Will Topical CBD Show Up on a Drug Test? (2024)

Do you struggle with stiff joints, tight muscles, or skin irritations? If so, then you might be aware of CBD topicals.These skin products can penetrate deep and target specific areas. Most of them contain hundreds of beneficial compounds, which is excellent news. However, one concern is the possibility of failing a drug test because some CBD topicals might contain tiny amounts of THC. They definitely won’t get you “high” but, will a CBD topical show up on a drug test? The CBD will not, but there could be some concerns about THC. Allow us to explain.

Table of Contents

What Is CBD?

CBD(Cannabidiol)has become quite popular amongst the health and wellness community. It belongs to a group of chemical compounds known ascannabinoids.Like CBD,most cannabinoids come from the cannabis plant, but don’t let this fool you into thinking CBD gets you high. On the contrary,CBD alone does not give users the “head high”that cannabis is responsible for.Out of the hundred-plus cannabinoids in cannabis, THC(Tetrahydrocannabinol) is the one that gets you “high”. So remember, CBD offers most of thebenefits of cannabiswithout the head high. THC provides many benefits of cannabis, including the head high. Now, let’s move forward to see if CBD topicals can show up on a drug test.Are you unfamiliar with CBD? Do you wonder what to expect?Check out this articlenext.Will Topical CBD Show Up on a Drug Test? (1)

How Do Cannabinoids Work?

Cannabinoids, like CBD, interact with theendocannabinoid system(or ECS, for short). This system is a “control and regulatory” network in the human body which governs:

  • Appetite
  • Pain and inflammation
  • Immune function
  • Body temperature
  • Circulation

Some of you may wonder, how could CBD interact with the ECS if you rub it on your skin? Did you know that cannabinoids, like CBD,can penetrate all layers of the dermis (skin)?Surprisingly, their effects can permeate muscles and even reach joints and ligaments!Your skin is covered with special cannabinoid receptors, which are also a part of the ECS. This is why CBD and other cannabinoids make great ingredients for topicals.

What is Topical CBD, Will it Show Up On a Drug Test?

CBD topicals are cannabis-based products that consumers usetopically.You don’t ingest them; rather, you apply them externally on your skin. Generally, manufacturers incorporate abasetohelp the CBD absorb into the skin.Bases also help to give the product the right consistency. In some cases, this base is water, but it can also be a type of oil. Oil makes a great base because CBD naturally binds to fat cells. The most common examples of oil bases used in CBD topicals include:

  1. Avocado oil
  2. Coconut oil
  3. Jojoba
  4. Vitamin E
  5. Shea butter

A CBD topical will have different basic properties depending on the underlying base. For example,water-basedproducts absorb the quickest into the skin, although they don’t last as long. As foroil-basedtopicals, they have a higher absorption rate, and they can penetrate the surface easier.

Variations of CBD

It’s important to realize that someCBD topicals can contain otherphytocannabinoids. It all depends on which underlying ingredients the manufacturer decides to use. Manufacturers use variations of cannabinoids to cater to different consumer needs. For example, there are three basic types of CBD products:


Products made from isolate have been distilled and manufactured. The other components of the cannabis plant (phytocannabinoids, terpenoids, and flavonoids) have been removed, thereby only leaving the CBD.


In these products, you can find all of the elements found in cannabis except THC. Broad-spectrum is like Full-spectrum with no THC.


Also known aswhole plant CBD,these products incorporate all components of the cannabis plant. In other words, “the whole plant” is utilized, meaning that the profile of phytocannabinoids, terpenoids, and flavonoids is kept intact. There is also a substantial amount of research suggesting that this form is more effectivedue to theentourage effect.Consumers should understand that the amount of THC in full-spectrum cannot breach the 0.3%. This level is minuscule, even if you smoke this amount of THC you will not get high. As for drug test concerns, remember the detection of cannabinoids in isolate, broad, and full-spectrum products may have different results.

Will Topical CBD Show Up On a Drug Test?

According to most studies, it shouldn’t, but there is the slightest possibility. In all actuality, no drug test screens specifically for CBD because it’s a legal chemical (it does not cause any form of intoxication). As a result, if they are manufactured correctly, CBD topicals that don’t contain THC (isolate and broad-spectrum) should not show up on a drug test. So let’s discuss full-spectrum topicals and drug tests.Do you remember the difference between isolate and full-spectrum? To reiterate, full-spectrum products can contain trace amounts of THC. According to federal law, these amounts are minuscule; CBD products must be made from thehempvariant of cannabis. Therefore, all legal CBD products should have less than 0.3% THC.Even though it can’t get you high, there still might be some concern with full-spectrum topicals and drug tests. However, most researchers seriously doubt that any full-spectrum topical can produce enough THC to fail a drug test. Plus, the result may vary depending on what type of drug test it is.

Different Drug Tests

The most common type of drug test is a urine analysis test. But, did you know that there are four different ways to test for drugs, and each test can have different results when it comes to THC? Let’s familiarize ourselves and quickly go over the basic types of tests and how long each can detect THC.Urine Test: Can detect THC use within 3 to 30 days (depending on the frequency of use).Saliva Test: Can detect use up to 24 hours.Hair Test: Detection for up to 90 days.Blood Test: Detects THC use within 30-60 days.Many experts point out that topical cannabinoid applications do not absorb into the bloodstream, which makes it pretty much impossible to test positive for THC. Onestudyfrom 2017 concludes that the use of THC-rich topicals will not cause the user to test positive with blood or urine tests. Although there is some anecdotal evidence to suggest otherwise, therefore it’s best to proceed with caution.So, to review, let’s break it down as follows:

  1. Isolate topical – These should not show up on any drug test.
  2. Broad-spectrum topical – These should not make you fail a drug test.
  3. Full-spectrum topical – These most likely won’t show up, but it’s not 100% certain.

Note to consumers: there is one exception to this rule, transdermal patches. These products are specifically designed to have cannabinoids penetrate deep. Some transdermal applications may reach the capillaries, which then causes them to enter the bloodstream. So, if the CBD transdermal is a full-spectrum product, it’s possible that some THC could enter the bloodstream.Will Topical CBD Show Up on a Drug Test? (2)

What Type of Topical CBD Products Are There?

There are five basic kinds of topicals available today, each with its advantages:

Skincare Products

There is a wealth of topicals used for skincare, includingCBD lotions, moisturizers, and face creams. Using CBD topical is the next big trend in the beauty industry, especially sincestudies indicatethat CBD may have somereal benefitsfor skincare.

Bath Salts/Bombs

Everyone loves a nice, warm soak in the tub to melt away the soreness of a long day. As a result, the cannabis industry has developed a wide range of CBD bath productsthat many users find exceptionally helpful. These topicals work great for applying CBD to 100% of your skin and hair.


These are similar to the skincare products mentioned above; however, the CBD concentration is much higher and always uses an oil base. This combination makes CBD salves/balmsparticularly potent.


CBD-infused lubes are becoming increasingly popular. Pleasure is another factor that may be regulated through the ECS,thereby promoting sexual pleasure and function.

Gels/Transdermal Patches

These are the thickest and most powerful types of CBD topical. They are specially designed for maximum penetration in the skin.Due to the absolute explosion of interest in cannabis-based products, CBD topicals are among the fastest-growing segments of this market. Many consumers find these productsexceptionally helpful and effective.TheAmerican Academy of Dermatologystated thatCBD topicals hold tremendous potentialfor many skin conditions.These results sound promising, and choosing a legitimate company is the first step in the right direction. So what separates good CBD companies from the bad?Will Topical CBD Show Up on a Drug Test? (3)

Choosing the Right Brand

If you are thinking of using aCBD topical, be sure to use a premium product from a legitimate brand. Before your purchase, you may wish to review some of these tips:1) Find out if the product is full-spectrum or isolateIf your work or school requires mandatory drug tests, you should determine if there are any trace amounts of THC in the product. Remember, full-spectrum topicals offer the most benefits, but they have minuscule THC. However, it’s highly unlikely with the legal parameters to test positive for THC while using a full-spectrum CBD topical.2) Request acertificate of authenticityThis comprehensive document will include lab results to make sure that you’re getting a high-quality, legitimate product. Additionally, COAs can identify if a product has THC or not and how much is present.3) Don’t believe outrageous claimsIf something sounds too good to be true, then it probably is.4) Consult with your doctorIt’s always best to let them know. However, the American Academy of Dermatology has pointed out that CBD topicals have minimal side effects.5) Read the labelMake sure you’re not allergic to any of the other ingredients.CBD oil is exceptionally safe, and CBD topicals are even more reliable. They’re effective and useful. Topical CBD may help soothe away many bothersome issues ranging from soreness to stiffness. Plus, if you choose the right product, you can rest assured knowing that it won’t show up on a drug test! You might also want to try CBD flower for quick effectiveness! However, odds are any CBD from hemp is highly unlikely to produce dirty results. Remember, full-spectrum CBD has the most to offer!

Will Topical CBD Show Up on a Drug Test? (2024)


Will Topical CBD Show Up on a Drug Test? ›

Topical application of THC containing products is not able to cause positive cannabinoid finding in blood or urine.

Can topical CBD make you fail drug test? ›

Although there is THC, CBD or other cannabinoids in the lotion/cream which is absorbed into your skin, muscles and nerves, it does not reach your bloodstream (and ultimately, your brain, where the psychoactive aspect of THC is caused), so it cannot be detected by a test.

How long is CBD topical detectable in urine? ›

Since it takes approximately five half-lives to completely eliminate a drug from the human body, it's likely that CBD stays in the system for about 85 hours, or about 3.5 days” says Dr.

Can you test positive for using hemp lotion? ›

Using a hemp product that contains THC or THCA could result in a false positive on a urine drug screen. Hemp products are not supposed to contain more than 0.3% THC, however, there are mislabeled products on the market so consumers must be careful.

Can CBD oil be absorbed through the skin? ›

When inhaled, CBD and THC are immediately absorbed through the lungs resulting in a faster response and higher bioavailability in comparison with oral products. When applied topically to the skin, they are absorbed through the epidermis or hair follicles while interacting with receptors to provide localized effects.

What CBD products won't fail a drug test? ›

Broad-spectrum CBD oil is a great choice for those looking for a CBD oil that doesn't show up on drug tests. Broad-spectrum CBD oil contains all of the compounds found in the cannabis plant, except for THC. This means that you will get all of the benefits of CBD, without the risk of failing a drug test.

What CBD won't fail drug test? ›

Workplace drug tests do not screen for CBD, only THC. Due to the unregulated nature of the industry, trace elements of THC can be found in some CBD products. Hemp-based CBD isolate products are the least likely to contain THC.

How much CBD can cause a failed drug test? ›

A urine drug test detects THC above 50mg/ml, which would require the user to consume more than 2,000mg of CBD product on a regular basis.

How long does CBD topical cream last? ›

CBD topicals typically take effect within 15 to 20 minutes, and the benefits usually last for up to six hours.

How do you clean CBD out of your system? ›

Drinking plenty of water helps to flush out the body's systems, while exercising helps to increase the body's metabolic rate and helps to break down the CBD molecules more quickly. Taking a detoxification supplement can help to accelerate the process and can also help to reduce any potential side effects.

Does Delta 8 show up on drug tests? ›

Delta-8 THC is a chemical found in cannabis with similar effects to traditional (delta-9) THC. Because delta-8 THC is similar to delta-9 THC, it can make you feel high and is likely to show up on a drug test.

Can I fail a drug test from hemp seeds? ›

Answer: It is possible to fail a drug test for marijuana based on THC in a hemp oil, hemp seed, or hemp seed extract -- the ingredient in many CBD oils and supplements. Unusually large amounts of hemp oil or hemp seed would normally be required to cause a positive drug test.

What are the benefits of CBD topically? ›

The primary benefits of using CBD topically include reducing inflammation, promoting healthy skin, and easing localized pain. CBD topicals can also provide long-lasting relief from skin conditions such as eczema, psoriasis, and dermatitis.

How fast does CBD absorb into the skin? ›


This form of absorption is quite slow. It can take anywhere between 25 and 45 minutes before effects take place. Topical application is the pathway of choice for skin conditions and athletic recovery.

What are the side effects of CBD ointment? ›

CBD Cream side effects

Some of the common side effects of CBD cream use include dry mouth, diarrhoea, nausea, fatigue, and changes in appetite. These side effects are usually mild and temporary, but in some cases, they can be more severe.

Can an employer fire you for using CBD oil? ›

Yes, an employer could fire you for using CBD oil.

There is a possibility that using CBD oil could lead to you testing positive in any THC test results. If your employer has any rules against THC, this could lead to termination.

Does LabCorp test for CBD? ›

The LabCorp CBD/THC ratio test measures CBD and THC metabolites in urine. The CBD/THC ratio is calculated using the sums of the respective metabolites.

Is it OK to use CBD cream everyday? ›

Using CBD topicals as a part of your daily routine is a great way to enhance your skin's health. Whether you're using CBD tinctures or CBD topicals, most experts agree that you get the most out of CBD when you use it every day.

Is oral or topical CBD better? ›

It's best to take oral CBD products when you wish to achieve overall well-being and see CBD's effects through its interaction with your endocannabinoid system (ECS). Topical CBD will never make it to your bloodstream to affect your body internally.

Is CBD cream hard on the liver? ›

CBD and the liver

The FDA warns that CBD can cause liver damage. In clinical studies for Epidiolex, high levels of liver enzymes were a main reason treatment had to be stopped. This is because high liver enzyme levels can be a sign of liver damage.

Is CBD excreted in the urine? ›

CBD has high lipophilicity and therefore is rapidly distributed in the brain, adipose tissue, and other organs. CBD is hydroxylated to 7-OH-CBD and 7-COOH-CBD by cytochrome P450 enzymes CYP3A4 and CYP2C9 in the liver and is excreted mainly in feces and less in urine.

Does CBD oil get into bloodstream? ›

When you take CBD oil or capsules, they enter your bloodstream either through the digestive system or through the mucous membrane under your tongue. CBD vapes absorb through the lung tissue and can enter your system faster than other forms. But, CBD lotions don't interact with your bloodstream.

Does CBD oil wash out? ›

However, it is important to note that CBD oil can still stain your clothes. CBD oil is an oily substance and can be difficult to remove from fabric. The best way to remove CBD oil from your clothes is to use a solvent-based cleaner, such as dish soap or laundry detergent.

How long does it take for topical CBD to absorb? ›

For most people, the effects of CBD topicals will start to be noticeable within minutes. The compound is absorbed directly into the skin and starts interacting with receptors almost immediately. However, it can take up to an hour for the full effects of CBD topicals to be noticeable.

Does topical CBD interact with medications? ›

As expected, CBD has been reported to interact with anti-epileptic drugs, antidepressants, opioid analgesics, and THC, but surprisingly, it interacts with several other common medications, e.g. acetaminophen, and substances including alcohol.

What happens when you use CBD topically? ›

Together with the discovery of the cannabinoid receptors on the skin, it has been further illustrated that topical cannabis has anti-inflammatory, anti-itching, analgesics, wound healing and anti-proliferative effects on the skin.

What are the side effects of topical CBD? ›

CBD Cream side effects

Some of the common side effects of CBD cream use include dry mouth, diarrhoea, nausea, fatigue, and changes in appetite. These side effects are usually mild and temporary, but in some cases, they can be more severe.

How often to apply CBD topically? ›

How much CBD cream should I use? Applying cream liberally will help with the bioavailability, allowing more CBD to absorb through the skin. For everyday balance, apply once daily. To address troubled areas or soreness, apply 2-3 times daily.

Does topical CBD affect the brain? ›

It protects the brain

CBD is thought to have neuroprotective effects due to how it interacts with CB2 receptors in the brain. CBD acts on these receptors by creating an anti-inflammatory response in immune cells in the brain. This reduces the amount of damage caused by inflammation in the brain.


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