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Our Favorite CBD Topicals
While we’re an educational organization whose mission is to help dispel the myths of CBD, we also want to help consumers find the products and the brands that we know and trust. The list below represents our favorite brands and the CBD topicals that they produce.
CBD, or cannabidiol, is gaining popularity among the health and wellness industry. This natural chemical compound comes from the cannabis plant, but unlike its notorious counterpart, THC, it contains no psychoactive properties. As a result, CBD does not get you high.
What it does do, however, is provide a whole host of health benefits. The research is still in its infancy, but scientists are finding that CBD has the power to relieve a variety of health conditions, from chronic back and arthritis pain to anxiety and epilepsy.
CBD can be ingested in several ways. Some people inhale it, others eat it. Many enjoy using CBD topicals, such as skin creams and balms. These topicals allow people to experience the effects of CBD without the taste or odor. They also appear to be particularly therapeutic for people who use CBD to treat skin issues, chronic pain, or general stress relief.
Reviews of the Best CBD Topicals
|CBD Content & Concentration||300mg of CBD per 2 ounce jar|
|Ingredients||CBD, water, mineral oil, petrolatum, glycerin, microcrystalline wax, lanolin alcohol, paraffin, panthenol, magnesium sulfate, decyl oleate, octyldodecanol, aluminum stearates, fragrance, citric acid, magnesium stearate,methylchloroisothiazolinone, methylisothiazolinone|
|Type of CBD||Full-spectrum|
|Shipping||Ships to US only|
Some orders offer free shipping
|Price Range (May Vary)||$39|
Spruce is a North Carolina-based, family-owned company founded in 2018 to provide high-quality CBD products as an alternative to pharmaceuticals. Their topical CBD cream is a useful option for individuals who want to apply CBD directly to a localized area. The cream itself has a texture akin to lotion with a natural, plant-based scent.
The cream is made using full-spectrum CBD, meaning it carries a non-psychoactive, trace amount of THC. As a result, it may not be the best choice for individuals who have to be drug-tested for THC.
Spruce’s CBD and products are third-party tested by ProVerde Laboratories. Copies of test results are available upon request, and can also be found on the Spruce website.
Their CBD is derived from hemp grown on pesticide-free family farms in Kentucky and North Carolina. They use a unique moonshine extraction method to produce full-spectrum CBD for their products.
Their products to the US through USPS First Class mail, with an average delivery window of about 2-4 delivery days. International shipping is not currently available. Free shipping is available on some orders.
Unopened and unused products can be returned within 30 days of the purchase date for a full refund. Spruce must be contacted about the return within the 30 day period, and the return must also be postmarked within that period. Return shipping is paid by the customer.
Besides their CBD cream, Spruce has two high potency CBD tinctures as well as a tincture for pets.
Read our Spruce Review
|CBD Content & Concentration||500mg per 1 ounce jar|
CBD, coconut oil (extra virgin, organic), hemp seed oil, olive oil (organic), apricot oil, sunflower oil (organic), almond oil, beeswax, distilled water, magnesium, essential oils (lavender, peppermint, eucalyptus (organic), wintergreen (organic), pine, camphor, basil (organic), marjoram (organic), arnica, tea tree, frankincense), botanical extracts (green tea, rosemary, chamomile, grapefruit, cinnamon, white willow, aspen bark, honeysuckle), self emulsifying wax N (SLS-Free), aloe, glycerine (organic), liquid germall plus, rosemary antioxidant CO2 extract
|Type of CBD||Full-spectrum|
|Shipping||Ships to US |
Free shipping available on orders over $75
|Price Range (May Vary)||$60|
|Discount||15% off – |
Promo code: CBDOIL15
CBDistillery was founded in Colorado in 2016, where they transparently manufacture high-quality CBD products. Their CBDol Topical CBD Salve is a higher potency CBD-infused cream with a creamy texture and a pleasant smell.
This salve is made using full-spectrum derived CBD, which means it may not be best for individuals looking to avoid trace amounts of THC.
CBDistillery’s CBD and products are third-party tested by ProVerde Laboratories. Copies of test results are available on the CBDistillery website as well as on individual product pages. Each CBDistillery product also has a QR code on the packaging which you can scan to bring up a copy of that product’s Certificate of Analysis.
CBDistillery sources their hemp from non-GMO farms in the US that grow using natural farming practices. Additionally, they are certified by the US Hemp Authority.
Their products ship to the US and free shipping is offered on purchases over $75. International shipping is not currently available. CBDistillery has a 7-day return window on unopened and unused products, starting on the day of delivery.
CBDistillery has a wide selection of products available outside of their CBD salve. They produce a number of CBD oils, CBD isolate powders, gummies, vape pens, pet products, capsules, and other CBD topicals.
Use our exclusive discount for 15% off. Code = CBDOIL15
Read our CBDistillery Review
|CBD Content & Concentration||150mg per 50mL bottle|
|Ingredients||USP water, menthol, hydroxylated lecithin, acrylic polymer, caffeine anhydrous, sodium bicarbonate, white willow bark extract 98%, organic hemp oil, tocopheryl acetate, sodium benzoate|
|Type of CBD||Broad-spectrum|
|Shipping||Multiple shipping options, free delayed shipping available for US orders|
Flat-rate international shipping
|Price Range (May Vary)||$39.99|
CBDfx makes a large variety of different high-quality, organic CBD products for users of all kinds. Their CBD Cream is a bottle of light, smooth CBD-infused cream with minimal odor. The cream provides the skin with an alternating cooling/heating sensation in addition to the CBD.
This cream is made using broad-spectrum CBD, meaning it should have zero THC content.
BioCann Laboratory does third-party testing on CBDfx’s CBD and products. There is a dedicated section of the CBDfx website where copies of lab reports are available for each type of product that they sell. These reports are also included on individual product pages.
CBDfx derives their CBD from organically grown hemp. They use multiple extraction methods for their products, so some may contain trace amounts of THC while others are THC-free.
Their products ship to the US using multiple shipping platforms and options, USPS, FedEx, Standard shipping, First Class Mail, and Priority Mail. Free shipping is available on all US orders through a delayed delivery option, which typically takes about 5-10 business days.
CBDfx ships internationally using flat-rate FedEx International shipping.
Unopened and unused products can be returned within 30 days of the purchase date, minus any return shipping costs. Items must be in their original packing and approved for return by CBDfx to receive a refund.
Outside of the CBD cream, CBDfx has a rather large product lineup. They have a number of other CBD topicals, tinctures, gummies, capsules, CBD shots, terpenes, vape pens, vape juice, face masks, CBD for pets, and wax concentrates.
Read our CBDfx Review
|CBD Content & Concentration||250mg-750mg per 100mL bottle|
|Ingredients||CBD, sunflower seed oil, stearic acid (vegetable derived), cetyl alcohol (coconut alcohol/USP), sodium hydroxide (mineral salt/USP), grape seed extract, aloe barbadensis (inner fillet) leaf juice, ascorbic acid (vitamin C), glycerin (vegetable derived), potassium sorbate (mineral salt/USP), xanthan gum (vegetable derived), safflower seed oil, menthol (mentha arvensis)(USP), olive fruit oil, basil leaf oil, bergamot fruit oil, arnica montana flower extract, melaleuca alternifolia (tea tree) oil, ginger root oil, lemon peel oil, lime peel oil, orange peel oil, rosemary leaf extract, clary oil, phenoxyethanol|
|Type of CBD||Isolate|
|Shipping||Ships to US only|
Some orders offer free shipping
|Price Range (May Vary)||$49.99-$79.99|
|Discount||15% off – |
Promo code: cbdorg15
Medterra is a Kentucky-based company dedicated to increasing the availability of CBD products, as well as reducing negative stigma around CBD through education. Their Rapid Cooling Cream is a CBD-infused topical that is smooth and lotion-like. This topical stands out in that it provides a cooling effect to the area of application in addition to the CBD. The cream is made using a number of organic ingredients, and reportedly has a light medicinal smell to it. It is available in two concentrations, making it suitable for a variety of users.
The CBD used to make this cream is CBD isolate, meaning it should have no THC.
Medterra’s CBD and products are third-party tested by Green Scientific Labs. Medterra keeps an extensive collection of test results in a dedicated area on their website. Certificates of Analysis are available for each of their products, with Certificates available for multiple batches of a single product.
Medterra sources their hemp from non-GMO hemp, grown in the US with the guidance of the Kentucky Department of Agriculture Hemp Pilot Program. Medterra’s products are also certified by the US Hemp Authority.
Medterra ships to all 50 states as well as internationally, with free shipping on domestic orders over $99. Orders are shipped through various USPS and FedEx services.
Products can be returned for a full refund within 30 days of the delivery date, minus any return shipping costs. Claims for damaged products must be submitted within 3 days of delivery, along with details and photographic evidence.
Beyond the Rapid Cooling Cream, Medterra makes a variety of CBD products in a variety of concentrations. They have CBD tinctures, gel capsules, sleep aids, CBD herbal supplements, roll on CBD, and pet products.
Take 15% off using our exclusive discount. Code = CBDORG15
Read our Medterra Review
|CBD Content & Concentration||600mg per 2 ounce jar|
|Ingredients||CBD, distilled water, aloe vera, cocoa butter, coconut oil, olive oil, cetearyl alcohol, polysorbate 60, optiphen plus, chamomile, vitamin E, citric acid, potassium sorbate, cinnamon, blood orange essential oil|
|Type of CBD||Full-spectrum|
|Fresh (blood orange fragrance from essential oil)|
|Shipping||Free shipping on US orders over $89, international shipping available|
|Price Range (May Vary)||$64 |
FAB CBD started in 2017 with the aim of producing quality CBD products for the everyday person, or as they put it “CBD without gimmicks.” Their CBD Cream is a high potency topical cream with a smooth, non-greasy texture. The cream comes in one variety named “Fresh,” which has a light scent of blood orange to it. It has a higher than average concentration of CBD, making it useful for CBD users who need larger doses of CBD.
The CBD used to make this cream is full-spectrum, so it may not be suitable for individuals looking to avoid any amount of THC.
ProVerde Laboratories does third-party testing on FAB’s CBD as well as their products. Test results are available for most of FAB’s products through a dedicated page on their website.
FAB CBD sources the hemp for their products from an organically grown farm in Colorado, making their CBD pesticide-free and non-GMO.
Their products ship to the US and internationally. Standard domestic shipping has an average delivery window of about 5-7 business days. Free shipping is available on orders over $89.
Orders can be returned for a full refund within 30 days of the date of purchase. If the order has more than one item, then only one item of each type can be returned after opening. All other items must be unopened. The customer is responsible for return shipping costs, unless the return is the result of an error on the part of FAB CBD.
FAB CBD has a few other types of CBD products, including CBD oils, gummies, vape pens, and CBD for pets. They also sell vegan superfoods that are intended to help your body absorb CBD more effectively.
Read our FAB CBD Review
What are CBD topicals?
CBD topicals are designed to be applied topically to the skin, through rubbing or massage. Topicals themselves can take a few different forms, including:
- Lotions and skin creams: CBD lotions and skin creams have a similar texture to the creams you use as body lotion. Like skin lotion, they include other restorative skin health-promoting ingredients, like shea butter and aloe vera.
- Balms and salves: Like lip balms or salves you apply to your skin, CBD balms have a thicker texture due to the inclusion of beeswax and similar ingredients.
- Oils: CBD topical oils are similar to massage oils. They have a slicker, more oily feel. (Note: CBD topical oils are distinct from “CBD oils” as a product category. In general, CBD oil describes any CBD product, as the product is made from CBD oil extracted from the hemp plant.)
- Others: These are the main varieties of CBD topicals you’ll find today, but manufacturers are inventing innovative new formats all the time, like bath bombs and more.
With any of these varieties, it’s common to find healthy essential oils and other minerals in the ingredients list. Manufacturers add these to help promote the end result of the product’s intended use, such as adding shea butter to a CBD skin care cream.
As with any kind of CBD product, it’s mostly personal preference that determines the best topical for you. Some people simply prefer the texture of one over another.
It can also depend on what you are using the topical for. If you’re using CBD for general relaxation, you might prefer a lotion which you can easily apply all over your body. If you’re using CBD to treat lower back pain, you may find it more effective to rub a salve into your back or have a massage therapist use a topical oil.
How do CBD topicals work?
With other forms of CBD, such as inhalation or edible ingestion, the CBD enters your bloodstream directly. CBD topicals are unique in that you apply them to your skin, as opposed to ingesting them directly into your body.
Your skin isn’t very permeable, so when you rub topicals into your skin, very little CBD will enter your bloodstream. Instead, it interacts primarily with the endocannabinoid receptors located throughout your body’s endocannabinoid system.
Both endocannabinoids your body produces, as well as external cannabinoids you ingest ike CBD, can bind to and interact with these receptors. This is why CBD can be so effective; your body has built-in receptors that were designed to interact with it.
There are two main types of endocannabinoid receptors. CB1 receptors are located in your central nervous system, while CB2 receptors are located in your peripheral nervous system, immune system, and digestive system. It is these CB2 receptors that CBD topicals primarily interact with, while other forms of CBD ingestion can access both types of receptors by entering your bloodstream.
When you apply a CBD topical, the CBD engages these endocannabinoid receptors in your skin and absorbs the anti-inflammatory properties, allowing the CBD to soothe pain or relieve acne in the targeted areas.
Why use CBD topicals?
Some people prefer topicals over other types of CBD products because they enjoy the opportunity to relax and give themselves a massage. Others find CBD topicals to be particularly effective for treating chronic pain, improving skin health, and providing general relaxation.
- Chronic pain: In a 2016 study, rats with arthritis pain were given a topical CBD gel. Within four days, the rats displayed reduced joint swelling, better paw movement, and a lower pain response.
- Skincare: The same anti-inflammatory properties that help CBD relieve pain also help it treat acne, dry skin, and psoriasis, according to multiple studies. CBD creams and lotions can soothe inflamed and irritated skin.
- Relaxation: CBD’s analgesic and anti-anxiety properties also help it relieve general stress and pain, whether from an anxiety disorder, temporary stress, or post-exercise muscle strain.
Can CBD cream get you high?
No, CBD cream will not get you high. Unlike THC, CBD does not contain any psychoactive properties. Both THC and CBD are found in marijuana and hemp strains of the cannabis plant, but THC is the cannabinoid responsible for creating a “high” feeling. Like most CBD products, CBD creams are primarily sourced from industrial hemp, which contains 0.3% THC or less, so it will not get you high or show up on a drug test for marijuana.
The fact that CBD can provide many of the same health benefits of marijuana, but without the high, is a large part of what makes it so attractive to people seeking out natural therapies for their health issues. It’s also popular due to its extremely rare side effects.
In fact, it’s uncommon to experience any side effects at all when using CBD. Some tiredness may occur, but it’s most common when a person is just beginning a CBD regimen. Other side effects, although rare, may include dry mouth, nausea, diarrhea, changes in appetite or weight, and low blood pressure.
Generally, CBD is very safe and well-tolerated, even in high doses. However, pregnant or breastfeeding women, as well as children, should avoid CBD. Not enough research has been done regarding the safety of CBD in these populations.
Also, if you are taking other medications, it’s best to speak with your doctor first before using CBD, in order to avoid any unpleasant side effects. When side effects do occur, they are most commonly among people taking other medications, due to the interaction between the CBD and their medication.
How to use CBD topicals
Whichever product you purchase will contain directions for use. Review these carefully and follow them. Beyond those instructions, there are also some general best practices you can follow when using topical CBD products.
- Only apply the topical when your skin is dry and clean. This allows your skin to fully absorb the CBD. Avoid applying CBD right before you take part in any activity where the topical is likely to wear off from water or sweat. This might include showering, swimming, or working out.
- Next, choose the area you want to treat. For skin issues or pain, apply it to the affected area. For overall relaxation, feel free to apply the CBD wherever. Or, choose areas that tend to benefit more from massage (in order to enhance the effect), such as your joints, wrists, shoulders, neck, or feet.
- Clean and dry the area first, to avoid rubbing bacteria you’ve come into contact with during the day further into your skin. Cleaning will also remove any other skincare products or lotions you may have applied
- Finally, apply liberally. You may even want to apply more than once. Rub the topical vigorously into your skin (not in a painful way, but in a way that really works the topical into your upper layer of skin).
- After applying, wash and dry your hands.
Typically, you should start to feel the effects of the CBD fairly quickly, within 5 to 20 minutes. Your pain should subside, and you should feel generally more relaxed. For skin issues, it will take more time for the CBD to work its magic.