CBD has become increasingly popular and is available in many forms. While research shows it has beneficial health effects, the FDA does not allow companies to make health claims or market it as a supplement. Below, we answer common questions about CBD products, such as how long CBD stays in your system and what factors affect this.
Cannabidiol (CBD) is a non-psychoactive compound found in cannabis plants with various therapeutic effects.
However, the CBD industry is not standardized or well-regulated.
Those taking CBD may wonder how long CBD is detectable in the body. Still, the answer is complex and depends on many factors.
The form, dosage, route of administration, a person's frequency of use, and unique physiology impact how long CBD stays in the system.
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What is CBD?
Cannabidiol (CBD) is a cannabinoid derived from hemp plants (a type of cannabis plant containing less than 0.3% THC, per the Federal Drug Administration) or created synthetically in a lab. CBD is a non-psychoactive compound with therapeutic effects still being investigated. The other most prevalent cannabinoid is tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), a highly-regulated psychoactive compound that produces euphoria or a “high.”
Factors that determine how long CBD stays in your system
While the effects of CBD can last anywhere from 2 to 6 hours, CBD can stay in your system for days or over a month. This can affect how
you metabolize other medications and drug test results.
Many factors affect how long CBD stays in your system, including the type, dosage, frequency of use, and a person's unique physiology.
Types of CBD
There are three types of CBD. Each type has a different effect on how long CBD will remain in your system.
This contains all naturally-occurring compounds in the hemp plant, including other cannabinoids, terpenes, and trace amounts of THC (less than 0.3%). How long full-spectrum CBD stays in your system depends on whether the product contains THC, even at a low level. THC can accumulate in the system and potentially show up on a drug test for several days or up to a few weeks after use, depending on the frequency of use and an individual's metabolism.
This also contains many naturally occurring compounds found in the hemp plant, but does not contain THC. In light of this, it may be metabolized and eliminated from the body more quickly than full-spectrum CBD. However, the CBD industry lacks standardization and regulation, and some products may contain higher levels of THC than what is listed on the label.
This pure form of CBD is made by isolating the CBD molecule from all other compounds found in the hemp plant. While it's often less effective than full or broad-spectrum CBD, it tends to be eliminated from the body more quickly, and the likelihood of a positive drug test is lower.
Frequency and duration of CBD use
CBD can accumulate in the body over time after chronic, heavy use. This can lead to a longer half-life of CBD, which is the amount of time it takes for half of the drug to be eliminated from the body.
It takes approximately 5.5 half-lives to eliminate the compound from your system. However, the half-life of CBD can vary depending on the route of administration and ranges from 1.4 to 5 days.
Route of administration
CBD comes in many forms. Common methods of taking CBD include:
- Oral ingestion via CBD tea and other liquids, gummies, and pills
- Topical administration via CBD creams, lotions, and oils
- Inhalation via vape cartridges containing CBD oil or smoking CBD flower
- Sublingual and buccal administration via CBD tinctures or sprays
When CBD is smoked, it is absorbed through the lungs and enters the bloodstream more quickly compared to other routes of administration, such as oral or topical use.
A 2018 study found that the half-life of CBD is roughly 31 hours after smoking, 1.4 to 10.9 hours after oromucosal spray use, 24 hours after intravenous, and 2 to 5 days after chronic oral consumption.
CBD products can range from doses of around 5 mg to high doses of several hundred milligrams per serving.
The beneficial effects of a small dose can last a few hours, and 5 mg of CBD may stay in your system for a few hours to a few days, depending on the form and route of administration and your unique physiology. For regular users, a typical dose of a CBD oil tincture may range from 10 to 50 mg per serving, while a CBD topical cream may contain 100 to 500 mg per container. CBD capsules or edibles may contain 10 to 50 mg of CBD per serving, while CBD vape cartridges may contain 100 to 500 mg of CBD per cartridge. Higher doses of CBD take longer for the body to metabolize and eliminate.
In a 2020 study, researchers found that subjects who consumed a large, single dose of a standardized 100 mg dose CBD formulation had detectable levels of CBD in their urine for 4 to 5 days after ingestion. Therefore, even acute or one-time users may have to wait days for CBD to clear their systems.
However, because even full-spectrum CBD contains so little THC, most people would have to take between 1000 and 2000 mg for THC to show up on a standard drug test.
Your unique body type, body composition, body mass, individual metabolism, and body fat percentage will all help determine how long CBD stays in your system. People with a faster metabolism may eliminate CBD more quickly than those with a slower metabolism.
CBD can also bind to fat molecules in the body and get stored in fatty tissues, which leads to slower elimination.
How can you detect CBD?
It's important to note that CBD is not typically tested for in standard drug tests. Most drug tests are looking for THC.
However, if you are using a CBD product that contains THC, it may be possible for the THC from CBD to accumulate in your system and potentially show up on a drug test.
CBD can be detectable in urine, but it depends on the specific type of CBD product and the amount consumed. While blood tests for drugs are uncommon, CBD with THC metabolites may be detectable in blood tests for up to seven days for moderate users. In saliva, it is typically detectable for up to 72 hours, while equally uncommon hair tests can pick up THC metabolites in CBD for up to 90 days.
The time CBD stays in the body is not only important for predicting the result of drug tests. Research has also shown that cannabis products like CBD can lead to potential interactions with drugs. CBD is known to inhibit CYP3A4 and CYP2D6, which can lead to slower metabolism of certain medications, including but not limited to pain relievers, SSRIs, and corticosteroids. For this reason, it's wise to get CBD from a reputable source with third-party purity testing and a guarantee about the amount of THC the product can contain, and talk to your healthcare practitioner about your use of CBD.
How long should you stop taking CBD before a drug test?
Because the CBD industry is not standardized or well-regulated, some products contain higher levels of THC than what is listed on the label. Therefore, it's generally recommended to stop using CBD products for 2 to 4 weeks before a drug test to reduce the risk of a positive result.
Can you fail a drug test from just CBD?
It's unlikely. However, some CBD products may contain trace amounts of THC that can accumulate in the body over time and potentially cause a positive drug test result. Chronic CBD users may need to wait longer for CBD to clear their system.
How long do CBD effects last?
Higher doses of CBD may affect the body for days. Frequent or long-term use of CBD may result in a buildup of CBD in the system, leading to longer-lasting effects. The beneficial effects of CBD last between, 2 to 6 hours.
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