Pain can inevitably change our lives, so relying on OTC meds and prescription painkillers may be the only solution some of us have. However, with chronic pain becoming rather prevalent (with 20.4% of adults reporting it in 2019), the need to switch to more natural remedies has become even greater. CBD has emerged as a viable alternative in recent years due to its pain-relieving and anti-inflammatory properties. The best CBD cream for pain, soreness, and aches could stop being an annoying constant in your life.
Our research has shown that more and more brands are looking to make a splash in the CBD market. However, only a few can truly say they’re doing everything in their power to produce high-quality, effective, and above all, safe products. These are the ten brands that ought to be on your radar if you want to invest in a CBD cream to dull any pain you have.
Best CBD Topicals (Cream, Salve, Lotion) for Pain Review
Many would say that if you’re looking for the best CBD cream for pain, there’s no better brand to check out than Royal CBD. Since the company is dedicated to creating the safest and most effective products out of the best ingredients possible, its popularity has grown quite a bit in the last few years. This has allowed it to expand its range, so now, it produces CBD oils, edibles (gummies and honey sticks), capsules, topicals, and pet products.
The topicals we can get from Royal CBD include a roll-on gel and a balm. Both contain 500 mg of broad-spectrum CBD, but they are meant for different purposes.
If you have sore muscles and skin, we recommend going for the easy-to-use cooling roll-on gel. It contains aloe vera and menthol, both of which can, alongside CBD, soothe injured or sore areas of the body. Since the applicator lets you simply roll the formula on, there’s no mess to worry about. The gel absorbs fast, which makes it a convenient companion even when you’re on the go.
The balm, on the other hand, is a top choice for achy muscles and joints. Once you rub it in, it produces a warming sensation that eases muscle stiffness. Best of all, it absorbs fast and isn’t too thick or greasy.
- CO2-extracted broad-spectrum CBD
- Extracts derived from US-grown organic hemp
- Up to 500 mg of CBD in every bottle
- Third-party lab-tested
- You can only get it online
Gold Bee is stepping out with its own version of the best CBD cream for pain. Eager to set itself apart from other organic brands, the company has decided to offer two types of topicals with 2000 mg of broad-spectrum CBD.
The warming salve could be a lifesaver for those who suffer from sore joints and muscles. The formula includes cayenne extract that should warm up the area you apply it to and reduce muscle pain and stiffness.
On the other hand, you can also choose the roll-on gel. Much like the Royal CBD one, this one also contains menthol, which is commonly used as an analgesic due to the cooling sensation it produces.
Gold Bee has received awards from media outlets, including Weed News, and many others.
- Extracts derived from organic, natural hemp
- The brand focuses on modern, additive- and chemical-free extraction
- Up to 2000 mg of broad-spectrum CBD
- Third-party lab-tested
- The salve has a grainy texture (typical for handmade creams)
Learn more: Best CBD Gummies for Sleep & Insomnia
3. Hemp Bombs
Hemp Bombs’ Pain Freeze is available in the form of a rub (salve) and a roll-on gel. Since it contains menthol, it is supposed to “freeze away” any pain in your muscles and joints. The roll-on gel is easier to use since you won’t have to clean up after applying it. However, the salve is available in a bigger container.
Hemp Bombs offers the salve in two potencies. The lower one gets you 100 mg of CBD per 1 oz container, and there is also a 4 oz jar with 400 mg of CBD. The higher-potency version provides 1000 mg of CBD in a 4 oz container. Meanwhile, the roll-on gel comes in a 3 oz bottle and contains 200 mg of CBD.
What we don’t like here so much is that the brand uses only pure CBD extract. While this does make the product rather potent and effective, it doesn’t contain other cannabinoids that would synergically support CBD and thus boost its effects.
- Extracts derived from sustainably grown industrial hemp
- The salve comes in two potencies
- No THC whatsoever, only pure CBD isolate (up to 1000 mg)
- Third-party lab-tested
- No synergistic effects supported by other beneficial cannabinoids
Learn more: Best CBD Oil for Anxiety & Depression
CBD creams can be made with CBD isolate, full-spectrum, or broad-spectrum extracts. For people with severe aches and stiffness, the best CBD cream for pain is usually the one made with a full-spectrum extract derived from high-quality hemp.
CBDistillery is a brand that caters to a wider audience than some other brands on this list. Apart from its full-spectrum CBD salve, it also offers CBD relief sticks and warming and cooling creams. The brand has done its homework and is eager to please all customers, no matter their exact needs.
The full-spectrum CBD salve offers targeted relief and is a blend of CBD and a variety of essential oils. It is a non-greasy product that absorbs fast and offers up to 500 mg of full-spectrum CBD.
Those looking for a no-mess application, however, may prefer the relief sticks. The broad-spectrum CBD stick offers up to 1000 mg of the compound and a cooling menthol sensation. Its counterparts, the 500 and 1000 mg isolate CBD sticks, have similar effects and provide localized relief when you’re on the go.
Finally, there are the 300 mg broad-spectrum CBD warming and cooling creams. The warming version could be ideal for chronic stiffness and joint and muscle pain caused by conditions like arthritis. In case some parts of your body are inflamed and swollen, a cooling cream could do wonders for you.
- Extracts derived from non-GMO, US-grown hemp
- Full-spectrum, broad-spectrum, and CBD isolate creams and relief sticks
- Affordable if you’re shopping on a low budget
- Third-party lab-tested (results can be accessed by scanning the QR codes on the products)
- The hemp isn’t certified organic
Learn more: Best CBD Oil for Migraines Headaches
5. Joy Organics
Apart from the exquisite packaging, Joy Organics is also known for its variety of products.
First, there’s the Organic CBD Salve, which provides comfort and supports healthy muscles, joints, and skin. It contains 500-1000 mg of CBD per jar (1 and 2 oz jars available) and is enriched with nourishing and revitalizing ingredients such as eucalyptus and lavender.
There is also a 250 mg CBD salve stick (unscented), which supports skin and joint health. It is perfect to use on the go and is formulated with various skin-soothing oils, organic shea butter, and organic rosemary leaf extract.
Joy Organics has a premium CBD cream too, which comes with 250 mg of CBD per bottle. This cream is unscented and supports a natural skincare regimen. Apart from revitalizing skin, it also aids post-workout recovery and offers daily support to muscles and joints.
Finally, the brand also caters to sports fanatics and can offer them a 400 mg CBD sports cream. This product specifically targets muscles and eases stiffness that may occur after workouts. It’s formulated with menthol and camphor, which can also help soothe aches and pain by cooling the treated area.
- Extracts obtained using a proprietary USDA-certified extraction process
- Made with broad-spectrum CBD extracts (0% THC)
- Up to 1000 mg of CBD in some products (the salve)
- Third-party lab-tested
- Not as affordable as some other brands
Like some other brands, CBDfx also has a cooling cream for muscle and joint pain. Made with a broad-spectrum extract, this cream is available in three strengths: 500, 1000, and 3000 mg of broad-spectrum CBD. The formula absorbs fast and is proven to work against muscle pain and joint aches. Apart from CBD, it also contains anti-inflammatory botanical extracts, such as caffeine, menthol, and white willow bark.
The brand also has two types of balm sticks. The Muscle and Joint balm stick has a cooling formula and comes in two strengths: 750 and 3000 mg of broad-spectrum CBD. Its formula also includes various soothing compounds, such as camphor oil, menthol, wintergreen, and black pepper oil.
The Calming and Moisturizing balm stick, on the other hand, is more geared toward people suffering from inflamed and irritated skin. It comes in the same two strengths as the Muscle and Joint Balm but harnesses the healing power of plants like tea tree, lavender, rosemary, and vetiver. The balm also contains Roman chamomile oil, which offers minor pain relief, skin toning, and moisturization.
- Extracts obtained using CO2 extraction from organically grown non-GMO crops
- Broad-spectrum extracts
- Cruelty-free, vegan products
- Third-party lab-tested (access results by scanning the QR codes)
- The Muscle and Joint balm may leave behind a waxy residue
In terms of pain-relieving solutions, Medterra can offer three different products, all of which have a cooling effect that provides deeply penetrating relief.
First up, there’s the award-winning Pain Relief Cream. It should provide rapid relief to anyone suffering from arthritis and joint pain due to the combination of CBD, menthol, and arnica. The cream also contains jojoba and aloe that nourish the skin further. It’s available in two strengths: 500 and 1000 mg of CBD.
The other two products are the Relief + Recovery Cream and Relief + Recovery Roll-On. The cream offers incredible support to muscles and joints and is a powerful mix of CBD and organic ingredients like menthol and arnica. There are three strengths: 250, 500, and 750 mg of CBD.
Finally, the Roll-On is a more convenient version for those who are always on the go and need quick relief wherever they are. It is available in strengths of 250 mg, 500 mg, and 1000 mg.
- Extracts derived from organically grown non-GMO hemp
- Certified by US Hemp Authority
- Up to 1000 mg of CBD in some products
- Third-party lab-tested
- Products made with 99.6% CBD (no entourage effect)
8. Aspen Green
Aspen Green uses full-spectrum extracts, so users can experience the entourage effect and observe greater results when treating any pain or aches they may have. The products include CBD, THC, and other beneficial cannabinoids, such as CBN, CBG, CBDA, and CBC.
Aspen Green’s pain-relieving topicals include the Pain Relief Body Balm and the Muscle Relief Cooling Cream. The balm is a combination of all those wonderful cannabinoids and various therapeutic botanicals. Apart from the extract, it contains mango butter, jojoba seed oil, hemp seed oil, and beeswax. It is generally meant for full-body relief and contains about 650 to 700 mg of CBD.
On the other hand, the cooling cream is perfect for relieving tension and soreness in the shoulders, neck, and back — and any other non-sensitive areas. It should revitalize muscles and ease discomfort quickly, but you do have to gently massage it in.
Like the balm, this product also contains about 650 to 700 mg of CBD, jojoba seed oil, mango butter, and hemp seed oil. Additionally, its formula includes organic arnica and calendula extracts, as well as organic menthol and tea tree oil.
A great advantage of both of these products is that they’re enriched with various terpenes, including myrcene, linalool, limonene, eucalyptol, humulene, bisabolol, and caryophyllene.
- Full-spectrum extracts derived from organic hemp
- Up to 1000 mg of phytocannabinoids per jar
- Enriched with pain-relieving terpenes
- Third-party lab-tested
- The products come in just one potency
Spruce, a company established in 2018, may not be as well known as some other brands on this list, but it could still offer the best CBD cream for pain for anyone with sensitive skin. The brand has a small range of topicals that include the Deep Chill CBD Lotion, the Topical CBD Cream, and the CBD Topical Salve.
Unsurprisingly, the Deep Chill CBD Lotion has a cooling effect. It’s made from all-natural ingredients and contains other pain-relieving compounds such as menthol, camphor, and arnica. The strength is the most impressive part, though — you get 2000 mg of full-spectrum CBD in a 100 ml bottle.
The Topical CBD Cream offers 300 mg of CBD per jar and is a great option for targeted pain relief. In particular, many reviews recommend it for arthritis pain and stiffness. The cream also acts fast (you will get some relief in about 15 minutes) and doesn’t leave an oily residue behind.
Finally, there’s the CBD Salve, which is available in two strengths: 1000 and 2000 mg of CBD. It has a completely natural, simple formula that shouldn’t aggravate sensitive skin and cause further issues (e.g., a rash). However, the salve is a bit oilier than a cream, so some residue is to be expected.
- Made with full-spectrum extracts derived from organic hemp
- Both low- and high-potency products are available
- Unique terpene profile that seemingly aids relief
- Third-party lab-tested
- Not as affordable as other brands
10. Receptra Naturals
Receptra Naturals’ range of topicals isn’t huge, but it does offer some key options, such as a topical stick and a balm. Overall, all of the products are formulated to ease inflammation and swelling, as well as promote muscle and joint recovery.
The hemp balm is an all-purpose, all-natural product that helps minimize swelling and inflammation, as well as provide relief to achy muscles and joints. There are two versions: a full-spectrum and a broad-spectrum balm.
Both formulas include other powerful soothing ingredients, such as arnica, camphor, jasmine, and ylang-ylang, and are available in 1.25 oz jars (400 mg of CBD). The full-spectrum version comes in a bigger jar as well (800 mg of CBD).
The topical stick, on the other hand, is a more intense version of the full-spectrum balm. It contains 640 mg of CBD per bottle and is super-easy to use on the go when you require quick relief.
- Extracts derived from locally and sustainably grown hemp
- Enriched with other beneficial compounds (camphor, ylang-ylang, arnica, and jasmine)
- Up to 800 mg of CBD in some products
- Third-party lab-tested
- The preferred extraction method is cold ethanol extraction
- The low-potency body balm may be too mild to provide serious relief
How Do CBD Creams Work?
Relief should be all but guaranteed with the best CBD cream for pain on the market. But before we start slathering it on, we ought to learn more about how this cannabinoid could even help with aches and soreness.
CBD, or cannabidiol, naturally occurs in the cannabis plant, alongside other popular cannabinoids like THC. However, unlike its close cousin, CBD isn’t supposed to get us high, no matter how we ingest or apply it. Commercial CBD products are made from hemp with 0.3% THC or less, which has limited chemical compounds and generally cannot produce psychoactive effects.
CBD doesn’t work as a direct analgesic but instead offers pain relief by influencing the endocannabinoid system. This system comprises cannabinoid receptors, endocannabinoids (naturally occurring cannabinoids), and enzymes.
Ideally, every person would have enough endocannabinoids in their body to restore internal balance (homeostasis). These compounds function on demand; the body releases them when it senses inflammation or any other type of problem that threatens homeostasis.
Some people, however, are deficient in these compounds, making CBD a wonderful means to an end. When we apply CBD cream to a painful area, CBD interacts with the cannabinoid receptors just like it would if we were to ingest it. The cream soaks in fast, so we feel the effects almost instantly.
Those effects boil down to:
- Inflammation reduction, as CBD reduces oxidative stress and inflammation. In fact, a study showed that it could accelerate wound healing.
- Decrease in pain signaling, as CBD can modulate pain and pain sensations by stimulating the reuptake of adenosine. On top of that, it can reduce pain transmission by modulating vanilloid receptors, which regulate pain caused by inflammation or heat.
What Research Tells Us
Though we still have to find out more about CBD and its benefits, scientists have researched its effects on pain in multiple studies. They didn’t only focus on chronic pain relief we can get from the compound but also how CBD can affect pain linked to arthritis and cancer treatment.
In 2016, we got a chance to see how cannabidiol could help arthritis patients. The study in question was done on rats — scientists applied CBD gel to rats to see whether it would reduce overall pain and inflammation.
The experiment, which lasted for four days, was a success, as it indicated that topical CBD application could soothe pain and reduce inflammation in arthritis patients without causing obvious side effects. Another similar study done on rodents in 2017 showed CBD could help relieve osteoarthritis pain.
The combination of CBD and THC is a subject of many other studies on cannabis and pain, particularly the one on Sativex from 2006. The study observed a significant analgesic effect, as well as a suppression of disease activity. Sativex, which is an oromucosal spray, contains equal amounts of CBD and THC, as well as some other minor cannabinoids and non-cannabinoids.
Finally, a 2018 review on chronic pain relief covered various studies that tried to discover how much CBD could help with fibromyalgia, cancer pain, and neuropathic pain. The review concluded that although cannabis and its cannabinoids have been used for a long time, they are now emerging as a promising new therapeutic strategy for pain relief.
Using CBD Creams for Pain
But it’s not enough to simply buy the best CBD cream for pain; if we want to feel any relief, we must know how to apply it properly.
We don’t know for sure how much CBD the skin absorbs, as we cannot measure the compound’s bioavailability in this case. It doesn’t enter the bloodstream but interacts with the ECS through our skin.
In general, we should apply the cream directly onto the skin and wait for it to soak in completely. The compound will pass through the skin and interact with cannabinoid receptors, thus providing some relief in as few as 10 to 15 minutes.
How to Choose the Best CBD Cream for Pain
The great thing about the CBD industry is that it’s becoming easier to find reliable manufacturers and products that actually work. However, no matter how great the reviews may sound, proper research is a must before choosing a specific cream.
Much like all CBD products, the quality of a CBD cream depends on a few factors, which we list below.
The Hemp Source and Extraction Process
The best CBD cream for pain is ideally one whose extract comes from superb-quality hemp. In most cases, this entails using organic hemp (preferably sustainably grown in the US) and sophisticated (and expensive) extraction processes like CO2 extraction.
Since hemp is a bioaccumulator, its cultivation should be the primary concern of any manufacturer. If they resort to using chemicals like pesticides and herbicides to help it grow, there’s a good chance those same chemicals will end up in the final product.
With processes like CO2 extraction, manufacturers can obtain the purest and most potent extracts that are free from any potentially dangerous contaminants. Solvent-based methods are still common but not recommended since solvent residue may end up in the final product and affect its quality.
Third-Party Lab Testing
Testing the products in third-party labs won’t necessarily affect their quality. However, it will help users understand if they’re getting their money’s worth from a CBD cream.
Among other things, these certificates of analysis should tell us if we’re getting the exact amount of CBD the label says we do. Furthermore, the analysis should indicate any harmful ingredients in the creams, such as heavy metals, fungicides, pesticides, and herbicides.
A brand that tests its products in third-party labs shows that it cares about its customers and doing business the right way — no scams or shadiness. If it also publishes the results online for everyone to see, it gets extra points for total transparency.
While choosing the best CBD cream for pain, we should also consider:
- The hemp extract. While CBD isolates are a fine choice since they can reduce pain and inflammation, full- or broad-spectrum CBD contains other beneficial compounds found in hemp that work together in synergy to produce the entourage effect. Choosing between those two depends on whether having some THC in the product makes us anxious.
- Brand reputation. Great customer service and a flurry of positive reviews on third-party websites make a brand worth checking out, says The Observer. Researching companies beforehand could also help us discover smaller (but better-quality) brands. They may not be so popular now but could be doing their best to produce the next best CBD cream for pain.
Shopping for the Best CBD Cream for Pain: In-Store or Online?
Finding the best CBD cream for pain is just one part of the process — we also have to decide where we should shop for it.
In general, some people may be more comfortable with buying CBD products locally. Perhaps they like the shopping experience, or they need some guidance in terms of brand and potency recommendations, application methods, etc.
However, the problem with shopping in stores is that they may only have a few brands available, and the owner probably picked those according to their idea of what quality is, warns LAWeekly. We don’t get a chance to compare products well while at the store, so proper research is out of the question. Even worse, some of the products may have been sitting on the shelves for a long time, so their best-by dates may be fast approaching.
In contrast, shopping online comes with many perks. If we’re not limiting ourselves to creams but want to try out other CBD products, too, the online world is the best option. We can take our time while comparing different products. That alone should help us make a better-informed decision later on and actually choose the best CBD cream for pain on the market.
Plus, since there isn’t a middleman, we’re likely to pay less for our products online. Some brands also frequently have sales, offer coupon codes and discounts, and even allow customers to pay a lower price if they’re buying products in bulk.
Final Thoughts on the Best CBD Cream for Pain
CBD’s popularity is still on the rise, given the many studies that speak volumes about its painkilling and anti-inflammatory properties. Overall, it’s recommended to use both CBD oil for pain and creams, balms, or gels for localized aches to tackle a few different types of pain simultaneously.
Naturally, the results will depend on how well we do our research while choosing the best CBD cream for pain — but it’s great news that there are some truly reliable brands out there. Companies like Royal CBD have set the bar high in terms of quality and efficiency. Suitable for sore muscles and joints due to injuries or conditions like arthritis, Royal CBD’s topicals should quickly ease the pain and significantly improve one’s quality of life.