Papa & Barkley 3:1 CBD:THC RELEAF Balm (2019 Review)

By Tricia Cleppe Updated October 24th, 2022

Many of my family members from an older generation are hesitant to try cannabis. It can be hard to watch, especially when they suffer from conditions I know medical marijuana could help them fight. I might not ever get them to puff on a joint, but I have convinced a few to try cannabis topical for non-intoxicating pain relief. My grandma used to experience intense arthritic pain in her hands due to inflammation; but with cannabis topical, her gnarled and cramped fingers would extend with relief and full mobility.

Perhaps my own personal experience dealing with a family member in pain makes me feel a certain kinship with the Papa & Barkley brand we’re talking about today. The brand’s name is an ode to his father and their loyal family dog, a pit bull named Barkley. The company began when a son (now the founder) wanted to help his elderly father fight immobilizing back pain. As a result, this well-respected topical brand now crafts multiple high potency formulations of cannabis topicals and tinctures to bring comfort to those that need it most. And they do it using whole plant, sun-grown cannabis from Humboldt County.

Seeing just how powerful cannabis topical can be in my own experience with elderly family members, now when I try out a new topical for my aches and pains, I think, “Would I recommend this to my grandmother?” As I try Papa & Barkley’s 3:1 (CBD: THC) RELEAF Balm, this is the high standard that I set for the product.

Packaging, Labeling and Product Design

Papa & Barkley products jump off the shelf. Not because of in-your-face packaging, but rather the complete opposite. Their understated, classy and simple packaging is unique in a world of harsh neon green and black. This Papa & Barkley 3:1 RELEAF Balm comes inside of a beautifully frosted glass jar with a honey-colored wood top, adorned with a P&B logo burnt into the wood. The P&B branded blue label is the perfect compliment to the deep green of the cannabis topical that pokes through the frosted glass. The jar is packaged safely inside of a sturdy blue box with an ink sketch of Papa himself. I could see this jar happily living on the chicest of bedside tables and bathroom countertops.

I appreciate the effort to thoroughly label this product. They include its ingredients, directions for use and some information about the Papa & Barkley brand. But there is one major aspect for concern: the printed cannabinoid contents on the front of the box (450 mg CBD: 150 mg THC) doesn’t match the lab test results label on the side of the box (374.04 mg CBD: 121.19 mg THC). If the lab testing is right (as it should be) that’s nearly 75 mg of CBD short…a major disappointment.

The label on the jar restates the 3:1 ratio and informs me this product is good for “pain and inflammation,” but doesn’t tell me much beyond that. I wish there a little more information on what conditions this product is good for. I find myself wondering, is this good for nerve pain, muscle pain, headaches, bug bites?

Luckily, there is a support phone number listed on the label that I can call to get additional answers. The helpline informs me this 3:1 RELEAF Balm is best for pain due to inflammation, like arthritis or injury. I’ve been experiencing major shoulder pain from an injury that has never quite healed, so I get ready to slather this on liberally.

Quality and Ease of Use

Since the ingredients are right on the jar, I can tell this product is high quality. No harmful fillers, chemicals or additives to be found here; just cannabis, coconut oil, beeswax, eucalyptus, tea tree, peppermint, lavender, vitamin E oil and natural terpenes. Upon opening the jar, the strong aroma of the essential blend punches my nostrils. It smells earthy yet medicinal at the same time and is honestly a bit too pungent for my tastes.

The texture of the balm inside is like that of solidified coconut oil. I scoop a generous fingerful out of the beautifully frosted jar, deposit the chunk of topical to my shoulder and, as I rub, the once-solidified coconut oil spreads like a thick liquid. This topical is so oily and doesn’t fully absorb into the skin for quite some time, so I avoid putting clothing on top of the treated area. I could see this texture being fantastic for a nice cannabis-infused massage.

This product is incredibly easy to use. Just scoop some out, rub it on and that is it! I love the large wooden top on the jar; I think even my grandmother could grab hold and open it, even with her arthritis-ridden hands.

Potency, Effectiveness and Affordability

This Papa & Barkley 3:1 RELEAF Balm works almost instantly for me. I immediately begin feeling more mobility in my shoulder and feel my body relaxing around the site of injury. It feels incredible and I find myself more grateful for the relief than I expected to be. I would be interested to see if the wonderful tingly sensation is brought on mostly by the cannabis or the strong essential oil blend. Either way, I did feel great relief! I don’t think I would use this product on more sensitive areas of the skin, for fear the essential oil blend might be too strong.

After testing three different jars of this topical, I feel very confident in its consistency. This product is highly potent, especially when compared to other cannabis topicals on the market. Because of this, the price is steep. At nearly $100 for a 50 mL jar, this topical tops the top shelf. I can’t say this high price point is always accessible for me, but if I had a more debilitating inflammation issue, I think it would be worth the investment. In the end, I would absolutely suggest this product for my grandmother.

Nugg Score: How the Nugg Team Rates This Product

Packaging: 5/5

  • Balm comes packaged beautifully in a thick, frosted glass jar with a wooden lid. The lid has the P&B logo burnt into it and it’s labeled in a cool blue.
  • Glass jar is housed in a sturdy cardboard box donning P&B’s classic calming blue and beige design and a sketch of the infamous Papa & Barkley.
  • Unparalleled brand recognition: without being “loud,” I can spot this (and their other products) from a mile away.

Labeling: 3/5

  • Printed cannabinoid contents on the front of the box (450mg CBD: 150mg THC) are contradictory to the lab test results label on the side of the box (374.04mg CBD: 121.19 mg THC).
  • This contradiction is a little confusing and misleading, and the box would be much better off without printing their (what I’ll call) “targeted” cannabinoid content on the front.
  • Customer support staff (whose phone number is listed on the label) is incredibly nice and willing to work through questions.

Fragrance: 3.5/5

  • Blend of essential oils in this balm creates a fragrance that smells calming but medicinal. While it’s not unpleasant, it’s a little overwhelming… and lasts a long time.
  • Because of the strong essential oil blend, I wouldn’t feel comfortable using this on my face or other sensitive skin areas on my body.
  • Anyone with allergies to certain essential oils in this mix won’t be able to utilize the healing powers of these cannabinoids in P&B’s RELEAF Balm

Texture: 3.5/5

  • Balm turns from a solid to a smooth oil as soon as it meets the heat from your body.
  • While it provides a great glide for massaging it onto a sore muscle, it is pretty oily so be careful with clothing.
  • Texture would be ideal for a massage.

Ease of Use: 5/5

  • Product couldn’t be any easier to use.
  • Lid is easy to unscrew and the mouth of the jar is wide enough to easily get to every last drop of the balm.

Ingredients: 5/5

  • Simple ingredients: only cannabis, fractionated coconut oil, beeswax, a blend of essential oils (eucalyptus, tea tree, peppermint and lavender), vitamin E oil, and natural terpenes. That’s it!
  • Product is completely natural, uses a whole-plant extract, it’s Cruelty-Free and Sun-Grown in Humboldt.

Effectiveness: 5/5

  • I would love to see Papa & Barkley come out with a fragrance-free version of this product, not only for the reasons listed above, but also
  • so I can tell if the tingling sensation is from the cannabinoids or from the eucalyptus/peppermint/tea tree oils.
  • After giving my shoulder a rub with this oily balm, I immediately felt more mobility.

Consistency: 5/5

  • After working with several jars of this, I always had the same experience and felt the same relief.
  • If this blend of cannabinoids works for you, it should work consistently – every time.

Versatility: 4/5

  • Although the customer support team assured me that it’s a great moisturizer and OK to use virtually anywhere, because of the intense essential oil mix, I’d be afraid you use this near my eyes, on any sensitive skin areas (face, lips, etc.), or skin disorders (eczema, psoriasis, etc.).

Price: 4.5/5

  • At around $100 for this 50ml jar, it’s priced a bit higher than most topical cannabis products I come across, though, most cannabis topicals I’ve come across aren’t nearly as effective.
  • For me, the price is a little steep because I would only use it for the occasional sore muscle. But if I had a chronic and debilitating condition, I would consider this a worthy investment.
  • Because of the high cannabinoid content and potency, you may find the price to be well worth the relief it brings to your ailments.

Overall Rating: 4.35

This is one of the most effective cannabis topicals I’ve ever tried. The potent sun-grown Humboldt cannabis and proprietary essential oil blend immediately go to work to relieve pain. The beautiful Papa & Barkley packaging looks like it belongs in a high-end skincare boutique, but it’s also functional for those opening the jar with limited mobility. On the downside, the contradiction in potency labels is disappointing and the price point a bit steep. All in all, for those with chronic and debilitating inflammation, would probably find this highly potent and highly effective topical well worth the investment.

Ready to alleviate your aches and pains with Papa & Barkley’s 3:1 CBD:THC RELEAF balm? Nugg Club can deliver this product and more right to your doorstep. If you live in the LA area, click here to see if your address qualifies.

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