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Cannabidiol or CBD is a compound derived from processing many varieties of cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant. The most effective products derived from these compounds use a full processed spectrum of these compounds, combining their effects to create alternative health and food supplements that have become a rapidly growing industry in many areas of the world, including in the UK.
These products come in many varieties, including CBD oils, CBD gummies, and CBD creams, which is what we’ll be discussing in this buying guide. Their uses are often debated since the CBD industry is relatively new and still federally unregulated in most places (though some laws do apply, as discussed below).
However, both limited studies and anecdotal evidence suggest that CBD products have numerous mental and physical benefits, though more long-term studies are warranted. These benefits include pain relief related to muscle, joints, and nerves, stress relief, anti-inflammation, and even surprising benefits such as for your skin and heart.
Use this buying guide of the 5 best topical CBD creams available in the UK in 2020 to find a brand and a product that meets your needs. By knowing what benefits CBD cream can provide to your health and well-being, you can figure out what to look for in an extraction process, ingredients list, flavor, and delivery system. We did the research so you don’t have to.
The Best CBD Creams & Balms for Pain Relief (2021)
When looking at brands of CBD products, it helps to figure out if the manufacturing of the product is reputable (this includes the actual chemical recipe of the product itself).
The CBD topical cream from Blessed CBD is made from CBD processed using supercritical CO2 extraction, as all the best brands are. This purifies the concentrated sample of cannabinoids and removes the unwanted compounds from the product. This includes not only undesirable cannabinoids but also harmful chemical additives like pesticides, fertilizers, and heavy metals.
Blessed CBD’s topical CBD cream/balm is made especially to help relieve joint and muscle pain. It does this not only through the natural healing properties of CBD, which has been shown to reduce inflammation, but also through its infusions.
What’s in Blessed CBD’s Soothing CBD Cream?
In addition to the spectrum of CO2-extracted CBD in the cream (the concentration is 750mg CBD), the formula is also enhanced for muscle and joint pain relief with essential oils and compounds known to offer relief in those areas.
It is also infused with extracts of lavender oil and chamomile to provide topical relaxation of muscles and joints and also to create a pleasing aroma that further reduces the activity of your overactive nervous system to calm you down. None of these ingredients leave an oily or greasy print on your skin.
Who Should Use Blessed CBD’s CBD Balm?
The infusions unique to the Blessed CBD formula make the cream particularly beneficial to those suffering from chronic muscle or joint pain. The essential oils augment CBD’s natural stress-relieving properties and provide cooling, calming sensations that reduce inflammation in joints and can help calm down over tightened or shortened muscles related to chronic tension or nerve pain conditions.
- CO2 extraction method
- Essential oils infusion
- Great for muscle and joint pain
- Free delivery with every order
- Hundreds of positive customer reviews
- Only one strength available (750mg)
For the best CBD cream in the United Kingdom for pain relief, we highly recommend checking out Blessed CBD.
2. HempTouch Soothing CBD Skin Balm
HempTouch is a venerated provider of CBD oils and balms and this Soothing Skin Balm lives up to their name. This balm is refined of all skin irritants, including alcohols, artificial chemicals, and other additives. As a 100% natural product, this CBD skin balm soothes and hydrates skin while providing a layered approach to relaxation and pain relief.
While only available in one 50ml size, the HempTouch skin balm uses processed hemp extracts in conjunction with other vitamins and fatty acids to give you a nourishing, skin-friendly product.
What’s in HempTouch Soothing CBD Skin Balm?
In addition to the CBD, HempTouch Soothing Skin Balm contains raw hemp seed oil to moisturize layers of dry skin. The balm is also infused with a variety of essential oils for other beneficial effects.
These include German chamomile, an ancient reliever of inflammation-related external issues like psoriasis, acne, and sore throats. It also has a pleasant calming effect that can help with insomnia. In addition, German chamomile (also called blue chamomile) is packed with Vitamin B to moisturize and regenerate skin, heal irritations, and clear up itchy or dry patches.
Lavender is another infusion that helps with relaxation and insomnia, particularly when applied nearer the face or hands to be breathed in and absorbed. Lavender is also a natural antiseptic, meaning that it cleans up germs as well.
Lastly, HempTouch Soothing CBD Skin Balm contains a hint of marigold, which is an anti-inflammatory, skin healer, and a natural remedy for an upset stomach.
These oils and essential ingredients make the HempTouch skin balm safe for sensitive skin and preferable for those that want to take advantage of its topical effects on dry and irritated skin as well as its neurological benefits for those suffering from stress-related insomnia.
Who Should Use HempTouch Soothing CBD Skin Balm?
The oils in this skin balm are specially designed for people with dry or dehydrated skin. By encouraging collagen production in the applied area, this CBD skin balm can not only moisturize, but it can also appear to reverse the effects of aging by returning vitamins to your skin.
Due to its essential oil infusions, HempTouch Skin Balm is also useful for people who suffer from anxiety, depression, or stress-related insomnia. Oils like chamomile and lavender are known sleep aids that have been used for the purpose for thousands of years and give this balm its calming aroma and light sleep-inducing effect.
- Effective skin moisturizer and pain reliever
- Essential oil infusions aid stress reduction and sleep
- Great source of topical Vitamin B
- No menthol – more useful as a moisturizer than a joint pain reliever
- Based in the USA – shipping to the UK may take 1-3 weeks
3. Spruce Full Spectrum Topical CBD Salve
Spruce Full Spectrum Topical CBD Salve is a blend of cannabinoids and flavonoids that contains 300mg of full-spectrum hemp extract, along with other moisturizing ingredients. For those that are a little more experienced with these products and know they want something stronger, Spruce Topical CBD Salve may be the right brand for you.
All of Spruce’s products are evaluated and tested through third-party laboratories that ensure their products are of high quality. They publish the results of their vetting so that you can verify that Spruce CBD salves are free of pesticides, bacteria, additives, heavy metals, and other toxins that can make cheaper products harmful to use.
The results also display the exact concentration of CBD present in the samples, a fact which Spruce publishes on their website for full transparency with their prospective customers. Certificates of analysis are available to anyone that sends Spruce a message on their site. So if you’re particularly wary of fake or misadvertised products, or you are sensitive to additives and skin irritants, this amount of transparency should come as a big plus to you.
What’s in the Spruce Topical CBD Salve?
Spruce uses CO2-extracted lab-grade hemp in their 300mg topical cream. They also use olive fruit oil and shea butter as carriers and texturizers, improving the moisturizing effects of the salve and making it smoother and more even when applied to your skin.
Who Should Use Spruce Topical CBD Salve?
The high-quality hemp extracts in Spruce CBD products are refined for use in muscle recovery and pain related to chronic conditions. Applying Spruce to sore post-workout muscles or areas of chronic muscle and nerve irritation can alleviate symptoms temporarily and help you clear up some chronic issues.
- Organic, additive-free formula
- Tested, lab-grade CBD compounds
- Lab reports are available on request from the company
- Shea butter carrier makes for a smooth, comfortable application
- Not as acute as the menthol-based formulas
- Based in the USA – delivery to the UK costs extra
Skincare issues are particularly treatable with a good CBD cream like this salve from Endoca. Its long-lasting moisturizing effects and fast absorption make it ideal for giving your skin vital vitamins and minerals without risking any chemical additives.
Like the best brands, Endoca’s CBD compounds are refined by CO2 extraction to a THC content of less than 0.2%. It only uses 100% natural ingredients in its salve, which is a 750mg concentration of cannabidiol, one of the highest available.
This makes Endoca’s CBD Salve particularly viable for people with serious or chronic skin conditions. Its natural oil and shea butter composition gives your broken or unconditioned skin a great hydrating, preserving, and anti-aging effect by naturally stimulating your skin’s ability to produce collagen.
For specific areas of discomfort or skin irritation, Endoca’s CBD salve is organic and fast-acting, even on infants. Unlike some of the more aggressive additives in other salves (like menthol, for instance), none of the ingredients in Endoca CBD Salve will irritate your baby’s skin. If you’re looking for something cool and soothing for your baby’s diaper rash, this salve could be the answer.
Since all of its organic ingredients are food-safe, you don’t even have to worry if they get some in their mouths. Endoca CBD Salve is safe even then.
What’s in Endoca CBD Salve?
The concentrated CBD compounds retrieved through supercritical CO2 extraction are only part of the natural ingredients list that make Endoca CBD Salve a great source of moisturization and antioxidants.
These include Vitamins C and E, coconut oil and beeswax for smooth application, and natural fragrances like lemon peel oil, citral, and vanilla for even more comfort.
Endoca keeps their salves vegan, non-GMO, and free of gluten, artificial colors, chemical additives, and preservatives. Even the animal products (beeswax) are guaranteed on the company’s site to be cruelty-free.
Who Should Use Endoca CBD Salve?
Those who are looking for the most organic skincare products should use Endoca CBD Salve. This is particularly true if cruelty-free animal raising, non-GMOs, vegan products, and natural vitamins are important to you.
It’s so safe that you can use it on baby skin to help them with skin irritations like diaper rash.
It can technically be used by anyone, but its uniquely high CBD content makes it particularly useful for those with more serious chronic conditions related to their skin. This fast-absorbing salve can be used for everything from improving your skin complexion to reducing inflammation so it’s worth a try for anyone who can stomach the above-average price.
- Fast absorption
- All-natural, non-GMO, cruelty-free ingredients
- Shea butter-based cream for smooth application
- Safe for daily use, even for babies
- Slightly premium price
5. Strong CBD Balm by PharmaHemp UK
PharmaHemp UK has been in business for almost a decade. Their family-run Slovenian business has been providing effective CBD products from plants that they grow in their own backyard (so to speak). Their handpicked plants are advertised as being high quality because of the personalized selection process from farms in the company’s home country of Slovenia (and some in Croatia).
The full-spectrum CBD oil that results from this selection is inspected under the guidelines of the GDP and GAP. They also dry the leaves and flowers naturally at low temperatures, preserving the potent effects of the plant in their balm.
It’s called “strong” for a reason: the CBD content of PharmaHemp UK’s 30ml container of balm is 900mg, one of the most potent available on the market. In addition to fast-acting pain relief, their balm also serves as a moisturizer. It undergoes strict laboratory testing to ensure that its ingredients are natural and potent.
What’s in Strong CBD Balm?
The carrier oils in Strong CBD Balm add to its moisturizing and nourishing effects. It’s manufactured using a combination of Shea and cocoa butter to nourish the outer layers of your skin and apply easily and evenly. Grape seed and coconut oil also add moisturizing effects that help with adding vitamins and minerals to your skin.
Essences of rosemary and Madagascar Vanilla give PharmaHemp’s Strong CBD Balm a pleasant smell as well as additional relaxation and nutritional benefits. All of these flavors add to the skin-rejuvenating effects of Strong CBD Balm.
As with any health supplement, it’s just as important to ask what is not in a product as what is. PharmaHemp UK prides itself on handpicking the plants, as mentioned, so you can probably guess that they’re particular about what goes into the batches as well.
They don’t add any toxins, chemical additives, heavy metals, fertilizers, pesticides, scents, dyes, or herbicides. They pride themselves on an organic and uniquely potent formula. They ask a premium price for the extra work to make it so pure and refined, but many customers since 2011 have affirmed that it’s more than worth it.
Who Should Use Strong CBD Balm?
This non-toxic product can be used by anyone, though it’s particularly useful for people suffering from skin rashes and irritation of varying intensity. The fast-acting moisturizing and pain-relieving formula is best suited for people with serious ongoing conditions that want fast relief.
- Completely organic CBD compounds
- Handpicked plants in closely overseen farms
- Non-toxic products with no additives
- Strong, fast-acting product with an industry-leading CBD content
- Above average price
Unlike with CBD oil tinctures, which are usually sold in 10ml bottles of varying dosage strengths, the amount of CBD cream you get per package factors heavily into which brands are a better value for you.
There are other factors we considered when comparing these brands. The quality of the CBD ingredients was paramount and based on each brand’s manufacturing reports and the reputation of their brands. By looking through reviews, we can also gauge customer satisfaction based on people’s reactions to the ingredients, the quality of the customer service, and the general perception of the product’s value vs the price.
In this guide, we’ve reviewed the 5 best brands of CBD cream/balm available for purchase in the UK in 2020 including their ingredients, manufacturing process, general reception, brand reputation, and special features. We looked at each brand based on these main criteria:
- Plant Source
US-grown hemp is the most reputable, however, some brands pride themselves on locally grown plants in Europe. Regulations tend to be more stringent in the US farms, so hemp sourced from those farms has a slightly higher chance of being pure.
- Testing procedures
Any brand of CBD oil product you buy should undergo testing procedures conducted by third-party laboratories to verify the potency of the plants and the absence of any chemical additives.
Supercritical CO2 extraction is the main process used to isolate CBD compounds and make the most multi-functional pain relief products. Ethanol extraction is a less often used method but is also viable.
Since food and health supplements are not federally regulated in terms of dosage, you need to match the strength of your supplement of choice to your own needs. The listed CBD percentage is in milligrams per ounce and determines the potency of the cream.
- THC content
THC, the psychoactive compound in conventional marijuana, cannot be legally produced in CBD oil products at a percentage of higher than 0.2% in the UK. To make sure you don’t get an unwanted high or fail an important drug test, make sure the CBD brand you buy guarantees low THC content (all those on this list do).
Some CBD companies have been around for a while and others are cropping up to compete in a new industry. By reviewing the reception of each brand and how people benefit from each product, you can sort out the reputable products from the cheap cash-grabs.
We’ve researched these criteria and compared each of these top 5 brands based on them to help you figure out which best suits your needs. Resources such as HerbMighty and BuyCBD.co.uk may also help for the best CBD oil reviews, guides and comparisons.
FAQs and Buying Guide on CBD Topical Creams
In order to make the right decision based on your needs, you need to know who CBD creams work in terms of their health benefits, how to use them, and how long they last. Even if you know that a CBD oil product checks off a lot of the needs of your symptoms, you may not know if CBD cream specifically is right for you.
Use this FAQ and Buying Guide to sort out your preferences and the qualities of each product that appeal to you.
What is CBD cream?
Many products contain CBD, though the carriers differ. In the case of balms, creams, and topical salves, a substance like olive oil, hemp oil, or shea butter is used to thicken and bind the cream so that it can be absorbed into your skin.
This means that for most topical CBD creams, the pain-relieving, relaxing, or sleep-inducing effects of the cannabinoids are just as often desired as the basic skin repair and moisturizing effects of other shea butter-based creams.
What is the difference between topical creams and CBD products?
Most CBD products like capsules or edibles are taken orally, giving your body direct access to its neurological benefits. Topical CBD creams, however, are massaged into your skin, giving you ready access to fast-acting, easy to use CBD supplements.
Unlike capsules, creams only work on one area, of course. However, this means that their effect is concentrated. If you are seeking out CBD products for pain relief related to a specific athletic injury or a chronic illness inflicting a certain part of your body, CBD-based creams might be what you need, since their effect is concentrated.
Additionally, unlike CBD oil tinctures, CBD topical creams can be used by children with supervision, so long as the parent checks to make sure that the cream was tested by a third-party for purity from chemical additives and dyes, refined to ensure 0.2% or less THC content, and contains nothing that their child may be sensitive to.
With the right research beforehand, CBD cream can even be used on babies, particularly those created with shea butter or olive oil. Very few side effects have been reported with topical CBD creams and few are more serious than a rash.
However, to be safe, particularly with small children, apply a small amount to their arm and wait an hour. If no adverse effects can be seen in that time, then it should be safe to use.
What are the benefits of CBD Creams?
People have been using cannabinoids in one form or another for thousands of years for pain and anxiety relief. With refinements in manufacturing and processing technology, CBD can be used even more effectively for these and other purposes.
Though many health effects have been reported by health organizations and individuals, few long-term studies have been conducted to officially verify the use of CBD as a medication. For now, it is simply a well-documented food and health supplement sold unofficially for the purposes listed. Though more long-term testing would help discover the full benefits of CBD products, the main ones that draw people to use them include:
- Relief from pain related to muscles, nerves, or joints
- Anxiety/stress relief
- Aid with sleep
- Antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects
- Skin moisturization
- Acne and eczema treatment
What side effects are associated with CBD Topicals?
While there aren’t many side effects associated with the use of CBD topical creams, they are possible, particularly if you’re sensitive to one of the secondary ingredients. Since many of these creams use essential oils to refine their aromas and enhance their effects, check thoroughly through the ingredients of any cream you plan on buying before you apply it to your skin.
This is why it’s important to find a company that verifies that no toxins, heavy metals, additives, or fertilizers are used in the production of the products. Without verification from a third-party lab that the CBD cream was made from organic, refined ingredients, you should reconsider buying the products in case harmful side effects occur.
In general, topical creams are designed to be applied and absorbed through your skin. Do not take a topical cream orally under any circumstances. Despite many of these creams being made from food-grade materials, it is still not designed to be digested.
Some creams are safer than others, and in small amounts can even be accidentally ingested (such as by a baby). However, even ingesting a modest amount of topical cream can be toxic so consult a physician right away if it happens.
How does CBD cream help with pain?
Your skin has its own endocannabinoid system that binds to the CBD for absorption. This affects the signals that your neurotransmitters send to your brain regarding the pain related to chronic illnesses like muscle strains, arthritis, and nerve pain conditions. This effect has a pronounced cooling sensation in creams containing menthol.
Most areas of the body can be massaged with CBD cream for pain-alleviating effects. By acting as a natural alternative to pain medications, CBD can allow you to reduce inflammation, hydrate your skin, and temporarily soothe your pain without harmful side effects.
Chronic illnesses like arthritis and multiple sclerosis benefit most from using these creams. Check with your doctor if this could be part of your pain relief regimen.
Is CBD legal in the UK?
CBD has not always been legal in the UK. Recent laws have permitted it to be sold so long as THC, the psychoactive component of hemp that gives marijuana users a “high,” has been filtered out to 0.2% or less.
This is why it’s essential to research CBD products before purchasing since THC content is not always filtered out of cheaper or unregulated products and may cause issues for you with drug tests, which can be disastrous for people in public service fields, education, or on parole.
This is more common in oral CBD supplements than with topical creams, but it is still essential to cover your bases and review both the ingredients and the verified testing procedures before using a new CBD product.
How do I apply CBD cream?
CBD cream is a user-friendly delivery method for getting CBD into your body. You should massage it into the intended area with clean hands until it starts to feel dry. This means that your skin is absorbing the cream.
If you are applying this topical cream for pain, it may take several minutes to feel any effects. Thankfully, the products we reviewed on this list are all non-greasy and won’t leave an oily stain on your hands, skin, and clothes. Remember that if you buy cheaper or unregulated products, you may not be so lucky.
It’s wise to wash your hands again after using CBD cream, just so you don’t accidentally get any in your mouth or eyes. Some (particularly those based on shea butter) are mostly harmless, but the creams that contain menthol for muscle cooling effects are eye irritants.
How long do the effects last?
After a few minutes of gentle massage, your skin should absorb the cream. Depending on the CBD concentration of the brand you’re using, it may take more or less time to start feeling the effects.
However, most creams suggest that pain-relieving, cooling, or soothing effects should be seen within 10 to 30 minutes. The potency and content of the topical more radically changes the length of time it lasts, however, with some creams lasting an hour or two and others sustaining their soothing effects for up to 6 hours.
Since they are intended to be used daily, you shouldn’t worry about addiction, dependency, or diminishing effects. If you start to feel uncomfortable or itchy again, you can reapply the cream as much as you need.
Not all CBD creams are perfectly safe for you because of the lack of regulation in the industry and the corners some companies cut in terms of cost, ingredients, and extraction procedures.
This is why we made sure that the products reviewed on this list all adhere to safety guidelines, contain no dangerous additives, and can be used as often as you need to get their stress and pain-relieving effects.
CBD Cream UK: The Takeaway
CBD creams, lotions and topicals are quickly becoming one of the most popular applications of a growing industry in the UK. The brands reviewed here follow strict guidelines in terms of harvesting and manufacturing the CBD, undergoing third-party testing, and posting these results for their customers to verify so that they know exactly what they’re buying.
The benefits of CBD cream on people suffering from chronic pain, anxiety, skin, or sleep-related disorders has made them a growing solution to problems associated with inflammation. Use this buying guide to find the cream that fits your needs in terms of the health benefits they offer.
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