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Whether it’s sore muscles from your heavy lifts, a strain from overdoing it, or just tight AF muscles from sitting all day, CBD creams might be able to help you kiss that pain goodbye.

And while you def have a lot of options when it comes to using CBD for pain, creams are a great one because you can apply them right where it hurts. Some creams also have extra ingredients that can add to that sweet soothing goodness, too.

BUT there are a lot of creams to choose from, so picking the right product for your needs can feel like a tall task. That’s why we’ve put together this list of our faves — so you can choose a quality CBD cream and get healing without any added stress.

Best CBD creams for pain

We’re glad you asked!

Cannabidiol (CBD) is one of the hundreds of cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant. You’ve probably also heard of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which is another one of those cannabinoids.

Research on CBD is still pretty new and ongoing, but it looks like a promising way to treat anxiety, sleep problems, epilepsy, and certain types of pain — all without getting you “high” the way THC does.

There are a few diff kinds of CBD you might run into:

  • Full-spectrum CBD. This kind of CBD product has all of the compounds found naturally in the cannabis plant, including terpenes, flavonoids, and THC (though never more than 0.3 percent). There’s a theory called the “entourage effect” that suggests that keeping all these compounds together boosts their therapeutic effects.
  • Broad-spectrum CBD. Basically the same ish as full-spectrum CBD, but all the THC has been removed.
  • CBD isolate. Just CBD all by itself. No terpenes, flavonoids, or THC found here.

There’s a long way to go before researchers fully understand how CBD can help with pain, but what we know so far is pretty dope.

Evidence suggests that CBD can help relieve neuropathic pain and reduce inflammation. Topicals especially are good at relieving aches and pains from arthritis, nerve pain, and jaw pain. A recent study even found that topical CBD products helped people in palliative care cope with pain.

As research continues, it’ll be exciting to find out other ways CBD can help peeps live a more pain-free life.

When putting together this list of stellar CBD creams, we made sure to pick products:

  • made by companies that use third-party testing by ISO 17025-compliant labs
  • made with all-American hemp, grown in the U.S. of A.
  • that don’t contain more than a tiny amount of THC (0.3 percent) — we figure this out by verifying the certificate of analysis (COA)
  • that contain no yucky pesticides, heavy metals, or molds — again, for this, we check the COA

We also consider:

  • whether a company has any special manufacturing processes or impressive certifications
  • the potency of a product
  • added ingredients (especially ones known for helping pain, like arnica and menthol)
  • whether a brand is to be trusted and we figure that out by:
    • looking at customer reviews
    • checking for FDA warning letters
    • looking for any sus health claims, like “this product can cure you!” 🚩

Pricing guide

  • $ = under $30
  • $$ = $30–$50
  • $$$ = over $50

Best CBD cream for back pain

Charlotte’s Web CBDMedic Muscle and Joint Pain Relief Spray

This spray from Charlotte’s web is like the Icy Hot of CBD. In addition to 600 mg of THC-free hemp extract, it’s got camphor (an ingredient that creates a warm sensation and increases blood circulation to where it’s applied) and menthol (an icy ingredient that can help soothe sore muscles).

The spray bottle makes it a good pick for covering large areas of your body — including your back. Several reviewers also confirm that the spray design makes it easier to apply it to hard to reach places. Many agree that this stuff really works, but that it’s only a temporary solution (which is true for any topical pain-reliever, BTW).

Best CBD muscle cream for pain

Vertly Relief Lotion

  • Price: $$
  • CBD type: full-spectrum
  • Potency: 500 mg CBD per tube
  • COA: link available on product page
  • Other pain-relieving ingredients: arnica

This full-spectrum CBD cream offers calming relief for tight, worn-out muscles. In addition to CBD, it’s made with arnica flower, which is known for reducing pain, inflammation markers, and muscle damage. The formula also contains organic essential oils like lavender and skin-soothing ingredients like shea butter and aloe vera.

Vertly’s cream is made in small batches, so you can rest easy knowing it’s a high quality product. It’s also packaged in an earth-friendly bioresin tube derived from sugar cane (that’s stylish AF).

Best CBD cream for foot pain

Aspen Green Muscle Relief Cooling Cream

  • Price: $$$
  • CBD type: full-spectrum
  • Potency: 650–700 mg CBD per jar
  • COA: available online
  • Other pain-relieving ingredients: arnica, menthol

This ultra-potent CBD cream doesn’t wear sunglasses at night, but it sure is cool. 😎

In addition to containing a whopping 650 to 700 mg of CBD per container, the cooling cream also contains organic ingredients like soothing arnica flower, skin-friendly tea tree essential oil — famous for its antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties — and icy menthol.

Reviewers love the luxurious feel of the calming moisturizer and say that it’s highly effective at kicking pain to the curb. A few people note that the cooling effect could be more powerful, though.

Best CBD cream for pain for athletes

Level Select 2 CBD Sports Cream

  • Price: $$$
  • CBD type: broad-spectrum
  • Potency: 600 mg of CBD per container
  • COA: available online
  • Other pain-relieving ingredients: menthol

This CBD cream is specifically marketed for athletes, but we’re all athletes in some sense, no?

The cooling formula is cruelty-free and non-GMO. It’s also not greasy, so you can slather it on anytime. The cream has a cooling mint scent and comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee.

Reviewers say the cream helped a ton with arthritis, knee, and shoulder pain. A few people report that the scent is too powerful, but others describe it as “not overpowering.”

25% off purchase with code HEALTH25

Best CBD cream for neuropathy pain

Medterra Pain Relief Cream

  • Price: $$$
  • CBD type: isolate
  • Potency: 1,000 mg of CBD per container
  • COA: available online
  • Other pain-relieving ingredients: arnica, menthol

Reminder: topical CBD is particularly good at treating neuropathic pain. That’s why we picked this higher potency isolate cream from Medterra for peeps with nerve pain. The CBD on its own should be a HUGE help.

It also contains extra pain relievers like arnica and menthol, which will both give you super quick (and satisfying) pain relief upon applying it.

Reviewers with nerve pain are big fans, saying it’s helped them find relief from nagging nerve pain, injuries, and even post-surgery pain.

Sure, why not?

CBD topicals have some evidence to back up their pain-relieving powers — especially when they include other proven pain-relieving ingredients. So if you’re trying to go after some nagging pain or a sore muscle, a CBD cream might be able to help.

Just don’t forget that CBD topicals (or any topicals, really) aren’t a forever solution. If you’re having serious pain that won’t go away, make an appointment with your doctor to see what’s up.

Also, if you’re taking any medications, check in with your doc before trying a CBD cream for pain — CBD may interact with some meds.

Like everything in the world, there are def some ups and downs to using CBD cream for pain:

Pros

  • research shows promising results for treating pain
  • super easy to apply
  • tons of products also moisturize and soothe skin
  • provides targeted relief

Cons

  • potential for skin reactions
  • topical may not be a good choice if you have a skin condition like rosacea
  • more expensive than standard skin care products
  • not a forever solution to chronic pain

You’re probably thinking, “how the heck do I choose a CBD cream?” Don’t freak out. It’s easier than you’d think. Here’s what to consider:

CBD type

What’s the difference between CBD isolate, broad-spectrum, and full-spectrum CBD? It’s all in the way they’re extracted from the cannabis plant.

  • CBD isolates are the most highly processed of the bunch and contain no traces of THC. That also means they’re void of other cannabinoids and terpenes, which can reduce the CBD’s therapeutic benefits.
  • Broad-spectrum CBD contains some cannabinoids but no THC — bye! 👋
  • Full-spectrum CBD has it all, THC included. But even full-spectrum CBD only contains a minuscule amount of the stuff — less than 0.3 percent. Evidence suggests leaving all these components of the cannabis plant together makes them work better together, which is called the entourage effect.

There isn’t a ton of research on how the diff types CBD affect pain when applied topically, so it’s up to you which to give a shot.

If you’re looking to avoid THC altogether, look for broad-spectrum or isolates. If you’re into seeing what the entourage effect is all about, experiment with full-spectrum.

Potency

A higher potency usually translates to better results. The skin doesn’t readily absorb CBD, so you need a potent product to get noticeable results. Look for products that contain at least 200 mg of CBD per bottle or container.

Ingredients

You don’t technically need a CBD cream with added ingredients to reap pain relief benefits, but they sure can help ramp up your overall relief. Look for arnica, menthol, camphor, or capsaicin (a pain-relieving ingredient that comes from chili peppers).

You can also opt for creams with moisturizing oils like MCT oil, olive oil, or aloe — or even ones that help reduce signs of aging.

Ideally, when shopping for CBD topicals, look for products with natural, organic ingredients. That stuff is going on your skin — take care of it!

Third-party testing

The FDA doesn’t quite regulate CBD products the way they do prescription drugs or foodstuffs. That means that the CBD market is kinda like the wild west.

Companies that are worth a damn will make sure to get their products tested by independent third-party labs. Check the product page or website for a COA. If the company doesn’t have one available on the site or upon request, that’s a big red flag.

Also, because U.S. growers are subject to agricultural regs, it’s a good idea to opt for products made with U.S.-grown hemp — preferably certified organic.

Applying CBD cream is pretty easy. Just rub it into the area that’s giving you grief, and you’re set!

Relief won’t be instantaneous, though. It can take some time to feel the effects. If you don’t get any relief, reapply, and wait and see.

Also, remember to patch test before slathering a lotion or cream all over your body — especially if you have sensitive skin.

Does CBD cream work for pain?

It sure does!

Evidence suggests that CBD can help relieve neuropathic pain and reduce inflammation. Topicals especially are good at relieving aches and pains from arthritis, nerve pain, and jaw pain. A recent study even found that topical CBD products helped people in palliative care cope with pain.

What are side effects of CBD cream for pain?

Always check the packaging for info on how to use the product. Some creams don’t play nice with broken skin. There’s also the possibility of an allergic reaction. If you have any allergies, make sure to read the ingredients list.

The CBD in topicals or creams don’t usually end up in the bloodstream, so you’re unlikely to experience side effects like weight or appetite changes, fatigue, or diarrhea.

But if you’re taking any prescription drugs, it’s a good idea to talk with your doctor because CBD may still interact with meds.

These days, you can’t throw a rock without hitting a CBD product. Seriously, they’re everywhere.

And while it can be hard to wade through the many products on the market, there are a lot of great CBD creams out there. Some people have had success using them for pain relief from arthritis or even skin conditions.

Before buying and applying, make sure to do your homework. We know, what a drag! Our list is an amaze place to start since we did a lot of the legwork for you (you’re SO welcome). But carefully reading labels, reviewing company policies, and going over application instructions will save you money and stress in the long run.