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Delivering a high dose of pain-killing CBD directly to the source, a CBD-rich cream or salve is an effective way to manage chronic pain in the joints, low back, or skin.

The best CBD creams and salves contain other useful ingredients to provide a warming or cooling action to the area. Other herbs, oils, or nutrients are also added to boost the pain-killing or anti-inflammatory effects of the cream.

It’s important to choose high-quality CBD topicals in order to get all the associated benefits. There are many companies selling low-grade CBD topicals with only trace amounts of CBD.

These products won’t be able to provide the benefit you’re expecting.

Keep reading to learn more about using CBD cream for pain and inflammation. We’ll cover how it works, how to use it effectively, and discuss three of the best CBD creams on the market for managing pain.

Best CBD cream for pain & inflammation:

  • Royal CBD – Award Winning, Best Overall for Pain
  • Gold Bee – Runner Up, Quality Product at a Good Price
  • Blessed CBD – Potent CBD, But Only Ships to the U.K.

1. Royal CBD Warming Salve — Best overall for pain

Product Details:

Total CBD 500 mg
Size 3 oz
Extract Type Broad-Spectrum

Royal CBD has two CBD-infused topicals — this warming salve, and a cooling roll-on pain gel.

While both products are top-notch pain creams, we prefer the warming salve overall.

The decision to use a product with a warming or cooling action largely comes down to personal preference.

However, warming salves offer much better pain-relief for joint pain in general than a cooling action.

The warming sensation helps improve blood flow to the joints — which brings fresh oxygen and nutrients and helps remove metabolic byproducts that build up in the joints as a result of inflammation. Both of these actions speed healing, reduce pain, and prevent further damage to the joints.

This topical has been featured as the top choice for topical CBD products by over a dozen high-profile media outlets. A few examples include CFAH, Weed News, SF Examiner, and SF Weekly. Other Royal CBD products have been featured as the top recommendation on websites such as Observer, Cleveland Scene, City Beat, and CL Tampa.

This cream contains high-dose CBD — clocking in at just over 4 milligrams of CBD per mL of cream. Compared to the average potency of around 2.5 mg per mL, this is some particularly strong stuff.

You only need a little bit of this cream to get the job done.

This product is formulated with several other pain-relieving and anti-inflammatory herbal extracts — including ginger, cayenne pepper, eucalyptus, arnica, lavender, chamomile, and more.


  • Warming action great for arthritis or joint pain
  • Formulated with a dozen other beneficial herbs and nutrients
  • High-potency CBD topical suitable for all levels of pain
  • Third-party tested for quality assurance


  • Only available online (not sold in-store)

2. Gold Bee CBD Topicals — Quality product at a good price

Product Details:

Total CBD 350 mg
Size 3 oz
Extract Type Broad-Spectrum

Gold Bee is a well-known CBD brand located in California, USA. The company began with organic farming and superfood production. It was only a year and a half ago that Gold Bee first made the push into the realm of CBD.

One of the most popular products in the Gold Bee lineup is this Roll-On Pain Gel.

Unlike the warming cream from Royal CBD, Gold Bee’s roll-on has a cooling action when applied to the skin. This effect is the result of aloe vera and menthol (the active ingredient in peppermint).

You can use this topical on any source of pain — however, it’s best-suited for pain in the muscles or skin.

The cooling action helps alleviate burning or itching pain in the skin and may prevent the inflammatory process after a workout. Keeping inflammation at bay after you hit the gym is the best way to avoid pain the following day.

As the name implies, this product comes in a convenient roll-on container — similar to a standard deodorant stick. This allows you to easily roll the gel over the affected area without getting any of it on your hands. This is a great detail implemented by the product development team at Gold Bee.

All Gold Bee products are tested by an independent lab for quality assurance. You can find the most recent lab tests live on the company’s website.

Gold Bee has been awarded among the top CBD brands in the United States by LA Weekly, Orlando Weekly, SA Current, Metro Times, Riverfront Times, and more.


  • Cooling action great for sore muscles, or burning and itching sensation in the skin
  • Sold in a convenient roll-on applicator
  • Third-party tested
  • Provides high-potency CBD


  • Not the best product for arthritis or joint pain
  • High-demand means this product is often out of stock

3. Blessed CBD Cream — U.K.’s Best CBD Brand

Product Details:

Total CBD 750 mg
Size 50 mL
Extract Type Full-Spectrum

This topical CBD cream is neither warming nor cooling. It has a neutral action that places the sole emphasis on the effects of CBD itself.

This cream has a simple formula — consisting of high-dose CBD extract (750 mg), and a proprietary cream base.

One of the primary ingredients in the cream base is jojoba oil. This is a premium ingredient with some significant advantages in a topical product.

Jojoba seed oil has a molecular structure almost identical to human sebum. This allows the oil to absorb efficiently into the skin — carrying CBD along with it.

This effect gives this cream a silky smooth texture, fast action, and doesn’t leave the skin feeling oily or greasy after application.

The only catch for Blessed CBD is that they only ship within the U.K.

We’ve included this product for its excellent quality overall, and to provide our readers living overseas with an option to help manage chronic pain.


  • Neutral effect profile (neither hot nor cold)
  • Potent cream (750 mg CBD in total)
  • Made with jojoba for fast and complete absorption


  •    Only available in the U.K.

Topical CBD for pain: How does it work?

CBD is a powerful natural pain-killer. In topical form, CBD is delivered directly to the source of the pain. Taking CBD oils or capsules are also effective, but take more time to reach the affected area than a topical product.

CBD oils first need to be absorbed in the gut and distributed around the bloodstream. Once absorbed, the active ingredients become diluted in the blood and therefore require larger doses to get the same level of benefit.

With a topical CBD product, the active ingredients are delivered in high-doses directly where you need them most. Lipids that make up the base of the cream help CBD and other active ingredients absorb into the deeper layers of skin where they can exert their benefits.

Here are two of the primary ways CBD helps to eliminate pain:

A) CBD dulls the transmission of pain

CBD acts on the two primary pain gateways located in the spinal cord and brainstem. Two sets of receptors known as the opioid and vanilloid receptors are tasked with regulating the pain signals before they get to the brain.

You can think of these gateways like the volume control on a speaker. When the signal is too loud, these receptors turn the volume down.

CBD, along with several other cannabinoids and terpenes also contained in high-grade CBD creams activate these receptors to reduce the level of perceived pain in the brain.

B) CBD reduces underlying inflammation

One of the most effective ways CBD creams work to relieve pain is by fighting inflammation. This is the primary mechanism employed by CBD topicals to reduce and prevent pain in the joints, skin, and muscles.

Almost all forms of pain involve some degree of inflammation. Arthritis, eczema, and muscle aches all involve mild to moderate inflammation that only serves to make the pain worse.

CBD is a powerful anti-inflammatory agent — blocking the inflammatory process at several different stages.

Certain forms of pain are more involved with inflammation than others.

For example, rheumatoid arthritis and eczema are both exclusively driven by inflammation. The prescription medications used to treat these disorders involve different types of anti-inflammatories.

This makes CBD especially powerful for managing pain conditions with underlying inflammation.

How to use CBD creams

Start by applying your CBD-infused cream liberally to the affected area.

For best results, you should give the topical some time (2–5 minutes) to absorb before putting any clothing over the area. This helps ensure as much of the topical as possible is absorbed into the skin and prevents it from rubbing off onto your clothing.

For certain conditions, like muscle pain or arthritis, it helps to massage the cream into the skin for a minute or two. This further stimulates blood flow and lymph fluid in the area to flush out metabolic byproducts that may be contributing to the pain. Massaging the area also helps the CBD absorb faster and deeper.

Depending on what area is affected, and the severity of pain, you may need to reapply CBD creams every 4 or 5 hours.

It also helps to use internal CBD at the same time as topical CBD (such as CBD oils or capsules). This helps provide longer-lasting pain-killing benefits.

Final thoughts: Best CBD creams for pain

When it comes to managing chronic joint pain, muscle pain, or skin pain, topical CBD is the strongest form of the supplement.

Topical CBD delivers the active ingredients directly to the source of the pain. Fatty substances that make up the base of the cream help the CBD and other hemp-derived compounds absorb into the deeper layers of skin and connective tissue.

When shopping for a CBD topical for pain, you should look for products that provide at least two milligrams of CBD per milliliter of cream and consider whether you want a cream with warming, cooling, or neutral qualities.

In general, warming creams are better for joint pain, while cooling salves are better for muscle and skin-related pain.

Always choose a reputable brand when shopping for CBD topicals to avoid ineffective topicals. Our number one choice for topical relief from pain is the Warming Salve by Royal CBD.

If you prefer a cooling action, check out the Roll-On Pain Gel from Gold Bee instead.

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