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

Plus, important considerations when choosing and using CBD topicals.
By Janelle Lassalle
Updated May 28, 2021
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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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.

Our top 7 CBD creams for pain at a glance:

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.

What to look for in a CBD topical

These are some of the most important considerations when selecting most CBD oil products, including topicals like a CBD pain cream.

  • Quality control: A brand should display recent third-party lab testing results.
  • Hemp source: We recommend you buy brands that make products from US-grown hemp.
  • Extraction method: CO2 and ethanol extraction methods are considered robust.
  • Brand reputation: Check out CBD brand reviews for specifics. Brand longevity and size can be relevant, but some newer, smaller brands are serious about quality, too.
  • Strength/potency: No clinical consensus exists yet to inform dosing, as it depends on your personal needs and pain response. Hemp oil topical products vary in CBD milligrams per ounce.
  • Type of hemp 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).

The best 7 CBD creams for pain

Now that we've explored the background on CBD topicals and how they might aid in pain management, let's dive into our top five product recommendations for the best CBD cream for pain. Continue on to learn more about CBD cream usage and selecting the product right for you.

Strongest CBD Cream: Spruce Full Spectrum Topical CBD Salve

Spruce has tight control and full visibility of its CBD product manufacturing process from the hemp farm to the shelf, and its hemp extracts are designed to deal with muscle and joint pain. If you want a CBD cream for back pain this may be a good hemp cream to try. Its branding is also clean and minimalistic, making the facts easy to find.

  • CBD: Full Spectrum
  • Strength: 1000 mg CBD in 0.87 oz. jar or 2000 mg CBD in 1.7 oz. jar 
  • Botanicals: Olive Oil, Shea Butter, Beeswax

To buy: 1000 mg CBD Salve; takespruce.com

Strongest CBD Cream
Spruce Full Spectrum Topical CBD Salve
$89
SHOP IT
takespruce.com

Best Organic CBD Cream: Cornbread Hemp CBD Lotion + Menthol

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. It's USDA orgranic and contains organic menthol, lemongrass, and eucalyptus for naturally cooling relief with no oily residue. Plus, it's free from parabens and preservatives.

  • CBD: Full Spectrum
  • Strength: 500 mg CBD in 2 oz. container
  • Botanicals: Menthol, Lemongrass, Eucalyptus

To buy: 500 mg CBD Lotion; cornbreadhemp.com

Best Organic
Cornbread Hemp CBD Lotion + Menthol
$50
SHOP IT
cornbreadhemp.com

Best for Sensitive Skin: R+R Medicinals CBD Cream

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.

  • CBD: Full Spectrum
  • Strength: 1000 mg CBD in 2.5 oz. tube
  • Botanicals: MSM, Arnica Montana, Calendula Flower, Jojoba

To buy: 1000 mg CBD Cream; rrmeds.com

Best for Sensitive Skin
R+R Medicinals CBD Cream
$40
SHOP IT
rrmeds.com

Best THC Free: Medterra CBD Pain Relief Cream

Medterra goes above and beyond when it comes to quality standards and transparency. It follows cGMPs for topical manufacturing, and its products are formulated with soothing natural ingredients to 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.

  • CBD: Broad Spectrum
  • Strength: 500 mg or 1,000 mg of CBD in a 1.7 oz. pump
  • Botanicals: Arnica Montana, Menthol, Aloe Vera, Coconut Oil

To buy: Medterra CBD Pain Cream; medterracbd.com

Best THC Free
Medterra CBD Pain Relief Cream
$55
SHOP IT
medterracbd.com

Best Topical for Recovery: Plant People Soothe+ Balm

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.

  • CBD: Full Spectrum
  • Strength: 515 mg of CBD in a 2 oz. container
  • Botanicals: Arnica, California Poppy, Indian Peppermint

To buy: Plant People Soothe+ Balm; plantpeople.co

Best Topical for Recovery
Plant People Soothe+ Balm
$49
SHOP IT
plantpeople.co

Best Cool Therapy: CBDistillery Cooling Cream

This pain relief cream expertly combines broad spectrum CBD extract and other beneficial ingredients to promote joint support and reduce inflammation. Each bottle is made from Colorado-grown hemp plant extract, and this cream is also completely THC-free. All CBDistillery products are fully lab tested and made in America, so you can trust that its products are of the highest quality. CBD cream reviews usually include CBDistillery because of the value the brand offers. The brand also makes one of the best CBD oils.

  • CBD: Broad Spectrum
  • Strength: 300 mg of CBD in a 1.7 fl.oz. bottle 
  • Botanicals: Menthol, Sunflower Seed Oil, Aloe Vera, Shea Butter, Coconut Oil

To buy: 300mg CBDistillery Cooling Cream; thecbdistillery.com

Best Cool Therapy
CBDistillery Cooling Cream
$25
SHOP IT
thecbdistillery.com

Best Full Spectrum: FAB CBD Topical CBD Cream

FAB is devoted to providing people with the best quality CBD it can. All of FAB's CBD products are made from hemp organically grown in Colorado. FAB is community-oriented and regularly collaborates with charity partners. A full spectrum, or "whole plant," therapy may offer additional benefits when compared to other CBD topicals for pain.

  • CBD: Full Spectrum
  • Strength: 600 mg of CBD in 2 oz. tub
  • Botanicals: Aloe Vera, Cocoa Butter, Coconut Oil, Olive Oil, Blood Orange Essential Oil

To buy: 600mg CBD Cream; fabcbd.com

Best Full Spectrum
FAB CBD Topical CBD Cream
$49
SHOP IT
fabcbd.com

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.

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