Top 3 Marijuana Topicals for Back Pain

Desk chairs and driver’s seats dominate our daily lives and as a result, most adults at some point experience lower back pain. Luckily, cannabis’s anti-inflammatory properties can help alleviate some of this discomfort.

The popularity of cannabis lotions, creams, balms and oils has soared—you no longer need to ingest cannabis to experience its benefits. Consumers are now rubbing these marijuana-infused topicals onto their back and other areas experiencing pain for localized, non-psychoactive relief.

But with so many cannabis topicals to choose from, how do you know which products are the right fit for you? Marijuana topicals on average can cost as much as $40 a jar, which is a lot to pay for something that may not actually work. For this reason, I wanted to detail my experience with an aching lower back, in order to share what worked best for me.


1. Flour Child Relief Balm: A Fragrant & Relaxing CBD Topical

Flour Child Relief Balm was the first marijuana topical I purchased as a medical patient at SPARC dispensary in San Francisco. I found myself wondering if a high cannabidiol (CBD) topical rubbed on the skin could actually help with back pain. The budtender gave me my first glass container of Flour Child’s Relief Balm and since then I’ve always kept it within reach.

Flour Child has stayed in my rotation for this long because it’s unique amidst a sea of marijuana-infused topicals and oils. It comes in four fantastic formulas: rose-geranium, lemongrass, lavender-mint and unscented. I tried the lavender-mint and unscented versions and found the lavender to be very relaxing; I appreciate the pleasant aromas in combination with my pain relief.


This is a high CBD topical, while others are tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) or tetrahydrocannabinolic acid (THCA) based. This is purely anecdotal, but I believe that high CBD topicals are more effective at reducing the acute pain I feel in my spine, while the other formulas are better at combatting my chronic pain caused by inflammation.

2. Om Edible’s Lion Balm Stick: A Convenient & Fast-Acting Marijuana Topical

I’ve been a fan of Om Edible’s Lion Balm for the past year. I originally found their beeswax-based topical at Harvest in San Francisco and have been hooked ever since.

The menthol and cannabinoids are effective in relieving my lower back pain, but what makes this cannabis topical stand out is its compact and discreet roll-on method of delivery. The convenience of this format allows for use during a long car ride or while at your desk at work, with hardly any smell.

After rubbing this marijuana topical on my lower back, I find that it quickly warms the area and is very effective when I need fast pain relief. It smells mostly of mint and menthol.

Currently, I have three Lion Balms in my cannabis topical rotation, one for the car, one for the office, and one that stays in my coat pocket. At $8 each, it’s an easy decision to stock up on.

3. Xternal Topical Cream: A Light & Non-Greasy Cannabis Lotion

I’m a big fan of Xternal’s Topical due to its the light and creamy texture. I discovered Xternal while on a trip to a car dealer in Richmond. My back was acting up, so I stopped at the nearest dispensary to buy anything that would get rid of my pain. The budtender handed me a 4oz container of Xternal’s cannabis cream and I’ve kept that tub on my desk since.

Prior to finding Xternal Cream, I had a bad experience with an oily marijuana topical that left several of my shirts stained. No dispensary I know of has a return policy, but I was about to try after throwing away some of my nicest clothes. Such is not the case with this marijuana topical.

Xternal’s cannabis topical is unscented and comparable to how a generic hand lotion might smell. I rub Xternal liberally onto my back until I’m sure it won’t spread over my shirt, and relax into my chair, confident that my pain will quickly subside.

Marijuana Topicals Can Help With Back Pain

If you struggle with back pain or any chronic localized pain, I’d highly recommend any of these marijuana topicals. They’re all easy to use, easy to transport and effective in a short space of time. Although everyone reacts differently to cannabis, anecdotally I’ve found that these topicals have a high rate of success for myself and those I know who use them. Here’s to you and a better, less painful back.

Photo credit: Sava

If you’re new to cannabis and want to learn more, take a look at our Cannabis 101 post. HelloMD can help you get your medical marijuana recommendation; it’s easy, private and 100% online.


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