Best CBD Creams for Back Pain Reviews in 2022

Illustration of best CBD cream the helps back pain and inflammation
Written by Nina Julia | Last updated: August 2, 2022

If you’re looking for the best cream for back pain, you may want to check out one that contains CBD.

CBD stands for cannabidiol, a chemical compound from the cannabis plant — the same plant that is the source of THC. But unlike THC, CBD won’t get you high because it’s non-intoxicating.

It does, however, show promise for relieving inflammation and pain in the back.

Still, no two CBD creams for back pain are the same. In fact, there’s a large degree of difference when it comes to the quality of different CBD products.

Quality is paramount if you want to reap the analgesic benefits of CBD creams.

In this article, we explain how CBD works for back pain — and recommend the best creams for the job.

CBD & Back Pain: Highlights

  • Pain signals are mediated through cannabinoid receptors (type 1 and 2). Both receptors belong to the endocannabinoid system (ECS), a complex network that regulates homeostatic processes in the body.
  • CBD cream can alleviate pain by curbing inflammation and mitigating pain signaling in the brain.
  • CBD also enhances your natural pain threshold by increasing the levels of anandamide — one of the two main endocannabinoids in your endocannabinoid system.
  • Clinical studies have brought positive results regarding the effects of CBD on chronic pain. The subject has been studied multiple times and analyzed in the reviews of scientific literature.
  • CBD topicals work by interacting with CB2 receptors, reducing localized inflammation and discomfort.
  • When searching for the best CBD cream for back pain, make sure to choose lab-tested products that contain the declared amount of CBD and are supported with other natural analgesics (e.g., menthol, arnica, or cayenne pepper)

What Are the Best CBD Creams for Back Pain? Our Top Brands for 2022

  1. Royal CBD Cream – Best CBD Cream for Back Pain Overall
  2. Gold Bee CBD Roll-on – The Strongest CBD Cream for Back Pain

1. Royal CBD

Royal CBD Roll on and Balm

Pros Cons
  • Organic, Colorado-grown hemp
  • CO2-extracted
  • Up to 500 mg of CBD per jar
  • THC-free
  • Easy to apply
  • Batch-specific Certificates of Analysis (CoA)
  • The texture feels a bit grainy

Royal CBD makes high-quality CBD extracts from non-GMO, pesticide-free hemp grown in Colorado. The brand offers two types of broad-spectrum CBD topicals: cream and roll-on stick.

The Royal CBD cream offers a broad spectrum of cannabinoids, so you’re getting almost the entire range — just without THC. Each jar delivers 500 mg of CBD supported by menthol and essential oils from fruits to improve absorption and enhance the analgesic properties of cannabidiol.

The cream has a bit of a grainy texture, but it actually indicates that the product is hand-made and uses all-natural ingredients.

If you’re looking for a less-potent topical but with extra menthol, try out the Royal CBD roll-on freeze gel. It contains 350 mg and menthol crystals.

2. Gold Bee

Gold Bee 200mg CBD Roll On Gel

Pros Cons
  • Organic hemp
  • THC-free
  • Exceptionally strong: 200 mg of total CBD
  • Easy application
  • Absorbs quickly
  • No low-strength products
  • Only one formula is available

Gold Bee is the best pick if you’re looking for the strongest CBD cream for back pain. It comes with a hefty dose of 2000 mg total CBD.

With so much CBD per container, it’s also one of the best CBD creams for pain that you can find in that price range. This is a decent product if you’re looking to ease back pain, improve regeneration, and moisturize the skin.

Unlike the Royal CBD cream, this roll-on gel has a smooth texture and doesn’t leave a greasy layer on the skin.

However, the icy menthol infusion can be a bit too much for some people. One of our team members complained that the cooling effect leaves a short-lasting burn on the affected area.

How We Chose the Best CBD Creams for Back Pain

When choosing CBD creams for this list, we followed the same quality criteria that we use for other CBD products. Our team reviewed each brand and product using the same transparency standards.

Each product mentioned in our ranking of the best CBD creams for back pain:

  • It is made by a brand that provides relevant certificates of analysis from an ISO-certified laboratory
  • Uses organic hemp as the source of CBD
  • Contains 0.3% THC or less, as required by the 2018 Farm Bill
  • Passes tests for pesticides, heavy metals, molds, and solvents

When narrowing down our options, we also took into account:

  • CBD potency
  • Additional analgesics in the formula
  • Company reputation and manufacturing processes
  • Customer reviews
  • Whether the company has received a warning letter from the FDA

No product will erase all your back pain overnight. However, CBD cream can help you manage localized discomfort in a natural and safe way.

Is CBD Cream Good for Back Pain?

Yes, CBD is a good solution for back pain — and there’s a solid body of scientific evidence to support its use.

CBD interacts with the endocannabinoid system (ECS), the largest self-regulatory network in mammals. The ECS works to promote and maintain homeostasis in other systems and organs throughout the body.

However, since people have been deprived of cannabis products for almost 100 years, many of us are deficient in endocannabinoids — paving the way for a range of disorders and diseases, including chronic back pain.

How CBD Cream Works for Pain

Image of hand applying CBD cream on painful wrist

CBD modulates the activity of the ECS, enhancing your natural pain threshold and regulating communication between neurons.

It also binds to specific molecules in the body, including:

  • Transient receptor potential vanilloids (TRPVs): TRPV receptors are critical for pain signaling. CBD blocks these receptors, mitigating pain.
  • Transporters: CBD interacts with transporters in the ECS, such as fatty acid-binding proteins. It also blocks other transporters, producing anti-inflammatory effects.
  • G protein-coupled receptors: CBD inhibits several g protein-coupled receptors in the brain, including GPR3, GPR6, and GPR12, which may be involved in neuropathic pain development.
  • Enzymes: CBD acts on certain enzymes and acids that induce inflammation.
  • Nuclear factors: CBD engages with nuclear factors in the body to produce anti-inflammatory effects.

In a 2020 systematic review of animal studies and clinical trials, the authors found that CBD may help manage pain symptoms.

Animal studies also show that CBD applied topically may relieve arthritis pain, inflammatory, and neuropathic pain. Oral, injectable, and topical forms helped curb inflammation and produced pain-relieving effects.

CBD creams and gels can reduce pain and itchiness in humans. However, most clinical trials evaluating the effects of CBD involved formulations with THC, the psychoactive ingredient. CBD with THC in full-spectrum CBD creams can ease pain, reduce fatigue, relieve muscle stiffness, and improve mobility.

Other Studies on CBD and Pain

An older study investigating the efficacy of CBD on pain found that the compound may reduce pain signals in the brain. More recent research has confirmed the benefits of CBD for pain management.

In a 2019 review, the authors concluded that CBD might have both antioxidative and anti-inflammatory properties. Furthermore, a 2016 study analyzing the efficacy of CBD for arthritis in rats noted that applying CBD topically reduced inflammation and pain in the subjects.

Where to Buy CBD Cream for Back Pain

CBD might help ease your back pain, but you’ll have to weed out the bad products on your search for the best CBD cream.

We’ve already covered the quality factors, but where to buy CBD cream that meets the said criteria?

You can buy CBD cream in a local wellness store or pharmacy, but these usually have a limited offer on CBD topicals.

Not to mention that you can’t look into the certificates of analysis of such products.

That’s why most people buy CBD creams online.

Online vendors offer better prices than traditional stores because they cut out the middleman. On top of lower price tags, you can take advantage of special discounts, reward programs, subscription orders, and bulk pricing.

Brands selling CBD creams online are also easier to verify. You can read customer reviews, check niche blogs and websites, and look into the certificate of analysis of your product to confirm its potency and purity.

Not to mention that buying CBD online gives you access to a myriad of different formulas in the comfort of your home.

Why You Shouldn’t Buy CBD Cream for Back Pain on Amazon

Much as we admire the convenience of buying CBD online, some places are best avoided — Amazon is one of them.

Yes, Amazon doesn’t allow CBD products for sale because it’s against its “Drug and Drug Paraphernalia Policy.”

So why is there a myriad of results popping up when you type “best CBD cream for back pain on Amazon?”

These are fake offers.

When you take a closer look, the labels don’t say “CBD cream for back pain.” Instead, you’ll find names like “hemp cream” or “hemp gel”. Such products are made with hemp seed oil, not CBD oil.

What’s the difference?

Hemp seed oil doesn’t have any CBD because hemp seeds are devoid of cannabinoids. CBD oil is extracted from the flowers — the resinous part.

When you check the ingredient list, you’ll notice these hemp creams contain hemp seed oil, not a ‘full-spectrum extract’ or ‘CBD oil.’

Another red flag is the ridiculously large number of milligrams in the jar. Whenever you come across a 40,000 mg hemp cream, know that it’s a scam.

These products are often sold at a bargain price when you consider the cost of legitimate CBD creams, but what you’re actually doing is overpaying for a regular cream with some hemp seed oil that doesn’t have pain-killing ingredients at all.

How to Use CBD Cream for Back Pain

Using CBD cream is pretty straightforward. It’s best to follow the directions on the packaging and apply the recommended dose directly to the problematic spot.

However, be sure to avoid applying it to broken skin, and keep your mucous membranes and sensitive areas like your eyes away from CBD cream.

Although hemp allergies are rare, doing a patch test of the cream by applying a small portion to the inside of your wrist will help you determine whether or not you can safely use it.

If you experience a rash or any irritation, don’t use it on other areas of the body.

How Much CBD Cream Should You Use?

Image of CBD skin cream what to look for

Although some CBD brands use dispensers, where each pump delivers a specific amount of the cream, others sell their products in traditional jars. Either way, it’s difficult to gauge an accurate dosage when you need to maneuver with vague ‘units’ like a dollop of cream.

If this is your first time using CBD cream for back pain, start with a low-strength product and apply it liberally to the affected area. Next, buy a stronger cream and test lower amounts to figure out the optimal dosage. Stronger creams will last you longer, so while you pay more upon purchase, you’ll save more money in the long run.

Is CBD Safe?

Studies show that CBD is generally safe and well-tolerated by humans. Even doses as high as 1,500 mg daily don’t cause dangerous side effects.

There are some mild reactions you may experience when you ingest too much CBD oil, such as dry mouth, changes in appetite, dizziness, and diarrhea.

However, when you use CBD on the skin, none of it reaches the bloodstream, so the above side effects are non-existent.

CBD topicals interact with your skin’s endocannabinoid receptors. From there, they bind to specific molecules and inhibit inflammation.

Again, check if you’re not allergic to your CBD cream by running a patch test.

Alternative & Complementary Treatments for Back Pain

Here are some alternative techniques that you can use instead — or along with — CBD cream to manage back pain:

  • Acupuncture – Acupuncture involves qualified practitioners putting needles inside different parts of the body. In a 2015 review of studies, acupuncture was touted for its ability to provide short-term relief from chronic back pain.
  • Massage – A 2016 case study involving a male patient with chronic back pain concluded that a 20-day massage period was able to improve the condition.
  • Spinal Manipulation – According to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, spinal manipulation may help relieve lower back pain, sciatica, and neck pain.
  • Exercise – Research shows that regular exercise, especially lifting weights, strengthens the back and may alleviate chronic back and neck pain.

CBD & Back Pain FAQ

1. Can you rub CBD oil on your back?

Theoretically, yes. But there’s no point in rubbing crude CBD oil on your back. That’s because there’s no fat base that could boost its absorption. As a result, only a tiny amount of CBD will interact with your skin’s endocannabinoid receptors. It’s a waste of money.

Instead, opt for CBD creams for back pain. They’re suspended in efficient fat bases that drastically improve their absorption and provide the skin with an additional layer of moisture and protection.

CBD cream also contains additional ingredients that have pain-relieving properties, such as menthol, arnica, or cayenne pepper.

2. How often should you apply CBD to a sore back?

You should apply CBD cream as needed. People don’t use CBD topicals for pain prevention but rather as a way to relieve localized discomfort.

Every time you experience a flare-up in your back, rub a generous amount of CBD cream onto the affected area. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions to get a therapeutic dose without using too much cream.

3. Can you use CBD cream for back pain during pregnancy?

Pregnancy is one of the few contraindications of using CBD. That’s because there are no studies that have examined the safety of CBD in pregnant and breastfeeding women. It’s also unethical to conduct such studies, so the final decision belongs to the mother — under the guidance of the doctor.

4. How long does it take for CBD cream to relieve back pain?

The time it takes to feel CBD’s effects depends on the formula. For example, products with more fats will absorb faster and may take around 20 minutes to kick in.

Other forms of topical CBD, such as gels, may need more time — up to 45 minutes. Look at the package to see if the manufacturer provided any instructions about the onset and duration of pain relief.

5. How Strong should CBD cream be to ease the pain?

CBD creams come in different strengths. The more CBD is in the cream, the stronger it is — which translates into stronger pain relief.

However, sometimes CBD alone isn’t enough to dampen pain, so companies often add supportive painkillers, such as arnica or menthol, to boost the overall strength of the product.

Start with a lower amount, and if you don’t feel any relief within an hour, reapply the cream with a more generous dose.

6. Are CBD products legal?

Cannabis laws are murky across the USA, but when it comes to CBD oils, the legal landscape is clear.

Hemp-derived CBD products are federally legal under the 2018 Farm Bill. The amended version of the Agricultural Act removed hemp from the list of controlled substances and reclassified it as an agricultural commodity.

However, marijuana-derived CBD is illegal at the federal level, but it may be legal in certain states. Always check the state laws you’re residing or traveling to before looking for marijuana-derived CBD creams.

Key Takeaways on the Best CBD Creams for Back Pain

CBD can effectively relieve localized pain and reduce inflammation. Whenever you feel sore from a workout or suffer from injury-related back pain, CBD creams may come in handy.

However, since no two CBD creams are made the same, you need to carefully choose your supplier to get a well-thought-out formula that’s free of contaminants.

On top of a high CBD strength, the formula in CBD creams for back pain should contain additional natural analgesics.

Always look for a third-party lab report to confirm the product’s potency and purity.

If you’re in a rush and don’t have the time to browse through the hundreds of CBD brands, use our recommendations from this article for the best CBD cream for back pain.

Sources:

  1. Costa, B., Giagnoni, G., Franke, C., Trovato, A. E., & Colleoni, M. (2004). Vanilloid TRPV1 receptor mediates the antihyperalgesic effect of the nonpsychoactive cannabinoid, cannabidiol, in a rat model of acute inflammation. British journal of pharmacology, 143(2), 247–250. https://doi.org/10.1038/sj.bjp.0705920
  2. Liou, G. I., Auchampach, J. A., Hillard, C. J., Zhu, G., Yousufzai, B., Mian, S., Khan, S., & Khalifa, Y. (2008). Mediation of cannabidiol anti-inflammation in the retina by equilibrative nucleoside transporter and A2A adenosine receptor. Investigative ophthalmology & visual science, 49(12), 5526–5531. https://doi.org/10.1167/iovs.08-2196
  3. Smith, T. H., Sim-Selley, L. J., & Selley, D. E. (2010). Cannabinoid CB1 receptor-interacting proteins: novel targets for central nervous system drug discovery?. British journal of pharmacology, 160(3), 454–466. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1476-5381.2010.00777.x
  4. Lowin, T., Tingting, R., Zurmahr, J. et al. Cannabidiol (CBD): a killer for inflammatory rheumatoid arthritis synovial fibroblasts. Cell Death Dis 11, 714 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41419-020-02892-1
  5. Kaplan, B. L., Springs, A. E., & Kaminski, N. E. (2008). The profile of immune modulation by cannabidiol (CBD) involves deregulation of nuclear factor of activated T cells (NFAT). Biochemical pharmacology, 76(6), 726–737. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.bcp.2008.06.022
  6. Mlost, J., Bryk, M., & Starowicz, K. (2020). Cannabidiol for Pain Treatment: Focus on Pharmacology and Mechanism of Action. International journal of molecular sciences, 21(22), 8870. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms21228870 [6]
  7. Xiong, W., Cui, T., Cheng, K., Yang, F., Chen, S. R., Willenbring, D., Guan, Y., Pan, H. L., Ren, K., Xu, Y., & Zhang, L. (2012). Cannabinoids suppress inflammatory and neuropathic pain by targeting α3 glycine receptors. The Journal of experimental medicine, 209(6), 1121–1134. https://doi.org/10.1084/jem.20120242
  8. Atalay, S., Jarocka-Karpowicz, I., & Skrzydlewska, E. (2019). Antioxidative and Anti-Inflammatory Properties of Cannabidiol. Antioxidants (Basel, Switzerland), 9(1), 21. https://doi.org/10.3390/antiox9010021 [8]
  9. Hammell, D. C., Zhang, L. P., Ma, F., Abshire, S. M., McIlwrath, S. L., Stinchcomb, A. L., & Westlund, K. N. (2016). Transdermal cannabidiol reduces inflammation and pain-related behaviours in a rat model of arthritis. European journal of pain (London, England), 20(6), 936–948. https://doi.org/10.1002/ejp.818 [9]
  10. Iffland, K., & Grotenhermen, F. (2017). An Update on Safety and Side Effects of Cannabidiol: A Review of Clinical Data and Relevant Animal Studies. Cannabis and cannabinoid research, 2(1), 139–154. https://doi.org/10.1089/can.2016.0034
  11. Liu, L., Skinner, M., McDonough, S., Mabire, L., & Baxter, G. D. (2015). Acupuncture for low back pain: an overview of systematic reviews. Evidence-based complementary and alternative medicine : eCAM, 2015, 328196. https://doi.org/10.1155/2015/328196 [11]
  12. Allen L. Case Study: The Use of Massage Therapy to Relieve Chronic Low-Back Pain. International Journal of Therapeutic Massage & Bodywork. 2016 Sep;9(3):27-30. DOI: 10.3822/ijtmb.v9i3.267. PMID: 27648110; PMCID: PMC5017818.
  13. National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health. (2022). Spinal Manipulation: What You Need to Know. NCCIH. Retrieved from: https://www.nccih.nih.gov/health/spinal-manipulation-what-you-need-to-know [13]
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Nina created CFAH.org following the birth of her second child. She was a science and math teacher for 6 years prior to becoming a parent — teaching in schools in White Plains, New York and later in Paterson, New Jersey.

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