How Long Does CBD Stay in Your System?

Illustration of a Body in a Huge Chart Checks by a Doctor
Written by Livvy Ashton | Last updated: June 9, 2023

One of the most common questions we receive from our readers at CFAH is “How long does CBD oil stay in your system?”

There are several reasons why a person may ask this question.

Perhaps you have an incoming drug test at work and are worried if they will test you for THC alone or THC and CBD combined.

Or, you’re just interested in the biochemistry of CBD and how it can affect you over time.

Regardless of your motivation, we’d like to answer your question.

This article will clear up any confusion about the time CBD may last in your system on top of explaining the onset time of different consumption methods and the duration of CBD effects.

How Long Should I Have to Wait for CBD Oil to Work?

A hemp leaf on top of a green box

Some people report the first effects within minutes after consuming CBD, whereas for others, it may take up to an hour until they can feel the difference.

Where does that disparity come from?

That’s because CBD has a different onset depending on how you consume it.

Below we outline the most common forms of CBD and compare the time required for the effects to kick in.

Sublingual CBD (Oil Drops, Tinctures)

Sublingual CBD, such as CBD oil or tinctures, act relatively fast. When using those, you squeeze out the desired amount of oil with a glass dropper and apply it under the tongue. Once there, you hold it for up to 90 seconds, and swallow.

The oil gets absorbed through a complex network of blood vessels that transfer CBD into the bloodstream allowing it to avoid the digestive system. Usually, the effects of sublingual CBD come within 15–20 minutes after administration.

Topical CBD (Creams, Lotions, Balms)

CBD creams and gels have made big headlines in the skincare market thanks to their effectiveness in relieving inflammation, pain, and revitalizing the skin. It’s a smart way to deliver CBD into your system without ingesting it directly. Topicals are applied to the specific area of the skin to help the user fight localized problems. When you rub CBD into the skin, it engages with CB2 cannabinoid receptors in its deeper layers, providing a range of therapeutic effects. This method requires CBD to pass through the pores to reach your system. The onset of their effects may vary from 10 to 90 minutes depending on the user.

Oral CBD (Capsules, Edibles)

CBD capsules offer an easy and convenient way to take your daily dose of cannabidiol. If you’re not into encapsulated supplements, you can also try CBD edibles, which are the new trend on the market — especially the gummies. Not only that, but CBD can be infused into shakes, cookies, dressings, or even pet treats.

Edibles and capsules are taken orally, meaning they need to pass through the digestive system before they can enter the bloodstream. Therefore, this form of CBD has a delayed onset. The effects may come in 20 minutes, but the waiting time can get as long as 90 minutes depending on your weight, metabolism, and whether you take CBD along with a meal or on an empty stomach.

Vaporized CBD (Hemp Flower, CBD Vape Oil, Concentrates)

Vaporization is by far the most efficient way to consume CBD. It combines the quickest onset with the highest amount of CBD that gets delivered to your system. You can experience the effects of vaporized CBD within minutes after inhalation; CBD vapes also have the highest bioavailability of all consumption methods, ensuring that up to 56% of the inhaled content makes it to the bloodstream.

CBD vape products include E-liquid (vape oil), concentrates, and hemp flower, which is a THC-free version of cannabis buds that you can roll into joints or consume in a dry herb vaporizer.

How Long Do the Effects of CBD Last?

Now that we’ve established how long it takes for CBD to take effect, let’s take a look at their duration. Of course, this will depend on a number of factors, such as your unique body chemistry, weight, age, gender, metabolism, as well as the size of the dose and consumption method.

Long story short, the more CBD you take, the longer the effects should last. However, there is no one-size-fits-all pattern for figuring out how long each person will experience them.

You can always experiment with different doses of CBD to see how your body responds to them, and how long it will take for the effects to dissipate. We suggest that you start around 2–5 mg per serving, which is considered a small amount. From there, you can monitor the effects and observe your reaction until you reach the point where you start to feel better.

CBD is well tolerated in humans, even in very large doses like 1,500 mg daily. That being said, we encourage you to use it responsibly if you don’t want to experience some minor side effects, such as dry mouth, sedation, or diarrhea.

Generally speaking, the effects of CBD can linger anywhere between 1 and 10 hours depending on the above factors.

How Long Does CBD Oil Stay in Your System?

CBD oil inside a glass bowl with a hemp leaf floating on top

This one is actually a bit confusing. The time CBD stays in one’s system varies from person to person and is driven by a number of factors.

The potency of your CBD oil, the amount of CBD taken, or personal traits like your gender, weight, age, overall health, and even the amount of water you consume daily — all of them can determine how long CBD stays in your system.

If you use CBD from time to time, your body should remove its metabolites in less than 7 days.

But what if you’re a regular user? How long will CBD stay in your system?

Here’s the Answer: We Don’t Know Precisely Yet

Research on cannabis has made tremendous progress since the past decade, but the truth is that we haven’t always had access to CBD oil that we know it today. Therefore, we still need more studies about the time CBD will last in one’s system. Experts in cannabis science don’t know it yet.

That being said, there have been a few studies that looked into the time CBD can stay in our bodies.

How Long Will CBD Stay in Your System? Here’s What Some Studies Say

A study that examined people who took 700 mg of CBD every day for six weeks has found that after the 6-week period, blood plasma CBD levels reached just 1.5 ng/mL on average among the 15 participants in the first week following the end of their therapy. After the first week, the research team concluded that CBD levels were “virtually nonexistent.”

Another paper on how long CBD can stay in one’s system comes from a 2014 study published in the journal Epilepsy Currents. The authors of the study stated that the half-life of CBD after a single dose applied orally lasts up to 2 days.

According to the University of Nottingham School of Health Sciences, the half-life of an active substance is defined by the “period of time required for the concentration [of the substance] in the body to be reduced by one-half.”

So, let’s say you take 20 mg of oral CBD. After 1-2 days, you would have approximately 10 mg of CBD in your system.

Sounds simple, right?

A growing number of studies suggest that drugs reach their “standby state”, which is the point where they can be effectively flushed from the body, after 4-5 half-life cycles. This would imply that you could use a simple calculation to determine how long CBD will stay in your system. However, the math gets complicated when you consider factors like the bioavailability of CBD or the administration route.

In a 2012 study published in the Journal Pharmaceuticals, the authors claimed that CBD actually had a longer half-life in humans than in animals. The duration is estimated to be between 18 and 33 hours for intravenous administration, between 27 and 36 hours for inhalation, and between 2 to 5 days for oral forms of CBD.

To sum up, CBD oil can stay in your system for anywhere between 4 and 25 days. While we admit this is a huge span, it’s currently the most accurate estimate scientists have come up with so far.

Does CBD with 0.3% THC Show Up On a Drug Test?

As mentioned earlier in the article, there’s a common misconception that CBD could show up on a drug test.

In fact, drug tests have nothing to do with CBD. They only look for THC metabolites in your system.

But can CBD oil make you fail a drug test?

Not if it’s made from pure CBD or full-spectrum hemp that contains less than 0.3% of THC. CBD can be extracted from hemp and marijuana, so it’s important that you know the source of your CBD oil. Marijuana-derived products contain a significant amount of THC; they can get you high and are legal only in places that allow marijuana for recreational or medical use. Marijuana will also show up on a drug screening.

Hemp products are legal in all 50 states and shouldn’t result in a positive result for THC — as long as they were tested in a third-party laboratory for their CBD content.

Summing it Up: How Long Does CBD Stay In Your System?

We have no accurate resources to give you a definite answer to how long CBD stays in your system. It depends on how you apply the CBD, how much you take it, and how your body processes cannabinoids. However, most of the time, CBD should be gone out of your body no later than 7 days after the last application. Remember that CBD doesn’t appear on a drug test, so you don’t need to abstain from taking it for the sake of saving your career. As long as your CBD oil doesn’t come from marijuana, you’re safe.

Did you look into the time your body needs to get rid of CBD? If there’s something you know, and we haven’t mentioned it here, let us know in the comment section! We’ll be updating this article every time new data comes out.

Livvy is a registered nurse (RN) and board-certified nurse midwife (CNM) in the state of New Jersey. After giving birth to her newborn daughter, Livvy stepped down from her full-time position at the Children’s Hospital of New Jersey. This gave her the opportunity to spend more time writing articles on all topics related to pregnancy and prenatal care.

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Excellent post. I’m facing a few of these issues as well..

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