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10 Best Rated CBD Creams and Lotions for Strain and Stiffness

Use these top 10 CBD creams to relieve muscle strain and joint pain.

Strain, stiffness and discomfort are a part of life that we all experience. At a young age, we go through growing pains. Throughout our teens we face injury and muscle strain. Then into adulthood we come face to face with the wear and tear that symbolizes our mortality.

Dealing with discomfort is nature, but finding solutions to manage it is human.

Interestingly enough, CBD from the hemp plant is proving to be one of the most effective holistic methods for dealing with muscle strain and stiffness all the way to aching chronic pain.

But likely not for the reasons you would expect…

How CBD provides therapy to pain points

For starters, CBD is not a narcotic.

It is a common misconception that CBD acts as a narcotic like alcohol or opioids to ‘numb away’ the sensation of pain. But this couldn’t be farther from the truth.

While members of the marijuana family produce psychoactive recreational THC, the American cultivated PCR hemp plant produces CBD material that is easily purified to a non-psychoactive THC concentration of 0.3% or less. That’s low enough to not be detected by traditional drug tests.

CBD sings to the same tune as the body.

CBD works by replenishing the body’s natural endocannabinoid system that spans all major tissues and organs. During times of stress and strain, parts of the endocannabinoid system can go out of balance. Exogenous CBD can help restore balance to the system positively effecting mood, anti-inflammatory responses and help cope with pain.

Comparable to OTC medication, naturally.

The largest drawback to OTC pain relievers like Advil and Aspirin aside from them not working well, is that they are synthetic substances that can strain the liver. Such stress on the liver can further complicate the bodies ability to heal and thus lead to further complications and medication reliance.

CBD in turn has been suggested to be more effective than OTC medications without liver strain.

Positive results have been discussed for:

  • Arthritis patients (1)
  • Back injury patients (2)(3)
  • Athletes recovery (4)(5)

Results are certainly case-by-case, but the same can be said for OTC medications which do not always provide relief.

What to look for when picking a CBD lotion

There are several different types of CBD creams on the market today. When choosing the best CBD cream, we recommend evaluating the following quality markers:

CBD Cream Quality Checklist:

  1. Is the CBD Dosage labeled? Non-disclosure is often non-effective.
  2. Is the CBD from organic hemp plants? American grown organic hemp provides pesticide free CBD.
  3. How was the CBD extracted? You will want a cream with clean CO2 extracted CBD as opposed to products made by chemical separation.
  4. Are there any artificial dyes included? Artificial added ingredients can irritate the skin.
  5. What is the lotion base and will all ingredients help with pain? CBD is a small portion of an effective cream. Ensure that the lotion as a whole will promote comfort.
  6. Was the cream or lotion 3rd party tested for purity? To ensure safety and product consistency, ensure that all 3rd party tests are easily accessible right on the product page AND within date.
  7. What is the return policy? Quality brands stand behind their products and offer compassionate return policies.

How do topical lotions and creams differ from ingested oils and confections?

Topical lotions and creams deliver CBD directly to the source. That means you can use less CBD to achieve pain relief and comfort. It also means that the effects of CBD will be limited to the application site. As opposed to ingested CBD that will interact with the entire bodies balance of cannabinoids.

How to read CBD dosages and concentrations from the label?

When purchasing CBD products, determining the dosage per serving can be less obvious than normal. The most important thing for you to know, is that CBD brands typically list the total CBD concentration on the label.

For instance, if you are buying a tincture that says 750 mg CBD on the front… That likely means there is 750 mg in the entire bottle. If it is a 100 mL bottle, that means you are getting 7.5 mg CBD per 1 mL dropper.

The same goes for creams and lotions. You’re going to need to divide your total servings by the total CBD content to understand how much you are using (how much you are buying).

How to use CBD Creams

Common question: “How do I get the most out of my CBD cream?” Simple Answer: Start small and work your way up.

Everyone’s body is different. While your friend may need to lather up in CBD cream for their desired relief, you may need considerably less. So, why start with a ton when you can save money by using little amounts?

If you don’t feel relief in 15-20 minutes after application, then you can add some more.

Below, we’ve summarized the 10 best performing CBD Creams that we’ve tried across the market. This list is intended to help you filter out the very best brands for quality pain relieving creams.

7 Things to Know About CBD

Vape it, eat it, or apply it—but read this first.

Courtesy of Kanibi

#1 Kanibi CBD Sports Cream

Despite an ocean of options, Kanibi has proven to be the standout victor for reliable high-quality CBD products. Unlike other brands, all Kanibi CBD is tested twice by third-party labs to ensure purity and consistency of their creams, tinctures and gummies. It is our opinion that Kanibi carries out the most due-diligence with their products.

Product Feature Highlights:
• Cooling on contact with refreshing minty scent.
• All Kanibi products are double third-party tested.
• Sports Cream is infused with full spectrum CBD with 6-8 mg per pump.
• Made with a soothing base lotion from shea butter, eucalyptus, aloe vera and menthol.

Pros:
• CBD from organic USA grown hemp.
• Doesn’t contain artificial dyes.
• Total 250 mg full spectrum CBD per 1.7 oz bottle.
• Shea butter base enriched with aloe, eucalyptus, menthol and arnica.
• Good customer service and return policy.

Cons:
• Only available in menthol/mint scent.
• Exclusively sold on Kanibi.com.

Pricing: Kanibi Sports Cream costs $49.00 per 1.7 oz bottle. This price drops to $41 when buying 3 or more (quantity discount).

Alternative products: Also consider Kanibi Roll-on Cooling Gel which is infused with CBD isolate in a convenient roller-applicating bottle.

Bottom line: Sports Cream is the first CBD lotion that we turn to when our muscles and joints ache from a long day’s work. Infused with full spectrum CBD at a convenient 6-8 mg per pump, Sports Cream delivers the right dosage for an effective yet long lasting product.

Courtesy of CBDistillery

#2 CBD Distillery CBDol Topical CBD Salve

As one of the leading names in bulk CBD, CBD Distillery produces a large range of topical, edible and oil based hemp products. For creams and lotions, we enjoy their CBDol Topical Salve, which was the High Times #1 rated hemp salve back in 2017. Is it still good and relevant? Absolutely.

Product Feature Highlights:
• CBD sourced from non-GMO naturally grown American hemp plants.
• Coconut and olive oil base with herbal aromatic notes.
• Potently dosed, 500 mg full spectrum CBD per 1 oz bottle.

Pros:
• 500 mg total CBD per 1 oz bottle.
• 60-day risk-free money back guarantee.
• Current certificate of analysis on product page.

Cons:
• Hemp content is not labeled organic.
• Slightly thicker than lotions (user preference).

Pricing: CBD Distillery CBDol Topical costs $60 per 1 oz bottle.

Alternative products: Also of interest would be CBD Distillery’s CBD Warming Cream for providing heating relief.

Bottom line: CBDol Topical Salve has been an effective hemp based relief cream for many years and continues to stay relevant today. It is pricey for a non-organically sourced CBD product, but a well trusted brand nonetheless.

Courtesy of cbdfx

#3 CBDfx Muscle and Joint CBD Hemp Cream

As the third largest privately held CBD company founded back in 2014, CBDfx certainly knows hemp products. Out of their 50-product lineup, Muscle and Joint CBD Hemp Cream certainly stands out for treating muscle and joint related pain.

Product Feature Highlights:
• Extremely potent 500 mg and 1,000 mg CBD options.
• Added white willow bark (think natural aspirin).
• Added caffeine (can sometimes reduce pain).

Pros:
• One of the most potent CBD creams.
• Large well reputed hemp company.
• Serves the US, UK and European markets.

Cons:
• Lab report link was broken during time of this writeup.
• Would have liked to see added arnica gel in the formula.

Pricing: Muscle and Joint CBD Hemp Cream costs $79.99 per 1,000 mg 1.7 oz bottle.

Alternative products: CBDfx also makes a particularly enjoyable ultra-moisturizing CBD balm.

Bottom line: Many people turn to CBDfx’s Muscle and Joint CBD Cream for managing arthritis and chronic pain. It has proven to be effective through potency alone, compared to other products more ingredient diversified.

Courtesy of Spruce

#4 Spruce Topical CBD Cream

Spruce, originating from the good state of North Carolina is one of the highest strength CBD cream makers on the market. They claim that many people don’t get relief using lower-quality creams or edibles – and essentially that higher dosage is better. Granted, this comes at a major cost.

Product Feature Highlights:
• Petroleum jelly and glycerin-based salve cream.
• Less than 0.3% THC concentration.

Pros:
• Ships from a sanitized facility.
• Several well-spoken testimonial reviews.
• 30-day return policy.

Cons:
• Couldn’t locate certificate of analysis on product page.
• Not a natural shea butter or coconut oil base.

Pricing: Spruce Topical CBD Cream costs $39.00 per 2 oz bottle at 300 mg total CBD.

Alternative products: Spruce also offers a powerfully dosed 2,000 mg CBD “deep chill” lotion. Though it costs $169!

Bottom line: While Spruce does offer some ultra-high strength CBD products, the majority of their offering is pretty average strength – somewhat contradicting their mission statement. Regardless, Spruce is still a viable option for arthritis and muscle pain relief from a more affordable petroleum jelly base.

Courtesy of Sabaidee

#5 Sabaidee Relief Rub Comfort Balm

With one of the more expensive CBD to cost ratios, Sabaidee Relief Rub claims to standout by using triple-tested CBD from sustainably grown Colorado hemp. Though on their testing page, only one test is provided per batch (newer reports at the bottom of their page).

Product Feature Highlights:
• 250 mg CBD per 1.69 oz bottle.
• Cream is enriched with camphor oil, blue tansy and wintergreen leaf.
• Sunflower, jojoba and avocado oil lotion base.

Pros:
• 30-day return policy.
• Made with high-quality natural ingredients.
• Up-to-date lab reports on their testing page.

Cons:
• Non-USA orders are not covered by return policy.
• More costly than other brands.

Pricing: Sabaidee Relief Rub costs $59.00 per 250 mg CBD bottle. This price drops to $35.83 when buying 6 or more bottles.

Alternative products: Sabaidee also makes a more lotion-based relief cream that contains added Bergamot oil for a fresh citrus scent.

Bottom line: There is no denying that Sabaidee is a popular brand in the CBD market. If you are looking for a low-dose CBD lotion with a quality base – Relief Rub may be worth the premium price.

Courtesy of CBD Medic

#6 CBD Medic Arthritis Aches and Pain Relief Cream

Most notably recognized as Rob Gronkowski’s sponsoring brand, CBD Medic provides products specifically marketed towards arthritis, muscle, joint and foot pain. We like that CBD Medic’s products are dermatologist tested and SAFE – however there aren’t any significant formula differences between CBD Medic and our top picks… Rather our top picks are often more concentrated CBD.

Product Feature Highlights:
• Popularized by Patriot tight-end Rob Gronkowski.
• Dermatologist tested to be hypoallergenic.
• 200 mg CBD per 1.7 oz bottle.

Pros:
• Added menthol for cooling effect.
• Quality shea butter lotion base.
• Intuitive Certificate of Analysis checker

Cons:
• Premium price tag with low CBD dosage.
• Non-organic.

Pricing: CBD Medic’s Arthritis Aches and Pain Relief Cream costs $39.99 per 1.7 oz bottle containing a total of 200 mg CBD. You can save 15% with their subscribe and save feature.

Alternative products: We also like their Foot and Ankle Pain Relief Stick which contains even more menthol plus Camphor for a greater cooling effect.

Bottom line: CBD Medic doesn’t make the most potent products, or source organically… However, they are an Abacus Health Products company which means they will always cross their T’s and dot their I’s. If you’re looking for an entry level CBD cream from a large highly trusted company, this is a prime consideration for larger budgets.

Courtesy of Vertly

#7 Vertly CBD Infused Relief Lotion

Not everyone wants a potent CBD focused product, and Vertly satisfies this group of people well with their CBD Infused Relief Lotion. Each bottle of Relief lotion only contains 150 mg of CBD – that’s it. The main focus on Relief Lotion is in the lotion base and added herbs, CBD is a secondary concern.

Product Feature Highlights:
• 150 mg CBD per 2.9 oz bottle Relief Lotion.
• Convenient dispenser top for easy administration.
• Enriched with aloe, lavender, arnica, magnesium and peppermint.

Pros:
• Well trusted cosmetic brand.
• 3rd party test results available on product page.
• Serves the low-dose niche.

Cons:
• Dosing is not adequate for mid to high pain relief.
• Premium price tag.

Pricing: Vertly Balm’s CBD Infused Relief Lotion costs $48 per 2.9 oz bottle containing 150 mg CBD.

Alternative products: Vertly also makes an interesting and unique cooling workout recovery spray.

Bottom line: If you prefer your cosmetics to provide CBD relief, then Vertly is certainly the type of brand you will gravitate towards. For us, the CBD dosage wasn’t quite there – however from a quality standpoint Vertly Balm’s products are well made and trusted.

Courtesy of Mary's Nuitritionals

#8 Mary’s Nutritionals Transdermal Relief Cream

Mary’s Nutritionals produces a Transdermal Relief Cream that was developed in tandem with a rheumatologist to provide deep penetrating pain relief. The main unique factor in Transdermal Relief Cream is the use of lidocaine in the formula.

Product Feature Highlights:
• 100 mg activated hemp extract per 2 oz tube.
• Rheumatologist formulated with lidocaine to penetrate deep.

Pros:
• Made with full spectrum hemp extract.
• Lab results available per batch.
• Soothing pain relief cream.

Cons:
• Lower than average CBD dosage.
• High cost per mg CBD.

Pricing: Transdermal Relief Cream costs $100 per 2 oz tube providing 100 mg activated hemp.

Alternative products: Mary’s Nutritionals also makes the post workout pain relief cream called Muscle Freeze which provides 200 mg CBD per bottle.

Bottom line: Doctor formulations go a long way, and Mary’s Nutritionals Transdermal Relief Cream can tout that qualification. Made with lidocaine, this full spectrum hemp cream penetrates deep to get the most relief per mg CBD.

Courtesy of Hydrate

#9 Mineral Maison Hydrate Facial Oil

In the world of CBD, a dedicated facial-friendly product is surprisingly hard to find. Though, Mineral Maison certainly makes one of the best- named “Hydrate Facial Oil”. Containing 400 mg whole plant hemp oil, Hydrate is best used after cleansing to add health and hydration to sensitive facial skin.

Product Feature Highlights:
• Specifically designed for sensitive facial skin.
• Contains 400 mg whole plant hemp oil.

Pros:
• Face-friendly formula
• Combination of CBD and CBG

Cons:
• Undetermined CBD content.
• Very pricey for hemp oil.

Pricing: Mineral Maison Hydrate Facial Oil costs $90 per bottle and has un unlabeled CBD dosage.

Alternative products: Mineral Maison also makes a Recovery cream with 300 mg hemp extract.

Bottom line: When it comes to CBD lotions that are safe for the skin, selection is tight. Mineral Maison is currently leading the charge with their Hydrate Facial Oil, though there are improvements that can be made. Notably, we’d like to see exactly how much CBD is delivered in the bottle.

Courtesy of White Fox

#10 White Fox Nectars Repair Remedy CBD Salve

A rather eccentric brand, White Fox Nectars makes their unique Repair Remedy combining 200 mg CBD with an organic base of healthful herbs. White Fox has several bold testimonials on their product page, ranging from significant pain relief to wound healing properties.

Product Feature Highlights:
• Contains 200 mg Full spectrum CBD per 6.7 oz tin.
• Organically sourced base lotion made from Arnica, Aloe, Bee’s wax and Helichrysum.
• California based holistic focused company.

Pros:
• Organic based formula.
• Bold customer following.
• Multi-ingredient soothing properties.

Cons:
• Can’t locate 3rd party testing.
• Sparse citation backed information.

Pricing: Repair Remedy Salve costs $48 per 6.7 oz tin with a total 200 mg full spectrum CBD.

Alternative products: White Fox Nectars does not make additional topical products.

Bottom line: If you walk to a psychedelic, spiritual beat and prefer your CBD brand to follow the same suit – White Fox Nectars is certainly a brand you will resonate with. They make crafted organic products and deliver a distinct, unique earthy vibe. Though if you need a larger dose of CBD or appreciate the security of 3rd party testing, our higher-ranking options are preferred.

The Best Muscle Rubs for Runners

Show your body some love with one of these natural anti-inflammatory creams and gels.

Feeling sore after a hard run—particularly when the pain sets in days later, as in the case of delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS)—is common for even the most experienced runners. It’s a bad-good feeling that combines the thrill of accomplishment with the humility of having to lower yourself slowly into a chair. There are lots of time-tested ways to quiet the pain, like ice baths, massage, and the oddly satisfying torture of foam-rolling. All of these can be helpful for reducing swelling and tissue breakdown—particularly when combined with a good muscle rub.

Much like ice baths and compression socks, using a muscle rub as part of post-run recovery has more than just anecdotal benefits. According to a 2019 study in the journal Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, using a topical analgesic like arnica can reduce the intensity of muscle soreness in the 72 hours after a run. Other creams and rubs have also been shown to reduce recovery time, due to the homeopathic contributions of menthol, magnesium, aloe, and more. And then there’s CBD, a cannabis compound newer to the market, which shows promise as an anti-inflammatory, according to studies. In some cases the benefits have been characterized as simply perceptive—but is there a reason to discount some placebo effect, as long as you’re in less pain?

To help you choose the best muscle rub for your next post-run self-care session, we’ve rounded up our favorites below.

How We Chose

I’ve run 14 road marathons, one ultra, and a handful of long trail races, and though I’ve crossed every finish line swearing I never want to run again, within 24 hours, I can’t wait to get back out there. Getting serious about recovery with muscle rubs and post-run massage has made a noticeable difference in how quickly I’m able to bounce back. Over the years, I’ve tried a lot of products to ease pain and muscle soreness and shared my thoughts—as well as those of other Runner’s World editors—here. Based on my testing, research, and reviews, here are the best post-run muscle rubs that you can buy.