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Top 20 Best Topical CBD Creams, Lotions, Balms and Salves in 2020

Researching the 20 best topical CBD creams to review the top 20 CBD salves and balm ointments in 2020 plus a look at how cannabidiol-infused skin products work to medicinally benefit the body.

Ranking the Top 20 Best Topical CBD Ointment Creams in 2020

CBD is the number one herbal supplement ingredient in terms of sales to start 2020 and its wide range of benefits as well as multiple methods of administration have increased its usage to heights unseen in the wellness industry. Aside from the popularity of CBD oils, a topical application of hemp-derived cannabidiol-infused creams and lotions are quickly rising in demand due to its flexible and versatile nature in pain relief effectiveness.

Because of its unique diversity as a cannabis oil extract, CBD can be infused into so many product variations of topical kind so it is important to distinguish the subtleties of cannabidiol balms, pain rubs, lotions and salves versus the oil tinctures, butters, cleansers, serums and moisturizers that contain some water base.

We have already reviewed CBD skincare products for beauty and cosmetics, but when it comes to the other side of cannabis oil topicals, CBD salve and balm ointments are a different discussion about how they are made, what health benefits are known and the meaning of the entourage effect (full-spectrum CBD creams (with THC) vs broad-spectrum CBD salves/balms (no-THC)). That is why our investigative research into buying the most popular CBD creams in 2020 was conducted and put together in our topical CBD product guide to give the best outlook for each user.

Below is all of the current analysis on topical CBD products followed by an updated rankings list of the top CBD salve and balm creams in 2020.


What is CBD?

CBD stands for cannabidiol. It occurs naturally from both hemp and marijuana plants that belong to the cannabis family. CBD is a naturally occurring medicinal molecule in these plants. Most of the time, CBD is often confused with THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), but cannabidiol is a lot different than THC. THC is found in marijuana, and this is what creates the psychological effects that affect how the brain works. People who use THC will have effects on their cognitive brain functions, most notably is the ‘high' feeling people get when smoking marijuana or digesting a cannabis-infused edible.

When consuming the CBD cannabinoid, there is no “high” that is associated with this and has really paved the way for it to become the global herbal extract leader due to being safe, effective and non-psychoactive.

CBD can be produced by both the hemp and marijuana cannabis plants, but must be under the 0.3% THC threshold limit in order to remain federally legal per the 2018 Hemp Farm Bill. The brain's two receptors, known as CB1 and CB2, are receptors that will accept the cannabinoids found in CBD. These receptors play a large role in how CBD affects the body; however, while it seems there is a lot of information floating around about the Endocannabinoid system, much more research is underway in order to optimally understand how the body's natural ECS works.

Because CBD is easy to use and comes in a variety of product types, as well as the accumulating scientific research into its beneficial effects, the trending demand for different consumption methods has put cannabidiol-infused topicals at the very top of the list. You can drink CBD; you can take it by a pill, or by oil tincture. But now people love the notion of targeted relief and applying exactly where the troublesome areas of concern are in the from of a cream, lotion, or balm/salve ointment. As studies advance, there are going to be more ways to use cannabidiol. It is a matter of time that this alternate way of medicating is going to take over traditional methods.

What are Topical CBD Creams Like Salves and Balms?

Many people have never heard of salves, much less CBD salves. This may lead you to wonder what the difference is between normal CBD oil and CBD salve/balm creams.

We are here to help answer all of our questions pertaining to the differences between salves, balms and oils as well as highlighting different buying options for you. By the end of this overview, you will be educated on topical CBD creams and know how to find the right balm, salve or cream for you.

Salve, ointment, and balm can all be used interchangeably in terms of CBD creams. There isn’t a deciding factor that distinguishes the three outright but can be broken down into the subtleties of each. An ointment is defined as a semisolid that is made to apply to the skin or mucous membranes. A salve is a balm or ointment that is infused with medication. This medication will be administered through the skin. The medication, in this sense, is CBD.

There are CBD creams as well as lotions. These will use water as their base, while salves and balms will use wax or fatty oils as their base. In salves and balms, no water is used as a base. The textures are also different. However, there are generally no other differences in function but lets cover all of the research so all topical CBD users can understand clearly.

How are CBD Salves Made?

CBD salves are simple to make. They are relatively simple concoctions that can be made in several different ways. There are many recipes that you can choose to make them. However, all of them will include two of the following ingredients. All salves will have a base. A base can be:

A wax. This wax is naturally found. The most commonly used wax is beeswax.
You will also need a fatty oil. This is the base that is responsible for carrying the medicine to your body.

All salves will have a medicinal or therapeutic aspect. In this case, CBD is the medication that you are using to make your salve.

The most common choice of wax is beeswax. This is the most natural option there is. Keep in mind that you'll want to use non-enriched beeswax. If you have never seen or handled wax before, here are some things to consider. Beeswax is very dense and hard. It is very sticky. Beeswax must be melted down before you have any type of fluid.

People who are making vegan salves may use vegetable waxes. This could include Candelilla wax. This will come from the leaves of the Candelilla plant that is found in Mexico. Vegetable waxes are used mainly for items that are meant to be vegan. However, the best option is still pure beeswax.

The oil's responsibility is to carry the medication. There is a multitude of different oils that can be used to make these salves. However, the best option is coconut oil. This is because it has a high concentration of fatty acids. The fat is responsible for carrying CBD in the salve.

The more fatty acids that your oil has, the more CBD it can carry. If you are a person who is sensitive to coconut oil, there are other options. Make sure that you are ensuring that the salve doesn’t have any items that you are allergic to or sensitive to before using.

You will need to infuse the oils with active CBD. The cannabis plant will need to be ground up into fine bits. These fine bits are steeped for many hours. They are steeped above two hundred degrees in the oil of your choice. The heat will turn the cannabidiol into the active form. This is the point where the fatty acids will latch onto the CBD oil.

Once your oil is infused, you can simply mix it with the wax you have melted. You can mix your items together and add essential oils to make it smell better. Most people will use lavender or peppermint as their scent of choice. Many salves will also come infused with vitamins. This could include vitamin A, D, or E.

When you purchase a salve, there should be a full list of ingredients. The tube that it comes in must have the ingredients labeled on it. You should make sure that the ingredients list a good oil and wax base. Be sure that you are getting your money’s worth.
If you are not certain where the CBD comes from, contact the manufacturer. They will be able to tell you if the CBD comes from the hemp plant or the cannabis plant. Some salves may have THC in them. However, these salves are illegal in most states without a medical card.

How do CBD Balms and Salve Creams Work?

Many people believe that CBD must be ingested or injected to get the effects. It is hard for many people to imagine that they can put it on their skin and receive the same effects. Many people cannot visualize putting something onto their skin and it functioning the way salves do.

The skin is the largest organ in the body. It covers us and protects us. The skin is very active and is always functioning. The skin is known for acting as a protective measure to harmful or foreign objects. It also will act as a passageway to absorb oils, specifically lipid-based oils. These are the types of oils that are used to make CBD salves.

When you are applying CBD salve to our skin, the lipids on the oil are going to be transporting the CBD across your skin cells. The membranes of the skin cells will absorb the CBD, and the CBD will, in return, start its healing. It will start to heal the surrounding tissues and cells. You can apply the salve directly to places that have pain. Salves are used to help with joint pain and skin conditions. Many people will use salves to help with psoriasis or even eczema.

CBD & Your Body: Medical Benefits of CBD Ointment Creams

CBD works because it functions with your body’s ECS or endocannabinoid system. This system was first discovered in the early 90s. It is a network of cannabinoids that occur naturally. It also consists of receptors that will help maintain and regulate

  • Appetite
  • Pain
  • Skin Sensitivity
  • Inflammation
  • Immune Response
  • Memory

The body will function more efficiently when it has CBD. When the CBD enters the body and reacts with the body’s ECS system, it allows your body to control many different internal processes better. Keep in mind that the skin is capable of producing the endocannabinoids that are in this system, as well.

Medicinal CBD salves and potent balms have been proven effective for different things. The biggest thing that salves have been used for is the treatment of inflammation and joint pain from arthritis. It is also proven effective for soreness and muscle pain. People will also use CBD salve balms for skin conditions such as psoriasis and eczema.

CBD can treat an array of things; however, for other conditions such as depression, anxiety, and chronic pain, it is believed that taking the medication orally is going to work better.
A study has been published showing that inflammation was reduced, and the pain was alleviated using transdermal CBD. This means through the skin through salves. These studies have shown that this method of using CBD is effective, especially for joint pain.

Not only has CBD salves proven effective for chronic skin conditions, but it has also shown positive effects on temporary skin conditions. This would include wounds, rashes, infections, and burns. It would also prove to be effective for muscle soreness on the face as well.

The effects of cannabinoids on the skin have been praised. It helps with general pain and itching. This is showing scientists that there are likely many endocannabinoid systems that control the skin and inflammation. When something attacks the skin and causes inflammation, the endocannabinoid systems are fighting against this attack.

The Difference Between CBD Salves and Balms

Cannabidiol products have gained a great deal of popularity lately. According to a recent USA Today report, there were 6.4 million CBD Google searches. Not only are many people looking to learn about CBD products, but they have many different options to choose from as well. One particular distinction in CBD products that may cause confusion is the difference between a CBD balm and salve.

While these are both topical CBD products – that is, they are applied to the skin – there are specific differences that set the two apart and that you may want to consider when opting for the one or the other.

The primary difference between a balm and a salve is in the product makeup. According to Aromatic Studies, the typical balm contains a beeswax or other wax, such as candelilla or carnauba, an antioxidant, butter, and either vegetable or herbal oil. On the other hand, a salve is typically comprised of an herbal oil, beeswax, and sometimes another vegetable oil. The amounts of each substance vary as well. The variance in amounts also leads to a different consistency: a balm is thicker and harder, while a salve is softer.

When it comes to CBD salves and balms in particular, CBD Testers explains on its website that for CBD salves, cannabidiol replaces the herbal and fatty acid component of the product. In addition, CBD salves are poised to last longer than lotions and creams, which contain a lotion base. The same is likely true for balms.

When to Use a Topical CBD Balm or Salve Cream?

Whether you choose to use a salve or balm depends upon the effect that you are looking for. A CBD salve is typically used on a specific area and provides a focused and targeted result. The targeted quality means that that those who use such products may experience results in a short period of time. Salves may be ideal for those experiencing muscle soreness or discomfort. In addition, because a salve needs to be rubbed in better due to the consistency, users may experience relief during this process as well.

Alternatively, a CBD balm, due to its soft quality, may be ideal for use upon a greater area of the skin. That is, it is easier to use when you are not looking for a targeted and specific result. For example, balms can be used conveniently for a large area of dry skin.

Overall, while the difference between a CBD balms and salves is minor, but it can make a difference in the product that you ultimately choose. With the right formula, you may experience relief more quickly and efficiently. This is why we included cannabidiol salves and balms together in our list of the best topical CBD creams list.

The Difference Between CBD Salves and CBD Oils

The major difference between the two is the oils are taken orally and usually have a water (especially the beauty skin products) or alcohol base. This usually means they are administered underneath the tongue with a dropper. Salves are administered by using an ointment that is rubbed directly onto your skin. This will generally be rubbed only on the affected areas; however, it can be used on the whole body.

Salves will work quicker than oils because the salves are being applied to the source of the pain or problem. When you use oils, your body has to digest it and go through many different stages of metabolizing and absorption. The effects of salves will be noticed fairly quickly, while oils may take an hour or more to notice any effects.

Top 20 Best CBD Salves, Balms and Ointment Creams in 2020

When compiling a top twenty topical CBD creams list in 2020, there are many factors in consideration. The CBD balms and salves listed below made it here based on stacking up enough winning-qualities to become the some of the best-represented brands on the market. We researched their ingredients and what makes each one special.

As you know, the science is adding up fast in regards to showcasing CBD's numerous health benefits and therapeutic effects. The newest advancement within the beauty and cosmetic skincare industry is with CBD infusions. The proof is in the formula that the hemp-derived cannabidiol oil shines brightly in the area of skincare too. CBD quickly became one of the top-desired ingredients to be included in topical pain relief creams, balm lotions and salve rubs. While there are hundreds of topical CBD products to research, here are the very few who made the 2020 review list based on offering a quality salve, balm, lotion or cream ointment worth checking out given a company's reputation, brand awareness, product ingredients and effectiveness.

Charlotte's Web Hemp-Infused CBD Balm - Visit CharlottesWeb.com

This is the perfect blend for those who are looking for a perfect salve blend. It has botanicals, an essential oil infused with the CBD. It has about 300 milligrams of CBD per ounce. It uses oleic and linoleic acids to help provide you with the conditioned skin feel.

It also features apricot kernel oil to help provide that soothing feeling to your skin. This will help treat chronic pain. This particular mixture is great for fading scars. It will reduce the appearance of scars from accidents or surgeries. It could even help reduce stretch marks from pregnancies as well!

CBD Salve by Joy Organics - Visit JoyOrganics.com

This CBD Salve is designed for topical application, promoting better mobility and movement in the joints. The broad-spectrum, premium grade CBD is sourced from hemp, and is mixed entirely in the USA. All batches of this salve, as well as all other CBD formulas from Joy Organics, are tested for their potency by a third-party lab. This formula also includes beeswax and essential oils, including lavender and eucalyptus oil, which are used to promote skin health and soothe the soreness in the muscles.

A salve contains no water, unlike a lotion that is water-based. The treatment can be applied directly to the sore area, and there is no limit to how frequently it can be applied.

A full lab report is available on Joy Organics for the CBD Salve on the official website. Consumers can choose from a 500mg ($54.95) or 1000mg ($79.95) jar of this formula.

Relief Rub by SabaiDee - Visit GetSabaidee.com

The Relief Rub by SabaiDee is made of natural botanicals to provide soothing for pain, including camphor oil, blue tansy, and wintergreen leaf. The formula includes an infusion of the broad-spectrum CBD from hemp, creating an overall “sweet mint” aroma with the botanicals. While other balms may have an overwhelming menthol, the Relief Rub’s menthol is much more subtle.

Used topically, consumers can expect to feel the pain relief within a few minutes of use. However, the company recommends trying the product consistently for a full week to determine the reaction time.

Though the products are triple-tested for potency and purity, consumers will have to match their product with the lot number to find the lab report that pertains to their product. Consumers can purchase one ($59.00), two ($52.50 each), three ($48.33 each), or six jars ($45.83 each), depending on how much they want to stock up on this product.

CBD American Shaman 500 Topical Cream - Visit CBDAmericanShaman.com

The 500 Topical Cream contains the “highest quality hemp oil” with CBD, free of heavy metals or insecticides. Along with CBD, this formula contains aloe vera gel, vitamins A, D, and E, and others. The company makes multiple products from their CBD, which is derived from industrial hemp to create “ultra-concentrated terpene rich CBD oil.”

Unlike some lotions and creams, a few drops of the 500 Topical Cream goes a long way and is highly spreadable. Pat the cream onto the desired area to see a difference. To keep the longest shelf life possible, keep the cream refrigerated between uses.

Lab reports for every product available through CBD American Shaman can be found at https://cbdamericanshaman.com/lab-reports. The total cost of the two-ounce jar is $109.99, which contains 500mg of CBD.

CBDPure Muscle & Joint Formula - Visit CBDPure.com

The CBDPure Muscle & Joint Formula is formulated to eliminate pain and aching joints or muscles, while promoting a better range of motion. Along with the use of full-spectrum CBD, the company includes willow bark’s extract – Salix Alba – for its strong pain relief, as well as menthol from peppermint oil to reduce inflammation and irritation. This combination of ingredients should also help to increase mobility of the joints.

The formula is available in a cream, which can be applied directly to the skin, massaging it in for maximum absorption. The website indicates that consumers only need to wait a few minutes to get the full effects.

All lab reports with CBDPure go back as far as 24 months, and they can be viewed at https://www.cbdpure.com/lab-test-results/. The total cost of the CBDPure Muscle & Joint Formula depends on the amount of tubes purchased, starting at $39.99 for a single tube and going up to six tubes for $169.99.

Pro Restore CBD+ Pain Relief Lotion - Visit ProRestorePlus.com

When considering a CBD-infused cream or lotion, the Pro Restore CBD+ option is a good first option for a number of reasons worth mentioning. The doctor-recommended and formulated phytocannabinoid-rich hemp oil (CBD) contains zero-THC and is infused with New Zealand Manuka honey moisturzier and organic camphor oil for joints.

Another stand-out feature is the public endorsement by Dr. Sanjay Jain, M.D, who also claims it is the best CBD relief lotion in 2020 and even comes with a seven-second pain relief guarantee.

CBD-Medic Arthritis Pain Relief Cream - Visit CBD-Medic.com

This is an all-natural organic salve made by Rob Gronkowski-endorsed CBD Medic. The CBD Medic product line is in no shortage of CBD-infused topicals and creams. The reputable company claims only the best ingredients are used in addition to 200mg of active CBD hemp oil when making their wide range of products. CBD Medic comments about using the highest quality hemp plants to extract the CBD from and also contains organic clove oil, cottonseed oil, eucalyptus oil, jojoba seed oil, peppermint oil and tea tree oil in most of their formulas along with 4% menthonl.

CBD Medic has positioned their topical CBD-infused creams and ointments as hard-hitting pain tacklers with a very clean, professional approach to offering their topicals and skincare lines.

cbdMD Recover Inflammation Formula – 1500 MG - Visit CBDmd.com

This salve has higher concentrations of CBD to help target inflammation in the muscles, tendons, ligaments, and nerves. It also has Vitamin B6 and 24 different essential oils to help aid in the reduction of inflammation. This is a great option for those with arthritis. It has Vitamin B6 infused because this vitamin is known to reduce inflammation as well. It has Arnica, which will help stimulate the white cells. When this happens, the skin will heal faster and properly. This particular salve has MSM infused into it. This is going to help the cells be more flexible. This allows the skin to be tougher and be less exposed to damage. The CBD will come from the hemp plant. There are about 1500 milligrams per serving. This salve is vegan and gluten-free.

CBD Muscle Menthol Roll-On Gel by PureKana - Visit PureKana.com

The CBD Muscle Menthol Roll-On Gel provides simple application for the cooling formula inside, boasting 600 mg total of CBD. However, to amplify the soothing effects that CBD may provide, consumers will find that the gel is flooded with over 20 different essential oils and botanicals. While there is a topical lotion to soothe muscles as well, the CBD muscle rub gel offers menthol for deep penetration and cooling.

To get the effects of the gel, the user can use the roller at the top of the bottle to directly apply to the skin. Predominantly, this product focuses on supporting extreme needs, like that of cyclists, runners, and other active athletes. It can be used on an as-needed basis, but consumers are restricted to no more than four applications a day, due to its extreme potency.

The full lab report for the roll-on gel is available via link on the official product page, showing 0.000 mg of THC per bottle. Presently, the only available version of this product is a 3-ounce roller bottle for $80.00.

Green Gold – Good Day - Visit GreenGardenGold.com

This CBD cream has a CBD that is extracted with carbon dioxide. It uses pure coconut oil, beeswax, and vanilla. This is soft for the skin and soothing to pained areas. It will work amazingly for joint and muscle pain.

The salve has 75 milligrams of hemp oil. This is organic hemp oil that is blended with many other essential oils that will help provide the aromatic effects you will notice. This is a soothing blend meant to nourish the skin and provide soothing effects to the body. If you decide this product isn’t the right one for you, you can get your money back within thirty days.

Receptra Targeted Topical - Visit ReceptraNaturals.com

You can purchase this in either a one-ounce container or two-ounce container. The one-ounce container contains 400 milligrams of CBD, and the two-ounce container contains 800 milligrams of CBD. This is designed to help attack joint and muscle irritations.

This irritation can occur in everyday life. However, this can happen more often due to medical conditions. This will help protect your skin and strengthen it while it alleviates pain. It uses natural ingredients such as jasmine to provide the best scents.

Some ingredients are shea butter, coconut oil, beeswax, jojoba oil, Vitamin E oil, and many other natural ingredients.

Receptra Hemp - Visit ReceptraNaturals.com

This does not contain any traces of THC. It is a zero percent THC salve. It has 400 milligrams of CBD per 1.25 ounces. This is formulated to help attack joint irritation and muscle irritation. Our bodies go through a lot, and it can cause a lot of pain. This is designed to relieve the stress of everyday life. CBD is increasing; however, people do not want THC in their systems. This is the perfect solution to your problem.

It uses jasmine and Ylang Ylang to relax your body and the mind. It also is scented with these items, as well. It is non-addictive, non-toxic, and will not produce any psychoactive effects. This means there will be no high associated with the product.

You should put this product on dry skin. Make sure you are cleaning it. You can add this as needed. You should start by using it daily. You can add to bruises, dry skin, wrinkles, and blemishes to help with these problems as well.

CBDFX CBD Balm - Visit CBDfx.com

This is designed to help soothe the skin and restore it. This is going to help relax the body from your big toe to your heat. It uses 150 milligrams of CBD oil that will be combined with shea butter. It has refreshing smells to help lift your mood. These scents include lemon, orange, and tangerine. You can use this whenever you feel like helping your skin or whenever you need to alleviate some pain.

The ingredients in this balm are formulated to allow the body to relax. The smells are going to help you relax just as much as the CBD inside. It will allow the body to relax because the muscles are being treated. Not only is it great for your pain, but it is also great for nourishing your skin as well.

CBDFX Overnight CBD Balm - Visit CBDfx.com

This is made for use overnight. It is specially made to be put on before bed and allow you to wake up feeling refreshed and pain-free. There are 150 milligrams of CBD that is combined with the best aromatic oils. This includes orange, lavender, and primrose oil. Not only will this help soothe the skin, but it will also help stimulate the senses.

This will help the body wake up feeling ready for a new day. This will help you do your best throughout the day because you are feeling so much better. Sometimes the body needs that extra recovery at night.

CBDFX Calming - Visit CBDfx.com

This is designed to help those with skin conditions. This is designed to help alleviate sensitive and stressed skin. There are 150 milligrams of pure CBD that is combined with many other oils to help soothe the skin. This include chamomile, lavender, and tea treat oil.

These oils are generally okay for anyone with any skin type. This is for those who have skin conditions such as eczema. Plus, it will help restore essential nutrients in your skin.

CBDFX Muscle Balm - Visit CBDfx.com

This salve is formulated specially to help soothe sore and strained muscles. It has 150 milligrams of CBD in a two-ounce container. It uses peppermint oil, wintergreen oil, and camphor oil to provide a pleasant aromatic experience. This can be used after a workout or simply for relaxing your muscles. This will feel great after a long day of work, and your feet are sore or if you have just finished an intense workout.

This balm is made for those who live an active lifestyle. Everyday life can produce some serious aches and pains that we just need some relief from. This is what the makers of this salve have set out to do. Help those who are busy in everyday life, alleviate pain naturally. This is a great alternative to many medications that could be used for pain.

Try The CBD CBD Barrier Balm - 500MG

This is an organic CBD balm or salve that is specially designed to help reduce the number of irritations that can happen to the skin. It helps prevent itchy skin, cracked skin, and dry skin. Plus, it targets inflammation to stop it on the spot. This is administered topically to the specific areas that are affected. It uses many oils that are healthy for the skin. These oils include jojoba oil, coconut oil, and lavender. These oils are easily absorbed through the skin and into the body. In each container, there are about 500 milligrams of pure hemp.

This balm is vegan as well as paraben-free. It will help ease the pain that is caused by inflammation. Not only does it have healing properties for pain, but it will also help nourish your skin and bring it back to the best form possible. There are essential oils as well as beeswax that will help provide moisture to your skin. Plus, it will provide the skin with the necessary minerals and vitamins.

CBDol Topical Salve – 500MG

Not only is this salve great for the skin, but it is also good for your muscles beneath your skin. This will glide onto the skin with ease and provide your skin with the necessary ingredients it needs to be healthy and soft. The container will have 500 milligrams of hemp oil that is infused with other essential oils. These oils include tea tree, camphor, lavender, and eucalyptus. You can choose which scent you would like when you purchase this oil. The salve is designed to relax and refresh the skin.

There are other ingredients that are designed to add therapeutic benefits such as beeswax, hemp oil, cinnamon, and other ingredients.

Skin Relief Salve

Skin Relief Salve is made with beeswax, extra virgin hemp oil, and essential oils to help ease stress. It is also designed to work with the natural properties of CBD to help heal the skin. This is applied directly to the skin and will soak up nicely. It will leave the skin feeling smooth as well as soothed.

This will contain lavender as well as eucalyptus for more relaxing effects. Plus, it has rejuvenating effects due to the anti-inflammatory properties that CBD has. This mixture is designed to help alleviate pain and help soothe irritated and inflamed skin.


This salve has a great reputation. It is known for having some of the best therapeutic and healing powers. It has a unique blend that makes it so successful. It uses hemp oil and essential oils to help deliver the best relief even to the deepest tissues of your body. It can be applied anywhere on the body for pain relief. It will help soothe your joints, muscles, and nerves. It can also relieve inflammation from dermatitis.

This is great for use on any type of skin. Even those who have sensitive skin can use this brand. It uses beeswax, spearmint, lavender, rosemary, and other essential oils that are known to help with healing. This salve will also provide the body with a relaxing and calming effect. It uses only the purest hemp oil that can be purchased so that you are getting exactly what you need.

Bee's Knee's Topical Salve

This topical salve is from Bee’s Knee’s. It is great for helping with skin conditions. It will sooth the skin from fungal infections, insect bites, dermatitis, inflammation, and eczema. It uses essential oils such as eucalyptus and coconut. This will help alleviate your sore muscles.

It will also help soothe the skin that has been damaged from everyday activities. You can use this on any type of skin. Even those who have sensitive skin can use this salve. Each jar has 200 milligrams of CBD.

Muscle Balm – Moon Mother

This is the perfect salve for your sore muscles. It is very soft on your skin, and you will notice the soothing effects right away. It has many essential oils. It uses jojoba oil, mango butter, cocoa butter, and CBD oil in its mixture.

The hemp was grown on a farm that is licensed to grow. This farm grows the most natural and strongest forms of CBD around. Use this where your body hurts the most for instant relief. It will help reduce inflammation from skin conditions, as well. When you apply this to your skin, the effects should be noticeable almost immediately.

Vegan Healing Salve

You can purchase this salve in either 1,000 milligrams or 500 milligrams per container. This has healing properties that can be used for joint pain, inflammation, skin conditions, and localized pain. This salve uses different oils and waxes that will help aid in the long healing process. It is 100 percent vegan.

It uses Candelilla wax, organic coconut oil, and other oils as well as essential oils to help aid in the scent of the salve. If you are just starting to use salves, you should start with the lower milligram dosage, and then if you need to, use the 1000 milligrams.

Aponi Extract Balm

You can purchase this product with 80 milligrams of CBD per container or 160 milligrams per container. This uses pure hemp extract as well as Emu oil. This is going to penetrate your skin deeply and provide you with amazing results. This is great for easing stiffness, aches, and tension. It will also help alleviate tender, itchy, or sensitive skin. You can purchase this in 30 ml (one ounce). It comes in two strengths, as stated.

You should use this only on the affected areas. You can use it internally and externally. There is no THC in this product. It doesn't have any gluten, artificial colors, artificial fragrances, or parabens. It uses only natural ingredients to provide you with the best effects possible.

Blue Moon

You can purchase this in three different strengths. This includes 125 milligrams, 250 milligrams, and 500 milligrams. This uses 99 percent pure Hemp that is grown by Blue moon. It uses Tru Blu CBD that is blended with many essential oils. It uses Emu Oil, grapeseed, jojoba, calendula, and coconut oils.

This is specially designed to help penetrate the first layer of the skin known as the epidermal layer. It is designed to help deliver long-lasting effects. The strength that you purchase will determine which size bottle you get. If you purchase a 500-milligram bottle, you are getting a four-ounce jar. The 125 milligrams is a one-ounce jar.

Citizen CBD

This is 250 milligrams of CBD that is in a four-ounce jar. This is full-spectrum hemp. The texture is different than most salves that can be purchased. This is a whipped texture that targets irritated and dry skin specifically. Plus, it has a fruity and sweet scent that many people love.

It uses shea butter, which is great for nourishing your skin and coconut oil. It also uses hemp extract, argan oil, sweet almond oil, and other natural items that will help nourish the skin. This salve is designed for people with skin conditions. This includes dry skin, painful inflammation, and eczema.

How Often Can You Use CBD Balms and Salves?

There is a lack of research that would indicate how much you should use. Plus, each person is different, and there are different concentrations in each product. There is no single answer to this question. Most people will use this one to three times each day. However, some people may use this hourly to help alleviate severe pain. The best thing you can do is start by using the salve three times daily. You can adjust it based on your needs and how your body responds to the salve. Keep in mind you may need to switch salves because not all salves work the same for everyone.

One other noteworthy caveat in the CBD market is the entourage effect, which is where CBD gets to join its cannabinoid family when producing its medicinal values in a full spectrum formula (contains THC) or broad spectrum (no-THC) in comparison to a plain pure cannabidiol isolate (zero-THC).

Are CBD Topical Creams Safe?

Just like other CBD products, topical salves are considered to be safe. Keep in mind that there are long-term effects of CBD, and these effects have not yet been studied extensively. There are a few side effects that are associated with CBD that you should be aware of before you start taking CBD.

Lower Blood Pressure

Those who first consume CBD may notice their blood pressure drop. This is a temporary drop that occurs as the product starts to take effect. For many people, this is not noticeable and is not an issue. However, for those who already have low blood pressure or for those taking medications, they should talk to their doctor before trying CBD.


Some people who consume CBD or use CBD may notice an upset stomach. CBD can cause digestive problems, such as diarrhea. This is generally seen when people take CBD products that have higher concentrations.


CBD is known for having calming and soothing properties. This makes it great for aiding in sleep. However, for people who consume higher dosages, they may experience sleepiness. If this occurs, you should avoid working with heavy machinery, driving, and other dangerous activities.

The most common health concern associated with salves is allergic reactions. There are not many people who are allergic to CBD. However, that doesn’t mean that you aren’t. CBD allergic reactions are rare but shouldn’t be ignored. However, just because you are not allergic to CBD, doesn't mean you aren’t sensitive to other ingredients in the salve. Keep in mind that a lot of salves will have essential oils. This is the most common reason people are going to have allergic reactions to salves.

You should not apply your salve to any open wounds, including small cuts. This could cause infection and could have adverse effects. If you have never used CBD or tried it in any way before, contact your doctor to talk more in-depth about CBD and its effects. It is also important to remember that CBD can interact with medications.

The Entourage Effect: Cannabinoids Beyond CBD and THC

To insert an important piece of the puzzle when buying the best CBD creams, one must grasp the concept of what the entourage effect is and how it works as a whole.

The first thing that might come to one’s mind upon hearing the term “cannabis” is its recreational or medicinal uses. This has been a topic of debate for centuries and it, thus, comes of no surprise. Obviously, the next popular aspects of the cannabis plant are two cannabinoids, primarily cannabidiol and tetrahydrocannabinol. But is it enough to know just these two key compounds? Or that one carries more health benefits, while the other is filled with psychoactive properties? Or what if they are together with the entire cannabinoid and phytocannabinoid profile found in marijuana and hemp plants?

Turns out, a lot of people aren’t aware that the cannabis plant is home to over 500 different types of compounds, let alone the fact that it can constitute power when more than two compounds come together. There’s so much to learn beyond the world of CBD and THC, some of which include the entourage effect, the unified action of compounds and terpenes, and medicinal uses among other.

What is the Entourage Effect?

CBD may be the star of the cannabinoid show, but there is much more going on within the phytocannabinoid profile. CNBS (The Definitive Online Cannabis Resource) [1] defines the entourage effect as the benefits that arise when two or more of the cannabis plant’s compounds work together. If you’ve heard of the saying, “two heads are better than one,” then this is exactly what the entourage effect implies, especially when there are over 500 known compounds so far.

Let’s take CBD for instance. As you know from above, CBD is known for its ability to induce restfulness, relieve pain and limiting seizures from taking place, while THC is known for psychoactive properties (i.e. happiness, ecstasy, euphoria, etc.). According to 2010 study conducted by J. Jeremy et al.[2], twice as many patients taking a THC:CBD saw a 30 percent reduction in pain score compared to that of the placebo.  Obviously more studies are required to firmly say that such a combination is better than the individual benefits. However, the most appropriate entourage effect supposedly comes out of the combination of cannabinoids and terpenes.

Understanding the Difference Between Cannabinoids and Terpenes

Earlier realization of cannabinoids dates back to the 1960s, where Dr. Raphael Mechoulam wanted to get to the bottom of an observation he witnessed: What about marijuana makes people high? His curiosity led him to CBD, and soon after, he was the first to discover THC.

He was also the one to have discovered that the human body houses an endocannabinoid system as well. In the time Mechoulam invested in studying the plant, he realized that such a powerhouse of a plant is not only being ignored by researchers (at least at the time of his findings) but also by consumers. But things eventually took a different turn, as curiosity ensued.

As research grew in this field, cannabinoids of lesser percentages came into existence, most of which were supposedly formed in the plant’s resin glands. Terpenes are not cannabinoids but have been described as consisting of marijuana’s flavor. In particular, marijuana’s resin glands are said to conceal oils, which were later defined as terpenes.

Do Cannabinoids and Terpenes Effectively Communicate?

As referenced by Leafly, there exists a review [4] on the entourage effect published by Dr. Ethan Russo. Throughout the review, Dr. Russo expounded on the types of cannabinoids that share common features and how they work to create synergy. An example provided was that of CBD and cannabigerol (CBG), where both are said to have the ability to inhibit bacterial staph infection MSRA. As questioned by both the author and the news outlet, does this imply that the two can become a greater force?

Another example is that of CBD and caryophyllene. The latter has been associated with anti-inflammatory effects (just like CBD), while playing a significant role in easing symptoms associated with Alzheimer’s disease, although much more research needs to be conducted.  Previous studies have found this respective terpene to having resulted in better pain relief when combined with the two known cannabinoids, primarily with THC. That said, there’s still room for growth in the interpretability of existing results, as more studies need to be conducted.

So, What Will it Be?

Sometimes, individual strains aren’t the only way around reaping benefits. Often times, there’s products that are deemed “full-spectrum”. Full spectrum simply implies that the whole plant was used, therefore, an acceptable amount of THC will be present, followed by the likes of CBD, CBN, CBG, terpenes, flavonoids, you name it! Full spectrums, like isolates come in different delivery mediums, hence preferences can be considered. The same can be said about broad spectrum solutions, where the whole plant is used except for THC.

At the end of the day, consumers have the deciding power as to which they prefer. There might be preference from one group for a full spectrum while the other promotes isolates. Given that existing studies focus heavily or individual cannabinoids or the combination of the likes of CBD and THC, consumers may lean towards existing results rather than walking in blind. Without statistically sufficient evidence, one cannot assume that one type is guaranteed to make all the difference compared to another.

On that note, looking back to the 60s where only CBD and THC was of significance, we’ve entered a time where so many new compounds are being discovered, like THCP and CBDP, not to mention terpenes and other facets of the cannabis plant. What was once considered a topic that has been hushed and put down has now become a head turner is the cannabis green rush is growing very fast.

What to Consider When Buying CBD Topicals

The most important thing you need to know is that salves will not get you high or produce any type of psychedelic effects. No matter what type of CBD product you are purchasing, they will not produce a high.

In fact, most of the CBD that you will find will come from hemp, not the cannabis plant. Even though both plants do belong to the same species, hemp contains almost zero THC. Keep in mind that THC is the component that will produce the euphoric high that people will talk about.
Most people do not want to use CBD products because they will be labeled a pothead. When you are using CBD, you will not get stoned. This means you are not a pothead. You have nothing to worry about in that sense.

You also need to keep in mind that while these items have worked for thousands of people, they will work for each person differently. They will not have the same effects on everyone. You should do your own research and try different dosages to find what works best for you.

You want to make sure that you are purchasing a good product. There are many products available that work wonders; however, some of the products are completely bogus and will not do anything. You need to make sure that the item you are purchasing is indeed what you are getting.

The FDA has issued several warnings to companies claiming to sell CBD products. However, their products contained little to none of the active ingredients found in CBD. You need to keep in mind that you should be purchasing respected brands so that you are not getting ripped off.

Buying Topical CBD Creams Risks and Concerns

The sales of hemp-derived CBD products were booming in 2019 and 2020 appears to be no different, and the uptrend is expected to continue. Even so, such popularity does not necessarily mean that buyers should purchase products blindly, so to say. There are several considerations to take into account that may provide for safer and more reliable use of hemp-derived CBD balms, salves and ointments that apply to our list of the best topical CBD creams in 2020.

The FDA Does Not Regulate CBD

An alarming 75% of Americans erroneously assume that CBD products are regulated by the FDA, according to a survey by Grocery Manufacturers Association. According to a report by Westword, though, Epidiolex the only CBD product that has been approved by the FDA.

Nonetheless, this does not mean that the FDA is not concerned about the unregulated nature of CBD products. The FDA website indicates that there are several qualities that users should be aware of when it comes to CBD products, and that it is working to learn more about the cumulative exposure of CBD, its impact on special population, and animals.

Unfounded Claims

This segues to the next point, which is that those who are interested in CBD products should take care about the claims associated with CBD products. Recently, the FTC and FDA sent warning letters to several CBD companies concerning unsubstantiated claims related to CBD products. Such claims include CBD’s purported ability to treat teething, ear pain, autism, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s. Thus, CBD product buyers should be aware that the benefits presented by a brand in relation to its CBD product are guaranteed to occur. That being said, there are several verifiable medicinal benefits that can come from using creams with CBD oil-infusions in them, but as the saying goes, don't always believe everything you read on the Internet.

Certificates of Analysis

In light of the ambiguous nature of CBD products and their safety qualities, those who are looking to feel more comfortable about the products they use may want to look for what is called a Certificate of Analysis (COA). Some CBD brands issue such certificates that identify the specific substances in the CBD formula. The certificates are compiled for every batch manufactured and through the independent testing process of that batch. The certificate should identify qualities such as how much THC, CBD, and cannabinoids are in the product from verified third-party labs and be prominently positioned on the supplements sales page for all buyers to see.

Have a Discussion with Your Doctor

Before purchasing any CBD product, it may be helpful to have a discussion with a doctor about your health and whether he or she recommends an addition of CBD products to your routine. Getting professional advice or licensed consultations about their insight can also help you determine whether the CBD products will or will not interact with medications that you are currently taking. Generally speaking, because we are reviewing topical CBD creams, they are not indigestible so there is a cause for less concern and risk since being applied through the skin but is never a bad idea to seek clarity from a licensed professional.

Understanding CBD Product Terms

It may also be helpful, when choosing a CBD formula, to understand CBD product terms. This understanding can help you understand the different types of CBD products on the market, and to determine which ones may work well for your needs. As referenced about the entourage effects, you’ll find terms such as “full spectrum”, “broad spectrum” and “isolate” as viable options. Most would tend to lean on the side of saying full-spectrum CBD formulas are the most beneficial because they contain THC, terpenes, essential fatty acid ois and all other cannabinoids in comparison to isolates or the broad-spectrum type without THC.

Usage Instructions

Another quality to be aware of is that there are different usage instructions for each and every CBD product. Being aware of the instructions and using the formula as directed may improve the chances that the product will work well. Additionally, users may want to look at the how long the particular product takes to work. This can influence whether one product is ideal over another. Most topical CBD salve creams and balm lotions have a long shelf life and can be safely kept in quality conditions.

Side Effects

Finally, as mentioned above but worth referencing twice – as with any product, users should take care to be aware of any side effects as a result of using a CBD formula as it is your health and wellbeing on the line. In its news release concerning warning letters to 15 CBD companies, the agency indicates that it “encourages” health care professionals and consumers to report adverse reactions associated with products made by the warned companies. Thus, in addition to being aware of the side effects, users may want to report them as well. This may ultimately create a safer environment for CBD use as it stands in 2020 not all topical cannabidiol-infused products are created equally nor optimally. From potency, dosage, hemp sources or additional ingredients, each company's branded line of products are all different despite being under the CBD phenomena's umbrella.

Overall, being aware of these qualities when you are in the market for CBD products may enable you to choose a better product and to make a solid decision for your needs.

How To Pick The Best Salve For You

The healthcare industry is starting to turn to more holistic treatments. Natural treatments are becoming more popular compared to mainstream options than ever before in modern-history. People are voting with their hard-earned money and turning to CBD as a natural alternative. While there is a lot of controversy surrounding cannabis and marijuana legalization, CBD's star is shining bright in 2020 and the topical use of cannabidiol is going to be a major factor for its continued growth in the new decade.

When you are thinking about purchasing a CBD lotion, balm cream or salve ointment for yourself, you need to keep a few things in mind. You need to determine why you are using it. Are you using it for irritated skin or sore muscles? There are different types of topicals out there that are specifically made for relaxing or helping irritated skin. You will then need to determine the strength that you will need to achieve what you are looking for. You may simply be looking for some relaxation, or you may be looking for pain relief. Knowing what you are looking for will help you pick the best CBD topical cream, salve or balm out there.

Melissa Meyer
Melissa is a Georgetown Law grad with a background startups, advocacy, and health. Melissa spent much of 2010 – 2013 in the Lombardi Cancer center where she was being treated for a life-threatening blood disease. In that same period, she experienced the loss of her two closest girl friends to cancer. Her life goals include destroying cancer and helping patients improve their quality of life through alternative medicine. She does everything for HealthMJ that she can’t find someone else to do better.


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