CBD and the Cooling Effect: Everything You Need to Know

CBD and the Cooling Effect: Everything You Need to Know

Main Image courtesy of ZME Science.

If you’ve ever used a CBD topical such as a cream, balm, or lotion before, chances are you’ve noticed a cooling sensation on the area where it was applied. Why is that? Known as the cooling effect, it is typically applied where you’re feeling pain or soreness. The cooling sensation you feel on your skin is a welcome indication that the lotion, cream, or balm is going to work. But why do some CBD topicals seem to have this effect on your skin? Well, we’re glad you’ve asked because in this article, we’re going to delve a little deeper into:

  • What is the relationship between CBD and the cooling effect?
  • Top cooling ingredients that combine with CBD
  • How and when to use CBD cooling topicals

What is the CBD Cooling Effect?

Why is there sometimes a cooling sensation when you use a CBD topical?

hands applying topical to their palm
A CBD topical combined with certain ingredients can have a cooling sensation when applied. Image courtesy of Cleveland Clinic Health Essentials.

When muscles or joints are sore after an intense exercise session, you might have heard that applying ice is a good idea. That’s because ice slows the blood flow and immediately gets to work reducing swelling and inflammation, allowing the muscle to repair and recover quicker--and with less pain for you! Because ice also causes your body’s blood vessels to contract, it allows it to flush out unneeded byproducts such as lactic acid. By working to fend off inflammation, you’re allowing your muscles to recover so you can get back at it sooner, and with less pain.

Although not the same as applying ice, applying a topical that provides a cooling sensation to your skin may help reduce inflammation and the amount of discomfort you feel. If you’re using a CBD topical after a workout, you want to do the same thing, which is reduce inflammation and reduce the amount of pain. There are many CBD topicals that include cooling ingredients for that reason, which are known as counterirritants because they cause a sensation to be felt on the skin. Counterirritants cause a cooling (or sometimes warming) feeling that is designed to help not only soothe an inflammation, but to help you think less about any accompanying pain. After a high intensity work out, your muscles need time to recover and repair, and what better way to start the process than with an easy to apply CBD cooling topical. You can take advantage of the anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties of CBD, as well as the cooling effect provided by other ingredients. But what ingredients are used in these CBD topicals to get that calming, cooling effect?


Top Cooling Ingredients Combined with CBD

You’ll find these ingredients in CBD topicals that produce a cooling sensation on your skin

older person applying topical to a younger persona's knee
A cool tingle on your skin let’s you know the topical is ready to help with inflammation and pain. Image courtesy of the Chicago Tribune.

If you look at the ingredients list on a variety of different cooling CBD topicals, chances are you’re going to find some of the same ingredients used. There’s definitely a reason for that! While each company makes their own unique formula, they still turn to the same soothing counterirritants to help foster that cooling effect.


This ingredient can be found in all kinds of cooling topicals, not just those with CBD. Menthol is derived from mint plants, such as corn mint, peppermint, and spearmint. Menthol is used in CBD topicals because it delivers a cooling sensation to the skin, and delivers the wonderful aroma of mint as it is applied. Although used in CBD creams for its soothing and cooling properties, menthol is found in a variety of products, including those that help with cold and flu symptoms. If it’s a cooling sensation you want after an intense exercise session, make sure the CBD topical that you choose has menthol in it. 


The name itself conjures up images of cool, frosty days. You’ll find wintergreen oil included in CBD topicals because it works to soothe inflammation as well as aches and pains. Derived from the wintergreen plant, this oil works well alongside CBD because once applied, it delivers not only a fantastic aroma, but a cooling sensation right where you need it most. 


Although some people don’t care for the smell of eucalyptus, many people do! It’s cooling scent and soothing properties make it a great addition to any CBD topical. When you smell the eucalyptus as you rub your topical into the skin, you know it’s going to get right to work on those sore muscles or joints. In addition to being a cooling counterirritant, eucalyptus is also fantastic for respiratory issues, which is why many people associate the scent (unfortunately) with being sick. 


Although not an official cooling ingredient, you’ll see arnica included in many CBD topicals that take advantage of the cooling effect. Arnica is derived from the arnica flower and is included for its anti-inflammatory and pain relieving properties. It’s a good inclusion since it assists alongside the CBD to reduce inflammation in your muscles and joints, and may help to reduce pain as you recover. 

How to Use Cooling CBD Topicals

Best ways to use CBD topicals to get the cooling effect

deep relief cream container
Apply a cooling CBD topical anywhere you have aches and pains. Image courtesy of Seventh Sense.

You’ll typically find cooling ingredients in CBD topicals, such as lotions, creams, balms, and salves. This is because you want to apply them directly to your problem area, so the skin can absorb them and they can get to work. If you’re interested in taking advantage of the CBD cooling effect, consider picking up Seventh Sense’s Hyper Strength Deep Relief Cream. This cream combines the anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties of 1,500mg of hemp-derived CBD, combines them with the cooling effects of menthol, and the aroma of eucalyptus spearmint. 

If your muscles could use a little extra love after a tough workout, you’ll want to have this cream within reach. Just apply to the area that needs it, and you’re sure to feel the cooling effect as the cream goes to work. You just need to sit back and wait for it to be absorbed. If you find that you’re not getting the relief you need, it is safe to reapply as necessary. 

When to Use Cooling CBD Topicals

What can you use cooling CBD topicals for?

We’ve all overdone it while exercising, and our muscles have let us know. While this is all a part of the natural repair and recovery process, it’s bothersome to deal with the pain. This is where it’s helpful to have a CBD topical with cooling and soothing ingredients on hand. Whether you’re trying to reach a fitness goal, or just want to lead a more active lifestyle, using a cooling CBD topical after your workout may help reduce inflammation and pain, all while allowing your muscles to recover. 

If you’re already feeling sore from a workout, but what to get right back at it, why not apply your cooling CBD topical beforehand? You can feel the cooling sensation on your skin as you allow the CBD and other ingredients to be absorbed. Not only will this make your workout more enjoyable, but it also ensures that you won’t miss a beat when it comes to your exercise routine.

Cooling CBD topicals are also a good option if you’re dealing with everyday aches and pains. Have a sore knee or shoulder that you just want a little relief from? Apply a CBD topical and allow the cooling ingredients and CBD to absorb. You can repeat as necessary throughout your day in order to get the relief you need. 

CBD combined with cooling ingredients is a win-win when it comes to helping you reduce inflammation and pain. Just apply where you need it most, and then get back to your day!