Humans are inherently conscious beings. We want to know everything, so we ask questions. Whether you’re just getting started with CBD oil or already have some experience, certain questions will start popping up in your head sooner or later.
One of these questions is “how long does CBD oil stay in my system?”
While CBD doesn’t have intoxicating properties like THC, it does get stored in the body. Common drug tests only screen for THC, but some people may still want to know how long CBD oil will last in their bodies.
Although the US government legalized hemp-derived CBD products thanks to the 2018 Farm Bill, scientists are still trying to figure out how CBD interacts with the body, as well as the time its metabolites will be stored in a person’s system.
In this article, we’ll explain how CBD works in the body, the time it needs to leave it, and why it’s highly unlikely that it will show up on a drug test.
How Long Does Hemp CBD Oil Stay in Your System?
There is no universal timeframe for the time CBD oil will stay in your system. Research is quite limited in this subject, and different factors can impact this duration.
We can distinguish 5 variables that come into play when it comes to determining how long CBD stays in your body:
The Amount of CBD Used
Usually, CBD should be gone from the system in about a day when talking about single-use. The higher the dose, the more time your body will need to flush it out.
Frequency of Use
How often you consume CBD also determines how long it will stay in your system. CBD builds up in the body over time if you use it regularly. This is why we suggest using it at least for a week to see how it affects your body and whether or not it works for you. If you’re an occasional user, it will leave your body faster.
Everyone has unique body chemistry, which would explain why CBD and other active substances can affect people differently. Your metabolism, water content, body mass index, and diet can also influence how long CBD will stay in your system.
Taking CBD on Full/Empty Stomach
How much you eat, how often, and what you eat matters as well. If you take CBD along with a meal, it will be metabolized and eliminated slower than it does when you take it on an empty stomach.
CBD can be consumed in a few ways. The method you choose impacts everything from the onset and duration of effects to the time it remains in your system.
You can find CBD in the following forms:
- Sublingual drops (oils and tinctures)
- Pills and softgel capsules
- Edibles (e.g. gummies)
- Vape liquid
- Topicals (creams and lotions)
The fastest way to deliver CBD into your system is through vaping. Vaporization takes effect quickly and leaves the body in a similar time manner. Oils and tinctures have a slower onset but the effects linger longer. Edibles and topicals provide long-lasting, gradual relief at the cost of delayed onset. Oral products can take anywhere between 40–120 minutes to kick in.
What Does Research Say About the Time CBD Stays in One’s System?
As we mentioned earlier, there aren’t many studies covering the subject of how long CBD oil stays in a person’s system. Below we highlight the most important findings to date.
In a 1991 study published in Pharmacology Biochemistry & Behavior, researchers analyzed the levels of CBD after high doses administered daily. The research team used a daily dose of 700 milligrams of CBD on 14 Huntington’s disease patients. One week after the experiment stopped, the CBD concentrations were measured at just 1.5 nanograms per milliliter. The researchers concluded that CBD levels were “virtually undetectable” at that time.
A randomized, double-blind controlled 2005 study published in the journal Therapeutic Drug Monitoring tested volunteers who took a cannabis extract with 1.35 mg of CBD and 2.5 mg of THC. The research team found that CBD wasn’t detectable after nine hours of ingestion.
In a 2018 review of existing CBD studies, researchers found that the estimated half-life of CBD was two to five days for those who took it orally. Other forms of consumption resulted in varying half-lives.
What Does Half-Life Mean?
The half-life of a drug or compound is a common unit in medicine to determine the time it takes for 50% of the initial dose of a compound to leave one’s system.
Here’s how the half-life of CBD works based on the assumption that the half-life of 10 mg CBD is 3 hours.
- 1 hour after ingestion: CBD reaches peak levels of 10 mg
- 3 hours (first half-life): There’s only 5 mg of CBD in the body
- 6 hours (second half-life): You have only 2.5 mg of CBD in your body
- 9 hours (third half-life): Only 1.25 mg of CBD remains in the body
- 12 hours: (fourth half-life): 0.62 mg of CBD is left in the body
As mentioned, the half-life varies depending on the route of administration and the frequency of use.
How Long Do the Effects of CBD Oil Last?
Consumption method is paramount when it comes to determining how long it will take to feel the effects of CBD and how long they will stay with you.
Ingestion is the most common consumption method for CBD products. Eating a CBD gummy bear, capsule, or swallowing a few drops of tinctures is certainly an effective way to draw from the benefits of this therapeutic compound. However, oral ingestion is not necessarily the fastest way to deliver CBD into your system. Swallowing CBD prevents it from entering the bloodstream directly. Instead, CBD has to pass through the digestive tract and the liver, where it gets broken down before reaching your endocannabinoid system.
This phenomenon is known as the “first-pass effect,” where enzymes in the liver lower the concentration of CBD before its remaining amounts are finally sent to the bloodstream and can circulate in your body. While oral consumption is common among on-the-go users and those who don’t like the taste of natural CBD oil, this method provides the lowest bioavailability. Only 5% of swallowed CBD ends up in your system.
The delayed onset — between 40–90 minutes — also ensures the gradual release of CBD into the bloodstream, so you can experience its therapeutic effects longer, usually up to 6–8 hours.
Sublingual use is more efficient than ingestion because CBD doesn’t pass through the digestive tract. Instead, it is absorbed under the tongue through a complex network of blood vessels, where it can directly reach the bloodstream. Sublingual consumption offers higher bioavailability (around 35%) and ensures faster effects. These should take hold within 15–30 minutes after consumption and can last between 4–6 hours.
Inhalation offers the highest bioavailability of all consumption methods, with up to 56% of inhaled CBD ending up in your bloodstream. Whether you’re smoking a high-CBD flower, or taking a puff from your CBD vape pen, the mechanism of interaction remains the same. When CBD is pulled into the lungs, the cannabinoids get absorbed through the lung tissue, where they can rapidly enter the bloodstream and start circulating in your system.
Current evidence shows that CBD reaches its peak blood levels within three minutes after inhalation, meaning you can feel the effects almost right away. However, this method also provides the shortest duration of effects; they tend to last up to 3 hours after inhalation.
Topical CBD is available in many forms, including creams, salves, gels, lotions, and other skincare products. These products are designed for localized relief; you can apply them directly to the skin, where they get absorbed through its surface and engage with cannabinoid receptors in the deeper layers of the skin. Due to the low cannabinoid absorption rate of the skin, some CBD topicals call for a liberal application.
Can CBD Oil Show Up on a Drug Test?
In most cases, it’s a clear “No.”
Most drug tests are made to look specifically for the presence of THC metabolites or other illicit substances. Moreover, employers must stay compliant by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services (SAMHSA) guidelines, which don’t include the detection of CBD.
Remember that even hemp-derived CBD products may contain up to 0.3% THC — this is the federally accepted limit.
This could raise doubts in some CBD-curious consumers who don’t want to take any THC in their product or are worried about failing a drug test due to the presence of THC in their bloodstream.
However, the chances of testing false-positive for THC from using hemp extracts are very low. You would need to take massive doses of full-spectrum CBD oil — around 1,000 – 2,000 milligrams daily) to risk failing a drug test.
If you are extra cautious about taking any amount of THC in your CBD oil, you can switch to a broad-spectrum product or one that contains pure CBD isolate. Broad-spectrum CBD still contains other non-psychoactive cannabinoids and terpenes (but without THC), whereas isolate is void of any compounds other than CBD.
To make sure you’re getting a product with a declared amount of CBD and THC, only purchase from reputable retailers who can provide third-party lab reports from the product’s content analysis.
In case you found yourself in that rare situation and tested positive for THC after taking CBD oil, you can try to explain it to your employer and request another screening.
How Long Does CBD Stay in the Urine?
There’s limited research on how long CBD stays in one’s urine. In a 2016 study, researchers from Pacific Toxicology Laboratories in California administered different CBD-rich cannabis products to a controlled group of 15 volunteers.
After two hours from the administration, 14 out of 15 participants tested positive for CBD and THC metabolites. The research team followed one participant after the last day of treatment to find out that he needed only 24 hours to flush CBD out of his body.
Does CBD Interact With Other Drugs?
Yes, CBD-drug interactions are a real thing. It may either speed up or prolong the time it takes to get rid of CBD from the body.
CBD is both a substrate and inhibitor of CYP450 enzymes, which are responsible for metabolizing active substances in drugs. Therefore, it could interfere with the metabolism of many drugs.
If you take any medication, we recommend that you consult your doctor to avoid potential interactions and maximize the results of your supplementation.
What About Breastfeeding? Will CBD Pass Into Your Baby’s System?
Doctors don’t recommend using CBD while breastfeeding. According to gynecologists, you should avoid using CBD for at least 1 week before you start breastfeeding.
The Food And Drug Administration (FDA) strongly opposes the use of CBD during breastfeeding due to the lack of thorough research on the effects of CBD on breastfed babies. We only know that some CBD can pass into a baby’s bloodstream through milk.
Until experts know more, it’s safe to avoid using CBD while pregnant or breastfeeding.
Summing it All Up: How Long Does CBD Oil Stay In Your System?
Single-use of low-to-moderate doses of CBD doesn’t stay in your system for more than one day. Even high doses of CBD should be out of your body within a week.
However, if you’re a regular user, CBD may take a week or more to get completely flushed out of the body. This is caused by the fact that CBD levels tend to build up over time in the bloodstream and fat tissue.
How long CBD oil will stay in your system depends on several factors, including dosage, frequency of use, consumption method, and the use of other medications.
Factors such as age, weight, and metabolism are also important for estimating the time CBD leaves your body.