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How Long Does CBD Stay in Your System?

How Long Does CBD Stay in Your System?

Posted by Dr. Leslie Mudd, PharmD on Oct 30th 2020

Introduction

As more people become aware of the cannabis plant, they start to ask more questions about one of the key components, cannabidiol, or CBD. One of those questions is: "How long does CBD stay in your system?"

Some people wonder how long CBD stays in their system because they could be facing a drug test. We got you covered there, too. Reading this article will give you all the information you need to make informed decisions about using CBD related to how long CBD stays in your system.

How Long Does CBD Oil Stay in Your System?


Since Congress passed the 2018 Farm Bill, it feels as though CBD sprung up overnight as the popular new wellness trend. But before starting a healthy CBD routine, some people want to know how long CBD stays in your system.

You might have heard about CBD oil’s potential, but you still have concerns. Maybe you’re subjected to workplace drug testing. There’s a lot of reasons that could lead people to worry that CBD lingering in their bodies could have unintended consequences.

So, how long does CBD last? Like with many questions involving CBD, the answer is “well, it depends.” How long CBD lasts depends on a number of important variables that are different for everyone. So each person’s experience with CBD will be somewhat different than everyone else’s.

Factors that affect how long CBD stays in your system include:

  • How much CBD you take
  • How often you take CBD
  • Your body weight and water content
  • Your metabolism
  • Your method of taking CBD
  • Your diet

To understand why these variables are critical to understanding how long CBD stays in your system, it’s important to understand how your body digests CBD and moves it through your system to communicate with your endocannabinoid system, or ECS.

First, the delivery method of CBD is extremely important. When you take CBD as a sublingual oil, or as a CBD tincture, it is absorbed into the body via diffusion though the mucous membrane in the mouth.  

Swallowing ingestible CBD products like CBD capsules causes the cannabinoids to pass through the digestive system before entering the bloodstream. That’s why CBD edibles and CBD gummies take the longest to work. Any kind of CBD edibles or CBD capsules that pass through the digestive system are the second least efficient method in terms of bioavailability, next to CBD topicals. CBD topicals have the least bioavailability. That's because cannabinoids like CBD have a difficult time penetrating the skin's water barrier.

Once CBD is in your system, it tends to linger in your body’s fat cells. That’s because cannabinoids like CBD are “lipophilic” or fat-loving. If you have a slow metabolism, or if you’re overweight, how long CBD lasts in your system will differ than someone with a faster metabolism.

How Long Does It Take for CBD Oil to Work?


How long will it take to feel the effects of CBD? The answer to this question depends on the same variables discussed above. It also depends on what sort of issues or conditions you struggle with. Some of our customers report feeling the effects of CBD as soon as 30 minutes after taking our USDA certified organic CBD oil, but that's just anecdotal reports. For others, it could take longer.

For some, it could take a few weeks of daily CBD use before they feel anything. The time it takes to feel CBD working also depends on how much CBD a person takes.

How Long Do the Effects of CBD Oil Last?


More research needs to be done to fully answer this question. But anecdotal reports suggest the effects of CBD can last about 6 hours. For that reason, some CBD users like to stagger their dose throughout the day. Staggering your daily dose every 6 hours could be a more efficient way of ingesting CBD into the system instead of taking your full daily dose all at one.

Can I Take CBD While Breastfeeding?


There’s not enough research to say whether it’s safe to breastfeed while taking CBD. The side effects of CBD on newborns and infants are unknown, so it's better to be safe and stay away from ingestible CBD products if you are breastfeeding or pregnant.

Will CBD Make You Fail a Drug Test?


The answer is yes, full spectrum CBD can show up on a drug test if you are using it regularly as part of your wellness routine. We believe that employers should not discriminate against medical and lifestyle choices regarding CBD products, but unfortunately that’s the world we live in.

Full spectrum CBD oil works the best because it causes an entourage effect when all of the cannabinoids work together. When you remove compounds, you decrease the efficacy of the product. Also, THC-free products like broad spectrum CBD and CBD isolate often show up on drug tests anyway!

If your employer is still stuck in the 20th century and testing employees for THC, here’s what you need to know:

  • Full spectrum CBD oils contain the full range of cannabinoids present in hemp, including trace amounts of THC, because it helps the CBD oil work better. But even though it’s legal, this small amount of THC could trigger a positive result on a drug test.
  • THC-free CBD products made with “broad spectrum” distillate or CBD isolate may provide a false sense of security. Many drug testing labs use equipment that cannot distinguish between THC and CBD, which may cause a false positive drug test result.
  • If you’re subject to drug screening, always get a note from your doctor before you use CBD. This note should state — in writing — that you need to take full spectrum CBD oil. Take that doctor's note to your Human Resources department and get a note from them — also in writing — that says HR understands that you could test positive for THC for taking a legal CBD product. Anything short of getting permission in writing could lead to unnecessary problems at work.
  • If you anticipate getting tested in the future and you cannot get permission in writing, you should stop using CBD for a month before your test date to ensure all the cannabinoids are out of your system.

Conclusions

How long CBD stays in your system can vary depending on several factors. These include:

  • How long you have been taking CBD
  • How much CBD you are taking
  • Your metabolism
  • Your body mass index, or BMI

Keeping these factors in mind will help you make informed choices regarding CBD in your system. If you are facing an upcoming drug test, it would be best to abstain from CBD oil for one month before testing, or request a test that detects CBD-THC ratios instead of just cannabinoids.