A recipe for aging gracefully with cannabis

Published on March 3, 2022 by Darcy Nybo

Photo: Darcy Nybo
Jars of homemade salve are neatly arranged.

Way back in the 20th century, I smoked pot now and then. I didn’t like the fog that enveloped me, and while the giggles were fun, it didn’t appeal much to me. Now, here I am, in the 21st century and I am grateful for all that this wonderful little plant supplies.

A decade ago perimenopause set in. For those of you unfamiliar with it, it’s a stage in a woman’s life when nouns disappear and are replaced by adjectives and adverbs. Fortunately for me, my daughter understood what I was saying when I would ask her to bring me the whatchamacallit from on top of the thingamajig next to the whatsit. I am still to this day grateful for her intuitive descrambling of my words.

Also at this time of life, night sweats start. For those of you unfamiliar with them, it’s when you are sleeping soundly, minding your own business, and your hormones decide to play teeter-totter and mess with your internal thermostat. You get to go from normal to burning up and sweating like you’re on a humid beach near the equator in three seconds flat.

Fortunately, by the time menopause turns into post menopause, you get your nouns back; however, it’s also when hot flashes and mood swings really ramp up. If you’re like over 60% of women on the planet, you also get insomnia. Some women never get to this stage, but if this describes you or someone you know, relief is in sight. That relief is good old cannabis in all its glorious forms.

A few years ago, just before legalization, at the urgings of a friend, I ended up in a doctor’s office getting a prescription for CBD and THC oil. The first time I took the 5:20 (5mg THC to 20mg CBD), I took it about 90 minutes before bedtime. Sixty minutes later I was so relaxed.

Thirty minutes later I was sound asleep and didn’t wake up until morning.

It was amazing to wake up and feel refreshed! I also noticed my hot flash-es were less and my night sweats came maybe once a night instead of five times a night. Once I find a good thing I research the heck out of it and get as much out of it as I can. Thus began my journey from hesitant medical cannabis user to grower, recipe creator, and spreader of good news.

There are a few things to note about edibles and pot if you are a woman of a certain age. First of all, pot brownies are great; however, the chocolate in them ups your chances of hot flashes and night sweats. My advice is, find something else to bake with that has less sugar and no chocolate. I recommended sugar-free cookies.

Cannabis salve to ease the pain

I’ve suffered from headaches and neck pain for many, many years thanks to a couple of car accidents and the dreaded sitting at the computer all day. I wanted something to take down the inflammation and in turn, take away the pain. I found several recipes online for cannabis salves and immediately went out and bought the “Magical Butter” machine.

My first batch was quite basic. Lots of buds and leaves (use as much of the plant as possible), coconut oil, Shea butter, beeswax and a little essential oil.

It worked, but not quite as well as I wanted. I did more research, as well as using some of my own knowledge about plants that have healing properties.

My second batch included other natural anti-inflammatories, including rosemary and comfrey (also known as bone knit). It worked better, but still only gave minor relief. I wanted more.

On a return visit to the pot doc I talked to the nurse there and she told me I need-ed a carrier in order to get past the skin layer. She recommended Voltarin, even the over-the-counter type. So off I went to happily research more about herbs and pain relief.

Batch three was the winner! I added in a small amount of Voltarin and some Traumeel (about 1 tsp. each). I also put in some olive oil to make it smoother.

Then I tossed in small amounts of other anti-inflammatory and healing herbs, like the rosemary, thyme, bee balm, calendula, the above-mentioned salves and a few drops of frankincense, myrrh, peppermint and geranium essential oils.

You don’t need a high THC count in your plants to make the salves. In fact, I found the closer the balance (THC to CBD) the better the results. Save your high THC Kush for other things.

I have injured myself a few times since I discovered the healing properties of salves made with cannabis. Every time, whether it be a simple strain, or a torn bursa, the salves have made the healing process less painful.

As for the relief from menopause symptoms, I still take the 5:20 oils. I do go off them every few months (as recommended by the doctor) in order to reduce my need to take increasingly larger doses.

It’s important to note products made with cannabis do not cure everything, nor do they miraculously heal things. They do, however, make the whole process of being an older woman, much easier to deal with.

The recipe is below.


This feature appeared in the oz. print magazine, which was available in hundreds of Canadian cannabis stores across five provinces in Canada.


Darcy’s Cannabis Salve for Pain Relief


• 10 g of cannabis (torn to fairy small pieces. Do NOT grind). If your cannabis is not decarbed, you can still use dried cannabis. Both types* will work.

• 5 g of dried comfrey

• 1 g of rosemary

• 1 g thyme

• 1 g calendula

• 1 g bee balm

• 1 g holy basil

• 2 g dried peppermint leaves.

• 350 ml of organic coconut oil

• 30 ml shea butter

• 60 ml organic olive oil (optional – makes it smoother, but then requires more bees’ wax to set)

• 2 – 3 drops each of frankincense, myrrh, peppermint, and geranium essential oils**

• 20 g of Arnica (can use Traumeel)

• 20 g of Voltaren Emulgel ***

• 40 – 50 g of bees’ wax (can use soy wax as well)


Add all dried ingredients to a double boiler or a Magical Butter machine at set to 72°C (160°F) for two hours.

Add in coconut oil, shea butter and olive oil.

If using double boiler or a crock pot, do not go over 175°C (325°F) or the coconut oil will smoke. Lower temperature for longer periods work best (72°C or 160°F). Stir regularly every 5 – 10 minutes for one to two hours.

Once the cannabis and other dry ingredients have been exposed to the oil for two hours at 72°C (160°F), it’s time to strain it into a large mixing bowl.

While it’s straining, add bees wax to a double boiler, or melt slowly in the micro wave.

Once the cannabis oil is finished straining, slowly add half the bees’ wax. Then add the essential oils, arnica and Voltaren Emulgel. Use a whisk to ensure it gets distributed evenly.

Slowly add the rest of the bees’ wax, testing it every few additions to see if it starts to harden. Dip a teaspoon into the mixture, set it aside and if it starts to harden within 30 – 45 seconds it may be the right consistency. If it doesn’t start to harden, add more bees’ wax until it does.

Pour into containers. You can use glass or plastic, and make sure you store it in a cool, dark place.

Voila – homemade cannabis salve that smells good and works great!

Photo: Darcy Nybo


*Decarboxylated cannabis has higher levels of THC and CBD which are anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial, high in antioxidants, relieve pain, relax muscles, and suppress tumour growth. Raw or dried cannabis has higher levels of THCA and CBDA. THCA is great for reduce inflammation, muscle spasms, and arthritis. CBDA is also great for reducing inflammation. Both THCA and CBDA have been shown to suppress tumour growth.

**Essential oils are highly concentrated and if you use too much, they can burn the skin. Use sparingly.

***Voltaren is a medical, over the counter, ingredient and belongs to a class of drugs called Nonsteroidal Anti-inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs). Some people react badly to it. Even if you’ve used the product before you should not apply this salve for more than 21 days straight. Consult your doctor before using any type of topical, home-made or manufactured.

About the author

Darcy Nybo is an experienced writer, editor and publisher based in BC. Reach her at [email protected]