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10 Best CBD Creams for Arthritis & Joint Pain

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10 Best CBD Creams for Arthritis & Joint Pain
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More and more arthritis sufferers are turning to cannabidiol (CBD) as a natural way to support pain relief. CBD arthritis creams and lotions can be applied topically to specific areas to help reduce inflammation, swelling, and pain. What are the best CBD arthritis creams? In this article, we explain the science behind CBD and arthritis and recommend the top CBD creams to try.


CBD is a naturally occurring compound found in the hemp plant. Like THC, it is a cannabinoid that interacts with our body's endocannabinoid system (ECS). Unlike THC, however, it does not contain psychoactive or intoxicating properties. Instead, CBD is used primarily for its health and wellness benefits, including its apparent ability to promote a sense of calm, regulate mood, improve sleep, and reduce inflammation and pain.

Early research makes CBD cream for arthritis a promising option to help those suffering from arthritis and joint pain. Since CBD and industrial hemp were only made available for study after the passage of the 2018 Farm Bill, long term and large group studies are still in the works. While more definitive research is needed before it can be prescribed as a treatment, CBD for joint pain may certainly play a role in supplementing current treatment options with a low risk of side effects. As with any CBD product, be sure to consult with your doctor before taking CBD to make sure that it won't interact with any of your existing medications or treatments.

What is CBD Cream?

CBD is a compound found in cannabis plants that has gained much attention for its apparent ability to aid in inflammation, stress, and many other issues. This compound can be infused into creams, lotions, and salves as a way to apply CBD topically for a variety of benefits, including skin nourishment and pain alleviation.

CBD creams differ from other products, like oil tinctures or capsules, in that they allow you to apply CBD directly to painful areas on the body, like knees, shoulders, hands, or wrists. The CBD is then absorbed through the skin to help treat the affected area more quickly than CBD that is taken orally and must be absorbed into the bloodstream. CBD lotions for arthritis also provide an alternative to ingesting or inhaling CBD, which can benefit those with sensitive digestive systems or pallets.

With a CBD cream, you can typically find much higher concentrations of CBD in each product, allowing you the potential to enjoy stronger relief. The best CBD arthritis creams also contain natural ingredients like menthol, eucalyptus, peppermint, California poppy, shea butter, and beeswax to help sooth aching joints and nourish skin.

Does CBD Cream Help with Arthritis?

While research into the effectiveness of CBD to treat arthritis is still in its early stages, there are a number of promising studies. Take this study that concluded that topical CBD has potential as an effective treatment of arthritic pain. Researchers believe the administration of CBD could also have long-lasting therapeutic effects.

Animal studies have shown that transdermal, or topical, application of CBD does have therapeutic potential for relieving arthritis pain and inflammation. Another study using rats found that atypical receptors beyond just CB2 might be beneficial in treating inflammatory pain with cannabinoids. Recent research published in the Journal of Opioid Management concluded that CBD transdermal cream provided "significant symptom and pain relief" for patients suffering from severe back pain.

CBD is an immunosuppressive, and most often binds with the body's CB2 receptor, which directly influences our immune system. This allows it to help inhibit the production of certain inflammatory processes in the body, which could help to reduce arthritis and joint pain.

As a reminder, CBD is one of more than 100 cannabinoids that occur naturally in the cannabis plant. These plant compounds, along with terpenes and flavonoids, work through a process known as the entourage effect to promote homeostasis within the body.

10 Top-Rated CBD Creams, Lotions, and Salves for Joint Pain Relief

Each product featured here has been independently selected by the writer. You can learn more about our review methodology here. If you make a purchase using the links included, we may earn commission.

How We Chose These Topicals

To choose the best CBD creams for arthritis, we compared a number of different factors. Some of the things we looked for in each product included:

  • Source — Where is the company's hemp grown and how do they extract the CBD?
  • Strength — How much CBD does the cream contain? Is it full spectrum, broad spectrum, or CBD isolate?
  • Organic — Does the company use organic hemp and natural ingredients?
  • Ingredients — Does the CBD salve contain additional botanicals or ingredients, like menthol or lidocaine?
  • Testing — Is the product tested by an independent third-party lab, and can you access the results?
  • Price — Is the CBD lotion offer a good value for the amount of CBD included?
  • Customer experience — What do customer reviews say about the product and how it helped them?

Using these categories, we identified the best CBD for joint pain creams, balms, and slaves. Check out our choices below to find the right one for your needs.

The Best CBD Creams for Arthritis & Joint Pain

Best Overall: Medterra Pain Relief Cream

Medterra CBD Pain Relief Cream

medterra.com

Medterra Pain Relief Cream is our top pick for arthritis pain because it's both a registered over-the-counter option and it won the 2021 Product of the Year award in CBD personal care. Available in strengths of either 500 mg or 1000 mg, this product is made with broad spectrum CBD in addition to menthol, arnica, jojoba oil, and aloe. Medterra's products are all THC-free and made with non-GMO Kentucky-grown hemp.

  • CBD - Broad Spectrum
  • Strength - 500 mg or 1000 mg per container
  • Added Ingredients - Menthol + Arnica

Why buy: Medterra Pain Relief Cream is a great option for soothing pain from arthritis, muscle soreness, stiff joints, and neck or back pain. We also like that it's free from synthetic chemicals, plasticizers, and artificial preservatives.

$35

Best Menthol-Free: R+R Medicinals CBD Cream

R+R Medicinals CBD Cream

rrmeds.com

R+R Medicinals CBD Cream is one of the strongest full spectrum creams available. It contains 1000 mg of CBD for joint pain from arthritis or other causes, but it is free from fragrances, dyes, and menthol. This makes it an excellent option for those with sensitive skin or allergies. It does include natural ingredients like MSM, arnica, calendula flower, jojoba oil, and over 4 mg of minor cannabinoids to provide powerful plant-based relief.

  • CBD - Full Spectrum
  • Strength - 1000 mg per container
  • Added Ingredients - MSM, Arnica, Calendula Flower, Jojoba Oil
Why buy: We love this CBD cream from R+R Medicinals because it provides a strong dose of full spectrum CBD for pain without menthol, dyes, or artificial fragrances. This makes it perfect for those who are sensitive to traditional pain creams.
$40

Best Organic: Cornbread Hemp CBD Lotion + Menthol

Cornbread Hemp Full Spectrum CBD Lotion

cornbreadhemp.com

Cornbread Hemp Full Spectrum CBD Lotion is a great organic option for arthritis pain or sore muscles. It's made with 500 mg of pure hemp flower CBD extract, which means their CBD doesn't come from seeds or stems for a cleaner product. This cream is also packed with tons of organic botanicals like menthol, lemongrass, jojoba, peppermint, tea tree, rosemary, and eucalyptus, but it's paraben and preservative-free.

  • CBD - Full Spectrum
  • Strength - 500 mg per container
  • Added Ingredients - Organic menthol, lemongrass, jojoba, peppermint, tea tree, rosemary, eucalyptus, beeswax, +
Why buy: We love that this CBD for joint pain cream is USDA organic and contains so many beneficial botanicals and natural ingredients. It's great for sore knees, shoulders, elbows, hands, and muscles.
$50

Best Roll On: CBDistillery CBD Relief Stick

CBDistillery CBD Relief Stick

thecbdistillery.com

Made with Colorado-grown hemp, CBDistillery makes full spectrum and CBD isolate products that are certified by the U.S. Hemp Authority. This CBD Relief Stick contains 1000 mg of CBD isolate to provide a powerful dose of CBD with no THC. It also features shea butter, arnica, menthol, and peppermint for a cooling sensation on sore muscles and joints that also moisturizes skin.

  • CBD - CBD Isolate
  • Strength - 1000 mg per container
  • Added Ingredients - Shea Butter, Arnica, Menthol, Peppermint
Why buy: We love the CBD Relief Stick from CBDistillery because it provides an easy, no-mess way to apply CBD exactly where you need it. It's perfect for travel or the gym, and is a great choice for those who want a THC-free option.
$45

Simplest Ingredients: NuLeaf Naturals Full Spectrum CBD Balm

NuLeaf Naturals Full Spectrum CBD Balm

nuleafnaturals.com

We already recommend NuLeaf Naturals for their CBD oils made from organically-grown Colorado hemp, and now they offer a potent CBD balm that we love for its simplicity. It contains just two ingredients: concentrated full spectrum CBD hemp extract and organic shea butter. Available in strengths of 300 mg, 600 mg, and 900 mg, NuLeaf Naturals Full Spectrum CBD Balm is strong and straightforward.

  • CBD - Full Spectrum
  • Strength - 300 mg, 600 mg, 900 mg of CBD per container
  • Added Ingredients - Organic Shea Butter
Why buy: This unscented CBD balm is ideal for those with sensitive skin or allergies. Made to absorb quickly, it may help relieve discomfort in joints and muscles while also moisturizing skin. We recommend the 900 mg strength for arthritis pain.
$79

Best for Sensitive Skin: Prima R+R Cream

Prima R+R Cream

prima.co

Prima R+R Cream is designed to provide relief and nourish your skin naturally. It features concentrated broad spectrum hemp extract alongside soothing botanicals like menthol, eucalyptus, tea tree, lavender, rosemary, and peppermint, as well as marula oil and shea butter. It is also consciously formulated without any parabens, silicones, mineral oil, phthalates, or synthetic fragrances.

  • CBD - Broad Spectrum
  • Strength - 750 mg per container
  • Added Ingredients - Menthol, Eucalyptus, Tea Tree, Lavender, Rosemary, Peppermint, Marula Oil, Shea Butter
Why buy: We love Prima R+R Cream because it is doctor formulated and clinically tested to give soothing relief in a hypoallergenic, vegan, and cruelty-free cream. Prima also makes all products in the U.S. and uses sustainable and recycled packaging.
$55

Strongest CBD Topical: cbdMD Relieve CBD + Lidocaine Roll On

cbdMD Relieve CBD + Lidocaine Roll On

cbdmd.com

This cbdMD Relief CBD + Lidocaine Roll On contains 4% lidocaine by volume and is enriched with beneficial ingredients like aloe to soothe the skin. A broad spectrum product, it includes many of the phytocannabinoids to allow for the entourage effect of the hemp extract but without the THC. The roll on formula makes it easy to apply where you need it without any mess or residue.

  • CBD - Broad Spectrum
  • Strength - 500 mg, 1500 mg, 3000 mg per container
  • Added Ingredients - Lidocaine, Aloe Vera

Why buy: We like that this broad spectrum CBD roll on includes lidocaine as a local anesthetic for instant relief, plus the anti-inflammatory effects of CBD. Available in strengths of 500 mg, 1500 mg, and 3000 mg, this is the strongest CBD for arthritis pain on our list.

$90

Best for Neck Pain: Spruce CBD Salve

Spruce CBD Salve

takespruce.com

This full spectrum Spruce CBD salve is fast absorbing with a smooth consistency that offers targeted relief when applied to the skin. Made with organic hemp extract, shea butter, olive oil, beeswax, and coconut oil, this salve is packed with phytocannabinoids that may help with muscle and joint pain. Spruce is known for strong products packed with quality CBD extract, and their CBD salve is no exception.

  • CBD - Full Spectrum
  • Strength - 1,000 mg or 2,000 mg per container
  • Added ingredients - Shea Butter, Olive Oil, Beeswax, Coconut Oil
Why buy: Available in 1,000 mg and 2,000 mg strengths, Spruce CBD salve offers extra strength topical relief for sore joints and muscles. We recommend it to those looking for higher concentrations of full spectrum hemp extract to help them manage discomfort.
$89

Best for Knees & Hands: Plant People Soothe+ Body Balm

Plant People Soothe+ Body Balm

plantpeople.com

Plant People Soothe+ Body Balm contains full spectrum hemp extract, California poppy, and activating botanicals like arnica, peppermint, and camphor. It's doctor formulated and USDA organic, made using extract from Colorado grown hemp. The balm is designed to absorb quickly to deliver natural localized relief from aches, stiffness, bruises, and sore muscles. Plus, it's cruelty-free, sulfate-free, paraben-free, and gluten-free.

  • CBD - Full Spectrum
  • Strength - 515 mg per container
  • Added Ingredients - California Poppy, Arnica, Peppermint, Camphor
Why buy: We recommend Plant People Soothe+ Body Balm for sore knuckles and knees. We like that it's designed to relieve pain, reduce inflammation, and increase circulation to sore areas through added plant extracts like peppermint.
$49

Best THC-Free: Joy Organics CBD Salve

Joy Organics CBD Salve

joyorganics.com

Joy Organics organic CBD salve is formulated to support healthy muscles and joints. A balanced combination of hemp oil rich in phytocannabinoids, organic beeswax, and organic aromatic essential oils may help soothe muscles and support skin health. Joy Organics is a certified-organic line certified by the U.S. Hemp Authority and ensures all its agriculture partners follow best practices.

  • CBD - Broad Spectrum
  • Strength - 500 mg per container
  • Added Ingredients - Lavender, Eucalyptus, Organic Beeswax, Organic MCT Oil
Why buy: We love Joy Organics CBD Salve because it is both USDA organic and THC-free. This salve is great because it can both help soothe aching joints and muscles while also moisturizing dry skin. Plus, Joy Organics offers free carbon neutral shipping.
$55

Choosing High-Quality CBD Products

Whether you're shopping for CBD for knee pain or a CBD lotion for arthritis, you want to make sure that you select a high-quality CBD product. There are two main things to consider when comparing CBD creams and balms, independent third-party testing and the source of the hemp.

Comprehensive Testing

Making sure that any CBD product you purchase has been thoroughly tested by an independent third-party lab is extremely important. This allows you to know for certain that the product is safe to use, free from pesticides and heavy metals, and that it contains the appropriate amount of cannabinoids like CBD. The best brands offer easy access to the lab test results for all of their products, typically through a QR code on their packaging or online. If you see a CBD product that doesn't mention lab testing and doesn't give you access to the results, don't buy it.

Hemp Sourcing

It's also important to know where a CBD brands gets its hemp. This can help assure that the products are made with natural hemp extract from safely grown hemp plants. We typically recommend choosing products that use hemp grown in the U.S.A., and whenever possible organically grown hemp. This is an easy way to make sure that whatever product you choose contains pure CBD and natural plant compounds without any harmful chemicals or contaminants.

How to Use

CBD creams and lotions are relatively easy to use. Simply apply the suggested amount onto any painful areas, such as knees, shoulders, hands, or the back, like you would any other topical ointment. The CBD in the product will be absorbed through the skin to help provide relief to that specific area of the body. You should avoid contact with your eyes and never ingest a CBD topical.

Cannabinoids like CBD may be able to offer relief through the endocannabinoid system, which helps us maintain balance for a variety of bodily functions. The human body has internal cannabinoid receptors that allow natural compounds like CBD and terpenes to indirectly interact with our sensory receptors, which can effectively diminish our pain sensation. These cannabinoid receptors are located throughout the skin, meaning that CBD topical products help alleviate localized pain and inflammation when applied to the affected area.

One study published by the European Journal of Pain also noted, "[the] use of topical CBD has potential as effective treatment of arthritic symptomatology" after conducting tests using a rat model of arthritis pain. Additionally, there are minimal side effects associated with CBD, especially when applied topically.

Safety and Side Effects

You should always avoid contact with your eyes and never ingest a CBD topical.

While it is generally safe to use, CBD can cause certain mild side effects. These sometimes include:

  • Dry mouth
  • Diarrhea
  • Reduced appetite
  • Drowsiness
  • Fatigue
These are more often associated with CBD edibles and oil tinctures. For CBD arthritis creams and balms, you will want to make certain that you are not allergic or sensitive to any of the ingredients before use. You can also test a small amount on an area of the skin to be sure it does not irritate your skin before using more generally.

We always suggest you have a conversation with your doctor about using CBD to discuss your goals, any existing medications you're taking, and whether it could interact with any of those prescriptions.

Takeaway

There are a number of additional self-care and non-surgical treatments for arthritis that you can attempt as well. Many arthritis sufferers benefit from things like hydrotherapy, yoga, massage treatments, stretching, and acupuncture. Applying heating pads and ice packs, as well as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) can also help.

While CBD lotions and balms may potentially help alleviate arthritis pain, it's important to note that it is not intended to cure the condition or replace your existing treatment options. If you suffer from serious osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis, you should always seek treatment from your doctor first.

Melena Gurganus is passionate health and wellness and her writing aims to help others find products they can trust. Her work has been featured in publications such as Health, Shape, Huffington Post, Cannabis Business Times, and Bustle.

Medically Reviewed By:

Alan Carter
PharmD Scientific Advisor, Medical Reviewer, and Clinical Pharmacist
Adjunct Faculty, UMKC School of Pharmacy

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