Best CBD Topicals

Topical CBD is the perfect way to deliver CBD directly to the skin, muscles, and joints. Here we list our top-rated CBD topicals.

Article By
Justin Cooke , posted 2 months ago

Are you looking into CBD topicals such as creams or lotions? Topicals are a great way to use CBD for localized, fast-acting relief from a variety of symptoms.

If you’re brand new to cannabidiol, more commonly known as CBD, it’s a chemical compound found in the cannabis plant.  Research shows that it may provide relief from pain, inflammation, seizures, anxiety, and much more.

One of the reasons CBD has become so popular is the fact that it doesn’t cause the user to get high.

Topicals are quickly becoming one of the best ways to use CBD. They are easy to use, require very little preparation, and can provide targeted relief to problem areas. If you’re a physically active person or have chronic pains or inflammation, CBD topicals might be a good solution.

This article examines CBD topicals in-depth and will teach you how to find the best products currently available. If you want to save time and money on CBD topicals, you’ve come to the right place.

  • Table of Contents

Our Top-Rated CBD Topicals

NumberProductTotal CBDPotencyCost per mg CBDLink

1

Nature’s Script Cryotherapy Pain-Relief Gel

50 – 200 mg

1.67 mg/mL

$0.20 – $0.30

2

Kat’s Naturals CBD Cream with Arnica

350 – 1400 mg

11.6 mg/mL

$0.11 – $0.13

3

Ojai Energetics Sports Gel

100 mg

3.33 mg/mL

$0.46

4

Lazarus Naturals CBD Massage Oil

200 – 1600 mg

3.4 mg/mL

$0.04 – $0.06

5

CBDistillery CBD Topicals

25 – 500 mg

16 mg/mL

$0.12 – $0.36


1. Best Cooling CBD Topical

This Cooling gel does exactly as you might think — provides a strong cooling sensation to wherever it’s applied on the skin.

The actual dose of CBD in this Cryotherapy Pain-Relief Gel is relatively low at just 1.7 mg/mL, but this isn’t the primary focus of the gel. The main focus is to provide a cooling sensation to inflamed joints, sunburns, and sore muscles. The CBD is only an added benefit.

This gel relies on the effects of menthol — the active constituent in peppermint — to provide its effects. The gel consistency gives it a hydrating quality and helps the components infused in the gel enter the surface layers of the skin.


2. Best Wound-Healing CBD Cream

$45.00 – $160.00
Kat’s Naturals

Kat’s Naturals CBD Cream with Arnica 30 – 120 mL

4.33 / 5

  • Total CBD:

    350 – 1400 mg

  • Potency:

    11.6 mg/mL

  • Cost per mg CBD:

    $0.11 – $0.13

  • Extract Type:

    Isolate

  • THC Content:

    0.0%

There are two active ingredients in this powerful pain-cream by Kat’s Naturals — CBD, and arnica.

Arnica is a medicinal plant species used on the skin to speed the healing of bones, muscles, connective tissues, and skin. In fact, many herbalists around the world consider it the best herb for the job.

With added CBD, this pain cream also provides a strong analgesic effect to dull the pain, lower inflammation, and further improve wound and muscle injuries.

We recommend using this cream for things like skin irritations and dermatitis, as well as torn muscles, and painful or immobile joints.


3. Best CBD Sports Recovery Gel

Ojai Energetics really outdid themselves on this sports gel. The consistency is thick and easily spreads over the affected area. Once on the skin, the gel immediately begins absorbing through the surface layers of the skin — pulling the CBD and other active ingredients along with it.

This gel is well-formulated with a series of herbal extracts traditionally used for repairing muscle and joint tissues — making it perfect after a workout, or to speed up recovery from injuries.

Everybody involved with some form of athletics should keep a bottle of this stuff around.


4. Best CBD Massage Oil

$12.00 – $70.00
Lazarus Naturals

Lazarus Naturals CBD Massage Oil 60 – 480 mL

4.17 / 5

  • Total CBD:

    200 – 1600 mg

  • Potency Range:

    3.4 mg/mL

  • Cost per mg CBD:

    $0.04 – $0.06

  • Extract Type:

    Full-spectrum

  • THC Content:

    LOQ

Everybody loves a good massage. They’re relaxing and offer an excellent way to relieve sore or tense muscles.

CBD is also excellent for providing the same benefits, so what better than to incorporate CBD directly into the massage oil!

There are a few CBD massage oils on the market, but our favorite one at the moment is this product by Lazarus Naturals. With 3.3 milligrams of CBD for every milliliter of oil, this is considered to have a mild potency. However, as a massage oil, the CBD will be spread out evenly over large areas of the skin — giving it ample opportunity to absorb through the top layers of skin towards the muscle tissue. This makes the potency of this massage oil perfectly acceptable for the intended purpose.

We find this massage oil to be exceptionally relaxing, and useful for alleviating knotted, tight muscles along the back and neck.

The carrier oil for this product is a combination of jojoba oil, coconut oil (fractionated to keep the oil from solidifying), and sweet Almond oil.


5. Best CBD Salve

The difference between a salve and a cream is simply the consistency. CBDistillery offers both a CBD salve (CBDol), and cream (CBDefine). Although we like both, their salve is one of the best we’ve had the pleasure of using.

The consistency of the salve is thick — allowing it to leave a layer over the surface of the skin that will resist rubbing off for several hours. The waxes contained in the salve also help to seal in moisture and ensure the active compounds in the salve remain in contact with the skin for longer periods of time.

This salve is great for surface-level skin issues like dryness, cracking, or irritations — but can also be used for tissues that are deeper under the surface of the skin like muscle sprains or strains.

Added aloe and camphor give it even greater benefits towards skin conditions like sunburns, cuts, and scrapes, or allergic reactions and rashes.

How to Quickly Evaluate CBD Topicals

  1. What’s the salve’s potency? — 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.
  2. What other ingredients are included in the formula? — 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.
  3. What’s the cost per milligram of CBD in the formula? — 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.
  4. Is the product third-party tested? — 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.

Learn how we evaluate CBD Products


What are CBD Topicals?

CBD topicals come in many different forms including creams, lotions, balms, salves, and gels. They’re specialized forms of CBD that are designed to be applied directly to painful, inflamed, or otherwise troublesome areas on the surface of the skin for fast-acting relief.

If you’ve ever used a skin cream or lotion (CBD or not) you’ll know how to use a CBD topical. They’re also a great option for newbies because they require almost no preparation — all you need to do is rub the topical into the affected area to use it.

Using CBD topically allows you to administer the analgesic, anti-inflammatory, and muscle relaxant benefits of CBD directly to the affected areas. This makes CBD topicals useful for muscle aches, sore joints, skin irritations, and virtually all forms of inflammation and pain in the skin and surface layers of muscle.

Under the Agricultural Act of 2018, industrial hemp products (like CBD topicals) that contain less than 0.3% THC are legal in all 50 states. Many areas of the world follow similar laws — but we recommend you check your local rules and regulations before ordering CBD topical products.

The Benefits of CBD Topicals:

  • Easy to use
  • A highly portable form of using CBD
  • Administers CBD directly to the affected area of the skin or muscles
  • Non-psychoactive even if THC remains in the formula
  • Allows for the use of other beneficial ingredients on top of CBD

What Are CBD Topicals Used For?

CBD topicals are a great potential solution for localized treatment of pain, inflammation, and dry or itchy skin. They’re also great for joint pain, muscle aches and sprains, and minor cuts and scratches as well.

Some CBD topicals are designed to be used as a spot treatment for acne, scarring, or as lip chaps to soothe dry lips as well. There are hundreds of different ways you can use CBD topically. In all cases, the best products are formulated specifically for that purpose with the help of different carrier oils, waxes, emulsifiers, and other herbal extracts to direct the effects of the product for a specific use.

The beauty of CBD topicals is that you can apply the CBD directly to the problem area. Other CBD methods such as tinctures, vape oil, capsules or gummies provide general relief but won’t specifically target parts of your body the way a topical will.

CBD topicals generally provide faster relief to the affected area than other methods. Other ingredients are often added to give the cream or salve either a cooling effect or a warming effect which provides an extra layer of symptom support.

CBD Topicals May Provide Support For Symptoms Such As:

  • Dry or itchy skin
  • Sore muscles
  • Joint pain
  • Inflammation
  • Sunburns
  • Arthritis
  • Skin rashes
  • Psoriasis patches
  • Eczema
  • Cut, scraped or damaged skin
  • Acne

How Much Topical CBD Should I Use?

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.

CBD Topicals Are Perfect For:

  1. Athletes looking to boost muscle recovery or ease sore muscles & joints
  2. People struggling with skin conditions
  3. Providing soothing relief that may reduce pain, inflammation, and redness
  4. Those suffering from chronic conditions that cause pain or inflamed muscles and joints such as arthritis
  5. New users who are looking for an easy way to try CBD

CBD Topicals May Not Be Right For You If:

  • Your symptoms are felt more generally in your body — Topicals are best used for localized pain and inflammation and don’t absorb well into the bloodstream.
  • You require high doses of CBD — Topicals generally don’t contain enough CBD to effectively treat conditions that affect your whole body.
  • You’re trying to support anxiety or stress — Topicals won’t have much of a psychological relaxing effect and should be used to treat physical ailments only. Though the muscle relaxant effects can be helpful for muscle tension associated with stress.

Risks & Side-Effects of CBD Topicals

In terms of CBD topicals, many potential side-effects are similar to other topical creams. You may experience one or more of the following symptoms when using topical CBD products:

  • Rashes
  • Inflammation
  • Itchiness
  • Redness
  • Hives

So far, research has shown that CBD is safe for human use. The industry is still developing and we’re understanding more about CBD every day. However, there are always risks when using any health supplement.

Make sure you speak to your doctor before taking a new CBD product. Doctors are the only people who are qualified to give you any health advice, regardless of what blogs, forums, and CBD companies would like you to think.

If you experience any of the side-effects above, stop your treatment right away and visit a health professional.

How Do We Evaluate CBD Topicals?

We understand that it can be difficult to find the right products for your needs when the information available regarding CBD is constantly changing and often unclear. The industry is still finding its feet as laws and regulations continue to develop in the CBD space around the world.

Here’s how we assess a CBD topical before we buy it.

1. Assess the Manufacturer

Before even looking at products, you should be evaluating the manufacturer as a whole. If the manufacturer doesn’t have their stuff together, what are the chances of them producing a high-quality product?

Ask these questions before you commit to any CBD supplier.

A) Does the Company Have a Strong Mission Statement?

This may seem like a strange thing to look for but it can be quite telling about a company and their philosophy.

As you look for your next source of CBD, try to find the company’s mission statement. You’ll find that most of them are some variation of “we want to provide the world with CBD to treat their symptoms.”

This can be read as “we want to sell lots of CBD products.” Of course, these companies want to sell products. That’s pretty much why any company in any industry exists.

You’ll want to find a company whose mission goes beyond making money. This can include those who make a real effort to educate their customers about CBD and its many benefits or companies that support reputable charities.

A strong mission represents a greater concern for their products and customers. Try not to support companies whose goals are simply to make lots of money.

B) Where Do They Get Their Hemp?

This is another great question to ask. A company’s hemp source can make or break their entire product lineup. A poor quality hemp source will translate into poor quality CBD products.

Industrial hemp is known as a bioaccumulator, which means that it absorbs the qualities of the soil and air that it’s planted in. If the company’s hemp is planted in soils that are rich in toxins or heavy metals, including mercury or lead, those toxins will likely show up in your CBD products.

You don’t want to be putting those things in your body.

A good hemp source is one that is 100% organic, non-GMO, pesticide and THC free, and grown in the United States. Find out where the company gets its hemp source to find the best CBD topicals on the market.

C) Have The Products Been Tested By A Third Party Lab?

This is by far the best way to purchase with confidence. Before you order any CBD product, you should be checking that it has been tested by a third-party lab.

These labs can verify the manufacturer’s claims about the CBD content and ensure that their products are free from any dangerous solvents or heavy metals.

If you can’t find the company’s lab tests, I would be wary about purchasing their products. Most reputable CBD suppliers will have these tests proudly posted on their website.

2. Assessing the Products

Great, you’ve found a company that can answer all of the questions above. How do you know if their products stand up against the competition?

With hundreds of CBD products available, it can get confusing to know which is the right one for you. Luckily, there are a few things you can do to make more sense of the situation.

How To Quickly Compare Similar CBD Topicals

A) Look At The Cost Per mg Of CBD

As you’re searching for your next CBD supplier, you’ll see products priced anywhere from less than $10 to hundreds of dollars.

What are you actually getting for your money?

The best way to compare different products by price is to look at the cost per mg of CBD. This can be found by taking the total cost and dividing it by the total CBD content in the package.

The CBD content isn’t the only thing that affects the overall price of a product, but this metric gives you a good place to start when looking for the most bang for your buck.

CBD topicals tend to be a little more expensive per mg of CBD than CBD oils, concentrates, and vape oils. If you need high doses of CBD, you may want to consider one of those CBD products instead.

You should expect to pay roughly $0.12–$0.25 per mg of CBD for topicals. The price can vary depending on the quality of hemp used, the exclusivity of the brand name, and the other ingredients in the formula.

Comparing the Cost per Milligram of Our Top-Rated CBD Topicals
Product ImageProduct NameCost per mg CBD
Nature’s Script — Cryotherapy Pain-Relief Gel$0.20 – $0.30
Kat’s Naturals — CBD Cream w/ Arnica$0.11 – $0.13
Ojai Energetics — Sports Gel$0.46
Lazarus Naturals — Massage Oil$0.04 – $0.06
CBDistillery — Topicals$0.12 – $0.36

B) How Potent Is The Product?

The potency is another factor that could influence your decision process. The concentration of CBD will affect how much of the cannabinoid that you’re getting with each serving.

As an example, take a CBD topical that contains 500 mg of CBD in a 120 mL (4 oz) container. Another CBD topical has 250 mg of CBD in a 30 mL (1 oz) container.

When you compare them directly, the second product is actually twice as potent as the first product (4.16 mg/mL vs. 8.33 mg/mL) even though it has half of the CBD content in the entire container.

Depending on your experience with CBD and what conditions you’re trying to treat, your CBD requirements will change. Use an equal serving size to determine the actual potency of products to get a better idea of which one may be right for you.

We recommend using products that have at least 3 mg/mL potency — though there are some exceptions for this if the other ingredients in the formula provide enough benefit on their own.

Comparing the Potency of Our Top-Rated CBD Topicals
Product ImageProduct NamePotency
Nature’s Script — Cryotherapy Pain-Relief Gel1.7 mg/mL
Kat’s Naturals — CBD Cream w/ Arnica11.6 mg/mL
Ojai Energetics — Sports Gel3.33 mg/mL
Lazarus Naturals — Massage Oil3.33 mg/mL
CBDistillery — Topicals16 mg/mL

C) Does the Manufacturer Add other Ingredients to Make the Formula Better?

CBD is a great topical for symptoms like pain, inflammation, allergic dermatitis, and a whole gamut of other health conditions affecting the skin and muscles. A good topical will contain other ingredients as well to provide other forms of relief.

Deciding which other ingredients to add can depends on what the topical was designed for.

Topicals without additional ingredients offer more broad effects and can be used in many different ways.

The problem is that when you do this, you’re effectively making a product that’s a “jack of all trades, master of none”.

What this means is that topical CBD products that don’t have a direction — and other ingredients to guide that direction — aren’t actually very useful in practice. We prefer to find CBD topicals that are specifically formulated for the condition or symptom we’re trying to treat.

Comparing the Additional Ingredients of Our Favorite CBD Topicals:
Product ImageProduct NameOther Therapeutic IngredientsPotential Uses
Nature’s Script — Pain Rub (120 mL)CBD, Menthol• Sunburn
• Muscle Aches/Injury  
• Arthritis
Kat’s Naturals — CBD Cream with ArnicaOrganic Hemp Seed Oil, Organic Emu Oil, Organic Almond Butter, Organic Avocado Butter, Organic Beeswax, Organic Coconut Oil, Organic Vitamin E Oil, Organic Arnica Oil, Sustainably Harvested Organic Lavender, Organic Lemongrass and Organic Frankincense Essential Oil• Muscle aches/injuries
• Arthritis  
• Dermatitis
• Psoriasis
Ojai Energetics — Sports GelWater, CBD extract, xylityl caprate/caprylate, moringa, Spilanthes acmella, wild cherry, buchu, xanthan gum, Arnica Montana, glucono delta lactone, rosemary, calendula officinalis, cypress, clove, ginger, marjoram, peppermint, eucalyptus, wintergreen, black pepper.• Arthritis
• Muscle pain
• Torn ligaments
• Sunburn
Lazarus Naturals — Massage OilOrganic Jojoba Oil, Sweet Almond Oil, Fractionated Coconut Oil, Hemp Extract.• Soothing massage oil
• Back pain
• Shoulder tension
CBDistillery — Topical 500 mg CBD Salve (30 mL)Hemp Seed Oil, Lavender, Peppermint, Wintergreen, Marjoram, Eucalyptus, Arnica, Basil, Camphor, Frankincense, Tea Tree, Green Tea, Lecithin, Cinnamon, Grapefruit Seed, Aloe, USD Kosher Glycerin, Magnesium, CBD, Beeswax• Allergic dermatitis  
• Psoriasis
• Muscle strains
• Arthritis
• Wound healing
• Sunburn

Final Notes on Buying CBD Topicals

Topicals are one of our favorite ways to use CBD. They’re easy, familiar, portable, and can provide relief directly to the area in need.

If you frequently suffer from sore muscles and joints, CBD topicals might be the product you’re looking for. Try combining CBD topicals with tinctures or capsules to get the most out of your CBD experience.

New users might be interested in CBD topicals if you’re after a product that is familiar and requires no preparation. CBD topicals can be less intimidating than other methods because they’re not too different from other creams or lotions.

Experienced users might find that other methods aren’t quite hitting the spot for localized symptoms like sore joints. CBD topicals allow you to target the area in need, where other methods only provide general relief.

If your symptoms aren’t restricted to a particular part of your body, you might find better results with other methods.

Keep in mind that you’ll be paying a little bit more per mg of CBD with topical solutions than other forms of CBD. This is due to the additional ingredients used in the formula and some markup to cover the additional manufacturing steps involved.

Top-Rated CBD Topicals

NumberProductTotal CBDPotencyCost per mg CBDLink

1

Nature’s Script Cryotherapy Pain-Relief Gel

50 – 200 mg

1.67 mg/mL

$0.20 – $0.30

2

Kat’s Naturals CBD Cream with Arnica

350 – 1400 mg

11.6 mg/mL

$0.11 – $0.13

3

Ojai Energetics Sports Gel

100 mg

3.33 mg/mL

$0.46

4

Lazarus Naturals CBD Massage Oil

200 – 1600 mg

3.4 mg/mL

$0.04 – $0.06

5

CBDistillery CBD Topicals

25 – 500 mg

16 mg/mL

$0.12 – $0.36

Signup to our newsletter

Be the first to know about our newest arrivals and special offers!

You have successfully subscribed!

Subscription failed!