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Why We Don't Make Cannabis Soap

Errol DavisComment

Recreational cannabis just became legal in Canada, and it has been legal in Oregon and California (our two home states) for some time. Currently, topical formulations containing cannabis are hugely popular. Such products, especially those containing CBD, have been shown to soothe arthritis symptoms and chronic pain, and they may help improve a variety of skin conditions.

So why don’t we make cannabis soap? For one, it seems like a waste of good cannabis! When you use soap, the lather only sits on your skin for a few moments before it is washed off, so there isn’t a lot of time for the active ingredients to work. A topical product that remains on your skin, such as a lotion, balm, or infused oil, would be a lot more effective. For another, there is still a lot of legal gray area surrounding products containing THC and CBD, and we don’t really want to deal with the hassle of figuring out which states we can ship to, and whether or not we may be breaking any laws. And finally, for a small manufacturer, it is simply more effective to concentrate on a few products that we do well rather than trying to capitalize on every trend.

That said, cannabis soap is still an interesting topic, and I’m going to explore a few of the questions people are asking about it on the Internet.

How do you use cannabis soap?

You use cannabis soap just like regular soap. Rub it on your body. Lather. Rinse. Repeat if necessary.

Does cannabis soap get you high?

No. A lot of research and personal accounts say that even lotions and creams containing THC don’t get you high. The substance acts on the cannabaniod receptors in the skin or near where it is applied, but it probably doesn’t make it as far as the brain, which is why you won’t feel any psychoactive effects. That, and as already mentioned, the lather only sits on your skin for a minute or two, so you probably don’t absorb much of the THC or CBD.

What does cannabis soap do?

Cannabis soap cleans you just like regular old soap. It may be a bit more soothing to people with severe skin conditions or illnesses that make them extremely sensitive to synthetic compounds. I have to point out here, that another prominent article on cannabis soap states that the lye in the soap is what breaks down the dirt and oils on your skin. No. No. No. No. If that were the case, it would break down your skin as well. If you make soap properly, no lye remains in the finished bar. You start with lye and oil, and they undergo a chemical reaction that makes glycerol and fatty acid salt, aka “soap.”

What is cannabis soap good for?

Cannabis topicals, in general, are good for pain, such as muscle aches and arthritis, inflammation, and skin conditions, such as acne and eczema. Cannabis soap, in particular, good for people that love cannabis so much they want to rub it on their bodies at every possible opportunity. Listen, I’m not judging here. This is largely the reason we made a coffee soap once upon a time. And finally, I think a good case could be made for a cannabis shaving soap. Shaving soap tends to sit on your skin a bit longer than non-shaving soap, so it seems like you’d get the chance to absorb more THC or CBD. The process of shaving, by its nature, also produces irritation, which the cannabis would presumably soothe.

Is cannabis soap legal?

This is a complicated question. If you live in a state (or country!) where medical and/or recreational cannabis is legal, then yes, of course it is as per the specific regulations, such as the amount you possess and whether or not you need a medical card. If cannabis is not yet legal in your particular location, and if your soap contains THC, then it is probably not legal. CBD soap may also be illegal in these locations, and it may also be illegal to ship across state lines. Some people in the CBD industry claim that the 2014 Farm Bill legalized CBD products, and there is also the belief that CBD is legal if it comes from industrial hemp production. However, at the time of writing this article, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency still lists CBD as illegal. So we recommend doing research for your particular locality or waiting to see how this issue is decided in the near future.

How do you make cannabis soap?

Making cannabis soap is a lot like making non-cannabis soap. If you have no soapmaking experience, there are melt-and-pour soapmaking kits that are pretty fool-proof. If you were using one of these, you would just add some cannabis oil into the mix. If you want a more technical challenge, I can talk about how we “would” make cannabis soap. Sort of like when O.J. Simpson came out with the book “if” he did it. Kidding. First you can check out the article I wrote describing our soapmaking process in detail. So, we would follow basically the same procedure, except near the end we would add a THC/CBD extract, at the same time we would be adding the fragrance. In this way, a minimal amount of the active cannabis ingredients would be destroyed in the chemical reaction between the lye and the oil. We would also have to account for the extract as part of the total oil content and adjust our recipe accordingly.

So would we make a cannabis soap???

I can say, at this point, it’s not totally out of the question. Currently, we have a bunch of other projects to get to first, and we would probably start with a salve of some kind. But, you know, never say never.