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Leslie Clary

The hot days of summer are the perfect time to make a cannabis solar infusion, and a great way to use up any leftover shake you have sitting around.

Solar infusions are old folk remedies that make use of the sun’s radiation to cook potent brews of oil, called a carrier oil, infused with medicinal herbs. Herbal-infused oil can be used for many things, including cooking, but are mostly commonly used in topical treatments and make excellent massage oils. Herbs can work as natural preservatives and add their own healing properties to the mix.

Solar infusions are not hard to make, but they do take time. Sun magic doesn’t happen overnight. 

First, choose a carrier oil. Olive oil is wonderfully healing and has three major antioxidants: vitamin E, polyphenois and phytosterois. It makes a great base for any healing oil or salve. Avocado is another luxuriant, rich oil that is great for the skin. Apricot kernel oil is a favorite among many massage therapists for its light, non-oily application. 

Some people also use animal fats. For example, emu oil has been gaining popularity in canna-lotions. Personally, I have problems putting dead animal oil on my skin, but emu oil is supposed to have many positive benefits — so if it doesn’t conflict with your personal ethics, it might be worth trying.

Second, loosely fill a large glass jar about two-thirds full with dried or fresh cannabis. You might want to add other herbs as well, such as rosemary, calendula or lavender. Some people prefer to make single-herb infusions and then mix the oils. Others like the mystery of tossing in a mixture of medicinal herbs and then see what transpires. 

Pour in enough oil to cover the herbs, cover tightly and place it in a sunny spot either in your yard or on a windowsill. You can gently shake the herbs every day, pray over them, chant, sing or just let them brew.

After three weeks, strain the mixture through cheesecloth and discard the herbs. You can either bottle the oil up or add a fresh bunch of herbs and repeat the process until your oil reaches the strength you desire. 

This infusion makes great massage oil on its own. It can also be mixed with other oils to achieve different consistencies. A few drops of your favorite essential oil will enhance the fragrance. It also makes a great base for healing salves, lotions or soaps.

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