CBD topicals are now legal in Canada. They’re also bloody expensive – at Shoppers Drug Mart, a decent-sized jar of CBD cream will set you back $60. Ouch!
However, if you’re a DIY’er at heart, why not make your own? With a little initiative, experimentation, and patience, it’s something you can totally do. On this page, we’ll walk you through the process of making your own CBD cream.
Step 1: Equipment
Before you can craft a single jar of CBD cream, you’ll need to get your hands on the gear. To start your own CBD lotion production line, you’ll require the following:
- Double Boilers (2) – You can easily acquire these at retailers like Bed Bath & Beyond.
- Mixer – A hand mixer works well, but you’ll want something more heavy-duty for batches above 300 grams.
- Cool Down Container – This container will be where you’ll store the cool-down phase ingredients, like pure CBD oil, fragrances, etc.
- Glass/Polypropylene Chemical Resistant Lab Beakers (2) – These beakers should be autoclavable, or able to withstand intense heat and pressure. Order them online at a trusted retailer like Thomas Scientific.
- Scales (2) – You’ll need one for smaller amounts (=< 1 kg) and the other for larger measures.
- Glass Lab Thermometer – You can get away with one, but they have a habit of breaking. Order a backup, just to be safe.
- Sanitizer – The presence of microscopic bacteria could ruin your solution. To eliminate them, you’ll need a 70% isopropyl alcohol solution.
- pH Meter – Accurate measurements of acidity/alkalinity are essential for creating quality CBD cream.
Step 2: Water
Water is life – both for us and CBD cream products. First and foremost – do NOT use tap, mineral, or bottled water. These sources may seem pure, but they contain minute amounts of minerals/chemicals/etc that can reduce your cream’s lifespan.
Next, figure out how much water you will need. To do this, weigh all the oil-based ingredients you plan to use in your CBD cream. Then, contrast it against the volume you wish to create. If the weight of your oil-based ingredients makes up half your volume, the other half should be water.
Don’t forget to account for evaporation when you do your water calculations. During the crafting process, we’ll bring our water to about 75 degrees Celsius for 20 minutes. At this temperature, some steam will form. By the end of this phase, you can expect to lose about 10% of your water. Plan accordingly.
Step 3: Preservatives
Without these stabilizing compounds, your CBD cream will rot within a week. Preservatives help prevent the growth of microbes like mold, yeast and bacteria.
Phenonip is a great synthetic preservative, as it provides full protection against bacteria and fungi. If you wish to pick a natural preservative, Euxyl K940 is also effective.
Step 4: Emulsifiers
To create a CBD ointment, salve, or cream, you’ll need at least two emulsifiers. Emulsifiers are compounds that allow two “unmixable” compounds to mix. In our case, we’re trying to combine oil & water to create a CBD cream.
There are four types of emulsifiers, each with their pros and cons. For ease of use, though, non-ionic emulsifiers work best. While it’s fine to use a natural emulsifier, do note that beeswax or cetyl alcohol are NOT emulsifiers.
Step 5: Study
The creation of emulsions is a delicate, scientific process. While it’s important to get real-world experience, studying theory is also crucial. Before firing up your burners, spend a week or two studying the masters.
Pop on Udemy and buy a course on skin cream creation. Read books like The Home Apothecary. By taking these steps ahead of time, you’ll avoid needless mistakes that will cost you time & money.
Step 6: Creation
At last, we’ve arrived at assembly day. Here’s how to create your first-ever batch of CBD cream:
- Begin by sanitizing ALL containers with your isopropyl alcohol.
- Pre-boil some distilled water. If too much evaporates during the water heating phase, you can use this reserve supply later on.
- Weigh out all the water you’ll use in your formula. Your distilled water should be in a container separate from all oil-based ingredients.
- On a hotplate, heat your water to 75 degrees Celsius and hold it there for 20 minutes.
- During this time, weight and introduce your oil-based ingredients into a second container.
- On a second hotplate, heat your oil-based ingredients to 75 degrees Celsius.
- After the water phase has spent 20 minutes at 75 degrees Celsius, and the oil is at the same temperature, slowly add the water to the oil.
- Use your mixer to blend the oil & water mixtures. All told, this step takes about 2-5 minutes.
- As the mixture cools down, intermittently blend it with your mixer.
- Once the mixture hit 45 degrees Celsius, add in finishing ingredients like fragrances, essential oils, and CBD. Mix well.
- Cool the mixture to room temperature.
- Weigh your mixture. If too much water evaporated (>10%), add enough pre-boiled distilled water to correct the imbalance. Mix well.
- Test the pH. If too alkaline, add citric acid, mix well, and test again. If too acidic, add triethanolamine, mix well, and test again.
- Take the temperature of your CBD skin cream. Once it has reached room temperature, add it to jars and store them in a cool, dark place.
Step 7: Shelf Life Test (optional)
If you plan on selling your CBD cream, you’ll need to stress test it. This way, you’ll learn its shelf life.
To test the consistency of your CBD lotion at extreme temperatures, get a reptile egg incubator. Place a sample jar inside and set the incubator at 45 degrees Celsius.
If it remains stable after eight weeks, you can expect your product to last one year at room temperature. At a minimum, your CBD skin cream should have a shelf life of three months.
If other humans have made something, you can do it, too. Making CBD skin cream is hard but not impossible. By following the instructions above, you’ll get there. Have fun!