Everyone is raving about CBD topicals like massage lotions, muscle salves and creams. That could include your grandmother (for arthritis) or your gym buddies (use it after their workout for soreness). Everywhere you look there is a new brand of CBD popping up!
So how do you know which ones are legit and which ones are scams?
There are countless brands trying to sell you CBD topicals and CBD creams. All of them promise to “cure” your pain.
(Which is a false medical claim.)
With so many brands, how do you know which ones actually work? And how do you know the CBD companies that you can trust? Do you know which are honest about their extraction methods and ingredients?
My Pain Center took the challenge and purchased over $500 worth of CBD topicals and tried them out over a span of 3 months and here are our thoughts!
WHAT ARE CBD LOTIONS, SALVES, CREAMS, ETC.?
Photo by Andrea Piacquadio
These CBD topicals are basically a cream or lotion made from CBD oil extracted from the cannabis plant.
The oil is blended with a variety of ingredients to create CBD topicals. Many of these creams also have additional ingredients included with the CBD.
Be skeptical if the CBD product you are eyeing does not clearly label the ingredients.
HOW DO CBD TOPICALS DIFFER FROM CBD OIL?
Photo by Enecta Cannabis Extracts
CBD topicals are applied to the skin while CBD oil is taken by mouth.
Which one acts faster to help you be pain-free is debatable.
CBD cream does not enter the bloodstream like a CBD oil. Instead, CBD cream is absorbed into the top layer of your skin. Which is a positive if you’re nervous about testing positive on a drug test for THC.
However, CBD topicals may provide relief because of the CBD’s anti-inflammatory potential.
Some people find that CBD oil has a faster effect. It takes longer to feel the effects of a CBD Topical or CBD cream--even though the relief from CBD topical/cream will last longer.
However, other people find that applying the CBD cream to the actual pain points. works faster. It offers a more targeted pain relief.
What has been your experience?
Drop a note in the comments!
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF USING CBD TOPICALS FOR PAIN?
Photo by Sohini
CBD oil may help with full-body pain relief while CBD cream may be best for localized pain.
CBD oil is good for reducing overwhelm, an onslaught of thoughts, ongoing bodily discomfort, and trouble resting.
However, CBD oil does not have the same localized effect as CBD cream for pain.
CBD cream is a good option if you have arthritis pain or localized pain. You can apply the cream directly on the inflamed area.
Rubbing CBD on your joints allows the anti-inflammatory potential of CBD to aid in long-lasting comfort in a specific area. Over time, you may experience pleasing results.
While CBD cream is a possible option for people who have arthritis, CBD cream may be worth exploring for skin troubles like eczema, psoriasis, skin infections, rashes, and burns.
There are numerous forms of CBD creams for pain available including balms, lotions, oils, rubs, and bio-freezes.
HOW WE CHOSE THE BEST CBD TOPICALS FOR PAIN
Photo by Retha Ferguson
Here are the categories we used to differentiate the best CBD topicals from the rest.
Potency: How Strong is the CBD Topical?
There are CBD creams ranging from 20mg to 1000mg+. While stronger isn’t always better, 20mg may be too low.
Also, while many topicals tout a strong dose, you have to check the packaging size to best understand the potency.
For example, a 100mg in a 1-ounce jar is equivalent to a 500mg CBD cream in a 5-ounce jar. In this case, both products have the same potency.
It’s important to read the labels carefully, as well as to check the Certificate of Analysis (COA) or Lab Results. The COA is a 3rd party lab test (be wary if it is not a 3rd party lab test!) that states how much CBD is in the product.
While we tried and tested different CBD creams, we kept potency in mind, as it was important for us to be aware of how much CBD is actually in each jar, especially as it related to price.
The Smell of CBD Topicals
You don’t want people around you to wonder why you smell like Vicks VapoRub.
Most topicals have a menthol smell. But some are stronger than others. Others infuse fruit scents into their CBD cream. But that makes it difficult to stomach if you’re trying to sleep.
As we tested products, we were aware of which products had a permeable smell versus a short-term smell (lasting only a few minutes upon application).
Not all CBD is created equally. Some CBD creams contain chemicals and pesticides. Others advertise a higher CBD content than what is actually in the product.
When shopping for CBD cream, be on the lookout for “hemp-derived cannabinoid extract”--basically, CBD.
Ask the vendor or manufacturer to see the Certificate of Analysis (also known as a COA). It will show you how much CBD is in the product. It also confirms that there are no pesticides in the product.
Cost of CBD Products
I’m a stand-up comedian so cost matters to me! However (as is true with all things) what you pay for is what you get.
CBD lotions, salves and the like range from $10 to $200+.
Most of the products we recommend are cost-efficient relative to the amount of CBD provided.
This may mean you are getting a smaller overall amount. However, CBD topicals go a long way for addressing localized areas.
We also grouped the products we tested by milligrams to compare costs amongst similar products. This allowed us to best understand the average price you’re paying per milligram of CBD.
THE BEST CBD LOTIONS, SALVES, CREAMS AND GELS OF 2020
WINNER - BEST OVERALL CBD TOPICAL FOR PAIN
Why Green Roads ranks the highest of our selection
- This product has had pleasing results for those with arthritis and joint pain
- Menthol and lavender scent
- Pump dispenser for easy access
- ~120 servings
- Good price for quantity of CBD (150mg in 1-ounce dispenser)
Another reason we love this product and Green Roads, specifically, is Green Roads transparency in sharing their ingredient list, certificate of analysis and CBD extraction method.
My mom applies this product every morning on her arthritic hands and legs. With the long-lasting comfort that the cream provides, she’s been able to be more active in her daily life.
She’s also rediscovered hobbies such as cooking and baking that she had moved away from due to her joint pain.
If you have minor aches and pains holding you back, applying Green Roads CBD Pain Cream to those areas will leave you energized and ready to conquer the day.
Green Roads CBD Cream is infused with pain-relieving menthol, chamomile extract, and lavender oil. It may bring you the relief you need and the pleasant aroma. without leaving a greasy residue behind.
WINNER: BEST BUDGET CBD MASSAGE PRODUCT
- Great for larger surface area of discomfort
- Icy-hot sensation created by cooling menthol and warming capsicum and camphor oil
- Formulated with Aloe, capcicum, and camphor oil
- Convenient packaging to leave in one’s gym bag or backpack
- Good price for quantity of CBD (500mg in 1-ounce dispenser)
As an avid basketball player, with nagging sciatica pain and back pain, I’m always looking for something to take the edge off.
Applying this cream before I play allows me to take my focus off my discomfort and focus on playing my best game. I use this cream after an intense game or workout to relax my muscles.
My massage therapist is also a fan of this product and uses it on me during my massage for extra relaxation.
To soothe sore and tired muscles, toss this into your gym bag. It’s perfect to rub over sore muscles next time you workout.
RUNNER-UP: BEST CBD SALVE FOR MUSCLE ACHES
- Clean Ingredient list with 12 essential oils: Coconut Oil, Shea Butter, Mango Butter, Bees Wax, Jojoba Butter, Medium-Chain Triglyceride, Peppermint Oil, Grapefruit Oil, Bergamot Oil, Rose Hip Oil, Clove Leaf Oil, Black Pepper Oil, Roman Chamomile Oil, Arnica Oil, Manuka Oil, Lavender Oil, and Vitamin E
- Easy access jar packaging for application
- Quick absorbing; doesn't leave sticky residue
- Size: 2400mg of CBD in 1-ounce jar
- Price: $120
When I saw this cream is $120, I quickly put it down. But when the manufacturer explained to me why the high price tag, it made sense.
Touting 2400mg of CBD (compared to the 150mg of CBD in the Green Roads product), this cream is 16x stronger! It also has 12 essential oils infused into the product for deep penetrating qualities.
This cream is best for those who have had serious injuries and need a strong CBD potency.
Like my dad.
After he tore his shoulder rotator cuff and refused to go for surgery, he was a mess.
He couldn’t get a good night's sleep due to the pain or carry out his daily functions. I had him try every CBD cream to help him reduce his discomfort. Many creams provide short term results.
The MediRx muscle salve provides my dad with the long-lasting results to stay active and focus on his job.
POST-CHALLENGE THOUGHTS ON CBD LOTIONS AND MORE
After spending $500 on products, we learned that not all CBD topicals are made equally.
Once we tried each product over a span of a few days, we tossed some aside due to:
- Texture: it was grainy like rubbing a salt rub on your body
- Smell: I should be able to go out without smelling like I doused myself in menthol
- Potency: Do the products contain as much CBD as they claim?
- Cost: we created groupings for creams based on mg and compared costs within each group
We believe our selections are the best in the market and solid choices for a CBD cream.
Check out all of our CBD topicals today!