How Long Does Cannabidiol Stay In Your System?
How long does cannabidiol stay in your system? Once you have decided to try cannabidiol (or CBD, in short), this is the first thing to answer. This article explains how much CBD to take, how long to take it for, and how long it stays in your system.
People are usually curious about how long the potential effects of CBD last in their bodies. They are also concerned about possible drug tests and whether CBD will show up during routine drug tests at their work.
Let’s see what affects the presence of CBD once in your system and whether you should be worried about drug test screening.
How long does cannabidiol stay in your system?
Many things can affect CBD’s behaviour in your body. While research is still ongoing, there are several conclusions that people and specialists have reached so far that answer the question, “how long does cannabidiol stay in your system.”
Scientists and doctors often talk of half-life: this is the time it takes for the initial quantity of any substance to be reduced in half in the body. For moderate and occasional doses of CBD, the half-life is 18 to 32 hours. This means that if you take 40 mg of CBD, in 18 to 32 hours, you will have 20 mg left in your system.
In a 2018 study, researchers concluded that “the half-life of cannabidiol was reported between 1.4 and 10.9 hours after oromucosal spray, 2–5 days after chronic oral administration, 24 hours after I.V., and 31 hours after smoking.”
So, to answer the question, “how long does cannabidiol stay in your system,” the rule of thumb for occasional CBD use is that it usually clears up in one to two days, depending on the specifics.
The exact amount of time depends on several factors, starting with the frequency of use.
Frequency of use
The frequency of CBD use affects how much and for how long CBD stays in your system.
Systematic, long-term use of average quantities of CBD results in doses building up in the body. People micro-dosing CBD choose to take small but consistent doses throughout the day and for long periods of time. In these cases, CBD concentration amplifies in the body, as one dose builds on the previous one.
Therefore, it takes longer for CBD to clear from the body after prolonged use. It is common to still trace CBD in the blood plasma for two weeks after consistent use has been stopped.
Quantity of dose
Apart from the frequency of use, another important criterion to calculate for how long does cannabidiol stay in your system is the quantity taken. Large quantities will take longer to get metabolized by the liver, while smaller quantities will quickly get past the gut and liver before getting discarded through faeces and urine.
Large quantities of CBD will just be pushed out of the system. The liver is designed to process specific amounts of substances at any given time. A quantity beyond the threshold the liver can actually process will be dumped.
CBD consumers can feel secure in knowing that there is realistically no possibility of overdosing with CBD. As CBD is non-intoxicating, taking it in great quantities simply results in users feeling stronger side effects such as nausea and drowsiness.
This does not mean, of course, that you should consume enormous quantities of CBD: it is always advised to start with a low dosage (5 mg per day) and increase the dosage slowly. The FSA suggests a top CBD dose of 70mg a day—or about 28 drops of 5% strength CBD oil.
Method of administration and bioavailability
CBD specialists often mention bioavailability when answering the question, “how long does cannabidiol stay in your system.” Bioavailability is the amount of any substance that ends up in the bloodstream after consumption. This is an issue that occurs with any pharmaceutical substance.
When ingesting CBD, it goes through the stomach and the digestive tract before entering the gut and being processing by the liver. The liver breaks down CBD with enzymes before leading towards excretion.
This process results in CBD requiring one to two hours to reach the bloodstream. It also means that the bioavailability of CBD—i.e. the ultimate amount of CBD that reaches the bloodstream—is much lower than the initial amount of CBD ingested.
How long does edible CBD stay in the system?
In the case of oral ingestion—think of CBD oil, gummies, and edibles—bioavailability varies from 5% to 20%. This means that from 80% to 95% of the initial CBD you took gets lost during digestion.
Also, for CBD to start having any effect, it might take up to two hours from the moment you take it. This delay is because of the digestion process which takes time.
How long does sublingual CBD stay in your body?
People choosing to take CBD sublingually bypass to a large extent the digestive system. In this case, CBD is placed under the tongue for a minute or so. We have capillaries under the tongue that allow CBD to enter the bloodstream directly. The bioavailability of CBD consumed sublingually can reach up to 30%.
How long does inhalable CBD stay in the system?
Inhaling is the most bioavailable form of CBD consumption: up to 50% of the initial CBD reaches the bloodstream within minutes of consumption. This is because the lungs have capillaries that bypass the digestive system and allow the CBD to enter the bloodstream almost immediately.
How long do CBD topical creams stay in your body?
As for CBD topical creams, their bioavailability is less than 5% and they never reach the bloodstream. CBD stays on the skin and acts on the seven layers of the skin.
Age is another factor that helps us understand how long does cannabidiol stay in your system. Older people have a slower metabolism than younger ones. Therefore, older people metabolize substances more slowly. In their case, CBD will stay in their body longer.
CBD is fat-soluble. This means it stocks in fat cells of the human body. An empty stomach will offer fewer fatty elements for CBD to stock itself. Therefore, your body will process CBD faster. A full stomach—especially if fatty foods have been consumed—will process CBD more slowly, thus allowing it to remain longer in the system.
Hence, an empty stomach will metabolize CBD faster than a full one.
An issue that is closely linked with metabolism is exercise. When we exercise, we burn fat: we burn our fat cells where CBD stays. People who exercise a lot will metabolize CBD faster and will get it out of their system faster than people who have a more inactive lifestyle.
People who have more body fat will have more space for CBD to get stored. Thinner people will have fewer fat cells. The more fat our body carries, the more CBD gets stored and the longer it stays in the system.
Gender and genetics
Interestingly enough, there does not seem to be a difference between genders when it comes to CBD and its presence in our body. However, genetics do play a role as it impacts people’s metabolism.
How long will I feel the effects of CBD?
Taking into account all the previous variables, it becomes obvious that different bodies experience CBD differently. There are, however, some general guidelines:
- When ingesting CBD, it starts working within one to two hours and its effects last for up to six hours.
- When inhaling CBD, the effects are almost immediate, in a matter of mere minutes. However, they dissipate relatively quickly, in about two to four hours. Inhaling CBD could be beneficial for people looking for an immediate effect.
- As for CBD topical creams, their effect takes lasts for 1 to six hours and their effect is localised.
- CBD effects are closely linked to CBD’s half-life. The longer CBD stays in the system, the longer the body feels its effects.
Should I be worried about a drug test if I take CBD?
The people who ask, “how long does cannabidiol stay in your system” are usually the ones who have to be screened for drugs at their work and worry about CBD showing up in their drug test.
Common drug tests are designed to look for traces of controlled substances such as cocaine, heroin, and THC—the psychotropic compound of cannabis that gives users a sense of high. Drug tests are not devised to detect CBD in the body. However, there are many kinds of CBD, some of which contain trace amounts of THC.
As THC is illegal in the UK, CBD products are required by law to contain less than 0.2% of THC. With such a small amount of THC, you need to take 1000 mg to 2000 mg of CBD for a positive THC result in a drug test. This is an enormous amount of CBD to take in a single dose.
Which kinds of CBD contain THC?
CBD products come in three different categories, only one of which contains any THC:
- Full-spectrum CBD contains CBD, other cannabinoids—including THC (always under 0.2%)—terpenes, flavonoids, and other compounds found in the hemp plant.
- Broad-spectrum CBD is like full-spectrum CBD but without any trace of THC.
- As for CBD isolate, this is 100% pure CBD without any other compound, cannabinoid, terpene, or flavonoid.
People worried that they might fail a drug test at work could choose broad-spectrum CBD or CBD isolate so that they don’t even have minimal traces of THC in their blood.
Choosing your CBD
So, the question “how long does cannabidiol stay in your system” has no simple answer. It depends on a variety of factors, from the kind of CBD to frequency of use, the quantity of use, the method of administration, and even genetics. While it may disappear from the body within a day or two, traces may still be found after two weeks. Drug tests, however, test for THC; not CBD. By consuming CBD from a trusted source and staying within the FSA limits, you minimize the risk of a positive result.
No matter what your preferred method of consumption is, always look for reputable and trustworthy brands that display their Certificates of Analysis so that you are sure about what you are taking. You can trust even more a brand that tests its products in third-party labs.
It is important to choose high quality, pure CBD products. Depending on your lifestyle, preferences, and health goal, you will find the CBD product that fits your needs.