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Will Cannabis Topicals Show Up In A Drug Test?

Cannabis topicals are a tried and tested way to decrease localized pain and inflammation. Until recently, it has mainly been weed smokers who used this kind of products, but the market is quickly expanding to those who do not use cannabis in traditional way.

Naturally, people who buy the cannabis topicals might worry that they might show up in a drug test. This is a constant worry for anyone who uses any form of marijuana to handle pain because society still does not accept this natural medicine. Although most cannabis topicals carry very low levels of THC, there is still a risk that a drug test can expose this substance.

  1. What Are Cannabis Topicals?
  2. Can Cannabis Topicals Make You High?
  3. Will Cannabis Topicals Make You Fail a Drug Test?
  4. How to Pass a Drug Test After Using Cannabis Topicals
  5. Final Thoughts

cannabis topical with THC

What Are Cannabis Topicals?

The word 'topical' is used in relation to health and beauty products that are applied to the skin. This classification includes patches, lotions, salves, balms, and ointments. In order to take advantage of the medicinal properties of cannabis, some manufacturers include it in the formulas of their topical products.

Cannabis topicals are administered in the same way you would use any pain relief cream – by applying it directly to the area of your body afflicted by the mild pain or inflammation. The product is absorbed into your body and relieves the symptoms.

Cannabis topicals are for therapeutic use only. You can't take them orally, and can't use them as a recreational drug. However, for the first time, users are often concerned if they get high after applying them on their skin.

Can Cannabis Topicals Make You High?

The answer is no, for two reasons. Firstly, not all cannabinoids in cannabis are psychoactive and can make you high. Secondly, the active compounds can't reach the brain through the skin to cause a high.

Only some of the cannabinoids can alter the neurotransmitters in the brain to give you the psychoactive response of being high. For example, THC and CBN have psychoactive properties, while CBD does not. Fortunately, CBD is the most common compound used in the cannabis topicals. Since CBD does not have any psychoactive properties, it cannot cause a high. But what happens when the product contains THC or CBN?

A substance like THC makes you high when it reaches CB1 receptors in your brain through the bloodstream. The good news is that the skin's sturdy outer layer exists to stop substances from penetrating deep enough to enter your system. Psychoactive cannabinoids can only bind to the CB2 receptors in your skin, nerves and muscles – but no further. They get absorbed before they reach your bloodstream, and this means that even a cannabis topical products containing THC and CBN cannot make you high.

Will Cannabis Topicals Make You Fail a Drug Test?

Assuming that cannabis topicals cannot make you high, it is reasonable to conclude that they also will not make you fail a drug test.

In theory, this is true, but unfortunately loopholes do exist!

Loophole #1: Transdermal cannabis patches are the exception to the rule. They are made to bypass the tough outer layer of your skin to deliver a good dose of the active ingredient into your bloodstream. It's similar to how nicotine is absorbed through the skin and into the bloodstream with a nicotine patch. This means that if you use transdermal cannabis patch with has high level of THC, this substance may enter your bloodstream , which could make you fail your drug test.

Loophole #2: You could make a mistake when applying a cannabis topical, which could then cause harmful cannabinoids to enter your bloodstream. Here are the most common mistakes that you could make after using cannabis topicals that increase the risks of failing your drug test:

  • not washing your hands
  • touching your mouth or eyes
  • taking a bath

These are just the few of many possible ways THC can enter your bloodstream bypassing the skin. Because of these, you can never be sure that you are 100% safe during a drug test, despite the fact that all manufacturers of cannabis topicals say the opposite.

How to Pass a Drug Test After Using Cannabis Topicals

Since cannabis topicals may show up in a drug test, you need to take a precautionary measures that will improve your chances to test negative.

Always make sure that you know which cannabinoids your product uses as its active ingredient. There is no danger of CBD showing in a drug test, so you're safe if that's the only active compound. You'll need, however, to take extra precautions in case your topical contains high level THC content.

Follow these tips to pass a drug test for sure:

  1. Use gloves and/or wash your hands right after applying cannabis topical product.
  2. Avoid touching your mouth and eyes during application and after it, until you wash your hands.
  3. Avoid bathing for a few hours after applying a topical, until the skin absorbs the product.
  4. Use a trusted marijuana detox product to clean THC out of your system.

Final Thoughts

Drug tests can detect cannabis for weeks or even months after you've consumed it. For example, the hair follicle test can detect THC up to 90 days after your last use. If you're in an environment that applies drug tests, then it's best to know when you last used a cannabis topical. Knowing this will help to determine if there's a chance that you will fail your test.

Most likely, you will not test positive for marijuana unless you use a transdermal cannabis patch. It doesn't mean, however, that you shouldn't take precautions by following the guidance we listed earlier in this article. Remember that traces of THC might enter your bloodstream and show up in a drug test if you touch your mouth or eyes after using the cannabis topicals. To minimise the risk, you should use gloves and wash your hands after applying the product to your skin.