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2023’s Best CBD Salve, Cream & Oils For Athletes

Lakshmi Vemuri

Updated on - Written by
Medically reviewed by Kathy Shattler, MS, RDN

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The pain relief properties and therapeutic benefits of CBD have gained a lot of attention. Thanks to scientific research. CBD has been reported[1] to have various psychological, biochemical, and physiological effects that provide a wide range of potential health benefits to athletes in sports performance. CBD pain relief creams have become part and parcel of athletes’ lives. Anyone who does high-impact sports or intense workouts can benefit from CBD pain creams. 

Everyone from martial art fighters, Olympic athletes, surfers, and cyclists is loving the effects of CBD. Former NFL players Rob Gronkowski, Tiki Barber, and Steve Smith have declared the usage of CBD and have partnered with CBD companies. 

More states are legalizing recreational and medicinal cannabis, and more CBD brands selling their products both online and in stores have made it more accessible. All kinds of athletes are getting their hands on CBD pain creams. CBD has already made it to athletes’ daily regimens due to its pain relief properties in treating sore muscles. 

Read on to find out the best CBD oil for athletes in 2023.

Best CBD Salve, Cream & Oils For Athletes (February. 2023)

Benefits Of CBD For Athletes 

An animal study and preliminary research review from 2020[2] suggests that CBD may reduce pain and inflammation and is a good alternative to medications for post-workout relief. This review also stated that CBD could protect against the inflammation that is linked to gastrointestinal damage. It can also speed up the healing process of skeletal injuries. Furthermore, it helps relieve anxiety and stress, which can boost mental performance during a physical workout. 

Animal studies[3] support the anti-inflammatory effects of CBD, whereas other researchers reported that CBD is an effective third-line therapy[4] for chronic pain that is not related to cancer. Read further to know the benefits of taking CBD.

CBD For Chronic Pain

Studies have reported that CBD is effective in reducing pain such as musculoskeletal pain from high-intensity physical activity and stiff joints. It also relieves pain due to arthritis. An oral spray derived from CBD[5], Sativex contains equal proportions of THC and CBD with anti-inflammatory analgesic, non-euphoriant, and endocannabinoid-modulating effects.

Canada approved Sativex in 2005 for treating central neuropathic pain in multiple sclerosis and in 2007 for cancer pain. Furthermore, many randomized clinical trials have reported the safety and efficacy of Sativex in peripheral and central neuropathic pain, cancer pain, and aches and pains due to rheumatoid arthritis. 

Cannabinoid analgesics have been well tolerated with acceptable adverse effects in clinical trials. Recent research[6] has shown the efficacy of CBD in reducing the endogenous pain response in mice with acute arthritic conditions. It further improved the healing of fractures. 

CBD As An Alternative To Non-Steroidal Anti-inflammatory Drugs 

Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are known to have potential side effects when used in the long term. For decades, athletes have been using over-the-counter NSAIDs such as Ibuprofen (Advil) and Naproxen sodium (Aleve). Due to the high risk of renal damage from non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, most athletes are asked to avoid them.

Moreover, NSAIDs may put you at risk of stroke or a heart attack on continuous usage. CBD is a boon to athletes suffering from chronic pain such as joint pain. CBD pain relief creams can be a great alternative to NSAIDs[7], and athletes can slowly eliminate or reduce the usage of NSAIDs for pain related to intense physical exercise.

The Line Up At A Glance

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Spruce CBD Salve Cream

Best Option

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  • Full-spectrum CBD extract
  • CBD strength of 1000mg and 2000mg
  • Immediate pain relief effect

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Joy Organics Premium CBD Cream

Best Instant Pain-Relieving Product

Joy Organics Premium CBD Cream

  • Supports healthy joints and muscles
  • THC free product
  • 500mg and 1000mg of broad-spectrum CBD

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CBDistillery CBDol Topical CBD Salve

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Go Green Hemp CBD Balm Salve

Best Targeted Pain Relief Balm

Go Green Hemp CBD Balm Salve

  • Broad-spectrum CBD extract
  • Ideal for massaging sore muscles
  • Third-party tested

Harmonious CBD Full Spectrum Oil Pain Salve

Best Full-Spectrum CBD Salve

Harmonious CBD Full Spectrum Oil Pain Salve

  • Full-spectrum CBD extract
  • Antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties
  • 500mg of CBD

Simply Pure Organic CBD Salve

Best Salve For Pain And Skin Conditions

Simply Pure Organic CBD Salve

  • Broad-spectrum CBD extract
  • 30-day refund policy
  • Third-party tested

7 Best CBD Salve, Cream & Oils

CBDfx Balm Stick Muscle & Joint

CBDfx Balm Stick Muscle & Joint for athletes

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If you are looking for CBD pain creams for mild to moderate pain to self-treat and soothe sore muscles, then CBDfx muscle balm is ideal for those minor discomfort and joint pain.

  • Broad-spectrum CBD
  • Third-party lab tested
  • Rich in anti-inflammatory properties
  • Non-GMO, gluten-free
  • 30-day money-back guarantee
  • Only sealed products can be returned
  • The website lacks information in detail

CBDfx was founded in 2014 and is based in California. CBDfx products are GMO-free, gluten-free, and vegan. CBDfx sources its hemp from the organic farms of Kentucky. CBDfx products are popular for their high-quality products in the CBD industry. 

CBDfx products are made of full-spectrum CBD. CBDfx products comply with FDA guidelines. 

CBDfx offers a wide range of products, such as CBD tinctures, CBD topicals, CBD vaping products, pet products, bathing bombs, drinks, topical CBD creams, CBD pain creams, and more.  

CBDfx uses CO2 extraction methods to produce high-quality CBD products. CBDfx offers free shipping all over the USA. If you are not satisfied with their products, do not worry; you are covered under their 30-day money-back guarantee. 

Coming to their muscle balm, it is one of the best CBD creams for pain. If you feel soreness in the muscles and joints or want to relax after an intense workout, this full-spectrum CBD will help soothe sore muscles. This CBD-infused herbal balm contains peppermint oil, camphor oil, wintergreen oil, and black pepper oil.

Spruce CBD Salve

Spruce CBD Salve Cream for athletes

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See Spruce CBD Reviews

If you are looking for a CBD cream with a good amount of CBD strength that can heal aches and pains then Spruce CBD salve is the right choice for you.

  • Full-spectrum CBD oil
  • Hemp sourced from Kentucky and North Carolina
  • Ethanol extraction method
  • Smells pleasant and mild
  • 100% natural ingredients
  • Need to subscribe to avail free shipping
  • Can do better with product and flavor range

Spruce CBD was started in 2018 and is based in North Carolina. Although spruce CBD is a new CBD brand it has gained popularity among people who love products made of all-natural ingredients. Spruce CBD sources its hemp from natural farms in Kentucky and North Carolina. Spruce CBD uses an ethanol extraction method to extract CBD. Their products are third-party lab-tested. Spruce CBD products are highly potent. Spruce CBD also offers a 30-day return policy if not satisfied with its products. 

Spruce CBD offers free shipping all over the USA. However, you need to subscribe to avail of free shipping. Their CBD salve is made of full-spectrum CBD oil and comes in two concentrations as 1000mg and 2000mg. This CBD cream contains olive oil, shea butter, beeswax, and MCT-rich coconut oil.  The consistency of this CBD pain cream is more oily and doesn’t have the texture of the cream. It blends easily into the skin and further absorbs, and helps relieve pain quickly.

Joy Organics Premium CBD Cream

Joy Organics Premium CBD Cream for athletes

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See Joy Organics Reviews

If you are looking for a CBD cream that can moisturize and yet work as a CBD pain relief cream that relieves pain in muscles and joints, then joy Organics CBD creams are the right choice.

  • USDA certified products
  • Fast-acting products
  • Third-party tested
  • THC free products
  • 30-day money-back guarantee
  • Expensive products
  • Small product range

Joy Organics was started in 2018 and is based in Fort Collins, Colorado. Joy Organics uses USDA-certified hemp. The U.S Department of Agriculture certifies their hemp as organic. Joy Organics products are THC-free. Their products are made with broad-spectrum and full-spectrum hemp extract. 

Their products are extracted using a supercritical CO2 extraction process. Joy Organics offers free shipping on all orders with a 30-day money-back guarantee. Their products undergo third-party lab testing, and to ensure purity and potency, their products are tested through three different labs. 

Joy Organics CBD creams for pain relief are made of high-quality CBD oil mixed with organic beeswax, aromatic essential oil, organic lavender essential oil, organic eucalyptus essential oil, and phytocannabinoid-rich hemp extract. The Certificate of Analysis (COA) is made available on their website. Their COA states that their products are free from pesticides, insecticides, microbes, and residual solvents.

CBDistillery CBDol Topical CBD Salve

CBDistillery CBDol Topical CBD Salve for athletes

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See CBDistillery Reviews

This full-spectrum hemp extract pain relief CBD cream is ideal if you are someone who does an intense workout or has a standing job that requires you to be on your feet for a long time.

  • Full-spectrum, broad-spectrum, and CBD isolate
  • US Hemp authority certified
  • cGMP certified
  • 60-days money-back guarantee
  • Fair and affordable pricing
  • Delayed refund process
  • Mobile web navigation

CBDistillery is known for its high-quality CBD products, and CBD pain cream is no exception. The U.S Hemp authority authorizes CBDistillery. They source their hemp from open-air farms in Colorado, Kentucky, and Oregon. CBDistillery is popular for its podcasts and #CBDMOVEMENT. Their products are made from GMO-free industrial hemp. They offer CBD in all three formulas such as full-spectrum, broad-spectrum and CBD isolate in different potencies. 

CBDistillery has a vast product line with CBD oils, CBD topicals, CBD soft gels and gummies, CBD pet products, and vape products. CBDistillery uses the CO2 extraction process to make full-spectrum and broad-spectrum hemp extract. Their products are cGMP certified.  Their products are tested by independent labs to ensure transparency among their consumers. CBDistillery offers free shipping on orders over $75. They offer a 60-days money-back guarantee.

Go Green Hemp CBD Balm Salve

This CBD cream is one of the best broad-spectrum CBD creams out there. This CBD pain cream is designed for specific area targeted relief.

  • Broad-spectrum hemp extract 
  • THC-free and non-GMO
  • Ideal for massaging
  • Pleasant smell
  • Ideal for sensitive skin
  • Expensive product
  • Details are not clear

Go Green Hemp was founded in 2016. Go Green Hemp sources their hemp grown on organically grown farms in Colorado. Their manufacturing unit is also located in Colorado. They use a supercritical CO2 extraction process and liquid chromatography method to remove the THC and make zero THC relief balm. Go Green Hemp also uses nanoemulsion technology to make soft gels and nano tinctures. Nanoemulsion formulas are known for better absorption.

Each batch of Go Green Hemp products is tested by an independent lab called Botanacor, which is an ISO17025-compliant lab. Their raw CBD oils are tested for heavy metals, potency, microbes, pesticides, and residual solvents. At the same time, their final CBD oils are tested for cannabinoid profile and potency of the final CBD product. The COA can be accessed by scanning the QR code on the product package. Their product range consists of CBD edibles, CBD topical cream, skin relief CBD cream for sensitive skin, pet products, and tinctures.

Harmonious CBD Full Spectrum Oil Pain Salve

If you are looking for a zero-THC restorative lotion to treat your muscles and joints, then harmonious CBD offers the best CBD pain cream.

  • Full-spectrum and CBD isolate
  • CO2 extraction method
  • Supports various fundraisers
  • Affiliate marketing programs 
  • 30-day return policy
  • Less product collection
  • Their website lacks details

Harmonious CBD is based in Sparks, Nevada, and was founded in 2018. They source their hemp from Colorado. Harmonious CBD offers full-spectrum, and CBD isolates products. Their product line contains a wide range of CBD concentrations.  Harmonious CBD uses a CO2 extraction process to extract CBD oil. Their products undergo third-party lab testing, and a certificate of analysis is made available on their website. They also offer affiliate marketing programs. 

Their product range consists of CBD salves, CBD isolate, lip balm, and pet products. They offer a 30-day money-back guarantee. Their CBD salves are made of full-spectrum hemp seed oil, coconut oil, sunflower seed oil, aloe vera leaf juice extract, and more. The packaging of this CBD pain cream contains a clear list of cannabinoids present in it.

Simply Pure Organic CBD Salve

If you are looking for a topical CBD cream that nourishes your skin along with having pain relief properties, then simply pure has the best CBD pain cream.

  • Broad-spectrum hemp-derived extract
  • Great for sensitive skin
  • 30-day refund policy
  • Vegan and gluten-free product
  • Independent lab tested
  • Available only in a single jar
  • They sell only within the U.S

Simply Pure CBD is one of the popular recreational marijuana dispensaries in Denver. Simply Pure was founded in 2010. Simply Pure CBD is owned by African Americans, and buying simply Pure products is a great way to support a black-owned business. Simply Pure offers a wide range of products made of broad-spectrum CBD. 

Their products are tested by third-party labs for purity and potency. Simply Pure CBD salve is made of broad-spectrum CBD oil along with lavender essential oil and eucalyptus oil. They offer free shipping on orders over $35. Simply Pure CBD pain cream can be used as general skincare topical CBD cream and also as a pain cream to soothe sore muscles and joints.

How To Choose The Best CBD Products For Athletes?

Always look for the certifications and the manufacturing process of the company. Then check the potency, overall ingredient list to look for other ingredients for added benefit in pain relief. You should look for some of the important indicators, such as brand reputation and customer reviews. In addition to this, check if the company has received any warning letters from the Food and Drug Administration. 

A good CBD brand mentions the ingredients clearly and makes it easy to find the COA and lab reports easily. Look for a product that comes with a clear COA. Go through the COA thoroughly and look for cannabinoid profiling, terpene analysis, microbiological testing, and tests for heavy metals, contaminants, and residual solvents. 

Look for the companies that maintain utmost transparency by clearly stating their hemp source, manufacturing process, extraction methods, third-party lab tests, and detailed Certificate of Analysis.

How To Use CBD Salve & Cream For Athletes?

Apply a small amount of salve onto the affected area of the skin, massage it thoroughly and let it absorb. Start with a small amount and slowly increase the dose until you experience the desired effects since there aren’t any precise dosage suggestions for CBD. It’s best to go with the dosage suggestions advised by the doctor or the CBD brand.

Potential Side Effects

As per research[8], CBD has very few side effects and is considered pretty safe when used. However, there are a few potential side effects such as diarrhea, fatigue, appetite changes, and changes in body weight. If you are prescribed any other medications, it’s best to take a doctor’s advice before starting with CBD, as CBD has the potential to interact with medications. Lastly, do not apply topical CBD products to broken skin.

The Bottom Line

Topical CBD products are a great alternative to NSAIDs and painkillers. However, it’s best to avoid using all kinds of CBD topicals before drug tests as minor amounts of THC may show up in the drug test. It’s best to incorporate topical CBD pain creams for the ones whose job calls for intense physical activity or if someone suffers from muscle and joint pain. It’s best to go with a broad-spectrum or CBD isolate if you are looking for THC-free products.

Frequently Asked Questions

 Is CBD legal for athletic events?

The World Anti-Doping Agency eliminated CBD from the list of prohibited substances. But, major athletic organizations and sports leagues except for the major league baseball still prohibit the usage of THC.

Does CBD show up in the drug test?

It’s best to avoid all kinds of CBD products before the drug test, as even the minor amounts of THC in the product might turn the result positive in the test.


+ 8 sources

Health Canal avoids using tertiary references. We have strict sourcing guidelines and rely on peer-reviewed studies, academic researches from medical associations and institutions. To ensure the accuracy of articles in Health Canal, you can read more about the editorial process here

  1. McCartney, D., Benson, M.J., Desbrow, B., Irwin, C., Suraev, A. and McGregor, I.S. (2020). Cannabidiol and Sports Performance: a Narrative Review of Relevant Evidence and Recommendations for Future Research. Sports Medicine – Open, [online] 6(1). Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7338332/.
  2. ‌McCartney, D., Benson, M.J., Desbrow, B., Irwin, C., Suraev, A. and McGregor, I.S. (2020). Cannabidiol and Sports Performance: a Narrative Review of Relevant Evidence and Recommendations for Future Research. Sports Medicine – Open, [online] 6(1). Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7338332/.
  3. ‌Nagarkatti, P., Pandey, R., Rieder, S.A., Hegde, V.L. and Nagarkatti, M. (2009). Cannabinoids as novel anti-inflammatory drugs. Future Medicinal Chemistry, [online] 1(7), pp.1333–1349. Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2828614/.
  4. ‌Johal, H., Vannabouathong, C., Chang, Y., Zhu, M. and Bhandari, M. (2020). Medical cannabis for orthopaedic patients with chronic musculoskeletal pain: does evidence support its use? Therapeutic Advances in Musculoskeletal Disease, [online] 12, p.1759720X2093796. Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7333482/.
  5. ‌Russo, E. (2008). Cannabinoids in the management of difficult to treat pain. Therapeutics and Clinical Risk Management, [online] Volume 4, pp.245–259. Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2503660/.
  6. Gusho, C.A. and Court, T. (2020). Cannabidiol: A Brief Review of Its Therapeutic and Pharmacologic Efficacy in the Management of Joint Disease. Cureus. [online] Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7176325/.
  7. ‌Nagarkatti, P., Pandey, R., Rieder, S.A., Hegde, V.L. and Nagarkatti, M. (2009). Cannabinoids as novel anti-inflammatory drugs. Future Medicinal Chemistry, [online] 1(7), pp.1333–1349. Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2828614/.
  8. Iffland, K. and 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, [online] 2(1), pp.139–154. Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5569602/.
Lakshmi Vemuri

Medically reviewed by:

Kathy Shattler

Lakshmi Vemuri holds a bachelor’s degree in Dentistry. She is also a published author of several Food and Wellness books. Lakshmi has a profound interest in alternative medicines, various forms of physical exercise, mental health, diets, and new inventions in medical sciences. Besides being a dentist, Lakshmi is passionate about gardening and is an environmental enthusiast

Medically reviewed by:

Kathy Shattler

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