How Long Does CBD Oil Stay in Your System?
Read Time: 7 minutes
Taking CBD as a daily supplement for wellness is rising, but how long does CBD oil stay in your system? With so many types of CBD products out there—as well as delivery methods—it can be a bit overwhelming figuring out what you’re getting into when it comes to its long-term effects and viability. Here’s what you need to know about how CBD works in the body—and how long you can expect it to remain in your system.
What is CBD and how does it work?
CBD, also known as cannabidiol, is a non-intoxicating cannabinoid found in cannabis and hemp plants. Studies have found it exceptionally useful for its ability to affect a wide range of systems in the body that help to stay regulated and balanced.¹
CBD works through interaction with our endocannabinoid system (ECS). The ECS is a signaling system full of receptors, enzymes, and endocannabinoids that’s found in the body (regardless of whether or not you use cannabis).
The cannabinoids found in hemp and cannabis are very similar to the endocannabinoids made in our bodies—which is why our bodies process cannabinoids so well! The role of the ECS is to keep the body stable by using the endocannabinoid ‘messages’ to trigger responses in the body that keep it functioning optimally. Cannabinoids such as CBD interact with receptors in the ECS, also sending signals our bodies respond to.
With that in mind, CBD binds to the receptors in the ECS found in the nervous system. Some of the effects of this phenomenon include reduced pain and inflammation, anxiety, muscle spasms, nausea, and seizures while also boosting effectiveness of the immune and circulatory systems. However, CBD works best when taken daily.
How long does CBD stay in your system?
CBD can be found in your system anywhere between 2 to 5 days, although many factors are at play that can make it stick around longer (or shorter). When learning how to use CBD oil, it’s important to note that your method of consumption, body type, serving size, and the frequency you take it all play a role in how long CBD stays in your system. We’ve broken down a few of these factors, below:
- Serving Size — As with anything, how much you take will affect how long CBD remains in your body. The larger the serving, the longer you can expect CBD to stay in your body. But, how do you know how much CBD to take?
- Frequency of Use — CBD builds up in the body over time—just like other cannabinoids, fats, and proteins. If you take CBD consistently, it’ll stick around in your system for longer periods. When only taken on occasion, it clears from your system faster.
- Whether You’ve Eaten or Not — Taking CBD on an empty stomach helps it leave your system faster. Thanks to the slow digestion process, when taken on a full stomach it can take much longer to be metabolized and eliminated. Snack foods also take longer for us to digest than healthy foods—so what, how much, and when you eat all affect how long CBD will stay in your system.
- Your Body Type — Everyone’s body is different, so some are affected by food or drugs more strongly than others. Your BMI, water content, and rate of metabolism all can affect how long CBD remains in your system. (A heavier person, for example, may not process their CBD as quickly as individuals with a speedy metabolism.)
- Delivery Method — The body processes cannabinoids differently based on how they’re introduced into your system. Some forms of CBD take longer to get to work, while others can be felt almost instantly. The quicker your system processes the CBD, the quicker it leaves your system.
What effect do the different delivery methods have?
While there are many factors that contribute to how long CBD stays in the body, the most crucial factor is delivery method. The longer it takes for the effects of CBD to be felt, the longer it will be in your system.
Inhaled — CBD can be inhaled via vape cartridges, concentrates, or by smoking the hemp plant. The effects of inhaled CBD are nearly instant and can be felt for up to 4 hours.
Edible — These come in all shapes, sizes, and flavors. From CBD capsules and softgels, to other ingestibles like CBD hard candies, CBD chocolates, and CBD gummies. CBD edibles may take up to 2 hours to “kick in” (due to the CBD needing to digest before it can metabolize and get to work), but the effects can be felt for up to 8 hours. Read our guide hemp gummies vs. CBD gummies for more information on which edible is the right choice for you.
Sublingual — This includes all formats taken orally, under the tongue. One of the most popular forms is CBD oil tincture—which can be taken sublingually for faster absorption through the salivary glands into the bloodstream. Effects can be felt in as soon as 15 minutes and last up to 6 hours.
Topical — CBD applied to the skin topically comes in the form of balms, salves, lotions, body oils, muscle compounds, transdermals, gels, and creams. CBD topicals typically do not absorb into the bloodstream, but are crafted to nourish skin and target muscles and joints that could use relief. Topicals take about 20 minutes to get to work and require being reapplied after around 4 hours.
How long does it take for CBD to kick in, and how long do the effects last?
What form of CBD you took, your serving size, and body composition all come into play when anticipating how quickly you’ll notice its effects (and how long it will affect you). While some can be felt nearly immediately, or as soon as 15 minutes, others can take up to two hours.
Regardless of the method, you typically will notice the effects of CBD anywhere within 5 minutes and 2 hours—and last up to 8 hours. From there it’s a matter of body composition, serving size and frequency, whether you’ve eaten or not, and what you ate that determines how long CBD remains in your body (even after no longer feeling its effects).
Will CBD show up on a drug test?
If you’re wondering how long CBD stays in your system, you’re probably curious about drug testing. While CBD can provide potent, non-intoxicating relief from pain with little to no side effects—many avoid it out of fear of failing a drug test at work.
CBD doesn’t show up on drug tests unless the product you ingested also contains THC. Under the 2018 Farm Bill, hemp and CBD products are legal on a federal level as long as they contain less than 0.3% THC. (Even with such trace amounts of THC in some CBD products, the risk of failing a drug test is possible. For those wanting to be as safe as possible, there are many THC-free options available.)
There are three primary formulations you’ll see when shopping: full spectrum CBD, broad spectrum CBD, and isolate (or THC free). Full spectrum CBD is made with a whole plant extract containing all of the cannabinoids and terpenes found in the hemp plant, enabling what’s called the “entourage effect.” Broad spectrum CBD is similar, but goes through an extra process to remove THC altogether. (Lazarus Naturals does not use broad spectrum formulations in any of its products.) CBD isolate is perfect for those who are sensitive to THC, don’t care for the taste of hemp, or want to ensure they won’t fail a drug test—as it is CBD in its purest form.
If you’re concerned about taking THC accidentally, make sure you choose hemp-derived CBD. At Lazarus Naturals, all of our offerings undergo third-party testing to ensure a safe, consistent, quality product. Test results for each product can be found on our website. We believe in CBD as a key component of everyday health and wellness, and our mission is to provide customers CBD that’s both effective and affordable. We do it all—from our farm to your door—ensuring the best for both the planet (via sustainable, organic hemp farming practices) and the best for you (crafting products you can trust, at a price you can afford).
A lot of factors go into determining how long CBD oil stays in your system. If you consume CBD more frequently, it will linger in your system longer, as you build a tolerance. Factors such as your body weight and dosage also play a part. You typically can expect CBD to remain in the body for 2 to 5 days, although everyone responds to it differently so nothing is definitive. Regardless, if not failing a drug test is a high priority, there are still many CBD product options available—most often labeled “THC free” or as “CBD isolate.” Just always be sure that you’re buying from a reputable company and that you can view test results for their products.