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Best CBD Creams, Salves, and Lotions [2021 Update]

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Best CBD Creams, Salves, and Lotions [2021 Update]

Nothing tackles tough pain better than a dollop of CBD topical cream. If you've been in the market for a topical but don't know where to begin, we've got you covered. Read on to see which brands are our top picks for the best CBD creams, salves, and lotions of 2020.


While oils, gummies, vapes, and other edible/inhalable options of CBD are fantastic to help tackle difficult health conditions, the fact of the matter is, they cannot target specific muscle and joint aches and pains in the same way that a topical cream can.

Topical creams are a wonderful way to bring CBD directly to any area of the body that is having tension, aches, and pains. Many people who deal with chronic muscle aches, arthritis, fibromyalgia, and other conditions often turn to CBD cream because it offers fast, targeted relief.

Our guide to the best CBD creams will not only inform you about CBD topicals and how they work, but we will also give you our top three picks for the best CBD creams out on the market today so that you can get the very best natural relief possible. But first, find out how we selected our top three brands by reading more below.

How We Selected Our CBD Creams

The CBD market is flooded with a multitude of brands and products claiming to be the very best. But not all brands are the same, and not all products are created equally. Therefore, we wanted to do as much as we could to remove the frustration and confusion for our readers so that they could easily find the right CBD cream for themselves.

To begin with, we needed to set the ground rules for choosing brands to add to our roster. So, we came up with a list of specific criteria to follow when investigating brands. Though our list might not appear long, we made sure to make it strict so that we were able to find only the best CBD cream brands for our readers.

In investigating all of the brands, we made sure to focus on:

  • The number of years the brand has been in business
  • Cream ingredients
  • Customer reviews and comments
  • If the brand uses a third-party lab to regularly test its products
  • If the test results were made available to customers
  • Hemp sources
  • Accounts from CBD experts and journalists
  • Cream purity
  • Brand reputation
  • Product price

The more we continued on with our research, the more our list continued to grow. Before it became too unmanageable, we hunkered down and shaved our list down even further until we came up with our top brands that we present to you down below.

Best CBD Creams & Salves

#1 FAB CBD Topical Cream— Best Overall Quality

FAB CBD is a solid brand that has been around since 2017. Not only are the brand's products clean and organic, they are also crafted to be of the highest quality. Everyone at FAB truly cares about the quality of the products that are put out onto the market. To that end, the brand's mission is to use science, innovation, and premium supplementation to help people live a healthy, preventative wellness lifestyle.

The brand's products are crafted without the use of dangerous herbicides, chemicals, or pesticides. In fact, FAB CBD is involved in every step of production from seed to sale. All of the brand's products are made to be the highest quality so that customers get the best, most effective, and cleanest products.

FAB CBD is also known for having a strong customer service department that's extremely attentive to the needs of its customers. Moreover, anyone can see that FAB is a strong brand from all of the verified customer reviews, posts from industry experts, as well as positive articles by niche journalists.

Every one of FAB's products contains the very best full-spectrum extract that's been sourced from organically grown Colorado hemp. FAB's topical cream is made with 600mg of CBD that's been paired with rich, full-spectrum hemp extract. Not only is the cream smooth, silky, and non-greasy, it's also light as a feather and has a lovely subtle blood orange scent.

What We Looked for in Selecting a Top CBD Cream

When you're looking for a CBD cream, you should be zeroing in on the following:

  • Hemp Source — All of FAB's organic hemp is cultivated in Colorado. Along with ensuring that all of the hemp is free from chemicals, herbicides, pesticides, and toxic unnatural fertilizers, FAB also uses state-of-the-art equipment to both clone and harvest the hemp. Finally, when it comes to extraction, only the best method is used. FAB uses an extremely safe and clean Co2 extraction process to ensure that there are no chemicals or impurities in the extracts.
  • Reputation — FAB's reputation is second to none. A host of positive customer reviews as well as many industry articles support this statement. FAB continues to have a strong reputation since the brand first opened its doors back in 2017. They are also really highly rated on Observer, Discover Magazine and other brands.
  • Price — The price of FAB's topical cream is right in line with many of the other highly regarded brands. Not only is FAB's cream affordable, it's also highly effective, clean, and of the highest potency.
  • Effectiveness — Many customers regularly use FAB's topical cream to help with tough health issues including arthritis, nerve pain, muscle aches, sleep issues, and many other difficult conditions. A host of verified positive customer reviews solidify the fact that FAB has one of the most effective and highly potent creams on the market today.
  • Our Thoughts and Conclusions — We love FAB not only because the brand's products are top-notch, but also because the FAB team truly cares about their customers. FAB believes in transparency, so it makes all of its lab test results easy for customers to find on its website. FAB's products are not only affordable, they're also very potent and highly effective. We love FAB's CBD topical cream for its light feel, silky texture, and fresh citrus scent.
$49

FAB CBD Body Salve

FAB CBD is getting ready to launch its newest topical product, 1000mg and 3000mg full-spectrum body salve. The salve has been lab tested for purity and contains essential oils, botanical terpenes, and both a heating and cooling element to help provide comfort and relief.

FAB's CBD Body Salve is perfect for those with active lifestyles like golfers, runners, gardeners, crossfitters, weight lifters, and even computer keyboard warriors who strain the joints in their fingers and wrists from typing all day long.

The brand's newly crafted body salve is packed with all-natural, healing ingredients including organic golden jojoba oil, organic beeswax, menthol crystals for cooling, cinnamomum camphora oil for heating, distilled full-spectrum hemp flower extract, organic rosemary oil, ginger oil, lavender oil, eucalyptus oil, vitamin E, and so much more.

Our thoughts on FAB's CBD Body Salve were very much the same as our thoughts and conclusions on FAB's topical cream. In summary, we feel that FAB has put forth a strong, effective, clean topical with the recent addition of its CBD Body Salve.

All of FAB's products are crafted with organic hemp that is grown and harvested in Colorado. Likewise, when it comes to the price of FAB's CBD Body Salve, we feel that it absolutely falls in line with the prices of other reputable CBD brands. And very much like all of the other one of FAB's products, the CBD salve is made to be top-shelf quality, affordable, clean, and highly effective.

#2 Spruce CBD Cream

Spruce makes its cream from full spectrum CBD; what this means is that, in addition to CBD, there may be other plant parts and terpenes that can help bolster the cream's therapeutic effectiveness.

We love the Spruce product line for a number of reasons, not least the fact that their product is made with natural ingredients and plant-derived scents. These ingredients combine with the full spectrum CBD for powerful pain relief; just read through the customer reviews and you'll find plenty of success stories from patients who have used Spruce CBD cream to treat their arthritis symptoms.

Some additional perks to choosing Spruce CBD cream:

  • It's 100 percent natural, and made without any pesticides.
  • It's vigorously third-party tested.
  • At $39 for two fluid ounces (300mg CBD in total), Spruce's product offers a reasonable price point.
$89

#3 cbdMD Freeze Roller

cbdMD is one of the most popular CBD companies, and a quick look at their lineup of topical products shows you why. There are a lot of great options to choose from as you seek CBD-enhanced pain relief. For example, cbdMD offers basic creams, lip balms, hemp-infused roll-ons, and more.

The cbdMD Freeze is made with menthol, arnica montana, and aloe vera to support soothing and healing.

Some additional benefits to choosing cbdMD's CBD roller include:

  • Broad spectrum products include other cannabinoids (CBD, CBG, CBN) and terpenes without THC.
  • Third-party, ISO-certified lab tested to ensure purity and safety

The 3-ounce tube includes 1500mg of CBD and comes in a variety of strenghts.

$99

#4 Charlotte's Web Hemp-Infused Cream

Charlotte's basic CBD cream offers a botanical formula that's designed to go on smoothly, and to provide comfort and relief even for those with sensitive skin. Best of all, the Charlotte's Web CBD cream is made without any parabens, artificial colors or dyes, GMOs, or synthetic fragrances.

Some additional benefits to choosing Charlotte's Web CBD cream include:

  • It's both gluten-free and vegan.
  • It's made without any animal testing.
  • In addition to full spectrum CBD, some of the therapeutic ingredients used include aloe vera, coconut oil, and oat extract.

The 2.5-ounce tube includes 750mg of CBD; the 1-ounce tube contains 300mg. The product is very reasonably priced; the smaller of the two tubes costs less than 20 bucks.

$19

#5 CBDistillery CBD Balm

CBDistillery's CBD salve offers 500mg of CBD in a 1-oz tub. Made with a number of natural oils, it's designed to be quickly absorbed into the skin, offering prompt relief. This product is recommended for anyone who deals with chronic pain, or simply wants to revive their muscles after strenuous physical activity.

CBDistillery is one of the most trusted of all CBD brands, and not without reason. A few of the things we love about this product line include:

  • CBDistillery makes all of its products using natural, eco-friendly farming practices.
  • There are no GMOs in the hemp oil.
  • All CBDistillery products are vetted by a third-party lab to ensure their quality.

You can get this CBD cream for as little as $50.

$50

#6 Medterra Pain Cream

Medterra is another company that offers a range of salves, lotions, and creams. The basic Medterra CBD Pain cream is recommended for those who suffer from arthritic pain of any kind, as well as those afflicted by swollen joints, a stiff neck, or a tender back.

There's a lot to appreciate about this CBD cream, including the fact that it's made with U.S. hemp and it's grown organically, without any GMO use.

A number of natural ingredients are used, along with menthol and arnica. You can choose between two strength levels: 500mg of CBD, or a full 1,000mg. Both options are available in a basic 1.7 oz bottle, and the price starts at just under $35.

Some additional pros to Medterra's CBD cream include:

  • Medterra makes all of its products without any pesticides.
  • The CBD is carefully tested by independent labs and verified to be strong, pure, and efficacious.
  • Peppermint, jojoba oil, and aloe enhance the product's therapeutic effect.
$55

#7 Plant People

Plant People makes an outstanding CBD balm, which is formulated with full spectrum CBD to soothe aches and pains. It's specifically cited for its effectiveness reviving sore knuckles, muscles, and knees. Indeed, Plant People boasts that its CBD balm is good for recovery as well as for addressing stiffness and swelling. We can confirm that the product does all of this and more.

The Plant People CBD balm offers 450mg of CBD in its 2-ounce package. The price point is just under $50, but you can save a few bucks if you subscribe to regular deliveries. Some additional highlights of the product include:

  • It's non-GMO, USDA organic, and gluten-free.
  • All CBD products are meticulously lab-tested by a third party.
  • Plant People's CBD balm is said to be highly effective at enhancing circulation, and can also be a good topical remedy for athletic sprains and bruises.
$48

Why CBD Topical Creams and Salves are Popular

Topical creams and salves are fast becoming the go-to method of CBD intake among people with an active lifestyle. Topical creams infused with CBD offer athletes, weekend warriors, pain-sufferers, and anyone and everyone a quick way to target tough muscle aches and pains. Moreover, along with muscle pain relief, topical cream may also help to increase relaxation.

Many individuals who suffer with chronic or acute pain are discovering that CBD is a safe, natural, alternative treatment over prescription painkillers that can be both dangerous and addictive. Not only that, but unlike oils, capsules, edibles, and other forms of CBD, topical creams and salves go right to work when massaged into the affected area. Therefore, creams and salves are becoming the product of choice for those wanting quick relief from painful muscle strains, arthritis pain, fibromyalgia, nerve pain, and other conditions.

How Topical Creams and Salves Work

Topical creams and salves work so well because, once massaged into the skin, the CBD goes to work with the body's endocannabinoid system. For those not in the know, the endocannabinoid system is a highly intricate cell-signaling system that was first discovered in the 1990s by researchers who were exploring the cannabis compound tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC.

While doctors and researchers are still trying to completely comprehend the endocannabinoid system, or ECS, they do know that it plays a pivotal role in regulating both functions and processes such as:

  • Mood regulation
  • Sleep
  • Appetite
  • Memory
  • Pain reduction and regulation
  • Fertility
  • Reproduction
  • Learning
  • Motor Control
  • Sleep
  • Inflammation and immune responses
  • Metabolism
  • Stress
  • Skin and Nerve Functioning
  • Bone Remodeling and Growth
  • Liver Function

But regardless of whether you use CBD or not, the ECS can function on its own without it. The body has two main endocannabinoid receptors: CB1 receptors that are located in the central nervous system, and CB2 receptors that are found in the peripheral nervous system.

All of these functions help to keep the body in a state of homeostasis, or stability. Pain, chronic health conditions, or injury can throw these functions off, and that's when the ECS jumps in to help the body return to normal functioning or balance.

When you use full-spectrum products like a full-spectrum CBD topical cream or salve, the tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, and cannabidiol, or CBD, in the cream interact with the ECS. Researchers have found that THC helps to reduce pain and stimulate appetite by binding with CB1 and CB2 receptors, while CBD prevents the breakdown of endocannabinoids, which in turn allows them to have a stronger effect on the body. Researchers also believe that CBD helps to reduce pain, nausea, and other uncomfortable symptoms that are caused by various health/medical conditions.

To sum it up simply, when you rub CBD topical cream or salve into an area of discomfort, the CBD enters into the skin and sebaceous glands to synergistically work with the body to help reduce pain and inflammation while returning the body to a state of balance. Topical cream can directly help to heal specific areas of the body where it's applied to.

Targeting Various Conditions and Injuries

Yes, you can achieve relief by simply rubbing topical cream or CBD salve onto your body. However, you can also add in other modalities to help kick things up a notch. For example, if you're using topical cream for a sports-related injury, why not try adding ice or heat to further help calm down the swelling or inflammation.

Likewise, heat or ice on top of topical cream can also be a great way of calming arthritis pain and other chronic pain from conditions such as fibromyalgia, bursitis, Crohn's Disease, gout, knee injuries, and so many others. CBD topical cream can be used to treat:

  • Chronic Pain
  • Acute Pain
  • Eczema
  • Sore Joints
  • Sore Muscles
  • Psoriasis
  • Skin Infections
  • Rashes
  • Burns

When you begin using CBD cream, you first need to identify the area of discomfort. Next, simply apply the cream around the area to treat it locally. Actually, applying topical cream is very much the same as applying regular lotion. The main issue is that you have to use more care when using CBD topical.

In order to make sure you're getting the correct dosage of CBD cream, you need to find out how many milligrams of CBD are in the topical. This way, you will know right off the bat whether there's enough CBD in the cream to give you therapeutic relief. Typically, topical creams with lower milligrams of CBD in them will be less effective than those with higher milligrams.

In general, you should use topical cream as you would use oil: start low and go slow. Begin with a low dose and then gradually increase the amount of the topical until you find the dose that gives you the most optimal therapeutic relief. The good news is that there are no known side effects to worry about when using a topical cream.

When it comes to deciding on a cream, there are a lot of varieties to choose from. Some topicals are lotions that help to moisturize the skin, while others are balms, salves, liniments, or ointments that contain CBD and something a little extra to create hot or cold sensations for an extra help with pain relief. Topical creams can contain a host of natural ingredients including citrus, mint, pepper, menthol, camphor, methyl salicylate, and triethanolamine salicylate. The type of topical you choose will purely be based on both preference and need. Regardless of the variety, the topical will still have the same function.

Generally, when you are applying cream to an area of pain, you would apply it exactly to where the pain is stemming from. However, if you are unsure as to where the pain is originating, then you should apply it close to the area that hurts.

Applying cream to various trigger points will also help alleviate pain in the general area. Some specific trigger point areas you an apply cream to are:

  • Neck
  • Temples
  • Shoulders
  • Knees
  • Wrists
  • Soles of the feet
  • Any joint and the muscles surrounding it

Another great tip for applying cream is to always make sure the area you are massaging it into is clean and free from sweat, dirt, and dead skin cells. When your skin is clean, the CBD molecules will have a better chance of reaching the affected area. All you will need to clean the area is just some soap and warm water. Wash the area as you would regularly wash any part of your body. Next, make sure that the area is rinsed off well and thoroughly dried. When you apply the cream to the area, make sure that you use a good sized dollop. The goal is to not just rub the cream onto the area, but to thoroughly and gently massage it into the skin. Deeply massaging the topical into the skin serves to both increase the blood flow to the area as well as help the cream penetrate deeper into the tissue and spread over a wider area of the body.

While you will feel almost immediate relief from general aches and pains such as sunburns, sore, strained muscles, or minor skin irritations, chronic pain issues caused by arthritis, bursitis, or other medical conditions will take a little longer to manage. The key is to be patient and understand that some conditions require more time than others to get under control.

Lastly, (and this may sound a little silly) always wash your hands after applying topical cream. Since some brands have cooling or heating ingredients added to them, it definitely would not feel good if you rubbed your eyes or touched your nose or mouth after an application. Likewise, you also might want to avoid applying creams with mint, pepper, camphor, or menthol to the insides of your elbows or the backs of your knees as the skin could be easily irritated.

What are the Benefits of CBD?

CBD, a compound of the hemp and cannabis plants, has many health benefits associated with it including:

  • Relief from chronic pain
  • Nerve pain reduction
  • Relief of muscle spasms and muscle tension
  • Nausea relief
  • Decreased anxiety and depression
  • Reduced inflammation
  • Improvement in sleep and relaxation

Not only can topical cream help to alleviate these conditions, it can also help to improve the overall health and wellness of your skin. CBD has anti-inflammatory properties that can benefit the skin to help reduce oil production, relieve pain and itching, and help to moisturize. In fact, topical CBD cream can help to treat eczema, psoriasis, and other inflammatory skin conditions .

Many people falsely worry about purchasing full-spectrum products because they fear that they will get "high" from them. By law, all full-spectrum products must contain less than 0.3% THC, therefore, you can use full-spectrum oils, creams, edibles, vapes, etc., without any fear of getting high. The good news is that when you use full-spectrum topical creams, your body will be able to reap all of the benefits of the entourage effect.

During the entourage effect, CBD, THC, and other cannabis compounds and terpenes work together to decrease each other's negative effects while increasing their positive effects. For example, THC is known to cause nausea, paranoia, and anxiety in some people, however, when combined with CBD, these negative side effects are drastically reduced, therefore allowing for greater pain reduction and appetite stimulation.

In short, when you use a full-spectrum topical cream, your body will receive a multitude of benefits without any of the negative side effects, thus making your healing and pain relief stronger overall.

Final Words on Our CBD Creams and Salves List

Whether you suffer from sports injuries, muscle strains or sprains, or acute or chronic pain from conditions such as arthritis, Crohn's Disease, Fibromyalgia, bursitis, back pain, or others, a topical CBD cream might just be the best option to help you treat specific localized areas of pain on your body. Even though oils, gummies, vapes, and capsules are also helpful and effective in their own way, a topical cream is the best option for painful areas on your body because it offers fast, targeted relief in a way that ingestible options cannot.

Topical creams can be used alone or with other modalities such as heat or ice to add further relief from tough muscle pain, sports injuries, and muscle tension issues. But regardless of how you use the cream and what you use along with it, it's always a good idea to first ensure that you've purchased the very best product for yourself. Because CBD continues to grow in popularity, so have the number of brands and products that are out on the market today. But before you spend your hard-earned money on a product that could potentially be inferiorior and ineffective, it's advised that you scour the brands' websites to locate third-party lab results. Remember, a brand that hires a reputable third-party lab not only cares about the quality, purity, and strength of its products, it also cares about what its customers are putting into their bodies.

After you've found those lab test results, take some time to pour through them and learn exactly what's in the topical cream that you intend on buying. If you're feeling overwhelmed or confused at any time during your research, you can always begin your journey by looking into the three brands that we've presented to you in our article. FAB CBD's Topical Cream is our number one choice not only because of the brand's stellar reputation and transparency, but also because FAB truly creates a potent, clean, and highly effective product. We also want to note that Pure Relief, our second pick, is also a solid choice.

When it comes to how pain sufferers are choosing to treat their tough chronic or acute pain, a great number of them are opting to forego the use of dangerous and potentially addictive prescription painkillers. Instead, many of them have successfully treated their health issues by using safe, natural, and non-addictive CBD topical creams.

Topical creams, as well as all other CBD products, contain a host of benefits which include nausea reduction, pain relief, reduction of muscle tension and spasms, increased relaxation, a reduction in sleep-related issues such as insomnia, reduced inflammation, nerve pain relief, and so much more. Rather than have to worry about the damage that a prescription medication is potentially doing to your body, you can have peace of mind knowing that your body is benefitting from the many benefits that CBD is giving it.

Lastly, if you have any questions or concerns about using CBD, never hesitate to schedule a visit with your primary care provider or specialist. CBD is a wonderful, natural, safe way to help heal a great many health issues. So if you think it might be the best option for you but are still nervous, unsure, or have questions, then your healthcare provider can help you sort them out so that you can make the best decision possible for your health.

So many people are discovering first-hand the many benefits that CBD has to offer. If you've been wondering about what a topical CBD cream can do for you, then look no further than our top three brands. The time to stop suffering with pain is now. Why not explore the many ways that CBD can both improve your health issues and enhance your life?

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