The search for pain relief is universal, and that’s one reason why cannabidiol (CBD), a non-impairing cousin of THC found in the cannabis plant, is growing more popular. However, this popularity has caused a glut of products on the market, and not all are created equal.
For this reason, it can be difficult to find the best CBD creams for pain. In this post, we’ll discuss our favorite topicals, including soothing CBD balms, CBD creams, even a roll-on—lots of great options for anyone hoping to try a CBD topical. All have been third-party tested for safety and quality, and are made from US-grown hemp.
Our picks of the best CBD creams for pain relief are:
- SabaiDee Comfort Cream
- Spruce Topical CBD Cream
- Koi CBD Pain Relieving CBD Gel Roll-On
- MedTerra CBD Topicals Pain Cream
- NanocraftCBD Extra Strength CBD Roll-On Stick for Muscle and Joint Recovery
- Joy Organics CBD Salve
- CBDfx Muscle & Joint CBD Hemp Cream
- Receptra Naturals Serious Relief + Arnica CBD hemp Targeted topical Stick
- Charlotte’s Web Arthritis Aches & Pain Relief Ointment
- Aspen Green Pain Relief body Balm
SabaiDee Comfort Cream
Colorado-based SabaiDee is a company that you can trust. SabaiDee sources its hemp locally from responsible farmers and produces the CBD oil using a proprietary extraction method and purification process. The end CBD extract product is infused in organic MCT oil as a base. The final extract is infused into a silky cream with essential oils that goes on soft, not greasy at all.
What’s in each tube? Recent scanned lab reports of Comfort Cream reveal high levels of CBD—more than 550mg per tube, although they merely claim to hold 500mg each. They also contain Cannabidivarin (CBDV), also non-psychoactive and non-intoxicating, in notable amounts.
The report also shows lots of excellent terpenes, including: α-pinene or pinene and limonene in high amounts; 3-carene and β-pinene, which is also sometimes just called pinene, in moderate amounts; and β-caryophyllene or caryophyllene, camphene, and β-myrcene or myrcene in smaller amounts.
What do these cannabinoids and terpenes do for your pain and body? Enough that we created an entire post on the subject here. But check out the huge range of potential benefits below.
Plus, you get the calming, skin-soothing benefits of bergamot, camphor, and peppermint essential oils thrown in there. Taken together, that’s a refreshing yet relieving blend for the skin and mood.
We love the way this offers pain relief without overpowering smell or a greasy feel. Their prices range from $69.00 for one tube to $240.00 for six tubes, or $40.00 each.
SabaiDee discloses their lab test results here. They test every batch of oil in-house, and a third-party lab verifies their results.
Bonus: free US shipping, and if you’re not satisfied, take advantage of the happiness guarantee on all products and reach out to their team to request a refund.
Spruce Topical CBD Cream
We love Spruce—it’s gentle on sensitive skin, it smells great even if you hate smelly stuff, and it truly works for pain. But first, a little about Spruce the company.
Spruce sources all of their hemp from family-owned and operated farms known for safe and sustainable farming processes. Located in Colorado and Kentucky, the farms consistently produce some of the highest potency and quality and hemp and cannabis strains available for use in CBD products.
A truly unique feature of all Spruce products is their moonshine extraction—this is how they extract the CBD. This method enables them to create the best blend of high-CBD, low-level THC hemp seed oil. After filtering and bottling, all of the moonshine is completely gone, and there is no aftertaste or side effects—just pure full-plant CBD extract.
According to third-party testing results, the 5mg/g formulation contains almost 6.8mg/g of total cannabinoids. This includes about 6.1mg/g of CBD, plus various other non-psychoactive cannabinoids, such as Cannabidiolic Acid (CBDA) and Cannabichromene (CBC).
How does this product stack up with terpenes? Fairly well, with therapeutic levels of caryophyllene, limonene, geraniol, and linalool. This offers the light, faintly floral yet fruity and spicy tones you get from the cream, plus the relaxing and uplifting benefits of the terpenes alongside their potential as pain relievers.
All in all, this is an excellent choice for all around pain relief. At $39 for a 300 mg tub of pain relief CBD cream, this is an excellent full-spectrum choice.
Furthermore, all Spruce CBD products are tested by an independent third party and free of harmful chemicals, heavy metals, and pesticides, as you can see from the results above.
Spruce ships free inside the US. According to their return policy, you can qualify for a full refund—of unopened products only—after your first purchase.
Koi CBD Pain Relieving CBD Gel Roll-On
Since 2015, Koi CBD has become a major player on the CBD market. The goal of the founders was to bring CBD to more people by bringing true traceability to their products.
When Koi CBD started, their team felt that a lack of standardization in the cannabis industry was making it difficult and sometimes impossible to find high-quality CBD products that live up to the promise science seems to hold.
Koi’s version of traceability stretches back from the packaged bottle to the laboratory for testing, all the way back to the raw material. All Koi CBD products start with CBD derived from American-grown hemp from farms in southern Colorado in fully traceable batches.
Koi CBD products all start with 99 percent pure cannabidiol CBD they extract in-house using a pharmaceutical-grade, supercritical CO2 extraction process in a cGMP facility. The end result is Koi’s line of products all contain pure CBD without THC—providing anyone who must avoid any intoxication or drug test failures with a sense of security.
Koi makes a product you can trust. The business is a member of the Hemp Industries Association, the California Hemp Council, and the US Hemp Roundtable. The Koi team processes its raw CBD hemp in a way that produces a high-quality, pure, broad-spectrum hemp extract verified by ISO-accredited third-party testing. That quality control process generates a certificate of analysis for every batch, complete ingredient lists, with a full-panel analysis of tests verified with detailed reports.
The Koi CBD Pain Relieving CBD Gel Roll-On is the perfect source of relief for those irritating everyday aches and pains. Infused with broad-spectrum CBD hemp oil and various other natural compounds, including organic aloe vera leaf juice, coconut oil, jojoba seed oil, and yellow beeswax, Koi CBD gel roll-on was literally designed for spot relief of these kinds of minor pain flare-ups.
The end result is a slightly floral, highly soothing concoction that conditions the skin as it warms and relieves pain. (In fact, avoid using Koi CBD Pain Relieving CBD Gel Roll-On too near sensitive areas such as the eyes or face.)
Use the gel as a roll-on for quick treatment of affected areas. It works much like one of those headache sticks; the roll-on gel works like a topical analgesic, right on the spot where you need to deliver quick pain relief.
We love Koi CBD gel roll-on for temporary relief of pain associated with backache, arthritis, strains, bruises, and sprains. Thanks to its roll-on applicator, it’s far less messy than most creams and balms, too, plus it contains 19 essential oils and menthol along with the CBD extract. The end result is awesome focused pain relief for small spots here and there.
There is also free shipping for orders over $35. Regular users and customers who refer get discounts!
MedTerra CBD Topicals Pain Cream
Medterra is another high-quality CBD brand all-around, that uses CO2 extraction to preserve beneficial hemp compounds and terpenes. Unlike so many other CBD producers, Medterra also sources hemp for all of its products from the best hemp in the USA.
Medterra is based in Kentucky, so although most hemp in the world is sourced from China, Russia, and South Korea, Medterra gets its plants from an American hot spot for quality. You know as a member of the Kentucky Department of Agriculture’s Industrial Hemp Pilot Program, Medterra adheres to strict guidelines.
Medterra’s Rapid Cooling Cream is designed to promote pain relief and joint support in particular by blending the power of CBD extract plus other organic botanicals. This topical cream cools on contact with arnica and menthol, and this awesome cooling sensation lasts for hours. You also get skin softening and soothing relief from ingredients such as aloe leaf juice and sunflower seed oil.
In two strengths of CBD, you can expect more than one level of pain relief: 250 mg or 750 mg of CBD in a 3.4 fl.oz. bottle. (The roll-on only comes in the 2oz size with 250mg of CBD.)
Medterra is also among the safest CBD topical options on the market for any user because each roll-on or pump bottle is made with 99.6 percent pure CBD isolate—meaning it is entirely THC-free. Even the “weaker” strength of this cooling cream offers a quick sense of relief that soothes joint and muscle pain away.
If that’s not enough for you, check out the Medterra website for some actual 5-star product reviews from verified customers. These people use Medterra CBD Rapid Cooling Cream to treat joint and muscle pain in elbows, knees, hips, and the lower back with amazing success.
NanocraftCBD Extra Strength CBD Roll-On Stick for Muscle and Joint Recovery
Since 2016, California-based brand Nanocraft CBD has been a unique force on the market due to its use of nanotechnology. The idea behind the practice is to break down CBD hemp oil into nano-sized particles, which could increase its absorption.
All Nanocraft CBD products including its topicals are made with broad-spectrum hemp extract, meaning they are THC-free. You can find their lab test results here.
Nanocraft sources organic, non-GMO hemp from Colorado, and extracts CBD from it with the industry-leading carbon dioxide method. But their nano-emulsion technology is one of the things that really stands out most for us. Reduced bioavailability can be an issue in many CBD products, and NanoCraft approaches this issue with science, breaking down its oils into nano-sized particles.
While it’s not clear what effect this has with a topical product, this is a lot of attention paid to how your body can get the most from this high-grade American hemp. Furthermore, just as a CBD topical alone, this is an effective CBD pain relief product.
Nanocraft CBD’s muscle & joint stick benefits from a specialized herbal formula, packed with botanicals whose pain-relieving and anti-inflammatory effects are science-backed: arnica, relieves inflammation; boswellia may reduce inflammation in the joints; capsaicin, which may reduce pain; ginger root, which may reduce muscle and joint pain; menthol, another analgesic; and willow bark, a pain reliever popular throughout history.
Nanocraft’s extra strength stick also contains 500 mg of broad-spectrum CBD at a cost of $0.12 per mg. This was a very effective spot pain treatment, especially after exercise.
Other NanoCraft CBD bonuses: all products come with a 30-day guarantee, and part of each purchase funds child-based initiatives. Look for unfiltered, real customer reviews on the Nanocraft website.
Joy Organics CBD Salve
Joy Organic’s works with the largest grower, manufacturer, and distributor of hemp in the country to source the raw plant compounds they use in their products. Joy, an actual person who founded the company, oversees quality control on every Joy Organics product. This hands-on approach to product development alongside the Joy Organics 7-step quality control, and proprietary extraction and purification processes, result in a pure, reliable CBD product.
Third-party lab test results reveal that along with CBD Joy Organics salve contains CBG and CBGa and a great blend of terpenes, including: myrcene, caryophyllene, pinene, limonene, linalool, ocimene, carene, geraniol, terpinene, terpinolene, and eucalyptol.
In other words, a super terpy mix from Joy Organics! You can smell it, too, in the fragrance: coconut, eucalyptus, lavender, beeswax, and other floral notes. For the level of quality you get from this topical, it is an excellent value for the cost, and the price is very reasonable.
We love Joy Organics salve most for back pain, and for massage. It’s a great choice because it’s less targeted than, say, a roll-on, but still gives you that focused relief you need from a hemp oil, with all those amazing anti-inflammatory properties.
Bonus: Joy Organics offers a 30-day money-back guarantee and free-3 day shipping to all US orders.
CBDfx Muscle & Joint CBD Hemp Cream
CBDfx has been a leading American CBD company since 2012 when it started. It is known for a fairly diverse product lineup which includes CBD oils, CBD gummies and tinctures, CBD drinks, CBD vape products, and even CBD pet products, along with CBD topicals. But since CBDfx is mostly popular due to its flavors, how does it stack up with topicals?
CBDfx uses Holland-grown hemp extracted with the gold standard extraction method, supercritical CO2. Results from third party testing of its products can be found on CBDfx’s website.
The CBDfx hemp-based CBD pain cream created for muscle aches and other pain is a nice change of pace. It has a light, fresh peppermint aroma and it isn’t even a little greasy.
Every 50 mL bottle contains 150 mg of CBD along with other natural organic analgesics such as menthol, caffeine, and white willow bark. The peppermint and menthol also offer a cooling sensation that can relieve irritation. As caffeine eases inflammation and stimulates blood flow, the overall effect is excellent.
Each bottle also contains plenty of natural ingredients to nourish and soothe the skin, such as organic Shea butter and beeswax. The CBD lotion penetrates the skin easily, allowing the CBD to work. We loved CBDfx hemp-based CBD pain cream for pain and swelling in the knees especially, and for achy neck and shoulders.
CBDfx’s CBD cream has a potency of 3 mg CBD per ml. You can choose either a 30 ml bottle with 100 mg of CBD or the 50 ml option with 150 mg of CBD. At $39.99, CBDfx is priced at $0.26 per mg of CBD.
Receptra Naturals Serious Relief + Arnica CBD hemp Targeted topical Stick
The Colorado-based Receptra Naturals CBD brand was founded in 2016, especially for athletes. Its product lineup includes CBD oils and pet products, but to us their topicals are among their best offerings. That focus on athletes and their specific aches and pains is why Receptra includes so many amazing, high-quality herbal ingredients alongside its CBD to relieve inflammation, such as turmeric.
The company uses only non-GMO, Colorado-grown, organic hemp that is third-party tested. It offers two excellent full-spectrum topicals: an all-purpose body butter and a higher-potency targeted topical.
Although the body butter is good, at 11 mg of CBD per ml, for more serious issues, Receptra’s targeted topical is our pick and the ideal choice. It comes in 1.25 ounce (400 mg CBD) and 2.5 ounce (800 mg CBD) sizes.
This multi-ingredient vegan formula is a skincare dynamo containing coconut oil, beeswax, and jojoba oil to nourish and moisturize; mango butter with its eczema fighting and skin-softening benefits; arnica oil and camphor to cool and relieve pain; organic vitamin E, an anti-aging compound; and jasmine and ylang ylang which not only smell wonderful, but also have antiseptic properties and soothe skin irritations. In other words, this is not just amazing for pain, but kind of the total package for skincare.
Aspen Green Pain Relief Body Balm
Aspen Green farms and processes its 100% USDA certified organic hemp in the same location—all in the company’s careful hands. Each 2 oz (60mL) container of Pain Relief Body Balm has about 600 mg of CBD, along with other phytocannabinoids such as CBDA, CBC, CBN, CBG, and just a small amount of THC—less than the .3 percent federally legal maximum for hemp.
This blend allows the Aspen Green pain relief body balm to deliver the benefits of a full spectrum of phytonutrient-rich extracts from the whole hemp plant without the psychoactive effects of THC. And the unique blend of therapeutic botanicals, cannabinoids, and terpenes in this balm provides a uniquely pleasant, yet strong and penetrating form of pain relief that penetrates deeply into bone, joints, ligaments, and muscle.
The terpene profile in this balm is even more impressive. In Aspen Green pain relief body balm you’ll find caryophyllene, bisabolol, guaiol, eucalyptol, limonene, humulene, myrcene, linalool, cymene, ocimene, pinene, and terpinolene. It smells as good as that suggests, and feels even better.
Our tester used this Pain Relief Body Balm to relieve upper body strain and aches. Within about 30 minutes of each use, the knots, tension, and achiness in general were all much better if not gone.
Can CBD Actually Help With Pain?
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about 50 million Americans or 20.4 percent of US adults were living with chronic pain as of 2016. It’s the endocannabinoid system (ECS) that controls the body’s ability to process pain, not to mention related issues such as inflammation, so attempting to treat pain with the phytocannabinoids of hemp plant that interact with our ECS, including CBD, is a natural choice.
CBD has anti-inflammatory, analgesic, antioxidant, anticonvulsant, neuroprotective, and sleep-enhancing effects. Research supports the use of CBD products in the treatment of acne and other skin issues, arthritis and joint inflammation and pain, scleroderma, inflammation from colitis, pain from fibromyalgia and multiple sclerosis, and both inflammation and pain management generally.
This may sound like CBD is too good to be true—but often, as the formulations of these CBD creams for pain and other CBD topicals prove, it’s the whole plant science that makes these treatments so effective. In other words, CBD works best when it works together with other hemp plant compounds. This is related to the entourage effect.
The hemp plant naturally contains at least trace amounts of THC as well as various other cannabinoids and terpenes. These natural plant components, including CBD, CBN, CBG, CBC, both loan THC some of its efficacy and take away some of its worst side effects. They work together well with CBD, too.
Here is a brief summary of how the cannabinoids and terpenes work, so you can better understand how these topicals might benefit you:
- Most research on CBDV is focused on seizures as with CBD, and the cannabinoids are thought to be similar in its effects in terms of the skin.
- CBC may prevent and treat inflammation and pain, and even treat acne.
- CBN may be a powerful antibacterial agent, and therefore can help keep the skin clean and smooth. It is also an anti-inflammatory.
- CBG may decrease inflammation from inflammatory bowel disease, and work as an antibacterial agent including against MRSA.
- CBDA is unusual because it interacts with the endocannabinoid system by inhibiting the COX-2 enzyme whereas most cannabinoids bind directly with either the CB1 or CB2 receptors. The COX-2 enzyme is associated with inflammation from injury and infection, so by blocking COX-2 enzymes, CBDA may offer pain and inflammation relief.
Terpenes are the chemical compounds in plants that create smells like pine or rose. Here are some of their effects that might be relevant to how effective a CBD topical is:
- Myrcene lends its fragrance to clove, cardamom, lemongrass, basil, mango, hops, and thyme and may have analgesic, antimicrobial, and anti-inflammatory benefits.
- Limonene lends aroma to fruits like limes, grapefruits, lemons, and oranges, and as well as plants like rosemary, mint, and juniper. This terpene may act as an anti-inflammatory.
- Caryophyllene produces the fragrances you find in black pepper, cinnamon, cloves, hops, oregano, rosemary, and other green, leafy vegetables and edible herbs. This terpene interacts directly with the body’s endocannabinoid system via the CB2 receptor to treat pain, act as an anti-inflammatory, repair tissue, act as an antibacterial, including for certain resistant strains, and act as an antimicrobial.
- Linalool and its lavender aroma offer antifungal/antimicrobial benefits, especially against Candida, and antibacterial benefits, both gram positive and gram negative.
- Pinene offers a piney smell as well as the aroma of basil, dill, parsley, or hops, but it also acts as an anti-inflammatory and a topical antiseptic.
- Humulene is found in hops, basil, black pepper, clove, coriander, ginger, ginseng, sage, and some varieties of wood. Humulene offers anti-inflammatory and antibacterial benefits.
- Nerolidol is found in ginger, jasmine, lavender, lemongrass, neroli, and tea tree, and offers antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits. Nerolidol may also improve the penetration ability of topical drugs.
- Bisabolol is commonly found in the South American candeia tree and German chamomile, and offers anti-inflammatory, analgesic, and antioxidant benefits.
- Guaiol is found in conifers and offers antimicrobial, antioxidant, and anti-inflammatory benefits.
- Valencene, found in citrus such as Valencia oranges, offers a number of benefits including anti-inflammatory and treatment of dermatitis.
- Phytol, found naturally in both cannabis and green tea as chlorophyll degrades, is well-studied as an antioxidant, an anti-inflammatory, an analgesic, and for its antinociceptive effects.
When all of the compounds such as cannabinoids and terpenes in hemp or cannabis work together, it’s called the entourage effect. The entourage effect enables the body to experience optimal benefits from the whole plant and all of its terpenes and cannabinoids, along with other botanicals in a particular formulation.
Remember, though, even full-spectrum CBD oil products cannot produce any “high” feelings or intoxication.
What To Look For in a CBD Cream
When you’re shopping for a CBD cream for pain, these are some of the most important considerations:
Brand reputation: Brand size and how long they’ve been in business sometimes matters, but smaller, newer brands are often bringing something fresh to the market. Check real customer reviews for details.
Quality control: Look for third-party lab testing results that are recent and easy to find and understand, and make sure they pass tests for heavy metals, pesticides, and molds, according to the COA.
Extraction method: CO2 extraction and ethanol extraction are optimal.
Hemp source: United States grown hemp is always first choice, followed by Dutch or something similar.
Strength/potency: This is about personal preference, but also value. Typically, topical hemp CBD products vary in milligrams of CBD per ounce.
Type of hemp extract: Full-spectrum CBD products or whole hemp plant extract products do contain THC, but less than 3 percent; broad-spectrum extract contains the full spectrum of cannabinoids except for THC; CBD isolate is pure CBD alone.
Other ingredients/overall experience: How will this react with your skin? Do you enjoy it?
Disadvantages of CBD Creams and Topicals
The biggest disadvantage to CBD topicals is that when you add up cost and lower bioavailability—and compared to both edibles/tinctures and vaping CBD, topicals have lower bioavailability—you end up with less CBD for more money. This is almost always true, unless you are specifically treating your skin, or a spot on a muscle or joint that is simply more amenable to that sort of treatment.
On a related note, it’s hard to effectively dose CBD topicals without a lot of trial and error. In summary:
- more useful for skin and pain treatment, less for mood, other issues
- reduced bioavailability
- difficult to calculate dosage
Advantages of CBD Topicals
The biggest reason to use topicals: to treat your skin! If you have a skin issue, there is nothing better. Another reason might be for a person with gastric issues or other reasons to avoid eating or otherwise consuming their CBD. Similarly, if smoking is off limits for you, topicals are likely safer.
CBD topicals and creams are also inconspicuous, convenient—and even easy to keep secret, if that’s your thing, on the go. And yes, these are nice products that will genuinely benefit your skin, too!
- strong, localized relief
- inconspicuous, convenient
- safer for non-smokers, non-vapers, and those with GI issues
- great for the skin
We hope these reviews of the best CBD creams for pain have been useful. We’re like you—we want more for our money, but we also want to try cool new products and find something that we love and that really works for us. These are the CBD topicals that we found worked best for pain and are really worth your money. Let us know what you think if you try them!