CBD topicals are one of the top four most used and preferred CBD product types. Since topicals are a low-risk way to get into the CBD market, major retailers have taken a chance on them, thereby increasing the popularity of topicals. Topicals come in several varieties, most of which are represented here in our list of the best CBD topicals for this year.
Our top pick for the best CBD topical of 2020 is the Receptra Naturals Targeted Topical for its high CBD concentration, sensory experience, and effectiveness.
The runner-up is the Charlotte’s Web Hemp Infused Balm, which has the best texture and scent of all the topicals in this list.
We tested CBD topicals and creams from the companies on our list of Trusted Brands.
Each of these brands has been thoroughly vetted by our team to ensure they meet stringent standards of quality and safety.
As a result, we felt comfortable deciding to review their most popular and highly concentrated CBD topical products.
While we tried several more products than shown, we whittled down the list to the top eight best CBD topicals and creams.
Here are the features we consider when comparing CBD topicals:
The CBD concentration of a product can have a profound effect on the potential benefits a CBD topical provides, as well as the type of hemp extract it’s made with.
Full-spectrum CBD balms and creams include all cannabinoids from the hemp plant, including CBD, THC, and minor cannabinoids.
Broad-spectrum products usually contain all of these cannabinoids except for THC, while CBD isolate contains only CBD.
While the hemp extract may not influence the effectiveness of a CBD product externally as much as internally, full-spectrum products are still generally considered best because of the potential entourage effect.
Preliminary research shows that the bioavailability of CBD topicals is about three to four times as much as oral bioavailability.
With this in mind, we like to see topicals have around 150mg/oz or more.
We look at two aspects of pricing: price per mg and total price.
As CBD concentration rises, so does the total price; however, the price per mg typically decreases with higher potency products.
This means that while products with higher concentrations may have higher upfront costs, they can be less expensive in the long run.
CBD topicals have lower concentrations than tinctures, but they are less expensive in terms of the total price; thus, they are similar to tinctures regarding price per mg.
The ideal prices should be around $0.10/mg or less.
CBD topicals often contain a medley of additional natural ingredients such as menthol, shea butter, jojoba seed oil, Vitamin E, arnica, willow bark extract, among many others.
The ingredients are crucial in determining the effectiveness of any product, and that is no less the case with topicals and creams.
We look for products that include several helpful herbal ingredients—organic preferred—without some of the commonly used cosmetic ingredients that are known to be irritants or toxic.
As a result of their importance, ingredients are our second most heavily weighted criterion.
A customer’s sensory experience with a product is also essential.
While a topical may be useful, if it smells bad or is overly greasy, customers may find it difficult to continue using such a product.
While customers have varying preferences, we drew from the experiences of our team to make conclusions about the quality of a topical’s sensory experience.
Effectiveness is the most subjective aspect to consider, yet also the most important.
Consumers have a wide range of reasons for why they use CBD topicals, including relieving discomfort and improving the health of their skin.
Some brands create topicals for specific purposes, such as by pairing the hemp CBD extract with herbs like lavender for skin or arnica to help relieve inflammation.
With products like these, we can judge them in relation to the intended benefit.
With that said, we decided on making effectiveness worth 30 points so that our personal results would not weigh too heavily—nor be negligible—on a brand’s rating.
|Receptra Naturals Targeted Topical||320mg/oz (14/15)||$0.112/mg (12/15)||star=5||star=4.5||star=5||94/100|
|Charlotte’s Web Hemp Infused Balm||300mg/oz (14/15)||$0.067/mg (15/15)||star=5||star=5||star=4||93/100|
|RE Botanicals Extra Strength Relief Body Oil||1,470mg/oz (15/15)||$0.07/mg (15/15)||star=5||star=3.5||star=4.5||93/100|
|CBDistillery CBDol||500mg/oz (15/15)||$0.10/mg (12/15)||star=5||star=3||star=4||85/100|
|CBDPure Cream||83.3mg/oz (6/15)||$0.16/mg (8/15)||star=5||star=4||star=3.5||72/100|
|Social CBD Muscle Rub||83.3mg/oz (6/15)||$0.14/mg (9/15)||star=4.5||star=3||star=4||71/100|
|CBDfx Muscle Balm||75mg/oz (5/15)||$0.267/mg (3/15)||star=5||star=4||star=4||69/100|
|+PlusCBD Extra Strength Balm||76.9mg/oz (5/15)||$0.30/mg (1/15)||star=5||star=4||star=3.5||64/100|
Receptra Naturals’ Targeted Topical is our pick for the best CBD topical in 2020.
Coconut Oil, Mango Butter, Beeswax, Jojoba Oil, Arnica Oil, Camphor, Receptra Hemp Extract, Organic Vitamin E, Jasmine,Ylang-ylang, and Natural Plant Extracts (for color)
The Targeted Topical contains 1.25 ounces of product with a total of 400mg of CBD.
It currently retails for $44.99, which comes out to $0.112/mg, an affordable and comparatively great price.
Receptra also offers a Targeted Topical that’s double the size and concentration (2.5oz, 800mg).
The synergistic ingredients are excellent as several of them are known to provide specific benefits such as relieving pain, reducing inflammation, and improving skin health.
The ingredients include: coconut oil, mango butter, beeswax, jojoba oil, arnica oil, camphor, Receptra hemp extract, organic vitamin E, jasmine, ylang-ylang, and natural plant extracts (for color).
Our team loved the smooth texture of the Targeted Topical, and although it’s thick, the product is pliable enough to rub in without leaving the skin feeling greasy.
While it may smell a little “hempy” at first, a pleasant and refreshing scent from the other ingredients comes through after a few moments.
Most importantly, our team truly believes it works.
It helped with discomfort in the lower back due to general aches and pains, sped up recovery from exercise-induced soreness, and even soothed irritated skin caused by bug bites.
The benefits our team members noticed was significant.
Many of them reported feeling substantially better within 30 minutes.
The Hemp Infused Balm from Charlotte’s Web is the CBD topical with the best texture and scent in 2020.
Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil, Melaleuca Leucadendron (Cajeput) Oil, Cinnamomum Camphora (Camphor) Bark Oil, Cinnamomum Cassia Oil, Eugenia Caryophyllus (Clove) Flower Oil, Mentha Arvensis Leaf Oil, Menthol, Cera Alba (Beeswax), Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Oil, Hemp Oil Extract, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea) Butter, Theobroma Cacao (Cocoa) Seed Butter, and Tocopherol
The balm is formulated with several high-end ingredients, including camphor, cinnamon, and eucalyptus.
Each of these ingredients not only has potential benefits externally and internally but also contributes significantly to the aroma of the balm.
The texture has a high-quality feel, that rubs smoothly onto the skin, and is well-absorbed.
It didn’t leave our skin greasy; instead it felt refreshing and restoring.
What our team noticed most regarding effectiveness was how good the balm felt on tired and fatigued muscles after exercise.*
The efficacy is no doubt linked to the fact that Charlotte’s Web has packed 450mg into this 1.5oz balm, which is well above the average for CBD topicals.
Thanks to that high concentration, this balm is also the most cost-efficient product on our list.
RE Botanicals’ Extra Strength Relief Body Oil: Mandarin Turmeric is one of our top-rated CBD topicals in 2020.
Organic MCT Oil (Coconut), Organic Hemp CBD Extract, Organic Curcuma Longa (Turmeric) Oil, and Organic Citrus Nobilis (Mandarin Orange) Peel Oil
An excellent alternative to balms and creams, this roll-on offers a unique way to apply CBD oil that’s fun and soothing.
This is the most highly concentrated CBD topical on our list at 500mg in 0.34oz of oil.
If extrapolated to a full ounce, it would come out to a whopping 1,470.6mg/oz.
The enormous concentration lends itself to a likewise fantastic value.
RE Botanicals charges $34.99 for their Extra Strength Relief Body Oils, coming out to $0.07/mg.
That price per mg makes the roll-on our second most cost-efficient among all the products here.
The Mandarin Turmeric version contains only a few ingredients, all of which are USDA-certified organic.
These include: Organic MCT Oil (Coconut), Organic Hemp CBD Extract, Organic Curcuma Longa (Turmeric) Oil, and Organic Citrus Nobilis (Mandarin Orange) Peel Oil.
Both turmeric and mandarin orange oil are believed to have some benefit for relieving short-term pain and inflammation.
After trying the Extra Strength Relief Body Oil ourselves, our team would agree.
We would use it after exercise or any time we felt discomfort.
Within a few minutes of applying the roll-on, we began feeling a slight improvement that became significantly more noticeable over an hour.
It was particularly useful around the shoulders, especially since we could apply pressure with the metal roller ball to give ourselves a mini-massage.
The oil feels cool and soothing when rolling it on the skin.
As for the aroma, the mixture of citrus, turmeric, hemp, and coconut was not ideal for all of us, but it was still pleasant enough.
Overall, RE Botanicals’ Extra Strength Relief Body Oil is an excellent little product.
CBDistillery’s CBDol is another great topical and ranks fourth on our list.
Coconut Oil (Extra Virgin, Organic), Hemp Seed Oil, Olive Oil (Organic), Apricot Oil, Sunflower Oil (Organic), Almond Oil, Beeswax, Distilled Water, Magnesium, Essential Oils (Lavender, Peppermint, Eucalyptus (Organic), Wintergreen (Organic), Pine, Camphor, Basil (Organic), Marjoram (Organic), Arnica, Tea Tree, Frankincense), Botanical Extracts (Green Tea, Rosemary, Chamomile, Grapefruit, Cinnamon, White Willow, Aspen Bark, Honeysuckle), Self Emulsifying Wax N (SLS-Free), Aloe, Glycerine (Organic), Liquid Germall Plus, Rosemary antioxidant CO2 extract, and Hemp Cannabinoid Extract (Full Spectrum)
Besides its cool name, CBDol is known for its high concentration of 500mg in a single ounce of product, making it the second most concentrated product on our list.
While it retails for $50, thanks to the potency, its price per mg is still affordable at exactly $0.10/mg.
CBDistillery packed CBDol with almost three dozen ingredients, most of which carry potential benefits for the skin and relieving discomfort.
These ingredients create an interesting aroma that may not be pleasant to some, although the primary permeating scent is wintergreen.
CBDol comes together to offer a creamy texture, although it leaves the skin a bit greasy.
Our team was impressed with the breadth of applications we found, including: irritation, recovery, and relief.
The topical was great for helping with skin—such as soothing bug bites, scratches, and bruises—while the cooling sensation effectively soothed discomfort and sore muscles.
CBDistillery has also made the CBDol salve into a CBDol Relief Stick.
The CBDPure Cream ranks fifth in our list of the best CBD topicals of 2020.
Water (Aqua), Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil, Menthol, Polyacrylamide, Full Spectrum Hemp (Cannabis Sativa) Oil, C13-14 Isoparaffin, Squalane, Eucalyptus Globulus Leaf Oil, Prunus Armeniaca (Apricot) Kernel Oil, Sodium Hyaluronate, Salix Alba (White Willow) Bark Extract, Phenoxyethanol, Laureth-7, Ethylhexylglycerin, and Glycerin
It’s an affordable CBD topical that’s also somewhat cost-efficient, despite having a low concentration of 500mg in three ounces of product (166.7mg/oz).
The cream is filled with several great ingredients, such as jojoba oil, menthol, eucalyptus oil, apricot oil, and white willow bark extract.
Besides CBD, menthol is the most prominent ingredient in the topical; however, the cooling sensation is mild, and the scent is short-lived.
The CBDPure Cream is smooth and absorbs fairly quickly.
Likely due to the low concentration and the subtleness of the menthol, the CBDPure Cream was not as effective as we hoped.
With that said, we still noticed some benefits for relaxing muscle tension and a moderate improvement in general discomfort.
The Social CBD Muscle Rub ranks sixth in our list of the best CBD topicals in 2020.
Purified Water, Arnica Montana Flower Extract, Isopropyl Alcohol, Natural Menthol USP, Ilex Paraguarenis Leaf Extract, DimethylSulfone (MSM), Tocopheryl (Vitamin E), Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Extract, Carbomer, Triethanolamine, Phenoxyethanol, Caprylyl Glycol, Sorbic Acid, CBD Hemp Extract, Polysorbate 20, Melaleuca Alternifolia (Tea Tree) Leaf Oil, Pyridoxine HCl (Vitamin B6), EDTA
Social CBD’s signature, menthol-based topical product is much like CBDPure’s.
Like the CBDPure Cream, the Muscle Rub contains 500mg in three ounces of product (166.7mg/oz) but is a little more affordable at $0.08/mg.
While it contains many high-quality ingredients like the other topicals in this list, the Muscle Rub was the only product not to receive full points.
It contained several ingredients that are known to be potential irritants to the skin; however, that’s not to say the Muscle Rub is unsafe, but only to note that some consumers with sensitive skin may experience irritation.
The menthol in this rub is stronger than CBDPure’s, which means it has a stronger scent (some team members thought it was too strong) and a more noticeable, long-lasting cooling sensation.
However, because the Muscle Rub is thin, it’s absorbed by the skin too quickly in our opinion.
The Muscle Rub was a little more useful, especially for discomfort and inflammation than the CBDPure Cream.
It seemed to help reduce recovery time after exercise by a little bit, but it was primarily helpful for reducing inflammation momentarily.
The CBDfx Muscle Balm Stick ranks seventh in our best CBD topicals list of 2020.
Sunflower Oil, Jojoba Oil, Beeswax, Shea Butter, Coconut Oil, Olive Oil, Tocopherol, Peppermint Oil, CBD Rich Hemp Oil, Camphor Oil, and Wintergreen Oil
The major highlight from CBDfx’s Muscle Balm Stick is its scent and texture.
We love the wintergreen aroma, and the texture is thick but pliable, rubbing into the skin smoothly without absorbing too quickly or leaving skin greasy.
The Muscle Balm Stick also works quite well, in our opinion.
It was the most helpful post-workout, significantly soothing sore muscles and accelerating our recovery timeline.
We also loved the ingredients in it, such as jojoba oil, beeswax, shea butter, peppermint oil, camphor oil, and wintergreen oil.
Despite this, at 75mg/oz, the Muscle Balm Stick’s CBD concentration is the lowest of all the CBD topicals in this list.
Consequently, the value of the balm suffers as well.
CBDfx charges $39.99, which comes out to $0.267/mg, a high price for a CBD topical with so little CBD.
Finally, the +PlusCBD Extra Strength Balm ranks eighth on our list of the best CBD topicals in 2020.
Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis (Sweet Almond Oil), Cera Alba (Beeswax), Candelilla/Jojoba/Rice Bran Polyglyceryl-3 Esters, Glyceryl Stearate, Cetearyl Alcohol, Sodium Stearoyl Lactylate, Hemp Oil (Aerial Plant Parts), Mentha Piperita (Peppermint) Oil, Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract, Carthamus Tinctorius (Safflower) Seed Oil, and Ascorbyl Palmitate
Despite some greasiness, the balm feels smooth and creamy, like it’s meant to be in a spa.
It smells like peppermint with a faint sweetness that likely comes from the sweet almond oil.
All the ingredients are excellent, with the most prominent being: sweet almond oil, beeswax, peppermint, and safflower seed oil.
These ingredients most noticeably helped improve the health of our skin, but they also seemed to contribute to muscle recovery when used in conjunction with the brand’s softgels.
Unfortunately, the concentration of CBD in +PlusCBD’s Extra Strength Balm is so small it may almost be negligible at 100mg in 1.3 ounces of product.
+PlusCBD also asks a hefty price in terms of price per mg ($0.30/mg) for its CBD balm, considering the small amount of CBD in it.