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Cannabidiol (CBD) has catapulted itself into the consciousness of health and wellness-minded people around the world, and for good reason. In addition to CBD's wide range of therapeutic uses — supported by an ever-expanding body of research — its safety, accessibility and legality have made it more popular and widely available than ever. 

Amid all the excitement surrounding CBD, infused topicals have emerged as one of the fastest-growing consumer product categories. Whether they are cosmetics shops, supermarkets, or local pharmacies, CBD is cropping up in just about everything you can put on your skin.

In this guide, we focus on creams that aim to add the therapeutic benefits of CBD to your daily skin-care regimen. Beyond helping to heal and maintain healthful skin, CBD creams can also provide topical spot treatments for relieving joint pain and muscle aches. So whether you're recovering from a workout, looking to soothe swollen joints, treating skin conditions, or simply getting glowed up, CBD creams combine the moisturizing benefits you already know with the soothing, anti-inflammatory advantages of cannabidiol. 

What Is CBD Cream? How Does it Work?

In general, creams combine equal parts water and oil with other compounds to keep skin hydrated and healthy. CBD creams take this basic formula and infuse it with cannabidiol, which is typically extracted from hemp or marijuana. Creams can be thicker, yet easier to apply to large areas on the body than other products. They also tend to absorb into our skin faster, making them ideal for delivering the benefits of CBD below the surface. 

When shopping for CBD creams, it's important to know that the cannabidiol extract can come in a few forms. A cream can contain CBD isolate, which is the pure compound, CBD distillate, which like isolate strips away all other compounds and minerals other than CBD, or a broad-spectrum oil containing the widest range of plant compounds including terpenes, flavonoids, and other phytonutrients.

Cannabidiol (CBD) topicals deliver localized healing benefits since the cannabinoid doesn't have to travel through the bloodstream. (Photo by Gina Coleman/Weedmaps)

On the surface, CBD creams work like all other moisturizers, but actually go deeper. Our skin absorbs CBD really well, allowing it to penetrate to the subdermal layers where it interacts with cell receptors in your skin, nerves, and muscles. Scientists call this CBD's permeability, and it's a major reason why topical products like CBD creams can be so effective at treating aches, pains, and other inflammation-related soreness. 

Unlike CBD oils or other ingestible infusions, however, CBD creams don't deliver cannabidiol into the bloodstream. This means that the effects of using CBD cream are localized, and the best way to use them is to apply them to the specific area that needs treatment. 

Finally, if you're new to CBD cream, one challenge can be figuring out optimal dosage. Product labels will tell you either how many milligrams of CBD each pump of a product contains or how much cannabidiol is in the whole container. Use those numbers as guidelines to help you dial in the desired effects. In our experience, stronger, more concentrated CBD creams tend to work better for relieving pain and soothing soreness. 

3 of the Best CBD Creams on the Market

Weedmaps News selected the CBD creams listed below based on their strong customer reviews and their formulas. We looked for products that give your skin what it deserves: to look and feel its best. And we verified that what's in the bottle is what's on the label. That means you can trust these products to meet your needs and provide the therapeutic benefits you seek.  

Canna Hemp — CBD Relief Cream, 2 fluid ounces with 250 milligrams CBD

Canna Hemp's CBD Relief Cream is formulated with both everyday skincare and topical pain relief in mind. The formula infuses a blend of vitamin, fatty acid and antioxidant-rich coconut and hemp seed oils with pure CBD extract and cannabis terpenes. The Relief Cream also utilizes menthol and capsaicin to couple the effects of CBD with hot-and-cold therapy to help release tight muscles. 

The lightweight, non-greasy formula also provides aromatherapy benefits with essential oils of eucalyptus, peppermint and rosemary. Canna Hemp recommends applying directly to sore or inflamed muscles and joints, or to temples and other pressure point areas. Reviewers laud the CBD Relief Cream for how well it relieves pain and loosens stiffness, describing it as one of the best topicals available on the market. 

Availability: United States

Price: $35 — Find it and other Canna Hemp products on Weedmaps

Charlotte's Web — Hemp Infused Cream with CBD, 2.5 fluid ounces with 750 milligrams CBD

Charlotte's Web is a flagship name in the CBD industry and its Hemp Infused Cream is one of the best all around CBD creams you can buy. It's also one of the most versatile, available in both unscented and scented varieties crafted with essential oils of menthol and cinnamon with nothing synthetic.

Charlotte's Web Hemp Infused Cream with CBD is potent, offering 300 milligrams of CBD extract per ounce. It's also thicker than many other brands, helping the 2.5 fluid ounce bottle last longer. Online batch reports make it easy to look up exactly what's in your specific bottle, too. 

In addition to finding relief from pain, stiffness, soreness and neuropathy, customers say this CBD cream excels at making skin look and feel fantastic. The formula includes aloe, coconut oil, arnica and shea butter to rehydrate dry and itchy skin and vitamins B5 and E alongside apricot kernel oil to support overall skin health. Whether it's soothing razor burns or recovering from knee injuries, customers have used Charlotte's Web CBD cream for just about everything with overwhelmingly positive results. 

Availability: United States

Price: $50 — Find it and other Charlotte's Web products on Weedmaps

Sagely Naturals — Relief & Recovery Cream, 4 fluid ounces with 50 milligrams CBD

Packing 50 milligrams of CBD isolate into a 4 fluid ounce (114 gram) bottle, Sagely Naturals' Relief & Recovery Cream has curried favor with boxers, massage therapists, and many others. Whether you're punishing your body or rebuilding it, Sagely Naturals cuts through discomfort with refreshing and reviving sensations that have won this CBD cream heaps of praise from consumers. 

Founded by Kerrigan Behrens and Kaley Nichol in 2015, Sagely Naturals sources its CBD from non-GMO hemp plants and triple lab tests its Ph.D. chemist-formulated products for consistency and accuracy. The Relief & Recovery cream refrains from using parabens or synthetic colors and fragrances, opting instead for essential oils such as argan and peppermint. 

We consider Sagely Naturals' CBD cream to be one of the best for daily therapeutic use or as part of your regular beauty routine. Reviewers especially liked how well it worked as a moisturizer, and the price won't break the bank, either.  

Availability: United States

Price: $20 - $36

Feature image: Cannabidiol (CBD) creams can be used for pain relief or cosmetically to moisturize skin and keep it looking youthful. (Photo by Shutterstock)