There is increasing evidence to suggest that when applied topically, CBD can be really effectively absorbed by the skin. This has led to a number of CBD brands launching topical products such as CBD muscle balms.
Over the last year in particular, using these CBD balms to help relax and repair muscles has grown enormously in popularity. We've seen a number of high profile athletes claiming that regular use of CBD muscle balm has helped them with recovery, for example, we saw rugby player Finn Russell invest in a topical CBD brand because he saw massive improvements in muscle recovery after consistent use. He thinks that CBD products could soon become a staple part of any rugby player's match preparation.
We've also seen recent CBD studies that show promising results in treating pain related to injury. For example, a 2021 randomized controlled trial by scientists in Australia showed how CBD can be used to treat pain in humans.
We thought it would be useful to explore a bit more about what makes CBD muscle balm such a good product, and where you can buy it from. Let's get into it:
As we mentioned in our introduction, it's only more recently that more evidence has emerged to show that CBD can be effectively absorbed by the skin to benefit the muscles. For example, a study published by the European Journal of Pain showed that when applied topically, CBD can inhibit inflammatory and neuropathic pain, 2 of the most difficult and most common types of chronic pain. These results came from an animal study but it certainly looks promising for humans.
So although there are clear benefits to using CBD muscle balm based on the science of how CBD relaxes and repairs the muscles, it is also worth mentioning that we believe there will be a large amount of "placebo effect" at play here too. Many CBD brands appear to mix their CBD muscle balms with ingredients like menthol and peppermint oil. We believe that this is done to create a "tingling" effect which makes the balm feel like it is working more than it might actually be. This is just our opinion and perhaps we have our conspiracy hat on here, but it does make some sense to us!
Often the source of muscle pain is inflammation, and one of the great advantages of using CBD for muscle pain is that CBD can be great for dealing with inflammation. As outlined by Melissa Groves Azzaro, RDN, LD in this article:
“CBD is a potent anti-inflammatory agent. We have cannabinoid receptors throughout our immune system, so targeting those receptors can help reduce inflammation… CBD is also an antioxidant, which means it can help repair cell damage caused by oxidative stress.” Furthermore, “CBD is an effective treatment for anxiety and insomnia. It just helps calm the body down in general.”
It's great to see prominent figures providing their insight and backing.
This is the big question - if you have pain in your muscles, are you best to use a CBD muscle balm or would we recommend a different type of CBD product? The truth is that we'd always recommend the use of a CBD product that you consume rather than one that you apply topically. This is because we know that CBD is most effective when it reaches the bloodstream, and the best way to get CBD into the bloodstream quickly is to use an oil or a paste and consume the product sublingually (under the tongue). So even though it might seem like a sensible idea to "spot treat" pain with a CBD muscle balm, you're actually better to try a CBD oil or paste.
Having said that, we cannot deny the impact of the so-called placebo effect. It is such an important element to consider when looking at health products, and the reality is that despite the effect being entirely imagined, it does actually have an impact on pain relief! Countless studies have shown that the placebo effect has a very real impact on pain. So you could argue that using a CBD muscle balm to spot treat pain is actually more effective than consuming a CBD product, simply because of the placebo effect. Humans are strange creatures!
Lastly, we wanted to mention the texture of mos CBD muscle balms - the video below shows the sort of jelly texture that the balms we tried have. If you're not a fan of that sort of texture then perhaps give these CBD muscle balms a miss!
There are lots of brands in the UK that have focused their entire product range around topical CBD products like muscle balms, and these brands have quickly established themselves as the best brands to buy from. Here is a selection of the best brands to buy CBD muscle from in the UK:
The CBD muscle balm from Vitality CBD is one of the best products you can buy for topical CBD application, plus you can find it on most high streets (in Boots stores). They've managed to pack 300mg of CBD into this 50ml tub which is a pretty dosage, plus the balm has a pleasant tingle but isn't overpowering. It's made with lavender oil which gives it a nice scent too. Definitely give this muscle balm a try.
How much? £29.99 per tub
CBDiablo Muscle Gels
This brand has become one of the most popular brands in the UK and have just launched a new range of 'CBD Power Balms'. We had the opportunity to check them out and we're really happy with the product. It seems that lots of others are sharing their love on social medias.
The brand has two types of muscle rub, warming and cooling balm with 500mg of broad-spectrum CBD (and zero THC for sports people).
How much? a 100ml bottle is £30
We have used Tiger balm for years, and it is still one of the best after work out balms you can buy. It has been around for decades and it will be around for decades more. It does seem that CBD guru have made the traditional Tiger Balm even better by adding 500mgs of CBD.
CBD Guru has 2 CBD balms within their range, both of which are intended to help with muscle aches and pains but we're big fans of the tiger balm which has a soothing effect.
How much? £19.99 per tub
We mentioned that Scottish rugby player Finn Russell had invested in a brand selling CBD muscle balm, and that brand is actually Glasgow-based Pure Sport CBD. We actually had our review featured on their website once upon a time which we're very proud of! Their CBD Muscle & Joint balm contains 1000mg of CBD but contains no THC. Definitely check it out!
How much? £42.99 per tub
Naturecan has 3 different CBD balms on their website, including the slightly scary-sounding 'Chill Heat' muscle balm that contains 1000mg of CBD. Better watch where you apply that one!
It's nice to see that this is a broad spectrum CBD balm, meaning you don't just get the benefits of the CBD but you also get some of the other plant goodness like terpenes. It's also great to see that this balm is third-party lab tested.
How much is it? £39.99 for the 100ml tub, £12.99 for the 30ml tub.
Cannaray is a popular CBD topical brand based in the UK, and we're big fans of their muscle balm. Containing 250mg of CBD in a 60ml tub means it isn't really strong, but it does include other natural ingredients like Shea Butter and Eucalyptus. It's totally THC-free too making it a good choice for athletes.
How much is it? £28 for a 60ml tub
We're impressed that the FourFive CBD Muscle Rub is BSCG certified, but we were less impressed that it only contains 300mg of CBD isolate. In saying that, this is still a good choice for athletes who want a totally THC-free balm that they can use to help with recovery. It's also lab tested and made with 100% natural ingredients. You can currently buy this product via Amazon in the UK or from Boots. We reviewed the product in more detail within our FourFive CBD review.
How much is it? £30 for a 45ml tub
We've included the CBD muscle gel from Boots because it is quite a cheap option and is readily available, but if you're visiting Boots we'd definitely recommend going for the Vitality muscle rub instead. This muscle gel is THC-free so is ideal for athletes.
How much is it? £16 for a 50ml bottle
CBD muscle balm is quickly growing in popularity and athletes are jumping on the bandwagon in spades. If you're experiencing muscle pain then we'd recommend you give CBD muscle balm a try!
This guide was published by the CBD Bible team. We publish hundreds of guides every month, feel free to explore our website for more reviews and CBD guides.