Can Cannabis Topicals Make You Fail a Drug Test?

Urine Drug Test and marijuana
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People use topical cannabis products for a variety of reasons, but the most common is for localized pain relief. Sometimes, certain body parts need extra assistance, and cannabis topicals can deliver the medicinal properties that are needed. Cannabis topicals do have many benefits, yes, but they have also raised concerns by potential users regarding the probability of failing a drug test after usage. Some people are also concerned about getting high after using cannabis topicals. Read on to find out the answers to these concerns and what you should know about cannabis topicals.

About Cannabis Topicals

Cannabis topical products are cannabinoid-infused products that can be applied directly to your skin. A handful of examples of cannabis topicals include lotions, creams, salves, ointments, and sprays, and these products come in all shapes, sizes, styles, and variations. There are cannabis topicals that contain various cannabinoids, but the main ones are CBD, THC, and occasionally CBN. However, the majority of cannabis topical products contain just CBD, whereas other ones contain mostly THC. Then, there are products that contain a combination of these two cannabinoids plus other essential oils.

No matter which cannabis topical product you decide to use, all these products are applied to your skin, where they are then absorbed. Transdermal absorption is very different than other forms of cannabis consumption such as inhalation and ingestion. One of the main benefits of cannabis topicals is its ability to provide localized pain-relief depending on where you apply the product to your body.

Furthermore, as compared to other cannabis consumption methods, cannabis topicals focus more on therapeutic and medicinal benefits rather than producing psychoactive effects.

Overall, cannabis topicals don’t provide a psychoactive effect, nor do they deliver a cerebrally euphoric feeling. Instead, these products provide full-body relaxation and relief, which allows users to carry on with their day without feeling cognitively impaired or intoxicated.

Can Cannabis Topicals Result in a Failed Drug Test?

Despite the lack of THC in most cannabis topicals, many people are worried about possibly failing a drug test after using topical products. If the topical product does contain any THC, then there’s a slim chance that a drug test could pick that up. However, most likely the answer is no. Paul Armentano of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws stated in a Cannabist article, “THC is lipid soluble, so one would expect very little THC to enter the bloodstream via transdermal delivery.”

In the same article, analytical chemist and chief scientist at Evolab, Noel Palmer, was asked about this common concern, and he answered, “THC alone and by itself will not permeate through the skin into the bloodstream, just as most drugs won’t. The skin is designed to keep things out, and it does a really good job at doing this.”

Overall, cannabis topicals absorb into the body’s skin rather than into the bloodstream, as happens with most other cannabis consumption methods. Therefore, it’s believed by many that most CBD-based cannabis topicals won’t lead to a failed drug test. However, so far, no definitive research has been done on the linkage between consumers who use only infused topical products and drug tests.

Can Cannabis Topicals Get You High?

Some people are also concerned about the possibility of getting high from using cannabis topicals. One main reason why people use topical products is that they don’t deliver a psychoactive effect after usage. Rather than feeling a cerebral high, cannabis topicals provide users with solely the medicinal properties of cannabis.

In general, cannabis topicals are intended for localized relief and especially for muscle and joint pain, nerve pain, soreness, dry skin from eczema and/or psoriasis, and other forms of pain and discomfort.

When cannabis topicals are used, the chemicals and cannabinoids from cannabis (CBD, THC, CBN, THCA, etc.) are absorbed into the skin, which then triggers a response from the body’s endocannabinoid system. Cannabinoids are the chemicals that activate our endocannabinoid system. Each time a topical product is applied to the skin, the cannabinoids bind to our body’s receptors in the skin, muscle tissues, and local nerves, which leads to overall relief, as mentioned in a Leaf Science article.

On the same note, if a topical product contains THC, in order for THC to have a psychoactive effect, it must enter the bloodstream and pass the blood-brain barrier to reach the brain. In particular, a National Institute of Health study found that THC doesn’t show up in blood or urine tests after consistent usage of topical products that contain THC.

Making the Right Decision

Marijuana Plant and Hand Cream
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Fortunately, cannabis topicals don’t produce a psychoactive effect so you can incorporate them into your daily routine as needed. There are multiple reasons why people use cannabis topicals, especially as a form of treatment for injuries, aches, pains, menstrual cramps, spasms, sore muscles, headaches, pain from gout, insect bites, and stings.

Overall, if you decide to consume a cannabis topical product, keep in mind that the THC content within topicals tends to be much lower than the THC content within edibles and flower/bud, as mentioned by Drug Policy.org. Also, cannabinoids in cannabis topicals only break the skin/muscular barrier of the body rather than entering the body’s bloodstream.

Therefore, you shouldn’t have to worry much about failing a drug test after using cannabis topicals. However, if you want to be extra cautious, it’s recommended to use cannabis topicals that only contain CBD, CBN, and/or THCA, which are all non-psychoactive cannabinoids.

To learn more about THCA and its medicinal benefits, check out the informative article here.

If you’re interested in learning more about cannabis topicals, read the interesting article here.

Article by: Nicole Skrobin