I’ve been a long-time cheerleader for pain relief topicals, ever since I first tried them in college. After guzzling as many PBR tallboys as possible and neglecting to work out during the off season (sorry, coach; I lied), I’d come into the first week of wrestling practice doughy and out of shape, and after seven grueling days of getting the shit kicked out of me on the mat and in the weight room, I’d end the week as a pathetic, writhing ball of sore muscles and joint pain. Back then, I was taking a medically inadvisable amount of ibuprofen (don’t do this), trying to drink a gallon of water a day, and slathering myself in IcyHot and other topical pain solutions to relatively no avail.
Though I’ve always been a fan of menthol rubs, the brief pain relief that they provide never lasted me more than 15 minutes or so, which didn’t allow me to further stretch the muscles that needed attention. Plus, now that I’ve hopped back on the fitness train in 2022 in an attempt to work off my post-wrestling gut, I could use a little help in the soreness department. That’s why I was so interested when I first heard about menthol rubs and topical roll-ons that had CBD in them—namely, the Radical Relief Gel Roll On from ASYSTEM. Dubbed “the most powerful, instant pain fighting product on the market,” by the wellness brand, it made big promises—so I gave it a shot to see if it would deliver on them.
The Radical Relief Gel Roll On is packed with active ingredients including menthol, methyl salicylate, arnica, and “high-quality, USA-grown hemp-derived CBD to penetrate deep into muscles and stop pain at the source.” I was skeptical at first, but I’ve tried ASYSTEM products before, and after taking a quick stroll down to the review section, I was intrigued. “I title this as 'RELIEF' because that is what happened when I applied the roll-on to my neck,” one happy customer wrote. “I had a broken neck that had to be fused and unfortunately, I was rear-ended four years after the surgery, and that threw it out and I've been dealing with pain ever since. Using the Radical Relief Gel has given me the 'relief' I've needed to deal with this pain much more comfortably.” That glowing testimonial—one of many—sounded pretty good, so I picked up my own roller to give it a shot on my achy knees and sore muscles.
My hopes weren’t that high, but surprisingly, I felt the effects almost immediately. The cool thing about the Radical Relief Gel Roll On—and the thing that sets it apart from other CBD roll-ons I’ve tried—is that the metal rolling mechanism (ASYSTEM calls is a “cooling cryosphere,” which is not, in fact, something that aliens use during a probin’ sesh) acts as a targeted massage ball for really digging into the sore muscles and breaking up knots. If you’ve ever rolled out using a tennis ball or lacrosse ball after leg day to help alleviate soreness, it’s kinda like that, only more precise (and infused with cooling goo).
After the initial application, you feel a cold, strangely peppery feeling—like if your arms could taste spicy (but not too spicy) food, this is the sensation you’d experience. It’s not an uncomfortable feeling, and though it’s certainly noticeable, it quickly fades into a dull, cooling effect that persists for a good half hour or so. Aside from the soothing qualities of menthol and methyl salicylate, I noticed that I was able to stretch these muscles much more effectively afterwards, and my pain had subsided significantly.
My TL;DR is thus: It's hard to say whether Radical Relief's roll-on is really "the world's most powerful" without trying, well, every other pain-fighting product on the market, but at the very least, it delivered tingly, soothing effects on my busted muscles. If you’ve got sore muscles or joint pain, and nothing else is working, give the Radical Relief Gel Roll On a shot—even if you’re a CBD skeptic. In my case, my pain went away, so even if the effect is coming from the menthol and not the CBD, it’s still a damn good product.
The Rec Room staff independently selected all of the stuff featured in this story.