With the various health benefits research says it may have, CBD has quickly become a natural alternative to medications and a reliable tool for pain relief and other ailments. However, the main issue with using anything cannabis-related is that there’s always a chance some of it gets detected on a drug test. But how long does CBD stay in your system anyway? Let’s see what the studies say!
Factors to Keep in Mind
Before going through what research says, it’s important to keep in mind that several factors will determine not only how quickly CBD affects us but how long it stays in us. These include:
Frequency and Quantity
The more CBD we take, the longer it stays in our system, that much is true. It can build up over time, so we won’t be able to expel it as fast as low-dose users. Furthermore, how often we take our CBD also plays a key role here. If we only take it from time to time, it won’t get a chance to build up, and thus it won’t stay in us for long.
Method of Administration
There are three main ways we could take CBD: we can ingest, inhale, or apply it topically. Since we use different parts of our bodies to process it after taking it, the effects (and their length) vary.
Typically, we can swallow some CBD oil and munch on some edibles, or pour a few drops under the tongue. In case we decide to eat it, our digestive system will process the compound and eventually take it to the liver, where it will get broken down and sent to our bloodstream. If we take it sublingually, though, we can bypass the liver. The compound will go straight into our bloodstream through the membranes in our mouths.
Because of that, the bioavailability of CBD is different for both of these methods. If we simply eat the oil or CBD edibles, the compound will get metabolized by the liver, which reduces its concentration and effects. In contrast, placing tinctures and oils underneath the tongue ensures the greatest (and longest) effects.
Vaping is another popular form of CBD administration, but it comes with its own set of dangers. What’s important to know, though, is that it’s not the most effective form of usage anyway. When we inhale CBD, our lungs, or rather, alveoli, absorb it, letting it take effect quickly. However, this also means that the effects wear off pretty fast.
If we opt to use CBD topically, virtually none of it will end up in our bloodstream. Thus, there’s nothing to stay in our system. The CBD molecules stay on the skin and treat issues, such as inflammation and pain, locally.
We should keep in mind that our lifestyle, body mass index, metabolism, and water content can also determine how long CBD stays in our system. Since it’s fat-soluble, CBD may remain in our fat cells for a longer period of time, for example. If we exercise and burn fat, though, we may be able to get rid of it faster.
Similarly, our dietary habits may play a role, as well. CBD will not get digested so fast if taken after meals. If we take it on an empty stomach, however, it’s going to be metabolized and expelled quickly.
How Long Does CBD Stay in Your System?
On average, the effects of CBD will last anywhere from two to six hours. Vapes and sublingual drops produce the quickest effects, whereas edibles and topicals take a while to kick in.
As for how long the CBD will stay in the system, studies show the following results:
- According to a 1991 study, CBD may be virtually undetectable in blood a week after we stop taking it. The study found that even after using high doses of CBD for six weeks, there remained only about 1.5 nanograms per milliliter of it after a week of zero use.
- Another study showed that the half-life of CBD (the amount of time it takes for 50% of the starting dose to leave the body) might be between 18 and 32 hours. A systematic review of CBD studies from 2018 concluded that the half-life of CBD is likely between two and five days if taken orally and on a daily basis.
So how long does CBD stay in your system? If we rely on existing research, we could say that CBD will remain for about two to five days up to a week in our bodies. However, nobody can say for sure how long it will linger — for some, it may even stay for weeks. With a number of factors that determine not only its effects but their length, it’s evident that each CBD user will have a different experience.