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Whether you’ve been using CBD for years or are browsing your options for the first time, you’ve likely had a lot of questions about how CBD works and how you might benefit. While doing your homework, you probably found that many of your questions have simple, straightforward answers. But sometimes, finding answers to seemingly simple questions can be a challenge.
If you’ve been looking for information about how long CBD stays in your system, chances are you’ve found more than your fair share of sources that aren’t providing the answers you need. Why? Because some people asking how long CBD remains in their system want specifics on how long it takes for their body to eliminate the cannabinoid. Others want to know how long the effects of CBD products usually last between uses.
While both interpretations of this frequently asked question can’t be answered in a single sentence, we’ve got you covered. Here’s what you need to know about how long the effects of CBD products are likely to last and the factors that determine how long the cannabinoid might be stored in your body.
If you’ve been wondering how long it takes for your body to eliminate the CBD in your system, you need to know that there’s no single, universally accepted answer. While you may find several sources suggesting the cannabinoid is no longer detectable after several days, that doesn’t hold true for everyone. For some, varying concentrations can be detected for several weeks after using CBD for the last time.1,2
Why such discrepancies? Because the following variables influence how the cannabinoid is metabolized and stored in the body.
CBD is lipid-soluble, meaning it’s broken down by fat. Studies also show that any CBD not immediately utilized by the body is stored in fat cells. That means someone with a higher percentage of body fat could potentially be storing more CBD in their system than someone who’s leaner. When fat is ultimately converted to energy, CBD reserves are released into the bloodstream.3
Your metabolic rate determines how much energy your body requires to carry out the basic functions necessary for your survival. In general, men tend to have a higher metabolism than women, so they usually metabolize CBD faster. So do people who carry more lean muscle. Studies also show that those ingesting CBD on an empty stomach typically metabolize the cannabinoid more efficiently.4
Anyone who’s been ingesting large amounts of CBD over several days could find that the cannabinoid lingers in their system longer. The same holds true for those using lesser amounts over a long period of time because of the way the cannabinoid accumulates in the body. That natural accumulation is no cause for concern but does explain why first-time users are typically advised to start with a small amount of CBD and increase gradually.5
A 2018 study found that a single serving of CBD taken orally has a half-life of 2-5 days.6 The half-life of any substance is determined by how long it takes half of the amount ingested to be processed and expelled. CBD generally requires 5.5 half-life cycles to be eliminated completely. That same study also shows that CBD’s half-life is considerably lower when inhaled.7,2
CBD is a cannabis product. While safe for most people, CBD should not be used during pregnancy, while breastfeeding, or by people taking certain medications.1 Even though hemp-derived CBD does not cause intoxication, many people also worry that CBD use could trigger unsatisfactory results during a routine drug test.
Those concerned about false-positive results tend to feel a lot better after learning that standard drug and alcohol tests do not screen for CBD. Employers are far more interested in evidence of opiate use, cocaine, methamphetamine, and THC levels that indicate marijuana use. Although full-spectrum hemp-derived products contain trace amounts of THC (0.3% or less), anyone using high-quality, third-party tested full-spectrum CBD is unlikely to have enough THC in their system to test positive.8
However, there have been occasional stories of false-positive test results while using CBD products, so there are no guarantees. If you’re concerned, you may want to stick with broad-spectrum CBD, use products made with 0% THC CBD isolate, or consider other health and wellness options.
Based on survey results from nearly 2000 CBDistillery® customers, adults of all ages are using our hemp-derived CBD products for better sleep, to calm pain, inflammation, and stiffness after physical activity, and to feel more relaxed.While CBD affects everyone differently, product quality, purity, and potency will have a considerable impact on your overall experience.
But knowing that does little to help you decide which product is most likely to suit your needs, lifestyle, or preferences. While the body chemistry of every CBD user is unique, knowing how long the effects of some of our most popular products typically last could help you decide which you might prefer.
Ingestible CBD products need to be processed through your digestive system before entering your bloodstream. While individual experiences vary, most people experience a noticeable difference within an hour or two. The effects of capsules, gummies, and other edibles peak around the three-hour mark and can last up to 8 hours. However, the timing is a little different when CBD tinctures are used sublingually. Allowing the CBD to absorb beneath your tongue for 10-20 seconds before swallowing speeds up the process by bypassing digestive processes, meaning you could start feeling the impact in as little as 15 minutes.9
Using CBD sports balms, salves, and CBD-infused skincare products helps you target the therapeutic potential of CBD where you need it most. Topical CBD products tend to deliver noticeable results much faster than edibles because the cannabinoid interacts with important receptors below the surface of your skin. While your reasons for using a CBD topical will influence how long it takes the cannabinoid to deliver the results you are hoping for, most people report a noticeable impact in as little as 15 minutes and relief that can last up to 6 hours.10
Vaping is the fastest way to experience the full potential of CBD because the cannabinoid enters your bloodstream quickly through the mucous membranes in your mouth and the blood vessels networking through your lungs. Most CBD vapers find the effects are typically apparent within minutes.11 But there is a catch. The effects of vaping CBD are rather short-lived. But if you enjoy vaping, the fact that you may want to indulge in your favorite CBD-infused flavor a few hours after your initial use may not be much of a deterrent.
There are many variables that determine how long CBD stays in your system once you stop using it, including frequency of use, gender, age, activity levels, and other factors that affect your body composition and metabolism. There are also many factors that influence how long you might expect the results of your ideal serving size to last. While we may not be able to answer every frequently asked question in a single sentence, we can tell you that most of our survey respondents report favorable results within 7-14 days of consistent use.
For answers to more frequently asked questions about CBD, visit CBDistillery®. While you’re there, consider downloading The Ultimate CBD User Guide, the #1 Resource for CBD users, or browsing our selection of high-quality, naturally cultivated products. All CBDistillery® products are third-party tested to ensure purity and potency and US Hemp Authority™ certified.
1. Medical News Today. J Johnson. (2020 March 30) Edibles: How Long Do They Last?
2. Vaping 360. J McDonald. (2021 February 18) How Long Does CBD Stay in Your System?
3. Your CBD Academy. J Harmon. (2020 February 20) How Long Do the Effects of CBD Last?
4, Weednews. J Baldwin. (2020 September 26) How Long Does CBD Oil Stay in Your System?
5. Healthline. A Santos-Longhurst. (2019 December 11) How Long Does CBD Stay in Your System?
6. Frontiers in Pharmacology. S Millar et al. (2018 November 26) A Systematic Review on the Pharmacokinetics of Cannabidiol In Humans.
7. Verywell Mind. M Purse. (2019 September 29) Overview of Your Medication’s Half-Life.
8. US Drug Test Centers. J Schwab. (2019 October 01) Can You Fail a Drug Test Due to CBD?
9. Real Simple. B Gold. (2019 October 11) Here’s How Long It Takes to Feel the Effects of CBD.
10. Your CBD Academy. J Harmon. (2020 February 20) How Long Do the Effects of CBD Last?
11. The Rx Review. (2021 January 26) 5 Reasons Why People are Trying CBD Vaping.