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* I’ve updated this recipe from last year with a main option and an additional option for preparing this salve. Thanks for all of the feedback, I’m glad you like it!
One of the things you might have to endure if you are an autoimmune, AIDS, organ transplant, cancer or other kind of immune-compromised patient is the ever-looming specter of shingles coming to life. And in fact, shingles is exactly like a zombie. It lives in your dorsal root forever if you’ve ever had chicken pox. Which, if you are human, you’ve probably had chicken pox. Not everyone will get shingles in their lifetime but a lot of people do! Interestingly enough, the dorsal root is also part of the endocannabinoid system in the body. And as we know, cannabis is great for neuropathic pain.
Shingles is such a painful illness that the primary recommended treatments for it are opiate-based painkillers and anti-viral medication. And no, this isn’t a minor-surgery type of pain regime, it’s weeks long. And the nerve damage from shingles can get severe enough to last beyond the illness itself or even for a lifetime. It’s scary.
I made a cannabis salve during my bout with shingles and I found this to be very helpful in dealing with the itching and the unique type of pain, that frankly, I had not experienced before even with my multiple autoimmune disorders.
One thing about shingles: you probably aren’t going to feel like going out and shopping for ingredients or waiting for an online order to arrive and that is exactly the way I felt! This cannabis salve recipe uses common ingredients that you can quickly source in your cabinet or the corner store.
Cannabis Salve for Neuropathic Pain
3/4 cup of olive oil (The higher the quality, the better, but whatever you have at hand will work fine too.)
7 bags of plain chamomile tea (or 5-7 tsp) that has no other teas, herbs or flavors added
1 gram of ground cannabis flower or more
2 tsp of powdered turmeric
1/4 tsp of powdered cayenne pepper
2 cups of water
An optional 3 – 5 drops of lavender oil if you have it available!
Put the herbs, olive oil, water in a pan an simmer on low on the stove for 2 hours. (Alternatively, if you want something faster, omit the water and put the oil and herbs in a covered baking pan and bake in a preheated oven at 250 degrees for 30 minutes and allow to completely cool before using. You may strain the herbs from the oil after cooling and set them aside to use underneath a wrap on the places that you have the most irritation on your body. Transfer the oil to a glass jar and add lavender oil if you desire.)
Allow this to cool and then strain the liquid through a fine mesh strainer or cheesecloth. When the oil has completely separated from the water, use a turkey baster or syringe to pull the oil from the top of the water and transfer into a glass storage jar. Add the lavender oil if you wish! Immediately place the jar in the freezer and allow the oil to become a hardened salve. This should take about an hour.
Apply the cold salve to affected areas and massage in. Be sure to wash your hands afterwards as the cayenne pepper can be painful if you get it into your eyes! You will initially feel a warming sensation after applying the cold salve which will subside into relief from pain in the affected area.
My Refrigerated Olive Oil Technique
I talk about this simple technique in my book and recommend it in many of my topical cannabis recipes. Pure olive oil salve or ointment that is solidified in the freezer or refrigerator has a more soothing and fast-absorbing quality than the liquid oil at room temperature IMO. Try it! I discuss this in detail along with many recipes and techniques using basic kitchen ingredients in the Quick Start Chapter of the new edition of my book, The Cannabis Spa Book, coming from Skyhorse Publishing in 2015!