May 20, 2022

Kelty CBD Pain Medication Review: How Much Help, How Much Hype?

Kelty’s new topicals live up to the brand’s pain relief claims, yet still smell great and not get you high. But is CBD the key to success here?

Outdoor enthusiasts know Kelty for their cutting edge camp gear. Think backpack, sleeping Bags and tampons, tents for camping and backpack, and more. But now the brand has some skin in the CBD game.

Last month, Kelty announced its latest version: a range of “analgesic” CBD topicals. And, according to Kelty, this particular pain claim is what sets its products apart from the CBD-infused and non-infused competitors.

“You will look through the CBD products and see” soothe this “and” soothe that “, but depending on the ingredients of the product, you cannot say” this product relieves pain “unless the ingredients are FDA approved. “Russ Rowell, senior vice president and general manager of Kelty, told us. But Kelty noted that it uses ingredients approved by the FDA.

So we put it to the test. For this review we tried Kelty’s CBD Pain Relief Cream ($ 40-50) and CBD Pain Relief Balm ($ 40-60), both in one ounce amounts and in 500 mg strengths.

In short: In our testing, the topicals reduced the testers’ muscle and joint pain, while giving off pleasant scents of peppermint and lemongrass oil. But here’s the catch: We’re not convinced CBD has done the heavy lifting here, as it’s not even listed as an active ingredient. (More on that later.)

Kelty CBD Topical Review

Photo credit: Alex Kirk


The claimed benefits CBD, which works in the body endocannabinoid system, are many. While there is no solid scientific consensus for most of these claims, there is evidence in the emerging field of CBD research that lends some credibility. CBD is said to help relieve pain, acne, certain mental and neurological conditions, and even cancer symptoms.

In our testing, the Kelty CBD topicals we used had As announced, providing “relief from minor pains in our muscles and joints”. The balm got rid of minor muscle pain in a tester’s shoulder for a few hours.

Topicals also made the knees less stiff and provided a greater range of motion. Our tester’s knee pain was not initially “minor” – rather moderate and acute in nature, leading to topical application – so it was still present, but significantly reduced.

These topicals are not intended for severe or chronic pain and do not claim to be. That said, our male tester found that topicals reduced his chronic back pain for a few hours – by at least two levels on a pain scale of 1 to 10.

Both testers really appreciated the higher relative comfort level provided by the topicals.

Cream vs Balm

The cream and balm performed a little differently in testing, but had comparable levels of effectiveness. Both have the same active ingredients, in the same amounts, and neither of them is related to CBD: capsicum (0.23%), capsaicin (percentage withheld), and menthol (4%). However, their textures and scents differ.

Kelty’s CBD Pain Relief Cream acts as a medium fine lotion that smells strongly of peppermint (which we loved). It is quite cool on the skin, so it is best to use it on smaller areas. (Note: The box says “warming and cooling relief,” but our testers felt the cooling much more.)

It spreads easily and you don’t need a lot of it. Our tester, who used these products on her knees and shoulders, preferred the cream to the balm because it worked best for massage.

The CBD Pain Relief Balm is a thicker, softer substance that smells of lemongrass. It doesn’t stretch that far and doesn’t work well for massage – just the app. Our male tester preferred the balm because the cream felt uncomfortably cold when applied all over his back.

Kelty pain relief CBD
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Kelty CBD Topicals: Introducing the Rub

Although we had positive results in our tests, it is important to ask why. Researching other topical pain relievers on the market may provide some answers. Kelty’s stuff is essentially a liniment with a trendy and under-researched ingredient – CBD – mixed in.

Although CBD is central to Kelty’s marketing for these products, the brand’s topicals share ingredients (such as menthol, capsaicin, and camphor) with other pain relief products like IcyHot or Bengay which have been around for many years.

We suspect that these ingredients play a role in the positive results we have had because the FDA has approved them. At this time, CBD is not recognized by the FDA, except in a medicine for two rare and severe forms of epilepsy.

When we asked Kelty why CBD was not listed as an active ingredient in these topicals, the brand said, “The FDA does not recognize CBD as an active / OTC ingredient, which is why it is placed under “other ingredients”. [on the packaging]. “

Kelty CBD 2
Photo credit: Alex Kirk

And when we talked to Kelty last month About this product launch, the brand touted its FDA approved ingredients. “We can wear this seal of approval using these ingredients,” Rowell said.

According to the FDA, CBD is not one of those ingredients that the brand can claim as a pain reliever. Because we know that at least some of the other ingredients are FDA approved as noted above, we assume that they have the “stamp of approval” on them.

Do you need CBD topicals?

The short answer is no. The prices of the CBD Pain Relief Cream ($ 40-50) and CBD Pain Relief Balm ($ 40-60) are competitive in the CBD market. But you can get topical pain relievers without CBD for much less than that (less than $ 10 for the same amount or more). And as to whether CBD topicals work better than their non-CBD counterparts, the current scientific consensus is fragile at best.

When we asked Kelty to compare their CBD topicals to non-CBD pain reliever ointments, the brand said, “CBD topicals work the same as other topicals that don’t contain CBD (like IcyHot and Bengay). They are both meant to soothe or relieve pain (ours relieves pain with FDA approved ingredients). These just have the added benefits that cannabidiol offers for pain relief.

That said, if you want to assess the ‘added benefits’ of topical CBD pain relief for yourself, Kelty’s line of topical CBD products are as good as any, won’t cost you more. that competition and smells good.