Why buy : Plant People makes an outstanding CBD balm, which is formulated with full spectrum CBD to soothe aches and pains. It’s also also non-GMO, USDA organic, and gluten-free, and made to help with sore knuckles, muscles, and knees. Good for addressing stiffness and swelling, it can also be a good topical remedy for athletic sprains and bruises thanks to botanicals like peppermint, camphor, and California poppy.
Topical CBD creams may be used alone or with other modalities such as heat or ice to add further relief from tough muscle pain, sports injuries, and muscle tension issues. They can potentially help relieve soreness and muscle pain while also promoting a sense of calm and relaxation. Use our guide to help make sure that you find the best CBD cream or lotion for you.
Best CBD Roll-On: cbdMD Freeze Roller
Each product featured here has been independently selected by the writer. You can learn more about our review methodology here. If you make a purchase using the links included, we may earn commission.
Why buy — CBDistillery makes all of its products using natural, eco-friendly farming practices and American-grown hemp. This non-greasy CBD balm formula includes shea butter, coconut oil, beeswax, and natural botanicals to make it easy to apply and fast to absorb. We recommend this CBD balm for to help revive and soothe muscles after exercise or strenuous physical activity.
Why buy — cbdMD’s CBD Freeze roller uses a broad spectrum CBD that includes other beneficial cannabinoids like CBC, CBG, CBN, and terpenes, but without THC. It also includes menthol for a natural cooling sensation, and the non-greasy roller makes it easy to apply. We like this CBD roller because it is great for travel or the gym and may help temporarily relieve sore muscles and joints.
Independent third-party lab test results are a must for any CBD cream you plan on trying. These let you know that the product is free from potentially harmful compounds or toxins and that it contains the advertised concentration of cannabinoids.
Now this is where we change course. Serious athletes and people suffering from chronic pain will benefit from this lotion. And yes, it’s in a jar but it rubs on like an incredibly light lotion—not at all like a heavy body butter. The main difference is that it contains both THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) in addition to CBD. And that’s a good thing. Both cannabinoids work synergistically together: THC will open up your receptors, enabling your body to absorb and metabolize more CBD. Beyond that, Glow is applied somewhat differently than the rest of the products on this list. Apply a minuscule amount to your pulse points, the insides of your elbows, and the backs of your knees—areas where the skin is at its thinnest. The reasoning: Because of its formula and consistency, your body will absorb the product so that it reaches your bloodstream—unlike many other topicals.
This high–dose balm seems to be a crowd favorite, certainly in my household. The jar itself contains two ounces of product. It doesn’t seem like much—But because the consistency of the cream is particularly smooth and spreadable, it glides easily onto the skin and covers more real estate. In terms of relief, you can expect gradual relaxation of the muscles—especially if you’re prone to spasms or simply incredibly tight.
I’m no spring chicken and the occasional bout of soreness is now a fact of life.
BASKIN GLOW (50MG THC + 500MG CBD; $80)
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.
“I have treated many patients with chronic conditions with full spectrum CBD and attained great results,” Dr. Amin says. “I also believe the public needs to understand that CBD works in conjunction with THC. Usually this requires at least 3–5% THC to work for serious forms of pain and more chronic medical conditions. I have patients come in with chronic and severe pain expecting to have their pain alleviated with just CBD. Although CBD works well for pain, in many situations patients with severe pain need to have some THC. [The cannabinoids] work synergistically to help ease severe pain.”
“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.”
Unlike Wildflower, Populum comes in gel form. Also: It’s artic. Kind of like a more aggressive Vick’s Vaporub—so much so that you will definitely need to wash your hands after application. (The last thing you need is to accidentally rub your eyes with that stuff still on your digits.) But it’s effective—despite its relatively low dose of CBD. And a little goes a long way. Use it for minor aches and inconveniences—like when you find yourself stiff because you’ve been sitting on your far-from-ergonomic work chair most of the day. And if you find yourself really hurting, I recommend using a topical that contains both THC and CBD. (More on that below.)
Bioavailability. You get to bypass your GI system with topicals, increasing its bioavailability
Stores. CBD is getting easy to find in supplement stores, apothecaries, health food shops, and even some grocery stores. Head shops sometimes stock CBD too.
Benefits of CBD creams and topicals
The hemp source is critical when buying a CBD cream. Hemp can be grown in many places throughout the world, but unless it is grown locally to where it is processed, the company cannot control much about the farming. Look for US-grown hemp which is carefully regulated.
Human skin contains both cannabinoid receptors, CB1 and CB2. CB1 regulates pain, signaling to the nervous system. A portion of the immune system and its CB2 receptors is also found in the skin where CBD may interact with it to regulate inflammation and pain.
Check out Elixinol’s entire like of CBD creams and topicals.