Whether you’re a practicing massage therapist or simply someone with chronic muscle pain, the best CBD massage oils might be just the ticket to relief.
A good massage can be life-changing, right? A good massage can give you both the mental and physical relief you need to function. A good massage can sometimes be the difference between making it through the week in one piece or not! You get the gist.
But sometimes the manual manipulation of muscles just isn’t enough to do the trick. Enter CBD massage oils. CBD boosts the already amazing effects of massage—pain relief, anti-inflammation, joint health, muscle recovery, stress relief, and more.
Receiving a massage with CBD oil can help accelerate the recovery process and deactivate your sympathetic nervous system (that’s the “fight or flight” mode we can’t seem to escape in modern living). Some people even say that the best CBD massage oils can help make one massage feel like three!
If you’re ready to take your massage therapy career to the next level, or are eager to get the muscle relief you’ve been desperate to find, this list of the best CBD massage oils, lotions, and creams is a great place to start.
CBD Crash Course
Chances are that by now you’ve probably heard about CBD. In the last five years, CBD has seemingly sprung up everywhere. Depending on where you live, you’ve likely seen it in pharmacies, grocery stores, or maybe even on your mom’s kitchen counter. You can find CBD in beer, chocolate, gummies, and a host of other foods.
So what is CBD? Is all the hype substantiated? Let’s get down to business. CBD is the abbreviated term for cannabidiol. It is a natural compound that comes from the cannabis plant. But here’s the thing: CBD will not get you high. Throw out all of your preconceived notions about marijuana (well, if they’re negative connotations, that is).
Unlike its sister compound THC, CBD does not produce any psychoactive effects. In fact, CBD offers all the benefits of consuming cannabis with virtually no negative side effects. A few of those benefits include:
- Improving pain relief
- Reducing inflammation
- Lowering anxiety and depression
- Boosting restful sleep
- Soothing arthritis and joint-related pain
CBD isn’t just the byproduct of a plant. As it turns out, our bodies are equipped with an entire system that is compatible with CBD (and other cannabinoids). The endocannabinoid system naturally produces endocannabinoids (endo- means “within” or “internal”). These endocannabinoids have the exact same effect in our bodies as the cannabinoids from the cannabis plant.
The endocannabinoid system is all about keeping the body in homeostasis. Essentially, this means keeping the body balanced. It’s no wonder, then, that both the endocannabinoid system and CBD contribute to essential functions and systems like sleep, stress, mood, and pain.
When our body systems are out of whack—whether it’s an inflamed muscle, stress, or insomnia—our endocannabinoid system goes on high alert. The cannabinoids from CBD act exactly like the body’s naturally produced endocannabinoids. They find the distressed cannabinoid receptors, link up with them, and calm the system.
There are numerous ways to experience the benefits of CBD. The two most common ways are to ingest CBD orally (as pills, drops, or edibles) or to smoke or vape CBD. There’s also a third option: topical CBD application, or applying CBD to one’s skin. This particular use of CBD is the one we’ll focus on in this article: CBD massage oil.
CBD Massage Oils
CBD massage oils offer one of the best ways to tackle muscle pain, joint aches, and inflammation. Unlike ingesting or smoking CBD, applying it topically targets specific areas for longer-lasting effects. CBD massage oils can help treat chronic or acute pain in a localized area, rather than affecting the whole body.
You do not need to be a professional massage therapist to reap the benefits of CBD massage oils. You can easily apply the oil to yourself, or have your partner help out. But if you want the maximum effect, you could book a professional CBD oil massage. Make it a spa day!
How do the best CBD massage oils work?
When you receive a massage, typically the therapist uses a lotion, oil, or cream on your skin as a lubricant to work the tension out of your muscles. Typical lubricant bases are coconut oil, grapeseed oil, jojoba oil, and sunflower seed oil. Adding CBD hemp oil to a base lubricant allows for not only an amazing massage, but one that includes all the CBD health benefits we discussed above.
Dr. Nikola Djordjevic, a medical advisor at HealthCareers, gives some thoughtful advice on choosing a CBD massage oil. She specifically praises coconut oil as a base for a CBD massage oil:
“I would have to go with CBD-infused coconut oil, hands-down, due to the natural properties offered by the combination of these two ‘superfoods.’ Whether ingested or used topically, it can treat various health conditions, from boosting the immune system to treating muscular inflammations. So, if giving a massage with organic coconut oil wasn’t good enough, adding CBD to the mix only adds to the relaxation factor associated with massages.”
Remember the work of the endocannabinoid system? The job of the cannabinoid is to find a distressed cannabinoid receptor. Turns out, that job is easier when it has a partner in crime—a lipid (commonly known as fat). In other words, CBD is most effective when it is paired with a base oil that is high in fat.
Dr. Djordjevic goes on to explain why CBD-infused coconut oil is especially good at letting the CBD complete its intended task:
“Health benefits aside, the main reason that coconut oil is perfect to infuse with CBD is that it contains a lot of fat (80%), making it easier for the cannabinoids to bind to it. More importantly, it allows the effects of CBD to be delivered more efficiently than other types of oils. In other words, the effects of CBD are much stronger with coconut oil as the binding agent, making it excellent at targeting localized muscular inflammation.”
Massage is all about muscle relief. We get a massage to work out the “knots” in our shoulders, or to improve our hip extension, or to strengthen our neuromuscular pathways. But a CBD-infused massage can also help with aftercare and muscle recovery. Once again, Dr. Djordjevic helps shed light on this process:
“CBD also helps to speed up muscle recovery, so a CBD/coconut oil massage is great for athletes. It does this by using a different pain pathway compared to traditional anti-inflammatory medications. The CBD travels through the endocannabinoid system [rather than the digestive tract], making it an entirely new way to target pain and muscular inflammations.”
Your Epidermis is Showing
Eyeroll, I know. But let’s talk about skin! Skin is the largest organ in the body. In addition to regulating body temperature, communicating sensation and feeling, storing nutrients, and holding together the water balloon that is your body, skin serves as the guardian and gatekeeper of your body against all external forces—bacteria, water, sunshine, topicals, etc.
Our skin is made up of three layers: epidermis, dermis, and subcutis. Given that our skin is the largest organ we have, it is a huge player in the endocannabinoid system. Our skin contains the highest amount and concentration of cannabinoid receptors.
Unlike an edible CBD gummy or other treat, which goes through your digestive tract and travels to your bloodstream, the path of a topical CBD application is slightly different. Your skin barrier makes it hard for the CBD to directly enter your bloodstream; instead, a topical CBD product encounters the dense concentration of cannabinoid receptors in your skin, allowing for a targeted, local response.
During a CBD oil massage, the therapist will do exactly what they normally do—maybe some effleurage (long strokes), petrissage (kneading), trigger point therapy, or active release. As your skin absorbs the oil, you will start to feel the amazing effects of CBD… and those effects will last well into the rest of your day.
Quality is Everything
You’ve heard it a million times: you are what you eat. Well, the same principle goes for your skin: you are what you apply! When you’re looking for the best CBD massage oil, make sure you are aware of the exact ingredient list. Ask yourself some important questions:
- Is the product organic?
- Does it contain chemicals or additives?
- Has the product been tested on animals?
- Does it contain gluten or other common allergens?
Dr. Wendy Twohey, a chiropractor from the Dr. Gil Center for Back, Neck, and Chronic Pain Relief in Tennessee who specializes in hemp products, offers this advice about choosing a CBD massage oil:
“Although I don’t have a particular product that I suggest, I do recommend that CBD oil always be organic. We should have the same high quality expectations for the products we put on our skin as for products we ingest orally.”
Kaycee Mitchell, a cannabis expert and enthusiast, agrees. Mitchell always advises customers to do thorough research on CBD oil ingredients:
“Many people don’t think the quality of CBD matters when it is in a cream [or oil], but it really does! Your skin is your largest organ and you should only be absorbing high-quality products.”
A Note on Dosage
Beyond ensuring that your CBD massage oils are high quality, understanding dosage is a great way to get effective results.
Here’s the catch: there are no hard and fast rules to dosage. The effectiveness of a CBD topical can be different depending on your BMI, your sensitivity to chemicals, if you take it with food, and other factors. People typically use anywhere from 50mg to 1,000mg of CBD per day.
Most CBD massage oils will have the dosage amount on the label. Just be sure it’s clear if the label indicates overall CBD concentration or CBD concentration per tablespoon/teaspoon.
In general, it’s best to start with a low dosage and work up from there as needed. Rest assured, it’s virtually impossible to overdo it with the best CBD massage oils. You’re just fine-tuning at this point! You can apply most CBD massage oils liberally and frequently (every 4-6 hours) without fear of any adverse effects.
The Best CBD Massage Oils
Now that you have a sense for what types of things to look for in a CBD massage oil, we thought we’d help you out on the next step—finding a product that’s right for you! Below, we’ve reviewed 10 of the best CBD massage oils and creams out there.
These recommendations are not ranked in any sort of order. You know your body and your budget better than we do; choose whichever one works for your specific criteria. But if you have certain things in mind, here’s a quick cheat sheet:
- Most Affordable: Edens Garden Cannabis Seed Carrier Oil
- Highest Dosage: Luce Farm Wellness Hemp-Infused CBD Coconut Oil
- Most Organic: Moon Mother Massage Oil
- Best for Sports Massage: Tribe CBD’s Broad Spectrum Cold Therapy Hemp CBD Cream
Lazarus Naturals CBD Massage Oil
Key Ingredients: organic jojoba oil, sweet almond oil, fractionated coconut oil
Lazarus Naturals is a well-respected company out of Portland, Oregon, that has been in the CBD business since 2014. This CBD massage oil is a full-spectrum, hemp-derived product that comes in three different size options—2oz, 8oz, and 16oz.
One huge benefit to this product is the company’s immaculate reputation. The mission of Lazarus Naturals shines through in its discount programs for veterans, folks on disability, and low-income households. Additionally, Lazarus Naturals grows the hemp for all of their products in-house at Lazarus Farms. All of the hemp is non-GMO. This massage oil is coconut-based, but has no additional scent.
Koi Hemp Extract CBD Lotion
Key Ingredients: organic aloe leaf juice, organic coconut oil, organic jojoba seed oil, witch hazel water (and more).
As a company, Koi CBD believes in the “ongoing pursuit of ‘better.’” This goal is put into practice through the Koi Hemp Extract CBD Lotion. In addition to its healing qualities, this scented lotion will add an extra somatic experience to your massage. This Koi lotion comes in three different bright scents: Citrus Burst, Lavender, and Pink Grapefruit.
Across the board with all of its products, Koi CBD uses a full-plant extraction, robust third-party lab testing, and thorough quality control. Customers love the scents, and the lotion is a good alternative for folks who don’t want to leave a CBD massage feeling oily. In addition to being a great massage option, this CBD lotion can also be used as a daily moisturizer!
Sol CBD Hemp-Infused CBD Balm
Key Ingredients: grapeseed oil, virgin ucuuba butter, virgin andiroba oil, lemon peel oil, and more.
Sol CBD is a small, family-run business with a big mission: to be thoughtful stewards of CBD and the plant it comes from. The Sol CBD Hemp-Infused Herbal Balm is a great topical made specifically for muscle, joint, and nerve pain.
The total ingredient list includes 13 effective extracts and oils. The main carrier oil is extracted from the grapeseed, which brings the additional benefit of omega 6, vitamin C, and much more. At Sol CBD, you have the option of purchasing a monthly order at a discounted price. Customers rave about the quality and effectiveness of Sol CBD Hemp-Infused Herbal Balm, not only in treating daily muscle pain but also for eczema, osteoarthritis, and more.
BioCBD+ Muscle and Joint Relief CBD Oil
Key Ingredients: organic hemp oil, eucalyptus, burseraceae, ginger, curcumin, white willow bark
BioCBD+ offers a Muscle and Joint Relief CBD Oil that combines full-spectrum, water-soluble CBD with lots of other natural extracts, oils, and Ayurvedic herbs. BioCBD+ believes in the power of the entire plant to boost bioavailability. In fact, the company claims to offer 100% bioavailability in all of their products.
With water-soluble CBD, BioCBD+ claims that their products have a higher absorption rate (and thus more bioavailable CBD). Similar to other companies, BioCBD+ offers a discounted rate for a monthly subscription. One drawback to the Muscle and Joint Relief CBD Oil, however, is its relatively steep one-time price ($70) compared to the bottle size (2oz).
Whispr Hemp Roll-On
Key Ingredients: safflower seed oil, menthol, orange peel oil, palmarosa oil, lemon oil, clove bud oil, bergamot oil, and more.
Unique in its packaging and application, the Whispr Hemp Roll-On is a CBD topical that blends together a full-spectrum hemp CBD with therapeutic essential oils. Instead of an oil, this product is an “elixir” balm that you can roll directly onto your skin. This roll-on is infused with the invigorating and healing scents of wintergreen and patchouli (among other natural oils).
Whispr is a company devoted to health, beauty, and wellness. The hemp CBD used in this product is grown in Colorado. Happy customers have used the Hemp Roll-On for everything from headaches to chest pain to arthritis. This is an easy product to store in your purse for home use. If you’re a massage therapist, this roll-on method is ideal for specialized, targeted work like Rolfing or trigger point massage.
Blue Ridge Hemp’s CBD Infused Massage Oil
Key Ingredients: sunflower oil, sesame seed oil, jojoba seed oil
A big winner among massage therapists, Blue Ridge Hemp’s CBD Infused Massage Oil checks off all the boxes. It targets inflammation, nerve and muscle pain, muscle spasms, and more. Unlike many other CBD massage oils, this is a 99.7% CBD isolate. Combined with other therapeutic botanicals like lavender, ginger, and peppermint, this massage oil aims for depth.
Blue Ridge Hemp values clean energy methods in the extraction process. In addition, all of the products are vegan, non-GMO, and eco-friendly. The company works to make its products accessible to all through financial assistance programs.
Luce Farm Wellness Hemp-Infused CBD Coconut Oil
Key Ingredients: organic coconut oil, hemp extract
A Vermont-based locally owned business through and through, Luce Farm Wellness is committed to producing high-quality full-spectrum hemp products. The Hemp-Infused CBD Coconut Oil is a favorite among massage therapists. It is equally delicious as an edible. The products at Luce Farm Wellness are full spectrum in more than just one way. The company keeps everything close—all of the hemp is grown, processed, and tested in Vermont.
The Hemp-Infused CBD Coconut Oil contains one of the highest concentrations of CBD. Although it comes in a small 2oz jar, each teaspoon of this product contains 40mg of CBD. Customers have noticed the difference: one customer described her pain as going from a 10 to a 5 after regularly using the Luce Farm Hemp-Infused CBD Coconut Oil.
Edens Garden Cannabis Seed Carrier Oil
Key Ingredients: hemp seed oil
By far the “purest” product on our list of the best CBD massage oils, Edens Garden Cannabis Seed Carrier Oil keeps it simple. This is a one-ingredient product: hemp seed oil. Users can always infuse this oil with other essential oils or extracts. But in its most basic form, the Edens Garden Cannabis Seed Carrier Oil packs a punch.
This is a perfect product for massage clients who are sensitive to scents, essential oils, and botanicals. This 100% pure carrier oil comes from a cannabis sativa plant, and has a naturally nutty scent, but it is free from any other added scented oils. Out of all of the products, this one is most affordable—a 4oz pump bottle costs around $9.
Tribe CBD’s Cold Therapy Hemp CBD Cream
Key Ingredients: chamomile, arnica, aloe vera
Tribe CBD brings something new to the game: cold therapy. Tribe CBD’s Cold Therapy Hemp CBD Cream gives you both the calming effects of CBD and the cooling effects of aloe vera and arnica. This product is great for active folks and athletes. It uses a broad-spectrum hemp CBD oil base, so it does not contain any THC.
Since this product uses cold therapy, it is ideal for targeted muscle relief in a massage setting. For example, if you were having range-of-motion trouble in your rotator cuff, your massage therapist would incorporate this CBD cream only around your shoulder. The cream comes in a 3oz tube, and can be purchased on a monthly basis through a subscription.
Moon Mother Massage Oil
Key Ingredients: jojoba oil, lavender essential oil, hemp extract
The Moon Mother Hemp Company prides itself on sustainability. And for good reason! This Boulder, Colorado, company checks off all the boxes if organic living is something you value. All of the products are cruelty-free, gluten-free, 100% organic, and never tested on animals.
All of the full-spectrum hemp is locally grown by the Moon Mother team in Boulder. The Moon Mother Massage Oil is simple in design. Using just three ingredients—jojoba oil, lavender essential oil, and a full-spectrum hemp extract—this CBD massage oil stays true to its original natural intentions. The product comes in two size options: 2oz (with 500mg CBD total) and 4oz (with 1,000mg CBD total).
What is the difference between CBD isolate, broad-spectrum CBD, and full-spectrum CBD?
You might notice a few terms on your CBD massage oil label that are unfamiliar: isolate, broad-spectrum, and full spectrum. These three terms are specific signifiers for the differing amounts of cannabinoids in your CBD product. They communicate the behind-the-scenes process of extracting CBD from the actual cannabis plant. Here’s a closer look at each one:
CBD isolate: This is the purest form of CBD you can find. A CBD isolate means just the CBD was extracted from the cannabis plant (leaving behind lots of other cannabinoids, terpenes, and other byproducts). While it is considered the purest form of CBD, an isolate tends to be less potent because it doesn’t contain the full effort of the rest of the cannabis plant.
Broad-spectrum CBD: The middle ground between a CBD isolate and a full-spectrum CBD product, the broad-spectrum CBD includes everything in the cannabis plant except THC. That means it has a little extra strength behind it (otherwise known as the “entourage effect”).
Full-spectrum CBD: The full-spectrum CBD, then, represents the least-involved extraction process. Like its name implies, full-spectrum CBD literally includes the full spectrum of the cannabis plant—other cannabinoids, terpenes, oils, trace amounts of THC, and more. This kind of CBD is known to have the strongest results. Even though full-spectrum CBD contains some THC, it is not nearly enough for you to feel any sort of psychoactive effect.
How long will I feel the effects?
First, let’s establish that everyone is different. The length of time that the effects of a CBD massage oil lasts really depends on your personal biochemistry, BMI, amount of body hair, etc. But in general, the news is positive—you can expect long results from the best CBD massage oils. A higher dosage, of course, will also yield stronger and longer-lasting results.
Unlike CBD inhalants and edibles, whose effects typically only last a few hours, the effects of CBD topicals can stay in your body for five hours or more. Most people will start feeling the effects between 20 minutes and an hour after application. Part of the draw to a CBD oil massage, then, is that you get to experience the amazing muscular relief well beyond the time frame of a regular massage.
Are CBD massage oils legal?
Yep! Hemp-derived CBD massage oil is 100% legal. In 2018, Congress approved the Farm Bill, which officially legalized hemp sales on the federal level. Hemp is the key word here.
Hemp is a strain of the cannabis plant that is CBD-dominant. Hemp contains less than 0.3% THC (the legal limit). If it’s any higher than 0.3% THC, then it is no longer considered hemp—it is marijuana. If you remember from before, THC is the main player in the psychoactive effects of marijuana. CBD, however, which is hemp-based (and contains less than 0.3% THC), does not get you high.
Are CBD massage oils safe?
Yes, CBD massage oils are quite safe. One of the amazing things about CBD is that there are virtually no side effects. In very few cases (ones in which people take way too much CBD than they should), side effects have included:
- Diarrhea or upset stomach
- Appetite change
Perhaps more important than the rare side effects is the chance that you might be allergic to one or more of the ingredients. A common ingredient in CBD massage oils is tree nuts. If you are allergic to tree nuts, be vigilant about reading the full ingredient list. Most labels will include a disclaimer if the product contains tree nuts.
Obviously, the best way to be 100% sure whether CBD massage oil is right for you is to consult your doctor. But one easy and safe way to test out a product is to do a “skin test,” in which you apply a small amount of CBD massage oil to your arm and see if it yields any adverse results in a 24-hour period.
Does the massage therapist receive the same benefits?
Technically, yes! But since the massage therapist is just using their hands and forearms to massage (as opposed to the client, who might choose to receive a full-body massage), the topical effects will likely be somewhat diminished.
A massage therapist can always opt to wear latex gloves if they prefer not to come in contact with the CBD massage oil. But this is rare. For a profession that is so physically demanding, a CBD oil massage is typically a mutually beneficial situation!
If you have a massage therapist who you see regularly, you can always ask them if they feel comfortable using CBD massage oils for your next session. You can either bring some in, or have them choose a product they feel comfortable using.