In the already-saturated CBD ointment market, here are three hemp-based CBD salves, reviewed with the first-time buyer in mind.

This article was originally published in HEMP’s Print Magazine. Pre Order HERE.

We all need a little salve in our lives. Whether we’ve sprained an ankle, bruised a hip or just slept crooked on a large throw pillow, our bodies continually experience distress. Combine those aches with age and we can begin to feel forever inflamed.

Here’s what we concluded after we tried three new-to-us hemp CBD salves.

1) Salvation CBD Skin Salve by Inesscents / $14.99

Inesscents CBD Salve

FOR THE TRAVELING HEART. Inesscents is notable right away for the standards and principles they claim to be upholding, including making their products and salves from all organic ingredients. Their salves are made from a long list of flowers and herbs we recognize and can actually pronounce, with no weird fillers or peculiar additives.

The company is also a B-Corp, certified as a fair trade company and supportive of philanthropic efforts throughout the farming community. The customer service was also impeccable, as they sent HEMP an email with all the necessary third-party testing results (per batch) and certifications showing their commitment to a quality product.

About the salve: The CBD travel stick, or “salvation CBD skin salve,” has an easy applicator — think a super-wide tube of lip balm — making for a clean coating on your skin, without messy fingers.

The sticks come in three separate remedies, each with its own color and smell. The green salve has the most mellow pungency, while the orange and red have more flavorful odors of cloves and peppermint.

The red “Hot Freeze” was our favorite in the bunch, as it left the cool feeling of ice, but warmed up after several minutes to provide long-lasting relief. It’s perfect for a kinked neck or sore back. This was our favorite all-around rub because of the integrity of the brand, amazing customer service, easy travel applicator, overall relaxing properties and all-organic ingredients.

SPECS: 0.5 ounces per stick with 40-50mg CBD. 

2) Plus CBD Oil / $35.95

Plus CBD Oil Balm HEMP

CLEAN AND PROFESSIONAL.The mild, earthy scent of Plus CBD Oil’s original salve is more mellow than the other brands reviewed. Perhaps as a consequence, we didn’t feel as much relief or icy-hot feel as when using the other two brands.

Plus CBD Oil is a big player in the industry; they’re a bestselling hemp CBD/phytocannabinoid brand and currently rank in the top 10 of all supplements sold over the last 52 weeks (according to SPINS data analytics, who compiled barcode purchase data). By contacting their marketing department, HEMP was able to obtain third-party certifications via our product’s batch number for all of their European-grown hemp, which was extremely helpful.

Although their CBD and hemp pass the test, we were a bit disappointed that none of their products are certified organic and a few of the ingredients sound like a list from a chemist, rather than ingredients in a skin care product. However, no heavy metals or additional residues were added after their CO2 extraction process.

The natural scent was pleasant for day or work-time applications and less harsh on the eyes if you use it on your neck. This salve would be better suited for massages and before bed as it won’t make your sheets or body smell unreasonably minty. For increased soreness, we would have enjoyed more menthol to create that soothing cooling feeling.

SPECS: 1.3 ounces with 50mg CBDA/CBD.

3) Ova Muscle Rub / $19.99 

Ova Hemp Muscle Rub

LACKING TRANSPARENCY. Innovative’s Ova Muscle Rub had the most powerful scent and produced a very similar effect to the popular Biofreeze gel, with camphor and menthol crystals for alleviating pain. Of the three brands we tested, it offered the strongest pain relief.

It’s a shame that this brand was incapable of producing any third-party certifications for their hemp or CBD products. They claim on their website to use organic hemp from the EU with all organic ingredients, but we were unable to get any test results after numerous calls and emails. We really enjoyed the effects of the product, but have a hard time granting the salve our full stamp of approval without receiving any details on their extraction process or organic claims. The only test results we saw on their website are from 2015 and, when we mentioned that to a service rep on the phone, they seemed puzzled. We hope to revise our statements regarding this brand in the future, but as of now, we can’t fully endorse it.

SPECS: 0.5 ounces with 70mg of supercritical CO2 extracted cannabidiol from hemp.

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