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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.

A quick look at the 9 best CBD lotions:

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 percent THC federally legal. However, CBD products containing more than 0.3 percent 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 chooses products that meet the following criteria:

  • Ingredients: MNT chooses products containing safe and high quality, clearly labeled ingredients. They 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.

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
Green Roads4.0
Cornbread5.0
Ojai Energetics5.0
Lazarus Naturals4.0
Level Select4.0
CBDfx5.0
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

Aspen Green Muscle Relief Cooling Cream comes in a 2-oz tub and contains approximately 600 mg of CBD.

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

This cream contains less than 0.3% THC 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 using CBD products for pain relief here.

Possible pros and cons of Aspen Green Muscle Relief Cooling Cream may include:

  • Pros: Users report that this cream absorbs quickly and effectively targets muscle aches.
  • Cons: Expensive one-time purchase. Some users found the product oily.

Aspen Green Muscle Relief Cooling Cream is available online for $85. A subscription option with a discount is available.

Learn more about Aspen Green here.

Best for dry, irritated skin: Calm by Wellness Hemp CBD Lavender Lotion

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 is free from 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.

Possible pros and cons of the Calm by Wellness CBD Lavender Lotion may include:

  • Pros: More affordable than similar products. Customers report it is effective for treating dry and sensitive skin.
  • Cons: Some users find lotion too watery.

Calm by Wellness Hemp CBD Lavender Lotion is available online for $35.99. A subscription option with a discount is available.

Use code MNT20 for 20% off.

Best roll-on heat relief: Green Roads Heat Relief CBD Roll-On

Packaged in a convenient roll-on dispenser, this CBD topical aims to make it easy for people to apply the product to painful areas, such as the knees and back muscles.

It contains 750 mg of broad-spectrum CBD per product.

The formula for this product includes broad-spectrum CBD, rosemary oil, bentonite clay, and avocado oil. It is free from THC.

It also contains cayenne, which provides warming properties and may aid pain relief to stiff and sore muscles.

A cooling relief version is available for people who prefer cold therapy to heat therapy.

The manufacturer recommends applying to the desired area and rubbing gently. People can reapply every 4-6 hours if necessary.

Possible pros and cons of Green Roads Heat Relief CBD Roll-On may include:

  • Pros: Provides heat therapy. Convenient application.
  • Cons: It may not suit sensitive skin.

Green Roads Heat Relief CBD Roll-On costs $39.99. A subscription option with discount is available.

Learn more about Green Roads here.

Use code MNT20 for 20% off your order

Best organic: Cornbread CBD Lotion + Menthol

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 2 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.

Possible pros and cons of Cornbread CBD Lotion + Menthol may include:

  • Pros: Provides cooling treatments. Organic ingredients.
  • Cons: THC content may make it unsuitable for some. Some users dislike the consistency.

Cornbread CBD Lotion + Menthol costs $49.99.

Use code MNT for 25% off your first order

Best fast-acting: Ojai Energetics Full Spectrum Sports Gel

This sports gel uses 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 this is more rapidly absorbed and 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 use to medication interactions.

Possible pros and cons of Ojai Full Spectrum Sports Gel may include:

  • Pros: Uses water-soluble CBD for fast absorption. Portable and easy to use.
  • Cons: Low CBD dose per pump. Unsuitable for people taking statins.

Ojai Full Spectrum Sports Gel costs $46.95.

Best full-body moisturizer: Lazarus Naturals Full Spectrum CBD Lotion

This Lazarus Naturals product aims to hydrate the skin. It uses full-spectrum CBD, jojoba oil, mango seed butter, and aloe.

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 offers two lotions with different CBD content: 1,500 mg and 5,000 mg. A person can also choose between a fragrance-free and pine-scented lotion.

This product may be best suited to people who want a CBD product they can apply to their whole body instead of targeted areas.

Learn about the best lotions for dry skin here.

Possible pros and cons of Lazarus Naturals Full Spectrum CBD Lotionmay include:

  • Pros: Two options for CBD content. Fragrance-free option. Lower cost than other products.
  • Cons: Unsuitable for people taking statins and those with tree nut allergies.

A 2.5 fl oz bottle containing 1,500 mg of CBD costs $25. An 8.5 fl oz bottle containing 5,000 mg of CBD costs $50.

Learn more about Lazarus Naturals here.

Best for athletes: Level Select Sports CBD Cream

This CBD cream contains a blend of broad-spectrum and nano CBD. Manufacturers claim that nano CBD is fine CBD particles that absorb rapidly.

The company claims the formula is non-greasy that absorbs quickly. They also claim it softens the skin in addition to soothing muscle aches.

Learn about the best CBD salves for athletes here.

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.

Possible pros and cons of Level Select Sports CBD Creammay include:

  • Pros: Three strength levels to choose from.
  • Cons: It may not suit sensitive skin.

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 with discounts are available.

Use code “HEALTH40” for 40% off.

Best cooling formula: CBDfx CBD Cream for Muscle & Joint Cooling Formula

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

Learn about the best CBD products for joint pain here.

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 three strengths: 500 mg, 1,000 mg, and 3,000 mg. The company recommends a person apply 3-4 times daily for best results.

Possible pros and cons of CBDfx CBD Cream for Muscle & Joint Cooling Formulamay include:

  • Pros: Two strength options. Suitable for vegans.
  • Cons: High cost in comparison to other products.

Learn more about CBDfx here.

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. A subscription option with a discount is available.

Use code “MNT20″ for 20% off.

Best for sensitive skin: Charlotte’s Web Hemp-Infused Cream with CBD

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

Learn about the best CBD creams for skin here.

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. Charlotte’s Web also uses third-party testing and provides a certificate of analysis on its website.

This cream from Charlotte’s Web contains 300 mg or 750 mg of full-spectrum hemp extract, depending on the tube size.

Possible pros and cons of Charlotte’s Web Hemp-Infused Cream with CBDmay include:

  • Pros: Low cost in comparison to similar products. Suitable for sensitive skin and vegans.
  • Cons: Small tub sizes. Low CBD dose in comparison to similar products.

A 1 oz tube containing 300 mg of CBD costs $19.99. A 2.5 oz tube containing 750 mg costs $39.99. Subscription options with discounts are available.

Learn more about Charlotte’s Web here.

Use code “HEALTH20” for 20% off.

The table below compares each of the CBD creams and lotions in this article:

Used forCBD typeCBD contentProduct sizePrice
Aspen Green Muscle Relief Cooling Creamrelieving muscle painfull-spectrum1,000 mg2 oz/
60 ml
$85
Calm by Wellness Hemp CBD Lavender Lotionrelieving dry, itchy, and sore skinbroad-spectrum200 mg4 oz/
120 ml
$35.99
Green Roads Heat Relief CBD Roll-Onheat reliefbroad-spectrum750 mg3 oz / 85g$39.99
Cornbread Hemp CBD Lotionorganic pain relieffull-spectrum375 mg2 oz/
60 ml
$49.99
Ojai Energetics Full Spectrum Sports Gelathletes, fast recovery full-spectrum100 mg1 oz/
30 ml
$46.95
Lazarus Naturals Full Spectrum CBD Lotionfull-body moisturizingfull-spectrum1,500-5,000 mg2.5-8.5 oz /
75-250 ml
$25-50
Level Select Sports CBD Creamathletes, sports recoverybroad-spectrum900,
1,200,
1,800 mg
3 oz /
85 g
$29.99-49.99
CBDfx CBD Cream for Muscle & Jointrelieving muscle and joint painbroad-spectrum1,000-3,000 mg1.7 oz/
50 ml
$79.99-129.99
Charlotte’s Web Hemp-Infused Cream with CBDsensitive skinfull-spectrum300-
750 mg
1-2.5 oz/
28-71 g
$19.99-39.99

People can purchase CBD products online and in many large health food stores, but checking the product labeling is important regardless of purchase location.

People should always look for information relating to a COA and ensure that they are happy with the CBD type and amount before purchasing the product.

For advice on how to shop for CBD products, read this guide.

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.

TermDefinition
CBDThis is a compound present in the C. sativa plant. This compound does not create the “high” feeling associated 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, THC levels must be no more than 0.3% to remain compliant 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.

Dosage

Most CBD products display their dosage information in milligrams (mg), but knowing the right amount for an individual is difficult to determine. There are currently too few 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, a 2016 animal study found that treatments applied to the skin without breaking it, such as lotions and ointments, may benefit those with chronic pain and chronic inflammatory conditions.

Topical CBD does not reach the bloodstream, but manufacturers produce CBD-infused creams and lotions to provide targeted pain relief.

CBD extract also contains several other compounds in the C. sativa plant, such as omega fatty acids and antioxidants. These compounds may help improve the quality and appearance of the skin and reduce inflammation.

There are not many reports on CBD side effects, but a person needs 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

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

However, people should contact a doctor if their pain does not improve with home remedies, such as rest and icing the affected areas, or if it interferes with their daily life.

If a person experiences severe joint pain or swelling, they should contact a doctor.

According to the Arthritis Foundation, people should get advice from a physician if they experience:

  • pain interfering with daily activities
  • joints that are 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 doctor 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.

Some other conditions that skin creams may help with include arthritis, peripheral neuropathy, and jaw pain.

Learn more about CBD skin creams here.

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 affected area.

The more lotion a person applies to an area, 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 potentially 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, there are other topical CBD products available, including salves and balms.

Learn more about other CBD topicals here.

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.