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CBD has become one of the biggest emerging markets out today. With numerous companies developing cannabis products designed to benefit people, the popularity of CBD is only growing. Loved by the old and young (as well as those who've never taken traditional marijuana), users cite that CBD helps them with everything from pain relief to mental conditions like anxiety and depression.
Although research is still early, pain relief is considered a prominent case study for CBD's use. Professional athletes hailing from football, basketball, and an array of other sports cite CBD as a part of their regular routine, especially topicals. Helping with achy muscles as well as spasms, topical CBD solutions have been a great over the counter relief, especially in comparison to taking regular pain relievers.
Becoming absorbed into the skin, cannabidiol helps with inflammation and joint pain, which if those are common symptoms to you, then topical CBD might not be a bad solution. Although a growing trend amongst consumers, CBD is also a budding industry amongst entrepreneurs as well. Because of this, the competition for who's worth your dollar is at its peak.
To help you decipher who the best suppliers of CBD topicals are, we decided to compile some research around the industry to showcase what the top brands look like. Even if you're already taking CBD topicals, these are good to compare against, ensuring that whatever you’re using is worth doing. After diving into a wide variety of companies, here’s what we considered our top five. Scroll to the bottom for full reviews.
Top 5 CBD Topical Brands for Pain
How Was The CBD Topical List Made?
Before we dive into the next big thing in pain relief, we first want to go over how we compiled this list. As the CBD industry (and more broadly, hemp in general) is filled with quite an extensive array of goods that range in price, size and dosage, it's important to choose which one best fits your needs.
As CBD pain relief topicals are supposed to help you with an array of symptoms, knowing what you're putting on your skin is vital to ensuring that you not only get proper treatment but also are not putting any harmful chemicals on your body. Even without the danger of unwanted materials in your CBD topical, buying a bunk product can leave you wasting a ton of money and time. Plus, it leaves distrust in the CBD industry, making many first-timers leave before they find the treatment that's right for them.
To decipher what the best CBD topicals are, we decided to come up with a list of criteria for our research. First, we ran through a list of the most popular brands of CBD that we could think of, as well as what newcomers were making waves. Second, we looked through the details of each brand, coming up with a list of commonalities as well as distinct product features that are considered innovative for the industry. Finally, we looked into what the experts and influencers were saying on Instagram, YouTube, and Reddit, as well as science journals and magazines.
For our final list of criteria, we narrowed down the list of CBD topicals based upon the biggest key factors. Here's what we ended up choosing:
● Where the hemp was sourced from.
● The type of extraction process used (including isolates, full spectrum, and broad spectrum).
● The products available, including topicals and other special blends.
● How the brand is perceived by fans and experts.
● If the products are made in the USA or outsourced.
● The dosage of CBD available. ● How transparent they are about what's in their products and how their testing results came out.
● How their reviews sound including if there's any red flags.
Finally, we took into account trying the product- either ourselves or asking trusted sources who have used these products as well.
Best CBD Topical Brands For Pain 2021
As the CBD industry has blossomed since the signing of the 2018 Farm Bill, there's a number of different pain topicals out there that use hemp, CBD, or other cannabis products. With that being said, our focus was on CBD topicals that specifically help with pain. Furthermore, this list is designed to be a litmus test against other CBD brands. Well you might have a CBD product that you use regularly, it might not be a bad idea to compare it to what's on our list as an education lesson in what CBD is all about.
As we noted above, all of the CBD topicals on this list have been put together based on a number of different factors that include how it was produced, what type of hemp was used, and if there's any extra ingredients to be made aware of. After rigorous testing, here's what we came up with:
Verma Farms: Best Quality
Starting off our list is Verma Farms, who've been at the top of the CBD world for a number of years. Developing a reputation for hosting natural, organic CBD products, their CBD topicals are amongst the best of the bunch.
Sourcing their CBD from American grown hemp, they utilize all-natural, pesticide-free products. As Verma was one of the first brands to set the standard for what CBD products should and shouldn't include, their CBD topicals come in two varieties: Mahalo Muscle Relief and Tropical CBD Lotion.
For their Mahalo Muscle Relief, the product is designed to help athletes and others with muscle spasms, pain, and injuries. As for the tropical CBD lotion, it's utilized as a catch-all topical product. Both are niche enough in their respective craft while also delivering on what the industry wants, providing a solution that caters to any and all CBD users.
Coming in at 200mg for the Mahalo Muscle Relief and 100mg Tropical CBD lotion, they both hold their own in terms of alleviating pain and soreness. Overall, we can't say enough about how these products have shaped the market, as practically the gold standard for CBD treatment.
● All Natural Ingredients: Verma is known for including organic and natural ingredients in their products, with the Mahalo Muscle Relief and Tropical CBD lotion as no exception. Not only does this mean you can rest easy knowing that what you’re putting on your skin is safe but also has more benefits than most. Additionally, their added ingredients only aim to soothe, such as the menthol in their muscle relief. All-in-all, Verma holds it down with quality.
● ‘Entourage Effect’ Of Ingredients: Verma understands the importance of an ‘entourage effect’ with their products, where other ingredients help bolster the impact of the CBD. This includes infusing other natural parts like Sunflower Seed or Hemp Seed oils, as well as organic aloe. This further helps with anti-inflammatory necessities, as well as other aspects as well.
● Locally Sourced: The Broad-Spectrum hemp is grown in the USA.
● Lab Testing: Verma’s lab results are up to date.
● Guarantee: 30 day return policy if unopened
● Both products are affordable, natural, and easy to use.
● Broad-Spectrum CBD provides a happy medium for quality meets purity.
● No pesticides used in the growing process.
● Recently tested and published lab results.
● Subscription pricing available.
● The return policy is for unopened goods only.
● Nothing available for dry or cracked skin.
Verma provides an absolute knockout with their performance. An easy-to-use, smart solution, Verma’s topicals help set the standard for relief. As the top contender on our list, they’re a great brand to make your go-to (especially with 25% off for subscription pricing). Year after year Verma Farms has proven to be a winner, with 2021 as no exception.
Penguin: Best Value
Next on our list is Penguin, who’ve crept up into the CBD world as a brand with exceptional value and consistency. Although they currently only have one topical in their CBD Cream, it’s also one of the best options on the market. With a smooth but rich texture, it’s easily a top contender for best overall bang for your buck.
With cannabis that’s sourced from Oregon, Penguin’s CBD utilizes 100% organic hemp and a CO2 extraction process. For their CBD Cream, Penguin keeps it simple on the ingredient list, providing only all-natural ingredients that are both soothing and stress-free.
Hosting a soothing aroma, Penguin’s CBD cream is Peppermint Lavender, a combination that’s both relaxing while also leaving a slight tingle. Starting at $55, this is also one of the more affordable topical solutions available, especially considering it’s 250mg. Perfect for any and all relief, Penguin’s CBD cream is a must-have. It’s easy to see why Merry Jane gave it such a glowing rave review.
After being in the industry for years, Penguin can hold its own against anyone. With subscription pricing knocking off 20%, this is another great value go-to, especially if you don’t want to bother with a lot of choices. As a straightforward topical cream, Penguin certainly has earned their title as best value.
● Clean Ingredients: Utilizing organic hemp that’s source from Oregon, Penguin is one of the better CBD brands out. Additionally, the natural ingredients of lavender and peppermint make for a nice touch. All-in-all, the ingredients make up a lion’s share of why this is a great value, which is easy to see why.
● Thick Texture: Penguin’s CBD cream is versatile in its offering, enabling you to rub it anywhere you need relief.
● Locally Sourced: Penguin’s CBD is sourced from organically grown hemp in Oregon
● Lab Testing: Penguin’s lab results are specific to the CBD cream, and updated in June 2020.
● Guarantee: 30 day return policy if opened or unopened
● All-organic CBD.
● Return policy includes opened packages
● CBD cream is versatile in usage.
● Testing is up-to-date
● Subscription pricing available.
● Subscription only saves 20% compared to other brands.
Penguin’s CBD cream is an overall knockout. Although we’ve listed as the best value, that doesn’t mean we cheapened our approach at all. Instead, this has become another product we’ll say is a standard amongst CBD creams, especially considering how versatile it is while also using all-natural ingredients. With an overall great reputation and foundation on its hands, Penguin is only looking up when it comes to delivering exceptional products for 2021.
Leaf Remedys: Best Newcomer
Leaf Remedys Full Spectrum cooling gel is on the top of the CBD topical list because the brand has a great reputation for high quality products at a fair price.
Leaf Remedys cooling gel comes in a 4oz bottle with1000mg CBD concentration. Leaf Remedys Full spectrum oils which are subzero extracted from the highest quality organically grown Colorado hemp. The advantage of this extraction method is that a high-quality hemp plant can become a full spectrum extract without any further extractions resulting in a more preserved and purer Full Spectrum oil retaining all the natural cannabinoids and terpenes.
The instant cooling effect comes from the base of the gel which has a nice settle minty scent and carries four powerful, all-natural anti-inflammatories. This is a great option for someone that is looking to instantly manage pain and inflammation and still get the long-term benefits of high-quality CBD. Gel provides greater moisturizing effect and is lighter than cream making it easier for the skin to absorb the natural base of the gel and the CBD to avoid build up that occurs with some heavier creams.
● Fast-Absorbing Formula: Leaf Remedys Full Spectrum Gel features a formula that works quickly by absorbing into the skin soon after the Gel is applied. This helps with managing pain and inflammation in the affected area faster.
● Third-party Lab Testing: The purity of a CBD product is critical – which is why it is always important to look at the lab testing results. Leaf Remedys offer a full overview of the laboratory test results on their website. These tests are done by a third-party laboratory. It ensures the customer is able to see just how pure the product really is.
● Dosage: Each Bottle of Gel contains 1000mg Full Spectrum CBD. This ensures the user is able to gain the benefits expected from a product that contains CBD as an active ingredient.
● Free Shipping: Another important feature is the fact that the Leaf Remedys Gel comes with free shipping to US addresses. This helps to reduce the overall cost that will be paid to get the product to the customer’s doorstep.
● Colorado Grown: The hemp used in the manufacturing of Leaf Remedys products is all locally grown in the Colorado. This Guarantees high quality CBD and gives the manufacturer more control over the growing methods used.
● Easy delivery method: Leaf Remedys CBD Gel comes in a 4oz pump style bottle, making it easier for daily use.
● Low price tag compared to other options.
● The Fast-Absorbing formula helps to provide results in a shorter duration of time.
● Great minty scent
● Shipping is free to US addresses.
● Low amount of gel needed to feel benefits
● Only offered in one option of 1000mg strength
● The cream is only available in a single aroma option.
There is a good number of reviews and testimonials on their website. Most of their customers seem to be satisfied with the instant relief of the Gel, the scent, and good pricing.
Medterra: Best Variety
Coming in with four of the best CBD topicals on the market, Medterra easily wins at providing the best variety. Hosting a Pain Relief (with menthol + arnica), Relief + Recovery, Manuka Honey, and Relief + Recovery Roll-On, Medterra additionally enables you to choose from a multitude of strengths per product. Plus, with their Roll-On starting at $19.99, Medterra is driving a great bang for your buck.
Made with hemp grown in Kentucky, Medterra is sourced from all-natural, local farms. Citing a mission to care for others, it’s clear that Medterra tries their best to make good on their word: not only with the ingredients they use but different varieties of products that are all affordably priced. Furthermore, Medterra is a member of the U.S. Hemp Authority, which cites that they provide some of the highest quality CBD available.
As they’re constantly trying to improve their products, Medterra clearly is helping set the standard for what CBD should look like. With affordable pricing, they’re inclusive in their approach while also not skimping on quality. Overall, there’s a reason they rank so highly on nearly every CBD list, coming in with products that are exceptional. Don’t sleep on Medterra, because no matter what you want out of a CBD brand, they’ll likely have an answer.
● Organic Hemp: Grown in Kentucky, Medterra’s product sourcing is top notch.
● Top Variety: Medterra beats out every brand when it comes to variety.
● Locally Sourced: Kentucky grown and USA produced.
● Lab Testing: Medterra’s lab results are up to date.
● Guarantee: 30 day return policy if opened or unopened
● Organically sourced hemp.
● Affordably priced across all products
● Holistic care put into improving lineups.
● Testing is current.
● No pesticides.
● No subscription pricing available.
● Kentucky growers don’t have the same experience as legal marijuana states.
● Combination of ingredients aren’t for everyone.
Medterra is a great brand to check out if you’re just getting into topicals. From being able to dosage out what you need to providing new, affordable solutions, this is practically a one-stop-shop for introducing yourself to topicals. As a company built by CBD fans for CBD fans, it’s an easy brand to fall in love with. We’re excited to see how Medterra continues its reign as an industry leader.
R+R Medicinals: Best Performance
R+R Medicinals spent over a year developing this 1000mg CBD Cream with a team consisting of multiple chemists, a doctor, and several variants to ensure one thing - that it WORKS. With over 1000mg of Full-Spectrum CBD in each 2.5 fl oz tube, this cream is of incredible value for only $39.99, which is the price you’d pay for most other brands for a third of the potency.
They use hemp from their partner farm, which is USDA Organic certified, and is an outdoor grow. Using supercritical Co2 extraction, they yield an impressive 8 different cannabinoids in this full spectrum product; CBG, CBC, CBDv, CBN, CBL, and CBDa and more!
They blend premium ingredients like Arnica Montana, MSM, Jojoba Oil, and more with their Full-Spectrum CBD extract from their proprietary Cherry strain of USDA Certified Organic hemp to yield an impressive result. It doesn’t have menthol or other poor smelling ingredients to ensure anyone can use this cream anywhere, anytime. Simple and effective, this fragrance and dye-free cream gets the job done with consistent and daily use. With hundreds of 5-star ratings on Google, you can be sure you’ll have a great experience with this product and brand.
● It Works: With consistent use, this is the one product we’ve found that truly does the job due to its quality ingredients. The results aren’t masked by menthol or eucalyptus - it’s the CBD and potent botanicals doing their job!
● Third-party Lab Testing: The purity of a CBD product is critical – which is why it is always important to look at the lab testing results. R+R Medicinals posts all lab results for every batch of product on their site. Customers can view everything from cannabinoids, to non-detectable heavy metals.
● Dosage: Each Bottle of Cream contains 1000mg Full Spectrum CBD in a 2.5fl oz tube. R+R says this should last well over 45 days using about a quarter size dollop each day. It’s tremendous value!
● Free Shipping: R+R offers free shipping to all 50 states as well as subscription discounts.
● Low price tag compared to other options.
● Robust cannabinoid profile in their 1000mg CBD Cream
● Great natural scent; no added dyes or fragrances
● Shipping is free to US addresses.
● Only offered in one option of 1000mg strength
● Currently not vegan, due to Beeswax, but we hear this is changing in the future!
With an in-house, dedicated team to support customers, they take their customer care seriously. They vow to help you out with questions, issues, or suggestions anytime! With a convenient texting option, too, they’re happy to work around your needs.
To round out our list is Just Live. Just Live was founded by professional athletes Klay Thompson, Alex Morgan, Travis Pastrana and Paul Rodriguez so it’s no surprise that they provide the best products for an active lifer. Because of the lack of regulation and consistency of the CBD market, these high-level athletes vowed to provide full transparency to their supply chain and are dedicated to delivering completely compliant, high-quality, consistent products with a zero THC guarantee.
Just Live has a pretty straightforward topical lineup, however, it also includes smaller and larger dosages as well as roll-on vs. pump bottle for at home or on-the-go.
Their Pain Relief Cream is perfect for chronic pain relief such as arthritis or for muscle recovery right where your body needs it. Carefully formulated with a balanced combination of THC-Free, high-quality broad spectrum CBD and a blend of pain fighting, anti-inflammatory botanicals like Arnica Montana, Menthol, Camphor & Argon, this product contains some the highest levels of efficacy available in a topical.
If you’re looking to get back to doing the things you love and break free from the pain that’s holding you back, Just Live is the brand for you.
· Third-party Lab Testing: Just Live offers a full overview of the laboratory test results on their website. These tests are done by a third-party laboratory and ensures the customer is able to see exactly what is in their products
· Additional botanical ingredients: Just Live combines CBD with other natural pain fighting and anti-inflammatory ingredients to increase the level of benefits
· Multiple delivery methods: CBD topicals available in both pump style bottle and a roll-on
· Locally sourced: USA grown hemp and production
· Community driven: a large variety of athletes and wellness thought leaders support this brand
· THC free guarantee, non-GMO & no pesticides
· Supply chain transparency
· 30 day return policy for opened and unopened products
· Variety of dosages
· Competitive pricing
· No subscription pricing available
· No products for skincare
Just Live has quickly developed a name for themselves in the CBD industry, likely because of the credibility their founding athletes bring. If there’s one thing we can say about their topicals for pain is that THEY WORK. They really have a product for everyone, whether you’re new to CBD and trying to find a brand to trust or familiar with the space and looking for high dosed topicals for pain, Just Live has a product for you. Their mission is simple, mission is simple, provide high-quality natural wellness products created by athletes – just for you – so you can unlock the life you want to live. Over the counter and prescription pills don’t need to determine how you feel anymore.
Bonus: Kiara Naturals
Kiara Naturals is the best choice if you’re looking for the most holistic option. Their Muscle and Joint Salve has an impressive 1000mg of CBD but also very high concentrations of Arnica, Camphor, Common Rue and other extracts that have a history of reducing pain and inflammation when used topically.
Kiara goes beyond locally sourced and as you can see in their Instagram account, they forage some of the ingredients used in this product themselves in the wild. They are a family-owned business that makes everything by hand, in small batches in Appenzellerland, Switzerland under strict GMP standards.
Their products have been heavily adopted by Osteopaths, Chiropractors, Acupuncturists and Shiatsu massage therapists all over Europe due to their high-quality ingredients, certifications and high potencies which all seem to be geared towards providing all-natural solutions to more persistent conditions rather than general lifestyle and cosmetics.
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● Packed with strong ingredients: You can see why Kiara’s products are becoming a favorite amongst natural health practitioners. The huge amount of CBD in addition to the 30% Arnica, 30% Common Rue, Camphor, Andiroba and more makes for the strongest rub on this list.
● Absorption: Since Kiara is using a salve and not a cream, absorption continues long after placement.
● Locally Sourced: Some of the ingredients are foraged in the wild by their team and the rest are locally sourced in Switzerland or purchased from family businesses across the world.
● Lab Testing: CBD tester in Switzerland and made under GMP standards.
● 1000mg of CBD + Arnica for acute pain and Common Rue for chronic pain
● Good value for money considering what you’re getting
● Used by Osteopaths, Chiropractors and Shiatsu massage therapists
● Most holistic list of ingredients we came across
● GMP certified
● 60-day money back guarantee if you’re not happy with the results
● Not the cheapest
Kiara’s Muscle and Joint Salve is packed with CBD and several other painkilling and anti-inflammatory extracts that work holistically to boost the overall painkilling activity of the salve. A great choice for stubborn back pain, joint pain or muscle pain.
What To Look For In A CBD Topical
Knowing what to look for in a CBD topical starts with knowing what you’re trying to get out of it. For some, an athlete-focused cream infused with menthol works wonders while a salve that’s better for dry, cracked hands might be better for someone else. This is a big reason we listed out the CBD products based on what their intended purpose is rather than going with all creams or salves. Furthermore, knowing if there are any allergens can play a significant role as well. All-in-all, there are quite a few factors when conducting your own research, which is why we’ve provided a list of top criteria below:
● Ingredients: The ingredients of the CBD you take should almost always be things you recognize or can easily look-up. Check for positive indicators, such as organic ingredients or commonplace cures such as using lavender as a soothing agent. While you might not know everything in a product, it’s also important to seek out any red flags, which can be identified via reviews online. Finally, it’s smart to put the CBD topical on a small portion of your skin to ensure it’s not an irritant.
● Where The Hemp Comes From: Hemp sourcing is perhaps the most important cornerstone of any CBD product. This is the core of why you’re taking it in the first place, as well as the biggest indicator of quality. While some companies will say their CBD is ‘made in America’, it’s actually grown elsewhere and packaged here. Instead, always go for companies that make it transparent where their hemp comes from.
● Lab Testing: Any brand worth taking is going to submit their CBD products to an independent lab for research and testing. This is vital for not only the consumer to understand what they’re taking but the brand as well. Lab tests aren’t just a marketing gimmick but rather an overview of consumption. It’s a goal of CBD to be more transparent than a lot of other industries when it comes to disclosing what’s in their products, with lab testing at the forefront.
● Certifications: As we listed above, some brands will host certifications to show customers that they’re legit. Genuinely including accolades like USDA Organic labels or US Hemp Growers Association awards, there are a number of different certificates available. These will help determine if the CBD you’re buying is quality, as well as if they’re faking the funk in certain regards.
● Branding: While branding isn’t everything in CBD (some excellent companies have very ‘homey’ feeling brands), it does speak volumes when people invest in how they look. On the flip side, some brands will try to dupe you into believing they’re legit only to find out they aren’t much past the initial flash. Instead, study the details of a brand, including if everything matches up on what they’re offering versus presenting.
● Return & Shipping Policies: The return policy speaks volumes on how much a company cares. Same can be said for shipping, where what the company is willing to incur says a lot about wanting to have you as a returning customer. Overall, these policies should be what encourages a long-term relationship, not just trying to get a quick sale.
● Price: As we’ve listed out a few variations of prices above, these should give you a good acumen on what’s reasonable. Generally speaking, CBD is priced out by dosage, with other factors such as ingredient quality and sourcing playing a role as well. Outside of those items, the price you’re paying for CBD topicals will ultimately be the biggest deciding factor, especially if this is something you’re trying to buy periodically.
How Do Topicals Work On Pain?
Although research is still early, there’s a lot of promising results on how CBD topicals work with pain. In a 2018 study by the University of Turin out of Italy, CBD topicals were found to help reduce inflammation while also not administering psychoactive effects on the high-brain center. This is a big reason why people take CBD, as it reduces inflammation and pain without making someone feel doped up or zonked out. Previous studies cited in the University of Turin study also note that CBD has been widely used by arthritis patients as well.
Getting into the science of CBD topicals, the Cannabinoid receptors that the body uses are CB1 and CB2. CB1 is usually associated with THC cannabis, as it’s what makes people ‘high’. On the flipside, CB2 is what CBD interacts with, which releases cannabinoids that are naturally found in the body. This reduces the inflammation, and thus, begins the healing process.
How To Use CBD Topicals
Although it seems pretty self-explanatory to rub a topical on your skin, we’ll note that you don’t want to just ‘eyeball it’. First, it’s important to follow the instructions listed, ensuring that you’re not doing too much or letting the product go to waste. Additionally, it’s smart to test a small area of your skin to ensure the CBD doesn’t behave as an irritant. And finally, always consult with your doctor or dermatologist if there are any known allergies that you might not be aware of before taking.
Conclusion: Which CBD Topical Should You Buy?
Our pick is definitely with Verma Farms, who have consistently shown quality, variety, and care into their all-natural lineup of products. As one of the best values money can buy, Verma Farms is more than just buying CBD but entering a community of cannabis lovers. With a few years in the game, Verma Farms is putting up their best work yet...why is why we’re excited to see what comes in the future.