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Medical News Today only shows you brands and products that we stand behind.

Our team thoroughly researches and evaluates the recommendations we make on our site. To establish that the product manufacturers addressed safety and efficacy standards, we:
  • Evaluate ingredients and composition: Do they have the potential to cause harm?
  • Fact-check all health claims: Do they align with the current body of scientific evidence?
  • Assess the brand: Does it operate with integrity and adhere to industry best practices?
We do the research so you can find trusted products for your health and wellness.
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Cannabidiol (CBD) is one of more than 100 cannabinoids in the Cannabis sativa plant. A topical CBD lotion or cream may help relieve muscle aches, joint pain, and skin inflammation.

Is CBD legal?The 2018 Farm Bill removed hemp from the legal definition of marijuana in the Controlled Substances Act. This made some hemp-derived CBD products with less than 0.3% THC federally legal. However, CBD products containing more than 0.3% THC still fall under the legal definition of marijuana, making them federally illegal but legal under some state laws. Be sure to check state laws, especially when traveling. Also, keep in mind that the FDA has not approved nonprescription CBD products, and some products may be inaccurately labeled.

Medical News Today’s methodology

Medical News Today chooses products that meet the following criteria:

  • Ingredients: MNT chooses products containing safe and high quality, clearly labeled ingredients. The products should also confirm they are free from pesticides, heavy metals, and mold.
  • Dosage: MNT chooses products that must clearly state the CBD dosage.
  • Serving size: MNT selects products in which manufacturers recommend a dosage.
  • Third-party labs: MNT chooses products that must undergo third-party testing for contaminants by an ISO 17025-compliant laboratory.
  • Available certificate of analysis:MNT chooses companies that demonstrate transparency and share a product’s certificate of analysis (COA) after receiving its third-party lab results.
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The following table indicates how MNT chooses to rank the products within this article:

Third-party testedCOA availableClear ingredientsCBD dosage clearly markedDosage suggestionScore
Aspen Green4.0
Calm by Wellness5.0
Ojai Energetics5.0
Lazarus Naturals4.0
Level Select4.0
Charlotte’s Web4.0

Please note that the writer of this article has not tried these products. All information presented is purely research-based and correct at the time of publication.

Medical News Today follows a strict product selection and vetting process. Learn more here.

Best for sore muscles: Aspen Green Muscle Relief Cooling Cream

  • Price: $84.99
  • CBD type: full-spectrum
  • Potency: 1,000 mg CBD per tub
  • COA: available online

Aspen Green Muscle Relief Cooling Cream comes in a 2-oz tub and contains approximately 1,000 mg of CBD per tub. The company claims physicians formulated the cream to relieve muscle soreness.

Aspen Green sources the CBD from Colorado, United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)-certified organic, full-spectrum hemp extract.

This cream contains 33 mg of THC per tub and a variety of terpenes. Additional ingredients include:

It is free from gluten, GMOs, plasticizers, toxins, artificial preservatives, and synthetic ingredients.

The manufacturer recommends gently massaging this product into the back, neck, and shoulders, avoiding sensitive areas.

Learn about some of the best CBD products for pains and strains.

A subscription option offering a 30% discount is available.


  • this product qualifies for free shipping
  • it is USDA organic certified
  • customer reviews state the cream absorbs quickly
  • customer reviews also mention the formula effectively targets muscle aches


  • expensive in comparison to competitors
  • difficult to measure a dose
  • the brand does not offer dose recommendations
  • some customer reviews mention they found the product oily
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Best for dry, irritated skin: Calm by Wellness Hemp CBD Lavender Lotion

  • Price: $35.99
  • CBD type: broad-spectrum
  • Potency: 200 mg CBD per bottle
  • COA: available online

Calm by Wellness claims that its Hemp CBD Lavender Lotion soothes dry, itchy, and sore skin while easing inflammation.

The lavender-scented lotion contains 200 mg of broad-spectrum CBD per bottle. It does not contain any THC.

Ingredients include lavender oil, vitamin E, aloe leaf juice, jojoba seed oil, and coconut oil. It does not contain GMOs.

The manufacturer recommends applying a dime-sized amount to the skin and gently rubbing it in.

People can save 16–23% by buying three or six bottles of this cream in a single order. A monthly subscription option offering a 30% discount and free shipping is also available.

Learn about CBD oil for the skin.

Use code MNT20 for 20% off.


  • a more affordable option
  • customers report it is effective for treating dry and sensitive skin
  • free from THC
  • can help improve skin condition and ease joint and muscle pain


  • some reviewers found the lotion too watery
  • may not be suitable for certain skin conditions
  • fewer online reviews than other products
  • relatively low strength, which may not suit all individual’s needs
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Best for a warming and cooling formula: FABCBD CBD Salve

  • Price: $79.99–$159.99
  • CBD type: full-spectrum
  • Potency: 1,000 or 3,000 mg CBD per bottle
  • COA: available online

This CBD topical salve comes in a convenient roll-on dispenser that makes it easy for people to apply it to painful areas. It provides a warming and cooling sensation in one formula.

Camphor provides a heating effect, while menthol cools the skin. It also contains rosemary, ginger, lavender, peppermint, and tea tree, among other natural ingredients.

People can choose from a 1,000- or 3,000-mg potency product.

The manufacturer recommends applying a thin layer to the desired area and massaging it into the skin. People can reapply as they need throughout the day. However, it is unsuitable for sensitive skin.

Learn about the best CBD creams for the skin.

People can get a 20% discount with a subscription or buy a pack of three bottles for $2 off per bottle.


  • combines heating and cooling effects
  • offers convenient application
  • contains a wide range of natural ingredients
  • two potencies to choose from


  • unsuitable for sensitive skin
  • some people may wish to avoid THC formulas
  • lower discounts available than with other brands
  • it is a more expensive product
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Best organic: Cornbread CBD Lotion + Menthol

  • Price: $49.99
  • CBD type: full-spectrum
  • Potency: 500 mg CBD per tub
  • COA: available online

Cornbread CBD Lotion + Menthol provides cooling effects to the skin to help relieve muscle and joint pain.

This full-spectrum product contains 500 mg of CBD and 20 mg of THC per tub.

Cornbread states that each tub provides 60 servings, equating to 8 mg of CBD and 0.3 mg of THC per serving.

Organic ingredients include jojoba oil, beeswax, argan oil, vitamin E, peppermint oil, menthol, and tea tree oil.

It is free from parabens and GMOs.

Learn more about CBD and THC here.

Cornbread’s subscription option offers a 25% discount.

Use code MNT for 25% off your first order.


  • may provide a cooling effect
  • contains organic ingredients and has a USDA-organic certification
  • free from parabens and GMOs


  • contains THC, which some people prefer to avoid
  • some users dislike the consistency
  • no free shipping option
  • the beeswax content makes it unsuitable for vegans
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Best fast-acting: Ojai Energetics Full Spectrum Sports Gel

  • Price: $46.95
  • CBD type: full-spectrum
  • Potency: 100 mg CBD per bottle
  • COA: available online

This sports gel derives from water-soluble, full-spectrum organic CBD. Each bottle contains 100 mg of full-spectrum CBD. One pump provides 1.6 mg of CBD.

This gel differs from other topical CBD products because it contains water-soluble CBD. The manufacturer states the skin absorbs this more rapidly, and the gel provides relief more quickly.

The formula includes botanical ingredients alongside CBD to relieve muscles and joints. These ingredients include:

It is free from GMOs, gluten, corn, and soy.

Ojai warns that this product may interact with some statins and is unsuitable for people avoiding grapefruit due to medication interactions.

Learn more about grapefruit and statins.


  • uses water-soluble CBD for fast absorption
  • small, portable bottle size
  • easy to use application
  • does not contain GMO ingredients, gluten, soy, or corn


  • only one choice of potency
  • low CBD dose per pump
  • unsuitable for individuals taking statins
  • THC free
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Best full-body moisturizer: Lazarus Naturals Full Spectrum CBD Lotion

  • Price: $25–$50
  • CBD type: full-spectrum
  • Potency: 1,500 mg CBD per tube
  • COA: available online

This Lazarus Naturals product aims to hydrate the skin. It uses full-spectrum CBD, jojoba oil, mango seed butter, and aloe. It contains 1,500 mg of CBD per tube.

The company claims it manages every step of the manufacturing process, from growing and processing its hemp to formulating and packaging the products.

Lazarus Naturals recommends this lotion for people wanting a skin-nourishing CBD cream with no fragrance, and it may be a suitable lotion for dry skin. People looking for a product they can apply to their whole body instead of targeted areas may also find this lotion a good choice.

Learn more about Lazarus Naturals.


  • affordable product in comparison with some competitors
  • its fragrance-free formula may suit those with sensitive skin
  • many customer reviews mention that the product helped reduce pain
  • suitable for vegans


  • no discount subscription option is available
  • unsuitable for those taking statins or those with tree nut allergies
  • reviewers mention that they would rather have a pump applicator for this product
  • unsuitable for people looking for a THC-free product
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Best for athletes: Level Select Sports CBD Cream

  • Price: $29.99–$49.99
  • CBD type: broad-spectrum
  • Potency: 900–1,800 mg
  • COA: available online

This CBD cream contains a blend of broad-spectrum and nano CBD. The manufacturer claims that nano CBD contains fine CBD particles that absorb rapidly.

The company claims the formula is non-greasy and softens the skin in addition to soothing muscle aches. According to the product description, the lotion is suitable for everyday use.

A person can choose between three strength levels with different CBD strengths per jar/application:

  • Level 1: 900 mg/30 mg
  • Level 2: 1,200 mg/40 mg
  • Level 3: 1,800 mg/60 mg

This cream is non-GMO, cruelty-free, and contains 0% THC. The hemp is USA-grown.

Learn more about hemp and its benefits.

All strengths are available in a 3 oz tub. Level 1 costs $29.99, level 2 costs $39.99, and level 3 costs $49.99. Subscription options offer up to a 35% discount.

Use code “HEALTH40” for 40% off.


  • a person can choose between three strength levels
  • does not contain THC
  • the company says its products are cruelty-free
  • may benefit skin and muscles


  • may not be suitable for those with sensitive skin
  • not ideal for those looking for a THC formula
  • no guidance on how much to use at one time
  • all three strength choices are relatively high doses, which may not suit beginners
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Best cooling formula: CBDfx CBD Cream for Muscle & Joint Cooling Formula

  • Price: $79.99–$129.99
  • CBD type: broad-spectrum
  • Potency: 1,000–3,000 mg per bottle
  • COA: available online

This broad-spectrum CBD cream has a cooling formula with menthol to help relieve muscle and joint pain.

Menthol provides a cooling sensation, while white willow bark and caffeine may act as stimulants.

It is cruelty-free and suitable for vegans. It does not contain solvents.

CBDfx uses organic hemp farmed in Kentucky, USA.

People can choose between two strengths: 1,000 and 3,000 mg. The company recommends a person apply 3–4 times daily for best results.

Learn more about CBDfx.

A 50 ml bottle of CBDfx CBD Cream for Muscle & Joint Cooling Formula costs $79.99 for 1,000 mg and $129.99 for 3,000 mg.

Use code “MNT20″ for 20% off.


  • suitable for vegans
  • two choices of potency
  • contains organic hemp
  • uses natural ingredients to provide a cooling effect


  • less affordable than competitors
  • no lower-dose options are available
  • the company may filter out negative reviews on the product page
  • company does not ship to all 50 states
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Best for sensitive skin: Charlotte’s Web Hemp-Infused Cream with CBD

  • Price: $19.99–$39.99
  • CBD type: full-spectrum
  • Potency: 300–750 mg
  • COA: available online

Charlotte’s Web states this cream is suitable for sensitive skin as it does not contain the eight major allergens.

This cream is suitable for vegans and contains aloe vera, coconut oil, oat extract, and sea buckthorn oil. It is free from:

  • gluten
  • parabens
  • added fragrances
  • synthetic colors or dyes
  • sulfates
  • GMOs
  • sodium acrylates copolymer
  • carbomer
  • shark-derived squalene
  • betaine

The product has a U.S. Hemp Authority certification and contains 300 or 750 mg of full-spectrum hemp extract, depending on the tube size.

Learn more about Charlotte’s Web.

A 1 oz tube containing 300 mg of CBD costs $19.99. A 2.5 oz tube containing 750 mg costs $39.99. A subscription option offering a 20% discount is available.

Use code “HEALTH20” for 20% off.


  • affordable
  • suitable for sensitive skin
  • suitable for vegans
  • relatively low CBD dose that may suit beginners


  • small tube sizes
  • low CBD dose in comparison to competitors
  • unsuitable for those wanting a THC-free formula
  • a person needs to spend $74 to qualify for free shipping
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The table below compares each of the CBD creams and lotions in this article:

Used forCBD typeCBD contentProduct sizePrice
Aspen Greenrelieving muscle painfull-spectrum1,000 mg2 oz/60 ml$84.99
Calm by Wellnessrelieving dry, itchy, and sore skinbroad-spectrum200 mg4 oz/120 mL$35.99
FABCBDcooling and warming effectsfull-spectrum1,000–3,000 mg1 fl oz/30 mL$79.99
Cornbreadorganic pain relieffull-spectrum375 mg2 oz/60 mL$49.99
Ojai Energeticsathletes, fast recovery full-spectrum100 mg1 oz/30 mL$46.95
Lazarus Naturalsfull-body moisturizingfull-spectrum1,500-5,000 mg2.5-8.5 oz/75–250 mL$25–$50
Level Selectathletes, sports recoverybroad-spectrum900,
1,800 mg
3 oz/85 g$29.99–$49.99
CBDfxrelieving muscle and joint painbroad-spectrum1,000-3,000 mg1.7 oz/50 mL$79.99–$129.99
Charlotte’s Websensitive skinfull-spectrum300-
750 mg
1–2.5 oz/28–71 g$19.99–$39.99

A person should consider the following factors when buying a CBD lotion:

  • Potency: Beginners to CBD may wish to start with a low-potency lotion. However, lower potencies may have weaker effects.
  • Ingredients: People may wish to prioritize products with organic, natural ingredients and USA-grown hemp. Buyers with allergies or sensitivities should check ingredient lists carefully.
  • Dosage: A person should follow the company’s dosage guidelines. However, measuring the dose for a topical CBD product might be problematic. People should start with a small amount, increase it slowly to get their desired effect, and reduce their dosage if they experience adverse effects.
  • Third-party testing: A person should ensure that the company they buy from puts its products through third-party testing and provides access to the lab test results. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not regulate CBD products, so third-party testing is important to determine the quality and safety of CBD products.
  • CBD type: Those who want to avoid THC should purchase a CBD isolate or broad-spectrum products. However, full-spectrum or broad-spectrum products may provide more significant benefits.

Reading CBD labels

As the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not regulate CBD products, a person needs to read the labels and be able to recognize the most important pieces of information when choosing a CBD product.

The table below provides some key terms and their definitions.

CBDThis is a compound present in the C. sativa plant. This compound does not create the “high” feeling that people associate with cannabis use.
Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC)This is also a compound present in the C. sativa plant. This is the psychoactive compound that creates the “high” sensation linked with using cannabis.
Full-spectrumA full-spectrum product contains all of the natural compounds present in the cannabis plant, including THC. However, the products must not contain more than 0.3% THC to comply with FDA regulations.
Broad-spectrumBroad-spectrum products contain all natural compounds of the cannabis plant, but THC is only present in trace amounts.
CBD isolateThis is the purest form of CBD, and it should contain 0% THC.
CannabinoidsThese are compounds present within the cannabis plant. There are over 120 cannabinoids. CBD is the second richest compound in the plant after THC.
TerpenesThese are also compounds of the C. sativa plant. Terpenes typically give plants their unique aromas. Some terpenes, such as limonene, may have specific health benefits.
Certificate of analysis (COA)Reputable manufacturers of CBD products should ensure that a COA is available for inspection. A COA provides information on the third-party testing carried out by an independent laboratory that has no vested interest in the product. Sometimes, products have scannable smartphone codes that link directly to the COA.


The labels on most CBD products display the dosage information in milligrams (mg), but it is often difficult for a person to determine the correct amount to use. Currently, there are not enough studies to indicate appropriate dosages.

It is typically advisable to start with a low dosage, which a person can slowly increase over time if needed.

Learn more about CBD dosages.

Research regarding the effects of topical CBD is still limited. However, the National Centers for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH) states that some evidence suggests CBD can be helpful for chronic pain.

2020 research noted that topical CBD effectively managed chronic pain in people with peripheral neuropathy in the lower extremities.

There are few scientific reports on CBD side effects, but it is important to consider the potential risks of taking any supplement.

The FDA advises that some potential effects may include:

  • changes to alertness
  • drowsiness
  • mood changes
  • initially unnoticeable liver injury
  • drug interactions

If a person experiences side effects from a CBD product, they should stop using it and consult a doctor.

Using CBD lotions for pain involves rubbing the lotion into the painful area. Each product will have its own instructions on how to use it and how frequently. A person should follow this guidance closely.

People may also wish to do a patch test before applying the product to the painful area to ensure they are not sensitive to any of the ingredients.

Many people use CBD lotions and creams to relieve occasional muscle and joint pain.

However, people should contact a healthcare professional if they experience severe joint pain or swelling, or their pain does not improve with home remedies, such as rest and icing the affected areas, or if it interferes with their daily life.

According to the Arthritis Foundation, people should talk with a doctor if they experience:

  • pain that interferes with daily activities
  • joints that feel warm to the touch
  • problems with more than one joint
  • more than a few episodes of joint pain a month

Additionally, some CBD products contain ingredients that may interact with medication. Talking with a qualified health professional before using CBD products will help people understand which products will be safe for them.

If a person develops skin irritation or allergic reactions after using a CBD product, they should stop using it and seek medical advice.

Below are some frequently asked questions relating to CBD creams and lotions.

What are the benefits of CBD topicals?

CBD may benefit some skin conditions by reducing inflammation. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, such conditions may include eczema, acne, and psoriasis.

Skin creams may also help with other conditions, including arthritis, peripheral neuropathy, and jaw pain.

How do I choose a CBD cream or lotion?

When choosing a CBD product, a person should consider the following:

  • dosage
  • whether or not it contains other organically grown ingredients
  • the extraction process, which may sometimes involve harsh chemicals
  • the possible interactions with prescribed medications or other supplements
  • cost

How do I use CBD creams and lotions?

Individuals can apply a CBD topical in the same way as any other skin product by massaging a small amount of product into the required area.

The more lotion a person applies, the higher the dosage of CBD they will receive. For this reason, it is important to start with less and build up the amount gradually.

A person should discuss ongoing pain or skin condition symptoms with a qualified healthcare professional.

Is CBD lotion good for skin?

2020 research notes that preclinical results suggest topical CBD products can be good for eczema, psoriasis, and pruritus. However, more research is needed to confirm these results.

The authors also write that CBD could benefit people with acne, seborrhea, and dermatitis. Research on the side effects topical CBD products may cause is limited, including hyperpigmentation and hair growth or loss.

A person should talk with a doctor before using CBD lotions to treat or improve a skin condition.

CBD lotions and creams may help manage chronic pain, chronic inflammatory conditions, and some skin conditions.

In addition to lotions and creams, other topical CBD products are available, including salves and balms.

CBD products often contain other beneficial cannabinoids, essential fatty acids, and antioxidants.

A person should consult a doctor before using any CBD product, particularly if they take prescription medications.

Visit our dedicated hub for more research-backed information and in-depth resources on CBD.

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