Whether you are new on the CBD journey or a long time user, this question must have popped in your mind at some point- How long does CBD stay in your system? The results produced by CBD depend on the method of administration. The effects show up faster if inhaled. However, after the effects have worn off, for how long does CBD last in your system?
This article will talk about the absorption, metabolization, and excretion of CBD, while comparing short term usage to long term usage. It will also consider how both can affect the amount of time CBD stays in your body after the effects wear off.
What Is CBD?
Let’s start with learning what exactly CBD is. The plant family of cannabis contains chemical compounds also known as “cannabinoids” and includes hemp and marijuana. The best cbd oils contain cannabinoids that are unique to the plant family and have 113 specific compounds that can be classified under them. One of these cannabinoids is CBD. Another one popularly known and confused with CBD is THC or Tetrahydrocannabinol. This is the psychoactive ingredient that induces the high feeling. CBN (Cannabinol), CBC (Cannabichromene), and CBG (Cannabigerol) are some other substances in the plant.
These cannabinoids are present in different ratios in every strain and every plant of cannabis. In the United States, most of the CBD comes from the hemp plant which is low in THC. This means that the THC content has to be below 0.3% for it to be called Hemp legally. Even though there is a lack of THC in hemp, it has an abundance of other cannabinoids like CBD. So any of your CBD intakes is legal because it comes from hemp and not marijuana.
Why Does CBD Affect Your Body?
In the 1990s, researchers uncovered the mystery of the effect of CBD and THC on the body that has puzzled people before that. They called it the “endocannabinoid system”, the prefix “endo” meaning “within” and the chemical cannabinoid.
This system of endocannabinoid was initially described as two receptors called CB-1 and CB-2. However, this definition has evolved and expanded through time with more research. It has now been found that the biological responses are exerted by as many as 70 enzymes and receptors that react with the cannabinoids. Each of the receptors binds with different cannabinoids and has a separate function within the body.
This article will focus majorly on the reactions with CB1 and CB2, which will help to highlight how each molecule has a variety of reported effects. For instance, CB1 receptors do not bind well with CBD but link very well with THC. This weakness in binding is why THC induces the “high” effect, unlike CBD.
The CB2 receptors are affected by CBD, which is present in our blood vessels, heart, immune cells, skin, and other organs in the body. These receptors are observed to have multiple purposes like invoking an immune response and signaling pain.
How Does Our Body Process It?
The method of intake primarily determines the way our bodies process the CBD. There are four major ways to do so- ingestion, inhaling, sublingually consuming, or applying CBD topically.
1. Oral Ingestion
CBD has a low bioavailability of about 13-19% if administered orally. Bioavailability is the amount of the drug (in this case CBD) that produces an active effect by entering the circulation. The bioavailability of swallowed CBD can be better understood when compared with a dose that is administered directly into the vein. The bioavailability is assumed to be 100% when CBD or any other drug is taken intravenously because it is injected into the systemic circulation directly.
When a CBD capsule is ingested through the mouth, things work differently in the system. The contents in the capsule are processed in the liver and gut after traveling through the organs. Then they reach the systemic circulation. The metabolic process of CBD or any drug that is broken down by the enzymes in the gut and/or liver is called “first-pass” metabolism. This is the cause of the low absorption of orally ingested CBD as it gets processed by enzymes first.
Several studies say CBD travels through the CYP450 enzyme system present in the liver, which is the primary pathway for drug metabolism. It is responsible for inactivating and eliminating the CBD from the body through the kidneys. There are approximately 100 different CBD metabolites discovered in different animal species. The major ones in humans are derived from CBD-7-oic acid (7-COOH-CBD).
2. Smoking CBD
CBD that is inhaled shows rapid absorption rates as the lungs transfer it into the bloodstream directly. The compound is distributed by the capillary network within seconds of reaching the blood.
A part of the CBD is converted into inactive CBD (7-carboxy-cannabidiol)which is further metabolized into 7-carboxy-cannabidiol-glucuronide. The remaining is excreted with the urine. Though this method of consumption offers rapid absorption within a few minutes of usage, it also means the effects don’t last very long.
According to a review of 2018, the maximum plasma concentrations observed were 110mg/ml, about three minutes after smoking a cigarette that had 19.2mg of CBD in it. After an hour, the concentrations of CBD dropped to 10.2mg/ml, showing that the average bioavailability of the inhaled route is 31%. This means that the bloodstream will absorb CBD at a higher percentage while smoking than during oral ingestion. However, it clears up faster as well when inhaled.
3. Sublingual Consumption
CBD is placed under the tongue with sublingual consumption and is further transmitted into the bloodstream through the capillaries and mucous membranes in the mouth. In this process, the CBD bypasses the digestive system and the liver.
So sublingual administration follows a path of metabolism and excretion similar to CBD that is smoked or inhaled.
4. Topical Application
This method of application includes creams, lotions, or other products containing CBD that are applied to the skin directly.
It is best for symptoms that are localized like pain caused by arthritis or local inflammation. CBD that is applied strictly topically has very localized effects and never actually reaches the bloodstream. Topical CBD affects human sebocytes. These are the constituent cells of the sebaceous gland. These glands, also known as sebum, produce oily secretions to keep the skin flexible.
The CBD is expected to enter the skin through the transfollicular route when applied topically. It then accumulates in the sebaceous gland. This implies that the CBD enters the sebaceous glands via hair follicles to achieve a local effect. Transdermal application is a part of topical administration wherein CBD is absorbed by the skin in order to reach the systemic circulation.
How Long Does Cbd Oil Stay In Your System?
This again depends partly on the method of intake. If ingested orally, there is evidence of CBD remaining in the system for a day or two when taken in moderate doses. However, the estimates vary because of the lack of abundant research on the topic. Another study claimed that CBD has a half-life of about 18-32 hours.
This means if 100ml of CBD is ingested, there will be 50ml left in your system after a period of 18-32 hours. Some reports even show the CBD staying in the body for as long as three to four days. The average period, though, can be expected to be somewhere around two days and not much longer.
The important thing here is that a lot of factors go into determining the duration of time CBD stays in the body. For example, our bodies store the CBD within our fat cells and it is fat-soluble. Therefore, you are more likely to get rid of the CBD particles quicker if you exercise and burn off fat in contrast to someone who is sedentary.
Moreover, CBD will stay for a longer period in your body if you have more body fat. Having said that, you can again expect to get rid of CBD from your body in a couple of days on average.
The amount of CBD administered will also affect how long CBD is in your system. Higher doses will stay longer than smaller ones. Your liver cleans the blood and can only filter so much of any substance at once. It works by breaking down a particular amount of substances in the blood per hour. Let’s take a hypothetical example for a better understanding. Imagine your liver breaking down 50ml of CBD every hour.
So, if you ingest 600ml of CBD, it will remain for 12 hours in your system. Similarly, 100ml will be removed in two hours. Of course, this math is not accurate as real biological processes are rather unpredictable. The general premise still remains the same- the greater the quantity of CBD taken, the longer will it stay in your body.
On the other hand, if CBD is applied in the form of a lotion, virtually no CBD will enter the bloodstream. Therefore, it will not remain in your system per se and will stay on the skin layer while providing much-needed relief to your joints.
How Long Is CBD Detectable In Urine?
The research on how long the CBD stays in urine is rather scarce. A study from 2016 by researchers in Pacific Toxicology in Chatsworth, California administered products with cannabis that are rich in CBD to a controlled lot of 15 participants. After a couple of hours of administration, in a test for CBD and THC metabolites, 14 out of 15 participants tested positive. They continued the test the next day after the administration to find that the CBD was undetectable in the urine of the participants after a period of 24 hours.
Why Is This Information Relevant?
When people ask ‘how long does CBD stay in your system?’, they usually want an answer to either of two questions. They either want to find out how long they should expect to feel the effects, or they want to know how long is CBD detectable in urine for a drug test.
The answer to the first question will be two to six hours, according to the form of CBD consumed. Generally, when ingested orally, people start reporting feeling better within about half an hour of usage. If we look at other ways CBD is consumed, vaping or inhaling CBD will show much faster effects than oral ingestion. This is because the particles are dissipated faster when smoked. In the case of lotions and creams, the effects can be felt for almost 5-6 hours, after which the positive results start diminishing.
The second question caters to people worried about traces of CBD showing up on a drug test. Though CBD is generally legal, many people worry about it being mistaken for marijuana if they test positive for CBD. After all, both the compounds belong to the same family of plants- Cannabis.
The major concern here comes down to getting the CBD out of your system quickly. However, common urinalysis or drug tests do not typically detect the presence of CBD. Usually, urine tests are conducted to monitor if the individual has consumed controlling or intoxicating substances like alcohol, cocaine, heroin, or THC.
As mentioned earlier, all hemp products, by definition, must contain less than 0.3% THC. Nevertheless, even this tiny amount may trigger positive responses sometimes. So if drug testing is what you are worried about, you should only consume products that are CBD isolate or broad-spectrum, which do not contain any detectable THC. This can be checked by ensuring that the company you buy from has enough quality control to make sure there is no THC in the products. Consumption of pure CBD products will result in a negative THC test.
Therefore, how long the CBD stays in your system will not affect any drug tests. This means you have the freedom to take CBD in any form you want, without having to let the state or your employer know.