Royal CBD Cream (Calming Salve) 90 ml
|Cost per mg CBD:
Topicals are fast-acting and direct. They provide high concentrations of CBD to the source of the problem.
Learn how you can use CBD creams to manage muscle & joint pain.
CBD is a potent painkiller and anti-inflammatory — which makes it well-suited for alleviating arthritis pain.
There are two ways of using CBD — internally (as an oil or gummy) or topically (in the form of creams, lotions, and balms).
Topical CBD is the best option for managing soreness in the joints because it delivers the active ingredients directly to the source.
Here, you’ll learn how CBD topicals work for pain, acne, and irritated skin. We’ll also cover how to use them effectively and which CBD creams and balms you should be using depending on your health goals and budget.
Let’s get started with the top 5 CBD creams, lotions, and gels for 2020.
There are two philosophies when it comes to a topical rub for arthritis pain. Some people prefer a cooling rub to numb the pain, others find relief from a warming rub.
If you’re in the cooling camp, this Cool Relief Balm from Royal CBD is worth considering.
This formula combines 500 mg of broad-spectrum hemp extract (6 mg/mL) with over a dozen other painkilling, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and tissue restorative herbs and nutrients.
Inside this fast-absorbing pain cream, you’ll find herbs such as arnica, cayenne pepper, ginger, turmeric, peppermint, sweet marjoram, lavender, eucalyptus, and more.
Overall, this is an excellent CBD topical for managing persistent joint pain. Within seconds you’ll start to feel the cooling sensation brought on by the menthol and eucalyptus, which gradually increases as the ingredients seep deeper into the skin. Use the code DAILY10 at checkout for an additional 10% off your order.
Kiara Naturals is a small, holistic CBD brand based out of Switzerland. They ship CBD products all around the world, including the United States and throughout Europe.
What makes this brand special is its focus on combining high-grade organic herbs with CBD to provide stronger and more robust benefits for a specific application.
Each of Kiara Naturals products has a specific condition or symptom in mind. This topical pain cream is formulated to reduce pain and inflammation in the muscles and joints.
This salve contains a premium full-spectrum hemp extract (500 mg total), along with arnica, common rue, camphor, menthol, andiroba, rosemary, and hypericum. Each of these ingredients offers it’s own painkilling, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant benefits to the salve.
This cream is powerful and works great for both rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis.
If you prefer using a warming salve to manage arthritis pain, you need to check this out.
This formula by Kat’s Naturals combines high-grade full-spectrum hemp extract with capsaicin — which is the active ingredient in hot peppers that give them their characteristic spice.
Capsaicin activates the vanilloid receptors, which causes the sensation we feel as “heat.” These receptors are also responsible for regulating pain transmission.
Immediately after applying this salve, you’ll notice a gentle warming sensation around the joints. This stimulates blood flow to the joint, which helps remove metabolic byproducts and delivers fresh oxygen and nutrients to the region.
This effect also has the added benefit of carrying active CBD and other analgesic ingredients deeper into the joint tissue — ultimately making them more effective.
You can also find a non-warming version of this salve (Kat’s Naturals CBD Cream w/ Arnica). This version uses a herb called arnica instead as the central ingredient alongside CBD. Arnica is well-known for its ability to repair connective tissue.
Fab CBD is a popular CBD brand with an impressive selection of CBD products to choose from. This topical salve is designed to offer all-around support for joint pain from arthritis, as well as muscle pain, skin irritation, and more.
The formula Fab CBD uses for this salve includes 600 mg of full-spectrum CBD (~10 mg/mL), aloe vera, chamomile, vitamin E, cinnamon, and blood orange.
The aroma is unique compared to other CBD pain salves we’ve tried — it’s slightly sweet, with cinnamon and blood orange undertones. This scent of this salve is surprisingly soothing.
This is a good product to use for mild to moderate arthritis pain, as well as other applications like muscle tension around the neck and back.
It’s made from high-grade full-spectrum hemp, at a concentration of 15 mg per mL of cream. This makes it the strongest CBD cream on our list.
What makes this pain cream different is its formula. The cream base contains a variety of carrier oils designed to give it a silky smooth texture and improve the absorption rate of the salve through the skin. However, there are no additional herbal painkillers or anti-inflammatories in this formula, like you’ll find in the other products mentioned on this list.
This CBD pain cream is a simple, high-strength CBD topical for managing pain from arthritis, as well as muscle and skin pain. It’s effective for both rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis. Enter the code DAILYCBD for 10% off your order.
There are several different categories of CBD topicals depending on their base ingredients and purpose.
CBD lotions have a light base and work best when applied over larger areas of skin or muscles. They often include soothing ingredients like aloe vera, argan oil, or calendula.
Recommended CBD lotions:
CBD gels have a thicker consistency — sometimes resembling petroleum jelly, but not always. Gels are designed to allow more of the topical to be applied to the skin at a time for heavier pain or inflammation. Gels often contain cooling ingredients like menthol or eucalyptus. These products are best for stronger pain covering smaller areas.
Recommended CBD gels:
CBD creams are, by far, the most popular type of CBD topicals. The consistency of a CBD cream is somewhere between a lotion and a gel. They’re a little bit thicker, but are still quick to absorb into the skin, muscles, and joints.
Recommended CBD creams:
CBD pain creams are a specialized form of CBD that are designed to be applied directly to painful, inflamed, or otherwise troublesome areas on the skin, muscles, and joints.
Arthritis is a group of conditions affecting the joints. There are dozens of different types of arthritis, but the main two categories include rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis.
The benefits of CBD cream for pain & arthritis includes:
By applying topical CBD creams to affected joints, the active ingredients (namely the CBD and other cannabinoids) are absorbed through the skin and enter the joints where they can exert their effects.
Related: Best CBD:THC Ratio for Arthritis.
CBD creams work for rheumatoid arthritis by inhibiting key inflammatory mediators (namely LOX). It also reduces pain symptoms by blocking the transmission of pain signals traveling up the nerves .
CBD’s most impactful benefit for rheumatoid arthritis is its ability to block the formation of rheumatoid arthritis synovial fibroblasts (RASF) .
RASF formation plays a critical role in the development of rheumatoid arthritis symptoms. Blocking their formation has been one of the key therapeutic goals used in RA treatment for decades.
In general, the best CBD creams for rheumatoid arthritis have a warming action. Heating balms (rubefacients) have been used for centuries to alleviate pain from joints described as feeling “hot.” However, some people prefer the relief brought on by cooling topicals for this condition as well.
Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease. This means the cause of the pain and inflammation in the joints is brought on by an attack from the body’s immune cells.
Our immune system is constantly on guard, waiting to identify and destroy invading agents that enter the body. Sometimes they get the target wrong and mistake our own cells as invaders.
Our cells have a special “tag” on the outside that identifies it as “self.” It’s like having a hall pass. If something happens to this tag, the immune system will attack and destroy the cell on site.
With rheumatoid arthritis, cells inside the joint tissues have lost their hall pass. There are many reasons why this can happen, such as genetic mutations, viral infection, exposure to toxic elements, and much more.
As the immune cells attack the joints, it causes pain, irritation, redness, and swelling.
Characteristics of rheumatoid arthritis include:
CBD creams interrupt the underlying inflammatory process driving osteoarthritis. It inhibits enzymes such as LOX and COX, which are responsible for generating the chemical messengers that drive the inflammatory process.
CBD and other cannabinoids also help promote the regeneration of important joint tissues — such as cartilage, synovial cells, and more.
As lost cartilage and synovial fluid is replaced, we experience less pain and increased mobility in the affected joints.
The effects of CBD creams for osteoarthritis can be felt right away but improve dramatically over long periods. The longer you use CBD topicals, the better the outcome for osteoarthritis.
Unlike rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis is not an autoimmune disorder. This form of arthritis shares many of the same symptoms (joint pain, inflammation, reduced mobility), but the underlying process is very different.
A joint is made up of two bones connecting. To prevent them from rubbing against each other, the top of each connecting bone has a layer of cartilage. This cartilage has a rubbery texture to cushion and insulate the bones.
A slippery fluid called synovial fluid is secreted over the cartilage coverings to reduce the friction.
With osteoarthritis, there’s a problem with either the cartilage or the synovial fluid.
Low-grade inflammation, sports injuries, or other causes can result in damage to the cells that secrete synovial fluid (chondrocytes) or the cartilage itself.
Without optimal cartilage or synovial fluid, the bones can begin to rub directly against each other — causing pain and inflammation. Eventually, this leads to damage to the bone.
Characteristics of osteoarthritis include:
Sciatica and other sources of back pain and hip pain have a lot to benefit from applying a topical CBD pain cream. The active ingredients are able to target the affected area and reduce the severity of pain.
No CBD cream is going to remove this type of pain entirely, but they can cut back on it significantly.
Look for products with especially high CBD concentrations and products that use ingredients like ginger, black pepper, menthol, or turmeric that help drive the active ingredients deeper into the skin. Most causes of back pain, including sciatica, originates in the nerves deep down below the surface of the skin.
It also helps to take internal forms of CBD alongside a topical product — such as a CBD oil or gummy.
There are a lot of different CBD creams on the market to choose from. Unfortunately, many of them aren’t worth the money.
Here are three tips to help you assess CBD topicals before buying them to ensure you’re getting the best product for the job.
The strength of a CBD cream is important when managing arthritis symptoms.
A product that contains only trace amounts of CBD is going to have little impact on sore joints. You’ll need to find a product with at least 4 milligrams of CBD in every milliliter of cream.
The stronger the CBD cream you can find, the better.
For mild arthritis, you may be able to get away with a product containing 4 mg/mL, but I prefer to look for products closer to the 10 mg/mL mark for optimum benefit.
To find the potency of a CBD cream in mg/mL, divide the total CBD content listed on the bottle by the container’s size.
The best CBD creams for arthritis incorporate other painkilling, antioxidant, and anti-inflammatory ingredients as well.
When applied to the skin, these other ingredients help deliver CBD deeper into the joints and add their own benefits to the mix. The combined effect of an intelligent formula is always going to outcompete a simple CBD cream.
Here are some ingredients to look for in a quality CBD pain cream:
Arnica is a flower found growing in mountainous regions of Europe and North America. It contains a group of compounds called sesquiterpenes that speed the healing of connective tissue in the joints, ligaments, muscles, and skin.
Boswellia — aka frankincense is a tree found in arid regions of the middle-east. It secretes a terpene-rich resin in its bark that contains powerful anti-inflammatory compounds called boswellic acids.
These compounds act on multiple different inflammatory mediators but have an especially powerful impact on lipoxygenase (LOX) — which is a key driver of inflammation involved with osteoarthritis.
Camphor is a terpenoid produced in laurel and other medicinal plants. It has a gentle heating action and provides reliable anti-inflammatory and painkilling benefits.
This compound is toxic when consumed orally but provides significant relief for joint pain when applied topically. It’s been used for centuries for arthritis pain as well as skin irritations and bug bites.
Capsaicin is the active ingredient in hot peppers. It activates the vanilloid receptors, which is responsible for sensing heat.
This ingredient is a popular addition to pain salves designed to manage pain from arthritis. It’s classified as a rubefacient, which is any compound that causes redness in the skin. At first, you may expect a substance that increases redness to make conditions like arthritis worse — but it has the opposite effect.
Rubefacients like capsaicin increase blood flow by dilating the arteries. At first, this effect increases inflammation, but after about 30 minutes starts to produce the opposite effect. Fresh blood delivers oxygen and nutrients to the region and removes the buildup of free radicals and immune cells from the joints.
Ginger is another example of a rubefacient herb useful for improving blood flow to the joints. It contains elements like zingiberine that work to dilate the capillaries feeding blood to the joints.
Other compounds in ginger inhibit inflammatory enzymes, neutralize free radical compounds, and promote the regeneration of cartilage or chondrocytes in the joints.
Hypericum — aka St. John’s Wort — is primarily used for managing depression. However, when applied topically, this herb offers a whole new set of benefits.
Compounds in hypericum work to reduce inflammation and protect the cells from oxidative damage.
Oxidative damage is a key driver for chronic joint pain and inflammation. As the inflammatory process persists, free radicals are formed as a byproduct, leading to more damage and pain — and the cycle continues.
Menthol is a common ingredient in CBD pain creams. It provides a pleasant cooling action that gives immediate feedback that the topical is doing something.
The cooling action is useful for reducing inflammation, alleviating symptoms of “heat” in the joints, and improving the absorption of CBD into the skin.
Rosemary is related to mint. Much like mint, rosemary is rich in medicinal terpenes, many of which are directly beneficial for joint pain from arthritis.
One of the key ingredients in rosemary — rosmarinic acid — has been shown to provide powerful anti-inflammatory benefits. It’s also been shown to improve the production of monoamine neurotransmitters, such as serotonin and dopamine.
In particular, dopamine has been shown to play a key role in regulating the remodeling of damaged joint tissue .
Turmeric is an ayurvedic herb with a long history of use for managing pain and inflammation. Internally it’s used to promote digestion and alleviate inflammatory bowel disease. Topically this herb is used to treat arthritis, gout, broken bones, and any other condition that involves inflammation as a key driver.
The active ingredient in turmeric is a compound called curcumin. This compound has been shown to block an enzyme known as COX (cyclooxygenase). This is the same mechanism used by popular anti-inflammatory drugs like Aspirin for alleviating pain and inflammation.
The final metric you should consider when shopping for CBD creams to manage arthritis is the value of the product.
Don’t get caught up with the initial cost of the cream. While this is important, it doesn’t tell the whole story.
The best metric for assessing the value of any CBD product is the cost per milligram of CBD.
This metric takes into account the amount of money you’re paying for every milligram of the active ingredient. Many CBD creams that appear to have a low cost actually have very poor value when you factor in this metric.
For example, a cheap CBD cream may cost $30 and contain about 50 mg of CBD. The cost per mg of this topical works out to around 60 cents — which is considered poor value for the money.
A better CBD topical usually costs closer to $75 and contains around 500 mg of CBD. The cost per mg of a product like this is around 15 cents per milligram.
See the difference?
Ideally, you should find a CBD topical that costs less than 25 cents per milligram. Topicals that contain other ingredients are generally more expensive than simple CBD topicals because these other ingredients add to the overall cost.
A simple, pure CBD topical without any other ingredients usually costs between 10 and 18 cents per milligram.
To calculate this metric yourself, divide the cost of the product by its total CBD content.
To use CBD topicals, all you have to do is massage a small amount of the cream or salve over the affected area. Don’t use too much here. A little bit of cream goes a long way.
If you’re using the cream on a joint that’s covered by an article of clothing, give the cream a minute or two to absorb unto the skin before covering the area.
Typically, CBD creams last for about 4 hours — sometimes a little more, sometimes a little less. This means you’ll need to reapply the cream every 3-5 hours to maintain consistent effects.
If you’re using CBD cream for the first time, it’s a good idea to apply a very small amount to the back of the hand to make sure you don’t have any allergies. Give the cream a few minutes and check for any irritation or redness before applying to the affected joint.
Here are three other steps you can take to get even more from your pain creams:
CBD cream works great for managing chronic pain and inflammation in the joints. It delivers a healthy dose of CBD and other painkilling ingredients directly to the site where it can be absorbed into the joint tissue directly.
For even greater benefit and to provide longer-lasting relief, it helps to combine topical CBD products with oral CBD as well. This includes CBD oils, CBD capsules, CBD gummies, or even CBD vape pens and E-liquids.
Top Three Best CBD Oils For Arthritis:
There are a lot of other steps you can take to alleviate arthritis pain beyond CBD products.
An effective arthritis management regimen combines supplements such as CBD with other diet and lifestyle changes. The more steps you can take to manage arthritis, the better the results.
Diet and lifestyle modifications to support arthritis include:
There are many health supplements available that can be used to support the effects of CBD on joint pain and arthritis.
Here are some common supplements people are using to manage pain from arthritis:
This is a difficult question to answer and the amount you use may vary quite a bit depending on the level of pain or discomfort you’re experiencing, and the type of CBD topical you’re using. It also depends on the size of the area you’re trying to treat.
If you’re suffering from a sore back, you’re probably going to use a lot more product than someone trying to treat a sore wrist or spot treatment for acne.
If your pain and inflammation is chronic, like symptoms characteristic of arthritis, you might use more product than people who are looking for relief from a weekly workout.
Topical CBD applications make it a little harder to know how much CBD you’re actually getting. You may know how much CBD is in the container but the amount you apply to your skin with each treatment will vary. Most experts agree that when it comes to topicals, using something with a high CBD potency is going to provide the greatest level of effects.
As a general rule of thumb, you should apply enough CBD topical cream or salve to the area to cover the skin, without leaving large globs of the topical just sitting on the skin. Make sure to rub the topicals in to help the waxes and oils contained in the product melt and absorb into the skin.
As far as how many times you’ll need to apply the topical to the skin — waxes and salves will usually remain on the surface of the skin longer requiring you to apply them less often — while creams will usually absorb fairly quickly and will need to be applied more often.
For minor symptoms, lower potency CBD salves will work, but for anything more significant it’s critical that a higher potency (around 10 mg/mL or more) is used.
Topical salves are usually made with a variety of different ingredients in the formula depending on the intended uses. These ingredients may include other herbs, nutritional components, essential oils, and carrier oils and waxes.
This is a useful metric for comparing the true cost and value of the topical compared to others in its class. This metric allows you to compare CBD topicals of many different sizes accurately. The other ingredients used in the formula can affect this number — especially in products with expensive additives like ginseng, jojoba oil, or saffron.
Third-party testing is important for companies to be able to back up the claims they’ve made on the potency and purity of the products in their lineup. If the company can’t or won’t provide these tests we recommend moving on to another company instead.
Side-effects from CBD products are rare — especially in topical form. Only a very small percentage of the CBD applied as a topical makes it into the bloodstream. The majority of the CBD content will remain in the skin, muscles, and connective tissue. Therefore, it’s unlikely you’ll experience any of the primary side effects associated with CBD products while using a topical.
However, some people may experience side effects in the skin directly — usually brought on by allergies to one or more ingredients in the cream.
If you experience side effects such as excessive redness, hives, blistering, itchiness, or pain after applying CBD creams, stop using it immediately. If the symptoms worsen or don’t go away after a few hours, you should visit your doctor immediately.
CBD has been shown to provide powerful painkilling and anti-inflammatory benefits when applied topically to the skin, joints, and muscles. CBD creams can reduce pain and discomfort, alleviate redness and swelling, and gradually improve the joint’s overall health.
Other CBD topicals work to help reduce visible signs of aging, reduce the formation of acne, or soothe dry skin.
The benefits of CBD creams appear within minutes, but the greatest benefit appears after using the topical consistently for several days or weeks.
When shopping for CBD creams and lotions, look for products with a potency of at least 4 mg/mL, use a full-spectrum or broad-spectrum extract, include other beneficial ingredients, and cost less than 20 cents per milligram of CBD.
The best CBD topical manufacturers include Royal CBD, Kiara Naturals, Kat’s Naturals, Fab CBD, and Blessed CBD (UK-only).
With that said, there are plenty of excellent products available online. If you follow the tips mentioned above while vetting a CBD cream, you can dramatically reduce the chances of wasting money on ineffective products.
|Cost per mg CBD
Royal CBD Cream (Calming Salve)
Kiara Naturals Muscle & Joint Salve
Kat’s Naturals Pain CBD Cream w/ Capsaicin
350 – 1400 mg
$0.11 – $0.13
Fab CBD Topical Cream
Blessed CBD Pain Relief Cream