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popular cbd topicals

Available in multiple sizes for your varied needs, this Muscle and Joint Relief CBD Cream is an excellent option to soothe tired and sore bodies. A customer-favorite, this CBD cream has an easy-to-use pump bottle, allowing you to apply it easily and without having to contaminate the tub of product with your fingers.

Contrary to popular belief, even though CBD is derived from hemp and cannabis plants, CBD topicals won’t get you high . They are extremely unlikely to appear on drug tests, as standard tests only monitor for THC, not CBD, and trace amounts are unlikely to be detected.

To use, apply a small amount to the targeted area and massage slowly until the product is absorbed into the skin. Re-apply as needed.

How to Buy Topicals

The question of psychoactivity is an important one where cannabis products are concerned. CBD creams and topicals are made from legal industrial hemp. According to US law, only hemp containing 0.3% THC may be grown legally. This level of THC (a trace amount), is too low to have mind-altering effects on the user.

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Well, the answer depends on your needs and what you hope to get out of your CBD usage.

With CBD topicals, patience is a virtue and consistency is key. Since this is a topical product, you can’t expect immediate results. Start with a small amount and be careful to not overdo it; wait one full hour before reapplying. Another consideration with CBD topicals is packaging: they often come in tubs with wide openings and are applied with your fingers and hands. To ensure that your product doesn’t become contaminated with each use be sure to wash your hands and skin before and after each application, or choose a product that comes in a pump bottle. Some products also come with spatulas that can be used for application and cleaned between uses.

Just know that topicals, unlike edibles, serve a different purpose: They’re primarily for targeted surface areas to address tension, spasms, and muscle pain because CBD applied to the skin doesn’t reach your bloodstream. Think of it as spot treating problematic areas. For instance, if your lower back is shot, apply your preferred product to that area only.

I’m no spring chicken and the occasional bout of soreness is now a fact of life.


“CBD is extremely anti-inflammatory and neuroprotective. A normal person may use it to prevent conditions such as arthritis or even topically to prevent acne breakouts,” Dr. Shivani Amin, a physician and cannabis expert who is a member of the AMMPA (American Medical Marijuana Physicians Association), says. “I think CBD shows great promise for the future. It all boils down to educating the public about the correct usage and understanding the plant better.”

So recovery is a big deal. And personally, I’m all about CBD (a.k.a cannabidiol)—the non-psychoactive compound in cannabis. It’s been having a moment these past few years, making appearances in all sorts of wellness and beauty products—from CBD edibles, to capsules, to transdermal patches, and beyond. But make no mistake. It’s not the passing health trend that activated charcoal and golden milk used to be.

One thing to note, though: Only buy from established brands from licensed dispensaries—not random bodegas, sketchy websites, so-called health food stores, or even Amazon. Always ask for COAs (Certificates of Analysis) to ensure that the topical actually contains the cannabinoids it claims to have. And have an open mind about using CBD topicals incorporated with THC—because those two cannabinoids combined are more effective when addressing inflammation, which is the primary cause of soreness and pain.

Cannabinoids have low skin permeability, so you can dose up and apply more of the topical based on how you feel. Spend some time really working it into your skin, massaging gently as you go. 

Once you've finished applying, you can wash your hands and wait. Most CBD lotions will take a few minutes before they kick in, but can peak one to two hours later. You may need to reapply a few times a day for full effect.

While this R+R Medicinals CBD Cream is strong on pain, with 1000 milligrams of full spectrum CBD, it's also gentle on skin. It does not contain any menthol, eucalyptus, dyes, or fragrances, making it a good option for those with sensitive skin. Instead, this CBD cream is made with MSM, Arnica Montana, Calendula Flower, and Jojoba, and is packed with over 4 milligrams of secondary cannabinoids like CBC, CBN, CBG, and THC per quarter sized amount for potent relief.

Best Full Spectrum: FAB CBD Topical CBD Cream

Plant People prides itself in selling high-quality hemp products, which are organic, lab-tested, non-GMO, and gluten free. The brand's Soothe+ Balm topical is made with full spectrum hemp extract that includes minor cannabinoids, including cannabichromene (CBC) and cannabigerol (CBG). Plant People is also a certified B Corp, making this a pain cream from a top-notch organization.

Available in 17 oz. pump bottle

While CBD is safe for use, there are a few caveats you'll want to keep in mind when incorporating a hemp topical into your pain-management regimen. 

Cream available in pump bottle