CBD Cream: Top 5 CBD Topicals to Relieve Sore Muscles and Joint Pain

Living your life to the fullest often leaves you with a collection of aches and pains, no matter how much you focus on self-care and good ergonomics. Yet you don’t have to struggle through the pain or turn to prescription medication. More and more people are turning to nonprescription CBD products for pain relief.



Rating: 5.0


  • Cooling Sensation
  • Broad Spectrum CBD
  • US-Grown Hemp
  • CO2 Extraction

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Rating: 4.8


  • High Potency
  • Moisturizing Oils
  • Full Spectrum CBD
  • Dye- & Fragrance-Free

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Rating: 4.6


  • Gentle Cooling Effect
  • Pump Bottle Form
  • CBD Isolate
  • Menthol Cooling

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CBD cream is one of the best types of CBD products for this kind of relief. CBD cream directly targets the area where you need it the most, unlike CBD oil or other digestible products. CBD topicals are also great for irritated skin and other surface-level issues.

There’s such a wide selection of topical CBD products available today that it’s not always easy to find exactly what you need. If you’re in the market for CBD creams that work, we’re here to help. We found five of the best CBD creams for those stubborn aches and pains. Keep reading to learn more.

Summary of the Best CBD Creams

1. Overall Best CBD Cream: CBDfx CBD Cream for Muscle & Joint
2. Most Potent CBD Cream: R&R CBD Pain Cream
3. Best CBD Cream for Beginners: Medterra Rapid Recovery Cream
4. Best Organic CBD Cream: Soul CBD Rapid Relief Cream
5. Best CBD Cream for Skin Issues: Aspen Green Relief Full Spectrum CBD Balm

Benefits of CBD Creams

  • Pain relief: Pain relief is one of the top reasons people try CBD creams and similar products. Numerous studies have shown that CBD has the potential to relieve nerve pain, arthritis, jaw pain, joint pain, and more.
  • Improved mobility: People with arthritis pain and other chronic pain conditions often suffer from reduced mobility. Finding pain relief and reducing inflammation may improve your ability to move around and exercise.
  • Reduced skin irritation: Some CBD creams are particularly helpful for uncomfortable skin conditions like psoriasis or scarring because they contain moisturizing ingredients like coconut oil, shea butter, or aloe vera. Make sure to test products on a small area at first if you have sensitive skin.
  • Relief from muscle tension and cramps: CBD topicals are often recommended for muscle pain from cramping or fatigue and tension. This includes athletes experiencing cramping from a workout or people suffering from a disorder that causes muscle pain and inflammation.
  • Cooling sensation: Many CBD topical creams for pain relief including menthol or tea tree oil for a cooling sensation. This increases the positive effects for many.

Best CBD Creams of 2023

1. Overall Best CBD Cream: CBDfx CBD Cream for Muscle & Joint

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What we love

Not all CBD creams can penetrate through the skin and muscle tissue to reach deep cramping or pain. CBDfx’s CBD Cream for Muscle & Joint does the job, thanks to a water-based formula that never feels greasy on your skin. It’s easy to apply when starting your day because it won’t leave marks on your clothing either.

This CBD cream is designed to tackle tough pain with the addition of menthol for cooling. There’s even caffeine and white willow bark in the mix to boost its potential pain-relieving power. 

While it is not strictly a full spectrum CBD product, it does contain a broad spectrum CBD extract that gives you everything the hemp plant has to offer. It’s our top choice for muscle pain in particular and chronic pain in general.

All of the hemp used to produce this CBDfx product is grown in the United States and processed using CO2 extraction. This is the preferred method for medicinal quality CBD because it doesn’t run the risk of leaving any solvents behind in the finished product. The quality and potency of this CBD cream are backed up by independent lab testing for your peace of mind.

What customers love

Many customers report having great results after switching from an oral CBD oil to this topical product. Some are shocked that it works instantly for their pain instead of taking days or weeks to kick in.

Others are fond of the cooling sensation without finding it too intense and use it after every workout to stave off exertion-related cramping and soreness. Customers report that it’s soothing, relaxing, and reliable.

About CBDfx

CBDfx is based out of Southern California and produces a wide range of CBD-based products for various purposes. The company is committed to only using organic hemp and safe extraction methods like the use of CO2 rather than harsh solvents.

PETA has certified its products as cruelty-free and vegan, and it backs up everything with a 60-day guarantee. They also offer a variation of the same product with a heating effect rather than a cooling one for stubborn muscle tension.


  • Vegan, non-greasy formula
  • Sourced through CO2 extraction
  • Contains additional pain-relieving ingredients 
  • Made with organic hemp 


  • Not ideal if you’re trying to avoid caffeine or menthol


  • CBD type: Broad spectrum CBD
  • Size: 1.7 oz/container
  • Strength: 1000 mg/container, 3000 mg/container

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2. Most Potent CBD Cream: R&R CBD Pain Cream

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What we love

Potency is important, especially if you’re dealing with intense or chronic pain. That’s why we love that this CBD topical is available in several highly potent strengths. When you need a higher dose of CBD than other products offer, you can always rely on this CBD lotion. Plus, this full spectrum CBD cream has anti-inflammatory properties to relieve stiff muscles and achy joints.

Not only is this cream full of moisturizing oils like jojoba and sunflower, but it’s also rich in shea butter. Yet it’s also free from menthol and other strong-smelling ingredients that might make it difficult for some people to use.

The R&R CBD Pain Cream is even dye-free and fragrance-free to prevent allergic reactions or sensitivities. All of that makes it a good choice for skin conditions involving irritation and flaking, along with deeper forms of pain under the surface.

This CBD cream is great for sore or irritated skin because all of the ingredients work together to soften, smooth, and calm. The formula also penetrates deeply to treat muscle and joint pain. 

You get the best of both worlds from this CBD cream, making it worth keeping in the medicine cabinet. The full spectrum CBD extract ensures you get all the terpenes that may boost the pain relief benefits of CBD.

MSM, arnica, and calendula flowers round out the skin-soothing profile of natural ingredients. Despite containing oils, this formula isn’t greasy and is easy to apply whenever and wherever you want. The convenient soft tube fits in a bag or even a large pocket so you don’t have to leave it behind at home.

What customers love

Customers love that there’s no menthol or eucalyptus in this formula, two ingredients that offer a cooling sensation but don’t always play well with sensitive skin. They also recommend it for muscle pain after exercise as much as for chronic pain and skin conditions like eczema.

R&R gets praise from its customers for having transparent testing results and high-quality products that are always consistent. This extends to their skin creams and topical treatments. Of course, offering some of the highest-potency topical products also wins them a lot of praise.

About R&R

Known for their pet CBD oil tinctures and their flavorful gummies, R&R only recently branched out into selling topical CBD cream products. The company offers a 60-day money-back guarantee if you’re not satisfied and their customer care team is available by text, phone, and email when you have questions about the product.

All of the CBD used in their products is extracted from US-grown organic hemp, and only CO2 extraction is used to keep the products free of solvents. The company also has third-party testing records available for its products.


  • Full spectrum CBD extract for the maximum effect
  • High potency strengths available
  • Contains skin-soothing oils and ingredients
  • Fast absorbing


  • Formula may be too greasy for some


  • CBD type: Full spectrum CBD
  • Size: 2.5 oz/container
  • Strength: 1000 mg/container, 2500 mg/container, 5000 mg/container

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3. Best CBD Cream for Beginners: Medterra Rapid Recovery Cream

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What we love

Medterra produces many of the top-rated CBD products on the market today, so it’s not surprising that the CBD creams from this company are highly popular.

The Medterra Rapid Recovery Cream in particular produces a gentle cooling effect that isn’t too strong. It’s targeted towards athletes as the name might suggest, but it’s also widely used by people with joint and chronic pain who don’t respond well to other treatments.

This is one of the top CBD creams for beginners because it’s less potent than a lot of other CBD creams on the market. It’s also super easy to use because it comes in a convenient pump bottle form that you can toss in your gym bag.

This CBD cream is formulated with premium CBD isolate, rather than a full spectrum or broad spectrum CBD extract. It also contains menthol for a nice cooling effect that doesn’t smell too strongly. This CBD cream also utilizes arnica to boost the pain-relieving potential even further.

Tested to be free from heavy metals and other potential contaminants, the Medterra Rapid Recovery Cream is great to keep on hand when you want good results from a product you can trust. While you might need a few applications to start feeling relief, the formula is designed to act as rapidly as possible.

What customers love

Many of Medterra’s customers order this CBD lotion for recovery after workouts, but it’s also recommended by users for joint discomfort and back pain. The pump bottle makes it easy to apply right where you want the CBD cream, reducing waste and sticky fingers.

Customers also like the size and potency options so they can get just the amount of cream they need. Its anti-inflammatory properties earn rave reviews from some users with persistent muscle tightness.

About Medterra

Well-known for its CBD sleep aids, Medterra also produces some of the most popular gummies and topical creams on the market. All of its CBD products are tested and verified to be THC-free so you don’t have to worry about effects you don’t want.

The hemp used is cultivated in Kentucky and is certified by the US Hemp Authority. Medterra products are verified as grain-free, which is essential for some customers with severe allergies or sensitivities. Third-party testing is used to verify the potency and purity of this CBD cream and other products.


  • THC-free
  • May reduce inflammation and target localized muscle pain
  • Lower potency is ideal for beginners
  • Mild cooling effect 


  • May not be potent enough for some users


  • CBD type: CBD isolate 
  • Size: 1.7 oz/container
  • Strength: 500 mg/container, 750 mg/container

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4. Best Organic CBD Cream: Soul CBD Rapid Relief Cream

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What we love

This topical CBD cream is made for those of you who are highly concerned about everything you put on your skin. Soul CBD goes the extra mile to use high-quality all-organic ingredients and nothing artificial that could irritate sensitive skin. The first two ingredients are water and organic coconut oil, so it’s more of a CBD salve in consistency than a thin lotion.

It’s made with rosemary, camphor, and eucalyptus essential oils that do more than just add a natural scent. They’re also possibly boosting the effects of the CBD extract in this cream.

This rapid-acting cream is best for targeted relief, including when applied to the temples for headaches or migraines. It utilizes real hemp oil to directly moisturize the skin while providing an easily absorbed form of CBD.

What customers love

Customers who enjoy the intense cooling effect of this CBD cream reorder it over and over again. Some rave about the fast absorption rate and smooth formula, while others prefer it for joints like the hip and shoulder that are hard to treat with other types of topical creams.

Despite the strong tingle and cooling effect, most customers find it soothes skin irritation rather than causing any even if they’re sensitive. The thicker CBD salve formula is preferred over thinner products by many of the customers who review it.

About Soul CBD

Soul CBD was founded to produce higher-quality CBD products that not only have triple quality assurance and independent lab testing but also great flavors and fun scents. All of their products, including this skin cream, are made with CBD extracted from organic and US-grown hemp.

Bath bombs and other topical products are available, along with colorful gummies, pet products, and flavored CBD oil drops.


  • Moisturizing formula
  • Fast-acting relief
  • Organically farmed
  • Complex cooling effect


  • Scent may be too strong for some


  • CBD type: Not specified
  • Size: 3.4 oz/container
  • Strength: 1500 mg/container

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5. Best CBD Cream for Skin Issues: Aspen Green Relief Full Spectrum CBD Balm

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What we love

The Aspen Green Relief Full Spectrum CBD Balm is the thickest in texture of all the products on this list, making it a good choice for people who want something that lingers to protect the skin. This full spectrum CBD cream is pretty potent and contains a wide range of cannabinoids to give you the most out of the healing properties of the hemp plant.

Shea butter makes it significantly thicker than a CBD lotion, but you’ll find it’s easy to apply less and get the same results as other products. The oil-based formula spreads readily once it warms your skin’s temperature.

The full spectrum hemp extract supplies CBD, CBDA, CBC, CBG, CBN, and more. The extra compounds that come along with this type of extract may increase the pain-relieving effects of the CBD cream.

The amount of THC in this CBD cream is unlikely to cause any noticeable effects, aside from pain relief. This can be super helpful if you’re dealing with a chronic issue.

The Aspen Green Relief Full Spectrum CBD Balm is made with all food-grade ingredients, so you know it’s high-quality and safe to use. The hemp plants used to produce the CBD are grown in Colorado and only supercritical CO2 extraction methods are employed. It’s also vegan, non-GMO, and free from additives like plasticizers or synthetic ingredients.

What customers love

Customers concerned about what’s in other creams and topical products flock to this full spectrum CBD pain cream for its high-quality ingredients and extensive lab testing. Aspen Green is transparent and willing to answer customer questions so you can feel reassured about your purchase.

The open wide-mouth jar design makes it easy to get the amount of CBD balm you need without waste or contamination of the rest of it. The creamy texture and skin-smoothing effects are often noted in the reviews, along with its efficacy.

About Aspen Green

Aspen Green produces a full range of CBD products designed to improve both physical and mental health. Only USDA-certified organic hemp is used and all other ingredients are food-safe, even in topical products like this CBD cream.

Recurring subscriptions not only offer deep discounts but also streamline the process of staying stocked up on the company’s products. This cream is included in a few different CBD bundles from the company to help you get the full range of effects.


  • Made with moisturizing and skin-soothing ingredients
  • 100% satisfaction guarantee
  • Manufactured in an FDA-registered facility
  • Third-party lab tested


  • Need to spend a certain amount to get free shipping


  • CBD type: Full spectrum CBD 
  • Size: 2 oz/container
  • Strength: 1000 mg/container

Continue reading about Aspen Green

How We Picked The Best CBD Creams

We used a few simple criteria to compare these CBD creams against all the others on the market. This is how we narrowed it down to only the best ones:

Ingredient Quality

More important than price or the exact formula, overall ingredient quality was the key to our decision. We made sure that the ingredients used were skin-safe and recommended by physicians, especially in a thicker product like a CBD salve.

We also looked for CBD creams based on high-quality extracts and with specific potency levels listed in clear view. You want to know exactly how much CBD you’re getting each time you order.

Customer Reviews

Since the FDA doesn’t allow CBD manufacturers to make specific health claims about their products, real customer reviews are the best way to find out if a particular product works. We read the comments and complaints left behind by hundreds of real users to see which CBD cream they recommended the most.

Lab Testing

The best hemp-derived CBD products are rigorously tested by third-party labs and the companies that produce them don’t mind sharing the results.

Untested CBD products may be made with cannabis plant materials instead and could have a high THC content that makes them unsuitable for your purposes or even illegal. Testing also reveals if a batch is contaminated with heavy metals, pesticides, or other potentially harmful compounds.


It’s not enough just to look for a high CBD potency in a product and declare it the best. You need to also consider the overall cost of the product and how much volume you’re getting.

We considered potency per volume as well as price to determine which products offer you the best deal. Yet you can also trust these products are worth their price based on quality and potency.

Brand Reputation and Certifications

Finally, we made sure the brands producing these products are well-established and known for being reliable.

How To Find The Best CBD Cream for You

Shopping for CBD products can leave you a little muddled by potencies, product types, and application methods. Make sure you’re getting the right CBD cream for your needs by considering these features:

Type of CBD

There are three types of CBD: full spectrum CBD, broad spectrum CBD, and CBD isolate. The difference between these CBD extracts is the amount of other cannabinoids they contain.

Full spectrum CBD contains all the terpenes and cannabinoids found in the hemp plant, including THC. Broad spectrum also contains other cannabinoids and terpenes, but not THC. And CBD isolate only contains CBD — it doesn’t have any other cannabinoids or terpenes.


Make sure you look for a skin cream you’d feel comfortable using even without CBD in it. There are products of every texture, from oil-based thick mixtures to thinner water-based products.

Type of Pain Relief

Some creams are formulated to potentially relieve pain from skin conditions, while other types of topical CBD penetrate past the surface to target joint and muscle pain. Decide what you’re prioritizing before buying a specific CBD cream for pain.


Customers with sensitive skin should stick to CBD creams with no dyes and as little scent as possible. Artificial fragrances and colors in particular tend to irritate the skin.


Start with a lower CBD potency and work up to a strong product if you don’t feel the desired effects. Using the lowest possible dose saves you money in the long run.

How to Apply CBD Cream

These tips will help you get the most out of any CBD pain relief cream you choose:

1. Apply to Clean, Dry Skin

When you first get a new CBD topical cream, you may want to rush and try it out. It’s best to wash the area you want to treat with a mild soap and warm water, then pat it dry.

This removes sweat, skin cells, and other build up on the surface that might interfere with absorption. It also gives moisturizing ingredients like coconut oil the best chance to soak in and support good skin health.

2. Don’t Cover the CBD Cream

Some types of skin treatments or pain relief techniques involve wrapping or covering part of the body. CBD creams tend to absorb best when they’re not covered in any way.

It’s fine to apply a topical CBD product under clothing but keep in mind that the ingredients of the cream or balm may leave a greasy residue on the fabric.

3. Apply Multiple Times a Day

Your body will absorb the CBD and quickly metabolize it, which means that the effects may fade after a few hours. Most people find the best results from these kinds of topical CBD products by applying a thin layer multiple times a day.

Multiple applications ensure a steady supply of CBD to the affected area without wasting any of the product. Applying it thickly will likely just let the majority of even the best CBD cream rub off before it’s absorbed into the skin.

4. Don’t Use Over Open Injuries

Broken skin and open wounds don’t mix well with CBD products. Unless you’ve purchased a first aid treatment designed for wound care that contains CBD, keep the creams and other topical products on intact skin only.

Irritated skin is often treated with these creams, but there should be no major cracks or openings in the skin before application. Treat skin health problems before applying CBD creams.

5. Don’t Use Internally

CBD products designed for external use should only be used that way. If you’d like to try an internal application for pain relief or other benefits, find a CBD oil intended for that use.

Avoid getting topical CBD creams in and around the eyes or lips as well unless they are specifically listed as safe for those areas. Secondary ingredients like menthol can be highly irritating to the mucous membranes. Applying one of these creams over broken skin counts as internal use.

Other Types of CBD Products

You’ll find your CBD cream alongside many other products from the same manufacturers. Here’s how to know which format of CBD is right for your needs:

CBD Oils

CBD oil is the basic extract often used to mix up other products. CBD oil tinctures are products mixed with alcohol or other ingredients to make it easier to take by mouth or mixed into a drink. CBD oils deliver potential pain and stress relief from the inside out.

However, they can take weeks to start working and often have a strong flavor that people find unpleasant. Topical CBD oil tends to be hard to absorb, but mixing it into a broad spectrum CBD cream increases absorption.

CBD Vapes

Another popular CBD product is the vaporizer or vape. This can take the form of a pre-filled cartridge that attaches to a battery, an all-in-one disposable unit that includes the battery, or a liquid designed specifically for vaping. Vaping gets the CBD in the bloodstream quickly but often leads to coughing or throat irritation.

CBD Flower

CBD flowers are the flower of the hemp plant, but they usually have extracts added back to them for a specific potency level. These flowers are smoked or vaporized in a device that can handle dry plant material. As with other forms of smoking, ingesting CBD this way might cause headaches or coughing due to the potentially irritating effects.

CBD Capsules

Capsules are a reliable way to take a daily dose of CBD without dealing with flavor from oils or topical applications. These products are usually liquid capsules that contain CBD oil or an extract suspended in water. Like many other types of CBD, this format can take weeks of daily use before you feel the full effects.

CBD Gummies and Other Edibles

Perhaps the most popular CBD product of all, gummies and other edibles are a sweet way to ingest the compound. For diabetics or people who need to control calorie consumption for health reasons, they’re not the best option at all. Ingesting CBD even in the form of a colorful candy also leads to a slower absorption rate than with other methods.

Why Choose a Topical CBD Cream?

CBD topical products give more targeted and faster-acting potential effects for pain relief. Ingested products need to build up in the system to reach your sore muscles or aching joints, while creams are applied right to the desired area.


Is CBD cream legal?

Even though cannabis and THC are still regulated by the Controlled Substances Act, hemp and CBD products were made federally legal by the 2018 Farm Bill. Check with local and state restrictions to be sure CBD is legal in your specific area.

How much CBD cream should I use?

CBD dosage for chronic pain relief varies widely and is best decided with your doctor’s guidance. Many people start by applying around 25 to 50 mg of CBD at a time, but others may need hundreds of milligrams at once for the desired effect.

How fast does CBD cream work?

Most CBD creams take a few days to a few weeks of steady application to provide their full effects. Some people can feel beneficial effects within an hour or two of the first application. Products that contain a CBD isolate may act faster than a full spectrum CBD product, but that’s not always the case.

Apply CBD cream for about a month of regular use to see if it works for you, especially if you’re experiencing chronic muscle pain. Switching to a product with a different broad spectrum CBD extract may also give you better results.


The FDA has not approved claims for CBD like the ability to reduce inflammation or pain, but some recent studies are showing promising results. It’s up to you to find the right CBD cream based on your needs and preferences for skin care. If you’re already using skin creams to moisturize and soften, you might as well upgrade to CBD lotion products that could potentially treat pain as well. Only you can decide if these CBD creams work for your needs.

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This article has been supplied by Originated Media, a paid advertiser. The editorial staff of Chicago magazine had no role in this post’s preparation.