How long does CBD stay in your system? It’s something we’ve all wondered, whether out of curiosity or concern. Knowing how long our bodies take to process anything is a big part of enjoying it in the first place. In the end, it’s essential to getting that peace of mind that comes from having complete control over the things you enjoy.
Using CBD is affected by a whole range of factors, from the kind of CBD in question and how it is applied, to the metabolism and body-type of the person taking it. Pinning down exactly how long CBD will stay in your system is therefore a little tricky: any answer we could give would, by necessity, be a bit too vague.
What we can do is look at the factors that go into your body processing CBD and explain the science behind it, comparing the different kinds of CBD and the different methods of dosing. This would leave you with a more comprehensive view of how CBD works. Through this method we should be able to make it easier for you to figure out just how long it will take for your unique body to process CBD, giving you that bit of extra knowledge to help you enjoy it all the more.
HOW LONG DOES CBD STAY IN YOUR SYSTEM: WHAT TYPE OF CBD?
The kind of the CBD you’ve taken will affect how long it stays in your body 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.
As such CBD products come in several different variants: broad spectrum, full spectrum and CBD isolate. Broad spectrum contains several cannabinoids found within the cannabis plant but, notably, does not contain any THC. Full spectrum on the other hand does contain trace amounts of THC, with a limit of 0.2% in the UK. 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 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 E-liquids and edibles, whilst full spectrum CBD is more suited to oils.
HOW LONG DOES CBD STAY IN YOUR SYSTEM: WHAT PRODUCT?
Similar to the specific kind of CBD you’re taking, the product and its method of application will have an effect on how long it stays in your system. A principle called bioavailability indicates how quickly CBD enters your bloodstream and takes effect. The way you take your CBD will determine its bioavailability, and therefore it is essential to understanding how quickly your body will process it.
There are four main ways of dosing CBD available on the UK market: ingestion, inhalation, topical application and sublingual application.
Ingestion consists of any CBD product designed to pass through the digestive tract, including edibles and certain 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 to completely expel the remaining CBD.
Inhalation 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.
Topical application 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 infused 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.
Sublingual application 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.
HOW LONG DOES CBD STAY IN YOUR SYSTEM: METABOLISM AND BODY-TYPE
As we’ve said, a huge factor in determining how long CBD stays in your system is down to your body. Everything from metabolism to height and weight will have an effect on how quickly you can process CBD out of your system. This also determines the size of CBD dose you’ll need which, of course, effects how long it will stay in your body through sheer quantity alone.
These variations are one of the main causes for the difficulty in predicting just how long CBD will stay in your body. 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.
One often overlooked factor of CBD use is diet. Research has indicated that certain kinds of foods can enhance ingested CBD, with fats in particular aiding this process. This is one of the reasons edibles are an effective way of dosing CBD, despite the fact that the digestive system will limit CBD bioavailability considerably.
HOW LONG DOES CBD STAY IN YOUR SYSTEM: 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 STAY IN YOUR SYSTEM: DRUG TESTS
One of the biggest reasons for people’s concerns with how long CBD will stay in their body is the presence of 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.
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.
Most conventional drug tests will be looking for the presence of THC. Although full spectrum CDB products will contain traces of THC, any UK legal product will contain less than 0.2% of the substance. This is too small a concentration to show up on a drug test.
Some tests do measure for a broader range of cannabidiols, in which case CBD is likely to result in a positive test. However, as stated 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.
For certainty we encourage you to check your workplace regulations regarding CBD. For areas outside the UK, we urge you to check your local laws before making any CBD purchases.
SUMMARY: HOW LONG DOES CBD STAY IN YOUR SYSTEM?
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 CDB 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.