Can THC Be Absorbed Through The Skin Here's What You Want To Know

Cannabis topicals offer a substitute for smoking, vaping, eating, and using tinctures and edibles. To treat pain, inflammation, skin irritation, acne, and other conditions, you can use these products to apply directly to your skin. Cannabinoids, including THC, are present in a lot of topicals. If you’re concerned about the psychoactive compound in your system, you may be wondering:

Can THC be absorbed through the skin?

Yes, THC can be absorbed through the skin. Face creams and ointments containing cannabis are good choices for obtaining the benefits of cannabinoids such as THC and CBD, and will not produce psychoactive effects.

Here’s the scoop.

Can THC Be Absorbed Through the Skin?

The skin is exposed to cannabis skin care products directly. Therefore, THC can be absorbed via the CB1 receptors in the skin, muscle tissues, and nerves, which results in anti-inflammatory and pain relief effects on users.

On the other hand, THC can also enter the bloodstream, interact with CB2 receptors, and get distributed throughout the body. THC does not have any psychoactive effects on users because it takes a while for it to get into the blood and then the rest of the body.

How Do Cannabis Topicals work?

Cannabis-infused creams, lotions, and balms are examples of topicals. To aid you in achieving a particular outcome, such as pain relief, relaxation, or the treatment of skin conditions, they may also contain additional ingredients. They are applied to your skin in the same manner as any other skincare item. The cannabinoids then enter your skin and start interacting with the cannabinoid receptors there. They assist in reestablishing equilibrium in your endocannabinoid system (ECS), which may provide some much-needed relief. Can THC be absorbed through the skin after application?

Does Using THC Topicals Cause High?

Even though these cannabis topicals contain THC, one of their main advantages is that they won’t make you feel high. Cannabis cannabinoids must enter your bloodstream and move to your brain in order for you to experience their mind-altering effects. While the THC in cannabis topicals does penetrate the skin, it doesn’t go far enough to enter the bloodstream. As a result, it is unable to reach your brain to produce the high that most people associate with cannabis use.

THC & CBD Topicals

Yes, there are many topical ointments with CBD. These provide temporary pain relief when applied to sore joints and muscles, but that’s about it.

THC topical ointments can be used on the skin as well, but they don’t offer nearly as many local benefits as CBD ointments.

The real question is whether THC can be applied topically, absorbed into the bloodstream, and result in the same effects as consuming or smoking marijuana.

Folks, there is a reason—which we’ll cover in the section below—why there are so few topical THC creams or ointments available.

Topicals Vs. Transdermal Patches

The only topical that can make you high is a transdermal patch; cannabis-infused lotions, creams, and balms cannot. Because they function differently than other infused topicals, transdermal patches are the cause of this.

To begin with, what is a transdermal patch? It’s a thin, adhesive-coated piece of plastic that resembles a bandage. But the adhesive on the patch is mixed with cannabinoids, including THC, unlike a bandage, so it differs from a bandage. The cannabinoids gradually permeate your skin after being activated by the heat generated by your body.

The drawback of transdermal patches is that they allow cannabinoids to permeate skin more deeply. The depth to which they can penetrate allows them to reach your bloodstream and brain. Remember that a transdermal patch’s THC can give you a high, but it won’t be nearly as strong as if you smoked or ate an edible. Because THC enters your bloodstream gradually rather than all at once as with other cannabinoids, this results in a more subtle high. Additionally, since the cannabinoids are localized, you might experience more effective pain relief. They cover a larger area as they move throughout your body.

Types Of Cannabis Skin Products

Topical and transdermal absorption are the two ways that cannabinoid products that are applied to the skin can be absorbed, as we’ve already mentioned.

Topical application products are creams and other cosmetic products that are intended to be applied on the outside layer of the skin (the epidermis). These products are not intended to enter the bloodstream; instead, they are only meant to target the skin.

Transdermal products, on the other hand, penetrate through the epidermis by using lipophilic pathways according to this 1998 paper, and are used to treat certain medical conditions. According to a 2015 rat study, transdermal CBD may be used to lessen arthritis-related inflammation and pain.

In order to obtain the right doses of cannabinoids like THC, CBD, CBN, and others, transdermal application is used to avoid ingestion, which causes users to experience psychoactive effects.

Transdermal Vs Topical Delivery Of Cannabinoids

Only the body part to which they are applied is treated by topical creams. As opposed to topical application, transdermal application has the ability to enter the bloodstream and reach other parts of the body while still being able to relieve pain for users.

Commercial transdermal patches that deliver cannabinoids across the skin are typically used to accomplish this. They are especially beneficial for the long-term alleviation of chronic pain. Using transdermal products on the neck, for instance, can relieve migraine symptoms.

Can THC Be Absorbed Through The Skin Here's What You Want To Know
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Why Are Topicals Used?

Cannabis-infused creams can be used to treat and help with:

  • Pain and inflammation – according to a 2008 study, cannabis may be better for treating pain and inflammation as opposed to opioids.
  • Skin conditions – according to a 2017 study, cannabis may be used as treatment for conditions like psoriasis, atopic dermatitis, and severe itching.
  • Dyskinesias, tics, and maybe even dystonia – according to a 2015 study, cannabis may be used to treat conditions like dyskinesis, spasms, and dystonia.
  • Wounds – topically applied cannabinoids may provide pain and symptom management for healing malignant wounds, according to a 2016 study.
  • Headaches – there are some preliminary studies that show that cannabis cream may provide migraine relief.

Can Topicals Be Identified In Thc Drug Tests?

Because managers and business owners want their employees to perform better, cannabis drug testing has become very popular in modern workplaces. Common drug tests include:

  • Urine tests;
  • Blood tests;
  • Saliva tests;
  • Hair follicle tests.

An investigation conducted by the University of Bonn in Germany in 2017 found that none of the individuals tested tested positive for drugs after using cannabis products topically.

Side Effects Of CBD Or THC Creams

Many patients who use medical marijuana are hesitant to try it as a treatment option because they are concerned about potential psychoactive and other side effects. While ingesting, inhaling, or consuming cannabis products orally will have a significant psychoactive effect, the effects of topicals are very different.

CBD and THCA-based products aren’t known to cause side effects. However, THC-based products may cause mild euphoric effects. Although they could occur, these effects are in no way comparable to those of marijuana use. Therefore, topicals are a great alternative for those who don’t like to consume marijuana but still want to benefit from its pain-relieving properties.


Now that you know, folks, THC does enter the skin, but that’s where it ends. The THC is trapped in your skin because it acts as a barrier of protection.

It has no real effects because it neither enters your blood nor the blood-brain membranes. Sure, it might offer some immediate pain relief, but it won’t reach your brain and won’t give you a high.

Regarding your reading, I thank you.