Life is painful. We mean that literally as in: neck cricks from sleeping in weird positions, lower back pain from forgetting to lift heavy things from your knees, sore thighs from an aggressive spin class, and the list goes on. There’s no magic button that’ll make all of your aches disappear but a soothing muscle balm can go a long way. Papa & Barkley’s Releaf balm, which is a 3:1 CBD:THC ratio, promises to relieve pain without being psychoactive. It’s mostly CBD, which is great if you’re sensitive to THC’s effects. Everyone who’s tried it seems to love it but does it live up to its healing hype? We asked 6 people to test it out so read on for their reviews.
It made an economy flight feel like economy plus:
After 17 straight hours of travel from Japan to Los Angeles, my upper back and neck were tied up in knots. I needed something to relieve the soreness and this was exactly it! The balm has a nice eucalyptus and tea tree scent, which felt soothing and smelled super refreshing. The texture made it easy to apply and it absorbed quickly into my skin. I loved that it provided release of my tense upper back muscles and lasted all day — I didn’t need to reapply. The best part is that you can use it both in the morning and nighttime without feeling tired or sluggish. I definitely would recommend it. — Nicole
It saved the family ski trip:
One of my life goals was to ski on a senior pass with my children and at almost 70 years old, I’m making good on that. That said, I now have arthritis and my old injuries tend to flare up after a day on the mountain. When my daughter shared this with me, I was initially skeptical but a few days later, I changed my mind. I’d apply after a long day on the slopes and found that I could enjoy après ski with my family. Plus I’d wake up less sore and stiff. My only wish is for it to come in tube form. — Jim
It’s been a couple years since I last skied and I knew that I would be a little sore on my family’s ski trip so I was excited to try the balm. I really liked the eucalyptus smell, it was refreshing but not overpowering. Unlike other balms, this one wasn’t greasy and absorbed quickly. After I applied it to my knees (they tend to ache the most) I felt like it kept me going longer on the mountain. I would definitely try it again and have already swiped my sister’s tub for my fiancé to use. — Charlie
For my family’s annual ski trip, I’ll pack a first-aid kit of products to treat the inevitable bruises and sore muscles that come up, which means lots of sports balms. The ones I’ve tried in the past have been greasy, masculine-smelling, and messy. In comparison, this one felt luxurious and only took a few moments to absorb — no waiting to put on your gear!
On the first day, I took a nasty fall that led to bruising, stiffness, and soreness all over my neck, shoulders, and hips. The balm was almost immediately effective and helped loosen everything up. My best strategy was to apply it right before bed and again in the morning. I’m definitely keeping this in my first-aid kit and now I’m also on the hook for buying my entire family their own tubs. — Amanda
It takes care of lower back pain after an 18 hole round of golf:
I’m an avid golfer but nearly every time I play, I come home with lower back pain. I was hoping this balm would be the solution. I can definitely smell the cannabis in the mix — it’s distinct without being overpowering. It’s not enough to stop me from buying it but some people might not be into that.
While I didn’t feel like it was effective when I used it preemptively, it was great right after a round of golf. It calmed the soreness in my lower back and I felt nice and loose. The balm is a great solution for in-the-moment recovery and relaxation but I don’t know if it’s a cure-all. It really depends on how much pain relief someone needs. — Rob
It made me the most popular person at the climbing gym:
I spend a lot of time climbing gyms. The sport might be super hot right now (who didn’t hear about Free Solo last year?) but trendiness aside, I find it meditative and a great way to interact with friends. The downside? Your forearms become swollen and sore — or as climbers like to say, ‘pumped’. If you’ve taken a few weeks off like I did, you’ll notice it happens faster than normal.
Knowing this, I threw the balm into my workout bag and whipped it out at the end of a 2-hour session at the gym. I passed it around my group of friends and everyone took a dab of the eucalyptus-scented rub to smear on their forearms. Between the smell and the cooling sensation, it was an immediate hit.
Full disclosure: I’ve been a fan of the product for over a year so I knew I had to share it with others. I’ve used it to fix a kink in my neck from sleeping badly, ease lower back pain from my period, soothe my bad knee, and now it’s my go-to for tight arms and shoulders. It’s definitely something I’ll keep stashed in my gym bag. — Diana