How Long Does CBD Stay in Your System?

To answer the question simply: cannabidiol (CBD), like THC, is a cannabinoid, meaning it tends to store in fat tissues in the body. This means that, with repeated exposure, CBD stays in the body for approximately one month. Several factors determine precisely how long CBD stays in the body. These include: how much you use; the method of ingestion; how often you use CBD; whether you use CBD on an empty stomach; activity levels; your own personal physiology; and, finally, the method of detection.

Is the CBD Having an Effect in the First Place?

One intriguing aspect of a non-intoxicating cannabinoid such as cannabidiol (CBD) is that it’s sometimes difficult to grasp when exactly it starts working. CBD certainly has a physiological effect. It can help reduce or even stop epileptic fits in those with Dravet Syndrome. Many CBD users have reported energizing effects in lower doses, and sedative effects in higher doses. This twofold range of effect (biphasic effects) makes CBD a popular choice for medical cannabis patients suffering from anxiety, depression and insomnia.

 However, noticeable results are not the case for everyone. Many report that using CBD alone has no discernable effect on them, or  they need extremely high doses of CBD to notice any effect, which can increase the chances of negative side-effects. Many require THC, even if it’s in very low amounts, alongside other cannabinoids such as cannabigerol (CBG), cannabinol (CBN) and acidic cannabinoids like tetrahydrocannabinolic acid (THCA), for CBD to have a noticeable  effect. This combo result  is known as the entourage effect.

If you’re one of the people who are has no luck with CBD alone, it may be worthwhile adding some complementary  cannabinoids into the mix, and see if you feel the effect you’re seeking.

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How often you take CBD and which methods you use to ingest it also impact the intensity of effects, which leads onto our next two points.

How Often Do You Take CBD, and How Much?

If you’ve used CBD only once or twice in low-to-moderate amounts and no other cannabis product, it will stay in your system for a few days tops, not more than 24 hours for most people. Higher doses may be detectable for a little longer, but regular CBD use is what really makes it more detectable. If CBD is used for a week or longer, it will be detectable in your system for  a month or longer. Flushing CBD out of your system will take about 30 to 40 days of not taking CBD.

As mentioned above, some people  don’t feel the effects of CBD, at least right away. Some people need regular CBD ingestion for the medicine to have any long term effects.Their bodies may need a baseline level of CBD to produce benefits! For these people, regular consumption of CBD is necessary to experience benefits, which means the substance will be detectable in the body for a long time.

How You Consumed the CBD

Vaping or smoking CBD flower is the quickest way to get the feel for a cannabinoid’s effects. The chemical passes into the lungs and into the bloodstream straight away. The effects tend to last one to two hours, sometimes three or four hours, after which effects tend to diminish.

Tinctures tend to take effect between 30 minutes to one hour and last longer – six to eight hours, and up to 12 hours for higher doses.

Edibles usually have the strongest effects. Cannabinoids that are passed through the liver are converted into a different compound (e.g. THC turns into 11-OH-THC, CBD into 6-OH-CBD) that subsequently  passes through to the brain. This process (called second pass metabolism) makes cannabinoids even more powerful. Edibles can take one to two hours to take effect, and can last eight hours to even a whole day. Topicals have a similar onset time to edibles, but do not have the same physiological effects.

Transdermal patches, which are applied to the skin and seep cannabinoids through the epidermis and into the bloodstream at a steady rate, can take more time to take effect, from around 2 hours up to a full day. Transdermal patches are perhaps the longest-lasting ingestion method. Effects can be felt even after 24 hours.

Diet and Exercise

If you use CBD on an empty stomach, rather than after a meal or on a full stomach, it will be processed by the body more quickly. Similarly, users who exercise regularly may find that their body metabolises cannabinoids like CBD and THC faster. Many people have reported feeling an more potent version of the “runner’s high” when exercising and using cannabis regularly. This is because fat cells store cannabinoids, which are released when physical activity levels are increased.

Your Own Personal Physiology

Every body is different; so everybody has a different reaction to different cannabinoids and varieties of cannabis. Everyone has their own unique endocannabinoid system (ECS). All bodies metabolize various cannabinoids differently. This is the same for any other drug or medication but, due to endocannabinoid receptors being all over the body and playing a vital role in homeostasis, cannabis-based medications may have even more individualized effects.

What Method Are You Using to Detect CBD in the Body?

As written in our post, ‘Does CBD Oil Result in a Positive Drug Result?’, most standard drug tests do not test for CBD. Most drug tests test for the following:

  • Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and its metabolites, in particular, 11-nor-delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol-9-carboxylic acid
  • Cocaine
  • Opiates and opioids
  • Barbiturates
  • Steroids (most often for athletes)
  • Propoxyphene
  • Phencyclidine (PCP)
  • Amphetamines

The tests for CBD are usually not applied. CBD is not intoxicating, is legally available, is now nearly ubiquitous, and is not a target of drug testing by even  the most overzealous prohibitionists. A positive drug test result is  unlikely to occur unless  the CBD product being taken over a long period of time contains slightly more-than-usual CBD.

In the saliva, cannabinoids like CBD can be detectable 24 hours after ingestion, or up to three days in heavy users. In the urine, CBD can be detectable for anything between five days and five weeks, depending on the regularity of consumption.

Blood and hair tests can detect cannabinoids up to three months after last ingestion if the person was regularly using CBD beforehand. Hair tests will detect cannabinoids several months after last ingestion, but these results are not necessarily reliable.

CBD in Your System: Overall

A range of factors determine whether or not CBD will be detectable in your body after use. If you are a regular CBD user (twice or more per week), the substance is likely to be detectable in the body for up to 35 days after last ingestion, depending on amount consumed thanks to cannabinoids’ lipophilic (fat-loving) properties. Patients who use CBD sparingly may metabolize cannabinoids quicker, as there’s a lower concentration of the chemicals in fat and the bloodstream.

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However, if you are worried about an up-and-coming drug test, and are not fully assured just because most tests do not test for CBD,  prevent any accidental positives, by avoiding any full-spectrum CBD products before the time of your test.

Written by
Dipak Hemraj
Dipak Hemraj

Dipak Hemraj is a published author, grower, product maker, and Leafwell’s resident cannabis expert. From botany & horticulture to culture & economics, he wishes to help educate the public on why cannabis is medicine (or a “pharmacy in a plant”) and how it can be used to treat a plethora of health problems. Dipak wants to unlock the power of the plant, and see if there are specific cannabinoid-terpene-flavonoid profiles suitable for different conditions.

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