- The amount of time CBD remains detectable in the body depends on several factors.
- One study found that the estimated half-life of CBD in the blood was two to five days for daily consumers.
- Sublingual administration is considered to be more effective than ingestion.
- In most cases, it's highly unlikely that CBD oil will lead to a positive drug test result.
You've probably heard about the therapeutic relief that cannabidiol (CBD), a non-intoxicating compound found in the cannabis plant, may offer for various conditions, from chronic pain to anxiety issues. While many people could benefit from using CBD, they may be reluctant to try it due to the fear of failing a drug test or the general stigma that still surrounds cannabis in some places.
While CBD does not produce the same intoxicating effects as THC, it does get stored in the body. Most cannabis drug tests only screen for THC, but some people may still want to know how long does CBD stay in your system?
Despite the legalization of hemp-derived CBD products in the U.S. thanks to the 2018 Farm Bill, there is still a need for further research into how CBD interacts with the body, as well as the amount of time it remains detectable in the body after use.
However, using existing research on CBD and its interaction with the human body, we can attempt to better understand how long CBD oil stays in the system.
How Long Does CBD Oil Stay in Your System?
The time that CBD remains detectable in the body will depend on several factors:
- Metabolism: A person's metabolism plays a prominent role in how fast the CBD is metabolized and eventually excreted from the body. Another aspect that could impact the effects of CBD is whether it's taken with food or on an empty stomach, as certain foods could enhance bioavailability and increase overall CBD concentration in your body.
- Frequency of Use: How often CBD is used will also influence the amount of time it remains in the body.
- CBD Dosage: The amount of CBD taken at a time will influence how long the cannabinoid remains in the system.
- Method of Administration: Both the effects and presence of CBD in the body are also contingent on how the cannabinoid was introduced into the body. For instance, smoking or vaping CBD allows it to take effect almost immediately, while ingestion will delay the onset for an hour or two.
In a randomized, double-blind, controlled 2005 study published in “Therapeutic Drug Monitoring,” volunteers were given cannabis extract with 2.5 milligrams of THC and 1.35 milligrams of CBD. The research team found that CBD was only detectable in the blood for up to nine hours after ingestion.
A 1991 study published in “Pharmacology Biochemistry & Behavior” examined the concentration of CBD in the blood after high doses daily. Over a six-week period, the research team administered a daily dose of 700 milligrams of CBD to 14 Huntington's disease patients. One week after the dosing ceased, the CBD remaining in the blood was just 1.5 nanograms per milliliter and was “virtually undetectable” thereafter.
A 2018 review of existing CBD studies found that the estimated half-life of CBD was two to five days for those who took a daily oral dose. Other delivery methods delivered varied half-lifes.
While the time that CBD is detectable in the body will depend on the aforementioned factors, we can deduce that CBD will likely leave the system after a week or two.
That provides some insight into how long CBD remains in the blood, but there is little research on how long is CBD detectable in urine. In a 2016 study reported in the “Journal of Pain,” participants were given different types of CBD-rich cannabis products, including oils, capsules, and flower. Two hours after administration, urine samples from all 15 subjects tested positive for CBD. The researchers followed one participant after the last day of administration and found that CBD was no longer detectable in the urine after 24 hours.
It's important to note that, while existing evidence shows us that CBD can definitely be detected in the body for a certain period of time, most cannabis drug tests specifically look for the presence of THC. Therefore, accurate information on how long CBD stays in the body remains limited compared with THC.
How Long Do CBD Oil Effects Last?
Consumption method plays a crucial role in determining how long it will take to feel the effects of CBD and how long they will last.
Ingestion is the most common method for CBD consumption. Administering a couple of drops of CBD oil directly into the mouth is certainly a convenient way to reap the benefits of this therapeutic cannabinoid. However, ingestion is not necessarily the most effective consumption method for those who want to feel the effects of CBD immediately. Swallowing the oil prevents CBD from entering the bloodstream right away, sending it first through the digestive tract and eventually onto the liver, where it is broken down before finally reaching the bloodstream.
Studies show that when CBD compounds are metabolized by the liver, they undergo what is called the “first pass effect,” where enzymes in the liver reduce CBD concentration before the remainder is finally sent to the bloodstream and circulated throughout the body. While oral consumption of CBD has become popular for its ease of use, it's a rather inefficient method of consumption compared with inhalation or sublingual administration. This is because only about 5% of swallowed CBD ends up in the bloodstream, meaning this method provides low bioavailability.
Whether you're ingesting CBD oil or CBD-infused edibles, it ultimately goes through the same lengthy digestive process and reduces the total CBD concentration in the bloodstream. With ingestion, it could take anywhere from one to two hours before the effects of CBD finally set in.
The sublingual method is considered to be more effective than ingestion. CBD oil can be consumed sublingually by placing a few drops under the tongue and holding it for two to four minutes, then using the tongue to rub it into the inside of the cheeks before swallowing the remainder. Using this method, CBD is transferred to the bloodstream via the mucous membranes located in the mouth, completely bypassing the digestive system and liver. Sublingual consumption leads to higher bioavailability compared to oral ingestion.
Inhalation is also an effective delivery method for CBD due to its rapid absorption and the efficiency of the lungs at transferring CBD into the bloodstream (better bioavailability). Whether you're smoking a high-CBD strain or taking a draw from a CBD vape pen, the interaction with the body remains the same. When CBD is inhaled, the cannabinoids are sent directly to the lungs, where they are rapidly absorbed into the bloodstream and put into circulation.
Existing evidence suggests that CBD reaches peak blood concentration within three minutes after inhalation, meaning the effects can be felt shortly after use. Accordingly, this method is appealing for those seeking immediate pain relief.
Topical CBD comes in many forms: infused into lotions, creams, salves, and other health and wellness products. It can be applied directly to the skin where it may be absorbed through the surface of the skin and interact with localized cannabinoid receptors. In certain cases, CBD-infused topicals should be applied liberally to overcome the low cannabinoid absorption rate of the skin.
Will CBD Show Up on a Drug Test?
In most cases, it's highly unlikely that CBD oil will cause a positive test result in a drug screening. Most drug tests are developed to look specifically for the presence of THC or related substances. On top of that, employers generally abide by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services (SAMHSA) guidelines, which include detection for THC but not CBD.
Keep in mind that even hemp-derived CBD products are legally allowed to contain up to 0.3% THC. This could cause hesitation in some CBD-curious consumers who don't want THC in their system or to risk a false positive result on a potential drug test. However, the chances of failing a drug test from using hemp-extracted CBD oil are extremely slim. You would need to take an exorbitant dosage of full-spectrum CBD oil (estimates range from 1,000 to 2,000 milligrams per day) to risk a positive drug test result.
For those who want to be extra-cautious and utilize CBD with no THC, a broad-spectrum oil or products that contain pure CBD isolate should do the trick. Broad-spectrum oil is refined to exclude THC, while CBD isolates contain no THC or other plant-based cannabinoids. To ensure that your CBD contains no THC, it's important to source products from reputable manufacturers that provide a certificate of analysis from a third-party testing lab.
There are different types of drug tests with varying detection thresholds for THC. The most commonly used drug screening method is the urine test, which typically has a lower threshold for detection. Under the SAMHSA framework, the cutoff limit for the presence of THC is 50 nanograms per milliliter. A nanogram is one-billionth of a gram.
In the rare case that you test positive for THC after taking CBD oil, you can always try to explain the situation to your employer or request another test.