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CBD creams and other topical ointments are a great way to help treat pain and dry skin naturally. If you've been in the market for a CBD 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.

While oils, gummies, vapes, and other edible/inhalable options of CBD offer users a natural way to help manage chronic pain and various health conditions, a CBD topical cream is the best way to target specific areas of the body.

CBD creams and other topical ointments are a great way to help treat pain and dry skin naturally. If you’ve been in the market for a CBD 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.

Uses for CBD Creams and Topical Products

While oils, gummies, vapes, and other edible/inhalable options of CBD offer users a natural way to help manage chronic pain and various health conditions, a CBD topical cream is the best way to target specific areas of the body.

The best CBD topical creams 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 may offer fast, targeted, natural relief. CBD topicals may also be used for recovery after workouts or exercise to help reduce soreness and inflammation. Many of the best CBD salves and balms also include natural ingredients like shea butter, aloe, or essential oils that can help to nourish and moisturize your skin.

Best CBD Topicals: Top 3 of 2022

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 the Our Favorite Creams and Salves

The CBD market is flooded with brands and products claiming to be the very best. But not all brands are the same, and not all products are created equally. We want to remove the frustration and confusion of finding the right CBD product so you can easily find the right CBD cream.

We evaluated each brand of CBD cream on the following key categories.

  • Value — How much does the CBD cream cost?
  • Strength — How many milligrams of CBD does the cream contain?
  • Source — Where does the hemp used for CBD come from?
  • Scent — Is the cream scented at all, and does it use natural ingredients?
  • Transparency — Does the brand use third-party lab testing to ensure quality?
  • Customer Experience — Do customer reviews show a positive experience overall?

Learn more about each of the CBD creams on our list below.

Strongest CBD Salve: Spruce CBD Salve

Spruce CBD salve

takespruce.com

  • CBD — Full Spectrum
  • Strength — 1000 mg or 3000 mg CBD per container
  • Hemp source — Kentucky and North Carolina
  • Scent — None

Why buy: We love this product from Spruce because their CBD topical salve offers the highest concentration of CBD per ounce of any product on our list. Plus, it’s made with natural ingredients like olive oil, shea butter, and beeswax for a naturally nourishing cream. These ingredients combine with the full spectrum CBD to create a powerful CBD topical for potential pain relief.

Best for Sprains and Bruises: Plant People CBD Balm

Plant People Balm+ Relief

plantpeople.co

  • CBD — Full Spectrum
  • Strength — 450 mg of CBD per 2oz. jar
  • Hemp source — Colorado
  • Scent — None

Why buy: Plant People makes an outstanding CBD balm, which is formulated with full spectrum CBD to soothe aches and pains. It’s also also non-GMO, USDA organic, and gluten-free, and made to help with sore knuckles, muscles, and knees. Good for addressing stiffness and swelling, it can also be a good topical remedy for athletic sprains and bruises thanks to botanicals like peppermint, camphor, and California poppy.

Best Post-Workout Cream: CBDistillery CBD Balm

CBDistillery CBD balm

thecbdisitllery.com

  • CBD — Full Spectrum
  • Strength — 500mg of CBD per 1oz. tub.
  • Hemp source — Colorado
  • Scent — None

Why buy — CBDistillery makes all of its products using natural, eco-friendly farming practices and American-grown hemp. This non-greasy CBD balm formula includes shea butter, coconut oil, beeswax, and natural botanicals to make it easy to apply and fast to absorb. We recommend this CBD balm for to help revive and soothe muscles after exercise or strenuous physical activity.

Using CBD Topicals: What the Research Says

Topical CBD creams and salves work because, once absorbed into the skin, the CBD goes to work with the body’s endocannabinoid system. This 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, it may play a role in regulating various functions and processes in the body such as:

  • Mood regulation
  • Sleep
  • Appetite
  • Memory
  • Pain
  • Inflammation and immune responses
  • Metabolism
  • Stress

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. The ECS is thought to help the body return to normal functioning or balance.

Research also shows that CBD has anti-inflammatory properties that may benefit the skin to help reduce oil production, relieve pain and itching, and moisturize. In fact, topical CBD cream may help to treat eczema, psoriasis, and other inflammatory skin conditions.

How to Choose CBD Creams, Salves, & Lotions for You

When it comes to deciding on a CBD cream, there are a lot of varieties to choose from. It’s important to do your research to make an informed choice and select the best CBD topical for you. Here are a few important things to consider when comparing CBD lotions and salves.

What to Look For

Use these factors to help guide you when researching or shopping for CBD topical lotions and creams.

Strength

Make sure you know the concentration of CBD in each cream or lotion that you use. This is measured in milligrams of CBD per container, though some brands may specify how much CBD this provides in each application.

Lab Tests

Independent third-party lab test results are a must for any CBD cream you plan on trying. These let you know that the product is free from potentially harmful compounds or toxins and that it contains the advertised concentration of cannabinoids.

Added Ingredients

Many CBD creams and topicals also contain ingredients like shea butter or olive oil and natural botanicals like citrus, peppermint, pepper, menthol, camphor, and more. Make sure that you are not allergic to any of the listed ingredients before use.

Type of Product

Some topicals are lotions that help to moisturize the skin, while others are balms, salves, liniments, or ointments that contain CBD and extra natural ingredients to create hot or cold sensations for extra help with pain relief.

How to Read Labels

The best way to ensure that you are using the correct CBD cream or salve is by carefully reading the label. These are the key pieces of information to look for on any CBD label or packaging.

  • Type of CBD – The label should clearly state whether the product is made with full spectrum hemp extract, broad spectrum hemp extract, or CBD isolate.
  • Concentration – Look for the amount of CBD contained in the product. For topicals, it is usually measured in milligrams of CBD per container.
  • Test Results – Always check for certification that the product has been tested by a third-party lab. Many brands include QR codes on the label that link directly to the test results.
  • Hemp Source – The quality of the CBD in a cream or balm is directly related to source of the hemp used. We recommend brands that use hemp grown organically in the U.S. for safety and quality.

How to Use

When you begin using CBD cream, you first need to apply the cream around the painful 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 a 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 CBD creams as you would use CBD 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.

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. 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.

Lastly, 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.

Safety & Side Effects

CBD is generally considered safe for adults, and CBD topicals are one of the safest methods as you do not ingest them. However, CBD can cause certain side effects, including:

  • Dry mouth
  • Diarrhea
  • Reduced appetite
  • Drowsiness
  • Fatigue

CBD can also interact with some types of prescription medications, so be sure to talk with your healthcare provider and pharmacist before starting to take any CBD product. With CBD lotions or creams, there is also a chance of skin irritation if you are allergic or sensitive to any of the ingredients present. If this occurs stop using the CBD cream and consult with your doctor.

Takeaway

Topical CBD creams may 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. They can potentially help relieve soreness and muscle pain while also promoting a sense of calm and relaxation. Use our guide to help make sure that you find the best CBD cream or lotion for you.

Marc Lewis aims to help people access the scientific consensus on natural health topics in a simple and direct format. His perspective on CBD as a natural remedy has been featured in Business Insider, Forbes, MarketWatch, and Yahoo.

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To truly get the most out of life, a person needs to be able to get a good night's sleep. Lack of sleep due to stress or insomnia has led many to seek out natural products, including CBD, to help them fall asleep and stay asleep. Is there anything behind the idea of CBD for sleep improvement? In this article, we will explore the role that CBD for insomnia can play in a healthy sleep cycle and recommend CBD sleep products from brands we trust.

To truly get the most out of life, a person needs to be able to get a good night’s sleep. Lack of sleep due to stress or insomnia has led many to seek out natural products, including CBD, to help them fall asleep and stay asleep. Is there anything behind the idea of CBD for sleep improvement? In this article, we will explore the role that CBD for insomnia can play in a healthy sleep cycle and recommend CBD sleep products from brands we trust.

Our Favorite CBD Products for Sleep

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 Picked Our Top Brands

We vetted the source and quality of the CBD for insomnia and sleep in this article. All recommended products were derived from industrial hemp grown in the United States and contains under 0.3% THC, which is required by law. Additionally, all products have been tested by third-party labs to ensure their quality and safety.

When reviewing CBD brands and products, we focus on six major factors:

  • Value — is the brand’s CBD affordable compared to similar products?
  • Strength — how much CBD and what type of CBD does their product contain?
  • Source — where does the company source its hemp and how is the CBD extracted?
  • Flavor — does the product come in any flavors and do they flavor them naturally?
  • Transparency — do they offer third-party lab test results and information about each batch of CBD?
  • Customer experience — what do customer have to say about the product and purchasing experience?

Using these standards we were able to select the best CBD for insomnia and sleep. Learn more about our choices below.

Our Most Favorite CBD Products for Sleep — Full Reviews

Strongest CBD Oil for Sleep: Spruce Rest Oil

Spruce Rest

takespruce.com

Spruce CBD is a family-owned and operated brand, and all of their tinctures are full-spectrum, made in the United States, lab grade, organic, contain no pesticides, and are third-party tested. Spruce Rest is specifically made to help you fall and stay asleep, with a powerful combination of CBD and CBN. Each bottle contains 1,200 mg of CBD and 150 mg of CBN for a potent sleep aid, and comes in a natural vanilla flavor.

Why buy: We like that this oil contains high concentrations of CBD and CBN for extra strength relief from sleeplessness. This CBD for insomnia product is best for those with experience using CBD oils.

Best CBD Tincture: R+R Medicinals Organic Fresh Mint Tincture

R+R Medicinals 1000 mg Organic Fresh Mint Tincture

rrmeds.com

R+R Medicinals is quickly becoming one of the most trusted and popular CBD brands by proving one thing – they make the CBD that works. Using supercritical CO2 extraction on their proprietary Cherry strain of USDA Certified Organic hemp, they yield an unparalleled profile of cannabinoids and terpenes, with all lab testing publicly posted online. At only 4.6 cents per mg of extract, you’ll be hard pressed to find a better value CBD tincture on the market.

Why buy: We like their Organic Fresh Mint tincture because it boasts impressive levels of CBD, CBG, CBC, CBN, CBL, and more, so you can truly feel the entourage effect. This is a great way to add USDA organic CBD to your nightly routine.

Best CBD + CBN Oil: CBDistillery CBN + CBD Sleep Tincture

CBDistillery CBN + CBD Sleep Oil

thecbdistillery.com

This CBN + CBD oil from CBDistillery contains a 1:3 ratio of these two natural cannabinoids found in the hemp plant. They use a full plant extraction method that preserves more of the cannabinoids, terpenes, flavonoids, and other beneficial plant compounds. A great naturally-derived option to help you relax and fall asleep, CBDistillery CBN + CBD oil is also third-party lab tested and includes a 60 day money back guarantee.

Why buy: We like that this oil is specifically formulated for sleep. Additionally, this brand is a good choice for a CBD consumer who wants a full spectrum oil geared toward a particular cannabinoid blend, like CBN for sleep.

Best CBD Softgel for Sleep: Prima Sleep Tight Softgels

Prima Sleep Tight Softgels

prima.co

We love these Prima Sleep Tight softgels because they offer a doctor-formulated blend of CBD and natural botanicals, but are also melatonin-free. This makes them a great option for anyone with a sensitivity or allergy to melatonin. Each softgel serving contains 20 mg of broad spectrum CBD, as well as chamomile, passion flower, lavender, and amino acid compounds like 5-HTP and GABA, that all naturally promote sleep.

Why buy: We recommend these Prima softgels because they provide a plant-based sleep aid without THC or melatonin, and they come in sustainable and recycled packaging.

Best Organic CBD for Sleep: Cornbread Hemp Whole Flower CBD Oil

Cornbread Hemp Whole Flower CBD

cornbreadhemp.com

Cornbread Hemp offers a whole flower CBD oil that is USDA organic, vegan, gluten-free, non-GMO, and third-party lab tested. It contains higher levels of naturally-occurring cannabinoids, terpenes, flavonoids, and fatty acids than more processed oils, providing you with more of the healthy plant compounds that can help you sleep. The 375 mg and 750 mg bottles contains 25 mg of CBD per serving, and the 1500 mg bottle contains 50 mg of CBD per serving.

Why buy: We like that this oil is USDA organic, and undergoes minimal processing to preserve more of the beneficial plant compounds found in hemp flowers. It contains the highest legal levels of THC allowed in a CBD oil to help you relax and fall asleep.

Can CBD Improve Your Sleep?

What is the science on CBD and sleep? Research shows that CBD, or cannabidiol, can help treat chronic pain, anxiety, and insomnia, and may help users both fall asleep and stay asleep.

According to research in a 2019 study published in The Permanente Journal on behalf of the National Institutes of Health, CBD was examined for its efficacy in not only treating anxiety problems and post-traumatic stress disorder but also sleep disorders. The results of the study displayed that patients treated through the use of CBD over the course of three months saw an improvement in their sleep cycles, as well as a lessening of their anxiety and other mental anguish. Administered in doses of 25 mg of CBD, the cannabidiol was well received. Side effects were minimal and typically related to daytime sleepiness on higher doses of CBD.

It is believed that CBD for insomnia can improve sleep processes because it triggers the body’s endocannabinoid system, a biological system that is comprised of receptors and enzymes that regulate a variety of bodily functions, including sleep, memory, appetite, and mood.

Phytocannabinoids, like CBD and CBN, have the potential to interact on an indirect basis with cannabinoid receptors in the endocannabinoid system, thereby encouraging the body to sleep by helping to manage anxiety, pain, and stress hormones that contribute to sleep loss.

Why is Sleep Important?

According to the American Sleep Apnea Association, an estimated 50 to 70 million people in the United States spanning all ages and socioeconomic classes suffer from sleeplessness. Both men and women are impacted by sleep disturbances, and according to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine and the Sleep Research Society, adults aged 18-60 years old need at least seven hours of sleep each night to realize optimal health and well-being.

Sleep plays an important role in your mental and physical health. When you have a healthy sleep cycle, your body and mind are able to engage in many restorative processes including healing and repairing cognitive and cardiac functions. During sleep, your body is actively working by boosting your immune system, fighting inflammation, regulating digestive processes, and so much more.

When a person does not get the sleep they need, they run the risk of developing many chronic health conditions, including:

  • High blood pressure
  • Stroke
  • Heart disease
  • Obesity
  • Diabetes
  • Mental health issues

Insomnia is a serious sleep disorder that can be acute (short-term) or chronic (long-term). Right now, one in four Americans develops insomnia annually, according to Science Daily. Insomnia can cause a person to have problems falling asleep, staying asleep, or waking far too early. This can drastically impact your energy level, your work performance, your quality of life, and has the potential to cause negative physical and mental health outcomes.

According to the
Mayo Clinic, chronic insomnia can result in many of the health conditions we have referenced, and can also cause depression and anxiety. CBD for insomnia not only has the potential to help as a sleep aid to improve sleep quality, but it can also help to mitigate and manage anxiety and assist with chronic pain relief to help you achieve a calm and restful night’s sleep.

How to Choose For You

If you are looking for the best CBD for sleep, then it is important to do your research and realize that not all CBD products are created equal.

What to Look For

In order to feel confident knowing that you purchased a high-quality CBD product, only buy from a brand that engages in accredited, third-party lab testing and subsequently publishes its lab reports on its website. You must be able to see that what is on the label of your CBD oil actually is validated through testing processes.

This also ensures that the CBD is free of toxins, including pesticides, heavy metals, microbials, and solvents, and contains the concentration of CBD, terpenes, and other cannabinoids and plant parts that it claims. Always look for brands that use CBD from hemp grown in the United States, as these products undergo more rigorous testing than in some other countries.

In addition to CBD, look for products that include other natural ingredients like lavender, chamomile, passion flower, and lemon balm that are help to promote calm and rest. Make certain that all ingredients, including any flavorings, are all natural and labeled clearly. Also consider products that contain melatonin, a natural hormone that regulates sleep alongside wakefulness. Boosting this particular hormone, which is already found in your body, can truly improve your sleep-wake cycle.

How to Read Labels

It’s important to know what kind of CBD is used in the product you choose. When comparing labels, look for one of the following:

  • Full spectrum CBD – contains all of the plant compounds found in hemp including THC
  • Broad spectrum CBD – contains some additional plant compounds, but no THC
  • CBD isolate – pure CBD that contains no additional compounds

Some people find that full-spectrum CBD offers a better experience promoting sleep thanks to the entourage effect, while others may want to avoid THC entirely.

Here are some additional pieces of information to look for on each product.

Dosage

How much CBD the product contains and how much is included, in mg, per serving. It’s recommended that those new to CBD start with a lower dose and slowly increase the amount taken to identify the right dosage for your body.

Other Cannabinoids

Look for information about additional cannabinoids included, like CBN or CBG. These are naturally found in the hemp plant in certain dosages, but some products have higher amounts to help promote sleep.

Carrier Oils

Additionally, CBD oil tinctures use carrier oils, frequently olive oil, MCT oil or hemp seed oil. Make sure you know what type of carrier oil is used in case you are allergic to certain ingredients like coconut.

How to Use

Depending on the type of CBD product you choose, you will use it differently to help you sleep. Most CBD sleep products recommend use an hour or so before bed to allow it to take effect.

If you are using a CBD oil tincture, this is taken with an included dropper to place a small amount under your tongue. Keep the CBD under your tongue for 30 seconds or so, for better absorption, before swallowing. In terms of dosage amounts, the oil should come with a dropper with mL measurements. To start, take a single mL drop for a single serving of CBD. Again, it’s important to start low and go slow when adding CBD to your routine.

For capsules and gummies, simply take the recommended serving (typically 1 or 2) about an hour before bedtime. Some work better when taken with food, so be sure to check the directions on the packaging.

For CBD bath bombs, you simply add one of these to a hot bath as part of your evening routine before bed.

Note that CBD typically works best by building up in your system over time, so it may take up to a month for you to experience the full effects.

Side Effects

The primary side effects associated with CBD are rare and typically mild. These can include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Drowsiness
  • Lightheadedness
  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea
  • Dry Mouth
It’s also important to note that in certain cases CBD can negatively interact with prescription medications, causing altered concentrations of the medicine in the bloodstream. If you take prescription medications, or if you have any questions regarding CBD, be sure to consult with your primary care physician before taking CBD.

Should I Try CBD for Sleep?

There is no denying that we live in stressful times and that many people in the United States are experiencing problems with sleep. However, there is no need to suffer through another night tossing and turning. CBD for insomnia could help you regulate sleep cycles, promote restful sleep, and manage anxiety. Plus, with a number of different CBD products available, you can easily find the right one for your nightly routine.

Keep in mind that since CBD oil is not regulated by the FDA, you must do your due diligence. When considering CBD for sleep in your life, consult with a doctor if you have any existing medical conditions prior to beginning use.

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