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These are the best CBD lotions, creams, and topicals for safety and quality — whether you’re looking for CBD isolate, broad-spectrum, or full-spectrum products.

Healthline has sole editorial control over this article. Potential uses for the products listed here are not health claims made by the manufacturers. The information in this article is intended to be general in nature. It’s not intended to be a substitute for medical advice from a healthcare professional. Healthline encourages you to make any treatment decisions with your healthcare professional.

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

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

You’ll notice many brands use the terms “balms,” “salves,” “lotions,” and “creams” interchangeably. While these products have many similarities, consistency and texture are often the key differences, and the best choice for you comes down to personal preference.

Creams are thicker than water-based lotions, and salves are semi-solid. Balms tend to be dense overall, and they may require more pressure to apply them.

Read on for what you need to know about these types of products, as well as some of the best options to try.

We’ve vetted over 950 CBD products total, more than 150 CBD creams, lotions, and balms specifically, and we have personally tested 19 of those topicals.

We selected these CBD creams based on experience as well as criteria we think are good indicators of safety, quality, and transparency.

As a part of our vetting process, we consider:

  • the product’s composition, ingredients, and overall quality
  • any third-party certifications
  • the company’s reputation and business practices
  • any lab test results
  • marketing claims

Read more about how we vet products and brands.

Why trust us

Our experts have carefully researched and vetted over 11,000 products to make sure everything we feature meets our standards. We fact-check health claims, evaluate ingredients, and look into each brand’s reputation before sharing products on Healthline.

  • evaluated 950+ CBD products
  • evaluated 150+ lotions, creams, and balms by 75+ brands
  • personlly tested 19 CBD lotions, creams, and balms
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Below, we compare all the topical CBD products we featured in this article.

ProductPriceCBD typeCBD potencyDiscounts
Aspen Green Full Spectrum CBD Relief Body Balm$89.99full-spectrum1,000 mg per 1 ozuse code “HEALTHLINE” for 20% off
Extract Labs CBD Muscle Cream$89.99full-spectrum2,000 mg per 2.95 oz
Soul CBD Rapid Relief Cream$75CBD isolate 1,500 mg per 3.4-oz bottle
Lazarus Naturals Relief + Recovery Full Spectrum CBD Balm Stick$42full-spectrum3,000 mg per 2.1 ozuse single-use code “Healthline10” for 10% off your first order
Cornbread Hemp CBD Lotion, Skin Formula$49.99full-spectrum500 mg per 2 ozuse code “HEALTHLINE” for 25% off
Joy Organics CBD Salve$54.95broad-spectrum500 mg per 1-oz jaruse code “HEALTHCBD” for 20% off
CBDMedic Acne Treatment Medicated Cream$29.99isolate200 mg per 1.4-oz tube
Joy Organics CBD Sports Cream$39.96broad-spectrum1,000 mg per 4-oz tube

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

Pain and inflammation

In 2020, researchers sent a questionnaire to people living with arthritis to understand how effective CBD is for managing pain associated with the condition.

Out of the 428 survey responders, 83% reported an improvement in their pain and 66% reported improvements in physical function and sleep quality.

However, a smaller 2022 study involving 136 people with osteoarthritis or psoriatic arthritis found no significant reduction in pain intensity with daily CBD use.

That said, the study specifically involved doses of 20 to 30 milligrams (mg) of synthetic CBD. Higher doses may be needed to produce noticeable effects. Additionally, synthetic CBD may produce different effects than natural CBD at varying doses.

Skin conditions

Some preliminary research suggests that CBD may help with certain skin conditions.

A 2020 research review indicates the application of topical CBD products could be therapeutic for acne and eczema. A 2021 review of human clinical studies also supports this. However, the review notes that topical CBD can sometimes cause mild side effects like stinging and burning.

Additionally, a small 2021 study of 20 people with eczema found that topical CBD gel decreased itchiness in 67% of participants.

A 2022 review notes that CBD may be an option for treating inflammatory skin conditions. However, the authors note that more research is needed to confirm CBD’s effect on skin conditions.

There’s a lot of information to keep in mind when shopping for a CBD cream, lotion or other topical. Let’s go over the basics.


The first thing to look for is potency. CBD doesn’t pass through skin easily, so it’s important to use a potent product for best results.

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

CBD source

While isolates are great for consumers who want to be sure there’s no THC in their products, this extraction method strips away other cannabinoids and compounds like terpenes. This can reduce the overall therapeutic benefits of CBD.

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

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

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

Third-party testing

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

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

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

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


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

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


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

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

Ask yourself:

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

Topicals are meant to be massaged into the skin, so you’ll apply them directly to the affected area. However, always read the package directions before applying. Stay away from broken skin and sensitive areas.

Depending on other ingredients in the product, you might feel tingling, warming, or cooling sensations.

If you’re using the product for pain, you’ll likely feel the effects quickly. If you’re using it for a skin condition, like acne or eczema, you might have to apply it a few times to see results. Before you use CBD for a skin condition, speak with a qualified healthcare professional.

Always refer to the packaging for specific directions and recommendations from the manufacturer.

Most topicals are safe to reapply as needed. Pay special attention to the type of carrier oil your product is made with, as products based on coconut oil may melt when exposed to heat and they’re not suitable for people with a coconut allergy. These products should be kept in a cool, dark place.

Be sure to read the packaging. Most topicals are only meant for external use, and many are not meant to be used on broken skin.

Possible side effects

  • fatigue
  • diarrhea
  • changes in appetite
  • changes in weight

CBD is nonintoxicating, meaning it won’t get you “high.” It’s generally recognized as safe, and there are few side effects, though they do occur occasionally.

CBD doesn’t typically enter the bloodstream through topical application. But according to a 2017 review, CBD may interact with some medications, including those with a grapefruit warning.

Some animal research from 2019 suggests that CBD may interact with liver enzymes and temporarily stop the liver from metabolizing other drugs or breaking down toxins.

Always consult a healthcare professional before using products with CBD, even topicals.

Do not use CBD if you’re pregnant or breastfeeding.

If you have any concerns about a skin condition, talk with a doctor or healthcare professional. They can provide specific recommendations and guidance for your condition or issue.

It’s also a good idea to talk with a doctor or healthcare professional before using CBD products, in general, including full-spectrum products that are applied topically. CBD can interact with certain supplements and medications. A doctor can make sure CBD is safe for you to use.

Yes. Topical use is one of several methods of consuming CBD. But it works a little differently than, say, taking it sublingually, or under the tongue.

Instead of entering the bloodstream, topical CBD reaches endocannabinoid receptors through the skin. That’s why you experience localized effects.

Since they don’t enter the bloodstream, even full-spectrum topical CBD products shouldn’t show up on a drug test.

It might. Some 2022 research shows that topical CBD has a positive effect on pain. However, more research — including human studies — is needed to confirm the effects of topical CBD.

CBD lotions may help reduce pain and inflammation and have a positive effect on various skin conditions, like acne and eczema. However, more research is needed.

CBD lotions made from hemp with less than 0.3% THC are federally legal in the United States. However, they’re still illegal under some state laws.

Though there’s little information currently available about CBD’s effectiveness as a topical, many consumers report successfully using topicals to relieve a wide variety of ailments.

CBD topicals have the potential to help manage pain and skin conditions like eczema and acne. If you’re seeking the greatest therapeutic benefit, opt for potent, full-spectrum, organic ingredients whenever possible.

Is CBD legal? The 2018 Farm Bill removed hemp from the legal definition of marijuana in the Controlled Substances Act. This made some hemp-derived CBD products with less than 0.3% THC legal at the federal level. However, CBD products containing more than 0.3% THC still fall under the legal definition of marijuana, making them illegal at the federal level. Some states have legalized CBD, so be sure to check state laws, especially when traveling. Also, keep in mind that the FDA has not approved nonprescription CBD products, and some products may be inaccurately labeled.