What Makes a Great Marijuana Lotion Dispensary Product?

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We are often asked, what makes a great cannabis topical lotion or balm? While these aren’t the most popular product at legal medical marijuana dispensaries, the good ones sell at a brisk pace. What do we mean by good? What makes a great and not-so-great cannabis topical lotion or balm?

Let’s start with fresh, cured cannabis – potent and organic

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It’s not hard to run into cannabis balms and lotions that seems to be a bit of an afterthought. Making balms and lotions out of old bags of shake and or vape tailings is not going to make a very desirable end product. No matter how much essential oil is added to the final product, you can smell old herbs. And of course, a poor quality product isn’t going to bring much relief. Balms and lotions that don’t move off of dispensary shelves for extended periods of time also decompose the vital medicinal cannabinoids; and the other ingredients can also begin to degrade and separate when the product loses its’ freshness.

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Here is a tip to avoid this: Look for balms and lotions with a manufacture or expiration date. Look for balm and lotion brands that move quickly off of dispensary shelves. SMELL the product before you buy it. Does it smell old, slightly cooked or off in any way? Does it look fresh; and is the packaging sufficient to keep it fresh?

I don’t want to feel like I’ve just taken a dive in a deep fryer!

Of course you don’t. That’s why when you don’t have access at your collective to great topical products, you should make your own. You can check out our new book for great topical and beauty recipes that you can make at home with wholesome ingredients and the kitchen equipment you already have. —> The Cannabis Spa Book.

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Typically, you can expect a balm of even the best quality to be a bit heavier and more oily than a lotion. The overuse of beeswax and carrier oils can lead to clogged pores; so, avoid anything too greasy. Balms overall are probably better for nighttime use. A lotion on the other hand should never be too oily. Lotions need to absorb quickly into the skin leaving soft, happy skin. Lotions, when applied and absorbed should not stain clothing with grease spots.

Here’s a tip on finding a great lotion: Ask your budtender if you can try the lotion on your hand before you buy. Look for heavy ingredients like beeswax and use of saturated oils like coconut oil. These can be sticky and stain your clothes.

What’s THAT smell????
Cannabis topical products are a relatively new industry. Most of the balms and lotions you will find at dispensaries are homemade products. Getting the scent right, and not just the use of essential oils in an attempt to “mask” the smell of the cannabis flower or combinations that leave you smelling like the dispensary it came from, is a tricky task. The best lotions and balm products combine essential oils and extracts that compliment the cannabis flower creating an entirely new scent that is totally unique.

Here’s a tip on finding a great scented cannabis lotion or balm product: Ask to smell it before you buy it. Give it a few minutes to meld with your body chemistry and smell your hand again. Great cannabis lotions and balms are going to smell great no matter how long you wear them.

By Hempista Mag


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4 Comments

  1. what about when you make your own? I made some for the first time with coconut oil and it smells like deep fried something.

  2. Kayla,

    Try another oil like grapeseed and then mix the result with a good organic body or hand lotion. One part oil to 7 parts lotion. Smells fab. :)

    If you want to use a solid fat, try cocoa butter. :)

  3. i wouldn’t use cocoa butter especially if you are making your own lotion, in which you’ll be using pure cocoa butter. you will be left with a smelly waste of an effort, the cocoa butter tends to go bad. even though the product itself will still be effective when used, it’s probably better if it’s tossed out. unless of course you don’t mind having a sour odor, one like a desert that spoiled from being left in your vehicle baking in the heat of the sun at the amusement park parking lot all day to you, than have at it.

  4. I have never had this happen using high quality cocoa butter. BTW, I don’t use cocoa butter to make lotions, I use it to make lotion bars. One of my lotion bars, a sun tanning / recovery bar uses cocoa butter but it has been paired with another floral along with the cannabis. The smell is quite intoxicating and delish. :) Cocoa butter is a solid fat higher in oleic acids, and that makes it a better delivery system for cannabinoids, unlike coconut oil. For this sun lotion bar, the cocoa butter is awesome, but for most of the lotion bars I make I usually select murumuru or tucuma paired with mango seed butter. Because cocoa butter has its’ own scent that has limited compatibility in terms of scents it pairs with, these other hard butters perform well as solids and are virtually free of scent.

    Also, homemade lotions should never be left out of refrigeration if they do not have a preservative. I can’t use preservatives so all of my lotion recipes are preservative-free and I keep them refrigerated.

    Lotion bars and balms that don’t contain any water (just fats and oils) have a decent shelf-life of at least a couple of months. Yes a hot car may cut that short and turn it bad rather quickly.

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