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WeedmapsNews Culture & industry

Ask a budtender: How does weed lube work?

March 23, 2022   4:24 pm PDT | Updated 2 years ago

Lorena Cupcake, voted “best budtender in Chicago," has answered hundreds of questions from cannabis shoppers and patients during their time as a budtender. And now they're turning that experience into a monthly advice column, Ask a budtender. Got a question for Cupcake? Submit your questions to

Dear Cupcake,

I've been struggling to find information about weed lubricants online. My question is, if applied to a mucous membrane, will a THC oil (without transdermal ingredients) enter the bloodstream?

I can't smoke or eat edibles because of THC testing at my job. Legally, I understand that you are not responsible for any repercussions. However, I can't seem to find a straight answer. If a weed lubricant is applied vaginally, would it be absorbed systemically? If it goes into the bloodstream and is processed by the liver, that could result in a positive drug test. But, if it's only absorbed locally, after a few days, I'd imagine that there would not be any THC metabolites present in urine or blood.

Can you provide any insight into this matter?

— Slippery Answers

It can be hard to find straight answers on this subject because every weed lube is different. They're all designed to produce some sort of benefit when applied to the vagina and/or rectum, whether it be the enhancement of sexual pleasure or relief from cramps.

Exactly what benefit you get will depend on the product formulation, the cannabinoids contained, and whether the product contains any additional ingredients to aid in systemic absorption.

What does lube with THC do?

Until the twentieth century, most doctors believed the vagina was incapable of absorbing drugs into the bloodstream. Since then, scientists have confirmed that the vagina is able to absorb some drugs. In the 1990s, a major advancement in drug delivery technology led to the introduction of products like Nuva Ring, a vaginal ring that administers contraceptive hormones.

A 2005 review in the International Journal of Pharmaceutics concluded that topicals applied to the vagina follow the same rules as any other cannabis topical; without ingredients designed to penetrate through layers of skin, cannabinoids won't make it to the bloodstream.

Since THC isn't being metabolized by your liver, the THC metabolite 11-nor-9-carboxy-THC (THC-COOH) won't show up in your blood, hair, saliva, or urine.

Christine Skibola, PhD., drew on her background as a cancer researcher and Professor of Epidemiology to formulate Viva la V! with rejuvenating ingredients like vitamin E, honey, and cannabis-infused olive oil. As co-founder of Cosmic View, a California-based brand focused on whole-plant cannabis medicine, she's seen the vaginal health balm gain popularity as a sexual lubricant. While it's not compatible for use with condoms, it's suitable for customers who are concerned about workplace drug testing.

“Some level of THC will always be present to some degree in high CBD crude extracts; however, it will not cause an intoxicating high," said Skibola.

Can weed lube get me high or make me fail a drug test?

The key is finding products that don't combine high levels of THC with skin penetration enhancers. On the FAQ page for infused lubricant brand Foria, it is suggested that a lubricant made with non-psychoactive CBD “will not cause you to fail a drug test."

But here's the rub, Slippery. On dispensary shelves, there are topical and transdermal weed lubes sitting right next to each other. Pick the wrong one, and you could potentially cause you to run afoul of your workplace's archaic, outdated, and anti-science drug policy.

To learn more, I spoke with Olivia Alexander, an OG cannabis influencer and founder/CEO of Kush Queen, a line of bath bombs, edibles, supplements, and skincare available in both CBD-only as well as THC-infused formulations. Her Water-Based THC Lubricant, available at select California dispensaries, will absolutely get you high — which means it could cause you to fail a drug test.

“Kush Queen has a patent-pending nanotechnology which allows the cannabinoids to fully absorb via the skin and into the bloodstream," she explained. “Our transdermal water-based lubricant gives consumers truly absorbable cannabinoids."

If you scan the ingredient list of products like Quim's Oh YES! Latex-Safe Serum, you might be able to spot ingredients designed to penetrate the lipid barrier of our skin's outermost layer. Phospholipids act as a vehicle to carry drugs across the stratum corneum, while lactic acid increases the permeability of the skin.

Topical and transdermal weed lubes to try

While CBD isn't included in routine drug screening, cannabis lubricants that contain THC in tandem with skin penetration enhancers may show up on drug screenings.

Before investing in a new product, check out the company's website; many of them address the topic directly, or use keywords we've covered in this article. Below, check out a few recommendations to get you started and exploring:

Lavinia Oh.Hi Lubricant

According to Lavinia's website, the use of this lubricant will show up on a drug test, so proceed with caution when buying.

Latex-safe: Yes

Find Lavinia Oh.Hi Lubricant

Om Love Balm

Om's Love Balm contains 420:100 THC:CBD per jar.

Latex-safe: No

Find Om Love Balm

Quim Oh Yes! Serum

The Oh Yes! lubricant from Quim provides 200 milligrams of THC total.

Latex-safe: Yes

Find Quim Oh Yes! Serum

Kush Queen Personal Lubricant

Kush Queen's water-based lubricant contains 30 milligrams of THC. The brand also offers a full CBD variety containing 30 milligrams of CBD.

Latex-safe: Yes

Find Kush Queen Personal Lubricant

Cosmic View Viva La V! CBD Balm

The Viva La V! formula from Cosmic View contains 100 milligrams of CBD.

Latex-safe: No

Find Cosmic View Viva La V! CBD Balm

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