The amount of time CBD remains in the body depends on how much you took, how often you use it, and what form of CBD you’re using. Do you know how long CBD stays in your system? CBD’s metabolism has been scarcely researched, but we’ve done our best to provide you with the most accurate estimates.
How Long Does CBD Stay In Your System
The amount of time CBD remains in the body depends on how much you took, how often you use it, and what form of CBD you’re using.
Regardless if you’re a long-term CBD user or you have just begun your CBD journey, you may be wondering — “how long does CBD stay in the body?”
Different methods of CBD administration produce different results. You may feel the effects of CBD quickly after inhalation. But, how long does CBD stick around after the effects wear off?
If you want to take a short break, increase your dose, switch from one method of consumption to another, or are simply curious about what happens to CBD after it enters the body — we provide you with all the answers.
In this article, we’ll cover how CBD is absorbed, metabolized, and excreted. We’ll compare long term CBD use with short term and how this can affect the amount of time CBD remains in your body after the effects have worn off.
Table of Contents
- So, How Long Does CBD Oil Stay in Your System?
- What Does CBD Half-Life Mean?
So, How Long Does CBD Oil Stay in Your System?
We need more research to get a definitive answer to the amount of time it takes CBD to leave your body. But here’s what we know so far:
CBD won’t be in your system for longer than 7 days after your last use — unless you’re a frequent user of CBD (more than 10 mg per day for several weeks).
In this case, CBD may linger for up to two more weeks depending on how often you use it.
What the Research Says
In a study published in Pharmacology, Biochemistry, and Behavior, 14 patients with Huntington’s disease were given an extremely high dosage of oral CBD (10 mg/kg/day — about 700 mg/day) for six weeks. The study found that the levels of CBD dropped to an average of 1.5 ng/ml one week after discontinuing CBD. Cannabidiol levels were virtually undetectable after about a week .
The study found the elimination half-life of CBD was about 2-5 days. There was no difference between genders for the half-life of CBD. This half-life is significantly shorter for people who don’t use CBD regularly.
What Does CBD Half-Life Mean?
The elimination half-life of a drug or compound is a common measurement in medicine to determine the time it takes for 50% of the starting dose of a compound to leave the body.
Each half-life results in proportionally less elimination.
Here’s how the half-life of CBD works — assuming the half-life of 10 mg CBD is 3 hours :
- About an hour after taking, CBD reaches peak concentration of 10 mg
- After the first half-life (3 hours) there’s only 5 mg of CBD left in the body
- After the second half-life (6 hours) only 2.5 mg of CBD is left in the body
- After the third half-life (9 hours) only 1.25 mg of CBD is left in the body
- After the fourth half-life (12 hours) 0.62 mg of CBD is left in the body
Amount of CBD Left in the System Over Time
The half-life changes depending on the mode of administration and the amount of time CBD is used. Smoking CBD has a 31-hour half-life, and using oral CBD for long periods of time increases the half-life to 2-5 days .
Estimated CBD Concentrations After 10 mg Dose
|Time After Dose||Oral CBD (Single Dose)||Oral CBD (Long-Term Use)||Inhaled CBD|
|3 Hours||5 mg||10 mg||10 mg|
|24 Hours||0.3 mg||8 mg||6 mg|
|3 Days||0 mg||5 mg||2.3 mg|
|1 Week||0 mg||2.3 mg||0.3 mg|
The bottom line is that single-use CBD will be gone from the system in about a day, while regular users of CBD and those who smoke or vape to get their CBD may need to wait a week or longer for the CBD to leave the system completely.
What Happens When CBD Is Consumed at a Much Lower Dose?
As you might imagine, lower doses of CBD won’t stick around in the bloodstream as long as high doses.
A study published in Therapeutic Drug Monitoring found that 1.35 mg of CBD and 2.5 mg of THC were only detectable in the blood for about 6 hours after ingestion .
It’s important to keep in mind that the seven-day time frame can vary from person to person. The time it takes for CBD to leave your system depends on several factors, including:
- Your individual metabolism
- The method of consumption
- How often you use CBD
- The dose of CBD you took
- Your age (older people metabolize compounds slower)
- Other medications
How Does The Body Process CBD?
The elimination of CBD directly revolves around how CBD is processed by the body.
This can change depending on the form of CBD you use:
1. Oral Consumption (Swallowed)
What happens in the body when CBD is taken orally?
If administered orally, CBD has low bioavailability of around 13-19%. The bioavailability of a drug (in this case CBD) is the amount of CBD that enters the circulation to produce an active effect .
To better understand the bioavailability of swallowed CBD, let’s compare it with an intravenous dose (directly into the vein) of CBD. When you take CBD or any other drug directly in the vein, the bioavailability of the drug is assumed to be 100%. This is because the drug is injected directly into the systemic circulation.
Things work differently in the body when you take a CBD capsule through the mouth. The capsule material travels through the organs and gets processed in the gut and the liver before reaching the systemic circulation.
The metabolic process of CBD and other drugs that get broken down by gut and/or liver enzymes is known as the “first-pass” metabolism.
The low absorption of orally administered CBD has been largely attributed to the first-pass metabolism where CBD gets processed by the gut and the liver.
According to several studies, CBD goes through the CYP450 enzyme system in the liver — the key pathway for drug metabolism . This is where CBD is inactivated and prepared to be eliminated from the body via the kidneys.
There are roughly 100 different metabolites of CBD discovered in various animal species. The major human CBD metabolites are derivatives of CBD-7-oic acid (7-COOH-CBD) .
There’s an exception to this metabolic pathway — molecules absorbed into the lymphatic system or distal rectum can bypass the liver.
The lymphatic system plays a role in the process of absorbing fats and fat-soluble nutrients. Cannabidiol as a highly lipophilic compound — a compound that has the ability to dissolve or combine with lipids or fats — can be transported by the lymphatic system.
The lymphatic system has a special membrane in the small intestine that takes up most of the absorbed fats from the gastrointestinal tract. The absorbed fats are delivered by the lymph fluid directly into the venous blood circulation .
Furthermore, studies show that when CBD is ingested together with lipids, it is better absorbed into the lymphatic system. So, it is advisable to take your CBD after a high-fat meal.
This means that CBD oil skips the first-pass metabolism in the liver. So, how does it get metabolized?
In the intestines, CBD gets metabolized by the cytochrome P450 enzyme system, more specifically by the CYP3A4 isoenzyme, which accounts for nearly 70% of the total CYP450 in the intestine and 60% in the liver. The extensive metabolism by this enzyme in the intestines is what causes the poor bioavailability of many drugs .
The lymphatic metabolic transport of CBD is important for several reasons, including:
Higher CBD levels compared to plasma.
Plasma is the largest component of human blood and contains water, enzymes, salts, antibodies, and other proteins. When a drug reaches the plasma, it needs to be present in a minimum concentration to produce effects, which can be hard if the drug has low bioavailability rates.
According to an animal study published in Scientific Reports, if taken together with lipids CBD has a higher chance to follow the lymphatic transport. The study found that the CBD concentrations in the lymph were 250-fold higher than in plasma. This means that if taken with a high-fat meal, the oral administration of CBD is more effective.
More effective in regulating and normalizing the immune system.
When taking CBD through the mouth after a high-fat meal, the absorption of CBD in the intestinal lymphatic system is much higher and shows potential for the treatment of autoimmune diseases .
(Source: Scientific Reports)
Picture 1: Distribution of CBD and THC to lymph nodes. Orally administered CBD and THC in formulations with and without lipids.
2. Smoking CBD
Inhaling CBD has been shown to have rapid absorption rates because the lungs transfer CBD directly into the bloodstream. The compound reaches the blood within seconds, transferred by the network of capillaries.
A fraction of CBD converts to 7-carboxy-cannabidiol (inactive CBD) and is further metabolized to 7-carboxy-cannabidiol-glucuronide. The rest gets excreted in the urine. When using this method of consumption, CBD is rapidly absorbed within a few minutes after use, but that also means that the effects of CBD are short-lasting.
According to a 2018 review, three minutes after smoking a cigarette with 19.2 mg of CBD, the highest plasma concentrations noticed were 110 ng/ml. After an hour of initial administration, the CBD concentrations dropped to 10.2 mg/ml.
The average bioavailability of the smoke route is 31%, which means that, if inhaled, CBD tends to get absorbed into the bloodstream at a higher percentage than when taken through the mouth. But, inhaled CBD also clears up faster .
3. Sublingual Consumption
With sublingual consumption, CBD is placed under the tongue and transferred into the bloodstream via the mucous membranes and capillaries in the mouth — effectively bypassing the digestive system and the liver.
Therefore sublingual administration will follow a similar path of metabolism and excretion to inhaled or smoked CBD.
4. Topical Application
During topical application, CBD lotions, creams, and other products are applied directly to the skin.
Topical application is best for localized symptoms, such as local inflammation and pain caused by arthritis. Strictly topical application of CBD works locally — the applied CBD product never reaches the bloodstream.
Topical CBD has an effect on human sebocytes — cells that make up the sebaceous gland, which produces an oily secretion that keeps the skin flexible, also known as sebum . This also makes CBD a great additional ingredient for skincare products.
When applied topically, it is expected for CBD to enter the skin via the transfollicular route and accumulate in the sebaceous gland. This means that CBD can enter through the hair follicles into the sebaceous gland to achieve a local effect .
Part of the topical administration is the transdermal application where CBD is administered into the skin but is absorbed by the skin to reach the systemic circulation.
How Long Does CBD Stay in the Urine?
Research on how long CBD is detectable in urine is scarce. In a 2016 study, researchers from Pacific Toxicology Laboratories in Chatsworth, California, administered different cannabis products rich in CBD to a controlled group of 15 participants .
After two hours of administration, 14 out of 15 participants tested positive for CBD and THC metabolites. The researchers followed one participant after the last day of administration to find out that CBD was no longer detectable in the participant’s urine after only 24 hours.
Does CBD Interact With Other Drugs?
Yes, CBD may interact with other drugs — which may speed up, or prolong the time it takes to excrete CBD from the body.
The very first pharmacological effect of CBD ever observed was related to drug interaction. CBD is both a substrate and an inhibitor of CYP450 enzymes, so it could interfere with the metabolism of other drugs.
One study examined the potential drug interactions between a THC/CBD oromucosal spray and CYP450 inducers and inhibitors in various dose regimens.
The study done on healthy male subjects showed that inducers of CYP3A4, an enzyme involved in the metabolism of CBD significantly reduced the peak plasma concentration of CBD. On the other hand, a CYP3A4 inhibitor nearly doubled the peak plasma concentration of CBD .
The Bottom Line: How Long Does CBD Last In Your System?
Single-use CBD doesn’t stay in your system for longer than a week — even if taken in the highest dose.
However, with long-term use, CBD may take a week or more to completely clear the body. This is primarily due to the fact that CBD concentrations build up over time in the bloodstream and fat storage if it’s not completely cleared after each use.
The amount of CBD that stays in your system after a dose depends on several factors, including the method of consumption, dosage, and frequency of use, and the use of other medications.
How Long Does CBD Stay In Your System?
As with everything you ingest, especially when it comes to active ingredients in supplements, it’s natural to ask questions about their effects, duration, and metabolism.
While CBD oil doesn’t get you high like marijuana products, it does get stored in your fat tissues. Common drug tests only look for THC metabolites, but some people are still concerned about how long CBD oil will last in their system.
Hemp was just legalized in 2018 under the amended Agricultural Act, and despite the rolling legalization movement (no pun intended here!), scientists are still trying to determine the time the metabolites of cannabis are stored in the user’s system.
This article will explain the time CBD acts in the body, how long it takes to flush CBD out of your system, and why it’s unlikely that it will cause you to fail a drug test.
How Long Does CBD Oil Stay in Your System? (Important Factors)
As much as we’d like to provide you with a universal timeframe for the time CBD oil will stay in your system, it’s easier said than done. Studies are limited in this regard, and different factors can influence the duration.
There are five major variables that determine how long CBD remains in your body:
The Dose of CBD
Usually, it takes about one day for CBD to be flushed out of your system after taking a single dose. However, the higher the dose, the more time your body will need to get rid of it.
How Often You Consume CBD
The frequency of use also determines how long CBD will stay in your system. CBD accumulates in the body over time if you’re a regular user. Most experts suggest taking CBD for at least two weeks to see how it affects your health and whether or not you’re reaping the benefits. For occasional users, the time CBD leaves the system is shorter.
Your Unique Body Chemistry
Everybody is different. People have different diets, lifestyle habits, metabolisms — all of which can affect the way they metabolize CBD. Your fat content, body mass index, and age will also influence the time CBD remains in the body.
CBD is found in many different formats. The method of administration affects everything from the onset and duration of effects for the time required for the CBD to leave your system.
CBD is available as the following products:
- CBD oil
- CBD capsules
- CBD edibles (e.g. gummies and honey sticks)
- CBD vapes
- CBD topicals
The fastest and most efficient way to deliver CBD into your system is through vaporization. Vaping provides quick effects and leaves the body in a similar time manner. CBD oils and tinctures have a slower onset (15–20 minutes), but they last longer (up to 6 hours). Oral products like capsules and edibles need to pass through the digestive system, so their onset may be delayed by as much as 90 minutes. On the other hand, oral forms of CBD provide the longest duration, up to 10 hours. If you’re looking for localized relief from your discomfort, topicals are a good choice. Their absorption rate and duration time may vary depending on the product’s formula, so make sure to carefully read the ingredients list before buying.
Taking CBD on Empty / Full Stomach
How often you eat, how much, and what you eat plays an important role in the metabolism of CBD. If you take CBD on an empty stomach, it will be metabolized and eliminated faster than when you take it along with a meal.
Studies on CBD’s Metabolism: How Long Does It Stay In Your System?
As mentioned, there aren’t many studies investigating the time CBD oil stays in the user’s system. Below we present the most important research to date.
A 1991 study published in the journal Pharmacology, Biochemistry & Behavior examined the levels of CBD in the participants after high doses administered daily. The authors tested a daily dose of 700 mg of CBD on 14 patients with Huntington’s disease. One week after the experiment stopped, the CBD levels were measured at just 1.5 ng/mL. The research team concluded that CBD concentrations were “virtually undetectable.” (1)
According to a double-blind, randomized placebo-controlled 2005 study from the journal Therapeutic Drug Monitoring, low doses of CBD — 1.35 mg taken with 2.5 mg of THC —disappear from the body after nine hours from ingestion (2).
Finally, a 2018 review of existing CBD studies found that the estimated half-life of CBD from CBD oil was 2–5 days for daily users. Other methods of administration brought varying half-lives (3).
What is the Half-Life of a Substance?
The half-life of a compound is a popular unit in medicine that helps researchers determine the time it takes for half of the initial dose of a substance to leave one’s system (4).
Based on the assumption that the half-life of 10 mg CBD is 3 hours, the timeframe for how long CBD stays in your system works like this:
- 1 hour after administration – CBD reaches peak blood levels of 10 mg
- 3 hours (first half-life) – the amount of CBD is reduced to 5 mg
- 6 hours (second half-life) – there’s 2.5 mg of CBD in the body
- 9 hours (third half-life) – only 1.25 mg of CBD circulates in the body
- 12 hours (fourth half-life) – your body is left with 0.62 mg of CBD
As we said, the half-life of CBD depends on the consumption method and how often you take CBD oil.
How Long Do the Effects of CBD Oil Last?
The form of CBD determines how long your body will need for the effects to take hold — and how long they will last. It also affects the bioavailability of cannabidiol (5).
Here’s what to expect:
Sublingual CBD (CBD Oils, Tinctures & Sprays)
Sublingual use is a fairly efficient consumption method because CBD can pass directly into the bloodstream using the tiny capillaries under your tongue. This complex network of blood vessels allows the CBD to avoid the first-pass metabolism in the liver. Sublingual consumption produces its effects within 15–20 minutes after ingestion, lasting between 4–6 hours. The bioavailability of CBD oil — the amount that eventually enters the bloodstream — is measured at 35%.
Oral CBD (Capsules & Edibles)
Oral ingestion is one of the most common consumption methods for CBD products. Taking a capsule or eating a CBD gummy bear is a relatively effective way to reap the benefits of this cannabinoid. However, oral consumption is also the slowest way to deliver the effects of CBD. Since you swallow the product, the CBD needs to be metabolized in the gut before entering the bloodstream. From there, it can reach your endocannabinoid system within 30–90 minutes depending on your metabolism and whether or not you had eaten something before taking CBD.
This phenomenon is referred to as the “first-pass metabolism,” where the liver enzymes decrease the amount of CBD before its remaining dose can start circulating in the body. Although common among on-the-go users and those who dislike the taste of CBD oil, capsules come with the lowest bioavailability. Only up to 20% of swallowed CBD ends up in your bloodstream.
The delayed onset also leads to the gradual release of CBD into the endocannabinoid system, so the effects last longer than with oils — up to 10 hours.
As mentioned earlier, vaporization provides the highest bioavailability of all CBD formats, with up to 56% of inhaled CBD entering your system. When you take a puff from your CBD vape pen or inhale the vapor from a high-CBD flower, the active ingredients enter the bloodstream using the lung tissue. Doing so ensures fast-acting effects; they usually take hold within 5 minutes after inhalation. On the other hand, they provide the shortest duration of all consumption methods; vaporized CBD will last up to 3 hours.
Topical formulations range from creams to salves to gels, lotions, bath bombs, and other skin care products. This form of CBD is suited for people who want to target localized problems, such as irritation and discomfort. Sportspeople and athletes use CBD topicals to improve post-workout recovery. When you apply CBD to the skin, it reaches the epidermis layer, where the CB2 receptors are located. The activation of these receptors leads to an array of benefits related to skin health. Again, the absorption rates of CBD topicals vary between different formulas. Make sure to check the list of ingredients and look for the type of fats and oils used as the product’s base.
Will CBD Oil Show Up on a Drug Test?
In most cases, CBD won’t show up on a drug test.
The majority of drug tests are designed to look specifically for THC metabolites or other illicit substances. Employers must follow the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services (SAMHSA) guidelines — and they don’t include detecting CBD.
But since hemp-derived CBD products may contain up to 0.3% of THC, this raises questions about the possibility of THC showing up on a drug test when the subject is a daily user.
The chances of testing false-positive for THC when taking full-spectrum CBD oil are extremely low. You would need to take around 2,000 milligrams daily to risk failing a drug test.
This can be easily avoided by choosing a broad-spectrum product that contains all the non-psychoactive ingredients of hemp, but without traces of THC. If you’re allergic to some of the hemp compounds, CBD isolate will be the safest bet.
How do you ensure that your CBD oil contains 0.3% of THC or less?
Always look for the Certificate of Analysis (CoA) from a third-party laboratory. An independent lab will look at the potency of CBD, the THC content in your CBD oil, and will detect any potential contaminants in the tested sample. Reputable companies share their lab reports with customers either on their websites or on request.
Even if you test false-positive for THC, you can tell your employer that you take full-spectrum CBD oil and ask for another screening.
How Long Is CBD Detectable in Urine?
Studies are limited when it comes to how long CBD stays in a person’s urine. A 2016 study conducted by researchers from Pacific Toxicology Laboratories in California found that CBD needed only 24 hours to flush CBD out of the subjects’ bodies. After two hours from the administration, 14 out of 15 participants still tested positive for CBD metabolites (6).
How Long Is CBD Detectable in the Blood?
Although not as common as urine tests, blood tests can be used to detect THC metabolites from CBD oil. The reason why they’re not the preferred method of drug testing is because of how quickly THC is eliminated from the bloodstream. The time THC and CBD are detectable in your plasma is about five hours after you take it. However, their metabolites can be present for up to a week.
How Long Is CBD Detectable in the Hair?
A hair test can detect drugs for an extended period of time. These tests can detect the THC metabolites from CBD oil for as long as three months post-administration. The time CBD stays in your hair isn’t clear, but hair tests are very uncommon for both cannabinoids.
Does CBD Interact with Medications?
CBD-induced drug interactions are a real thing. CBD may either shorten or prolong the time it takes to flush the active ingredients in medications from the body.
CBD acts as a substrate and inhibitor of CYP450 enzymes, which metabolize the substances in drugs. Therefore, CBD may affect the metabolism of many pharmaceuticals. Depending on the type of interaction, CBD may cause a subtherapeutic effect, or lead to excessive concentrations of the drug in the bloodstream.
If you take any medications, we encourage you to consult a doctor you trust to avoid the said interactions and maximize the health benefits of CBD oil.
Is CBD Toxic for the Liver?
One study on mice has found that extremely high doses of CBD administered acutely can increase the number of liver enzymes and cause toxicity. However, the results haven’t been replicated in humans, not to mention that the CBD dose was exorbitant considering the weight of the mice. Some studies report that CBD is well tolerated in daily doses of up to 1,500 mg. The World Health Organization (WHO) has also acknowledged CBD as a safe substance.
That being said, CBD has a few mild side effects when taken in large doses. These include dry mouth, changes in appetite, dizziness, fatigue, and diarrhea.
The good news is that none of these reactions are life-threatening, not to mention that it’s impossible to fatally overdose on cannabinoids.
CBD and Breastfeeding: Can CBD Pass Into Your Baby’s System?
Doctors suggest that breastfeeding mothers abstain from CBD for at least 1 week before they start breastfeeding. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) holds a strong stance against the use of CBD during breastfeeding due to the lack of sufficient research on how CBD affects breastfed babies. We only know that some amount of cannabinoid can pass into a baby’s bloodstream with milk.
Until researchers establish the safety of CBD during breastfeeding, it’s safe to avoid it.
So, How Long Does CBD Oil Stay in Your System?
Low-to-moderate doses administered acutely shouldn’t stay in your system for more than 24 hours. Even high doses of CBD should disappear from the body within a week.
However, regular use of CBD may cause it to remain longer in your system. For some people, it takes more than a week to flush CBD completely out of the body. That’s because CBD builds up over time in the fat tissues.
The time CBD oil will stay in your system is determined by several factors, including your age, metabolism, weight, dosage, frequency of use, consumption method, and the use of other medications.
The good news is that drug tests don’t look for CBD, so if you take normal doses of full-spectrum CBD oil, you’re in the clear.
We hope you’ll find this article useful for further research. If you know about any new discoveries in terms of how long CBD stays in one’s system, feel free to leave a comment below! All of our articles are regularly updated according to the latest research.