Ask The Cannabist: Experts share some intel on how infused topicals and transdermal THC patches work, and whether they could lead to a positive result on a marijuana drug test
First things first. For those unfamiliar, topicals refer to a wide range of cannabis-infused products. They come in an array of forms — lotions, salves, balms, ointments and sprays — and are applied to the skin to provide a localized effect. Topical use is typically not intoxicating, and rather is considered therapeutic, such as massages with cannabis lotions.
Is there a risk of THC absorbing through the skin and causing a positive result in a marijuana drug test?
“Most likely the answer is no,” said Paul Armentano of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws.
“THC is lipid soluble so one would expect very little THC to enter the bloodstream via transdermal delivery,” Armentano told The Cannabist via email. He is deputy director of NORML and recipient of the Alfred R. Lindesmith Award for Achievement in the Field of Scholarship and author of numerous articles on drug testing.
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