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Cannabidiol (CBD) is becoming an increasingly popular ingredient in a variety of products due to its numerous potential health benefits. CBD may also benefit the skin. Here are some of the best CBD balms.

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.

CBD is one of many cannabinoids, or chemicals, present in the Cannabis sativa (C. sativa) plant that may help treat some health conditions.

CBD does not have any psychoactive properties, unlike delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which is another cannabinoid in the C. sativa plant. THC is the chemical responsible for the “high” that many people associate with cannabis.

This article discusses CBD balms, their benefits, and how to use them. It also lists five CBD balms to consider.

Learn about the differences between THC and CBD.

A CBD balm is a balm containing CBD oil.

To create CBD oil, producers extract CBD from the C. sativa plant and then mix it with a carrier oil. Manufacturers can extract CBD from the plant using various methods, such as the supercritical carbon dioxide method. They can then add the CBD oil to a balm.

A balm is a topical skin care product usually containing butter, waxes, oils, and active ingredients. Balms are similar to creams, but they do not contain water. Popular ingredients in balms include shea butter and beeswax.

Learn more about carrier oils here.

There are many CBD balms available on the market. Below, we list five products for consideration.

The following table provides a comparison of the above products.

Total CBD per productThird-party lab testsContains fragrances or essential oilsVolumePrice
Lazarus Naturals800 or 3,600 mgyesyes16 or 72 g$12 or $42
Go Green Hemp500, 1,000, 2,000, or 4,000 mgyesyes1 or 4 oz$29.99 to $179.99
Plus CBD100 mgyesyes1.3 oz$35.99
NuLeaf Naturals300, 600, or 900 mgyesno0.5, 1, or 1.5 oz$24 to $59
Aspen Green1,000 mgyesyes2 oz$89.99

Currently, the FDA does not regulate CBD products, and a a 2022 study showed that the product labels on almost half of the 80 products reviewed were not labelled accurately..

Therefore, a person should look for CBD balms that:

  • contain no more than 0.3% THC, per the Agriculture Improvement Act
  • have proof of third-party testing by an ISO/IEC 17025-accredited laboratory
  • have a current and valid certificate of analysis
  • pass tests for pesticides, heavy metals, mold, and microbes
  • pass product potency evaluations and safety testing
  • are not subject to an FDA warning letter

Additionally, people may also wish to consider the product’s scent, application method, and price.

Researching manufacturer and retailer reputations, including customer reviews, may also help guide a person’s decision.

Read our complete buyer’s guide to CBD here.

People should follow all packaging instructions when using CBD products and not exceed the recommended dose.

When applying a CBD balm to the skin, people typically place a small amount of balm on their hands and rub them together. This will help warm and soften the product, making it easier to apply. A person can then gently massage the balm into the required area.

Avoid applying balm to areas with broken skin.

Individuals new to CBD products might consider starting with the lowest possible dosage. Once they understand how their body reacts to CBD, they can slowly increase the dose.

Always perform a patch test before using the product to ensure it will not irritate the skin.

Learn more about allergy testing here.

Below are some advantages and disadvantages for a person to consider.


  • Products have the potential to work as an anti-inflammatory and pain reliever.
  • CBD balms could benefit common skin conditions.
  • There is a low risk of side effects with short-term use.
  • There is a wide range of products available.


  • The FDA does not regulate CBD products.
  • There is limited scientific research into safety and benefits.
  • Long-term use may cause side effects.
  • Some ingredients may interact with certain medications.
  • Some of the ingredients may irritate the skin.
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Medical News Today carefully vets CBD products to ensure they do not pose health risks to individuals. These include:

  • Ingredients: Products must contain safe and high quality ingredients, and their labels must state all ingredients clearly. They should also confirm they are free from pesticides, heavy metals, and mold.
  • Dosage: Products must clearly state the CBD dosage.
  • Serving size: Manufacturers must suggest a safe serving size.
  • Third-party labs: Products must undergo third-party testing for contaminants by an ISO 17025-compliant laboratory.
  • Available certificate of analysis: The company must demonstrate transparency and share a product’s certificate of analysis (COA) following receipt of its third-party lab results.

Learn more about MNT’s product selection and vetting process here.

Scientific research exploring the effects and health benefits of topical CBD is still at a relatively early stage. However, there is increasing evidence that CBD may have many potential medicinal properties.

Evidence notes that the human body contains a complex network of neurotransmitters and cannabinoid receptors known as the endocannabinoid receptor system (ECS). The signaling of the ECS receptors may help reduce depressive symptoms in people with schizophrenia.

Research also indicates that the ECS may contain multiple promising therapeutic targets and that the skin has many cannabinoid receptors. Therefore, topical CBD products may be a useful way for people to benefit from the potential of CBD.

While research is still in its early stages, some evidence suggests that topical CBD may have some benefit in treating muscle soreness. A 2018 review notes the potential of CBD for pain and inflammation.

A 2019 research article and a 2020 randomized controlled trial also highlight the pain relief properties of topical CBD, while a a 2021 review showed that CBD, CBG, and CBD with THC, all showed anti-inflammatory effects.

Other research also notes that topical CBD may help treat certain skin disorders. A 2019 study suggests that CBD ointment is a safe and effective treatment for inflammatory skin conditions and may help improve skin hydration and elasticity.

The American Academy of Dermatology also suggests that topical CBD may help treat acne, psoriasis, and eczema due to its anti-inflammatory properties.

Learn more about CBD for skin here.

CBD may interact with certain medications. People who take prescription medications should speak with their doctor before using any CBD products.

However, the World Health Organization (WHO) reports that cannabidiol does not appear to have abuse potential or cause harm.

Most of the known CBD side effects relate to consumable products. According to the FDA, side effects can include diarrhea, mood changes, drowsiness, and sometimes liver damage.

Researchers know less about topically applied CBD and which doses may result in side effects. However, when someone applies a balm topically, there is a much lower risk of CBD entering the bloodstream.

Research suggests that short-term CBD use is unlikely to result in side effects, but long-term use may have mild adverse effects.

A 2018 paper raises questions about the possible side effects of using CBD long term, although researchers should continue to investigate this.

Learn more about CBD dosage here.

The following are common questions about CBD balms.

According to current research, CBD balm may help reduce inflammation, pain, and discomfort that people experience due to certain skin conditions.

However, knowledge about the medicinal effects of CBD is still developing.

The FDA reports that individuals should avoid products that make broad health claims, including claims that CBD can prevent, treat, or cure serious illnesses such as cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, and mental health conditions.

Some research suggests that CBD interacts with the body’s endocannabinoid system. This stops the endocannabinoids from breaking down and prolongs their effect on the body.

Research shows there are endocannabinoid receptors throughout the skin, which may help improve the effectiveness of CBD skin balms, oils, and creams.

CBD balms may reduce pain by reducing inflammation, as suggested by a study which found CBD, CBG, and CBD + THC can have an anti-inflammatory effect.

A more recent 2019 study found that CBD worked as a muscle relaxer, which improved symptoms in people with jaw pain.

Yes, the skin can absorb CBD.

A 2020 study into how well the skin absorbed CBD concluded that paraffin oil ointments and hydrophilic gels provided the best absorption and a mixture of water and propylene glycol.

CBD may interact with some medications. A person should talk with a doctor before using CBD if they are currently taking medications to check that it is safe for them.

Reported side effects mainly involve oral CBD products and rarely relate to topical balms and creams.

Research to answer questions about long-term CBD use’s effects and whether topical CBD can cause harmful side effects should continue.

Scientists do not know if CBD is safe for pregnant or breastfeeding people, and the FDA strongly advises against its use in these cases.

The research regarding the benefits of CBD balms on nerve pain is limited.

A 2018 review found a small benefit in using CBD to treat chronic, non-cancer-related pain. However, it also noted that side effects were more common in those taking CBD than placebos. Ultimately, the study did not find CBD to be a likely highly effective treatment for chronic, non-cancer-related pain.

A 2020 study into topical CBD oil for peripheral neuropathy concluded that CBD oil could significantly improve pain for people with this condition.

Common uses for CBD body balm are:

  • arthritis pain relief
  • easing chronic pain
  • soothing tired and aching muscles and joints
  • supporting a sleep quality

The effects of CBD balm are different for every person. Some people report significant pain relief and others do not report much, if any.

CBD takes effect more slowly when it is applied to the skin. It can take 15 to 45 minutes for a person using CBD balm to feel relief.

CBD balms may help moisturize skin and relieve soreness, inflammation, and discomfort. If people wish to use CBD products, there are a variety of other topical products available and other forms of CBD that they can ingest.

Before purchasing a CBD product, people should ensure it is from a reputable company and passes safety tests. It is also advisable to consult a healthcare professional before using any CBD products.

CBD resources

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

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