As CBD continues to rise in popularity, more and more people are beginning to try CBD for its potential health benefits. That said, people sometimes confuse CBD with THC and wonder “how long does CBD stay in your system?”
Since CBD is somewhat similar to THC or tetrahydrocannabinol, some people throughout their CBD journey are worried about CBD showing up in a drug test.
Comparing CBD and THC
What is CBD (VIDEO)
Length of Time CBD Stays in Your System (VIDEO)
How Long Does CBD Stay in Your System Explained
Ingestion Methods of CBD
How Our Bodies Store CBD
Drug Testing and CBD (VIDEO)
“Will CBD show up in a drug test? How long does CBD stay in your system?”
These are two excellent questions, and I’ll do my best to answer them for you. Based on existing research, I’ll discuss the factors influencing the length of time that CBD concentration can stay in your body.
Comparing CBD and THC
Most people have learned about the possible therapeutic effects of this non-intoxicating compound. Cannabidiol, an abundant substance in the cannabis plant, has been deemed helpful for various physical and mental conditions.
These studies are coming from prestigious research and education centres too. Pain-relieving, anti-inflammatory, and mental health improvements are only a few of the highlighted properties of CBD.
CBD and THC are both very, very similar on a molecular level. They also both interact with CB receptors found throughout the body. For this reason, we should look at both compounds. It will better help you understand how CBD breaks down and answer the question how long does CBD stay in your body more effectively.
Cannabis contains two major species: Hemp and Marijuana.
What are the main differences between these two species? Hemp is very high in CBD, while marijuana is very high in THC. For this reason, all legal CBD products come from hemp, while controlled THC products will come from marijuana.
CBD and THC are primarily 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 oil products.
Related article: Marijuana Products vs Hemp Products
While the flowers of both plants might look almost identical, their cannabinoid makeup is quite different.
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 acute similarities. Our bodies store and process these cannabinoids, making CBD detectable just like THC. Urine drug tests also frequently show false positives for THC when you’re actually only using CBD.
What Is Cannabidiol (CBD)?
CBD oil is generally considered safe due to its non-psychoactive properties and lack of side effects, but few people may feel hesitant to use it due to its cannabis origin.
People associate cannabis compounds with testing for THC, which makes sense. We can see how people would be worried about that, but should they be?
Remember, CBD oil doesn’t get the user high as THC does. Whether you use CBD isolate or a different spectrum, it’s not going to get you high. It’s not possible. Still, people are likely to believe the old stigmas and want to know if CBD will make them test positive on most drug tests and how long CBD stays in their system.
The effects of a dose of CBD can be felt for several hours, and typically, it stays in your system in a trace amount for about a week. How long CBD stays in the system depends on several factors such as body type, body composition (amount of fat content), the method of consuming CBD, and the user’s metabolism.
According to Epilepsy Current, “Following single doses in humans, the half-life of CBD when taken orally is about 1 to 2 days.“
The half-life is the amount of time needed for any specific substance (i.e., the concentration of CBD in the body) to decrease by half. Nearly 94 to 97% of a substance (CBD oil in this case) will be eliminated after four to six half-lives have passed, according to blood tests.
That means that it takes roughly two days for the dose of CBD to degrade by half. It takes approximately four to six complete terms to disappear completely.
If we took the 2-day time frame of CBD, it could take anywhere from eight to twelve days to degrade out of our body completely (2 days x by 4 or 6).
Hemp-derived CBD oil products are fully legal in the U.S following the passing of the Farm Bill 2018. But there is still a need to know more about CBD’s interaction with the human body and how long it stays in your system.
What Is THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol)?
THC is the psychoactive compound located within cannabis that people use for several different reasons.
When you ingest or smoke products with a high level of THC in them, you get “high.” Some people like this feeling, others don’t. THC has many medical benefits, and a lot of cancer patients use it (in the form of smokable or edible marijuana) to help numb their pain and stimulate their appetite.
It takes roughly two hours for the THC to pass through to your urine, which is collected for urine tests.
There is actually a minute amount of THC in some CBD items. For example, a full spectrum CBD tincture is allowed to possess, by law, up to 0.3% of THC content. This is now where near enough to make you feel anything at all, though.
How Long Does CBD Stay In Your System?
If we take the information from above, we can figure out that typically, CBD can stay in your system for approximately 8 to 12 days. Keep in mind this duration varies from person to person.
How long CBD remains detectable in the body depends on several factors such as metabolism and body composition. To figure out how long any substance stays in our system, we need to consider the half-life of that substance, just like we did above.
After four to five half-lives have passed, the plasma levels of a drug (CBD) will be below a clinically relevant concentration and thus will be considered eliminated (Jericho Hallare & Valerie Gerriets, 2020).
- Metabolism: the user’s metabolism plays a vital role in figuring out CBD levels in the body. A fast metabolism will quickly metabolize CBD and eliminate it from the body faster than someone who has a slow metabolism. Some foods can increase bioavailability and increase the CBD levels in the body. How long CBD stays in your system also depends on how you consume it: are you taking the CBD on an empty stomach or after a meal?
- Usage Routine: the more doses of CBD you consume, the longer it will stay in your body. That makes sense, right? If I take a dose of CBD in the morning and again at night, I will have doubled the amount of CBD intake. That means the CBD levels in my body will increase.
- CBD Dosage: the more CBD you take per dose, the more CBD will be available in your body.
Method of CBD Consumption
The effects and presence of CBD in the body somewhat depend on how CBD enters the body and bloodstream. For example, consuming CBD oil through smoking or vaping will start showing immediate effects and will result in a higher bioavailability than by digesting it.
CBD ingestion can take 1-2 hours to start showing effects. When we eat substances, they also have to pass through the liver and kidneys before getting into our bloodstream.
Different methods of consumption have a different effect on the bioavailability of CBD in our systems.
Bioavailability means the amount of a compound that is available for use in your body. When something enters your bloodstream, it becomes bioavailable.
Ingestion of CBD Through Eating or Drinking
Ingestion (by way of eating or drinking), or simply swallowed CBD, is a convenient and maybe the most common method of consuming CBD. However, it’s not the best way of taking CBD for those who want it to take an immediate effect.
Through this method of taking CBD, the first CBD enters the digestive system rather than into the bloodstream and then enters the liver and kidney complex, as mentioned earlier.
Here, the CBD is broken down into tiny parts.
These parts are sent to the bloodstream, where they are circulated throughout the body. This method provides a lower bioavailability of CBD when compared to other methods.
The Sublingual Vein
The sublingual consumption method is much more effective than ingestion. People place a few drops under the tongue and hold it there for up to two minutes. That’s it! CBD works quite well when used in this way.
CBD reaches the bloodstream at higher levels because the CBD can enter the bloodstream via the sublingual vein. The time that it would take to pass through the liver is eliminated. CBD works quicker this way.
The sublingual method ensures better bioavailability and quicker results.
Some of the best effects of New Phase Blends exclusive products come from sublingual use.
Vaping CBD Products
Inhaling CBD products is also an effective method of consuming CBD. Inhalation causes rapid absorption of CBD to the bloodstream, increasing bioavailability.
*Due to the nature of smoking and the recent vaping crisis, New Phase Blends chooses not to sell any smokable CBD or vape products.
Several CBD infused products are available in topical forms, such as lotions, creams, balms, salves, and gels which can be applied directly to the skin.
Interesting fact: We have CB1 and CB2 receptors in our skin that respond to cannabinoid use, like CBD topical creams.
Take a look at this picture below from the medical journal Trends of Pharmacology in Science.
Photo Source: Trends in Pharmacological Sciences
How Our Bodies Store CBD
If you take 32mg of CBD oil, in 24 hours 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, CBD oil 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. For example, if you use a full spectrum CBD tincture, the CBD is stored in the fat cells (just like THC).
People who have a larger body mass index, or BMI, and more fat, will store more CBD. This reduces the time it takes to break down the CBD within your body.
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.
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 urine drug tests.
Drug Testing and CBD | How Long CBD Lasts
The purpose of most drug tests is to identify the amount of a drug in our system. Drug tests screen for THC, not CBD. Typically, CBD won’t show on a drug test, but THC definitely will.
Many of the CBD products contain a trace amount of THC, which would theoretically cause a positive THC test result – because it is still detectable in urine tests. However, the amount of THC in legal CBD products is so minuscule that drug tests for THC will not show as positive.
The following drug tests are far more accurate, and may show even minute amounts of THC:
- saliva tests
- hair tests
- blood tests
It is crucial to avoid any false positives for THC on a drug test by ensuring the CBD product is derived from hemp and not marijuana.
Related article: CBD and Drug Testing
Hemp-derived CBD must contain less than 0.3% of THC, which is a very, very small amount. This amount is usually not enough to show up on a drug test.
Marijuana derived CBD, on the other hand, can have much higher levels of THC. Some Marijuana-derived CBD products have THC content in excess of 20%. That is more than enough to show as positive on a drug test.
Furthermore, the quality of the drug test can affect positive results. The better quality the drug test, the less the likelihood that a false positive for THC will occur.
If this worries you, stick to either broad-spectrum CBD or CBD isolate products. While full spectrum CBD products also contain hardly and THC, they still can contain up to 0.3% of THC, legally.
On the other hand, broad-spectrum CBD products and CBD isolate usually contain virtually no THC.
Related article: Broad Spectrum CBD? Full Spectrum CBD? What’s the Difference?
Check out this video on the different types of CBD spectrums if you’re curious.
Conclusion | How Long Does CBD Stay in Your System?
A study published in 1991 in Pharmacology Biochemistry & Behavior was conducted to check the blood’s CBD concentration after consuming high doses daily. Over six weeks, the research team managed a daily dose of 700 milligrams of CBD to 14 Huntington’s disease patients.
After one week of dosing ceased, there were just 1.5 nanograms per millilitre CBD left in blood and consequently was “virtually undetectable.”
In 2018, a review of existing CBD studies showed that for those who took a daily oral dose of CBD, the estimated half-life was 2-5 days in their system.
So what’s the answer? After looking at all of the research in this article, I can safely say that in most cases, CBD will remain in some amount within the human body for anywhere from 8 to 12 days after use. Some people will have it eliminated from their bodies quicker, and others longer. Remember, it all depends on the following factors…
- Body Composition
- Method of Consumption
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.
We specialize in creating pure CBD oil, supplements, and topicals formulated to help improve your quality of life. Buy from our range of CBD oils, balms, creams, and supplements — holistic products backed by years of research and rigorous testing.
Better Health Channel: https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/conditionsandtreatments/metabolism
Epilepsy Current: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4189631/
Frontiers in Pharmacology: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6275223/
Future Med Chem: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2828614/
Marijuana as Medicine: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK224387/
Mayo Clinic: https://www.mayocliniclabs.com/test-info/drug-book/marijuana.html
Merck Manual: https://www.msdmanuals.com/en-gb/professional/clinical-pharmacology/pharmacokinetics/drug-bioavailability
Project CBD: https://www.projectcbd.org/about/what-cbd
Science Daily: https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/11/191104141650.htm
Stat Pearls: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK554498/
Trends in Pharmacological Science: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2757311/
United States Department of Agriculture: https://www.agriculture.senate.gov/2018-farm-bill