Dr. David Pompei, PharmD, MS
Many people turning to cannabidiol (CBD) for their wellness goals want to know how long CBD stays in their system.
Much like with THC, factors like dose, diet, and your unique endocannabinoid system may impact how long CBD stays in your system. If you want to purchase pre-vetted CBD products to help you achieve your goals, try shopping with Jointly to buy legal cannabis products such as CBD, CBN, and more and have them shipped discreetly to your door. In this article, we’ll discuss how long CBD stays in your system, and how long the effects of CBD last.
In general, the effects of a single dose of CBD can last for several days — similar to what researchers have found regarding THC.
For example, in one study on the efficacy of CBD in treating the cravings and anxiety associated with opioid withdrawal, researchers observed that CBD “showed significant protracted effects” seven days after using CBD consistently for three days.
A 2018 literature review found that the average half life of CBD is anywhere between 1.4 hours to 31 hours. Based on that half life, detectable levels of CBD in your body could be gone within a few hours, or remain detectable for over a week.
One of the primary factors impacting how long CBD stays in your system is how you consume CBD. Based on the studies covered by the literature review, consuming CBD by smoking leads to detectable CBD levels for the longest amount of time relative to other consumption methods. If you regularly take CBD oil, i.e. “chronic” oral administration, CBD will remain in your system for the second longest period of time.
Smoking CBD flower bypasses first-pass metabolism in the liver, which is why inhalation of cannabinoids has much higher bioavailability than orally ingesting CBD oil. When you take CBD oil, it goes into your digestive tract and then through first-pass metabolism in the liver, which is why the oral bioavailability (how much you absorb) of CBD is very low at around 13%.
The higher bioavailability of smoked or inhaled CBD leads to a higher maximum concentration of CBD in the blood, which is then distributed throughout the body and stored in adipose (fat) tissue. CBD, like all cannabinoids, is fat soluble. In general, the more CBD that is absorbed by your body, the longer CBD will remain in your system. Individual factors such as genetics, metabolism, activity levels, and more can impact the amount of time CBD stays in your system.
A more recent study conducted in 2022 by researchers from the University of Sydney focused on how long CBD remains detectable in blood plasma after a single dose. They found that “a single oral dose of 1500 mg CBD, which has been reported to have a [half-life] in plasma of 14.43 h can be predicted to ‘washout’ [i.e., become undetectable] within 3–6 days.” The authors add a cautionary note that this number is a “somewhat arbitrary” estimate.
Unfortunately, there isn’t data available about how long CBD lasts in your system when using topical CBD or other popular consumption methods.
Another important factor impacting how long CBD stays in your system is how often you consume CBD. While there is limited data on how regular CBD consumption impacts how long CBD stays in your system, one study published in 2020 provides some insight.
The participants were all given oral capsules of 750mg of highly-purified CBD, to be taken daily. Despite this consistency in dosing and consumption, the researchers found that the concentration of CBD in participants’ blood varied widely between individuals — ranging between 17.4 and 1264 ng/ml while receiving consistent doses of CBD.
The researchers also found that, after one group of patients stopped receiving doses, “plasma concentrations of CBD decreased steadily and had fallen to nearly pre-dose levels” over the final 2 weeks of the study.
To put that number into context, the 2022 study covered earlier states that “such concentrations are pharmacologically relevant (i.e., similar to those observed after a single oral dose of 90 mg CBD).”
It’s worth noting that, if you’re reading this because you’re worried about an upcoming drug test or similar situation, some CBD products contain traces of THC — the psychoactive compound those tests are looking for. With that being said, at least one study has found that users consuming pure CBD products won’t result in a positive test under the testing conditions used for federal employees in the United States. However, if your CBD product does contain some THC, activist group NORML has some potentially helpful tips.
If you’re looking to boost how long your CBD product works, there are a few tweaks to ingestion methods, product choice, and dosing strategy that can help you achieve your goals.
If you’re currently consuming CBD via smoking or vaping but want to make the effects of CBD last longer, consider switching to a different consumption method.
For example, because CBD has a much lower bioavailability when eaten, using edibles in the form of gummies or oral capsules will likely decrease the impact of the CBD by volume. However, because of the way your body processes ingested CBD, it's likely that the effects of ingested CBD will last much longer in comparison to smoked or vaped CBD.
There isn’t much evidence to prove that ingested CBD will last longer. However, because CBD is processed by the liver in a manner similar to the better-studied THC, we can infer that the same rules regarding increased length of effects apply.
The downside to most consumption methods that increase the length of CBD’s effects is that those effects will likely take longer to become noticeable. Compared to edibles, which can take as long as an hour to kick in, the effects of inhaled CBD are nearly instant.
Take your CBD with food
Like THC, CBD is highly lipophilic, meaning that it will readily combine with the lipids (fats, oils, etc.) that exist naturally in food and in your body. What this means for consumers is that consuming regular, nutritional meals containing fatty foods such as salmon, nuts, or eggs might experience more robust and longer lasting effects than those who consume CBD on an empty stomach.
Individual differences in metabolism can also impact how long the effects of CBD last. Consumers with faster metabolisms will likely find that the effects of CBD don’t last as long when compared to other consumers with slower metabolisms.
Consumers looking for a longer lasting CBD product might also investigate the options available for extended or sustained release CBD supplements currently on the market.
Despite the soaring popularity of CBD, it is still sold and treated by the law as a supplement, resulting in a lack of regulatory oversight to ensure a consistent base quality level across the market.
For consumers, this means you might not actually be buying the product or the dose that you think you are. In fact, one team of researchers found that, in a sample of 80 hemp-derived CBD products available to consumers through online or brick-and-mortar retail, just under half of those products contained at least 10% more or 10% less CBD than the product packaging indicated.
By purchasing CBD from a carefully vetted source, consumers can feel more confident that their CBD product will contain the right dose and not cause unwanted effects due to impurities. To vet a CBD source, look for products from a well-known farm or company that can furnish a certificate of analysis (COA) for each item sold.
If you don’t feel like doing that research, just shop for CBD using Jointly Matches. When you buy a cannabis or CBD product through Jointly Matches, you can rest assured that it comes from a pre-vetted company. Not only can you see the COA for your CBD products, but you can also see how other Jointly users rated products for goals like managing aches and pains and improving sleep.
Basically, Jointly matches you with the best performing products for your goals, calculated from the product ratings of real users. Best of all, the products are shipped discreetly and legally to your front door.
Jointly is the cannabis discovery app that makes it easy to find and shop the best cannabis and CBD products for your goals. Your matches are calculated from the real product ratings and experiences from hundreds of thousands of people using the Jointly app.
With Jointly, you can shop your top-rated products, and save lists of your favorites to share and bring to your local dispensary to help guide your shopping experience.
The Jointly app also helps you improve your cannabis experiences by uncovering what’s working and what’s not with reflections and personalized insights. In fact, the quality of your diet, how much you slept, who you’re with, and the time of day are just some of the factors that can impact your cannabis experience.
So if you're ready to find your best products and enjoy your perfect cannabis experience, download the Jointly app today on the App Store or Google Play, or shop your matches on the Jointly website. Discovery awaits.