Over the last year or so, CBD (cannabidiol) has exploded in popularity across North America. The primary reason for the massive interest among those seeking to improve their quality of life is that this cannabinoid provides many health or medicinal benefits. However, those who haven’t tried CBD or are considering adding it to their wellness programme for pain, inflammation or other conditions have questions about its effects. In particular, the question that may be important for CBD users, or potential CBD users, is how long does CBD stay in your system?
This question might be important for people with medical conditions that require other medications for treatment or for those who have to contend with drug testing for employment or other purposes. At this time, a complete or definitive answer is to this question is not available. Unfortunately, scientific research into the question of how long CBD stays in your system has been somewhat limited, given the restrictive or prohibitive legal status of cannabis and hemp. However, what has emerged from the scientific community is somewhat helpful in terms of providing basic information.
Factors behind how long CBD lasts in your system
Older research from the 1990’s has indicated that CBD passes through the user’s system within a few days. Specifically, scientists have determined that among those taking high doses of CBD (700mg / day) orally, the CBD was virtually undetectable in the bloodstream one week after users stop taking it and that the half-life of the CBD was 2 to 5 days (researchers often refer to a drug’s or medication’s presence in the bloodstream by its ‘half-life’ – meaning, at what point will half of the substance be undetectable).
More recent research has indicated that the half-life of CBD can be as short as 1 hour, in the case of 20mg inhaled through an atomizer, or up to 24 hours in the case of an IV infusion. It would seem that the method of consuming CBD and amount consumed definitely affects how long the CBD will stay in the user’s system.
While oral consumption of CBD might be the most popular method of ingestion, such as taking CBD oil, tinctures or infused edibles, it is not the most efficient way for the CBD to enter the bloodstream. When taken orally, the CBD passes through the digestive tract and liver, where it is broken down before it enters the bloodstream. Other more efficient methods of consumption, such as vaping, nasal spray or sublingual CBD use, will result in higher amounts of CBD entering the user’s bloodstream.
Not only will the method of CBD consumption and dose affect how long CBD might stay in the user’s system, the user’s metabolic profile will also play a role. Individual differences – whether genetic in origin, or based on age-, gender- or weight-related physiological functioning – will have an effect. A CBD user with a slower metabolic rate will likely have more CBD in their system hours or days after use than a CBD user with a faster metabolic rate. Or, a user that has taken higher doses of CBD for a longer period of time may metabolize the substance more quickly that a new CBD user, taking lower doses.
Now that cannabis and hemp have become less restricted – and legal, in certain areas of North America – further research into the question of how long CBD stays in the body will likely occur and more concrete answers will be available. Hopefully, this will happen sooner rather than later, because for some of those considering adding CBD to their health and wellness program, drug testing is a reality.
Does CBD Oil Show Up In Drug Tests?
If a CBD user, or potential user, has to engage in drug testing for employment or other reasons, the question of how long CBD stays in their system takes on added significance – a positive test for THC, or even a false positive, can have a negative impact on the user’s life. In this regard, the method of CBD consumption or individual metabolic differences are less important than the source or type of CBD consumed.
CBD may be sourced from either what is traditionally regarded as the ‘marijuana’ plant or the hemp plant (although both are members of the same genus, or category, of cannabis). The former usually has higher amounts of THC, the psychoactive cannabinoid, while the latter has less than 0.03% THC. When CBD is sourced from traditional ‘marijuana’ plants, the THC may be removed through extraction and processing methods. CBD sourced from hemp plants does not have high THC levels, so extraction and processing will be less intensive. Both sources of CBD may contain THC, although it is less likely that significant amounts of THC will be present in hemp-sourced CBD.
Since most drug screening tests for THC and not CBD, there may be a higher risk of testing positive if a CBD user obtains their CBD sourced from a ‘marijuana’ plant. The effectiveness of extraction and processing methods may vary between manufacturers and it is possible that some of the THC could still be present. While this risk also exists with hemp-sourced CBD, the THC concentrations will be significantly lower.
If drug testing is a reality for CBD users, there are ways that the risk of a positive result for THC can be minimized, aside from issues related to how long CBD stays in the user’s system. First, the user should consider obtaining hemp-sourced CBD products from a reputable and trustworthy supplier; the supplier should be willing to publish their THC and CBD test results and their products should be labeled accordingly. Secondly, the CBD user should consider using a CBD product that contains no THC – CBD isolate – isolate is 99% pure CBD. CBD products that are ‘full-spectrum‘ should be avoided because of the possibility that some THC may be present, even after extraction and processing.
Further Study is Required
With the evolving legal status of both cannabis and hemp, scientists and researchers will undoubtedly be working hard to find answers to the questions that exist about CBD and how it can be beneficial in the treatment of many problematic and challenging conditions. In the course of future scientific inquiries, the question of how long CBD stays in your body will likely be fully explored and new information published. In the meantime, CBD users will have to be satisfied with the the answer “…it depends“.