The 5 Best CBD Massage Oils Of 2023 & Who Might Benefit From A Topical CBD
Massage-lovers know that a good rubdown is the ultimate way to relax, whether you need to relieve tension or soothe sore muscles. But adding the best CBD massage oils to the mix might just help you take all those feel-good benefits up a notch.
While the research on topical hemp CBD is still emerging, there have been a few promising studies; topical hemp-derived CBD cream has been shown to reduce joint swelling and discomfort in studies in mice1 (though more research is still needed to validate its effect on humans).
Just note that CBD massage oils don't enter the systemic bloodstream, so they won't offer the same benefits on mood as an oral formula. However, the topical application of hemp CBD does interact with the skin's endocannabinoid system (ECS)2, a "master regulatory system" responsible for regulating countless bodily processes, including stress, mood, and pain perception.
Read on to see our picks of the best CBD massage oils that will have you saying "aaaaahh" in no time. FYI, we only feature organic hemp products to ensure you're getting the cleanest, highest-quality suggestions we could find.
What is CBD massage oil?
Massage oils moisturize skin, making it easier for hands (or massage tools) to glide across the skin without meeting resistance. Also a common way to spice things up in the bedroom, a massage oil can be derived from a few different types of oils, but some of our favorites include sunflower, safflower, and avocado oil.
When hemp-derived CBD is added to the formula, the mixture is considered a CBD massage oil. Some blends are extremely simple, while others incorporate additional actives to further nourish your skin. Plus, you'll even find a few with essential oils for aromatherapy benefits, if that's your thing.
Types of CBD massage oil.
When it comes to CBD, you'll see a few different terms floating around on the product labels. These include:
- Full-spectrum: Full-spectrum hemp has cannabidiol (CBD) and other plant compounds like additional cannabinoids, terpenes, flavonoids, etc. By law, it can also contain 0.3% THC or less by dry weight (trace levels). Researchers3 believe this variety benefits from the "entourage effect," suggesting that the combination of compounds makes it a more powerful product.
- Broad-spectrum: While this type contains other compounds like terpenes and flavonoids, broad-spectrum CBD is filtered to contain no THC.
- Isolate: This is the most pared-down form of hemp, so it doesn't contain any additional compounds beyond CBD. There aren't any isolate oils on this list.
Benefits of CBD massage oil.
As mentioned, we're still in the early days of hemp CBD clinical research, but existing studies (and a lot of anecdotal evidence) suggest that topical CBD may have its benefits. We consulted holistic physician Sony Sherpa, M.D., and read up on the latest research to see if CBD massage oil was worth the hype.
- Pain relief: "When applied to the skin, CBD helps alleviate pain and promote inflammatory balance, which are helpful in the case of joint and muscle discomfort," says Sherpa. A small study from 20204 found that topical CBD helped relieve pain in adults with peripheral nerve issues.
- Supporting inflammatory response: As Sherpa mentioned, CBD is known for supporting a healthy inflammatory response. Research indicates that CBD's interaction with our bodies' endocannabinoid receptors in the central nervous system5 may help with pain and inflammatory status.
While research shows that topical hemp-derived CBD may be beneficial for easing pain6, our skin is less permeable toward cannabinoids. Because of this, you may feel more of a result with a stronger potency topical CBD than you'd typically opt for in an oral CBD. Additionally, Sherpa notes that CBD oils and lotions absorb slower than oral tinctures, so your response may vary from product to product.
How we picked:
We only included brands that farm organic hemp for their formulas and use other organic and sustainably sourced ingredients as much as possible.
Every brand on this list has an easily accessible certificate of analysis (COA) from third-party lab testing to ensure quality and accurate labeling.
Ratings & reviews
We read tons of reviews for these products to make sure they were well-loved by customers and lived up to the brand's claims.
Everyone's budget is different, so we made sure to include products at a range of price points (without compromising on quality).
These massage oils skip the dirty dozen of clean beauty, i.e., some not-so-stellar ingredients still used in many traditional personal care products.
Best organic: Joy Organics Organic CBD Massage Oil
- Only two (USDA organic) ingredients
- Carbon neutral shipping offered
- Not many reviews
- Natural hemp scent isn't for everyone
Total product potency:500 mg of CBD
If you’re looking to keep it simple, this two-ingredient oil from Joy Organics is a great pick. It’s an unscented combination of organic MCT oil (derived from coconuts) and organic full-spectrum hemp that glides across the skin without leaving it sticky. As this is a newer release from the brand, there aren’t a ton of reviews for it yet. But the few product ratings on the website are positive with one reviewer raving, “This is my new favorite topical because it absorbs quickly and leaves skin feeling soft. When I use it on my lower back my whole body relaxes. The best part is that it is unscented because I like that there are no unnecessary ingredients.”
Sustainability & packaging: Joy Organics is a family-run, woman-led business based in Colorado and Texas. Its hemp is harvested from USDA-certified organic hemp farms, and all packaging is recyclable with Carbon Neutral shipping offered on every order with Carbon Fund.
Transparency: Joy Organics has an entire page dedicated to its process, which shares details about farming, third-party testing, and shipping process. You can find a link to Joy Organics’ lab results directly on the product page.
Best for pain relief: Prima Beyond Body Oil
- Moisturizing formula with squalane
- Includes magnesium for additional relaxation
- Light scent might not suit everyone
- Only one size option
Total product potency:600 mg of CBD
For a luxurious oil that aims to relax sore muscles and relieve tension, Prima’s Beyond Body Oil is a great pick. Lightweight sunflower seed oil is the base of the formula, which also incorporates broad-spectrum hemp, magnesium, squalane, apricot kernel oil, and jojoba seed oil. Packed in a glass bottle, the body oil has a light scent derived from clove, geranium, and citrus.
Customers give the oil a nearly perfect rating with reviewers noting the formula is fast-absorbing without unwanted residue. One writes, “I sleep like a baby afterward because my muscles relax from the magnesium and CBD. This is a holy grail body moisturizer for me.”
Sustainability & packaging: Prima shines in the sustainability department and has plenty of certifications to show for its efforts. It offsets carbon emissions and invests in projects that combat the climate crisis. Prima also encourages customers to send back five empty containers at a time for its “Recycle for Real” program (shipping is covered!).
Transparency: Each Prima product’s COA is available on the product pages. Prima is another Certified B Corporation, and they have an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau.
Best affordable: Lazarus Naturals CBD Body + Massage Oil
- Available as a spray or pump
- USDA certified organic
- Some reviewers don’t like the hempy smell
- No subscription discount available
Total product potency:500 mg or 4,000 mg of CBD
Size:2-ounce or 16-ounce
For a reasonably-priced, organic CBD massage oil, Lazarus Naturals is hard to beat. This smooth blend of organic jojoba seed oil, organic sweet almond oil, organic MCT oil, and organic full-spectrum hemp is USDA organic, Kosher, and Leaping Bunny-certified. Fans of this oil like that it’s fragrance-free and moisturizing, including one reviewer who says, “It absorbs so nicely, leaving my skin soft and my muscles relaxed.”
Any negative comments about this oil are from people who don’t love that the unscented formula smells like hemp. If you’re concerned about scent, definitely start with the lower-priced, 2-ounce spray option. And while Lazarus doesn’t offer a subscription discount for monthly purchases, it’s worth noting that this is still one the most budget-friendly CBD massage oils on our list when considering price per ounce. Lazarus Naturals also offers 60% off to veterans, folks on long-term disability, and households that qualify as low-income.
Sustainability & packaging:
Lazarus Naturals uses recycled materials in its packaging and sources hemp from its own USDA-certified organic farm in central Oregon. It’s also a Certified B Corp, which means they’re held to high business standards for social and environmental impact, and plans to be carbon neutral by 2030.
Transparency: We appreciate that you can easily find a link to the COA for this oil on the product page under the product image (you do need to scroll through the database for this particular product, though).
Best calming:: Veg Out Organics Chill Mode Massage & Body Oil
- Has additional plant botanicals
- Can use on body or face
- Not for the scent-averse
Total product potency:200 mg of CBD
This spa-like oil from Veg Out Organics is sure to set the mood for your next massage. It not only packs a gentle dose of organic full-spectrum hemp, but the formula boasts an array of organic essential oils from lavender, neroli, and geranium. As a result, you get a double whammy, especially with all the benefits of lavender, including deeper rest and less stress.
Lightweight and non-comedogenic, the oil is formulated for use on both your body and face. Although there are only a handful of reviews of this oil on the Veg Out website, the comments we read were overwhelmingly positive. Customers love the feel of this oil, the neroli scent, and the calming effect of lavender.
Sustainability & packaging:
Veg Out Organics grows all of its hemp at a USDA-certified organic farm (called Veg Out Pharm) in Virginia Beach, VA. The family-run business is dedicated to organic farming and creating non-toxic, vegan, and cruelty-free products. Plus, with a beautiful gold pump and emerald green bottle, this is one product you’ll be happy to leave out on your vanity.
Transparency: Veg Out Organics’ lab results are a little trickier to find than the other products on this list, but they’re still available here.
Best roll-on: Empower BodyCare CBD Luxe Body Oil
- Convenient roll-on applicator
- No synthetic fragrances, parabens, phthalates, SLS, SLES, or mineral oil
- Only one size & scent option
- Long ingredient list with essential oils
Total product potency:500 mg of CBD
This portable pick from Empower BodyCare is made from 100% organic essential oils, organic plant oils (like jojoba seed and sweet almond oil), and organic broad-spectrum hemp. Packaged in a roller bottle for easy application, the luxe oil can be swiped onto your skin and joints without making a mess.
Customers love how convenient this oil is and praise the light scent of bergamot, lavender, and wintergreen. One reviewer says, “I use this product daily. A little goes a long way, the smell is pleasant and fades quickly, and I get relief and get back to work after using it.”
Sustainability & packaging: Empower partners with the Sun+Earth-certified farm East Fork Cultivar to sustainably source its non-GMO hemp. You can also select to make your order carbon neutral at checkout (note: this is on your dime, not the company’s, but still great!).
Transparency: Empower clearly links to the third-party lab results for this oil in the product description online. You can read more about the women behind Empower on the brand's about page.
How to choose a CBD massage oil.
Go organic whenever possible.
As we mentioned earlier, a key part of our criteria when choosing these massage oils was to focus on brands that source organic hemp for their CBD products, some even from their own farms! This is your best bet at ensuring you're applying high-quality hemp to your body and protecting your skin from potentially harmful pesticides and herbicides7.
Consider your sensitivities.
Some of the oils on our list are scented, while others are intentionally left with the natural smell of hemp. Pick a product that won't irritate any allergies or your skin—it's especially important to note that several products on our list use nut oils or MCT oil, which is derived from coconut. When in doubt, always read the full ingredient list!
Many brands also opt for essential oils; while they can boast some benefits, these additions can be irritating for others when applied topically.
Compare potency & CBD type.
Typically the advice given to CBD newbies is to start low and slow. With topicals, however, you may be better off going with a stronger potency than you would with an ingestible tincture or gummy because CBD is slower to absorb through your skin. You also may feel more of a response from a full-spectrum hemp versus CBD isolate, as full-spectrum includes all of the compounds from the hemp plant extract for a more powerful entourage effect.
Think about price.
Quality, higher-potency CBD products tend to be more expensive—if you see a high-potency product at a super-low price point, proceed with caution! Still, with massage oils, there are other factors that go into pricing, such as the additional ingredients, aesthetics and sustainability of the packaging, and more.
Luckily, if you fall for a specific product, there are tons that offer subscription discounts for regularly scheduled shipments. If you're new to CBD, stay true to your budget when trying a massage oil for the first time to ensure you like the effects.
Does CBD oil help with inflammatory health?
Anecdotal evidence and some early preclinical research suggest that topical CBD oils may help support the body’s inflammatory response for things like aches and pains. Because topicals allow you to focus on a targeted area of your body, you'll likely be able to tell whether you're feeling any benefits or not within 30 minutes to an hour.
Can I use CBD on my skin for pain?
Similarly, many topical CBD users report reduced aches and pains. In addition to anecdotal evidence, some early studies (like this one on jaw pain) suggest that topical CBD oils and creams may help relieve pain sources close to the skin's surface.
Can you feel the effects of CBD oil right away?
The effects of CBD are rarely instant, regardless of the type of product you're using, and topicals may take a little longer than sublingual tinctures. "Compared to ingestion, CBD oils applied topically absorb slower," says Sherpa. "You can start to feel its effects anywhere between 25 minutes to an hour."
Whether you use it yourself or with a partner (wink, wink), CBD massage oils can be a great way to unwind and relieve the day's aches and pains.
The world of CBD grows bigger every day, so it's important to pay close attention to the brands and products you use and hold them to a high standard. If you're looking to explore more CBD options, we've vetted a ton of products and have plenty of suggestions of the best CBD oils, gummies, and capsules for you to discover.
If you are pregnant, breastfeeding, or taking medications, consult with your doctor before starting a supplement routine. It is always optimal to consult with a health care provider when considering what supplements are right for you.
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