CBD can offer a great amount of relief for people suffering from certain issues, but how long does CBD stay in your system? If you’re one of the millions of Americans who are drug tested at your job, maybe you’re wondering, “does CBD show up on a drug test?”
Let’s go over these increasingly popular questions so you can leave with a little bit more knowledge about how CBD works in our bodies, and why you should care.
What is CBD?
Cannabidiol, or CBD, is simply one of the many compounds located within the cannabis plant. These compounds are known as cannabinoids, and there are well over 120 known cannabinoids so far.
It seems like the more we study cannabis (which includes both marijuana AND hemp), the more we find out about these incredible compounds.
You are probably more familiar with the cannabinoid known as THC. THC can be found in large amounts within the marijuana plant. CBD is similar, as far as therapeutic effects are concerned, but it cannot and will not get you high.
CBD and THC are largely found within the flowers, leaves, and stalks of their respective plants. Industrial hemp contains a large amount of CBD, and it’s why the hemp plant is used to extract CBD to make CBD products.
While the flowers of both plants might look almost identical, their cannabinoid makeup is quite different.
All of this is important, because it directly relates to answering the question “How long does CBD stay in your system”, and how drug tests detect THC and/or CBD.
Since CBD is molecularly similar to THC, we can extract a lot of useful information from what we know about THC and apply it to CBD.
CBD stays in your system for roughly the same amount of time as THC, because of their extreme similarities in our our bodies both store and process these cannabinoids. Drug tests also frequently show false positives for THC when you’re actually only using CBD.
Let’s get more into these subjects now.
How Long Does CBD Stay in Your System?
So, exactly how long does CBD stay in your system? Some people can have CBD remain within their bodies for weeks! There are several different factors that affect the length of time CBD stays in your system:
- How much CBD you use
- Your body composition (fat vs. muscle)
- The method in which you use CBD (edibles vs. smoking)
Your digestive system is responsible for processing edible CBD products you use. This will take a while.
Topical CBD products are also quick to work, but slow to be removed entirely from your body.
Smoking CBD (which New Phase Blends discourages) takes effect quickly, but isn’t digested. It is quickly diluted out of your bloodstream.
All of these things are important to keep in mind for later when we answer the question, “Does CBD show up on a drug test?” For now, let’s continue with CBD and how it remains in our system.
How Our Bodies Store CBD
CBD itself is not stored for very long in our bodies. The half-life of CBD (the amount of time it takes a substance to degrade by half) is roughly 24 hours.
For example, if you take 32mg of CBD, 24 hours later your body will have 16mg left. Another 24 hours past that, you will have 8mg. This halving is done until there is essentially no detectable amount left in your body.
If that’s the case, then CBD will only be in our bodies for a few days, right?
Kind of. Let me explain.
While the CBD may be out of your body within several days (depending on how much you took), the metabolites that process the CBD will be stored for weeks, potentially. So while you won’t have any pure CBD molecules hanging around, you’ll have the residual metabolites.
This breakdown also depends on your body composition. CBD is stored in the fat cells (just like THC). People who have a larger BMI, and more fat, will store more CBD. This reduces the time it takes to breakdown the CBD within your body.
This image is taken from livescience and shows a close up of what fat cells look like.
As a very general rule of thumb, the more fat you have on your body, the longer it will take to completely degrade all of the CBD you have stored in these fat cells.
It’s interesting just how similar CBD and THC are, isn’t it?
All of these factors play into answering the question, “Does CBD show up on a drug test?” This is why we have to first discuss how our bodies process and store CBD before we move into talking about CBD and drug tests.
Does CBD Show Up On a Drug Test?
So, does CBD show up on a drug test? To be technically correct, no it does not. What ends up showing up is a false positive for THC.
We’ve recently discovered that the worse quality the drug test is, the higher the likely hood is you will test as a false positive for THC – even if your CBD products contain no THC.
For example, the NY Times published an article that claims drug tests can’t tell the difference between CBD and THC. Remember how we spoke about the molecular similarities between CBD and THC? This is likely why cheap drug tests have a hard time telling the differences.
Another thing to keep in mind is that a vast majority of CBD products have minute (non-detectable) amounts of THC in them. It may not be enough for you to notice (as in you won’t get high), but it just might be enough for a drug test to pick up on.
If this worries you, stick to either broad spectrum or CBD isolate products. While full spectrum products also contain hardly and THC, they still can contain up to 0.3% of THC, legally.
On the other hand, broad spectrum products and CBD isolate normally contain virtually no THC.
Check out this video on the different types of CBD products if you’re curious.
All of these things add up when trying to figure out if CBD will show up in a drug test.
As I always say, if your job and livelihood is on the line, it’s probably safer to steer clear of CBD products unless you are being drug tested by a very high quality drug test, or until drug tests become better quality overall.
Conclusion | CBD, Our Bodies, and Drug Testing
Today we answered two major questions:
- How long does CBD stay in your system?
- Does CBD show up on a drug test?
To sum it up, CBD (or remnants of using CBD) can remain in your body for weeks – depending on many different factors. How much CBD you take, and how much fat you carry are potentially the two most important factors that influence how long it stays in your system.
As far as CBD and drug testing is concerned, it’s not necessarily the CBD that should concern you. It’s the minute amount of THC and the quality of drug test that should.
Since CBD is molecularly very similar to THC, it can cause a false positive in poor quality tests. You can also potentially test positive for THC, since it might be in your CBD products in trace amounts.
Buying from a reputable company can put most of these concerns at bay, but if your livelihood depends on you taking drug tests you should probably stay away from CBD for now.