This is one of the most popular questions we get asked here at Orange County CBD, but often one of the most difficult for us to answer - but we're certainly going to try and give it a go!
There are many reasons why it might be useful for you to know how long traces of CBD will stay in your system after taking it, but unfortunately there is no straightforward answer, as it will depend on many different factors and can vary widely from person to person.
As a rule, the amount of time that CBD will stay in your system can range from a couple of days to several weeks, so it might be more useful for us to explain the various things that can affect this.
How CBD works for you is a very unique experience for each individual person, and can be affected by a whole range of factors, including:
- What strength CBD you're taking
- How you choose to take your CBD
- How much CBD you take
- Your own unique metabolism
- Your body type
- What you've eaten that day
Obviously, this still doesn't answer your question - so, what we can look at is each of these different factors that go into your body processing CBD and explain the science behind it.
What factors affect how long CBD stays in your system?
The Dose That You Take
Simply put, the higher the dose of CBD that you take, the longer it will usually stay in your system.
The CBD You're Using
The kind of the CBD you’ve taken will also affect how long it stays in your system thanks to something called the Entourage Effect. Although the research into it is still ongoing, studies suggest that having multiple cannabinoids in a product will help to enhance the effects of each one.
Obviously, CBD not only comes in many different forms, there are also several different variants: broad spectrum, full spectrum and CBD isolate.
Broad spectrum contains several beneficial cannabinoids found within the cannabis plant but, notably, does not contain any THC.
Full spectrum CBD products, on the other hand, do contain trace amounts of THC.
And, as the name suggests, CBD isolate is composed purely of CBD and carrier oil.
Due to the various other cannabidiols and the presence of certain fatty acids, the effects of broad and full spectrum CBD have been noted to last much longer than CBD isolate.
Of these two, full spectrum CBD is generally considered to last longer. CBD isolate and broad spectrum CBD tend to be better for producing CBD e-liquids and CBD edibles, whilst full spectrum CBD is more suited to oils.
How Frequently You Take CBD
In most cases, someone who uses CBD just once could have absolutely no traces remaining in their system after 2-5 days, but this won’t necessarily be the case for someone who takes CBD regularly or daily, as cannabinoids will build up in the body over time, and using it over a sustained period is generally considered more effective in terms of wellness benefits.
How You Personally Respond To CBD
CBD can affect different people in different ways simply due to their individual metabolism, their BMI and own CBD tolerance level.
The Food You Eat
Taking CBD whilst your body is still digesting your last meal can affect not only how long it takes the CBD to get into your system, but also how long it stays there. Taking it on an empty stomach can mean that the traces of CBD are eliminated from the body more quickly.
Recent studies have also indicated that certain types of foods can actually enhance how your body metabolises CBD, with healthy fats in particular really boosting this process.
How You Take Your CBD
The method that you use to take CBD can have a big impact on how long it stays in the system.
There are four main ways of dosing CBD available on the UK market: ingestion, inhalation, topical application and sublingual application.
This will include any CBD product that is designed to pass through the digestive tract, including edibles and CBD capsules. This method has one of the lowest levels of bioavailability as it requires the CBD to pass through both the stomach and liver before entering the bloodstream.
Because of this, ingested CBD tends to have a lower and more gradual effect, taking longer for you to both feel it and process it out of your body. Depending on dosage, diet, metabolism and several other factors, it can take anywhere between twenty minutes and two hours for you to feel the effects of an edible.
When it comes to moving it out of your system, research indicates an average of two to five days for the CBD to completely leave your system.
This is a much faster way of dosing your CBD as it completely bypasses the digestive system, instead using membranes in the mouth and the lungs to enter your bloodstream.
As well as generally being available in stronger doses than edibles, inhaling a CBD infused e-liquid from a vape has a much higher bioavailability and will take effect much more quickly.
Research indicates that an individual inhaling CBD will begin to feel its effects between five and ten minutes after use, as the CBD enters its highest concentration in the blood and begins to have a noticeable effect on the endocannabinoid system.
These effects tend to pass relatively quickly, though of course dosage and frequency of use will have an effect.
A regular user of CBD e-liquid will find the CBD staying in their system for three to five days, whilst a frequent user will likely retain that CBD for longer.
Applying CBD topically works via a system known as trans-follicular absorption, essentially entering your body through the hair follicles on your skin and scalp. This has the lowest bioavailability rating of every CBD delivery method, as the nature of human skin means that the vast majority of the CBD is not directly absorbed.
Because of this people will tend to use CBD topicals in higher doses. Even considering this, topical CBD is expected to take effect within an hour of application and last approximately three to four hours.
The CBD itself will stay in the user’s body for three to four days, with variation based on the kind of topical used, how much was applied and the individual’s cell turnover rate.
Consists of applying drops of CBD oil under the tongue. In contrast to topical application, this has one of the highest bioavailability ratings of any product available on the market.
The CBD passes through membranes under the tongue and directly into your bloodstream. This allows for a much faster effect at a much higher intensity, with a higher concentration of CBD able to interact directly with the endocannabinoid system.
Research indicates that the effects will begin to be felt anywhere from a few minutes to an hour after use, lasting three to four hours. Being a less dilute form of CBD on average, it would take anywhere between four and five days for the CBD to be completely worked out of your system.
In summary - vaping CBD vape juice gets it into (and out of) your system fairly quickly, whereas something like CBD gummies or other CBD edibles have to go through the digestive system before being metabolised, which means traces can stay in the body a little longer.
Unfortunately, we still don’t have an accurate method for determining how quickly a person will process CBD from these factors alone, hence the need for so much personal experimentation when it comes to figuring out your ideal CBD dosage.
Biological Elimination Half-Life
The last element that effects how long CBD stays in your system is a chemical factor known as biological elimination half-life.
In essence, biological elimination half-life is the measurement of how long CBD naturally breaks down and loses effectiveness within the human body.
If you took a 6mg dosage of CBD, the biological elimination half-life would indicate how long it takes to become 3mg of effective CBD, then 1.5mg, then 0.75mg, and so on until it reaches a negligible amount.
On average, CBD can be said to have a half-life between two and five days, hence the average range for CBD elimination falling somewhere in this timescale.
Frequent use can adapt the biological elimination half-life as well, with more frequent users experiencing a shorter half-life on average.
How Long Does CBD Take To Have An Effect?
As with how long CBD stays in your system after use, how long it takes before you feel the effects of CBD can also vary really widely.
Along with the method of taking CBD and the dosage, as we've already mentioned: everyone has an individual metabolic rate that can also affect the amount of time it takes CBD to enter their system.
Slower methods (which may also give longer-lasting effects) include edibles like CBD gummies or topical applications of CBD, like face cream or muscle rub. Most people report these methods taking anywhere from 30 minutes to a couple of hours to kick in.
Faster methods, such as vaping or taking drops of CBD oil under the tongue, can get into the system faster and many people report that the effects can be felt within 15-30 minutes.
How Long Do The Effects Of CBD Last?
Without wanting to sound like a broken record, the amount of time that someone feels the effects of CBD will vary from person to person, and will also depend on how much CBD you take, as well as the form in which you take it. Often, if you take CBD using a slower method, such as with edibles, the effects can also be more long-lasting and the reverse can be true with quicker methods, such as vaping CBD liquids. Many people find that the effects of CBD last somewhere between 2-6 hours.
How Long Is CBD Detectable In Urine?
CBD may be detectable in urine for anywhere from a few days to several weeks after the last time it was taken. This will depend on factors such as the method used to take the CBD and the dosage, as well as the individual’s metabolism.
Does CBD Show Up On Drug Tests?
Another one of the questions we get asked a lot here at Orange County CBD is whether CBD will show up on drug tests. In plenty of workplaces and professions, people will be regularly tested for the use of a wide range of drugs and other prohibited substances.
Let's start by putting your mind completely at ease: CBD is entirely legal in the UK, unlike its counterpart THC. These compounds, although they both come from the cannabis plant, are completely different and have widely differing effects.
CBD acts in conjunction with the endocannabinoid system, essentially part of the nervous system. THC meanwhile is a psychoactive that effects brain chemistry. Mixing these two up is a common misconception amongst new CBD users and those who do not use CBD products.
CBD itself won’t show up on most drug tests because it’s a legal substance in the UK and USA and wouldn’t usually be tested for - most conventional drug tests will be looking for the presence of THC. However, our full-spectrum CBD products do contain very small, legal trace elements of THC, which are unlikely to be detected as a banned substance in a drug test.
This is too small a concentration to show up on most drug tests, but if you're an athlete, or someone who needs to take regular drug tests for their job, we would always recommend sticking with our Broad Spectrum products to air on the side of caution.
But let us just stress: CBD is an entirely legal substance within the UK and, though a workplace may prohibit it, you would not face criminal charges for its use.
So, how long does CBD stay in your system?
Today we’ve gone over the specifics of CBD use, how it enters your body and how you process it, the factors that influence this, as well as the specifics of drugs tests as they relate to CBD use. To recap our main points:
- What kind of CBD you’re taking will have an effect on how long it stays in your system.
- How the CBD enters your body will also effect how long it stays in your system.
- Biological elimination half-life will set a kind of deadline on how long CBD can stay in your body, which can change depending on frequency of use.
- Metabolism and body-type can determine both the size of your CBD dosage and how long it stays in your system.
- Diet can be surprisingly helpful in getting more out of your CBD.
- The vast majority of UK drugs tests will not be triggered by CBD.
As a rough guide CBD will stay in your body for three to five days after last use. A big part of enjoying CBD is the confidence that comes from knowing how it works.
With the knowledge of how CBD is processed by your body and for roughly how long, you have the chance to plan your CBD doses to get the most out of them.
CBD is something many of us use for enjoyment, so we should all be free to enjoy it with proper awareness and peace of mind.