How Long Does CBD Stay in Your System?


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Marten Newhall via Unsplash

Hailed for its numerous health benefits, cannabidiol, commonly known as CBD, has become the go-to cannabinoid for people seeking relief without the “high.” And yet, many questions still surround the use of CBD, particularly regarding how long it stays in the body. Naturally, the latter is of particular interest to current and future users. This is partly because of CBD’s close ties to THC. For years, THC has been under scrutiny because of its psychoactive properties. This may, by extension, cause CBD consumers to worry about the cannabinoid’s presence in their bodies and whether it’ll show up in drug tests. 

So, just how long does CBD stay in your system?

In short, CBD can stay in a person’s system for a few hours up to about a month. But the truth is a little more complex. Let’s take a look.

What is CBD?

Cannabidiol (CBD) is a non-psychoactive compound found in cannabis. It’s non-intoxicating, meaning it doesn’t induce the traditional “high” associated with its controversial counterpart, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). This distinction is crucial because it influences legal status and acceptance. Most legal frameworks distinguish the two based on THC content, with hemp containing 0.3% or less THC content. Nowadays, CBD is marketed for its positive neurological effects. You’ll find it in various products, from gummies and oils to vapes and gel capsules. Despite this, a lot more research needs to take place before CBD can be declared a legitimate treatment option.

Factors Affecting CBD Duration in the Body

The length of time CBD remains in your system depends on several factors. Understanding these factors will help you manage how you use CBD and how long you can expect to feel its effects.

How Much You Use

Like many other medications and supplements, higher doses of CBD will cause it to remain in your body for longer.

Your Body

No two bodies are the same. Your metabolism, water content, and body mass index (BMI) are some of the distinct physical characteristics that will influence how long CBD remains in your body. Understanding these can help you manage your usage and anticipate how long its effects may last.

Food Intake

The types of food you consume, your portion sizes, and your eating times all impact how CBD affects you. Recent research suggests that eating a high-fat meal before you consume CBD increases its availability in your blood and, therefore, its absorption rate. In contrast, consuming CBD while fasting or on an empty stomach will likely result in it leaving your body faster.

How Often You Use It

Usage frequency also affects how long CBD stays in your system. This is because CBD builds up in your system over time with regular use. If you only use it occasionally, it’ll clear from your system much quicker.

The Type of CBD Product You Use

There are several ways to consume CBD. Each method affects the onset time, duration of effects, and how long it will stay in your system. Some popular ways of consuming CBD include:

  • CBD oils/tinctures
  • CBD gummies
  • CBD softgels
  • CBD creams

We will discuss each of these methods in greater detail later on.

How Long Does CBD Stay in Your System?

CBD can stay in a person’s system for a few hours up to about a month. The detection period depends on several factors such as dosage, body fat, food intake, usage frequency, and the type of CBD consumed.

CBD’s half-life (the time it takes for your body to reduce a substance by half) in the body ranges from approximately 1 hour to 5 days.

Let’s examine how long CBD will remain in certain parts of your body.

How Long Does CBD Stay in Your Blood?

Blood tests aren’t necessarily a standard form of CBD drug testing. Nevertheless, they appear to detect CBD better than most other methods.

A 2022 research article sourcing data from three clinical trials investigated the length of time a single oral dose of CBD persists in plasma.

The researchers discovered that CBD, much like THC, has a long detection window in plasma. Specifically, they noted that doses of 100, 300, and 600 mg remain in plasma for an average of ~5, 13, and 25 days, respectively.

How Long Does CBD Stay in Your Urine?

Nowadays, urine tests are used far more than blood tests during drug screening. Typically, a urine test screening for cannabinoids will target THC, the psychoactive compound, not CBD. Because of this, there is little evidence indicating how long CBD stays in urine.

There is a lot more information regarding the presence of THC in urine. THC metabolites are usually detectable in urine for approximately 3 to 15 days after use. However, this can increase to more than 30 days with heavier, more frequent use.

How Long Does CBD Stay in Your Hair?

Hair tests are rarely, if ever, used to detect CBD. Because of this, very little data points to how much CBD stays in your hair and the length of time it remains there. Hair strand tests do, however, detect THC metabolites, which are detectable in hair for up to 90 days. There are questions surrounding the reliability of this drug test to detect cannabis dosage and mild use accurately.

How Long Does CBD Stay in Your Saliva?

To date, saliva tests are rarely used to screen for drugs and generally don’t test for CBD.

However, a 2017 study looking at oral fluid CBD concentrations in occasional and frequent users after smoking cannabis noted that CBD had a 2.5 to 4-hour detection window.

Does CBD Show Up On A Drug Test?

Cannabidiol (CBD) is a non-intoxicating substance. It will not show up on standard drug tests unless the test is explicitly screening for CBD. 

However, many CBD products like CBD oil contain tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), marijuana’s psychoactive ingredient. High enough THC levels will, unfortunately, result in failed drug tests.

It’s also worth noting that a lack of regulation often results in CBD products possessing anything from trace amounts of THC to levels exceeding the 0.3% FDA threshold.

You can avoid failing a drug test by familiarizing yourself with the CBD products available and purchasing the most appropriate for your situation. 

Here are the three major categories CBD products fall under:

Full-Spectrum CBD

Full-spectrum CBD extracts retain all the natural compounds found in the hemp plant during extraction. This includes many naturally occurring compounds like flavonoids, terpenes, minor cannabinoids, THC, and CBD. The benefit of full-spectrum CBD is the often touted “entourage effect.” 

Technically, hemp-derived CBD products should contain no more than 0.3% THC. This may not sound like much, but in some people, it may be enough for them to test positive.

Thankfully, high-quality vendors like Colorado Botanicals follow strict manufacturing processes to ensure their hemp plants meet the 0.3% threshold.

But the same can’t be said for all manufacturers. A rapidly growing industry and a lack of regulation throughout the industry have opened the door to CBD products with high THC levels that result in positive drug tests and psychoactive effects in some individuals.

Broad-Spectrum CBD

Much like full-spectrum CBD products, broad-spectrum CBD products contain CBD alongside other cannabinoids found in the hemp plant. The major difference is that THC is removed during extraction and processing.

This makes it highly unlikely for anyone using broad-spectrum CBD to fail a drug test or experience a psychoactive “high.”

CBD Isolate

CBD isolate is a highly processed, pure CBD product containing no other cannabinoids. Think of it as the complete opposite of full-spectrum CBD.

Individuals looking for an unadulterated form of CBD with zero chance of THC exposure or drug test failure are most likely to use CBD isolate products.

How Long Do the Effects of Last?

As a general guideline, you can expect to experience the effects of CBD for approximately two to six hours. To establish a more accurate estimate of the duration of CBD’s effects, you’ll need to consider factors such as dosage, body composition, food intake, and the method of consumption.

The increase in CBD vendors and products has caused users to become particularly interested in the conversation surrounding methods of consumption. Moreover, it has brought the concept of bioavailability to the fore.

In this context, bioavailability refers to the extent and rate at which CBD becomes entirely available to the body.

CBD Oil

The best CBD oils, like those CBD oils offered by Colorado Botanicals, have become a go-to option for consumers looking to buy CBD.

CBD oil can be consumed orally (via the mouth) or sublingually (under the tongue). Administering CBD oil sublingually is thought to help it bypass the entire digestive process and enter the bloodstream faster. CBD oils and tinctures consumed orally or sublingually generally take 15 to 45 minutes to kick in, with the effects lasting 2 to 6 hours.

CBD Gummies

Gummies, much like CBD oil, have exploded in popularity over the past several years. An increasing number of customers are turning to vendors providing top-quality CBD gummies to treat various medical issues, from CBD sleep disorders and CBD for anxiety to CBD for pain and inflammation.

Unlike CBD oil, gummies can only be taken orally, so they need to pass through the digestive tract before entering the bloodstream. This gives them an onset time of 30 minutes to 2 hours, with effects lasting 2 to 6 hours.

CBD Softgels

A CBD softgel is a tasteless, digestion-friendly CBD product that is an alternative for people looking to avoid CBD oil and edibles.

The active ingredients are encased in a gelatin or vegan-friendly capsule taken orally. The CBD capsules then pass through the digestive system before breaking down quickly and entering the bloodstream. 

Onset time takes 30 minutes to 2 hours, with effects lasting anywhere from 2 to 6 hours.

CBD Creams

CBD oil is available in topical and oral forms. The former includes cannabis products applied to the skin, such as creams, lotions, or ointments.

Recent research evaluating CBD’s skin permeability suggests it is “moderately permeable” through the skin. Topicals manage this by entering endocannabinoid receptors through the skin instead of the bloodstream. This may be useful for treating localized muscular pains and skin conditions.

Topical CBD products kick in 20 to 60 minutes after application and last up to 6 hours.

Ways to Get Rid of CBD From Your Body Faster

To date, no clinical evidence suggests that methods for speeding up the body’s elimination of CBD exist.

We understand there is plenty of misinformation online that says otherwise. You may come across websites that prey on people’s worries and concerns, promising to help them rid their bodies of CBD so they can avoid a possible positive drug test result. 

They may suggest that it’s possible to break down CBD quicker through:

  • Hydration
  • Exercise
  • Diet
  • Sweat
  • Supplements

The simple truth is this—your body processes CBD at its own rate. So please exercise caution when engaging with websites and scams promoting products or methods that “rid the body” of CBD or THC quickly.

If you’re really concerned about how long CBD will stay in your system, remember:

  • Most drug tests detect THC, not CBD, so you don’t need to concern yourself with being tested by your work and receiving a positive drug test result.
  • CBD is a generally safe compound. While trace amounts of CBD stay in your system for a while, chances are it won’t harm you

Is There A Difference Between How Long CBD Stays in Your System for Occasional Users vs. Daily Users?

CBD can stay in your system for several hours to about a month. Consuming CBD more frequently can directly affect how long the substance will stay in your system. We can see this by looking at the data related to CBD’s half-life.

A drug’s half-life is the time it takes for your body to reduce the substance by one-half—CBD’s ranges from approximately 1 hour to up to 5 days.

CBD sprays and drops typically have a half-life of 1.4 to 10.9 hours, whereas continued oral consumption can increase this to 2 to 5 days. 

This indicates that CBD stays in your system for longer with prolonged use.

Can CBD Interact with Other Medications and Affect How Long It Stays in Your Body?

For the most part, CBD is a well-tolerated substance that is considered generally safe. Though, like most substances, it does come with some adverse effects, such as fatigue, drowsiness, reduced appetite, and diarrhea.

There are, however, reports indicating interactions between CBD and a host of medications, including, but not limited to:

  • Anti-epileptic drugs
  • Antidepressants
  • Opioid analgesics
  • Acetaminophen

How CBD Interacts with Medications

The issue arises with how the body metabolizes certain substances.

When you consume a medication or substance, your body has to break it down. Drug metabolism occurs in various areas of your body, from your gut to your liver.

A group of enzymes called CYP450 converts substances (including CBD) so your body can get rid of them without hassle. 

Some substances or medications negatively affect this process by speeding up or slowing down drug metabolism. CBD is one such substance.

CYP450, specifically CYP3A4, is responsible for metabolizing CBD. However, CBD interferes with CYP3A4 during this process.

Unfortunately, CYP3A4 is also responsible for breaking down approximately 60% of prescribed medications. As a result, CBD impairs CYP3A4’s ability to break down medications in your system.

It’s important to note that the reverse situation can occur, too—some medications inhibit CYP3A4 from breaking down CBD, affecting its efficacy and lifespan.

Grapefruit Warning

More than 85 drugs interact with grapefruit, some of which include:

  • Antibiotics and antimicrobials
  • Anticancer medications
  • Antihistamines
  • Antiepileptic drugs (AEDs)
  • Blood pressure medications
  • Blood thinners
  • Cholesterol medications
  • Corticosteroids
  • Erectile dysfunction medications
  • GI medications, such as to treat GERD or nausea
  • Heart rhythm medications
  • Immunosuppressants
  • Mood medications
  • Pain medications
  • Prostate medications

Talk to Your Healthcare Professional

When in doubt, talk to your doctor. Yes, CBD has been shown to interact with numerous medications, but your doctor may be able to create a medical plan that accommodates your medication while periodically monitoring the results.

This would allow you to receive the therapy you need while looking out for any harmful side effects.

Conclusion

Whether you’re a current or potential user, it’s crucial to understand how CBD interacts with your body and how long it remains detectable.

Yes, mounting evidence suggests that CBD provides potential health benefits. But while it can serve as a great addition to your wellness routine, we’d be remiss if we didn’t encourage you to consult with a healthcare professional before committing to long-term use. 

This is particularly important if you use other medications or have a medical condition. 

In the end, approaching CBD with informed caution will help you maximize its therapeutic potential while minimizing risk.





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