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10 Best CBD Creams and Lotions for Pain, Arthritis & Aches

Looking for the best CBD cream for pain, arthritis, achy joints, or muscles should be easy with this list of the top-rated CBD creams to buy in 2024.

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CBD creams and lotions have become an effective alternative for people looking to use CBD without the need to ingest it.

Unlike oral CBD products that work systemically, topical CBD applications allow users to target specific areas of discomfort. 

This article delves into the best CBD creams and lotions for alleviating pain, offering a comprehensive review of their benefits and uses.

Potential Benefits of CBD Creams and Lotions

CBD creams for pain are increasingly sought after for their potential to relieve various types of discomfort, including arthritis, back pain, muscle soreness and eczema. Some of the key benefits of CBD pain creams include:

  • Localized pain relief: Topical creams help you apply CBD directly to the affected area. This can provide targeted relief for conditions such as arthritis and back pain.
  • Anti-inflammatory properties: There is data suggesting that CBD may reduce inflammation, which is a common cause of muscle and joint pain.
  • Reduced muscle soreness: If you’re an athlete or an active person, you may find that CBD creams reduce your muscle soreness and improve your recovery time.
  • Skin health: There is evidence to suggest that CBD-infused lotions and creams may improve skin conditions like eczema and psoriasis.

It's important to note that while these potential benefits are promising, they still require further clinical review and are not approved by the FDA. Nonetheless, the existing preliminary data indicates that CBD creams could offer significant pain relief and other health benefits.

Now, let’s take a closer look at the best CBD creams for pain, arthritis and more.

How We Chose Our CBD Creams and Lotions for Pain

Third-Party Lab Testing

Third-party lab testing is right at the top of our selection criteria. This kind of testing is non-negotiable as it provides customers with reliable information and peace of mind about the CBD products they're using. 

We only recommend brands that ensure their CBD products undergo rigorous testing by independent, ISO 17025-compliant third-party labs. 

This testing confirms:

  • The types of cannabinoids and terpenes present
  • The absence of harmful substances such as heavy metals, pesticides, fungi and solvents
  • The accurate levels of CBD and terpenes within the product

Moreover, we meticulously vet the labs performing these third-party tests, giving preference to brands that avoid in-house testing.

Customer Reviews

We at the Observer value customer feedback. It provides us with valuable insight into the real-world effectiveness of a vendor's CBD creams and lotions for pain relief. 

While searching through customer reviews, we looked at the following: 

  • Efficacy and results: We prioritized products that consistently received high praise for their ability to reduce pain and improve quality of life.
  • User experience: Positive feedback regarding the product's texture, scent and absorption rate.
  • Safety: The fewer adverse reactions reported, the better.
  • Value for money: We gave the thumbs up to products whose reviews mentioned long-lasting effects and overall value for money.

Quality of Ingredients

Quality CBD products require quality, natural ingredients. But it doesn’t just stop there. High-quality CBD creams for pain also benefit from other key ingredients such as:

  • Camphor
  • Menthol
  • Aloe vera
  • Shea butter
  • Arnica

Many of these ingredients possess anti-inflammatory and analgesic that combine for effective, long-lasting pain relief.

Blind Product Testing

Brand bias, whether conscious or unconscious, is real. We take every possible step to ensure we maintain complete impartiality during our vetting process. This includes blind product testing, a process that helps us remove identifying features—such as packaging, brand information and preconceived ideas—from the products during testing to avoid bias.

Brand Reputation and Transparency

A company with a long-standing reputation will almost always get a thumbs-up from customers. And we agree, especially if they carry a clean record, free from unsubstantiated health claims and warning letters from regulatory authorities.

But some companies haven't been around long enough to build such a reputation. Does that mean we should ignore them? Absolutely not.

This is where transparency becomes just as important. We identified brands that provide clear and accessible information about their sourcing, manufacturing and testing processes.

This openness is just as important as reputation when fostering consumer trust. 

We've Also Dug A Little Deeper Into The Top Brands

  • Lotion absorption and texture
  • Scent
  • Which labs tested their products and their accreditation
  • Source of hemp
  • Extraction method
  • Company certifications – GMP, ISO, FDA, etc.
  • Overall pricing and value for money
  • Whole plant CBD or CBD isolate
  • Return policy and guarantee

Observer's Best CBD Creams and Lotions for Pain

CBD topicals have come a long way since vendors first introduced them into the market. But like all products, some are better than others.

After much research and consideration, we've compiled a list of high-quality CBD lotions and creams we can vouch for.

Here are our favorite CBD creams for pain in 2024.

1. Colorado Botanicals

visit colorado botanicals

Colorado Botanicals

Company Highlights

Colorado Botanicals continues to be the gold standard in the CBD industry since its inception in 2017. 

The company exemplifies everything we at the Observer appreciate in a CBD vendor. 

From using FDA-registered ISO 9001 facilities to leveraging state-of-the-art extraction methods according to Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP), Colorado Botanicals uses every resource at its disposal to create CBD products that meet the highest standards possible.

For these reasons, Colorado Botanicals takes the top spot on our list of the best CBD creams and lotions for pain.

Why We Love Colorado Botanicals CBD Creams for Pain

Knowing the amount of time, effort and capital a company invests in producing quality products goes a long way toward building consumer trust.

One of the many reasons we hold Colorado Botanicals in such high regard is because of their unique manufacturing process.

Proprietary Separation Purification Process

Unlike many other CBD vendors in the industry, Colorado Botanicals uses a proprietary separation purification process during manufacturing.

By administering precise, low-heat techniques, they can retain additional beneficial cannabinoids (CBG, CBC, CBN, CBDV, CBE, CBL, CBT), flavonoids, and natural terpenes while removing impurities from their CBD extracts.

Colorado Botanicals Creams for Pain Relief

Now, on to the creams themselves. Love is a strong word, but we mean it when we say we love Colorado Botanicals CBD creams for pain relief.

Our absolute favorite is their world-class Alleviate CBD Cream, an icy/hot gel that absorbs quickly into the skin. This product is, by far, the best we've tried. It features a natural menthol scent that dissipates within 10 minutes, so there’s no lingering aroma to worry about.

Aside from boasting 500mg (2oz bottle) or 1,000mg (4oz bottle) of broad-spectrum CBD extract, the Alleviate Gel contains a host of other natural powerful ingredients for pain relief, including:

  • Menthol: Provides a dual cooling and warming effect that reduces joint and muscle discomfort.
  • Organic Arnica: Known for its ability to erase bruises and ease inflammation.
  • Organic Aloe Vera: Known for its anti-inflammatory, anti-viral and anti-bacterial properties
  • Tea Tree Oil: Fights inflammation, promotes healing, prevents infection and reduces irritation.
  • Camphor: Effective at reducing itching and irritation while soothing joints and muscles.

In addition to the Alleviate Cream, Colorado Botanicals also offers their 400mg Relief Broad Spectrum CBD Cream and the 800mg Relief Broad Spectrum CBD Cream. Both are formulated with a unique blend of antioxidant-rich ingredients, such as Organic Aloe Vera, Organic Argan Oil and Organic Rosemary Leaf Extract, to offer targeted and localized benefits for pain and soreness.

Product Highlights (Alleviate Gel)

  • CBD Type: Broad spectrum
  • Bottle Size(s): 2oz or 4oz bottle
  • Total CBD: 500mg or 1,000mg per bottle
  • Other Key Ingredients: Menthol, Organic Arnica, Tea Tree Oil, Organic Aloe Vera, Camphor
  • Extraction Method: Low-temperature CO2 extraction
  • Return Policy: 60-day free returns
  • More Info: Non-greasy, non-sticky, non-staining, paraben-free, fragrance-free, phthalate-free

Customer Reviews

Currently, Colorado Botanicals has over 3,000 verified reviews across several independent platforms, one of which is TrustPilot, where they boast a 4.6-star rating.

TrustPilot user, Akhil Scott, had this to say about the company's creams: "Been using this CBD gel balm for my neck these past weeks and It definitely helps with relieving the pain...Definitely would recommend."

Bekki Heckman, another TrustPilot user, echoed this sentiment: " I recently purchased the Strawberry Gummies and the 400mg Relief Cream to help with my recovery from total knee joint replacement therapy. I have used the cream after my physical therapy sessions for pain relief and then again at bedtime to help me sleep better...The two products have worked very well for me, and I think others will find them helpful as well.'

Pros

  • Superior purification methods
  • FDA-registered facility
  • Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) and ISO 9001 certified
  • 60-day free return policy
  • Easily accessible and detailed third-party lab tests
  • Non-GMO, vegan and gluten-free
  • Rapid absorption and quick relief
  • High-quality, natural ingredients
  • Pleasant, non-lingering scent
  • Multiple size and strength options

Cons

  • Premium pricing compared to some competitors

2. cbdMD

visit cbdmd

cbdMD

Company Highlights

Founded in 2015 with headquarters in Charlotte, North Carolina, cbdMD is a proudly American company certified by the U.S. Hemp Authority. Add to that a GMP certification courtesy of NSF International, and you have a CBD vendor with products backed by rigorous production quality standards.

According to the company's website, cbdMD sources its hemp exclusively from U.S.-based farms that send their produce to International Organization for Standardization (ISO)-certified labs for third-party testing. 

These ingredients are sent for further vetting at GMP-certified, FDA-registered manufacturers and then sent for third-party testing carried out by SC Laboratories.

Why We Love cbdMD CBD Creams for Pain

“What's on the label is what's in the bottle. No artificial fillers or unnecessary ingredients.” That’s what you’ll find on the cbdMD’s about page, and we couldn’t be happier to see a company push a no-nonsense approach to transparency.

cbdMD’s 5oz CBD Recover Airless Pump is a broad-spectrum cream available in three strengths: 750mg, 1,500mg and 3,000mg.

What stands out for us about this cream is its extensive list of ingredients that can tackle pain from multiple angles. These include:

  • Hemp extract: Contains 98% naturally occurring phytocannabinoids such as CBD, CBG and CBN.
  • Histamine dihydrochloride: An FDA-approved active ingredient that provides temporary pain relief by dilating blood vessels and creating a gentle warming sensation.
  • Arnica montana extract: A widely recognized herbal remedy for pain.
  • Methylsulfonylmethane (MSM): Supports joint health and is commonly included in pain relief formulations.
  • Coconut oil, Shea butter, and argan oil: Moisturizing ingredients that have additional soothing effects.

Product Highlights

  • CBD type: Broad Spectrum
  • Bottle size(s): 5oz
  • Total CBD: 750mg, 1,500mg and 3,000mg
  • Other key ingredients: Histamine dihydrochloride, arnica montana extract, MSM, coconut oil, shea butter and argan oil
  • Extraction method: Supercritical CO2 purification
  • Return policy: 60-day money-back guarantee
  • More info: Free from artificial perfumes and dyes.

Customer Reviews

Most of the reviews for cbdMD’s cream come from verified buyers on the site. While we don’t view this as ideal, the general consensus is that customers are happy with the result.

One verified buyer, Kim B., was looking for a product to relieve vascular pain. While she was skeptical at first, she reported that the cream “Totally relieves pain for hours.”

Michael H., another verified buyer, was also particularly pleased with the cream, saying: “This works great, much better then the roll on, and getting it in higher dose surely makes a difference.”

Pros

  • High-quality, U.S.-sourced hemp
  • Broad spectrum CBD with multiple cannabinoids
  • No artificial perfumes or dyes
  • Stringent third-party testing and transparency
  • Effective pain relief with soothing natural ingredients
  • Free shipping on orders over $59.99

Cons

  • Lack of information on whether hemp is organic
  • Some users may find the warming sensation too intense

3. Joy Organics

visit joy organics

Joy Organics

Company Highlights

One of our favorite, family-owned businesses finds itself on another of our “best of” lists.

Joy Organics, was established in 2018, shortly before the 2018 Farm Bill—which legalized the regulated production of hemp—came into existence.

Despite it being a fair bit younger than many other CBD brands, Joy Organics has made a substantial impact on customers and the CBD industry as a whole.

We admire this company's commitment to delivering natural wellness through regenerative farming, carbon-neutral shipping, and the use of recyclable materials. Take a minute to peruse their website, and you’ll notice how important these foundational principles are to them.

We also appreciate how willing Joy Organics is to stand behind their products. The company offers a fantastic 90-day money-back guarantee and one of the most flexible return policies in the industry.

Additionally, they provide special discounts for veterans, teachers, students, first responders, medical workers and those who need financial assistance.

Why We Love Joy Organics CBD Creams for Pain

Joy Organics offers its customers two creams: a cool menthol CBD Sports Cream and an unscented, seemingly all-purpose CBD Cream.

Because this list discusses creams centered around pain relief, we were a bit more interested in what their CBD Sports Cream had to offer.

The cream contains 1,000mg of broad-spectrum CBD, which you can apply using a handy 4oz pump container. It also contains a combination of camphor, menthol, aloe vera and several essential oils for a cool, soothing effect that may also promote muscle recovery.

The cream can be applied before, during, or after physical activity to help alleviate discomfort.

Product Highlights

  • CBD type: Broad-spectrum
  • Bottle size(s): 4oz pump container
  • Total CBD: 1,000mg
  • Other key Ingredients: Menthol, camphor, aloe
  • Extraction Method: Proprietary CO2 extraction
  • Return Policy: Flexible, 90-day money-back guarantee
  • More info: Vegan and third-party lab-tested

Customer Reviews

We were unsurprised to find mostly positive reviews. 

Tamara, a Trustpilot user had this to say about Joy Organics products and overall customer service:  "I use or have used nearly every product. I love the gummies, Oil and creams! I've been a customer for over two years now and regularly share/recommend to family and friends. Any time I needed to reach out, I always receive a prompt, kind response. If you have any questions or concerns, definitely ask, you will be heard! All my orders arrive safely and well packaged. This family owned company has changed my life and I'm forever grateful!"

Pros

  • Premium-grade ingredients ensure consistency and quality.
  • The cooling effect from menthol and camphor aids in muscle recovery.
  • Vegan and third-party lab tested.
  • 0.0% THC ensures no psychoactive effects.
  • Convenient four-ounce pump bottle for on-the-go use.
  • Offers a 90-day money-back guarantee, showcasing consumer trust and product confidence.
  • Medically-reviewed

Cons

  • Only one size is available

4. PlusCBD Oil

visit pluscbd oil

+PlusCBD

Company Highlights

While not a mainstay on our “best of” lists, PlusCBD has once again caught our attention with their CBD lotions for pain relief. Since then, PlusCBD’s product catalog has grown tremendously, with the vendor offering everything from CBD topicals and oils to softgels and gummies.

The company was founded in 2014, and so is certainly no newcomer to the CBD industry. 

Currently, PlusCBD continues to operate as a subsidiary of CV Sciences, a company with extensive experience in dietary supplements. What really caught our attention about this relationship is the impressive hand that CV Sciences has had in cannabidiol research. It’s 

Another particular point of pride for the company is their involvement in hemp advocacy from their inception. 

According to the vendor’s website, “In 2014, we donated the first hemp seeds to be harvested in the U.S. after nearly a century of prohibition.” Several years later, the company became a founding board member of the U.S. Hemp Roundtable, a hemp advocacy group.

Why We Love PlusCBD Oil CBD Creams for Pain

We’re pleased to see that PlusCBD Oil offers a diverse range of CBD topicals specifically formulated to provide relief from minor aches and pains.

Two such topicals are their CBD Pain Relief Penetrating Cream (2oz) and CBD Pain Relief Muscle Cream (4oz). The Pain Relief Penetrating Cream contains 1,000mg of broad-spectrum CBD, while the Pain Relief Muscle Cream contains 500mg of CBD per 2oz, for a total of 1,000mg.

Both products contain an additional mixture of key ingredients, such as menthol and camphor. The Penetrating Cream appears to have a stronger combination of both (11% camphor, 10% menthol) compared to the Muscle Cream (5% camphor, 4% menthol).

Additionally, both creams are free from artificial dyes, fragrances, phthalates, sulfates, parabens and PEGs and carry a 90-day guarantee.

Product Highlights

  • CBD type: Broad-spectrum
  • Bottle size(s): 2oz and 4oz
  • Total CBD: Both products contain 1,000mg 
  • Other key ingredients: Menthol, Camphor
  • Extraction method: CO2 extraction
  • Return policy: 90-day return policy
  • More info: No pesticides, fragrances, dyes, sulfates, phthalates, PEGs or parabens. Non-GMO, gluten-free, vegan-friendly

Customer Reviews

Right off the bat, we were very impressed by PlusCBD's 4.3-star rating on Trustpilot from over 4,400 reviews. Honestly, very few companies can claim to have that many independent reviews.

Customer sentiment continues to be overwhelmingly positive, with Trustpilot user Tom D., finding it particularly helpful for his arthritis: "I have been using this product for some time and it helps. The arthritis pain can be more than brutal and I take no other medication for pain relief other than this product and a topical cbd cream. Has provided very good results."

Pros

  • Free from artificial dyes, fragrances, phthalates, sulfates, parabens and PEGs
  • Uses CO2 extraction
  • Third-party tested for safety and consistency
  • Effective for muscle and joint pain relief
  • Contains natural ingredients with no harmful additives
  • 90-day return policy

Cons

  • May not be effective for severe pain or injuries

5. CBDfx

visit cbdfx

CBDfx

Company Highlights

CBDfx began operating in California in 2014. At the time of writing, the company boasts a distribution network that spans over 25,000 points across 21 countries. 

Unlike some competitors, CBDfx does not cultivate its own hemp. Generally speaking, we like vendors to cultivate their own hemp. However, CBDfx still ticks this box as it sources organically grown, non-GMO hemp crops and processes them at Current Good Manufacturing Practices (CGMP) facilities, ensuring a high standard of production.

Why We Love CBDfx CBD Creams for Pain

CBDfx has an outstanding range of CBD topicals ranging from balm sticks and massage oils, to bath bombs and creams.

The company has managed to cover all its bases, offering two distinct CBD lotions for pain relief:

  • CBG + CBD Lotion for Muscle & Joint: Heating Formula
  • CBD Cream For Muscle & Joint: Cooling Formula

CBDfx’s CBG + CBD Lotion for Muscle & Joint: Heating Formula provides pain relief with a warming sensation that helps loosen muscles. The cream combines broad-spectrum CBD with cannabigerol (a minor cannabinoid) in a balanced 1:1 ratio. Additionally, it includes ingredients like white willow bark (known for its analgesic properties), caffeine, tea tree oil, vanillin and camphor, which work together to alleviate everyday aches and pains.

For those who prefer a cooling effect, the company offers their cooling Muscle & Joint option. This cream incorporates menthol alongside broad-spectrum CBD, white willow bark and caffeine to provide icy relief for sore muscles and joints.

 Both formulations are made with organic hemp and are vegan and cruelty-free.

Customer Reviews

A quick look will show you that the cooling formula cream far outweighs the heating formula in popularity. The cooling formula has 771 verified buyer reviews compared to a mere 79 for the heating formula. That said, both creams appear to have received overwhelmingly positive feedback, with many customers citing their ability to help with joint and muscle pain.

Dorothy  C., a verified buyer on the site, found the creams particularly helpful for foot pain, saying:  “I have neuropathy in my feet. I put the cream on once in the morning and once at night. It helps me sleep through the night. In the am when i put it on, it helps me get through the rest of the day. Tried a lot of creams but this helps the best.”

We found this particularly encouraging to hear, considering there isn’t much clinical evidence to support CBD lotions for neuropathic relief. 

Product Highlights

  • CBD type: Broad-spectrum
  • Bottle size(s): 1.7oz
  • Total CBD: 1,000mg and 3,000mg 
  • Other key ingredients: White willow bark, camphor, menthol, and CBG
  • Extraction method: Clean CO2 oil extraction
  • Return policy: 60-day return policy
  • More info: Medically reviewed, organic hemp, vegan and cruelty-free

Pros

  • Two formulations to choose from
  • Includes natural relievers like white willow bark, caffeine, tea tree oil, and vanillin
  • Made with organic hemp, vegan & cruelty-free
  • Available in two potencies
  • Medically reviewed

Cons

  • Higher price point compared to some other brands
  • Some users may find the menthol scent in the cooling formula strong

6. CBDistillery

visit cbdistillery

CBDistillery

Company Highlights

CBDistillery are a company that have become synonymous with our “best of” CBD articles, and with almost 20,000 reviews, it’s easy to understand why. 

Founded in 2016 by a group of Colorado natives, the company quickly rose to prominence and became one of the leaders in the CBD industry.

Like many of the vendors on our list, CBDistillery only uses non-GMO hemp and sends their products for rigorous third-party testing.

CBDistillery has a U.S. Hemp Authority certification. It’s also encouraging that their parent company, Balanced Health Botanicals LLC, has an A+ accreditation with the Better Business Bureau (BBB).

Why We Love CBDistillery CBD Creams for Pain

CBDistillery don’t appear to sell any CBD creams. However, they do offer two different CBD topicals: a 500mg CBD Balm and a roll-on 1,000mg Isolate CBD Relief Stick. 

The 500mg CBD Balm is formulated with high-quality full-spectrum CBD, meaning there is some THC present. We understand this may not be to everyone's liking, particularly customers who are concerned about THC showing up in a drug test. Rest assured, topical THC products do not show up in blood or urine.

We suspect CBDistillery has added THC to the formula because the product is a balm. Balms help nourish and protect the skin, and topical THC has anti-inflammatory, anti-itching, analgesic, wound healing and antiproliferative effects on the skin.

The balm also boasts an improved, non-greasy formula that absorbs quickly and is best applied after exercise or a long day of being on your feet.

The 1000mg CBD Muscle Relief Stick combines 1,000mg of pure CBD isolate with menthol to soothe and cool distressed. Its roll-on application makes it mess-free, so you can apply it whenever you’d like without fuss. 

In addition to CBD, the balm and roll-on stick harness natural, high-quality ingredients such as shea butter, aspen bark, willow bark, arnica flower oil and more.

Customer Reviews

We found it a little odd that CBDistillery has only five reviews on Trustpilot. This is in stark contrast to the almost 20,000 verified buyer reviews on their website. Though, in fairness, the website reviews are incredibly positive.

The CBD Balm is undoubtedly the more popular of the two products. It has 596 reviews, compared to 190 reviews for the roll-on stick.

Both products have received compliments for their effectiveness and unobtrusive smell. Shirley H., a verified buyer, had this to say: “I discovered this balm a couple of years ago. My hands ache daily, and I thought I'd try this. This product doesn't smell bad, no heavy menthol, so I can use it before I go somewhere and not worry that the salve will overpower anyone I encounter. Great product, will continue to use it.”

Product Highlights

  • CBD type: Full-spectrum and broad-spectrum
  • Bottle size(s): 1oz balm and 2.5oz relief stick
  • Total CBD: 500mg per jar for the balm and 1000mg per relief stick
  • Other key ingredients: Shea butter, eucalyptus leaf oil, arnica flower oil, willow bark extract, aspen bark extract and aloe extract
  • Extraction method: CO2 extraction
  • Return policy: 60-Day Money-Back Guarantee
  • More info: U.S.-grown hemp, 100% natural ingredients

Pros

  • U.S.-grown hemp
  • Full-spectrum and broad-spectrum options
  • 60-day money-back guarantee
  • 100% natural ingredients

Cons

  • No actual creams as of yet
  • Users may be put off the balm because of its minor THC content

7. Charlotte's Web

visit charlotte's web

Charlotte's Web

Company Highlights

Charlotte's Web is a company that many—including us at the Observer—hold close to their hearts.

Their storied history began in 2011, originating from the efforts of the six Stanley brothers. Together, their work in developing unique cannabis strains led to the creation of what was initially called "Hippie's Disappointment." 

This strain, instrumental in assisting Charlotte Figi with her Dravet syndrome, became a cornerstone in the CBD industry. 

Nowadays, the company is recognized as one of the leading brands in the cannabis market, and holds certifications U.S. Hemp Authority and B-Copr certifications.

Why We Love Charlotte's Web CBD Creams for Pain

Roll-ons, cooling gels, balms, creams—Charlotte’s Web has it all. For pain relief, we were particularly interested in their Back & Neck Pain ointment and their Arthritis Aches & Pain Relief Ointment. Both products contain the standard workhorse trio of ingredients that CBD creams are known for—CBD, camphor and menthol.

The arthritis ointment contains 10% camphor and 10% menthol, while the back and neck ointment ups the menthol to 15% for an added cooling effect. Each ointment also contains inactive ingredients, such as essential oils and beeswax, that nourish the skin.

One downside we cannot ignore is the lack of a link to third-party testing on the product pages. To clarify, this doesn’t mean that Charlotte’s Web doesn’t carry out third-party testing. It just means it’s elsewhere on the website. This needs to be addressed.

Product Highlights

  • CBD type: Broad-spectrum
  • Bottle size(s): 1.4oz
  • Total CBD: 600mg
  • Other key ingredients: Camphor and menthol
  • Extraction method: IPA and CO2 extraction
  • Return policy: 30-day return policy 
  • More info: Cruelty-free

Customer Reviews

Charlotte's Web Trustpilot reviews seem to have taken a bit of a dive over the past while. But it's not all doom and gloom.

When discussing their CBD lotion, Andrew Nyberg had this to say: "Ordered CW CBD cream earlier this year. I use it for inflammation in my knee and for tendinitis, which occasionally acts up in my elbow. Received the product promptly and it works great."

Reviews from verified buyers on the website are much more positive (and frequent). Bonnie W., was particularly pleased with how her arthritic shoulder and torn rotator cuffs responded to the arthritis relief cream: "...It helped to ease the pain so I could get some sleep."

Pros

  • Adheres to cGMP Standards
  • B-Corp certified
  • Loyalty program
  • Long industry tenure
  • Two great products to choose from
  • A host of other topicals are available

Cons

  • Testing certificates are not present on the CBD cream product pages

8. R&R CBD

visit R&R CBD

R&R CBD

Company Highlights

Originally established in 2018 under the name R&R Medicinals, R&R was one of the first vendors to receive USDA Organic Certification—the highest organic label a manufacturer can possess.

This is a particular point of pride for the company. As they say on their website, “Our mothers use our products, so quality is paramount!”

R&R are one of the few vendors currently using supercritical CO2 extraction, a superior version of conventional CO2 extraction methods. While complicated and costly, this method helps their CBD retain more beneficial cannabinoids and terpenes than their rivals.

More importantly, it helps the company rid their extracts of harmful trace solvents.

In addition to their superior manufacturing process, R&R subjects every batch to rigorous third-party testing. They conduct all their testing with SC Labs, Botanacor Labs and Columbia Labs.

We’re also pleased to see that they operate an FDA-registered facility and are registered with the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE).

Why We Love R&R CBD Creams for Pain

R&R have gone through a lot of trouble to service the needs of their customers. The company proudly offers both broad-spectrum and full-spectrum CBD Pain Creams.

The THC-free is available in a 2.5-oz tube with a total potency of 1,000mg.

The full-spectrum cream comes in a 2.5-oz tube in three different potencies: 1,000mg, 2,500mg and a whopping 5,000mg (the highest CBD concentration on our list).

Additionally, both creams contain key active ingredients such as shea butter, arnica extract and aloe vera.

Product Highlights

  • CBD type: Broad-spectrum and full-spectrum options
  • Bottle size(s): 2.5oz
  • Total CBD: Broad-spectrum (1,000mg), full-spectrum (1,000, 2,500 and 5,000)
  • Other key ingredients: Shea butter, aloe vera, and arnica
  • Extraction method: Supercritical CO2 extraction 
  • Return policy: 60-day money-back guarantee 
  • More info: Free from artificial fragrances or dyes, award-winning formula

Customer Reviews

We had to do a bit of digging for R&R product reviews. Their Trustpilot only has one review, and their website review page appeared to have loading issues.

So, in the end, we turned to good old Facebook, where they have an impressive 4.9-star rating from 182.

Positive feedback was abundant, with facebook user, Jamie Rendon loving the 1,000mg CBD cream: "It’s a life saver. I’m a massage therapist and after 17 years my hands get swollen and achy. I’ve been using this for almost a year now and this cream helps so much!! I have to admit I was pulled in by the original packaging (so cool)!! It really stood out and was instantly recognizable. So I’m a little bummed that you’ve just changed it  It looks like SO MANY others that are already out there… I probably would have passed it bye. Oh well! At least the product is still awesome!!! I tell everyone about it."

Sara Long, another Facebook user, was also impressed with how it helped her husband: "My husband has a lot of pain in his hands and I saw R+R Hemp cream recommended in a Top 10 List. My husband really likes it and uses it 2x day. We've also been recommending it to our friends. Well done!"

Pros

  • Available in multiple strengths
  • 60-day money-back guarantee
  • Broad-spectrum and full-spectrum options
  • Supercritical CO2 extraction
  • USDA Organic Certification
  • Registered with the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE)

Cons

  • Customers wanting camphor or menthol may look elsewhere

9. SunMED

visit sunmed

SunMED

Company Highlights

SunMED is a relative newcomer to the CBD industry and makes its way onto one of our lists for the first time.

The company refers to itself as the “premium, hemp-based wellness product line” behind Your CBD Store—the largest brick-and-mortar CBD chain in the United States.

Founded by Rachael Quinn in 2018 in Bradenton, Florida, SunMED promises to manufacture products with a “commitment to good science.”

The company ensures that all of its products are based on thorough scientific research and rigorously tested using third-party companies to guarantee top-quality products.

Why We Love SunMED CBD Creams for Pain

SunMED gets our seal of approval right from the get-go with their products being crafted using non-GMO, organically farmed hemp grown in the U.S

Their creams also cater to customers looking for broad-spectrum and full-spectrum topicals—another bonus.

Both the broad-spectrum and full-spectrum creams come in 2-oz and 4-oz bottles.

The broad-spectrum cream is available in strengths of 500mg, 1,000mg, 2,000mg and 4,000mg. The same can be said for the full-spectrum cream, although it lacks a 500mg option.

In addition to CBD, all of SunMED’s creams contain a set of powerful nourishing and soothing ingredients such as arnica flower, shea butter, cocoa butter, coconut oil and peppermint oil.

While we like the look of these creams, we were a little taken aback by the prices. The broad-spectrum cream comes in at $135, while the full-spectrum costs $95. This makes these creams comparatively more expensive than the rest on this list.

Product Highlights

  • CBD type: Full-spectrum and broad-spectrum
  • Bottle size(s): 2 oz and 4oz
  • Total CBD: Full-spectrum (1,000mg, 2,000mg, 4,000mg),  Broad-spectrum (500mg, 1,000mg, 2,000mg, 4,000mg) 
  • Other key ingredients: Arnica flower, MSM, shea butter, cocoa butter, coconut oil
  • Extraction method: CO2 extraction
  • Return policy: 30-day money-back guarantee

Customer Reviews

SunMED lacks credible third-party website reviews. That said, reviews from verified buyers on their website tell a good story about their CBD creams.

Jennifer McCall is one such buyer who praises the maximum strength, full-spectrum CBD cream: “ I’ve been using the Full Spectrum Maximum strength ointment on my knees for the last three years. I used to put Lidocaine strips on my knees to ease the discomfort and help me maintain a healthy lifestyle but that’s not necessary now…I also use it on my trigger finger and even on my feet; it works! Although quite expensive, you only need a pea-size amount and ends up lasting 6 months.”

Pros

  • Full-spectrum and broad-spectrum options
  • Available in multiple strengths and bottle sizes

Cons

  • The most expensive brand on our list

10. Farmulated

visit farmulated

Farmulated

Farmulated are another new, albeit strong, addition to our list. While the company may be relatively unfamiliar to us, we liked what we saw.

Farmulated was established in 2019 courtesy of the Founders of Troyer Farms Potato Chip Company in Waterford, PA.

After the passing of the 2018 Federal Farm Bill and Pennsylvania’s Industrial Hemp Program, the founders chose to embark on a new business venture involving hemp. This caused the crock to become a mainstay of the agricultural and economic communities in Northwestern, PA.

Mark Troyer was also spurred on by his desire to work with hemp because it requires a hands-on approach, which he says “takes us back to our roots.” Eventually, that vision and desire would culminate in Farmulated products being sold in multiple retail outlets and online.

Aside from their genuine desire to treat their customers as they would their families, Farmulated are committed to making a positive global impact by donating a portion of their proceeds to provide clean water to the Amazonian people of Peru—a wonderful cause.

Why We Love Farmulated CBD Creams for Pain

Farmulated CBD topicals are made with athletes, pain sufferers and people with sensitive skin and inflammatory conditions in mind.

They have a daily topical CBD lotion for general skin health and a CBD Freeze Roll-On Gel with soothing menthol to target pain and inflammation.

While not a cream per se, their roll-on gel impressed us with its lists of ingredients for pain relief, including:

  • Natural menthol: Known for its cooling properties, providing immediate relief.
  • Organic helichrysum oil: Aids in reducing inflammation and promoting healing.
  • Boswellia serrata extract: An anti-inflammatory compound that supports joint health.
  • Uncaria tomentosa extract: Also known as Cat's Claw, this ingredient helps reduce pain and inflammation.

Product Highlights

  • CBD type: Broad-spectrum
  • Bottle size(s): 3oz
  • Total CBD: 1,500mg
  • Other key ingredients: Natural menthol, organic helichrysum oil,  ilex paraguariensis leaf extract, uncaria tomentosa extract, boswellia serrata extract, camphor terpene 
  • Extraction method: CO2
  • Return policy: 30-day return policy 

Customer Reviews

Farmulated doesn’t quite have the number of reviews we were hoping for. But a solid 4.4-star rating on Trustpilot does show promise. In general, customers are good things to say, not just about the company’s products, but their level of customer service.

Pros

  • Family-orientated company
  • Well-priced
  • Powerful combination of active ingredients
  • Long-standing agricultural history (50 years)

Cons

  • Few customer reviews
  • Small product selection

What are the Benefits of CBD Creams & What Does It Do?

Pain

Several studies have explored the impact of topical CBD applications on pain management, particularly focusing on arthritis. 

A small 2022 randomized controlled trial evaluated the efficacy of topical CBD in treating thumb basal joint arthritis in 18 participants. In this study, half of the participants applied a CBD cream containing 6.2 mg/mL CBD twice daily, while the other half used a placebo. Patients using the CBD cream reported an average 60% reduction in pain compared to the control group.

Another 2016 study, this time focusing on rats with arthritis, further supports CBD's potential to alleviate pain. CBD gel was applied to the rats in varying doses for four consecutive days. The study found that a dosage of 6.2 mg/day was effective in reducing inflammation and pain in the rats' joints. 

While both of these studies yielded promising results, a lot more research needs to be carried out to provide concrete proof of topical CBD use for pain relief.

Post-Surgery Pain

CBD creams have garnered significant attention in recent years for managing post-operative pain. One randomized double-blinded placebo-controlled trial (the gold standard of studies) put this to the test.

The study examined the effects of topical CBD on 80 patients undergoing total knee arthroplasty (TKA). 

Unfortunately, the study found that using topical CBD as part of a multimodal analgesic regimen didn’t reduce pain levels or opioid use.

We weren’t able to find any credible instances of topical CBD for post-operative pain. So, there’s still the outside chance that CBD creams can be effective for other post-operative pain management protocols.

Skin Health

CBD has been shown to interact with the endocannabinoid system in the skin, which plays a crucial role in maintaining skin homeostasis. Essential endocannabinoids such as 2-arachidonoylglycerol (2-AG) and N-arachidonoylethanolamine (AEA) are instrumental in this regulatory process.

Several studies have highlighted the therapeutic potential of CBD cream for specific skin issues:

  • Acne: A 2014 study examined the effect of CBD on sebocytes, the skin cells that produce sebum, in humans. The research indicated that CBD may have an anti-inflammatory effect on sebocytes, therefore reducing the overproduction of sebum. In addition, a 2019 study demonstrated that CBD may help treat acne-related scars.
  • Itchiness reduction: A small 2021 study involving 20 participants with eczema showed promising results, with 67% experiencing a decrease in itchiness after using a topical CBD gel.
  • Other inflammatory skin conditions: A 2022 review showed that CBD holds promise for treating inflammatory skin conditions, including eczema, acne, pruritus and systemic sclerosis. Despite these findings, the authors emphasized the need for further research to understand CBD's impact on skin health fully.

Anti-Inflammatory Properties

As previously mentioned, CBD topicals do appear to have anti-inflammatory properties. Specifically, CBD creams may help with arthritic pain and conditions caused by skin inflammation.

Neuropathy

CBD lotions have become a popular alternative for managing neuropathic pain, and while more high-quality research is needed, some studies and anecdotal evidence point to the following potential benefits:

  • Localized pain relief: Topical CBD products are applied directly to the skin where the pain is felt. This localized approach may provide more targeted pain relief for neuropathic conditions.
  • Pain reduction: In a small 2020 study, participants with neuropathy who used CBD oil reported a statistically significant reduction in pain compared to those who used a placebo. Though the study focused on CBD oil, the findings offer a hopeful perspective on the potential benefits of CBD in general, including topical forms.
  • Anecdotal evidence: Beyond clinical studies, numerous individuals with neuropathy have reported relief using various cannabis products, including CBD creams. While this anecdotal evidence is promising, it stresses the need for further research to establish the efficacy and safety of CBD creams specifically for neuropathic pain.

How to Use CBD Creams for Pain

Pain can greatly impact your quality of life. CBD creams interact with your body's endocannabinoid system, a system that helps regulate pain and inflammation. 

Use the following steps to apply these topical solutions: 

Step 1: Choose the Right CBD Cream

First things first, make sure to purchase a high-quality CBD like those from Colorado Botanicals. Look for creams that have undergone third-party testing, clearly list their CBD concentration, and contain natural ingredients that won't irritate your skin.

Step 2: Clean the Affected Area

Next, clean the area where you plan to apply the CBD cream using warm water and a mild soap. Then, pat the area dry with a clean towel.

Step 3: Apply the CBD Cream

Take a small amount of the CBD cream and apply it directly to the affected area. If you have sensitive skin and are worried about irritation or an allergic reaction, consider using an even smaller amount to patch test. 

Using circular motions, gently massage the cream into your skin. This will help your skin absorb the CBD and increase blood flow to the area. 

Step 4: Monitor the Effects

After applying the CBD cream, give it some time to work. Typically, you should start to feel relief within 15 to 45 minutes, though this can depend on the individual and the level of pain being experienced. 

Re-apply the cream as per the instructions on your product.

Step 5: Be consistent

Whether you're dealing with acute or chronic pain, it's best to use your CBD lotion consistently to reap its full benefits. This is particularly important if you're struggling with chronic pain. 

Important: CBD creams are generally safe. That said, it can be a good idea to consult with a healthcare professional before using new pain medication, especially if you have an underlying health condition or are taking other medications.

CBD Creams vs. CBD Oil

Nowadays, CBD products come in a variety of forms. Two of the most common are CBD creams and CBD oil.

CBD Creams

CBD creams are topical solutions that you apply to your skin. These products combine CBD extract with a liquid and are available in other forms, including CBD lotions, creams, balms, and ointments.

Topical products function by entering your body's endocannabinoid receptors through your skin instead of the bloodstream. This form of absorption helps them treat localized pain experienced in conditions like arthritis and inflammatory skin conditions.

Recent research evaluating CBD's skin permeability suggests it's "moderately permeable" through the skin. Topical CBD products typically kick in 20 to 60 minutes after application and can last up to 6 hours.

CBD Oils

Oil is likely the most common and popular method of consuming CBD.

To create CBD oil, manufacturers extract and separate crude CBD and other beneficial compounds from the cannabis plant. The extract is then processed and infused into a carrier oil.

You can consume CBD oil orally (via the mouth) or sublingually (under the tongue). Ingesting CBD sublingually is thought to help bypass the entire digestive process and enter the bloodstream faster.

Because CBD oil enters the bloodstream, it has a systemic rather than localized effect on the body. As such, consumers often use oil products to try and treat widespread inflammation, sleep-related issues, and more.

CBD oils also tend to be more bioavailable than topical CBD products, especially when consumed with a high-fat meal.

Oils and tinctures consumed orally or sublingually generally take 15 to 45 minutes to kick in, with the effects lasting 2 to 6 hours.

Frequently Asked Questions About CBD Creams and Lotions

Are There Any Side Effects of Using CBD on the Skin?

Generally speaking, CBD creams are well-tolerated and unlikely to aggravate the skin. However, there is evidence to suggest that topical cannabis use may cause mild side effects, including:

  • Burning
  • Erythema (redness of the skin)
  • Stinging
  • Pruritus (itching)

If you’re concerned about your skin reacting to topical CBD products we strongly recommend you seek advice from a healthcare professional.

How Long Does It Take to See Results from CBD Creams?

Despite our best efforts, we weren’t able to find any quality clinical evidence to answer this question as accurately as we would have liked to.

Most of what we found were commercial sources discussing the time it takes for CBD creams to take effect, specifically for pain and inflammation.

Based on the information available, you can expect CBD lotions and creams to take effect within 20 to 45 minutes.

No further information is available regarding long-term results for specific conditions.

How Long Does CBD Cream Stay in Your System?

CBD cream does not stay in your system for any period of time because it doesn’t enter your bloodstream. Instead, it enters your body’s endocannabinoid receptors through your skin. This makes it suitable for localized, not systemic, treatment

Can CBD Creams Cause Allergic Reactions?

Yes. While CBD creams very rarely cause allergic reactions in most people, topical CBD products have been known to cause mild skin-related side effects such as itching, burning, redness and stinging.

Aside from one very small case study that identified skin rashes in four women after ongoing CBD use, very little is known about the extent to which CBD creams cause allergic reactions.

Can CBD Creams Be Used with Other Medications or Creams?

First and foremost, we always recommend consulting your healthcare provider before using any form of CBD alongside other medications and even creams.

That said, because topical CBD doesn’t enter the bloodstream, it should theoretically be less susceptible to drug interactions than when CBD is ingested orally or sublingually.

Yes, CBD is very well-tolerated, but it can and does interact with certain medications.

Conclusion: Where to Buy CBD Cream

Colorado Botanicals stands out as our go-to choice for CBD creams and lotions for pain relief. go-to choice 

Their Alleviate CBD Cream offers fast-acting relief, natural ingredients, and excellent customer reviews. However, each one of the vendors in our list are fantastic in their own right.

Whether you choose Colorado Botanicals or another brand from our list, research, read customer reviews, and consult with a healthcare professional to find the best CBD cream for your specific needs.

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