Cannabis and hemp-related products carry beneficial chemical compounds such as cannabinoids and terpenes. The two most popular cannabinoids are cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). Both these compounds are found in all CBD topicals such as CBD creams, CBD lotions, CBD balms, and CBD massage oils, as well as cannabis creams and CBD lip balms.
Applied frequently, CBD topicals are very beneficial. A vital addition to your CBD arsenal. They’re mostly used for a range of health and wellness purposes such as skin health, inflammation, skin dryness, acne, muscle pain, joint pain, and general body relaxation.
All hemp-derived CBD topicals with <0.3% THC can be legally purchased on a federal level (47 states allow it). Found online and in-store.
Typically, users purchase 250-500mg CBD topicals for mild skin dryness and itchiness. Users generally purchase 1000mg specialized CBD muscle and joint rubs for pain and inflammation. CBD patches are also popular here. Check out our favorite CBD topicals below.
Best CBD Creams for Pain
Here are our favorite picks for the best CBD creams for muscle and joint pain.
Buying the best CBD creams, lotions, balms – what to look for?
1. Decide on which CBD topical suits your requirements
Not all CBD topicals are created equally. There are a large number of different ones to choose from. CBD creams, for example, are better for moisturization. CBD balms and salves are perfect for muscle and joint pain. CBD lip balms for lip health and CBD transdermal patches for below-the-skin-surface symptoms.
Deciding which one to buy is crucial. A CBD balm won’t help with acne. It’s too thick. A CBD transdermal patch won’t help with psoriasis. It’s meant for physiological problems.
Generally you want to look for the following:
CBD creams and lotions — muscle and joint pain relief, acne and acne-related symptoms, general skin moisturizing
CBD salves – muscle pain and inflammation, anti-eczema
CBD balms — dry, cracked skin (balm thickness traps moisture), good for psoriasis & eczema
CBD patches – pain, inflammation, and general health & wellness
CBD massage oils — muscle relaxation
CBD bath bombs — skin moisturization and appearance, relaxation
2. Is the CBD brand legitimate, credible, and trustworthy?
CBD brands come in all shapes and sizes. Some amazing, some terrible. Knowing the difference between the two requires some investigation, especially when purchasing CBD topical products. Terrible brands don’t care what you’re putting on your skin, they care about profit.
How long has the company been in business? How transparent are they with their manufacturing processes? Where do they source their hemp from? How active are they within the cannabis community?
3. Are the ingredients all-natural and organic?
Your skin and its overall health are important. What you put on your skin is equally important. Make sure the ingredients included are organic, all-natural, and not harmful.
Most, if not all credible CBD brands will publish ingredients lists on their product page. Have a look at those. Find out if the ingredients are selected from natural sources.
4. Make sure the hemp is sourced from USA-owned organic hemp farms
Where the hemp (and hemp extract) is sourced is just as important. We recommend hemp sourced from organic, USA-owned farms, especially ones located in Colorado and Oregon. These states are known for their optimal hemp cultivation regulations and hemp growing conditions.
A solid hemp extract is very beneficial to your skin. You don’t want harmful contaminants ruining that. Poor-quality hemp extracts often contain high levels of impurities. These impurities will be harsh on your skin. You can find this info on the brand’s website. If not, contact a customer service rep.
5. What extraction method is used? What is the extract type?
We suggest purchasing a CBD topical carrying a Whole-Plant or CO2 extracted full-spectrum hemp. CO2 extraction is arguably superior to all other extraction methods (save cold-press and ethanol). You’re practically guaranteed quality and purity here. Full-spectrum extracts are preferred simply because they hold high cannabinoid and terpene content.
Cannabinoids (CBD, THC, CBN, etc) + terpenes (linalool, myrcene, pinene, etc) work together on your skin for enhanced benefits and effects (anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, general healing). Good for a range of skin complaints, as well as general appearance.
6. Is the extract used in your CBD topical third-party tested?
Make sure your CBD topical is third-party tested by accredited, independent laboratories. A COA lab report will show the percentage of cannabinoids and terpenes in the extract. It’ll also show if there are any contaminants in the extract/product as well, ensuring safety and transparency.
7. Is the CBD content suitable for your skin requirements?
The CBD content in your CBD topical is vital. A 15mg CBD topical for skin inflammation isn’t adequate. A 50mg CBD topical, on the other hand, is. The more severe your skin problem is, the more CBD potency you’ll need.
We recommend a lower-strength CBD topical for general skin appearance. Not for acne or other chronic skin complaints. Try a 10-15mg CBD topical here. Generally cheaper than a high-strength CBD topical but no less effective. If you have more problematic skin conditions, try a higher-strength topical. +50mg of CBD is suitable. Make sure it’s full-spectrum as well. The other cannabinoids and terpenes will work wonders.
8. Are you looking for aromatic qualities?
Essential oils are your friends here. They provide very potent aromatic qualities. Some aromas are good for relaxation, while others are better for energy and clarity. CBD bath bombs benefit from essential oil aromas more than any other CBD topical.
Essential oil aromas for relaxation:
Lavender essential oil
Lemongrass essential oil
Neroli essential oil
Lemon essential oil
Ylang ylang essential oil
Essential oil aromas for energy:
Peppermint essential oil
Spearmint and rosemary essential oil
Juniper berry essential oil
Pine essential oil
Essential oil aromas for mood:
Lime essential oil
Wild orange essential oil
Rosemary essential oil
Try to spot essential oils that work with the combined purpose of what you're looking for. Citrus essential oils (lemon and/or lime) are said to be good anti-inflammatories and antibacterials. Useful for mild skin complaints. Lavender essential oils provide relaxing aromatic qualities. Useful in CBD massage oils.
9. How does the CBD topical feel on your skin?
This is a quality test after you’ve purchased a CBD topical product. Place a small amount on your skin. Does it feel rough? Does it irritate the skin? This may (or may not) be because of an allergic reaction. Sometimes harsh chemicals are added to topicals (CBD or otherwise) without you knowing. The first sign of this is irritated or red skin. If this happens, stop using it.
What are CBD topicals?
CBD topicals are any CBD products you apply to your skin. They provide immediate, targeted, and localized relief to the skin or surrounding muscles and joints.
There are a variety of different CBD topicals to choose from such as CBD creams, CBD lotions, CBD balms, CBD salves, CBD body oils, and CBD patches and face masks.
Some topicals are designed for certain skin surface ailments, while other CBD topicals are designed to relieve ailments below the skin’s surface (muscle and joint pain).
How to effectively apply CBD creams, lotions, salves, patches?
CBD topicals are easy to apply. Simply apply the topical liberally to dry, clean skin and watch the CBD magic absorb into your skin. Absorption takes roughly 15-20 minutes. Effects will start to work within half an hour. If effects aren’t showing, apply some more.
If you’re using a transdermal patch, use it the same way as a usual topical (on dry, clean skin). No need to rub it in. It’s not a cream or balm. Place it anywhere on the body, ideally your arms or legs (or where you’re experiencing pain or inflammation). Effects should start to work within 15-20 minutes. You can wear a CBD transdermal patch for up to four days. Use one patch at a time.
Can you consume CBD topicals orally?
CBD topical products are not meant to be consumed orally. They’re designed to be used on your skin. Oral consumption of CBD topicals won’t kill you or threaten your life, but they may cause stomach complaints, diarrhea, or nausea depending on how much you ingested.
Types of CBD topicals
There are many different types of CBD topicals, each made for a variety of different uses and benefits. Types of CBD topicals include:
CBD salves and CBD balms
CBD massage oils and CBD body oils
CBD lip balms
CBD transdermal patches
CBD bath bombs
1. CBD Creams & Lotions
What are CBD creams & lotions?
CBD creams and CBD lotions combine all the ingredients from regular creams and lotions with the added infusion of CBD hemp extract. They’re generally more moisturizing than other CBD topicals. They’re also thinner and easier to spread across the skin. Manufacturers use water as the base, as opposed to oil. Creams are generally thicker than lotions.
Uses & benefits:
CBD lotions and creams are best-used for dry, cracked skin. It’s thin enough to spread across the skin without being too heavy. Good for acne-prone skin too. Less likely to block pores. If you need a light CBD topical, CBD creams and lotions are recommended.
2. CBD Salves & Balms
What are CBD balms & salves?
CBD balms and salves are much thicker and heavier on the skin compared to CBD creams and lotions. They’re oil-based and designed to stay on the skin’s surface for longer, locking in the beneficial ingredients and compounds for an extended period of time.
Uses & benefits:
Many CBD balms and salves are muscle rubs. Best-used for joint and muscle pain alongside peppermint or camphor. Long-lasting and effective. Results are almost immediate. Not recommended for acne. Can block pores. Better for dryness caused by eczema and or psoriasis. Don’t put too much on. You just need a small amount. Enough to lock in the moisture, as well as the CBD extract and other ingredients.
3. CBD Massage Oil (body oil)
What is CBD massage oil?
CBD massage oil is regular massage oil with CBD hemp extract in it. Typically thinner and oilier than most CBD topicals. Easier to spread along the skin while reducing friction for the ultimate massage experience. CBD massage oils are naturally more expensive than regular massage oils.
Uses & benefits:
Relaxing for muscles and joints
Skin hydration and rejuvenation
Skin repair (anti-inflammatory)
Aromatic (if infused with mint or peppermint extract)
CBD massage oils can be used at any time but we recommend them for after a long day of work or physical exertion. Gym-goers, manual laborers, and office workers will enjoy the benefits here.
4. CBD Lip Balm
What is CBD lip balm?
CBD lip balm is exactly the same as regular lip balm with CBD hemp extract infused into it. Most CBD lip balms contain beeswax or carnauba wax alongside other hydrating, soothing, and healing ingredients (camphor, lanolin, etc). Apply liberally on dry, cracked, or inflamed lips. Effects are almost immediate. Reapply if needed. Will also protect you from environmental factors and weather.
Uses & benefits:
Lip moisturization and hydration
Lip health (anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving)
Appearance (looks smoother and healthier)
UV protection (SPF 15-30 ideally)
CBD lip balm can also be used on your hands, fingertips, and facial skin (cheekbones especially).
5. CBD Transdermal Patches
What are CBD transdermal patches?
Similar to nicotine patches, CBD transdermal patches have CBD extract infused into them, delivering small doses all throughout the day. Available in two different variants: matrix and reservoir. Reservoir CBD patches are more effective and offer a better CBD delivery rate. They are more effective but a little pricier than matrix patches.
Uses & benefits:
CBD transdermal patches differ from other CBD topicals. They can penetrate through the skin’s surface into the bloodstream. They are helpful for internal physiological benefits such as:
Pain (muscles and joints)
General health and wellness
CBD transdermal patches provide pain relief all throughout the day. Good if you’re busy and on-the-go.
6. CBD Bath Bombs
What are CBD bath bombs?
CBD bath bombs are some of the most popular CBD topical products. They combine hemp extract with other beneficial ingredients to enhance your bath time experience. Largely aromatic with fruity, floral scents. Highly rejuvenating and reinvigorating.
Uses & benefits:
CBD bath bombs aren’t best-used as a frequent CBD topical. Better for special occasions or when you need to relax in the bath. Useful for skin moisturization and suppleness. 50mg of CBD is enough for healing skin complaints such as eczema and psoriasis, as well as general skin inflammation. Lavender infusion for relaxation.
Ingredients to look out for in CBD creams, balms, lotions
Peppermint is common in CBD creams and lotions. Also relieves chronic muscle aches and pains. Known remedy for itchy skin (pruritus). Aromatically awakening and refreshing, as well as somewhat energizing.
Popular anti-inflammatory in all skincare products. Protects against the production of free radicals and signs of aging, as well as reducing the appearance of scars caused by acne (amongst others). Found in many CBD topical products, particularly specialized CBD skincare lotions and creams.
Main ingredient in chili peppers. Gives chilis their powerfully hot flavor. Known to combat free radicals on the skin. Also an effective antioxidant. Used in CBD creams and patches for pain-relief from joint and muscle issues, specifically arthritis and muscle pain.
Camphor is a beneficial terpene found in CBD hemp extracts. It’s also derived and extracted from the leaves and bark of Cinnamomum camphora. Anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving. Often used for joint pain. Specialized joint and muscle CBD creams, balms, and salves may contain camphor. Toxic if consumed orally, however.
Rosemary contains rosmarinic acid, a powerful anti-inflammatory known to heal the skin. Also hydrating and moisturizing. Commonly found in CBD body lotions and creams, as well as some hemp lip balms. May help with acne, psoriasis, and eczema.
Aloe vera is soothing and hydrating. Good for sunburn and inflammation. Perfect in hemp creams and body lotions.
Excellent antioxidant. Used primarily for eye care to reduce signs of puffiness and redness. Also used to tackle cellulite. Not very common in CBD topicals but some specialized brands will include it, especially as an exfoliator.
Can you make your own CBD topicals?
Yes. You most certainly can make your own CBD topicals. DIY CBD creams, lotions, salves, and balms are the most popular and easy to create.
To create your own CBD salve, for example, you have four main ingredients:
Combine oil and beeswax. Place in double boiler. Heat until wax melts. Stir frequently.
Add CBD isolate (or any other type of extract) into the mix. Keep on low heat. Stir occasionally. Prevent the mixture from overheating.
Stop heating and allow it to cool. Add essential oil just before it becomes solid.
Pour mixture into a tub or container. Allow it completely cool.
Are CBD topicals safe for pets?
Yes. You can purchase CBD topicals for pets. You apply it the same way you would with regular human CBD topicals. Dry, clean skin. Rub into the fur and skin underneath. Transdermal patches aren’t available for animals.
CBD topicals for pets are best used for dry skin, inflammation, joint pain, and muscle pain.