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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.

Cannabidiol (CBD) is one of more than 100 cannabinoids present in the Cannabis sativa plant. A topical CBD lotion or cream may help relieve muscle aches, joint pain, and skin inflammation.

This article looks at four high quality CBD lotions and creams available to purchase today.

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There is still limited research regarding the effects of topical CBD. 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 present 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.

As the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not regulate CBD products, it is important for a person 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 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 regulation.
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.


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 here.

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.

The sections below look at some products that a person may wish to consider.

Please note that the writer of this article has not tried any of these products. All information presented here is purely research-based.

All guide prices are correct at the time of publishing this article.

Social CBD Rest CBD Body Lotion

Best for nighttime relaxation

Social CBD Rest CBD Body Lotion contains 300 mg of CBD per 12-fluid ounce (fl oz) bottle.

It contains natural essential oils for fragrance, including lavender, chamomile, and bergamot. The manufacturers claim that the product is non-greasy, non-stick, and fast-absorbing.

The lotion also contains:

  • magnesium
  • arnica
  • shea butter
  • coconut oil
  • argan oil

Social CBD Rest CBD Body Lotion is available to purchase online for around $30.

30% off purchase with code HEALTH30

Aspen Green Muscle Relief Cooling Cream

Best for sore, tired muscles

Aspen Green Muscle Relief Cooling Cream comes in a 2-oz tub and contains approximately 600 mg of CBD made from Colorado United States Department of Agriculture certified organic full-spectrum hemp extract.

It contains less than 0.3% THC and a variety of terpenes.

Some of the additional ingredients in this product include:

  • organic menthol
  • jojoba seed oil
  • mango
  • tee tree oil
  • kernel butter

Aspen Green Muscle Relief Cooling Cream is available to purchase online for around $85.

25% off Sitewide through Christmas Day

Naternal Rescue CBD Muscle Cream

Best for muscle restoration

Naternal created its Rescue CBD Muscle Cream for preventive care and muscle restoration. It comes in a 3.4-oz pot and contains 1,000 mg of full-spectrum CBD.

Other ingredients include:

  • menthol
  • camphor
  • eucalyptus
  • arnica

The manufacturers claim that these ingredients give the product a non-greasy, cooling feel.

Naternal Rescue CBD Muscle Cream is available to purchase online for around $40.

Calm by Wellness Hemp CBD Lavender Lotion

Best for dry, itchy, and sore skin

Calm by Wellness claims that its Hemp CBD Lavender Lotion soothes skin and eases pain.

The lavender-scented lotion contains 200 mg of broad-spectrum CBD per bottle.

Additional ingredients include aloe leaf juice and coconut oil.

Calm by Wellness Hemp CBD Lavender Lotion is available to purchase online for around $40.

Use code MNT20 for 20% off.

There are not many reports on CBD side effects, but it is important for a person to consider the potential risks involved with taking any supplement.

The FDA advises that some potential effects may include:

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

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 any ongoing pain or skin condition symptoms with a qualified healthcare professional.

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 any prescription medications.