Content reviewed by
Dr. Lewis JasseyMedical Director - Pediatric Medicine
Table of contents
Cannabidiol, or CBD, is a cannabinoid found in the cannabis plant that has a range of potential health benefits, including stifling chronic pain symptoms, nausea, and more. How long it stays in your system depends on different factors. But, at a minimum, you can expect CBD to stay in your system for at least a day. If you’re a heavy user of the cannabinoid, however, it could hang around for up to or over a month with chronic use.
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Factors That Influence CBD Retention
Before getting into the factors influencing CBD retention, it’s important first to understand what a half-life is. A half-life is the amount of time it takes the body to eliminate one-half of a substance, in this case, CBD.
CBD’s half-life typically ranges from an hour to five days. The body usually eliminates the presence of a drug between four to five half-lives. This means that CBD, on average, stays in the system from four hours to just under one month.
This rather large range is due to several factors. These include:
- Amounts used
- Method of consumption
- Frequency of use
- Activity levels
- Body physiology
Each of these factors determines where within that range you’ll fall. Let’s break a few of these down in a bit more detail.
How Often You Use CBD
If you’ve used CBD only once or twice in low-to-moderate amounts and no other cannabis products, the cannabinoid will stay in your system for a few days and not more than 24 hours for most people. If CBD is used for a week or longer, it will be detectable in your system for a month or longer.
However, some people don’t feel the effects of CBD, at least right away. Some people need regular CBD ingestion for the medicine to have any long-term effects, and their bodies may need a baseline level of CBD to produce benefits.
For these people, regular consumption of CBD is necessary to experience benefits, which means the substance will be detectable in the body for a long time, perhaps several months.
How You Consume CBD
The different ways in which you consume cannabidiol matter as well. For example, vaping or smoking CBD flower is the quickest delivery method to feel the cannabinoid’s effects because the chemical immediately passes into the lungs and bloodstream. The effects tend to last one to two hours, sometimes three or four hours, after which effects tend to diminish.
Other modes of consumption take longer to hit you, but they also last for longer periods:
- CBD tinctures tend to take effect between 30 minutes to one hour and last longer — six to eight hours and up to 12 hours for higher doses.
- Edibles usually have the most potent effects. Cannabinoids passed through the liver are converted into a different compound (e.g., THC turns into 11-OH-THC, CBD into 6-OH-CBD) that subsequently travels to the brain. This process (called second-pass metabolism) makes cannabinoids even more powerful. CBD edibles can take one to two hours to take effect and can last eight hours to even a whole day.
- Topical CBD has a similar onset time to edibles. However, CBD topicals do not have the physiological effects of edibles.
- Transdermal patches, which are applied to the skin and seep cannabinoids through the epidermis and into the bloodstream at a steady rate, can take more time to take effect, from around two hours up to a full day. Transdermal patches are perhaps the longest-lasting ingestion method to feel the impact even after 24 hours.
Diet and Exercise
If you use CBD on an empty stomach rather than after a meal or on a full stomach, the metabolic rate will be faster, meaning it will be processed by the body more quickly. Similarly, regular exercise users may find that their body metabolizes cannabinoids like CBD and THC faster.
This may be due to several factors, including the person’s overall body mass index. If their body composition comprises more muscle than fat, the body’s CBD levels may deplete more quickly as cannabinoids are stored in fat cells.
Many people have also reported psychoactive effects that mimic a more potent “runner’s high” version when exercising and using cannabis regularly. This sensation occurs because, once again, fat cells store cannabinoids. These cannabinoids are released when physical activity levels are increased.
CBD and Drug Testing: Does It Show Up?
It is unlikely but possible that CBD will appear on a drug test. If you consume CBD products frequently (multiple times per day), a drug screening (e.g., urine tests or blood tests) is more likely to return a false positive.
Further, CBD is more likely to be detected on a drug test if the product you use is full-spectrum, meaning it contains THC. (If you’re looking for CBD products that do not contain THC, try CBD isolate for a pure CBD product or broad-spectrum CBD for products that contain no THC but other cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids.)
Can You Flush CBD Out of Your Body Faster?
There is no surefire way to eliminate CBD from your system in a hurry. However, some people drink herbal tea, bask in saunas, and engage in physical activity to flush CBD out of their systems more quickly. Whether these strategies work depends on various factors, including how much CBD you consume and how regularly, along with your overall body chemistry and metabolism.
The Bottom Line
The length of time it takes for your body to eliminate CBD depends on your exercise habits, your body physiology, how you consume CBD, how regularly you consume it, and how much you consume. For non-frequent users, it may pass through the body in as little as a day. For more chronic users, it may take up to a month for the cannabinoid to pass through their systems.
Fortunately, CBD rarely causes a positive drug test. But, if you’re worried, stick to CBD isolate products as these only contain cannabidiol and not other cannabinoids like THC or compounds like terpenes or flavonoids.
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Frequently Asked Questions
How long does CBD oil stay in your system?
If you consume CBD oil regularly, it can stay in your system for around 8-25 days. If you’ve only consumed it once, it will likely pass through your body more quickly than it does in regular users.
How long do CBD gummies last?
CBD gummies can take one to two hours to take effect and can last eight hours to even a whole day, depending on the dose.
Does CBD show up months after I use it?
How long CBD stays in the human body depends on various factors. If you are a regular CBD user (twice or more per week), the substance is likely to be detectable in the body for up to one month after the last ingestion, depending on the amount you consumed.
People who use CBD sparingly (or those with very fast metabolisms) may metabolize cannabinoids quicker, as there’s a lower concentration of the chemicals in fat and the bloodstream.
Can my employer test me for CBD use?
Technically, employers can test for any drugs that they choose. But most workplace drug screenings do not test for CBD. The typical drug screening does, however, test for marijuana. If you have consumed marijuana in the days and weeks before a drug screening, then you may fail the test.
Some CBD products may also contain trace amounts of THC. Unfortunately, on occasion, you may get a batch that contains slightly higher amounts of THC content, and regular consumption over several weeks may trigger a positive result for THC even if you haven’t been using your full-spectrum CBD oil for intoxication.
Can I get in trouble for driving under the influence if I use CBD?
CBD, on its own, is a non-intoxicating substance that will not result in a DUI. But full-spectrum CBD products contain up to 0.3% of THC, which could pose a DUI hazard. If you feel any mental effects after consuming oils and other CBD products, play it safe and don’t get behind the wheel.