Topical CBD And Drug Tests : Full-Spectrum vs CBD Isolate

Topical CBD and Drug Tests

Posted on March 25th, 2022

There’s much confusion, misunderstanding, and curiosity surrounding CBD products. Safety is high on the list of client concerns, and many people ask “will my CBD use show up on a drug test”. Many CBD products contain very small traces of THC (delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol), the psychoactive marijuana substance. In general, CBD does not show up on drug tests. However, in very rare cases, tests may detect THC if there’s enough present in the product ingredients. Research suggests that pure cannabidiol (CBD) won’t react with commercially available drug screening tests. And, so far, topically applied CBD products haven’t led to positive THC findings in blood or urine samples.

Topical CBD and Drug Tests: Can Topical CBD Products Cause You to Fail a Drug Test? Topical CBD and Drug Tests

The DEA has a drug code for all forms of cannabis extracts, including hemp-derived extracts. So, when it comes to drug screening for marijuana use, results depend on the presence of THC metabolites. And not on the appearance of CBD. In order to fail a drug test, the THC detection limit is 50 ng/mL. So CBD isolates extracted from hemp won’t get detected in drug tests.

In recent years, many chiropractors and massage therapists have embraced the use of CBD to boost relaxation and pain relief. Topical CBD has entered the personal care world in the form of salves, oils and patches. Still, many people worry that using these items will make them fail a drug test.

Despite evidence that says this is very unlikely, this remains a concern for those who are required to regularly drug-test for their employment. For that reason, some people might hesitate before using topical CBD–if they aren’t fully informed about the full spectrum of active ingredients.

Full-Spectrum vs CBD Isolate

The main difference between full-spectrum CBD and an isolate is the extraction process.

What is Full-Spectrum CBD?

Full-spectrum CBD products contain all the natural and beneficial cannabinoids including a trace amount of THC (less than 0.03%). They also contain terpenes, flavonoids, and essential oils. You can take a full-spectrum product orally, in capsule form, as edibles or as tinctures. You can also apply this type of cannabidiol topically (directly to the skin) to work its magic on targeted areas.

Full-Spectrum CBD Benefits

Due to the combined effects of CBD, THC and other cannabinoids, full-spectrum CBD should be more effective for pain relief than an isolate extract. As such, you may experience greater pain relief, reduced anxiety, anti-inflammatory properties, relief from muscle spasms, anti-seizure effects, and many more.

Because full-spectrum CBD is minimally refined it usually contains traces of THC. So, depending on the concentrations, it could show up in a drug test. However, this only should only apply to oral CBD, not to topical products such as creams and lotions.

What is CBD Isolate?

Because it has been stripped of all extra cannabinoids and ingredients, a CBD isolate is the purest form of CBD.

CBD Isolate Benefits

CBD isolates can still offer therapeutic potential and calming properties. First, it works with your body’s own endocannabinoid system. In this way, it can activate receptors in your brain to help maintain balance (homeostasis) in your mood, your body’s water content, temperature control and more. But that’s not all.  Studies suggest that an isolate’s anti-inflammatory properties may relieve chronic pain, promote better sleep, and help with muscle repair. Plus, since the extract is pure, you don’t need to worry about drug tests detecting THC. The only drawback? Because you’re isolating cannabidiol, you will miss out on the famous entourage effect. This refers to the way terpenes, flavonoids and THC cause a synergistic interaction that enhances the effects of each individual compound.

Full-Spectrum CBD Tinctures or Pills and Drug Tests Does Delta 8 & CBD Show Up on A Drug Test? - a drug test sample under the microscope

You’ll get a CBD tincture if you use high-proof alcohol as a solvent to extract the natural cannabis plant compounds. Then, you also use alcohol in the finished product as a preservative.

Alcohol-based CBD liquids often contain approximately 60% – 70% alcohol. Because of that, they have a longer shelf life of between 3 – 5 years. Still, the alcohol has a distinctly bitter taste, so CBD tinctures often contain additives like flavorings and sweeteners. Some may even have added ingredients like herbal extracts, vitamins, or other supplements.

Topical CBD and Drug Tests

You usually administer CBD tinctures orally. But you can also combine them with carrier oils to use topically. For many people, that’s a great way to target specific spots on your body for localized pain relief. While topically applied CBD tinctures can relieve pain when applied directly to your skin, they should not show up on a blood or urine-based drug test.

Full-spectrum CBD Tincture Benefits

Full-spectrum CBD tinctures have the added benefit of containing multiple cannabis plant extracts. As we’ve said, they may also contain THC, and that may improve overall sleep and prevent insomnia. THC can help relax the body and mind, thereby promoting feelings of tranquillity and a healthy stress response.

In addition to taking full-spectrum CBD tincture orally in the form of sublingual drops, you can also try it in capsule form, or in edibles. Not your jam? No problem: try adding it to a carrier oil, body lotion or moisturizer and applying the product directly to the skin. The topical application of CBD tinctures has grown in popularity and more people use it as part of their daily skincare routine to keep their skin feeling supple and looking more youthful.

Final Thoughts: Topical CBD and Drug Tests

Whereas CBD tinctures taken sublingually can remain in the body for days, topically applied CBD tinctures are not as readily absorbed and are therefore unlikely to be detected in blood and urine drug tests.

As you can see, CBD products are as versatile as you would like them to be. Now that you understand the difference between full-spectrum CBD and CBD isolates you can use whatever method of application works best for you. Some of the key factors beyond dosage are the amount of THC contained in an extract or isolate, the delivery method, body mass, and metabolism of the user. If an extract or isolate is hemp-derived, it has been established that there is next to no chance of it being detected in topical CBD and drug tests.

CBD products are generally considered to be safe with very few side effects. It can interact with certain medications and supplements so it is safe to check with your doctor before taking CBD. Pregnant and breastfeeding mothers should avoid taking CBD products.


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