What is cbd oil cream good for

Best CBD Creams Of 2022

Lenore Cangeloso is a board-certified acupuncturist and herbal medicine practitioner based in Oregon.

Commissions we earn from partner links on this page do not affect our opinions or evaluations. Our editorial content is based on thorough research and guidance from the Forbes Health Advisory Board.

CBD, or cannabidiol, is increasingly popular, thanks to its reported myriad benefits and non-intoxicating properties. But it’s no fad—even science is getting behind the plant compound. Clinical studies show CBD topicals like creams, gels and balms may relieve pain associated with osteoarthritis, nervous system damage and ongoing localized muscle aches. CBD creams can provide short-term topical relief for some.

To choose the best CBD creams, the Forbes Health editorial team analyzed data on more than 50 CBD cream products made from plants grown in the U.S. All have a certificate of analysis (COA), are third-party tested by ISO 17025-compliant laboratories and contain no more than 0.3% THC. From price to potency to special effects, see which CBD cream products stand out as our top picks. Note: Product details and prices listed are accurate as of the publication date.

  • Featured Partners
  • Best CBD Creams of 2022
  • Lazarus Naturals CBD Balm
  • Vermont Organic Science Organic CBD Balm
  • Redeem Therapeutics CBD Pain Cream
  • Medjoy Full Spectrum CBD Cream
  • RE Botanicals Menthol Muscle Rub with CBD
  • Plant People Relief+ Cooling Body Cream
  • BATCH CBD Original CBD Balm
  • Appalachian Standard Menthol Salve Full Spectrum Hemp Oil
  • Carmen’s Medicinals Full Spectrum CBD Salve
  • Active Botanical Co. Therapeutic Formulation CBD Topical Salve
  • Methodology
  • What Is CBD Cream?
  • CBD Use in the U.S.
  • How to Use CBD Cream
  • Best CBD Creams Ratings
  • Best Diets
  • Noom Diet Review
  • GOLO Diet Review
  • Best OTC Allergy Medications
  • Best Fitness Apps

You May Also Be Interested In CBD Cream From Our Featured Partner

Pain Relief Cream

On Medterra’s Website

Joint & Arthritis, Cream

Rapid Recovery Cream

On Medterra’s Website

250mg, 500mg, 750mg

Muscle Support, Recovery Cream

Manuka Honey Healing Cream

On Medterra’s Website

Rapid Recovery Roll On

On Medterra’s Website

250mg, 500mg, 1000mg

Muscle Support, Roll-on

Best CBD Creams of 2022

Lazarus Naturals CBD Balm

The Lazarus Naturals Relax + Unwind CBD Balm is a potent topical with plenty of CBD per application. The balm is geared toward relieving localized muscle pain and inflammation. The balm also passes third-party tests for the exclusion of pesticides, heavy metals and molds.

  • Cruelty-free certified by the Leaping Bunny Program
  • All natural ingredients
  • Two sizes available

Cost: A 2.1-ounce container of Lazarus Naturals CBD Balm containing 3,000 milligrams of CBD costs $42.

Vermont Organic Science Organic CBD Balm

Vermont Organic Science bills this CBD balm as a soothing treatment for sore muscles. The balm is infused with menthol for an additional cooling effect. The balm also includes the non-psychoactive compounds cannabigerol (CBG), which is known for its anti-inflammatory, antibacterial and antioxidant properties, and cannabichromene (CBC), which can have anti‐inflammatory and antinociceptive (pain-blocking) effects.

  • All natural ingredients
  • Strong potency
  • Includes sweet almond, tangerine, frankincense and lavender essential oils

Cost: A 1-ounce container of Vermont Organic Science Organic CBD Balm containing 1,100 milligrams of CBD costs $35.

Redeem Therapeutics CBD Pain Cream

This affordable CBD cream targets inflammation, especially in joints and muscles, with its addition of menthol, capsicum and arnica extract. The cream also contains aloe, jojoba oil, tea tree oil and vitamin C to aid absorption and further support skin health. The product passes third-party tests for safe levels of pesticides, heavy metals and molds as well.

  • USDA-certified organic hemp
  • Hemp cultivated from a Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) certified farm
  • 100% THC free

Cost: A 3.4-ounce container of Redeem Therapeutics CBD Pain Cream containing 1,500 milligrams of CBD costs $59.99.

Medjoy Full Spectrum CBD Cream

Medjoy’s Full Spectrum CBD Cream is packed with all natural ingredients, including vitamin C esters to balance, brighten and revive your skin, as well as organic aloe and coconut oil for hydration. It also contains organic blueberry, raspberry and cranberry extracts for their antioxidant properties. This low-potency, low-cost cream is a great option for moisturizing and mild pain relief.

  • U.S. Hemp Authority™ Certification
  • Leaping Bunny Certification
  • Passes third-party tests for safe levels of pesticides, heavy metals and molds

Cost: A 6-ounce container of Medjoy Full Spectrum CBD Cream containing 300 milligrams of CBD costs $46.95.

RE Botanicals Menthol Muscle Rub with CBD

This Menthol Muscle Rub with CBD aims to provide relief from pain and inflammation with the added cooling effect of menthol. The travel-size product is meant to be rolled on for easier application. What’s more, it’s certified by the Detox Project to be free of glyphosate residue, a pesticide chemical that can be harmful in large amounts.

  • USDA-certified organic
  • 1% of RE Botanicals sales donated to support farmer education and regenerative agriculture
  • Passes third-party tests for safe levels of pesticides, heavy metals and molds

Cost: A 3-ounce container of RE Botanicals Menthol Muscle Rub with CBD containing 600 milligrams of CBD costs $34.99.

Plant People Relief+ Cooling Body Cream

The Plant People Relief+ Cooling Body Cream is meant for targeted pain, inflammation and stiffness relief on affected areas of your body. In addition to CBD, the cream contains CBG and CBC, as well as cooling menthol, turmeric and arnica flower extract.

  • Made by a Certified B Corporation (a business that meets high standards of verified social and environmental performance, public transparency and legal accountability)
  • USDA-certified organic
  • Levels of pesticides, heavy metals and molds all pass third-party tests

Cost: A 3.3-ounce container of Plant People Relief+ Cooling Body Cream containing 750 milligrams of CBD costs $54.99.

BATCH CBD Original CBD Balm

Along with CBD, this simple balm contains lavender and tea tree oils to help relieve irritation. It also comes in a twist-up container so you don’t have to get your hands messy while applying it to harder-to-reach areas.

  • Contains jojoba oil for better absorption
  • Non-GMO
  • Paraben-free

Cost: A 2.5-ounce container of BATCH CBD Original CBD Balm containing 1,250 milligrams of CBD costs $49.99.

Appalachian Standard Menthol Salve Full Spectrum Hemp Oil

This menthol salve is meant to relieve sore and tight muscles with several liberal applications daily. The menthol also provides cooling and moisturizing effects alongside the nourishing mango butter base.

  • All natural ingredients
  • Menthol and herbal scent
  • Includes hemp plant terpenes to enhance CBD effects

Cost: A 2-ounce container of Appalachian Standard Menthol Salve Full Spectrum Hemp Oil containing 500 milligrams of CBD costs $40.

Carmen’s Medicinals Full Spectrum CBD Salve

A mix of all-natural essential oils and terpenes, this CBD salve can provide relief for localized aches and pains while also moisturizing the skin. Carmen’s Medicinals recommends use of the salve on your joints, hands and back.

  • USDA-certified organic hemp
  • All natural ingredients
  • Passes tests for safe levels of pesticides, heavy metals and molds

Cost: A 1.7-ounce container of Carmen’s Medicinals Full Spectrum CBD Salve containing 1,000 milligrams of CBD costs $44.95.

Active Botanical Co. Therapeutic Formulation CBD Topical Salve

At the highest price point and with one of the highest potencies on this list, Active Botanical Co.’s Therapeutic Formulation CBD Topical Salve is 99.9% pure CBD isolatecombined with the company’s proprietary terpene profiles to help your body get the most relief from the plant compounds. By using CBD isolate, the salve dilutes the earthy scent often associated with hemp.

  • Strong potency for additional relaxation effects
  • Passes tests for safe levels of pesticides, heavy metals and molds
  • 18-month shelf life

Cost: A 3-ounce container of Active Botanical Co. Therapeutic Formulation CBD Topical Salve containing 5,000 milligrams of CBD costs $179.99.

Methodology

To choose the best CBD creams of 2022, the Forbes Health editorial team analyzed data on more than 50 CBD creams products that are:

  • Made from plants grown in the U.S.
  • Have a certificate of analysis (COA)
  • Are third-party tested by ISO 17025-compliant laboratories
  • Are made with all natural ingredients

We then ranked CBD creams based on price, potency and the inclusion of ingredients that provide additional soothing properties.

We considered a standard application size to be .05 ounce of CBD cream but provided full product pricing in addition to a per-application breakdown to help you determine the best daily value, as well as what works for your budget as a whole.

What Is CBD Cream?

CBD cream, which often includes balms and salves, is a topical application of cannabidiol. This cream offers more localized effects rather than systemic ones that edibles or inhalation can provide.

“When CBD is used topically, it does not reach the bloodstream,” says Robert Milanes M.D., founder of Holistic On Call and a doctor with Heally, an alternative medicine telehealth platform.

This application method makes CBD cream a good choice for people who are new to CBD and less comfortable ingesting it, but still want to benefit from CBD’s potential pain relief abilities.

“Because it’s localized, it’s not the best method of delivery for trying to help yourself sleep or for anxiety,” says Steven Phan, founder of Come Back Daily, a CBD dispensary in New York.

How Does CBD Cream Work?

Compared to ingesting CBD, which can take anywhere from 30 minutes to two hours to take effect, applying CBD topically allows you to feel the localized effects pretty quickly, according to Laura Fuentes, a licensed compound pharmacist and co-founder of Green Roads, a major CBD brand.

This quick uptake, paired with CBD’s inherent benefits, makes CBD cream a great option for pain, inflammation, soreness and tightness relief in specific parts of your body, she says.

One 2018 study with over 300 participants with knee pain from osteoarthritis found a transdermal synthetic CBD gel significantly improved patients’ worst pain score and physical function averages [1] Hunter D, Oldfield G, Tich N, Messenheimer J, Sebree T. Synthetic transdermal cannabidiol for the treatment of knee pain due to osteoarthritis . Osteoarthritis and Cartilage. 2018;26:S26. . These patients were treated with 350 milligrams of CBD gel per day for 12 weeks.

Additional research shows topical application of CBD to have significantly reduced pain in some patients with peripheral neuropathy—a set of conditions damaging the peripheral nervous system—and myofascial pain (localized muscle and tissue pain) in respective studies [2] Xu DH, Cullen BD, Tang M, Fang Y. The Effectiveness of Topical Cannabidiol Oil in Symptomatic Relief of Peripheral Neuropathy of the Lower Extremities. Curr Pharm Biotechnol. 2020;21(5):390-402. [3] Nitecka-Buchta A, Nowak-Wachol A, Wachol K, et al. Myorelaxant Effect of Transdermal Cannabidiol Application in Patients with TMD: A Randomized, Double-Blind Trial . J Clin Med. 2019;8(11):1886. .

CBD Use in the U.S.

CBD creams are a popular way to use CBD in the U.S., according to a recent Forbes Health survey of 2,000 U.S. adults conducted by OnePoll. In fact, 53% of respondents who reported having tried CBD used it in lotion form, and 42% used it in a serum or other topical form.

CBD use in general is increasingly common—60% of U.S. adults have tried a CBD product before. Better yet, 60% believe it has medicinal benefits. The same survey reports that the majority of people use CBD in a variety of forms to help relieve pain.

How to Use CBD Cream

To apply a CBD cream, you rub it into the affected area, such as an achy knee or sore neck. “The cream is absorbed into the skin and then binds to the numerous cannabinoid receptors located in the different layers of the skin,” says Fuentes.

Each topical CBD product may have unique directions, however. Some may instruct you to use a small amount while others encourage using a liberal amount.

Balms and salves have a thicker consistency and often need to be warmed in your hands before applying them to the target area. And some products don’t require getting your hands dirty at all, thanks to roll-on and stick applicators.

Potential Side Effects of CBD Topicals

CBD itself is safe and well tolerated, and it has no risks of abuse or dependence, according to the World Health Organization.

“Additionally, using CBD topically reduces the likelihood of experiencing side effects typically associated with CBD use, such as drowsiness, fatigue and diarrhea,” says Dr. Milanes.

Milanes and Fuentes warn that while CBD itself might be safe, there is a chance you might be allergic or sensitive to another ingredient in a CBD topical, which could cause adverse effects. To avoid unpleasant reactions, they suggest reading ingredient lists carefully.

Phan also recommends talking to your doctor before using CBD if you’re on any medications— especially blood pressure medications because CBD can also lower blood pressure.

Everything You Need to Know About CBD Lotion and Cream

Cannabidiol (CBD) is still most commonly taken in oil, but topical CBD products are increasingly popular for several reasons. CBD topicals offer localized relief, and they also benefit the overall appearance and health of the skin. In this sense, topical CBD products are giving you multiple benefits and products in one.

CBD topical and CBD oil formulations are also different. Topical formulations typically contain various skincare ingredients, such as herbal extracts, essential oils, and vitamins. Naturally, you want to avoid ingredients that are irritating.

CBD topicals include creams, lotions, salves, balms, serums, massage oils, and more. They are sometimes designed for a particular use, such as face products, lip balms, and pain-relieving products.

  • CBD and Skin
  • CBD Skin Care Benefits
  • What is CBD Cream
  • How to Use CBD Topicals
  • Picking a CBD Topical

CBD and Skin

Cannabidiol or CBD is one of many non-psychoactive cannabinoids, phytochemicals present in cannabis. Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is the other main cannabinoid—and the one responsible for the famous cannabis “high.”

Both marijuana and hemp plants are part of the cannabis family. However, according to United States federal law, hemp contains 0.3 percent THC or less, in contrast to marijuana. This and other reasons mean that hemp is typically used for CBD cultivation and extraction.

Growers can use CBD extracted from hemp plants to make a variety of CBD products, including pure CBD oil tinctures, edibles like CBD gummies—and of course, CBD topicals. CBD products, topical or otherwise, do not produce the “high” that medical marijuana products that include THC cause.

The endocannabinoid system (ECS) governs many functions in the human body, including the ability to process pain, sleep, inflammation, mood, and more. The cannabis plant—both marijuana and hemp—contains phytocannabinoids that interact with the ECS, including CBD oil found to reduce inflammation and intensity of pain.

Research proves that CBD has various therapeutic properties, but what about the skin? And doesn’t putting CBD in something oily make it worse?

The right oil or other source of healthy fat is actually good for your face because it’s a source of good moisture and won’t clog your pores. Skin demands oil up to a point to function. In fact, scrubbing too much away will only make it produce more. Replacing oils with healthy moisturizing compounds can help this issue.

CBD and other cannabinoids are beneficial antioxidants for skin. Healthy skin also need B-complex vitamins and essential amino acids, many of which are found in CBD.

The skin also has its own endocannabinoid system, which works to keep the skin balanced and healthy. The goal is stasis, just like it is for the endocannabinoid system throughout the human body: EC system keeps everything on an even keel, including the skin.

In fact, CBD is useful to healthy skin because some kind of an imbalance is usually the root cause of most skin problems. There is still extensive research outstanding, but here is what we know about CBD and skin right now:

Acne. Acne is mostly caused by hormones, but CBD helps fight the inflammation related to acne’s redness and swelling, and helps normalize skin.

Inflammation. Transdermal CBD reduces pain and inflammation in rats, making it treatment for skin issues such as rosacea, eczema, and psoriasis.

Itching. CBD can block itching in the nerve endings and has been shown to help chronic, treatment-resistant itching.

Scarring. CBD may improve scarring according to one study of scar tissue patients.

CBD Skin Care Benefits

CBD has lots of potential skin care benefits:

Reduce signs of aging. Antioxidants like vitamin E or vitamin C treat dryness, free radical damage, and inflammation, so you can expect CBD products to do that, too. That includes signs of aging such as fine lines, dark spots, and wrinkles.

Balance complexion. CBD helps the ECS in the skin stay in balance, meaning enough hydration and no excess oil, so no more oily T-zone or patchy spots.

Soothe skin. Topical CBD products can soothe itching, dryness, and red skin thanks to this cannabinoid’s anti-inflammatory qualities.

What is CBD Cream?

Since the Farm Bill legalized CBD products derived from hemp at the federal level in 2018, CBD topicals have been the work of the Food and Drug Administration FDA. This doesn’t mean there’s a clearly regulated market out there, however.

CBD-infused topicals include creams, balms, salves, lotions, and transdermal patches. They are designed to be applied directly to the skin for surface level relief, or in some cases for deeper muscle level pain relief, or even for things like relaxation or sleep.

Anything called CBD cream is just a cream-based topical infused with CBD. Most high-quality health and beauty creams are about half oil and half water to preserve moisture in the skin. Some CBD topicals might also include other minor cannabinoids, other terpenes, or even other ingredients to help the skin such as vitamin E or aloe.

Much of the difference among CBD topicals such as salves, creams, balms, and lotions lies in consistency, fragrance, other ingredients—and user preference. Since creams are thicker, and especially those with high fat content and emollient qualities might help dry skin sufferers and those with itchy skin conditions. Balms and salves are made with wax and oil, making them absorb more slowly and work well for massing into muscles, for chronic pain. Roll-on tinctures offer yet another possibility for THC-free joint pain relief. Learn more in our roundup of the best CBD creams for pain relief.

How to Use CBD Cream

One of the most appealing things about CBD topicals is how easy it is to get started with them. After identifying what the source of discomfort, pain, or the other issue is, the user can simply apply the topical as needed like they would a lotion.

It’s true that using topical CBD creams is not the same as using lotion, in that it’s important to know how many milligrams are in the CBD body lotion to use it properly. A low dose topical may be less effective than one with higher concentrations of CBD.

However, as always, it’s smart to start with a low viable dosage. From there, gradually increase how much CBD cream you use until your therapeutic dose seems optimal. There are no known side effects to worry about with topical infused with hemp-derived CBD, although you should always check with a doctor when trying anything new.

Picking a CBD Cream

There are several important criteria when it comes to choosing high-quality CBD products, including topicals:

Quality controlLook for CBD topical vendors that display results from third-party lab testing. Look for Good Manufacturing Practice (CGMP)-compliant facilities, which follow FDA standards to qualify. This matters: a 2017 study found that only 31 percent of CBD hemp oil products were accurately labeled with the correct CBD level.

Hemp source. Buy topical CBD products made with non-GMO, USA-grown hemp when possible.

Extraction method. Robust, reliable extraction methods such as CO2 and ethanol produce high-quality products.

Brand reputation. This isn’t always easy to suss out, and it’s not just about size or longevity. Check real reviews and consumer ratings where they exist.

Strength/potency. Although there is no one recommended strength or dose of CBD, topical products made from hemp vary greatly in how many mg of CBD per ounce they contain, so pay close attention to this.

Type of hemp extract. Full-spectrum extract is from the whole hemp plant and contains some trace amount of THC. Broad-spectrum extract contains the full spectrum of cannabinoids except no THC. CBD isolate is pure CBD extract alone. Many experts argue that full-spectrum products are preferable due to the “entourage effect,” which says that cannabis plant components work better together than alone.

CBD oil contains essential fatty acids, but the right topical can bolster that hydrating nutritional value with more of the right moisturizers and other compounds. Look for additional nourishing and pain relieving ingredients like aloe vera, apricot oil, arnica, avocado oil, cocoa butter, cocoa oil, coconut oil/MCT oil, grape seed oil, lavender oil, menthol, peppermint oil, shea butter, shea oil, sweet almond oil, and vitamins A, D, and E.

Check out our list of our favorite CBD creams and lotions to learn more about which one is right for you.