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    by Sebastiano Battaglia December 04, 2023 14 min read

    Whenever you consume something, it will take some time for that to be absorbed, it will then stay in your body for several hours, and then it will be expelled, typically in the urine. CBD is no different, and if you are worried about how long CBD stays in your system, keep reading.

     

    Key Takeaways

    • CBD can stay in your blood for up to twelve hours after you take it, but many things like how much you use and what foods you eat can change that time.
    • Drug tests look for THC, not CBD. Still, some CBD products may contain a little THC, which might show up on a drug test.
    • There are differences in where CBD can be detected: urine tests (5-7 days), hair follicle tests (up to 3 months), saliva tests (up to 3 days), and blood tests (a few days).
    • Choosing the right type of CBD productis important if you're worried about drug testing. Full-spectrum has THC; broad-spectrum and isolate usually don't.

     

    How Long Do the Effects of CBD Oil Last?

    The effects of CBD typically span from a few to several hours — but what are the specifics? 

     

    What Individual Factors Change How long it stays in your body?

    There are external as well as internal factors that can define how long it will stay in the system. Moreover, your body is unique, and there are subjective genetic traits that play a massive role in this. For example, when I get a headache I can take a couple of pills of paracetamol, and I am good to go. My wife instead won't bulge and responds much better to ibuprofen. That is genetics and is one of the many factors that make us different.

    Do you have a fast metabolism? Some bodies break down substances faster than others. Are youhealthy? Your health can change how long the effects of CBD last.

    Do you use CBD every day? Or just once in a while? Are you taking over the counter or prescription medications? They can interact with CBD and other hemp products.

     

    External Factors That Affect How Long CBD Stays In Your System

    Your CBD usage habits — including frequency and dosage — along with the method of administration, are key elements to understand to fully appreciate the benefits of CBD. But let's break it down even further...

    Food and fat consumption, what does science say?

    Foods that contain a good amount of fat can make your body hold onto CBD longer. This is because CBD is lipophilic, meaning that it likes to stick to fats, and this can slow down its breakdown by the liver. Two different studies reported the effect of fatty food on the bioavailability of CBD. A phase 1 randomized trialreported that:

    Compared to fasting, CBD and metabolite exposures increased most with a high-fat/calorie meal, followed by a lower fat meal, whole milk, and to a lesser extent, alcohol [...] (Epilepsia, Vol 61, 2 Feb 2020, 267-277)

    A separate study from the New Mexico State University investigated the effect of food on CBD absorption, finding that the bioavailability of CBD depends on food composition, where fatty food and lipase activity can improve CBD absorption. This in turn can change the extent to which CBD stays in a person's body.

    it is recommended to consume CBD with food high in fat to increase micellarization of CBD for optimal absorption through the intestinal epithelial cells (Molecules 2021, 26(12), 3573)

    Your digestive system plays a big part too. How fast you digest food changes the way your body handles CBD. A quick digestion means CBD may move through you faster than if your digestive system works more slowly. Everyone's digestion is different.

    Overall — taking CBD on an empty stomach could make it leave your system quicker than if you had just had a big fatty meal, thanks to which CBD will stay for longer in your body.

    Frequency and amount of CBD use

    It is quite straightforward to understand that CBD remains longer in your body if you take it often and in large amounts. Using CBD every day, several times a day, means that it will take longer for CBD to leave your body. This can cause CBD to build up over days or weeks.

    How you take CBD matters

    How much and the frequency of CBD taken matters, but the way CBD is taken also plays a big role.

    If you vape CBD oil or use drops under your tongue, the CBD gets into your body fast and leaves faster, too. Eating gummies or other edibles means the CBD must go through your stomach, which takes longer, but may also mean it stays in your system for an extended period. The kind of product matters as well: creams and lotions work on just one area and might not enter your bloodstream at all. CBDOil sticks around longer than gummies or creams because it gets into your fat cells and blood deep down.

    The type of CBD used matters too

    Just as how often and how much you use can affect CBD in your body, what kind of CBD you take matters too. Different products have different amounts of CBD. Full-spectrum oils include all parts of the plant, which means they have small bits of THC – that's the stuff that can make you fail a drug test.

    But, if you use broad-spectrum or isolate forms, they don't have THC. So if drug tests worry you, pick these instead.

    If you're nervous about drug tests at work or somewhere else, remember to look carefully at what kind of CBD product it is before using it. And always go for quality stuff from places with good reputations so you know exactly what's inside.

     

    Internal Factors That Can Determine How Long CBD Stays in Your System

    Do you wonder why CBD might linger differently from person to person? Several factors come into play regarding how long CBD stays in your system. Your metabolism speed can significantly affect this duration, as a faster metabolic rate will typically process and eliminate substances more swiftly.

    Body fat composition also plays a role; since CBD is lipophilic, it tends to accumulate in fatty tissues, potentially extending its presence in your body. How much and how often you use CBD contributes to its detectability too—a single dose may leave your system sooner than if you're a regular user.

    Liver function and medications

    Your liver works hard to break down everything you put into your body, including CBD. If you have liver disease, this process can slow down. Medicines for liver problems can also change how fast your body deals with CBD.

    Studies show that if you take prescribed CBD products, it might raise levels in your liver tests. This could mean there is some harm to your liver.

    If you're thinking about a drug test and take medications or have liver issues, know that these factors can make CBD stay in your system longer. You need to think about how much CBD you use and how often because it all adds up over time in your body.

     

    Your Metabolism

    Your body breaks down everything you eat or drink. This includes CBD. If your metabolism is fast, CBD might leave your system quicker. But if it's slow, think about how much and how often you use CBD, too. 

    Body fat composition

    Body fat plays a role in how long CBD stays in your system. CBD is fat-soluble, which means it can build up in your body's fat cells. If you have more body fat, CBD might stick around longer because there’s more space for it to store itself.

    Think about it like this: if you put a sponge in water, the sponge soaks up the liquid and holds onto it until you squeeze it out.

    People with less body fat might process CBD faster. Less storage space may mean their bodies don't keep CBD as long. It's kind of like having a smaller closet—you just can't fit as much stuff inside.

    Different people will see different results with how long CBD stays active due to these differences in body fat percentage. So while one person who uses CBD might test clear quickly, another person might take longer to reach that same point.

    Keep this in mind if you are worried about drug tests, and remember that everyone's body handles things uniquely!

    Amount and frequency of use

    The more CBD you use and the more often you use it, the longer it can stay in your system. If you have CBD every day, it might show up in your urine for about five days. But if you don't use CBD too much or just started using it, it might not stay in your body for as long.

    People who are worried about drug tests ask how long does CBD stays after they stop using it. It really depends on how much and how often they were taking CBD.

     

    Does CBD Show Up on a Drug Test?

    drug test cbd blood urine

     

    You might wonder if CBD shows up on your employer's drug test, or on a legal screening. Well, technically, CBD is not part of the panel of molecules that is screened during a drug test. Since unlike THC, CBD has no psychoactive effect, and is not illegal, there is no need to test for it.

    It depends on the type of CBD used

    In short, if you take CBD that has THC in it, aka full spectrum, that's the stuff found in marijuana, and it could show up on a test.  CBD products with THC can linger in your body from 3 to 30 days. But if you only take broad-spectrum CBD, or CBD isolate, then there is no THC that will show up on a drug test. 

    Characteristic Full Spectrum CBD Broad Spectrum CBD CBD Isolate
    Cannabinoid Content Contains CBD, THC, and other cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant. Contains CBD and other cannabinoids, but THC is typically removed. Pure CBD only; no other cannabinoids.
    Presence of THC Yes, usually contains up to 0.3% THC. No THC. No THC.
    Entourage Effect Yes, benefits from the entourage effect due to the presence of multiple cannabinoids working together. Partial entourage effect due to the presence of cannabinoids other than THC. No entourage effect as it contains only CBD.
    Flavor and Aroma Distinct cannabis flavor and aroma due to terpenes and other plant compounds. Milder flavor and aroma compared to full spectrum, but may still have some cannabis notes. Usually flavorless and odorless, making it more versatile for use in various products.
    Legal Status Legal in areas where THC is allowed; the THC content must be below 0.3% to be federally legal in the USA. Widely legal as it typically contains no THC. Legal in most regions as it contains no THC.
    Best Used For Users looking for the full benefits of hemp plant compounds and those who can tolerate THC. Users who want some benefits of cannabinoids without THC exposure. Users who need pure CBD without any other cannabinoids or THC.
    Drug Test Consideration May result in a positive drug test due to the presence of THC. Unlikely to result in a positive drug test, but trace amounts of THC might show up in sensitive tests. Highly unlikely to result in a positive drug test as it contains no THC.

    Quality matters more than you think

    Not all supplements are made equal, and low-quality CBD products that do not have third-party lab testsguaranteeing potency and composition, will still contain trace amounts of THC. These small quantities of THC are still enough so that, when taken regularly, it can still make you fail a drug test

    It is often assumed individuals using hemp-derived products will test negative for THC. Current results indicate this may not be true, especially if assays are more sensitive than advertised, underscoring the potential for adverse consequences, including loss of employment and legal or treatment ramifications, despite the legality of hemp-derived products. (JAMA Psychiatry. 2021;78(3):335-337)

    Always buy CBD from a reputable source because if the CBD formulation had detectable levels of THC, you could be in trouble. Check the label to know what's inside your CBD product. Some contain less than the legal 0.3% of THC and others don't.

     

    Where Can You Detect CBD?

    Just like every compound that you eat, drink or inhale, once it's in your body it will be detectable, and where it stays in your system depends often on how long has passed since you used it. Overall, it can be detected in the urine, in the hair, in your saliva and, of course, in your blood. 

    [[ insert drug test image ]]

    Urine

    In a study from 2020 in the journal Pharmaceuticals, researchers studied the disposition of four main CBD metabolites in serum and urine. As expected, CBD and its metabolites were detectable in urine. And the most excreted CBD metabolite was 7-OH-CBD (7-hydroxycannabidiol).

    A clinical trial in Massachusets with 97 participants that used medical cannabis published in JAMA Network reported that: 

    CBD metabolites were more likely to be detected in participants who used oral than vaped (odds ratio [OR], 3.01; 95% CI, 1.58-5.74; P < .001) or smoked (OR, 2.99; 95% CI, 1.38-6.47; P = .005) products. THC metabolites were more likely to be detected in participants who used oral (OR, 3.56; 95% CI, 1.42-8.96; P = .007) and smoked (OR, 3.42; 95% CI, 1.26-9.27; P = .02) products than in vaped products. (JAMA Network Open. 2021;4(4))

    This was confirmed by a separate study published in the Journal of Analytical Toxicology, where healthy volunteers received 100mg of CBD, CBD-dominant product or placebo for 5 days. After testing the urine of the participants, researchers found that oral CBD was more likely to be found in the urine compared to vaped products. 

    Hair follicles

    Hair follicle tests are good at finding out if someone used drugs or any other compound like CBD. That's because your hair stays there for a long time (hopefully) and they accumulate most of the stuff that we are exposed to. 

    A study published in Scientific Reports examined the hair follicles of 10 volunteers that used topical hemp oil. Since hemp oil is different from CBD oil, and (theoretically) has very low concentrations of CBD and other terpenes, you would expect the tests to be negative. Yet, 6 out of 10 volunteers had detectable levels of CBD, and CBN, while 4 out of 10 had detectable levels of THC

    An analysis of the hair follicles in 136 subjects that used various amounts of cannabis was published in the Drug and Alcohol Review journal in 2017. CBD, CBN and THC were detectable in most of the users, and in none of the controls. 

    If you're taking hemp-derived CBD products, they could have tiny bits of THC in them too. THC is what most drug tests look for, so even a small amount might be found by the test way after you last had any.

    Saliva

    Moving on from hair follicle, let's talk about saliva. It is quite straightforward to understand that since most administration routes come through the mouth, CBD can be detected quite easily in your saliva. Also, since saliva is simple and doesn't hurt, many places use it as a simple way to test the presence of drugs in your system.

    A research article from 2019 published in Drug Testing and Analysis, evaluated a panel of common phytocannabinoids in saliva (THCA, THCV, CBN, CBDA, CBG, CBGA, and CBC) after participants inhaled 125 mg THC-dominant (‘THC'; 11% THC; <1% CBD), THC/CBD equivalent (‘THC/CBD'; 11% THC, 11% CBD) or placebo (<1% THC; <1% CBD) solution.

    Concentrations of oral fluid THC and CBD were maximal (Cmax) at the 10-minute post-vaporization timepoint for all individuals and declined rapidly thereafter [...] There were no significant differences between the THC and THC/CBD conditions at any timepoint (Drug Test Analyis, 11, 10, Oct 2019, 1486-1497)

    Blood and serum

    Blood work often remains the easiest way to test for the presence of any substance in your body. As mentioned in the 2020 study published in Pharmaceuticals, CBD and other phytocannabinoids are detectable in serum and urine (Pharmaceuticals 2020, 13(12), 459).

    An interesting study in the journal Clinical Chemistry and Laboratory Medicine (CCLM) evaluated how a blood test would detect cannabinoids after the use of light cannabis, a novel product sold in Europe that has low concentrations of THC and variable amounts of CBD. In this case, blood, oral fluids and fluids were positive for THC and CBD for several hours after use.

     

    What about pets?

    We talked so much about studies but we don't want to forget about pets. It is indeed important to note that CBD is widely used on pets. Just like in people, there are different ways to take CBD for pets too. 

    Most of the key takeaways from what we present here are applicable to pets. CBD will be detectable in your dog's urine, blood and saliva after they use it. And the same disclaimers apply too, meaning that fatty foods will help with the absorption of CBD, increasing the half-life of CBD, increasing the beneficial effects and how long it stays in your pet's body.

    At My Blissful Pet, we care about the safety of your furry friends. That's why we offer CBD-only products for pets, that are lab tested to show that there is no THC in them. 

     

    Conclusion

    There is a lot of anecdotal information online trying to answer the common question of how long does CBD stays in your system. Hardly any places offer the scientific evidence and references to back their statements up. Here we offer a data-driven summary of the evidence showing you how long CBD remains in your body, and we provide the research information so that you can further read on, should you wish to do so.

    Overall, there is no one size fits all kind of answer. You must consider how much you take, how often, what you eat, how you take CBD and more. Make educated choices on what the best course of action is for you, and don't forget to consult your health care provider if you have any doubts or questions.

     

    FAQs

    What factors change how long CBD stays in the body?

    The amount of CBD you use, the types of CBD products, such as gummies or oil, and how often you use them can impact how long CBD stays in your system.

    Can eating food change how long I feel the effects of CBD?

    Yes, if you consume CBD on an empty stomach, it might not stay in your system as long compared to taking it with food, which may prolong its effects.

    Does CBD last longer if you use CBD gummies vs. oil vs. edibles?

    The kind of product matters; CBD oil and gummies have different times they affect you. Furthermore, isolate products may have a shorter time than full-spectrum versions containing THC.

    How do people know if there are still detectable levels of CBD or THC in their bodies?

    You may discover trace amounts through tests for THC and CBD that find whether substances are present within urine after consumption has occurred; using products from reputable sources helps ensure better accuracy when testing.

    What is full-spectrum CBD?

    Full-spectrum CBD is a form of CBD that includes all the compounds found in the hemp plant, not just CBD. This can include terpenes, flavonoids, and other cannabinoids, all of which can have additional benefits.

    How long do CBD edibles stay in your system?

    CBD from edibles may stay in your system slightly longer than other forms because they need to be digested first. Generally, they can stay in your system for about a week. However, this can vary depending on the individual's metabolism and the frequency of CBD use.

    Does the form of CBD impact how long it stays in the system?

    Yes, the form of CBD can impact how long it stays in the system. For instance, CBD oils and edibles can take as long as an hour before the effects are felt, as they are processed through the digestive system. However, the effects of CBD can last longer in these forms compared to others, like vaped forms of CBD. Also, always check the lab tests since CBD products may contain trace of THC.

    How long does CBD oil stay in your system?

    CBD oil typically stays in the system a few hours to a few days. However, the duration can vary based on factors such as the person's weight, metabolism, and frequency of use. Also, remember that the effects of CBD oil can be felt for several hours after consuming.

    Do all CBD users have detectable CBD in their urine?

    Not all CBD users will necessarily have detectable levels of CBD in their urine. This largely depends on how much and how often they use CBD. However, frequent users of high doses of CBD may have detectable CBD levels in their urine.

    How has research on how long CBD stays in the system evolved?

    As CBD has become increasingly popular for its potential therapeutic benefits, more research has been conducted to understand how it affects the human body. However, data on how long CBD stays in the system is still limited, and more extensive research is needed for definitive answers.

    How does the frequency of CBD use impact how long it stays in the system?

    The more frequent the use of CBD, the longer it may stay in your system. This is because CBD can accumulate in the body over time. So, daily users may find CBD stays in their system longer than those who use it sporadically.

    How long do CBD isolate products stay in the system?

    CBD isolate products may not stay in your system as long as full-spectrum products. This is because they only contain CBD and not the other cannabinoids found in the hemp plant. However, similar to other forms of CBD, exact duration can vary based on individual factors including dosage, frequency of use, and metabolism.

    Sebastiano Battaglia
    Sebastiano Battaglia

    Seb has been a research scientist for the past two decades and is the founder and owner of My Blissful Pet. Seb grew up with cats and dogs and married his passion for science and animals with My Blissful Pet by wanting to help dogs and cats live healthier lives.

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