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Arthritis pain can range from a mild annoyance to something that’s practically unbearable. But there’s good news for arthritis sufferers everywhere, particularly those tired of taking ineffective, unnatural pharmaceuticals.
CBD — aka cannabidiol or hemp extract — has been shown in multiple studies to help relieve inflammation and pain caused by arthritis.
Previously, the scientific evidence for CBD’s effect on arthritis wasn’t exactly convincing. These animal tests, while promising, didn’t give us a definitive indication that people could take CBD for arthritis and get serious relief.
That all changed with this study published last year. Over 400 individuals participated and these were the jaw-dropping results:
- 83% experienced improvement in arthritic pain
- 66% reported improvement in physical function
- 66% experienced better sleep quality
- 60.5% reduced or eliminated medications after CBD trial
If you suffer from arthritis, CBD could be a solution to improving your quality of life.
And of all the CBD products out there — tinctures, gummies, etc. — the most effective delivery method for arthritic pain is a CBD topical, i.e. something you apply to the skin.
Accordingly, we went hunting across the CBD market for effective, clean and safe CBD topicals that can help alleviate arthritis. Check out the results to find the CBD product that speaks to your situation:
Top 5 CBD Topicals for Arthritis
- Best Overall CBD Topical for Arthritis: Rishi Rub CBD Cream
- Fastest Acting: CBDPure CBD Topical Cream
- Best On-the-Go Relief: Medterra Rapid Recovery Roll On
- Most Potent: Absolute Nature CBD Relief Salve
- Best for All-Over Pain: Cornbread Hemp Menthol CBD Lotion
How Do CBD Topicals Work for Arthritis?
First off, CBD is a naturally occurring phytochemical in the hemp plant. Unlike its molecular cousin, THC, CBD is not intoxicating and will not get you high.
Now that that’s out of the way, let’s get into how CBD affects the body.
CBD has been categorized by science as a natural anti-inflammatory, making it a promising supplement for arthritis, chronic illness and really, any type of pain. Inflammation has been verified as the root cause of all three.
As for arthritis, here’s how a CBD topical works to alleviate pain and discomfort:
- Unlike a CBD gummy or edible that must pass through the digestive system, a CBD topical starts to get absorbed right away, penetrating rapidly through the skin’s layers.
- Once the CBD has made it through the epidermis and dermis, it is absorbed into the bloodstream.
- CBD then binds to receptors in the endocannabinoid system, a regulatory network possessed by all mammals involved with immune response, nervous system activation, homeostasis and more.
- When CBD connects with the endocannabinoid system, the body has a natural anti-inflammatory, anti-stress response that significantly lowers the perception of pain.
- That means that within about 10 minutes to 30 minutes, a decrease in pain and inflammation is experienced in the affected area.
- In cases of more severe pain, CBD should be applied more than once for desired effects.
CBD can also benefit arthritis in other ways besides pain relief, like better sleep health, decreased anxiety and stress relief.
Best CBD for Arthritis in 2024
1. Best Overall CBD Topical for Arthritis: Rishi Rub CBD Cream
The Rishi Rub is the cleanest, most powerful and most effective CBD cream for arthritis we’ve found. You’ll only find organic ingredients inside, including full spectrum CBD oil. In fact, the entire product is USDA-certified organic, not something you see every day with CBD topicals.
Recent lab results from Live Rishi confirm that this CBD rub is brimming with supporting cannabinoids and terpenes to support the entourage effect. Perhaps this is why customers report super-high potency.
Another reason could be the other ingredients inside. Organic arnica works as a natural anti-inflammatory that quickly penetrates the skin and reduces swelling. Plus, there’s a well-researched concoction of organic essential oils, including frankincense, chamomile and more.
Whatever the reason for its healing prowess, Rishi Rub is our go-to for arthritis pain. It’s honestly organic and it works lightning fast. What’s not to love?
- USDA organic
- Super powerful
- Fast pain relief
Size: 2 oz
CBD type: Full spectrum
Active ingredients: Hemp extract, lavender, chamomile, arnica, eucalyptus and more
What users love: The Rishi Rub is the best-reviewed CBD for arthritis on our list, currently sitting at 5 of 5 stars from verified users. Almost all users say the same thing– it goes to work fast for pain relief on joints and sore muscles.
2. Fastest Acting: CBDPure CBD Topical Cream
Coming in hot at #2 is another fast-acting topical with full spectrum CBD. CBDPure’s cooling cream is the perfect solution to help relieve arthritis pain. We also love the no-mess application, perfect to throw in your gym bag for post-workout recovery.
Another thing? A little goes a long way! You only need a small dab to get fast relief. Just make sure you rub it in completely until it’s almost dry.
CBDPure’s cream is a high-dose formula, which makes sense, seeing as you can use just a tidbit for pain. Each 3-oz tube contains a staggering 500mg CBD. There are also more than a dozen supporting cannabinoids in the mix, including CBC. Like CBD, CBC possesses anti-inflammatory properties and can support healthy stress responses.
CBDPure topical cream offers effective relief for arthritis sufferers and all-around-active people who get the occasional aches and pains. Get ready for cooling pain relief that lasts for hours on end.
- High CBD dosage
- Cool, soothing effect
Size: 3 oz
CBD type: Full spectrum
Active ingredients: Hemp extract, willow bark, menthol
What users love: CBDPure’s topical cream has helped thousands find relief for arthritis pain. Customers love the non-greasy formula that penetrates deep into the skin and leaves behind a refreshing scent.
3. Best On-the-Go Relief: Medterra Rapid Recovery Roll-On
CBD topicals aren’t necessarily messy, but they can be a pain to take with you traveling. The best on-the-go answer we’ve found is this mess-free roll-on from Medterra. This can easily fit in your carry-on and fulfills TSA requirements for air travel.
We also like to throw it in our bags to bring to work. When those neck pains creep up in the afternoon, giving yourself a little massage with the roller helps soothe the muscles and lift the spirits.
Worth noting, this award-winning product is made with CBD isolate, meaning it has 0% THC. This is a great option for people worried about drug testing and for those who want to avoid THC altogether.
Medterra’s team of CBD-obsessed scientists has added in other anti-inflammatories to take the sting out of arthritic pain. Natural botanicals like lavender, arnica and menthol add to the soothing effect.
- 0% THC
- Award-winning product
- Available in 3 strengths: 250mg, 500mg, or 1000mg CBD
Size: 2 oz
CBD type: CBD isolate
Active ingredients: CBD extract, arnica, menthol, lavender
What users love: The CBD roll-on is a bestseller for Medterra and verified reviewers describe a variety of symptoms that seem to vanish almost instantly after application. In addition to arthritis pain, we noticed many users apply to muscle cramps and even the temples for headache relief.
4. Most Potent: Absolute Nature CBD Relief Salve
The most potent CBD for arthritis that we encountered is in this little jar of salve from Absolute Nature CBD. Each jar contains 500mg CBD, but unlike the other options on our list, this concentration is found in just 1 ounce of product.
Adding to the potency factor is Absolute Nature CBD’s full spectrum hemp extract. We checked out the recent lab reports and found multiple cannabinoids to support the entourage effect.
Another boon to potency are the additional anti-inflammatories selected to enhance CBD’s effects. These include organic aspen bark, camphor and more, making for a pleasant and distinctly natural scent.
To use, simply apply a dime-sized amount to the afflicted area. If using after a workout, be sure to apply after your shower. Keep applying with a little massage for intense pain and expect relief to come your way in about 15 to 30 minutes.
- Well-reviewed for intense pain
- Organic ingredients
- Discounts for veterans, low income & disability
Size: 1 oz
CBD type: Full spectrum
Active ingredients: Hemp extract, arnica, aspen bark, willow bark
What users love: The most striking thing about verified reviews for this CBD salve is the commentary on severe pain. From sharp joint pain to chronic lower back pain, reviewers have found relief with this emollient botanical blend. Insider tip– apply more than once if you don’t feel the effects within 20 minutes.
5. Best for All-Over Pain: Cornbread Hemp Menthol CBD Lotion
For some of us, arthritis doesn’t just strike our joints. It can feel like your entire body is in an agitated state of discomfort. Luckily, we found the answer for all-over pain with this CBD lotion.
Cornbread Hemp is one of the best CBD manufacturers we’ve come across to date. They have multi-generational farming in their blood and they’re known for their potent, USDA organic products.
What makes Cornbread Hemp’s CBD salve effective is the way it’s been processed. Unlike the large majority of CBD vendors, they exclusively use the flower part of the hemp plant to procure their CBD extract. Flowers have substantially more cannabinoids and terpenes per surface area versus stalks and stems.
We rated this product best for all-over pain for its ability to address multiple issues at once. You might apply to a sore knee, but you can feel all-over relief from other pains.
- USDA organic product
- Well-reviewed for all pain
- Wonderful scent
Size: 2 oz
CBD type: Full spectrum
Active ingredients: CBD extract, organic lemongrass oil, organic tea tree oil
What users love: Cornbread Hemp’s CBD lotion is a dream for people with arthritis, but what we noticed is its applications for all-over pain. For example, you can apply to joints but will also feel relief in the back, once the CBD has been absorbed by your system. Verified users also report better sleep and stress relief.
How We Picked the Best CBD for Arthritis
Arthritis pain can be serious, so we put together the following list to hold vendors and CBD topicals accountable. These are the benchmarks we used when evaluating potential CBD products for this list:
If you want the highest quality CBD that actually works, you have to go to the source. While you can argue the pros and cons of imports, we’ve found that the highest levels of quality control exist right here in the USA. Therefore, we only included CBD topicals sourced from hemp grown in the US under sustainable protocols. Organic operations were given higher consideration.
In order to make CBD, you have to extract the oil from the hemp plant material. This can be done in a variety of ways; you can even do it at home with olive oil. However, not all CBD companies use clean, environmentally friendly extraction methods. We required that each CBD vendor disclose a clean method like CO2 extraction or organic ethanol extraction.
Lab results are an important item to check in a CBD product, especially since it’s a largely unregulated market. We required each CBD topical in question to have an accompanying COA– Certificate of Analysis. In this report, we required tests both for potency and contaminants conducted within the past 6 months.
Despite the plethora of science that backs up CBD’s efficacy, trying a new CBD product can be dicey. That’s because people react to cannabinoids differently and while a company’s CBD oil may look potent on paper, real-life effects are sometimes a different story. Ipso facto, we combed through verified reviews to make sure users in the real world are experiencing relief from arthritis.
What is CBD?
CBD is also known as CBD oil, or its scientific name, cannabidiol. CBD is one of many cannabinoids naturally present in the cannabis sativa plant (hemp). These cannabinoids bind to receptors in the endocannabinoid system of mammals and induce an anti-inflammatory effect on the body.
Types of CBD
Not all CBD oil is the same. Did you know there are 3 different types of CBD? Here’s what you need to know about the differences between them:
Full spectrum CBD is considered a whole-plant extract. It is the most unadulterated, unprocessed form of CBD you can get. Full spectrum CBD contains multiple cannabinoids and terpenes present in that particular genetic variety of hemp. These are not removed by further filtration or processing. Full spectrum CBD contains trace amounts of THC.
Like full spectrum CBD, broad spectrum CBD will contain additional cannabinoids and/or terpenes besides CBD. However, there is one important distinction– all the THC is removed. Broad spectrum CBD may be rich in other cannabinoids, but it contains 0% THC.
CBD isolate does not contain any additional cannabinoids or terpenes in the extract. It is pure CBD in all its glory. CBD isolate contains 0% THC.
Potential Side Effects of CBD
By and large, CBD does not cause significant negative side effects. However, according to the FDA, the following have been reported: drowsiness, gastrointestinal issues and irritability.
Can I take CBD every day?
You can take CBD everyday, as it does not present risk for overdose or dependence.
Which arthritis can CBD help with?
According to this published scientific study from 2022, CBD helps with all types of arthritis, including osteoarthritis, rheumatoid and other autoimmune arthritis.
How long does it take to see results?
It will typically take 10 to 30 minutes to feel results from a CBD topical. If you do not feel the effects after half an hour, apply again and increase dosage until you’ve reached the sweet spot.
Is CBD legal?
CBD is technically legal at the federal level, thanks to the 2018 Farm Bill which legalized the purchase, sale and consumption of cannabis products with 0.3% or less THC by weight. However, certain states have chosen to outlaw particular CBD products like CBD vapes and CBD flower.
Will CBD make me high?
CBD will not make you high, even in large amounts. You cannot overdose on CBD and if you take ‘too much’, you’re most likely to just fall asleep.
CBD topicals for arthritis are a game-changer.
Because CBD topicals absorb wicked-fast and target the affected area, they’re the perfect delivery method for arthritis pain. Our esteemed list contains tried-and-true formulas of CBD with other anti-inflammatories, designed to be fast-acting and long-lasting.
Because we used a rigorous criteria to evaluate each product, you can be sure you’re getting the purist, most effective CBD topicals out there to stop arthritis pain in its tracks.