hemp salve for pain relief

Top 10 CBD Topicals: Lotions, Creams, and Salves

There are lots of ways to use cannabidiol (CBD), but if you’re looking for relief from aches and pains or help with skin conditions, a topical might be your best bet.

A CBD topical is any cream, lotion, or salve that’s infused with CBD and can be applied directly to the skin.

While research on CBD is still in its early stages, the little we do know about CBD topicals is promising.

A 2016 study done on rats discovered that topical applications of CBD could help manage pain and inflammation associated with arthritis.

The American Academy of Dermatology even suggested using topical CBD products as an adjunct measure for acne, eczema, and psoriasis at their annual meeting in 2018.

CBD’s effectiveness, however, varies depending on a variety of factors, like the:

  • source
  • quality
  • dosage

So, how can you discern the CBD products that are the real deal from the fakes? We’ve gone ahead and done all the heavy lifting for you, listing 10 great options below.

We chose these products based on criteria we think are good indicators of safety, quality, and transparency. Each product in this article:

  • is made by a company that provides proof of third-party testing by an ISO 17025-compliant lab
  • is made with U.S.-grown hemp
  • contains no more than 0.3 percent THC, according to the certificate of analysis (COA)
  • passes tests for pesticides, heavy metals, and molds, according to the COA

As a part of our selection process, we also considered:

  • the company’s certifications and manufacturing processes
  • product potency
  • overall ingredients
  • indicators of user trust and brand reputation, such as:
    • customer reviews
    • whether the company has been subject to a Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warning letter
    • whether the company makes any unsupported health claims

Where available, we’ve included special discount codes for our readers.


  • $ = under $50
  • $$ = $50–$75
  • $$$ = over $75

To get a full picture of the price of a product, it’s important to read labels for:

  • serving sizes
  • amounts
  • strengths
  • other ingredients

You’ll see the following terms mentioned in the products below. Here’s what they mean:

  • CBD isolate: pure CBD, with no other cannabinoids or THC
  • Broad-spectrum CBD: contains most cannabinoids, but it generally doesn’t include THC
  • Full-spectrum CBD: contains all of the plant’s cannabinoids, including THC

CBD topical brands selected:

  • Joy Organics
  • CBDistillery
  • Lazarus Naturals
  • Vertly
  • Envy
  • Imbue Botanicals
  • Saint Jane
  • GoGreen
  • Lord Jones

Best for pain

Joy Organics CBD Salve

Use code “healthcbd” for 15% off.

Price point: $$-$$$

This broad-spectrum CBD salve is formulated specifically to address muscle and joint pain without THC. It’s made without water so it’s a thicker consistency than a lotion or cream.

It contains organic MCT oil, beeswax, and lavender and eucalyptus essential oils for added skin-soothing and relaxation benefits.

This salve comes in 1-ounce (500 mg of CBD) or 2-ounce (1,000 mg of CBD) packages depending on how much you want on hand.

The COA is available on each product page.

CBDistillery CBDol CBD Balm

Use code “healthline” for 15% off sitewide.

Price point: $$

Full-spectrum and full of calming and moisturizing ingredients like coconut oil, almond oil, and aloe, this balm can help aid your aches.

You’ll get 500 mg of CBD in each 1-ounce jar. Their products are made using U.S. Hemp Authority-certified non-GMO hemp grown in the USA.

To find the COA, Scan the QR code on their website or contact them.

Use code “BESTFORPAIN” for 20% off (one time use per user)

Lazarus Naturals Full Spectrum CBD Balm, Soothing Mint

Price point: $

This full-spectrum balm contains 400 mg of CBD in 0.67 ounces or 1,200 mg of CBD in 2 ounces of product.

Other ingredients like organic mango butter and organic beeswax add to the soothe factor. It comes in mint, cedar citrus, lavender, Portland rose, and unscented varieties.

The COA is available on each product page.

Vertly Hemp CBD-Infused Relief Lotion

Price point: $

Vertly’s CBD lotion contains 150 mg of full-spectrum CBD in each 2.9-ounce jar.

Other ingredients include anti-inflammatory lavender oil, magnesium for muscle recovery, and arnica flower for muscle tightness. The end result is a nongreasy lotion that keeps skin nourished all day long.

Because of the potent ingredients, this is another product that shouldn’t be used on broken skin.

The COA is available on each product page.

Best for facial skin

Vertly Soothing Florals Hydrating Face Mist

Price point: $

This facial mist is a refreshing way to snag CBD along with calendula flower, aloe, lavender, and jasmine oil.

Each 2-ounce package contains 100 mg of full-spectrum CBD.

Be aware that it also contains witch hazel and rose water which could be drying or irritating for sensitive skin.

The COA is available on each product page.

Envy CBD Face Mask

Price point: $$$

If you love the self-care of a face mask, this may be your preferred way to get the effects of CBD.

Each mask contains 10 mg of full-spectrum CBD per sheet along with licorice root extract, rosemary flower extract, and green tea leaf extract for their antioxidant and hydrating properties.

Apply it to a clean face for about 30 minutes for maximum benefit. Note that since you only get three sheets per container, it may be slightly pricier than other topicals.

The COA is available on each product page.

Imbue Botanicals em.body premium CBD Lip Balm

Price point: $

If you’re already slathering on lip balm, this will make applying CBD super easy.

With 25 mg of full-spectrum CBD and grape seed oil, beeswax, and natural flavorings, this lip balm is the most portable way to go.

im-bue lip balms come in peppermint and strawberry flavors.

COA test results by batch are available online.

Saint Jane Luxury Beauty Serum

Price point: $$$

Another Sephora favorite, this serum contains 500 mg of full-spectrum CBD in each 1-ounce bottle, making it one of the most potent on this list.

Designed to treat dull, uneven skin, it contains a mixture of 20 different botanicals to reduce redness and even skin tone.

It’s also made with cold-pressed grapeseed oil, a powerful antioxidant that’s rich in healthy omega fats and vitamin E.

It’s cruelty-free, and fans rave about its light, nongreasy feel and ability to combat blemishes.

The COA is available on each product page.

Best all-purpose

Lord Jones High CBD Formula Body Oil

Price point: $$

Sleek, stylish, and available online or at Sephora stores nationwide, each 1-ounce bottle contains 100 mg of broad-spectrum CBD.

Skin-friendly ingredients include organic safflower oil, avocado oil, and jojoba oil.

The roller ball applicator is designed to help target pressure points and allows easy application on the go. Store at room temperature for best results.

COA test results by batch are available online.

GoGreen Hemp CBD Relief Stick

Price point: $$

GoGreen limits their ingredient lists to just the essentials to avoid any allergens or skin interactions. It’s just beeswax, MCT oil, and a broad-spectrum CBD oil.

It has 1,000 mg of CBD in each 2.2-ounce stick. The stick design allows for easy application to specific areas that need relief.

The COA is available on each product page.

There’s a whole lot of information to keep in mind when shopping for a CBD topical. Let’s go over the basics.


The No. 1 thing to look for is potency. CBD doesn’t pass through skin easily, so it’s important to use a potent product for best results.

When it comes to CBD topicals like lotions and creams, average potency products contain between 3 and 8 mg per recommended application. High potency products contain at least 8 mg per recommended application.

CBD source

Chances are, you may have seen the terms isolate, full-spectrum, and broad-spectrum before. These terms refer to the ways in which CBD is extracted.

While isolates are ideal for consumers who want to be sure there’s no THC in their product, this extraction method strips away other cannabinoids and volatile organic compounds like terpenes, reducing the overall therapeutic benefits of the CBD.

Broad-spectrum products contain most cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant, but they don’t contain THC.

Full-spectrum products preserve all cannabinoids and terpenes in the final product, including THC. This is important because CBD and THC may work better together than they do alone, thanks to the entourage effect.

Note that any full-spectrum products made from hemp will still only contain 0.3 percent THC or less, so it’s still a relatively small amount.

Has it been third-party tested?

Currently, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) doesn’t guarantee the safety, effectiveness, or quality of over-the-counter (OTC) CBD products. However, in order to protect public health, they can take action against CBD companies that make unfounded health claims.

Since the FDA doesn’t regulate CBD products in the same way they regulate drugs or dietary supplements, companies sometimes mislabel or misrepresent their products.

That means it’s especially important to do your own research and find a quality product. The product’s COA should confirm that it’s free of contaminants and that the product contains the amount of CBD and THC it claims.

If a product doesn’t work for you, you may consider trying another with different ingredients or a different amount of CBD.


Opt for all-natural, organic, U.S.-grown ingredients whenever available — you’ll get all the benefits of the ingredients without the chemicals and pesticides.

When looking at facial products, look out for ingredients that could irritate sensitive skin.


Most CBD topicals fall in the $30–$60 range.

Pay close attention to products priced at over $100. You may decide they’re worth it, but do a little digging to be sure before you shell out the extra cash.

  • Do they contain full-spectrum CBD?
  • How potent are they?
  • Do they contain other healing herbs or oils?

Looking for the best CBD creams, lotions, and topicals? Whether you want a product for pain, facial skin, or something all-purpose, here are 10 great recommendations.

Homemade Cannabis Salve Recipe & Benefits

This page may contain affilliate links, view our full disclosure here.

Learn more about the healing properties of cannabis salves, how they can help to relieve some of the most unwanted symptoms like pain, inflammation, dry skin, itchiness, and how to make your very own cannabis salve recipe at home.

Here is my recommendation for a high-quality cannabis salve product you can purchase.

Homemade Cannabis-Infused Salve

Cannabis products are getting a lot of buzz in both the medical community and the beauty community and for good reason. Medical professionals and scientists are only beginning to uncover the healing properties of this amazing plant.

If you’ve been diagnosed with a skin condition like eczema or psoriasis, or deal with daily pain from inflammatory conditions like arthritis, you may be wondering if cannabis can help.

Read on to learn more about cannabis salves and how they can help to relieve some of your most unwanted symptoms like pain, dry skin, itchiness, and more.

What is a Cannabis Salve?

A salve is an ointment that’s typically used to promote skin healing or applied as a protective measure. They are used topically, which means they’re applied directly to the skin.

Salves can be made of a wide variety of ingredients that nourish our skin and help to moisturize, heal wounds, and protect from further damage.

With that in mind, a cannabis salve is a salve made with cannabis flowers, along with other nourishing ingredients. Cannabis salve can be used in several applications, including localized pain relief, or to help soothe minor burns, insect bites, and abrasions.

You may also see salves labeled as balms, lotions, oils, creams, topicals, but know that these products are all very similar.

CBD is one of many different compounds found in cannabis that is being studied for its benefits, however, the compounds in cannabis are thought to work synergistically, so using a single isolated compound does not have the same effects as a product made with the whole cannabis flower.

What Are the Benefits of Using a Cannabis Salve?

Cannabis salves have many health-promoting benefits. The cannabis plant has been used medicinally for thousands of years so modern-day proponents of medicinal cannabis have lots of history to back them up.

These salves are a great alternative to products containing harsh chemicals or medications, which may have unwanted side effects. Cannabis is so gentle that it’s even used to treat health problems in our pets.

Cannabis salves can provide quick, localized relief for pain, soreness, or swelling. Though people often think of cannabis as an intoxicating substance, these salves will not have any psychoactive effects, because they don’t penetrate your bloodstream.

Instead, the compounds found in cannabis, known as cannabinoids, interact with your body’s endocannabinoid system and slow down pain signals from your brain. Also, some of these cannabinoids act as powerful anti-inflammatories, which means they can bring down swelling and ease itching.

What Conditions is Cannabis Salve Typically Used For?

Cannabis salves can be used to treat a variety of conditions, including:

Cannabis Salve for Arthritis

Arthritis is caused by inflammation in the joints and often causes pain, swelling, stiffness, and soreness. Arthritis usually appears in people over the age of 65 and can limit your range of motion, making it difficult to do things you once loved. Studies show that topical cannabis can help to relieve these symptoms.

Cannabis Salve for Skin Conditions

Millions of people in the US are affected by skin conditions like psoriasis and eczema. Though the causes of these conditions are still not well-understood, some medical professionals believe that they are an immune system reaction. Cannabis is thought to help bolster our immune system, protecting us from disease, while at the same time suppressing unnecessary immune reactions present in auto-immune disorders.

Cannabis Salve for Minor Injuries

Scrapes, burns, abrasions, and insect bites are an annoying but inevitable part of life. The itchiness, stinging and soreness associated with these minor injuries aren’t life-threatening, but it can be distracting. Cannabis is now being studied for its wound-healing properties, which means cannabis salve can help relieve your discomfort.

Homemade Cannabis Salve Recipe

There are a lot of different topical cannabis products available on the market today. They come in a wide variety of strengths, so it might take a little experimentation to find which product works best for your individual needs.

Before choosing a cannabis product, make sure you research the company manufacturing it. Look for information about where the product is sourced, what other ingredients it contains, and if it gets positive reviews from other users.

Additionally, many of my students prefer to make their own homemade cannabis products from the comfort of their own homes so that they can control the type of cannabis flower and other ingredients used.

Salve With Cannabis-Infused Oil

This salve recipe uses this Floral Cannabis-Infused Oil recipe as the base.

If you have access to raw cannabis flower or CBD hemp flower, it is easy to prepare your own at home, and it will allow you to choose which floral botanicals you want for your infusion.

Salve with CBD Concentrate

Having access to raw cannabis flower is not always possible, which is why I included the option to infuse this salve with CBD Concentrate. CBD concentrate is legal in most states and can be purchased online.

CBD concentrate is just that, concentrated CBD oil. In this small syringe, you will get 500mg of activated CBD in just a small 1mL volume. This allows you to create a stronger salve without the excess volume of carrier oil.

500mg Full-Spectrum CBD Concentrate

Cannabis Salve Product Recommendation

Making your own cannabis salve at home isn’t for everyone, which is why I am happy to have created my own cannabis salve product recommendation here, my CBD Recovery Salve.

My salve has been formulated to promote muscle, joint and skin revival – peppermint and tea tree to open the pores, arnica, and lemongrass to provide deep relaxation, beeswax, and full spectrum hemp extract to revive the skin.

With all-natural ingredients, this salve offers revival and recovery – even if you can never stop moving!

Learn more about how cannabis salve can help to relieve pain, inflammation, dry skin, itchiness, and get a cannabis salve recipe to make your own at home. ]]>