CBD Cream for Pain: Does It Really Provide Pain Relief?

Cannabidiol (CBD) and the use of CBD products have increasingly gained popularity for their potential benefits. Many users take CBD because they believe in its powers for pain relief [1]. And while research is still in its infancy there are more and more publications backing the effects of CBD. One particularly versatile product allowing for targeted application in the realm of pain management and muscle relief is CBD cream. Sufferers of both acute and chronic pain conditions (such as back pain, joint discomfort and muscle soreness) often praise this CBD topical.

CBD pain creams are most times crafted with an additional range of natural ingredients to further promote relaxation, reduce inflammation and alleviate pain. As the UK and EU markets continue to embrace CBD products more consumers are discovering the power of organic CBD creams in supporting their overall well-being.

Key Takeaways

  • Users of CBD creams praise them for targeted, localized pain relief 
  • Research is ongoing but already supporting the claim that CBD can help with pain
  • Products like CBD relief cream, CBD balm and CBD salve often contain further beneficial ingredients


cbd cream pretty woman with plants


CBD Pain Cream: What Is It?

CBD pain cream (along with CBD lotion, CBD gel or other CBD pain relief topicals) is a skincare product infused with cannabidiol (CBD). Unlike its cousin tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) which is derived from marijuana, CBD is non-psychoactive and derived from the hemp plant. It does not cause the "high" associated with cannabis use [2]. CBD pain relief cream is specifically designed to provide targeted relief for various types of pain and discomfort (localized pain, such as arthritis and joint pain, muscle aches, tension and others). The idea is that when you use CBD cream for pain relief it penetrates the top layers of your skin and interacts with the body's endocannabinoid system (ECS) [3]. The ECS plays a crucial role in regulating many things - including pain perception, inflammation and other bodily functions. This makes CBD a popular choice for those seeking a natural alternative for pain relief [1].

When diving into the world of CBD products you will eventually come across a range of CBD oil and wonder how it's different to CBD cream. CBD oil is generally made with a food-grade carrier oil and aroma intended for internal use to provide a whole-body effect from the inside out. You certainly CBD oil on your skin but it will not be able to penetrate it as efficiently as a dedicated skincare formula. Plus the oil will be very greasy and potentially cause breakouts. CBD cream on the other hand is specifically formulated with multiple ingredients that help deliver CBD into the skin. It is designed for topical use where it can provide a localised effect from the outside in - targeting specific areas where it's applied.

If you're looking for a CBD skin cream you should consider factors like the CBD concentration, the presence of other beneficial ingredients like essential oils and any third-party lab testing to ensure quality and safety. Always follow the products usage instructions and start with a small amount to test its effects on your skin. But remember that while many people have found relief using CBD creams - most commonly available ones are not medical products. If you are planning to address any health concern with CBD it is always best to speak to your doctor first. This holds especially true if you are already receiving treatment in the form of prescription medication.


cbd cream


Does CBD Cream Work for Pain?

When you apply topical CBD cream it penetrates the skin and allows the CBD product to interact with the skin's endocannabinoid system. This mode of action is what is potentially contributing to localised relief. Indeed - research suggests that CBD is a promising candidate for reducing inflammation and pain in general. Let's take a closer look at some evidence:

  • CBD cream may be helpful for those with joint pain - and especially arthritis pain. A randomized controlled trial found that topical cream with cannabidiol could help with thumb basal joint arthritis [4].
  • Fibromyalgia pain is another area where cream containing CBD could offer potential benefits. While there is no specific study on CBD cream for this issue - the analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties of CBD (meaning it combats pain and inflammation) are well supported by science [5].
  • Another possible area of application of CBD cream is acute and chronic pain relief. A case series and literature review indicates that it might have antinociceptive and anti-inflammatory effects on certain types of pain [6].

As with any skincare or cosmetic product it's essential to be aware of potential side effects of CBD cream. Some people may experience mild side effects such as skin irritation or redness - not necessarily related to the CBD itself. CBD is generally considered safe when applied topically and if you are following the product's guidelines (and never apply it to broken skin or sensitive areas) the risk of adverse reactions should be minimised. Each individual's experience with CBD topicals may differ so it's important to start with a small amount and monitor your own results.


cbd cream pretty woman closing eyes


Best CBD Cream: What to Choose?

If you want to use a CBD product like CBD cream for pain it's vital to understand the different types of CBD available. Topical CBD products and CBD extracts themselves come in three main forms: full-spectrum CBD, broad-spectrum CBD and CBD isolate. Each type offers a unique CBD experience and your choice will depend on your individual needs and preferences. When selecting the best CBD cream for pain you should consider the type of CBD it contains.

Full spectrum CBD contains all the compounds found in the cannabis plant - including terpenes, flavonoids and even a small amount of THC (less than 0.2-0.3% to be legal in the UK and EU). It is believed that the presence of multiple cannabinoids and terpenes creates an "entourage effect" where all the compounds work together synergistically to amplify their benefits [7]. At Harmony we offer full spectrum in our top-rated CBD vaping product range and we also infused our skincare with natural terpenes [8]

Broad spectrum CBD is similar to full-spectrum but with one key difference: it contains no THC whatsoever. This type of CBD is ideal if you are concerned about drug testing or have an aversion to THC - but still want to benefit from other cannabis plant compounds. At Harmony we use broad-spectrum extract for our premium CBD oil range containing up to 3000 mg of CBD per bottle. 

CBD isolate is the purest form of CBD containing 99% or more of this single compound. It is excellent for those who want to focus on the benefits of CBD exclusively and widely used in many types of CBD products like CBD gummies, CBD e-liquids, CBD oils and CBD creams. Especially if you are new to CBD these products provide a great starting point to explore what kind of benefits CBD may provide to you personally.

In the UK and EU the options for CBD creams are abundant. Whether you are hoping for relief from joint pain, muscle pain or simply looking for a more natural approach to managing discomfort - CBD creams offer a promising solution. Remember to always look for a CBD brand you can trust. At Harmony we get our products tested and approved by third party labs so you can be sure they are safe and compliant. And while research is still ongoing and we can't make any specific claims - we truly believe that CBD has become a viable option to provide relief from pain as well as a promising tool for managing pain and inflammation.


cbd cream


Portrait of Anna Falk

written by

anna falk - head of product

As the Head of Product at Harmony, Dr Anna Falk leads the development of our products and provides expert tips for your wellness. With over 10 years of experience in the research and development of natural products, her work is based on rigorous scientific studies.

Anna is an award-winning, internationally published researcher with a PhD in Organic Chemistry. She applies her expertise to develop Harmony's certified products that support your overall well-being. From research to development, she ensures that our products are of the highest quality and meet the highest standards.

We ensure our content is current and accurate with strict guidelines about sourcing that rely on governmental authority, academic institutions and peer-reviewed studies..

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  • [2] Iseger TA, Bossong MG. A systematic review of the antipsychotic properties of cannabidiol in humans. Schizophr Res. 2015 Mar;162(1-3):153-61. link to source
  • [3] Río CD, Millán E, García V, Appendino G, DeMesa J, Muñoz E. The endocannabinoid system of the skin. A potential approach for the treatment of skin disorders. Biochem Pharmacol. 2018 Nov;157:122-133.link to source
  • [4] Heineman JT, Forster GL, Stephens KL, Cottler PS, Timko MP, DeGeorge BR Jr. A Randomized Controlled Trial of Topical Cannabidiol for the Treatment of Thumb Basal Joint Arthritis. J Hand Surg Am. 2022 Jul;47(7):611-620.link to source
  • [5] Larsen C, Shahinas J. Dosage, Efficacy and Safety of Cannabidiol Administration in Adults: A Systematic Review of Human Trials. J Clin Med Res. 2020 Mar;12(3):129-141. link to source
  • [6] Eskander JP, Spall J, Spall A, Shah RV, Kaye AD. Cannabidiol (CBD) as a treatment of acute and chronic back pain: A case series and literature review. J Opioid Manag. 2020 May/Jun;16(3):215-218link to source
  • [7] Ferber SG, Namdar D, Hen-Shoval D, Eger G, Koltai H, Shoval G, Shbiro L, Weller A. The "Entourage Effect": Terpenes Coupled with Cannabinoids for the Treatment of Mood Disorders and Anxiety Disorders. Curr Neuropharmacol. 2020;18(2):87-96.link to source
  • [8] Nuutinen T. Medicinal properties of terpenes found in Cannabis sativa and Humulus lupulus. Eur J Med Chem. 2018 Sep 5;157:198-228. link to source