Cannabidiol, which is often referred to as CBD, is one of the 113 known cannabinoids found in the hemp plant.
The popularity of CBD-infused products keeps rising, especially since many countries are following Canada’s footsteps and continue to modify their legislation on this subject.
With the increased interest in these types of products from the public, many people have been wondering how long CBD stays in their bodies.
You may find different information, depending on which website you search. We’ll give you an overview of what the scientific research suggests so far. But first, it’s important to understand the basics.
How does your body process CBD?
Many scientific studies suggest CBD interacts with the receptors found in the endocannabinoid system (ECS). The ECS is a biological system that requires three things to properly operate: endocannabinoids, cannabinoid receptors, and cannabinoid receptor proteins.
The ECS is responsible for the body’s homeostasis, which means it helps keep the body in balance.
When we speak of endocannabinoids, we’re referring to the cannabinoids that exist naturally in the human body. CBD, on the other hand, is a phytocannabinoid. This means that it’s a cannabinoid found in plants.
Now, while there’s still little evidence about how CBD interacts with the ECS, it’s believed that it doesn’t directly bind to the cannabinoid receptors. Instead, CBD increases the functionality of these receptors. In other words, when ingesting CBD you’re helping the ECS work better, and keeping your body in balance.
It’s also important to understand the concept of bioavailability, which relates to the rate and extent to which a compound is absorbed by your system. In the case of CBD, the bioavailability varies according to the ingestion method.
CBD oils or tinctures are very popular amongst cannabidiol lovers. One of the main reasons for that is the quick onset of effects due to the sublingual ingestion.
These types of cannabidiol-based products are usually placed under the tongue, held there for 60 seconds, and then swallowed.
This ingestion method allows the absorption process to bypass the digestive system and liver metabolization. Basically, the CBD is absorbed directly into your bloodstream and you can expect to feel its effects within 45 minutes to one hour after consumption.
CBD edibles are also very popular, such as cannabidiol capsules or soft gels. Other edibles such as CBD cookies or CBD-infused drinks are also considered in this section.
When eating or drinking CBD-based products, your body is going to process this compound through the following steps:
- It’ll first be absorbed through your digestive system
- Secondly, it’ll be metabolized by your liver
- Finally, it’ll be sent into your bloodstream
This is the same exact absorption process you’ll have from ingesting any other type of vitamin or health supplement.
Since the CBD needs to go through several processes, the onset of the effects may take longer and you may feel fewer effects altogether.
Inhalation of CBD is the most effective ingestion method when it comes to bioavailability. The onset of the effects is immediate as this compound will be sent directly into your bloodstream through your lungs.
When compared to the oral ingestion method, it’s easy to understand how it becomes a more effective process: it doesn’t need to go through the long digestive system journey.
Although this is one of the most effective ways for CBD ingestion, it’s not the best option for everyone. Children, animals, or adults with lung conditions should give preference to other ingestion methods.
The topical application of CBD is related to creams, lotions, or salves that have been infused with this cannabinoid.
Since these products were designed to be applied directly to your skin, they offer localized effects. The CBD permeates your skin and interacts with the cells that are near to the surface. In some cases, the topical application of CBD might not even reach your bloodstream.
Because of this, this is the ingestion method that has the lowest bioavailability.
What factors affect how long CBD remains in your system?
Now that you understand how CBD reaches your bloodstream depending on the ingestion method, it’s easier to comprehend the factors that may take a role in how long it stays in your system.
Moreover, all of these factors vary from one person to another. Therefore, how long CBD remains in your system and is detectable won’t be the same for everyone.
Some of the factors it depends on include:
- Frequency of use
CBD is fat-soluble, which means that it will be stored in your body’s fat cells. Because of this, your Body Mass Index (BMI) will influence how quickly CBD is metabolized.
It’s also important to understand that even though you may only feel CBD’s effects for some hours, it doesn’t mean that it has left your system.
According to some studies, the half-life of CBD is between 18 and 32 hours. This means that you may still test positive for CBD long after you’ve stopped feeling its effects.
Conclusion: How long after taking CBD will it leave my system?
As explained above, many factors influence this answer. For instance, the higher your BMI, the longer it will take for CBD to leave your system.
The good news is that after 32 hours, there shouldn’t be any remaining CBD in your bloodstream. Moreover, most drug tests don’t consider cannabidiol, but rather THC.
Although some CBD-based products may contain trace amounts of THC, it’s unlikely that you’ll test positive after those hours.
Vincenzo Di Marzo, Fabiana Piscitelli, The Endocannabinoid System and its Modulation by Phytocannabinoids, Neurotherapeutics, 2015
Sophie A. Millar, Nicole L. Stone, Andrew S. Yates, Saoirse E. O’Sullivan, A Systematic Review on the Pharmacokinetics of Cannabidiol in Humans, Front Pharmacol., 2018
Paul T Wertlake, Michael D Henson, A urinary test procedure for identification of cannabidiol in patients undergoing medical therapy with marijuana, J Pain Res., 2016