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 product. 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 they are:
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 pain, peripheral neuropathy, pain and inflammation, arthritis 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.
These are some of the most important considerations when selecting most CBD oil products, including topicals like a CBD pain cream.
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.
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. Its branding is also clean and minimalistic, making the facts easy to find.
This hemp cream is full-spectrum and contains other moisturizing ingredients like olive oil, shea butter, and coconut oil. The salve rubs in smoothly without leaving a shiny finish.
Customer review: “This topical CBD cream out performs any other OTC cream I have tried for arthritic pain. I would not only recommend the product, I also recommend Spruce CBD. They delivered a well packaged product on time with excellent communication along the way. Five stars for both the product and customer service from Spruce CBD!”
Strength: 1000 mg CBD in 0.87 oz. jar or 2000 mg CBD in 1.7 oz. jar
To buy: 1000mg CBD Salve, $89; takespruce.com
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. We really like the addition of blood orange essential oil in this topical, which makes it smell great. It’s a strong product at a good price point, and t applies smoothly with the addition of vitamin E and cocoa butter.
Customer review: “How did I live without this? This product is fabulous. I can walk the stairs, take long walks now and I feel great.”
Strength: 600 mg of CBD in 2 oz. tub
To buy: 600mg CBD Cream, $49; fabcbd.com
This pain relief cream expertly combines broad spectrum CBD extract and other beneficial ingredients to promote joint support and reduce inflammation. This topical cream incorporates menthol to create a soothing, cooling sensation that lasts for hours, among other skin-benefiting ingredients like sunflower seed oil and aloe vera leaf juice.
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.
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!”
Strength: 300 mg of CBD in a 1.7 fl.oz. bottle
To buy: 300mg CBDistillery Cooling Cream, $25; thecbdistillery.com
Plant People prides itself in selling high-quality hemp products, which are organic, lab-tested, non-GMO, and gluten free. The brand's Balm+ Relief topical ingredient list specifically calls out other cannabinoids present, including cannabichromene (CBC) and cannabigerol (CBG).
This unique balm makes it easier than ever to apply to affected areas, especially when you're trying to alleviate sore muscles and aching joints after a workout. The hemp is full-spectrum and is accompanied by other plant botanicals like arnica and peppermint extract to promote soothing recovery.
Customer review: “Product worked to reduce pain immediately. I almost didn’t believe it however results were consistent each time used. Great product!”
Strength: 450 mg of CBD in a 2 oz. container
To buy: Plant People Balm+ Relief, $49; plantpeople.co
Green Roads goes above and beyond when it comes to quality standards and transparency. It follows cGMPs for topical manufacturing, and its products are formulated by a licensed pharmacist, Laura Fuentes, who is the CEO and co-founder of Green Roads.
This brand also believes in educating consumers about CBD. Every Green Roads product has a detailed third-party lab report available that breaks down cannabinoid and terpene content, as well as pesticide and heavy-metal testing.
Customer review: “I like everything about this product! In addition to tremendously helping my sore muscles and joint pain the product has a subtle fragrance and spreads very easily so I don’t have to use too much. I would highly recommend the use of this soothing cream.”
Strength: 350 mg of CBD in a 1 oz. pump
To buy: Green Roads CBD Topical Cream, $45; greenroads.com
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.
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.
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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