As CBD becomes very popular, more people are taking the cannabinoid as a supplement. Although, some consumers may worry about how long CBD stays in their bodies, especially when they’re looking ahead to a drug test for a job application.
It’s important to note, however, that studies have shown the therapeutic benefits of consuming CBD. Also, the compound is federally legal and is becoming one of the fastest-growing industries in the country.
Still, if knowing how long it takes CBD to leave your system is crucial to you, keep reading.
How CBD Works
CBD works mainly by interacting with the endocannabinoid system. This regulatory network makes the body operate at its best in a process called homeostasis.
The situation becomes a bit more complicated when considering that people consume CBD in different ways. The consumption method plays a key role in how the compound is metabolized—how it is broken down and distributed throughout the body.
How Long Does It Take for CBD Effect to Appear?
There is no exact answer to this question since CBD absorption depends on several factors—such as body weight, metabolism, and the method of consumption.
For starters, let’s look at the different ways of CBD consumption and why some work before others.
This method includes capsules, extracts (such as tinctures), foods, and drinks. Taking CBD this way is easy, discreet, and doesn’t involve the lungs… but the liver.
According to some studies, CBD ingestion is one the most ineffective ways to consume it. A product such as a gummy undergoes a “first-pass effect” when metabolized in the liver. For this reason, its CBD concentration is reduced, sometimes down to 5% of the compound’s totality, causing the effects to appear after 20-30 minutes.
Sublingual CBD takes approximately 15 minutes to take effect. You just have to put a few drops of oil or tincture under the tongue and wait for its absorption.
By administering a few drops, cannabidiol comes into contact with the thinner layer of the lower part of the mouth’s mucosa lining. This layer is permeable, permitting the compound’s rapid absorption, which reaches the blood through the capillaries, making it one of the most effective consumption methods.
Some consumers choose to smoke or vape CBD from extracts and hemp flowers. In both methods, the cannabinoid enters the body through the same route: the lungs. When inhaling CBD, it only has to cross a thin membrane to reach the bloodstream, so the effects are almost instantaneous. To be exact, the reaction can manifest within 2 to 20 minutes, making it the fastest method.
The topical application is the method of choice for skin problems and sports recovery. Applying CBD creams, lotions, or balms directly to the skin is a popular way to use the compound. With this method, CBD rarely enters the body because of the skin’s protective function against external influences. The cannabinoid would have to go through seven cell layers before reaching the bloodstream. Thus only a topical absorption of the compound happens.
This form of absorption is relatively slow. It may take between 25 to 45 minutes before the effects take place.
How Long Does CBD Stay in Your Body?
The half-life of CBD is not known. There is evidence suggesting that CBD has a half-life of approximately 2-5 days. This fact is based on a study involving 14 Huntington’s disease patients. The patients received doses of around 700mg of CBD a day for six weeks.
In another study, the half-life of CBD was tested based on a single dose of 20 mg administered intravenously and two doses of 18.8 mg and 19.4 mg when smoking. Therefore, the half-life was estimated at 18-30 hours and 27-35 hours, respectively.
That time will vary from person to person, however. How long CBD stays in your body is also affected by several biological factors and the way it is consumed. As a general rule, the more efficient the consumption method, the faster the CBD is processed and the faster our body eliminates it.
Yet, these researchers only refer to CBD in the bloodstream—urine is another story. Fifteen participants of a study were given different CBD-rich cannabis products. After two hours, all samples taken from them tested positive for CBD. Another participant was observed during the 24 hours after they consumed the compound, and researchers found no CBD was detectable in their urine.
Factors that Affect How Long CBD Stays in Your System
When discussing the life of any compound in the body, it is essential to understand that each person has a slightly different organism. Several biological factors and circumstances can influence your ability to process CBD. As we have discussed, the consumption method is one, but others can be:
Human metabolism is a combination of chemical reactions, including the conversion of food into energy. The faster your metabolism, the quicker substances, like CBD, will break down, process, and eliminate.
Frequency of Use
As CBD use frequency increases, the body will store more of it over time, building up in the body. Occasionally using CBD will clear it faster from the organism.
The more CBD you take, the longer it will take your body to process it. But you have to be careful. High doses could cause minor side effects, so it is crucial to identify each person’s right dose.
Since CBD is fat-soluble, a small portion could remain stored in fat cells. The cannabinoid can stay in your body a little longer if you have a high percentage of body fat or a fat-rich diet.
Will CBD Show up On a Drug Test?
CBD is unlikely to show up on a drug test. If you need to undergo such an exam to be hired by an employer, the tests will probably examine your blood or urine for THC residues, but not CBD.
However, technically speaking, once you ingest CBD, your body will metabolize it, making it detectable. The good news is that typical drug tests are not designed to detect CBD or any other compound found in cannabis other than THC.
Now, you have to be aware of some CBD products that have THC. These are known as “full spectrum” because they contain all the naturally occurring compounds from hemp—THC included. If you don’t want to risk it, you may opt for a “broad spectrum” product, which contains all the cannabinoids, except for THC. Or you can go for a CBD isolate, which only has CBD. Of course, it’s important to remember that in the US, CBD products are legally allowed to contain THC up to a concentration of 0.3%. Yet, the possibilities are still low for it to appear in a drug test. Some estimate that you would need to consume between 1,000 to 2,000 milligrams per day for that to be the case.