5 CBD Roll-Ons to Try for Targeted Pain Relief


Courtesy of Green Roads

Best Overall

shp - 15 Available at Charlotte's Web

Best Cooling

shp - 25 Available at Green Roads

Best THC-Free

shp - 20 Available at medterracbd.com

Best Full-Spectrum

shp - 28 Available at Plus CBD

Greatest Variety of Strengths

shp - 30 Available at cbdMD

What's the difference between CBD (aka cannabidiol) oil and CBD roll-on products? Like tinctures, roll-ons contain CBD hemp oil. But instead of a dropper, they have a rolling ball to apply the product topically. The most common areas of application are the temple, wrists, and neck.

CBD roll-on products work by indirectly activating the receptors in the body's endocannabinoid system to help reduce inflammation and provide pain relief for some patients. CBD oil has also been found to help manage insomnia, anxiety, and chronic pain in some, but not all, users. However, it should be noted that CBD is not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The FDA has only approved one cannabis-derived product, the seizure medication Epidiolex, and three cannabis-related drug products — Marinol, Syndros, and Cesamet — which are used to treat nausea and vomiting caused by chemotherapy. Consult your doctor before using any of the roll-ons featured below.

CBD Roll-Ons Reviewed In This Article

Why Choose CBD Roll-Ons?

CBD roll-ons are ideal for targeting specific areas of pain, like sore joints and muscles. According to a review published in the journal Antioxidants, clinical studies have shown that CBD possesses anti-inflammatory properties. CBD interacts with the CB1 and CB2 receptors in the brain to lessen some of the body's immune responses that cause inflammation. A 2018 mini-review conducted by researchers in Finland and published in Frontiers in Pharmacology found that CBD may even help reduce migraines through its interactions with the brain's receptors.

The 5 Best CBD Roll-On Products

This list of CBD roll-ons was created using a combination of in-house and third-party testing as well as customer reviews. Hemp sources and potency were analyzed to ensure that each product meets strict safety and quality standards.

Best Overall: Charlotte's Web Hemp-Infused Roll-On

This CBD roll-on from Charlotte's Web comes in two different blends. The peppermint option has a cooling effect that "offers immediate relief," according to one customer. As for the lavender, bergamot, and chamomile formula, reviewers said it helped them relax. Both oils use full-spectrum CBD and are vegan, non-GMO, and gluten-free.

Strength: 100 milligrams of CBD per 0.34-fluid ounce bottle

CBD roll-ons
CBD roll-ons

Best Cooling: Green Roads CBD Roll-On

Green Roads's broad-spectrum CBD topicals are made with natural botanicals, and both the "Cool Relief" and "Heat Relief" formulas contain U.S.-farmed hemp. The former features cooling menthol to soothe weary joints while the latter uses cayenne extract to provide comforting warmth. These vegan products are also third-party tested to ensure purity.

Strength: 150, 350, and 750 milligrams of CBD per 3-fluid ounce bottles

CBD roll-ons
CBD roll-ons

Best THC-Free: Medterra Rapid Recovery Roll-On

This Medterra CBD roll-on has a mess-free applicator and contains natural ingredients like aloe leaf juice and Arnica Montana flower extract. It's also made with lavender oil and menthol for an enhanced cooling effect that aims to reduce inflammation. The product is non-GMO, THC- and pesticide-free, and certified by the U.S. Hemp Authority.

Strength: 250, 500, and 1,000 milligrams of CBD per 2-fluid ounce bottles

CBD roll-ons
CBD roll-ons

Best Full-Spectrum: Plus CBD Extra-Strength Roll-On

The full-spectrum CBD in this roll-on from Plus CBD goes through a CO2 extraction process to yield a potent blend without the use of harsh chemical solvents. The topical contains menthol for its cooling properties, plus vitamin E and botanicals like cinnamon and licorice to promote healthy skin. It's important to note that the hemp found in this roll-on is not grown in the U.S. Instead, the brand uses EU-certified hemp seeds. For more information, check out the product's certificate of analysis.

Strength: 200 and 500 milligrams of CBD per 1.13-ounce bottles

CBD roll-ons
CBD roll-ons

Greatest Variety of Strengths: cbdMD CBD Freeze Roll-On

Made using broad-spectrum CBD from organic hemp grown in the U.S., cbdMD's roll-on has a spill-proof design and won't leave your skin looking greasy. Every product from the brand is third-party lab tested, and this particular roll-on was voted a 2020 Product of the Year winner by the Consumer Survey of Product Innovation.

Strength: 300, 750, 1,500, and 3,000 milligrams of CBD per 3-fluid ounce bottles

CBD Freeze Roller
CBD Freeze Roller

How Do CBD Roll-On Products Work?

CBD roll-ons are topical, meaning they're applied directly to the skin. Apart from the location in which they are used, application is similar to that of a roll-on antiperspirant. For some patients, CBD roll-on products may help lessen muscle and joint pain in localized areas thanks to CBD's effect on the endocannabinoid system and its receptors.

Carrie Lam, M.D., co-founder and medical director of the Lam Clinic in Tustin, California, which offers primary care services with an emphasis on functional and anti-aging medicine, told Shape that CBD helps reduce inflammation as a "result of the interaction of cannabis components with CB2 receptors in the brain." When these receptors are activated, they "release fewer pro-inflammatory substances called cytokines — which means less inflammation."

Dr. Lam noted that more research is needed to identify all the ways cannabis and CBD may impact inflammation, but recent research indicates that terpenes play an important role in the process. Terpenes are naturally occurring compounds in plants that give them their pigment, taste, and scent. You can find terpenes in citrus fruits, essential oils, and herbs like thyme.

Chiropractor and certified acupuncturist Meg Byrne, D.C., who works at Acacia Natural Medicine, an integrative medical practice in Scottsdale, Arizona, also emphasized the importance of terpenes. She explained how these compounds affect the CB1 and CB2 receptors in the brain to help with pain management, and said that "research supports the use of topical and ingested CBD for chronic pain." Dr. Byrne added that CBD has helped some patients manage pain from osteoarthritis, muscle injuries, rheumatoid arthritis, and tendonitis.

What to Look for In a CBD Roll-On

When choosing a CBD hemp oil roll-on, there are several factors to consider before making a purchase. Note: You should always consult your doctor before trying CBD products for the first time.

Hemp Source

Hemp sourced in the U.S. requires federal testing to guarantee that it's pure, potent, and safe to use and consume. In particular, Colorado has a robust program that performs spot tests on hemp plant sources to check tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) levels.

Other states in the U.S. that have well-known hemp-growing programs are Kentucky and Oregon. Since hemp sourced from overseas is not subject to state or federal testing, it may not be as pure or potent as its U.S. counterparts and might even contain traces of heavy metals.

Lab Testing

When shopping for a CBD roll-on, review the certificate of analysis (which can usually be found on a brand's website) to double check a specific product's contents. If you see the words "third-party lab tested," this confirms that the product adheres to strict quality and safety standards.


Always check the potency of the CBD roll-ons you purchase. CBD topicals don't get absorbed into the bloodstream, so you may need a higher strength to obtain your desired result. Stick to the recommended dosage on the label and be patient: It can sometimes take over an hour to feel the effects of a CBD roll-on.


There are three spectrums of CBD oil: full-spectrum, broad-spectrum, and pure CBD isolate. Full-spectrum CBD contains other cannabinoid compounds, like terpenes, as well as trace amounts of THC. Together, these compounds enhance the benefits of CBD through a process known as the entourage effect.

Broad-spectrum CBD oil also has other cannabinoid compounds, but no THC. Finally, pure CBD isolate contains 99.9 percent pure CBD and no THC.

Other Ingredients

Some CBD roll-ons contain other compounds, like essential oils, to boost a product's purported benefits. Check the label to make sure you aren't allergic to any of the added ingredients. Common examples include coconut oil, lavender oil, and peppermint oil.

Are There Any Side Effects to CBD Roll-Ons?

Because CBD roll-ons are topical, one side effect to be aware of is mild allergic skin reactions. It should be noted that these reactions are most often caused by additives in the products, not by the CBD, which is why it's essential that you look at the full ingredient list before buying a product. Once your CBD roll-on arrives, test the product on a small area of skin before using it more broadly. Other possible side effects of CBD include nausea and fatigue.

Always consult your doctor before using any CBD products to make sure they won't negatively interact with prescribed medications or supplements you're already taking.

Staci Gulbin, R.D., M.S., M.Ed, is a registered dietitian, freelance writer, health editor, and founder of LighttrackNutrition.com. She has been a registered dietitian with the Commission on Dietetic Registration since 2010, and has over a decade of experience in the nutrition and dietetics industry.