Many of us have experimented with various CBD products that are administered internally.  But, if you haven’t given CBD topicals a try, you don’t know what you’re missing. Topicals infused with cannabidiol (CBD) offer an entirely new way to experience the significant value of the hemp plant, as this product type works in a localized, targeted way rather than dispersing the property-rich cannabinoids and terpenes widely throughout the body. 

CBD salves are applied to the skin, where they quickly absorb into the joints and muscles of the body. Their effects remain localized to where they were applied, which allows CBD to offer a more concentrated serving of its beneficial effects directly to the deep tissue that’s inflamed or otherwise in discomfort. In other words, a salve may be the best option for you if you’re struggling with a specific area of the body that’s in need of some TLC.

Of all of the topical types in this industry, CBD salves continue to reign supreme.  They absorb quickly, act fast, and rarely leave behind an unpleasant residue.  Almost exclusively made with naturally derived ingredients, these are a must-have in your holistic arsenal.

Our Top 5 CBD Salve Brands

With there now being hundreds of CBD oil brands out there to choose from, you can imagine that it wasn’t easy coming with the four very best ones throughout the ever-growing industry.  But, by applying the same general standards to each CBD oil brand that we researched, we were able to narrow it down to these premium companies below.  We looked at every factor imaginable to find what can only be considered as the very best of the best.

How We Chose the Best CBD Salves

A lot of companies that manufacture CBD-infused products offer a salve nowadays, since demand for this product type has grown significantly over the last few years.  That means that the current hemp market provides what’s essentially an endless variety of salve-based products that all promise to be the most effective for pain and other types of discomfort. 

Naturally, this made it quite difficult for us to narrow down just brands that are producing the best CBD salves out there.  We wanted to ensure that the ones selected guaranteed overall quality, safety, top-notch ingredients, and effective cannabidiol.  These are the list of factors to look for, which helped us really zone in on the top products available.

  • Hemp Source: We researched different CBD brands to determine how they source the raw hemp material that is used to produce their salves.  A company should always strive to use hemp that’s grown organically, as it’s pesticide-free, and it’s equally preferable that it’s grown in the United States, where it will be subjected to higher farming standards, and is more likely to be fresh due to less travel.
  • Active Ingredients: Naturally, the primary active ingredient in a CBD salve is CBD.  But, companies can add other active ingredients to their formulas which increase their effectiveness.  Examples include menthol, a plant-based cooling agent, and essential oils known to offer anti-inflammatory or analgesic effects. 
  • Strength: In order to benefit from the CBD that’s in a salve formula, there needs to be a high enough concentration of hemp extract.  We closely examined the milligram strengths of CBD in different salve formulas to determine which ones are potent enough to deliver results.
  • Extraction Method: How the desirable compounds of the hemp plant are extracted from the raw plant material is actually extremely important.  Basically, some extraction methods yield higher-quality results than others.  CO2 extraction is typically regarded as the best method available, as it ensures the highest chemical stability, purity, potency and bioavailability compared to less ideal methods that rely on solvents, etc.
  • COA Availability: All CBD products must contain hemp extract that has been lab-tested by a third-party laboratory that is registered with their state, and authorized to analyze hemp material.  This is the only way for brands to provide customers with objective information pertaining to quality, purity and safety of their CBD.  Therefore, we only chose brands that make the certificate of analysis, also known as lab reports, available through their website.
  • Brand Reputation: Brand reputation is extremely important, as the market is so competitive that it takes a lot for a particular CBD manufacturer to really stand out and dazzle the community of hemp enthusiasts.  We looked at reviews and general online presence to make sure that the brands we selected have exceptional reputations for their products as well as their overall practices.
  • Price: We wanted to break the stereotype that to get high-quality CBD products, you need to break your budget.  We looked at the price points that different companies offer, to ensure that there are options for customers who demand only the most effective and highest-quality salves, yet understandably don’t want to pay more than they’re comfortable with.

The 5 Best CBD Salves to Buy in 2022

#1: FAB CBD – Best Overall Salve

Overall, FAB CBD is a clear winner, offering one of the most sought-after salves on today’s market.  The brand is renowned for their quality standards which translate to products that are effective and generally safe to use.  Working strictly with organic, locally sourced hemp, they utilize advanced extraction methods that yield highly bioavailable CBD extracts.  Plus, they only use naturally sourced ingredients to formulate their products.  FAB offers a large selection of products so that there’s something for everyone.  In addition to salves, they offer tinctures, gummies, pet products, and more.

FAB CBD Highlights:

  • Organic hemp
  • Exceptional extraction techniques
  • Plant-based formulas
  • Large product selection
  • Maximum bioavailability

The CBD Salve from FAB CBD

Available in 1oz and 2.5oz sizes, FAB CBD Salve contains 1000 milligrams of full spectrum hemp per ounce, alongside naturally derived ingredients that soothe the skin and offer beneficial properties alongside the hemp’s compounds.  Meanwhile, the roll-on applicator offers a mess-free approach to applying the product throughout the day, while its non-sticky, non-greasy formula absorbs almost instantly.

Source of Hemp: Colorado

CBD Potency and Type: 1000mg per ounce / full spectrum hemp

Additional Ingredients: Cinnamon, menthol, ginger, rosemary, lavender, eucalyptus, peppermint, tea tree, lemongrass

Extraction Method: CO2 extraction

3rd Party Lab Reports: Proverde Labs

Pros:

  • Full spectrum hemp extract
  • 2 sizes
  • Enriched with essential oils
  • Heating and cooling effects
  • All-natural

Cons:

  • No international shipping

#2: Joy Organics – Best Organic Salve

Female-owned Joy Organics lives up to its name with 100% organic formulas that are free of pesticides and other unwanted byproducts associated with conventional, chemical-based farming methods.  The brand is renowned for their transparency and quality standards, which is why they remain one of the top names in the business.  Joy Organics’ friendly and knowledgeable customer service team strives to educate customers about the benefits of the hemp plant, while the company has a huge selection of CBD formulas including capsules, pet products and energy drinks.  Their use of top-of-the-line extraction methods and clean ingredients ensures fully holistic yet highly effective formulas.

Joy Organics Highlights:

  • 100% organic
  • Clean, natural ingredients
  • Friendly customer service
  • Large product selection
  • Transparent

The CBD Salve from Joy Organics  

Joy Organics’ CBD Salve is a THC-free formula that blends together CBD with essential oils to offer extensive, highly soothing plant properties to your aches and pains.  Available in 1 and 2oz jars, this salve melts on contact without leaving behind a greasy or sticky residue of any kind.  Made with 100% organic, naturally derived ingredients, it’s simply one of the cleanest topicals on the market, period.  And, it smells absolutely heavenly thanks to the essential oils that have been carefully selected.

Source of Hemp: United States

CBD Potency and Type: 1000mg per ounce / broad spectrum hemp

Additional Ingredients: Lavender, eucalyptus

Extraction Method: CO2 extraction

3rd Party Lab Reports: Stillwater Laboratories

Pros:

  • Two sizes
  • Fully organic
  • Plant-based ingredients
  • Cooling effect (eucalyptus)
  • THC-free

Cons:

  • One strength available

#3: CBDistillery – Best Budget-Friendly Salve

One of the most recognized brands out there is CBDistillery, who is known for their wide selection of top-notch CBD products as well as their uniquely affordable prices that reflect the amount of manufacturing that the brand does fully in house.  CBDistillery has a massive catalog offering a wide array of gummies, oils, topicals and more, with a noted interest in exploring alternative cannabinoids like CBN and CBG as well.  Basically, whatever it is you want from the hemp plant, this brand has a product that can complete your routine.

CBDistillery Highlights:

  • Huge catalog of products
  • Various cannabinoid-specific formulas
  • Minimal ingredients
  • Very affordable
  • Fast shipping

The CBD Salve from CBDistillery

CBDistillery’s CBD salve offers a full ounce in an airtight jar, containing 500mg total of full spectrum hemp extract blended with a rich variety of naturally derived ingredients including essential oils and other herbal/botanical extracts.  It’s a highly moisturizing formula as well which can soothe and soften the skin with each application.  Overall, it’s an excellent choice, and one that’s going to fit within most individuals’ budgets easily.

Source of Hemp: United States

CBD Potency and Type: 500mg per ounce / full spectrum hemp

Additional Ingredients: Wintergreen, peppermint, arnica, chamomile, white willow bark, frankincense, green tea, cinnamon, aloe vera, rosemary  

Extraction Method: CO2 extraction

3rd Party Lab Reports: ACS Laboratory

Pros:

  • Full spectrum CBD
  • Variety of essential oils
  • Cooling effect
  • Clean ingredients
  • Domestically sourced hemp

Cons:

  • Lower milligram strength

#4: Cheef Botanicals – Best Full Spectrum Salve

Cheef Botanicals has been an extremely sought-after brand since they first launched thanks to their superb standards when it comes to every aspect of manufacturing, starting with the sourcing of their hemp plant and ending with how they package their all-natural formulas.  They use 25 years of experience in organic foods to select their ingredients carefully and ethically as well.  Meanwhile, the California-based company ensures that everything in their massive catalog is vegan, while they constantly add new formulas to their inventory including pet products, concentrates, CBG products and more.

Cheef Botanicals Highlights:

  • Diverse product catalog
  • Local, organic hemp
  • 100% vegan
  • All-natural ingredients
  • Transparent

The CBD Salve from Cheef Botanicals

Cheef Botanicals’ CBD salve comes in a few strengths, all in a 1 ounce jar that has an airtight seal to ensure maximum freshness.  Made with full spectrum hemp extract, their salve is rich in beneficial plant derivatives that work hard to provide relief to the skin, muscles and joints, all while absorbing quickly into the skin to deliver results as quickly as possible.

Source of Hemp: Colorado

CBD Potency and Type: 500mg, 1000mg or 2000mg per ounce / full spectrum hemp

Additional Ingredients: Calendula, fennel, peppermint, frankincense, vitamin E

Extraction Method: CO2 extraction

3rd Party Lab Reports: CannaSafe

Pros:

  • Clean, minimal ingredients
  • Full spectrum hemp extract
  • 3 milligram strengths to choose from
  • Organic
  • Enhanced with essential oils

Cons:

  • No cooling effect

#5: Premium Jane – Best Cooling Salve

Premium Jane is an Arizona-based CBD brand that is known for their involvement of top hemp experts in all aspects of their manufacturing, hence their reputation for providing some of the most effective products possible.  They offer a generous selection of CBD products to accommodate every need, all while ensuring that each and every formula is infused with the finest natural and fully vegan ingredients possible.

Premium Jane Highlights:

  • Nice product selection
  • Organic, local hemp
  • Made by experts in the field
  • Natural ingredients
  • Vegan formulas

The CBD Salve from Premium Jane

Premium Jane’s CBD salve is unique in that it pairs 750mg CBD with 225mg CBG, another hemp cannabinoid that is known for its anti-inflammatory activity.  Available in a 2oz jar, it offers nothing but plant-based ingredients that can soothe the skin and introduce benefits into the deep tissue.  It glides on easily and absorbs fast to provide its effects within minutes, all while leaving behind moisturized, glowing skin.

Source of Hemp: Kentucky

CBD Potency and Type: 750mg (plus 225mg CBG) per 2 ounces / full spectrum hemp

Additional Ingredients: Eucalyptus, lavender, clove, MSM

Extraction Method: CO2 extraction

3rd Party Lab Reports: Ace Analytical Laboratory

Pros:

  • Enhanced with essential oils
  • Full spectrum hemp extract
  • 225mg CBG
  • Organic, local hemp  
  • Clean, plant-based formula

Cons:

  • Lower strength of CBD

What are CBD Salves?

A CBD salve is a type of topical that is infused with hemp extract.  By definition, salves are healing ointments meant to be applied to the skin, which use a base formula of plant-derived oils and waxes, and sometimes butters.  The difference between a salve and a balm is that salves contain lower levels of wax, and higher levels of oils.

CBD salves are meant to absorb through the tissue of the skin to permeate the deep tissue below, therefore offering the beneficial properties of cannabidiol to the tissue of the muscles and joints.  They also benefit the skin, since they are quite moisturizing, and because cannabidiol’s properties can be beneficial to the skin overall.

How are CBD Salves Made?

In general, CBD salves can be made with various ingredients and manufacturing processes, but they all share certain things in common.  They all, of course, begin with hemp, which is run through an extraction process to derive an oil-soluble extract that’s rich in beneficial hemp-derived compounds, including a high concentration of cannabidiol (CBD).

The hemp extract is then blended with ingredients to develop a standard salve formula, with the company selecting various plant-derived oils, waxes and butters to ensure the ideal consistency.  From there, companies may include other ingredients like essential oils, menthol or herbal extracts to enhance the desirable properties of the formula.

CBD Salves vs. Balms vs. Creams: How They Differ

The CBD topicals market offers various formula types, with salves being just one type.  So, how do salves compare to the two other most popular types of formulas, which are creams and balms?

CBD Salves vs. CBD Balms

Like we touched upon earlier, the difference between salves and balms mainly has to do with their wax content.  Beeswax is the most common wax used in these products, and balms have a higher wax to oil ratio, which gives them a thicker consistency.  Because of this, balms are more associated with the skin than the deep muscles, as the higher presence of wax gives the molecules of the formula a larger size that doesn’t absorb through the skin as effectively, but rather stays within the skin tissue.

CBD Salves vs. CBD Creams

Salves and creams have two completely different consistencies.  While salves are oily and waxy, and usually have a transparent amber color, creams are emulsified, which makes them opaque, and a white-ish color.  Creams are more moisturizing as these emulsifying agents are also extremely rich in moisture.  They take longer to absorb through the skin because of their molecular size, and are generally richer formulas.

Why CBD Salves are the Better Option for Pain 

Salves absorb through the skin in the most effective manner due to their molecular size, which allows them to reach the muscle and joint tissue quickly and efficiently.  They sink beneath the skin almost immediately after application, as the oily and waxy consistency melts from the natural heat of our skin.  And, they still offer benefits to the skin as well, as some of the CBD remains within the skin tissue.

How Exactly Do Salves Work Against Pain and Inflammation?

To appreciate the effect that a CBD salve can have on pain and inflammation, we need to appreciate the role that the endocannabinoid system has when it comes to addressing pain and discomfort.  The endocannabinoid system is located in the body of every mammal, and its job is to keep us in homeostasis.  Primarily, the endocannabinoid system (ECS) consists of a network of cannabinoid receptors found in all systems of the body, with each receptor regulating a particular bodily function, whether it be the management of inflammation, mood, digestive function, etc.

Cannabinoid receptors cannot perform these regulatory tasks unless they are fed cannabinoids like CBD.  Cannabinoids bond to these receptors, giving them the ability to fulfill their regulatory duties.  With topicals like salve-based products, we’re applying cannabinoids directly to local cannabinoid receptors, rather than consuming them orally, which causes them to be spread widely throughout the body.  This means that topicals really zero in on local areas of the body that are inflamed or in general pain.

We’ve known for decades that cannabinoids found in hemp offer anti-inflammatory properties.  This is because they can attach to CB2 receptors that play a role in regulating local inflammatory response.  Applying cannabinoids directly to inflamed tissue of the body offers a more concentrated administration of these effects, as the cannabinoids remain local to where the topical was applied. Many arthritis sufferers turn to CBD topicals for this reason.

The Science Behind CBD Salves

We’ve explained the physiological process that allows CBD salves and other topicals to provide anti-inflammatory benefits in a localized way.  But, as it turns out, this is a lot more than just a recent theory.  CBD was discovered in 1965, and has been studied intensively ever since, by clinical researchers wishing to learn more about its various benefits and useful applications.  One study in particular has clearly demonstrated that when CBD is applied to the skin, it can effectively bring down inflammation in local deep tissue.  The study further demonstrated that when applied topically, CBD can reduce pain response.

Other Popular Benefits of Using CBD Salves

It’s worth noting that while CBD salves are primarily used to target pain and inflammation within the deep tissue, that’s not all that they can offer.  The same anti-inflammatory properties that can lead to reduced pain levels in the muscles and joints are also capable of reducing inflammation of the skin, with studies showing that when CBD interacts with cannabinoid receptors in the skin tissue, it may be able to reduce symptoms of inflammatory skin disorders such as eczema and psoriasis. 

Another study found that CBD offers sebostatic properties in addition to its anti-inflammatory properties, which may be a promising finding for those who have acne.  Sebostatic agents work to regulate sebum production within the pores.  Acne is commonly caused by the overproduction of sebum, which clogs pores and leads to infection.  The swelling, redness and tenderness of pimples comes from the resulting inflammation following infection.  The sebostatic potential of CBD would prevent the overproduction of sebum before it has a chance to result in acne.

How to Properly Use a CBD Salve

CBD salves are extremely easy to use, especially when compared to most other types of CBD products.  Instead of measuring out an exact dosage amount, the goal is to fully cover the affected area with a thin layer of product.  Then, massage it in until it’s mostly absorbed.  CBD salves typically take between 5-20 minutes to become effective, and the effects tend to last for somewhere around 6 hours.

Can You Use CBD Salves as an Athlete?

CBD salves can actually be uniquely useful to athletes, with many of today’s professional athletes swear by them daily.  Because of their targeted effectiveness, they can be extremely helpful to those who are trying to alleviate pain and discomfort within specific regions of the deep tissue.  Athletes are prone to muscle and joint pain due to overexertion and injury, and salves can bring down inflammation levels to both prevent further injury and soothe soreness that interferes with performance.

In particular, many athletes find CBD salves useful when recovering from training.  After we train our bodies, our muscles and joints need time to repair themselves as microdamage done to the tissue must heal.  CBD salves may provide concentrated doses of anti-inflammatory agents to these areas so that they can repair themselves more quickly.

Known Side Effects of Using CBD Salves

CBD salves are less likely to cause any side effects than orally consumed CBD products, which are already considered generally safe.  Because the effects are local to the deep tissue where applied, there are no side effects related to grogginess, dizziness, dry mouth, and other mild, temporary effects that some people may experience with orally consumed CBD product types like gummies and tinctures.

In fact, the rare side effects that may be experienced with topicals usually come from ingredients in the formula other than cannabidiol.  As of now, there are no known side effects of applying CBD to the skin, but some people may have allergies or sensitivities to certain ingredients with which the CBD is combined, such as certain herbal extracts or essential oils.  These products are not inherently harmful, but if a person does have an allergy or sensitivity to them, they may experience irritation, rash, itching, and redness.

Things to Look Out for When Buying CBD Salves

Some CBD salves on the market are higher in quality than others, which is why you will need to pay attention to specific factors when shopping for a salve formula.

  1. Active Ingredients: Look for salves that contain additional plant-derived actives like menthol, ginger, lavender and rosemary, which can all contribute to relief from physical, local discomfort.
  2. Third-Party Test Results: We recommend that you never consider buying CBD products from a company that doesn’t make third-party lab reports accessible on their website.  Earlier on, we discussed the role that lab-testing plays in providing customers with objective information about the quality, purity and safety of a CBD product.  Always look for lab reports on a company’s website before buying from them.
  3. Use of Organic Compounds: Organic CBD and other ingredients are ideal since they are grown without pesticides and grown under strict standards that involve purity and safety. 
  4. Potency/Strength: If a CBD salve doesn’t contain a high enough concentration of hemp extract, it’s not going to be potent enough to give you the full potential that cannabidiol has to offer when it comes to providing relief.  Start with a minimum of 500mg CBD extract per ounce of product.
  5. Packaging: CBD salves should always be packaged in a way that ensures an airtight seal.  Like all organic compounds, cannabidiol can degrade if exposed to the elements, in turn, reducing its potency and effectiveness.
  6. A Trusted Brand: Look up a company before buying from them to make sure that they have a good reputation throughout the community of hemp users.  Search for reviews to make sure that customers are satisfied with their salve and other products.
  7. Has A Natural Formula: It’s extremely preferable to choose a salve that contains 100% plant-derived ingredients.  These ingredients tend to be gentler to the skin and contain a diverse array of beneficial properties that can contribute to the desired effects of the salve.

Where to Find CBD Salves in Your Area

CBD salves have become quite popular, but you’re less likely to find them in person compared to CBD gummies and oils, since there’s lower demand for them.  Besides that, in general, most businesses in local neighborhoods that carry CBD, such as gas stations, vape stores and convenience stores, have questionable and varying levels of quality standards due to lower demand on the local level combined with the fact that these businesses don’t specialize in hemp products. 

Basically, it’s always ideal to buy your CBD salves and other hemp products online, as online manufacturers are more transparent, have higher quality standards and are more competitive with one another, thus raising the bar when it comes to quality, purity, and effectiveness.

Final Thoughts

Adding a CBD salve to your daily routine can be a serious gamechanger.  While the properties of CBD can offer relief from pain and inflammation when consumed orally, topicals can really maximize results due to their targeted nature that zeroes in on localized issues in the deep tissue of the body.  Further, CBD topicals can be taken with other types of CBD products, which means that even if you’re already using gummies, oils or another type of oral formula, you can still add a topical to your regimen.

If you want to have the best results possible when using a salve, we strongly urge you to be extremely cautious when buying.  Like we have demonstrated, there are just a lot of factors involved that each play a role in how likely you are to have a successful experience with any given salve formula.  So, check out these products if you’re ready to see what salves can do for your daily life.

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