If you’re looking for the best cannabidiol (CBD) product to help alleviate your aches and pains, there are so many options available that it can be challenging to find the right one.
From CBD gummies to pills and oils, there are a wide variety of products that have the potential to help alleviate pain. However, topical CBD products – like CBD muscle rubs — are beneficial for joint and muscle pain.
But sifting through thousands of CBD products on the market isn’t easy. For example, how can you tell which CBD muscle rubs will actually work? So we did the digging for you to make your shopping a little bit easier.
Our Picks for the Best CBD Muscle Rubs of 2022
- Price: $34.99
- CBD Type: Isolate
- CBD Potency: 500mg
The Herbal Ice CBD muscle rub made number one on our list because of its use of traditional herbs known to help with muscle and joint pain, swelling, arthritis, chronic pain, and acute injuries.
This CBD topical uses the same herbs that traditional Chinese Medicine has for thousands of years for pain relief. This muscle rub from herbal ice uses raw, organic herbs ground into a fine powder, which is then extracted with sesame oil. Then, they filter the oil and add CBD as its cooling.
The main ingredients include turmeric, magnesium, menthol, camphor, Angelica root, and other herbs with pain-relieving properties.
Hemp Muscle Rub$34.99
Related: Learn More About Herbal Ice
- Price: $40
- CBD Type: Full-spectrum
- CBD Potency: 200mg
Next on our list is the Forth CBD muscle rub. With warming and cooling sensations, the CBD topical helps with pain relief and helps nourish your skin. It contains full-spectrum hemp oil, various oils, including lavender oil, eucalyptus oil, jojoba oil, and peppermint oil to help nourish dry skin. It also uses Shea butter and camphor to hydrate, soothe, and cool your skin. While this rub doesn’t use the healing herbs that Herbal Ice does, it has still worked well in helping many people relieve their localized pain.
- Price: $98.62 – $144.67
- CBD Type: Isolate
- CBD Potency: 300mg – 600mg
Nature’s Ultra CBD muscle rub combines the power of CBD, essential oils like clove, wintergreen, lemon, and tea tree. The result is a powerful topical with a cooling sensation to soothe your sore muscles fast. Whether it is after a hard workout or to relax after a long day, this CBD muscle rub is effective at cooling down your tired muscles.
- Price: $49.95
- CBD Type: Full-spectrum
- CBD Potency: 500mg
This CBD-infused muscle rub from Green Owl is made from full-spectrum hemp. Its unique blend of ingredients offers near-instant relief from achy sore muscles and dry, cracked skin. Created with Wisconsin-grown hemp and infusing it with cranberries, oil, and a magnesium-based muscle rub, this CDD topical is a perfect way to end the long day. It also uses calming scents like lavender and chamomile to help you relax even more.
- Price: $34.99
- CBD Type: Isolate
- CBD Potency: 250mg
Social CBD’s muscle rub combines pure hemp-derived CBD with other natural ingredients, including vitamin E, menthol, aloe, and tea tree oil. With a potency of 250 mg per bottle, this topical is on the lower end of CBD content. While it may be too low for people looking for relief from chronic pain, this muscle rub can be a great starting point for people new to CBD.
What Is CBD?
CBD is one of many different cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant, and many researchers have been looking into its possible therapeutic uses, including pain relief. CBD and THC are the two most well-known compounds found in cannabis plants, but they have vastly different effects.
Until recently, THC was the cannabis compound that we knew the most about. It’s the most active cannabinoid and has a profound psychological effect, creating a mind-altering “high” when consumed.
In contrast, CBD is not psychoactive, meaning it doesn’t change your state of mind when consumed. It does, however, have the potential to produce significant changes in your body, which is where we’re seeing some of the medical benefits.
Types of CBD
CBD comes from the cannabis plant, and several forms are available:
- Broad-spectrum CBD: these products contain no THC, which is the compound that provides intoxicating and psychoactive effects associated with cannabis. However, broad-spectrum CBD does contain other parts of the cannabis plant, including flavonoids and terpenes.
- Full-spectrum CBD: this form of CBD does contain minimal amounts of THC — .3% or less — which isn’t enough to make you feel any intoxicating effects when using the product. Full-spectrum CBD can produce the entourage effect, which happens when both CBD and THC are taken together — this can provide greater benefits than CBD alone.
- CBD isolate: this type of CBD is 100% pure cannabidiol. Unlike the other two forms of CBD, isolate does not contain any other compounds found in the cannabis plant.
Can CBD Muscle Rubs Help My Pain?
While the research into the pain-relieving abilities of CBD is still in the relatively early stages, there is evidence that topical products — like CBD muscle rubs — can help with a variety of pain-related issues:
- Nerve pain: A 2020 study looked at how topical CBD affected pain levels. The majority of people that participated in the study — all of who had nerve damage — reported a reduction in their overall pain levels. They described lessened sharp, intense pain sensations and lessened itchy and cold pain sensations.
- Arthritis-related pain: This 2016 study found that topical CBD products could help with pain and swelling related to arthritis.
- Jaw pain: A study from 2019 delved into the waves topical CBD products provided pain relief that mainly affected people’s jaws. This study found that the people who applied topical CBD creams twice a day experienced significantly less pain after two weeks.
How We Chose the Top 5 CBD Muscle Rubs
All of the CBD muscle rubs on our list meet our criteria for an effective, safe product.
We considered factors like:
- Where the CBD company sources their hemp
- The THC content of the muscle rubs
- The product potency
- Customer reviews and brand reputation
- The ingredients used in addition to CBD
Related: Dealing With Chronic Pain? We’ve Got What You Need.
Do CBD Muscle Rubs Work?
Some people that struggle with chronic pain use topical CBD products, like muscle rubs, to help manage their symptoms. Possible benefits include pain and inflammation relief and a reduction in overall discomfort associated with their health conditions.
And the research on pain management with CBD has been promising.
CBD muscle rubs offer people an alternative treatment for their chronic pain, which is particularly beneficial for those who try to avoid habit-forming medications like opioids that can have severe side effects.
We’ll talk about some of these studies below.
In addition, the FDA approved a CBD product (Epidiolex) for use to treat epilepsy; this is the first time the organization has approved CBD for medical use. However, there are no nonprescription CBD products approved by the FDA, meaning they aren’t regulated for dosage and purity like other medications. That’s why it is crucial to look for a COA (certificate of analysis) before buying any CBD product.
CBD Muscle Rubs for Chronic Pain Relief
All of us have a cell-signaling system in our body called the endocannabinoid system (ECS). Some researchers believe that CBD interacts with one of that system’s core components—the endocannabinoid receptors in your immune system and brain.
When these receptors receive a chemical signal from CBD, it creates a pain-relieving and ant-inflammatory response that can help with pain management. So, CBD products, like muscle rubs and oils, may benefit those dealing with chronic pain.
A 2018 study reviewed how well CBD could relieve chronic pain like fibromyalgia and neuropathic pain. Overall, the researchers found that CBD was effective for overall pain management and didn’t give participants any negative side effects.
CBD Muscle Rubs for Arthritis Pain Relief
While there are no recent human studies looking into CBD for arthritis relief, a 2016 study conducted with rats that had arthritis shows promising results.
The researchers applied a CBD topical to the rats four days in a row. Each received varying doses of CBD, from 0.6 mg to 62.3 mg per day. The researchers noticed that the rats experienced reduced inflammation and overall pain with no obvious side effects.
The rats that received the lowest doses (0.6 and 3.1 mg) didn’t improve their pain scores, but researchers found that a dose of 6.2 mg per day was high enough to reduce their swelling and pain. Rats that received the highest dose (62.3 mg) had similar results, showing that a substantially larger dose didn’t have increased pain-relieving benefits.
Because of its pain-relieving and anti-inflammatory properties, CBD muscle rubs may help people with arthritis; however, we still need more human studies to know for sure.
CBD Muscle Rubs for Migraine Pain Relief
While studies on CBD and migraine pain are limited, there are some that look at combining THC and CBD, just not when CBD is used alone. The study linked above found that, when combined with THC, CBD can help people with migraines lessen their acute and intense pain.
It was a two-phase study, and during the first phase, participants received mostly CBD and a minimal amount of THC. In this phase, with doses under 100 mg, there was no effect on the participants’ pain levels. However, when increased to 200 mg, their acute pain dropped by over 50%.
In phase two, participants received 200 mg of CBD that contained 19% THC. The frequency of migraine attacks fell by over 40% during the study. That means that the combination is more effective than taking 25 mg of amitriptyline, a common prescription to treat migraines.
In addition, participants that suffered from cluster headaches found relief with a combination of CBD and THC if they had a childhood history of getting migraines.
CBD Muscle Rubs for Natural Pain Relief & Anti-Inflammatory Effects
While we know conventional treatments can help relieve pain and stiffness, more people are beginning to see CBD as a natural alternative.
There’s growing evidence that CBD and other non-psychoactive compounds found in cannabis can provide a new treatment for people with chronic pain.
In 2018, a CBD study showed that it helps reduce inflammation by preventing the compounds that trigger inflammation from releasing. And in 2019, another study found that when you apply CBD to your skin, like with a muscle rub or other ointment, participants say a significant reduction in inflammatory skin disease and scarring.
How Long Does It Take for CBD Muscle Rubs to Work?
CBD topical products, like muscle rubs, lotions, ointments, etc., have an almost immediate effect on your body. Once you apply them, you should start feeling some pain relief within around 15 minutes.
However, we’re all different; if you don’t feel relief in the first 15 minutes, don’t apply the muscle rub again—it may just take your body a little longer to start feeling the effects. Plus, you should keep in mind that the pain-relieving properties of CBD are more about cumulative benefits than immediate effects. For example, even if it doesn’t seem to help at first, taking CBD daily can help reduce your inflammation over time, which should help reduce your pain levels and keep your flare-ups at bay.
Related: CBD and Drug Interactions
Pros & Cons of CBD Muscle Rubs
Next, let’s talk about some of the biggest pros and cons of using CBD muscle rubs for pain relief.
The most significant benefits include:
- They are useful for targeting pain in specific areas. While other products — like CBD gummies — provide full-body effects, you can apply these CBD topicals directly to the areas that your pain affects.
- It works fast. Because topical products don’t pass through your digestive system, they don’t have to get broken down like edible CBD. Because of this, they typically work much faster than things like pills and gummies.
- They often contain additional ingredients that add to the pain relief. The best CBD muscle rubs contain ingredients like arnica or menthol, providing even more effective pain relief.
- They can improve your skin health. CBD creams and rubs not only help alleviate pain but also hydrate and moisturize your skin.
CBD muscle rubs do have some cons, though. The disadvantages include:
- They are less potent than edibles. While you’re likely to feel the effects of topical CBD faster, they also tend to be less potent.
- They can be more difficult to dose. CBD edibles and oils are formulated to ensure that you get a specific dose with each serving. However, when you apply topicals, figuring out the exact dose you’re receiving can be difficult.
- They can irritate your skin. While not a problem with CBD itself, anytime you put something new on your skin, there is a chance that you’ll have a reaction to it.
Are CBD Muscle Rubs Right for You?
If you’ve been searching for or been interested in treating your pain in an alternative way, then CBD muscle rubs are a treatment worth trying. However, it’s essential to understand that CBD is not a replacement for your doctor’s advice or prescribed treatments. They can also potentially interact with some medications, so ensure to double-check with your healthcare professional before adding CBD into your treatment plan.
However, if your healthcare provider gives you the okay, and you want to target specific pain areas – for example, arthritis in your fingers — a topical product like CBD muscle rubs might help provide you with some additional relief.
How to Choose the Right CBD Muscle Rub
While CBD creams can help you get pain relief, there are a ton of products out there to choose from. Here’s what to look out for when you’re shopping for CBD muscle rub:
If you want to avoid cannabinoids and THC altogether, CBD isolate is going to be your best bet. However, some people get better results using broad or full-spectrum products.
It’s also crucial to keep in mind that any CBD product can have a tiny level of THC. For example, full-spectrum CBD intentionally contains low levels of THC — federal law allows a THC content of up to .3% in CBD products.
For now, the FDA does not guarantee the quality, efficacy, or safety of CBD products. However, they will take action against a company that commits fraud or advertises false health claims — but it’s still crucial to carefully read the label before buying any CBD product.
Look for products with analysis certificates that are up to date and come from a reputable third-party lab. Ensure that that certificate matches up with their product description and the lab performs contaminant testing.
You want to check results for the presence of any molds, pesticides, or heavy metals. And if the company extracts CBD with a solvent-based method, you’ll want to look out for any residual solvents in the final product.
Typically, topical CBD creams will contain between three and eight mg of cannabidiol per application. For those with chronic pain, you might want to look for one in the higher range, but if you’re still new to CBD, you’ll want to start with a product that has lower potency.
When choosing a CBD muscle rub, look for ones made from US-grown, all-natural hemp. And since you’re going to be applying the cream to your skin, ensure that you check the ingredients for anything you’re allergic to or you think it might irritate your skin.
If you’re searching for a CBD product specifically for pain relief, you might want to look for some other added ingredients that have pain-relieving properties. For example, warming and cooling rubs typically contain arnica or menthol, which provide additional pain relief for your aches and pains.
Side Effects & Safety Information
A research review from 2017 found CBD to be a generally safe product.
However, keep in mind that CBD topicals — like muscle rubs — are only meant for external use; don’t ingest them unless the packaging explicitly states that it’s safe to do so.
While normal amounts of CBD products won’t have any intoxicating effects, a small number of people do experience side effects, including:
- Weight or appetite changes
However, unlike edible CBD products, topicals are very unlikely to get into your bloodstream and cause effects anywhere besides where you apply them.
And as we mentioned before, CBD can interact with some medications — it’s always important to consult your healthcare provider before adding any supplements into your routine.
Related: Have Questions? Ask Us!
How to Use CBD Muscle Rubs
First, you want to read the instructions on the CBD muscle rub that you bought. However, CBD creams, rubs, and other topicals, in general, are meant for you to apply and massage into your skin in the areas where you experience pain. For example, if you have arthritis in your hands, you would want to rub the CBD cream onto your hands and focus on the most painful joints.
When you use a CBD product that contains additional ingredients, you might feel a cooling or warming sensation. When using these products, start with a small application to ensure that those sensations will not bother you.
You’ll also want to patch test any product by applying a small amount to the inside of your wrist. This way, if you experience irritation, it will only be on a small spot. If you know you have sensitive skin, don’t skip this step.
You’ll also want to keep your CBD muscle rub away from broken skin and any mucous membranes. Thinking about trying a CBD muscle rub to help alleviate your aches and pains? The Herbal Ice CBD Muscle Rub is the only topical that contains herbs used in Traditional Chinese Medicine to enhance CBD’s pain-relieving effects—Get yours here!