarboxylated cannabis added to a slow cooker, and heated till the alcohol evaporates to about half of what I put in, freezing the final product for at least 24 hours, and again stored for at least two weeks. This I have only used with aloe, but I'm sure could be used in other ways. Menthol crystals and eucalyptus are again my go to addition for this mixture too.

Sorry for the super long post, did not anticipate that, but I hope you can get something out of it, if not only just a little bit of interest!

Green soap, what do you use in your balm to combine the cooling and heating effects effectively? I've thought about combining menthol crystals with capsaicin, but only because those are the main heating/cooling agents I've heard of, but I was also unsure about how I would get a timed effect, and was worried it would turn out to be ineffective with my lack of knowledge in the subject.
 
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AlchemyandAshes

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Thank you for sharing your method...I learned a lot! :-D
My questions are only legal aspects that you may or may not be able to answer...my 41 year old sister was just diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis and I'm sure a balm like you described would be beneficial for her. But we live in Florida, where there is no "medical marijuana" licensing. Do you only make your balm for personal use or for sale? And if for sale, can it only be purchased by someone with a medical marijuana license in a state where that is legal? Does that make any sense?
I'm intrigued...:think:
 

The Chemdawg

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Well, that is unfortunate. Cannabis is very good at relieving pain from all kinds of arthritis, especially rheumatoid, and I'm sure your sister could benefit from it.

However the legal aspect is another monster altogether. I am a medical patient in Rhode Island, and of all the medical states out there, only 3 have reciprocating laws, Rhode Island, Montana, and Michigan, meaning I could only use medical marijuana in those states, and even so I would be under their medical marijuana laws, not mine. Even in my own state, as a medical marijuana patient I can "gift" cannabis and cannabis products to other patients, but I could not accept payment for it. Caregivers in my state are responsible for providing marijuana to patients, and only they can accept money as reimbursement for costs associated with providing care to patients.

So that is to say I can neither sell it to you, nor give it to you, which is unfortunate indeed. And I can no more recommend breaking the laws of your state than a prisoner of a concentration camp could recommend escape.

However, if there is any information you would like to know, feel free to pm me any questions you have. I'm always eager to share knowledge with others, and as medical marijuana is quickly becoming more widespread in our legal system, I have no doubt that within a few years we will all be able to enjoy the relief it provides. Whether you enjoy the feeling of smoking or eating it or not, cannabis has a use in every home in the world, because of the plethora of medical benefits it can provide without providing the "high" feeling.

I wish you luck in your endeavor though, and hope you and your sister can find some relief for her, cannabis related or otherwise.
 
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