People who use or are thinking about using CBD often ask us how long it stays in their systems. There are a couple of reasons why you might want this information, and we’ll get into that shortly. First, we need to take a look at what CBD is and how the body processes it. This will help to explain how the compound interacts with your physiology, and how your body will remove CBD from your system.
WHAT IS CBD?
Cannabinol (CBD) is a cannabinoid, one of 113 similar chemicals that are unique to the Cannabis plant.
Another well-known cannabinoid is Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the psychoactive compound that causes a “high” feeling.
Cannabinoid ratios and content varies depending on plant strain and species. Most CBD within the United States is derived from the hemp plant. This type of hemp is low enough in THC content that it can legally be grown and sold just like any other agricultural crop.
Though hemp is almost completely devoid of THC, it’s still rich in other cannabinoids. With the rising popularity of CBD for health and wellness, there are even strains of hemp that are being grown specifically to produce high-quality CBD oil.
HOW DOES CBD AFFECT OUR BODIES?
Though people have been using CBD and THC for thousands of years, we didn’t fully understand how or why it worked until researchers identified the “endocannabinoid system” in the 1990s. There are now as many as 70 known receptors and enzymes that cannabinoids interact with to create biological responses.
Different compounds interact with different receptors, which is why THC has a completely different effect on our bodies than CBD.
CBD affects receptors in our skin, blood vessels, immune cells, heart, and other organs. These receptors appear to have multiple purposes, including signaling pain and triggering an immune response.
HOW DO OUR BODIES PROCESS CBD?
CBD processing depends mostly on how it is used (as is the case with most supplements or medications). There are three ways that CBD is commonly introduced to the body: ingestion, inhalation, or topical application.
Oral CBD supplements first come into contact with your digestive system. The supplement enters the stomach and moves to the liver where some of the CBD molecules are passed into the bloodstream. (Some of the CBD doesn’t make it into the bloodstream and is instead broken down by the stomach and liver.)
Some people choose to place a few drops of a CBD oil or tincture under their tongue rather than eating it. Membranes in the mouth transfer the CBD compounds to the bloodstream directly, bypassing the digestive system and maximizing uptake into the body.
You can also inhale CBD, usually in the form of vapor. Much like smoking, when you inhale the compound, it is absorbed through the lungs then sent directly to the bloodstream.
With each of these ingestion methods, CBD reaches the bloodstream and eventually makes its way to the liver. In the liver, CBD is sorted and processed along with all other compounds in the blood. The compound is then metabolized or chemically marked for disposal.
From there, your body expels the compounds through the “usual methods”. CBD is mostly eliminated through feces, with some eliminated through urine.
Topical application of CBD is entirely different. Most of the CBD that you apply to the skin never enters the bloodstream. This method affects the receptors specifically expressed in the skin which provides localized improvements in skin health. That being said, topical CBD doesn’t actually “enter the system” in the traditional sense.
HOW LONG DOES CBD LAST IN OUR SYSTEMS?
The method of ingestion or usage plays a huge role on how long CBD stays in the body.
When taken orally and in moderate doses, research suggests that CBD remains in our systems for 1-2 days, although this is largely an estimate. (Other reports have CBD as remaining in your body for as long as 3-4 days.) Expect that oral CBD will remain in your system for an average of 2-3 days, at most.
How Long Does CBD Stay in Your Blood?
Blood tests for drugs focus on recent use. THC is only detectable in blood for approximately 5 hours, but its byproducts can remain in the system for up to 7 days.
Taking CBD products with unknown amounts of THC would only yield a valid result if a lab test was done on a blood sample within a very short period of time (hours or days).
How Long Does THC Stay in Your Urine?
Anywhere between 3 days to a month or longer in urine (depending on how often the person uses). CBD typically stays in the urine for around 3-5 days.
How Long Does CBD Stay in Your Saliva?
THC can be found in saliva for about 72 hours but heavy use of CBD products contaminated with THC could extend this window of detection.
Saliva tests are rarely ever used to detect CBD.
How Long Does CBD Stay in Your Hair?
In general, substances such as CBD can be detected in hair up to about 3 months after they were last taken.
CBD is fat-soluble, so your body will store it within your fat cells. Fat-burning exercise can actually help eliminate the CBD particles that are stored this way. It’s also worth noting that a person with more body fat will “store” CBD for a longer period of time.
CBD dosing may also have an effect on how long the CBD will stay in the body. As with any substance, your liver is the bottleneck. It can only process so many substances at once, so higher doses (as well as using CBD with additional medications or substances) will result in a longer processing time.
WHY IS THIS INFORMATION IMPORTANT?
Often when people want to know how long cannabis remains in their system, they’re either trying to figure out their dosages or they’re concerned about drug testing.
HOW LONG DOES CBD LAST?
In terms of dosing and timing of doses, most users typically feel the effects of CBD for 2-6 hours depending on what form of CBD is consumed. It’s common for users to begin feeling effects within 20-30 minutes of ingesting oral CBD.
Inhaling or vaping CBD usually results in faster onset of effects but quicker dissipation.
CBD lotions usually kick in quickly, with results lasting for about 5-6 hours.
The average CBD user takes an average of 10-30 mg per day for a calming effect. For conditions like pain and inflammation, some users take as much as 200-1000 mg per day.
It’s never a good idea to use more of any substance than is necessary, so start with a low dosage and work your way up. Start with the minimal dosage (depending on delivery method) and wait about six hours until your next dose. Gradually increase your dosage each time by 5 mg. Depending on your physiology, the effects may not be noticeable right away. When the positive effects start to kick in, stick with that dosage.
CBD AND DRUG TESTING
Some people are worried about their CBD usage being discovered through a drug test. Even though CBD is legal on a federal level, some states or municipalities still treat it as a controlled substance. And even in places where CBD is legal, users may be concerned that testing positive for CBD might imply that they’ve been smoking marijuana.
The THC in marijuana (and its metabolites) are what’s tested for in standard 5-panel and 10-panel drug tests. Pure CBD will not show up on these tests. Tests that can detect CBD are available but they’re more expensive and are rarely used.
There’s really no reason to be worried about a CBD-positive test being interpreted as a positive test for marijuana. However...using CBD products that are not pure can result in testing positive for THC if they’re used in a high enough quantity. Even CBD vape oil can show up on a drug test if it is contaminated.
All hemp products must contain less than 0.3% THC by law, but even such a tiny amount may trigger a THC test if used in abundance.
Be safe! If you’re worried about drug testing, stick to CBD isolate or broad spectrum CBD which contains no detectable THC. Purchase from a company you trust that is focused on quality control and purity of their products.
Consuming pure CBD products will not cause you to test positive for THC.
FINDING THE RIGHT CBD SOURCE
When you being shopping for CBD, you’re generally looking for two things:
- The right product that suits your needs;
- And the right supplier of that product to ensure quality
If you’re looking for help with anxiety or chronic pain, CBD oil or a tincture might be the best option for longer-lasting relief. If you are looking to treat your skin or sore joints, you may want to explore creams and balms.
And if you choose the right supplier, you don’t have to worry about drug tests. Quality means purity, and King Buddha has no desire to see you dinged on a THC test! If you haven’t already checked out our independent lab reports, take a look for yourself. And if you have questions, don’t hesitate to contact us!