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How Long Does CBD Stay in Your System?

How Long Does CBD Stay in Your System?

Cannabidiol, or CBD, is taking the wellness world by storm, and we’re here for it. The non-inebriating cannabinoid sits beside THC as one of the most popular cannabinoids and boasts a number of potential health benefits, like reducing anxiety, pain relief and helping with sleep. So, it makes sense that so many folks are turning to CBD to better navigate their lives!

However, it’s natural that consumers may have questions before they start their CBD journey, and it’s important to be informed about anything new you are putting into your body. 

Diving into the array of potential benefits and side effects is important (if you’re curious, we recommend looking over High There’s Complete CBD Guide for a full overview), but today we’re focusing on the question: How long does CBD stay in your system? 

While the answer may seem simple, there are a number of factors to take into consideration to uncover the truth. So, let’s dive in!

CBD, Drug Testing and CBD Varieties

Before we get into CBD’s lifespan inside of our bodies, it’s important to examine why the question is important to begin with. If you get drug tested for work or otherwise, you might be concerned about how long the cannabinoid stays in your system.

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CBD comes from the hemp plant, which is categorized as a cannabis plant with less than 0.3 percent THC. That said, there are an abundance of CBD products that contain no THC whatsoever, so there’s no need to worry about lingering THC if you have a trusted product. The 2018 Farm Bill enabled the sale of hemp products, including those with 0.3 percent THC or less, so the CBD gummies or tinctures you buy online may or may not contain these trace amounts.

Bear in mind that 0.3 percent THC or less is not enough to get users high, though it may be enough to stay in your system and appear on a drug test. The distinction here lies in the type of CBD product. In this regard, keep the following terms in mind while you shop for your CBD products: full-spectrum, broad-spectrum and isolate CBD. 

Full-Spectrum CBD

Full-spectrum CBD includes a number of cannabinoids and compounds in the cannabis plant alongside CBD, including less than 0.3 percent THC. Research has looked into the entourage effect, which suggests that CBD works even better when paired with other elements of the plant. Therefore, many folks may find even better results when they turn to full-spectrum products, but it’s important to understand that THC is part of this package.

Broad-Spectrum CBD

Broad-spectrum CBD is similar, containing all of the same compounds as full-spectrum CBD, just without the THC. This means that the other compounds will still help to promote the full benefits of CBD, you just won’t have to fret about any lingering THC in your system. 

CBD Isolate

CBD isolate similarly contains no THC, though it also leaves out other elements of the plant, including other cannabinoids, terpenes, flavonoids and other plant compounds, leaving behind a pure CBD product. CBD isolate can still offer that same array of potential benefits, though studies have shown that CBD is most effective when combined with other cannabis compounds. 

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If you are purchasing a high-CBD product at a dispensary, it might contain more than 0.3 percent THC. Take a 10:1 CBD:THC edible at 10mg. There’s far more CBD than THC here, and 1mg of THC is unlikely to get you high (and it may help to enhance the effects of CBD), but it’s still going to be present in your body. 

If you are shopping for CBD products at a dispensary and want to limit or avoid THC, make sure to communicate that to your budtender.

If you’re shopping online and it’s important to avoid THC entirely, you’ll want to ensure you go for a broad-spectrum CBD product or CBD isolate over full-spectrum CBD.

That said, CBD on its own does not show up on a drug test, but it’s still good to understand just how long it stays in your system.

So, How Long Does CBD Stay in Our Bodies? Factors to Consider

CBD and THC are similar, in that understanding how long it stays in our bodies is dependent on a number of factors. We’ll get into some of those specifics next, but we won’t beat around the bush. In a very general sense, you can typically expect CBD to stay in your system for two to five days. In heavier CBD users, or for regular oral use, the duration could be a week or multiple weeks.

Admittedly, research on how long CBD stays in the system is still catching up, mostly because there’s not as much of a demand for testing. However, the available research has unearthed some general guidelines regarding how long CBD stays in our systems.

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Method of Use

Consumers can use CBD in a number of ways, including oils and tinctures, pills and capsules, edibles, vaping, creams and lotions. When it comes to how long it stays in our bodies, this distinction is crucial.

One study following 14 patients who took 700mg of oral CBD each day for six weeks saw the average plasma level fall to just 1.5ng/mL a week after the final dose. (Keep in mind, 700 mg of CBD is quite a bit!) After that week, it was undetectable, and authors estimated that CBD’s half-life was two to five days. (Half-life is how long the body takes to eliminate half of a substance, and generally, the body can eliminate a drug within four to five half-lives.) 

CBD’s half-life is about 31 hours following smoke inhalation. CBD sprays and drops have a half-life of about 1.4 to 10.9 hours.

This means that, generally, you can expect CBD sprays to stay in the body for 10 hours to about two days; chronic oral consumption can keep CBD in the system for 10 to 25 days, and CBD flower can stay in your system for about a week after smoking. Topical CBD boasts short-term effects in the localized area and doesn’t enter the bloodstream at all.

Frequency of Use, Dosage and Potency

Those familiar with THC and its life inside the body may already know that the more you use it, the longer it takes to leave your system. This is also true for CBD. 

CBD, and other cannabinoids, build up in our bodies over time if we use them regularly. Cannabinoids are stored in fat cells in the body and build up over time. So, for example, if you only use CBD a couple times a month as needed, your body will likely purge it sooner than someone who uses CBD every day.

Similarly, a higher dosage is going to stay in your system longer than smaller doses, along with higher-potency CBD. So even a smaller dose of high-potency CBD is going to take longer to leave your system than a larger dose of low-potency CBD.

A 2005 study found that taking 1.35mg of CBD was only detectable in the blood for six hours after ingestion, but larger doses had longer durations.

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Other Factors

To further complicate matters, CBD’s lifespan in your body may depend on other specifics, namely your body and your diet. As we mentioned, cannabinoids are stored in fat cells, so specifics like your body’s fat content, water content and metabolism can also affect how long CBD stays in your system. For example, a faster metabolism means that CBD will likely pass through your system more quickly than folks with slower metabolisms. 

Even food comes into play. Consuming CBD on an empty stomach means that CBD is likely to exit your system sooner than someone who, say, consumed a high-fat meal before using CBD. As far as efficacy, keep in mind that CBD will work best if you’ve eaten, as your stomach is better able to break down the cannabinoid.

Certain medical conditions can even impact how long CBD stays in your system. Dr. Kelly Johnson-Arbor, M.D. is a triple-board certified medical toxicologist and co-medical director of National Capital Poison Center and spoke to Forbes Health on the topic, with a focus on the liver. She notes that, as CBD is metabolized by the liver, those with liver disease or who take medications that are metabolized by the liver may have altered metabolism of CBD. Human liver enzymes help to break down medications and other compounds, and some medications can increase or decrease enzyme activity, according to Dr. Johnson-Arbor.

“When this happens, medications can be metabolized either faster or slower than normal, and this can lead to unwanted adverse reactions,” she said.

Final Thoughts

One big takeaway here is that if you are just using CBD on its own, with no THC, employers and other entities usually are not concerned about its presence in your body, and it will not show up on a drug test. If you want to start your CBD journey and THC is a concern, then it’s crucial to ensure you know exactly what type of CBD product you are using (full-spectrum, broad-spectrum or CBD isolate).

It’s always important to be informed about anything you are putting into your body. While the demand for research on this topic is slight, we know that CBD’s life on our bodies is largely dependent on method of use, dosage, frequency of use, potency and other factors around our individual body chemistry, diets and lifestyle.

If you’re ready to take the plunge and start your CBD journey, know that there are an abundance of products on the market ready for you to try. We’re talking high-CBD strains, skin creams, drinks, gummies and even suppositories! 

It’s truly a whole new world, and what better time to take wellness into your own hands?

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