A very common question people have about cannabis topicals is, “Will I test positive on a drug test?”.

This is a very good question, especially if drug testing is a part of your daily life or a requirement for the job you hold or are applying for. We’re here to shed a little light on this topic.

If You’re Concerned About Drug Testing for Cannabis Topicals…Read On

We are here to offer our accumulated knowledge and research on the topic of topicals. So, first thing’s first: we can’t say with 100% confidence that using topicals with THC, THCa, CBD and other cannabinoids, will not result in a positive drug test.

Some cannabis topicals on the market do claim to be immune to drug testing, but don’t be fooled. Any claim that a cannabis-rich topical won’t cause a positive test is likely an over exaggeration.


Let’s break down the facts, shall we?

Cannabis topicals

When we talk about cannabis topicals, we are referring to cannabis infused preparations like salves, creams or lotions. Applied to the skin, these products are absorbed through layers of the skin and do not enter the bloodstream, which is what would cause a positive drug test.

Cannabinoids, on their own, don’t travel too far beyond the surface, but add a permeation enhancer (oleic acid) like coconut oil, shea butter, etc. and you now send the medicinal components on a deeper journey.

Transdermal Cannabis Patches

Transdermal patches are a whole other ball game. Unlike cannabis topicals, they do deliver cannabinoids to the bloodstream (which could produce a positive drug test result) and are known to cause some level of psychoactive effects if the THC level is high enough.

The patch works similar to a nicotine patch, sending the medicine through your whole body. Topicals on the other hand provide localized relief.

It’s important to understand the difference between topical creams and patches if you might need to take a drug test. Find more information about transdermal patches in this article by Alternet.

Watch Out for ‘Human Error’

The rule of thumb for topical marijuana creams and lotions is to consider the chance that human error can come into play.

For example, do you wash your hands immediately after using your topical? Do you get into a bathtub (which for some topical treatments can enhance the therapeutic benefits)? Do you touch your eye or bite your nails?

There are also other ways that cannabinoids could enter your bloodstream without you even realizing that it’s happened.

4 Steps to Avoid Testing Positive When Using Cannabis Topicals

It’s a bit unethical to claim that a cannabis-rich topical will not result in a positive drug test, but it’s safe to assume if you’re careful.  Here are a few tips for using THC or CBD based topicals when drug testing is a concern:

1.  Wash hands immediately after applying topicals.
2.  Avoid bathing or steaming after use.
3.  Be sure to avoid eyes and mouth during and after application.
4.  Use non-porous gloves to apply topicals for extra precaution.


Know Your Source

Trichomes, cannabis, marijuana, close up of receptors


One last  thing to be careful of is where your products come from. Sweet Releaf’s body butters are made with raw cannabis trichomes, which are harvested from plant material originating from select farms in Northern California. Trichomes produce a viscous resin which is highly concentrated with cannabinoids such as THC and THCA.

You can read more about cannabis trichomes in this article from 420 Magazine.

Some products claiming to be cannabis-rich will actually have very small traces of cannabis. These products will not be very effective for therapeutic or alternative healing. Makers of such “novelty items” may boast with certainty that you will not fail a drug test.

You likely won’t feel much relief either.

If you are considering using topicals for pain relief, skin conditions, or a number of other ailments, make sure you follow our guidelines above, and you should be good to go!

For more helpful tips and information about the world of alternative healing with cannabis topicals be sure to subscribe to our blog!