How long does CBD stay in your system? As CBD continues to rise in popularity, more and more people are beginning to try CBD for it’s potential health benefits.
Since CBD is somewhat similar to THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol, some people are worried about CBD showing in a drug test. Will CBD show up in a drug test? How long does CBD stay in your system?
These are two excellent questions, and I’m going to do my best to answer them for you. Based on existing research, I will discuss the factors influencing CBD’s lifespan in our bodies.
Comparing CBD and THC
Who doesn’t know about CBD’s potential health benefits by now? If you don’t that’s okay, but you are falling behind the curve (haha)!
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 useful in various physical and mental conditions.
These studies are coming from prestigious research centers and education centers, 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 take a look at both compounds because it will better help you understand how CBD breaks down, and how long it can stay in your body.
Cannabis contains two major species: hemp and marijuana.
Hemp is very high in CBD, while marijuana is very high in THC. For this reason, all legal CBD oil products come from hemp, while controlled THC products will come from marijuana.
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.
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 two similar, but different cannabinoids.
CBD is generally considered safe due to its non-psychoactive properties and lack of side effects, but few people may feel hesitant using it due to it’s cannabis origin.
People associate cannabis compounds with testing for THC, which makes since. I can see how people would be worried about that, but should they be? How long does CBD stay in your system?
Remember, CBD oil doesn’t get the user high like THC does.
Still, people are likely to believe the old stigmas and want to know if CBD will make them test positive on a drug test, and how long CBD stays in their system.
CBD molecule image
An effects from 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.
The length of time CBD stays in your 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 in this case) will be eliminated after 4 to 6 half-lives have passed.
That means that it takes roughly 2 days for the dose of CBD to degrade by half. It takes roughly 4 to 6 complete terms to completely go away.
If we take the 2 day time frame of CBD, it would take anywhere from 8 to 12 days for it to degrade out of our body, completely (2 days multiplied by 4 or 6).
Hemp-derived CBD 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.
Most everyone has heard of THC. THC is the psychoactive compound located within cannabis that people use for a number of 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 molecule image
THC has a number of 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.
The half-life of THC is roughly 30 minutes. This means that if you consume 10mg of THC, within 30 minutes there will be 5mg left in your body.
It takes roughly two hours for the THC to pass through to your urine.
How Long Does CBD Stay In Your System?
If we take the information from above, we can figure out that, typically, CBD stays in your system for roughly one week. 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.
In order 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 4 to 5 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).
The user’s metabolism plays a vital role in figuring out the levels of CBD 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?
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 have doubled the amount of CBD intake.
That means, CBD levels in my body will increase.
The more CBD you take per dose, the more CBD will be available in your body. This also is relatively simple to understand.
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 through smoking or vaping will start showing immediate effects and result in a higher bioavailability than by eating 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 blood stream. The liver and kidney are part of a filtration system that our bodies use.
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 to your body. Something becomes bioavailable when it enters your blood stream.
Here are some popular methods of consumption when it comes the CBD use…
Ingestion of CBD – Eat or Drink
Ingestion (by way of eating or drinking) 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, 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 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 reaches the bloodstream in higher levels because the CBD is able to enter the bloodstream via the sublingual vein. The time that it would take to pass through the liver is eliminated.
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 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 recent vaping crisis, New Phase Blends chooses not to sell any smokable CBD or vape products.
Several CBD infused products are available in topical form, such as lotions, creams, balms, salves, and gels. Apply CBD topicals directly on the skin.
Our skin can absorb the CBD and then transfer it to our bloodstream. Bioavailability is nominal with this method.
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 from the medical journal Trends of Pharmacology in Science.
Photo Source: Trends in Pharmacological Sciences
How Our Bodies Store CBDCBD 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.
Drug Testing and CBD | How Long Does CBD Stay Around?
The purpose of most of the drug tests is to identify the amount of a drug in our system. Typically, CBD won’t show on a drug test, but THC will.
Many of the CBD products contain a trace amount of THC, which would theoretically cause a positive drug test result – because it is still detectable in urine at that level.
However, the amount of THC in legal CBD products is so miniscule that drug tests for THC will not show as positive.
It is important to avoid any false positives for THC on a drug test by making sure the CBD product is derived from hemp – not marijuana.
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 a 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 have an effect on 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 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 | 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 milliliter 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? How long does CBD stay in your system? 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 our bodies 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
Most cannabis drug tests scan for the THC quantity in the body – not the CBD content. Furthermore, CBD is now federally legal.
Testing for CBD in your body is not really a ‘thing’. Keep in mind that if you are tested for THC via drug tests, make sure your CBD products come from hemp and not marijuana.
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.
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.merckmanuals.com/professional/clinical-pharmacology/pharmacokinetics/drug-bioavailability
Project CBD: https://www.projectcbd.org/cbd-101/what-is-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