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The 7 Best CBD Creams and Lotions for Pain, According to Experts

Learn more about the top CBD cream brands and get tips for using CBD topicals for pain relief.
Each product we feature has been independently selected and reviewed by our editorial team. If you make a purchase using the links included, we may earn commission.

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Our top CBD creams for pain at a glance:

  • Best CBD creams with THC: Spruce, Cornbread Hemp, R+R Medicinals
  • Best THC-free CBD creams: Medterra, CBDistillery
  • Best CBD creams for recovery: CBDMedic, Plant People

Pain is a universal experience, one many people are all too familiar with. The search for pain relief is one reason why cannabidiol (CBD), a non-psychoactive herbal remedy, is quickly gaining popularity. But with so many options on the market it can be hard to find a quality CBD topical for pain.  

In this article, we'll look at the best CBD creams for pain, which have been medically reviewed by Ashley Jordan Ferira, PhD, RDN.

Our favorite topical CBD products include soothing creams, balms, salves, and lotions, all of which are made from American-grown hemp and have been independently tested by third-party labs for quality and safety purposes.

Here are the CBD topical brands we chose:

  • Strongest CBD Cream: Spruce
  • Best Organic: Cornbread Hemp
  • Best for Sensitive Skin: R+R Medicinals
  • Best THC-Free: Medterra
  • Best for Back and Neck Pain: CBDMedic
  • Best for Recovery: Plant People
  • Best Cool Therapy: CBDistillery

These are the factors factors we used to compare and rank the CBD creams and lotions on this list:

  • Strength/potency
  • Type of hemp extract
  • Hemp source
  • Price
  • Independent lab testing
  • Extraction method
  • Brand reputation and reviews

Complete reviews of our top picks

Let's dive into our top product recommendations for the best CBD creams for pain. Continue on to learn more about using CBD lotions and balms and selecting the right product for you.

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Credit: takespruce.com

Strongest CBD Cream: Spruce Full-Spectrum Topical CBD Salve

Buy It

  • Type of CBD: Full-Spectrum
  • Strength: 1000 or 2000 milligrams of CBD
  • Price: $$
  • COA: Available online
  • Botanicals: Olive Oil, Shea Butter, Beeswax
  • Customer review: "The first time I rubbed this into my sore spots the pain disappeared. Nothing over the counter has worked as quickly or effectively. [...] a little goes a long way and the effects are long lasting."

Spruce hemp extract CBD cream is designed to help deal with muscle and joint pain with 1000 and 2000 milligram options. If you want a CBD cream for back pain, this may be a good hemp cream to try. Users report that a little goes a long way with this potent CBD cream.

Best Organic: Cornbread Hemp CBD Lotion + Menthol

Buy It, $50

  • Type of CBD: Full-spectrum
  • Strength: 500 milligrams of CBD in 2 ounce container
  • Price: $$$
  • COA: Available online
  • Botanicals: Menthol, Lemongrass, Eucalyptus
  • Customer review: "I have tried a variety of CBD balms and this is by far the best I have ever used. It makes an immediate difference and is not greasy, which is a huge plus."

Cornbread Hemp CBD Lotion + Menthol is made using a unique flower-only hemp extract that leaves out the stems, leaves, and stalks for a purer and more potent CBD formula. It's USDA organic and contains organic menthol, lemongrass, and eucalyptus for naturally cooling relief that users say is fast acting with no oily residue. Plus, it's free from parabens and preservatives. 

Best for Sensitive Skin: R+R Medicinals CBD Cream

Buy It, $43

  • Type of CBD: Full-spectrum
  • Strength: 1000 milligrams CBD in 2.5 ounce tube
  • Price: $
  • COA: Available online
  • Botanicals: MSM, Arnica Montana, Calendula Flower, Jojoba
  • Customer review: "Quick shipping and quality product—I have very sensitive skin and needed a topical product that wouldn't irritate my skin. The CBD cream has helped to relieve arthritis-related pain."

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 four milligrams of secondary cannabinoids like CBC, CBN, CBG, and THC per quarter sized amount for potent relief.

Best THC Free: Medterra CBD Pain Relief Cream

Buy It, $55

  • Type of CBD: CBD isolate
  • Strength: 500 or 1000 milligrams of CBD in a 1.7 ounce pump
  • Price: $$
  • COA: Available online
  • Botanicals: Arnica Montana, Menthol, Aloe Vera, Coconut Oil
  • Customer review: "I tried Medterra pain relief cream and it works! The cream goes a long way, is very smooth going on, and is almost immediately absorbed into the skin."

Medterra Pain Relief Cream is formulated with soothing natural ingredients to help alleviate pain sensations. Every Medterra product has a detailed third-party lab report available that breaks down cannabinoid and terpene content, as well as pesticide and heavy-metal testing. This is a great CBD lotion to try if you want to avoid THC, since it's made with CBD isolate. 

Best for Back and Neck Pain: CBDMedic Back & Neck Pain Relief Ointment

Buy It, $30
  • Type of CBD: Broad-spectrum
  • Strength: 200 milligrams of CBD in 1.4 ounce tube
  • Price: $$$$
  • COA: Available online
  • Botanicals: Menthol, Camphor, Argan Oil, Coconut Oil (MCT oil), Cottonseed Oil, Frankincense Oil, Honeysuckle Oil, Jojoba Seed Oil, Myrrh Oil
  • Customer review: "This has helped my neck and back pain tremendously. [...] You only need a small amount of this cream [...] it absorbs well, and I love the smell."

This CBDMedic ointment (which is now part of Charlotte's Web lineup) is formulated with 200 milligrams of THC-free CBD, plus camphor and menthol to deliver targeted pain relief. It also includes essential oils like clove, cottonseed, jojoba seed, eucalyptus, peppermint, and tea tree to help soothe sore muscles and strains in your upper and lower back, shoulders, and neck.

Best for Recovery: Plant People Soothe+ Balm

Buy It, $49

  • Type of CBD: Full-spectrum
  • Strength: 515 milligrams of CBD in a 2 ounce container
  • Price: $$$
  • COA: Available online
  • Botanicals: Arnica, California Poppy, Indian Peppermint
  • Customer review: "This is a great product! Helpful for aches and pains. Doesn't take a lot to be effective. Highly recommend."

Plant People Soothe+ Balm topical is made with full-spectrum hemp extract that includes minor cannabinoids, including cannabichromene (CBC) and cannabigerol (CBG). This CBD balm is also organic, lab-tested, non-GMO, and gluten free. Customers report that it helps with aches and pains and that they love the scent.

Best Cool Therapy: CBDistillery Cooling Cream

Buy It, $35

  • Type of CBD: Broad-spectrum
  • Strength: 300 milligrams of CBD in a 1.7 ounce bottle
  • Price: $$$$
  • COA: Available online
  • Botanicals: Menthol, Sunflower Seed Oil, Aloe Vera, Shea Butter, Coconut Oil
  • Customer review: "I use it in the morning and after workouts. Works great and it doesn't have the strong after smell that other cooling creams have."

This pain relief cream combines broad-spectrum CBD extract and other natural ingredients to promote joint support and reduce inflammation. Each bottle is made from Colorado-grown hemp plant extract and is THC-free. Some customers find that it can help relieve shoulder and muscle soreness, and that it offers a nice cooling effect.

Methodology

Here are the most important considerations when comparing topicals like a CBD pain cream. We chose the brands on our list using these factors:

Type of hemp extract

Always look to see what type of hemp extract a product contains, especially if you're concerned about THC content. We included products on our list with all three types of CBD extract: full-spectrum (whole hemp plant extract, contains no more than 0.3% THC); broad-spectrum extract (full spectrum of cannabinoids minus THC); CBD isolate (just CBD).

Strength

No clinical consensus exists yet to inform dosing, as it depends on your personal needs and pain response. CBD topical products are typically measured in milligrams of CBD per ounce. Make sure you know how much CBD is in the product, and how much is recommended for a single application.

Price

To compare CBD cream prices, we divided the cost by the total amount of CBD in each container or tube to find the cost per milligram of CBD. The brands were then labeled using the following ranges:

$ = Under $0.05 per milligram of CBD
$$ = Between $0.06 and $0.09 per milligram of CBD
$$$ = Between $0.10 and $0.12 per milligram of CBD
$$$$ = Over $0.12 per milligram of CBD

Hemp source

We recommend brands that make products from US-grown hemp. Look for products that use organic or naturally grown hemp extracts.

Independent lab testing

Only use CBD products that are third-party lab tested for safety and quality with the test results easily accessible online or on the product packaging.

Extraction method

CO2 and ethanol extraction are considered the industry standards for safety and efficacy. We tend to prioritize brands that use CO2 extraction.

Brand reputation and reviews

Check out CBD brand reviews for specifics. Brand longevity and size can be relevant, but some newer, smaller brands are serious about quality, too.

Can CBD cream actually help with pain?

As it turns out, topical CBD products may offer some anti-inflammatory properties to help alleviate pain through cannabinoid receptors within the skin. These receptors are a part of the body's endocannabinoid system, or ECS, that governs functions such as our ability to process pain, as well as inflammation, mood, and sleep. The cannabis plant contains phytocannabinoids like CBD that interact with our ECS, which is why hemp has therapeutic properties

CBD has been shown in clinical studies to help with pain-specific medical conditions including chronic painperipheral neuropathypain and inflammationarthritis pain, and myofascial pain. Cannabinoids can also help improve pain in patients receiving palliative care. A 2020 cross-sectional study found that nearly 25% of outpatient palliative care patients use CBD, with topical application being the most common form used.

How to use CBD lotions and topicals

Since CBD topicals work on localized pain, the first step is to identify your problem area(s). You'll then want to carefully clean and dry the area before applying a small amount of the topical on your skin to start.

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.

Do topical CBD products have side effects?

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. 

  • Broken skin: Be sure you read the product label thoroughly as not all CBD topicals are designed to be used on broken skin.
  • Carrier oils: If you have sensitive skin, allergies, or your skin is prone to irritation, be sure to check the label to see what kind of carrier oil your product contains.
  • Facial application: Most CBD topicals formulated for pain relief are designed to be used on the body and not for facial application. Some brands will call this out explicitly.

Is CBD cream right for you?

CBD topicals are a great herbal strategy to help with localized aches and pains, and they are generally considered safe to use. However, the FDA has yet to evaluate mainstream CBD skincare products, which is why you should always do your research and aim to purchase from high-quality companies. If you or your loved one are seeking the best CBD cream for pain, our recommendations are a great place to start.

This article has been medically reviewed by Ashley Jordan Ferira, PhD, RDN, the Senior Editor of Health & Wellness Strategy at Remedy Review, an independent CBD reviews site. Dr. Ferira completed her PhD in Foods & Nutrition at The University of Georgia, where she researched the role of vitamin D in pediatric cardiometabolic disease. The products featured in this article were tested at ProVerde Laboratories in Milford, MA and Avazyme, Inc. in Durham, NC.

This content is for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice; it is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of a physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition and before consuming or using any of the products mentioned on this site.

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