A question that we commonly hear surrounding hemp is, “How long does CBD oil stay in my system?”
While CBD products are generally regarded as safe, people still often want to know how long CBD and other cannabinoids can remain in their body. This is especially true during drug screening.
Another reason this can be important for some people is because CBD has the potential to interact with certain prescription drugs. Basically, cannabidiol is similar to grapefruit juice in the sense that it can prolong the half-life of some substances in our body. By increasing the amount of time prescription drugs stay in your system, you can increase the chance of experiencing side effects.
There are too many factors determining how long CBD will stay in your system for one number to apply to everyone. Of course, CBD concentration and CBD dosage will be major things to keep in mind, but we also have to think about individual metabolic factors like body weight, level of activity, genetic differences, etc....
While companies don’t test for CBD or CBD metabolites, some will have tests to determine if you've used THC, another cannabinoid that’s found in lower quantities in hemp. When lab results come back testing positive for THC, it leads whoever was conducting the testing to believe that you’re a user of the intoxicating, marijuana form of cannabis. Heavy users of hemp can sometimes get caught in this predicament leading to a bevy of negative outcomes.
What kind of an impact does CBD have?
The highest quality CBD comes from the hemp plant by relying on a process called CO2 extraction. Whenever we use a "CBD product," it is safe to assume that it is hemp-derived CBD. It is possible to source cannabidiol from marijuana, but marijuana contains a much higher percentage of THC instead of CBD which makes it less cost effective to use and opens up a legal nightmare as marijuana and marijuana derived products are only legal in select states.
Besides having cannabidiol, or CBD, medical hemp oil also contains numerous other compounds. Hemp contains over 100 active compounds that have been linked to having therapeutic effects in people. Compounds such as cannabigerol (CBG), cannabichromene (CBC), and cannabinol (CBN) have been undergoing rigorous testing recently for their early stage promise in delivering more targeted and potent therapeutic benefits than even CBD. You can experience all of these cannabinoids’ benefits when using Sivan CBD’s full-spectrum oil.
Experts believe that the secret behind the hemp plant’s effectiveness lies in its high cannabinoid concentration. These compounds are able to interact with the endocannabinoid system, a part of the human body that is meant to help regulate sleep, pain management, cellular regeneration, stress management, and numerous other critical internal functions. When THC, CBD, and the other hemp compounds bind to the CB1 and CB2 cannabinoid receptors, they help your body’s organs communicate more effectively helping to restore homeostasis to the body.
When talking about hemp products, people tend to focus on CBD. After all, this is the most common cannabinoid within the plant. Because of this, though, we often tend to neglect the other beneficial compounds such as THC.
Although many CBD users shy away from THC because it induces psychoactive effects, there is much more to this cannabinoid than meets the eye. In fact, in small quantities, THC doesn’t produce any cognitive effects, and actually helps stimulate the endocannabinoid system in a way that CBD and other cannabinoids can’t. Because of this, people who use THC free products are not realizing the full benefits they should be receiving if they were to have taken a full spectrum hemp product. This is why broad spectrum products and things made with isolates should be avoided unless you need a hemp based solution lacking specific cannabinoids.
When do CBD products start working, and how long will they remain in my body?
CBD products can vary significantly in terms of application method and, with that, in how long it takes to kick in. Some applications will start working almost instantaneously, within 15 - 30 minutes, while others can take a bit longer, even as long as 2 hours!
As of the writing of this article, the most common form of CBD on the market is the tincture. These are the little 1 fl oz bottles that you see with a dropper attached to the cap. These are great due to their portability, versatility, effectiveness, and quick absorption rate. While tinctures are the most common form of CBD right now, there are also other forms such as topical application, ingestion, and inhalation. Tinctures are especially great though because you can use them sublingually for quick absorption, you can incorporate them into your beverages/food, and you can even apply it directly to your skin.
When you use tinctures sublingually, or drop it into your mouth and hold it under your tongue for 15-30 seconds, you can expect effects to set in relatively quickly. Because you hold the solution under your tongue, you allow the blood vessels in your mouth to directly absorb the CBD into the bloodstream. This distributes the cannabinoids quickly through your body and doesn’t require any digestion, speeding up the time it takes for the cannabinoids to interact with the endocannabinoid system. Onset usually takes about 15 - 30 minutes and consumers can expect to feel effects for about 2 - 5 hours.
CBD vapes and other combustible products have the quickest absorption rate of all applications and users will notice effects almost instantly. Combustibles directly enter our bloodstream, just like tinctures, via our lungs. Because combustibles are in gas form and the lungs are a lot bigger than the area under our tongue, almost everything absorbs within a minute. Because of the rapid absorption, combustibles usually deliver a more intense, shorter lasting effect. Users report feeling effects from anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour and a half.
Edible/ingestible products are the last type of application we need to mention. They are very different from smokable and sublingual products. This group includes items such as CBD capsules, CBD gummies, or even CBD tincture incorporated into food; essentially anything that will go through your digestive system. The biggest difference between this method of application and the others is that the CBD will have to go through the digestive tract in order to get to your bloodstream which takes a long time and happens gradually. When the swallowed CBD item reaches the stomach, it will have to wait for other foods and substances to be digested before it can be processed. This means, if you had a big meal, you will have to wait for quite a while to feel the effect. The upside to edibles, is that they last for a long time. Because digestion takes a while, the CBD gets absorbed slowly allowing the end user to feel effects for a prolonged period. When consuming cannabinoids through digestion, we recommend taking a larger dose with less frequency, maybe every 6 - 8 hours as a pose to every 4 - 6 with a sublingually applied tincture.
Factors that determine how long CBD stays in the body
One thing that makes cannabinoids different than a lot of other medications, is their abnormally long half life in your body. What this means is that a lot of other medications like xanax, percocet, ambien, etc. will stay in your system for 1 - 3 days, but cannabinoids will stay in your system for approximately 12 - 30 days depending on various elements. It’s impossible to determine a one size fits all number for how long cannabinoids will linger in one’s system, but listed below are several determining factors:Dosing and frequency of use
The more CBD you use, the more cannabinoids you will have in your body, making it harder to flush out. The same goes with frequency. A good rule of thumb is: If you used cannabinoids only once, it should be undetectable in 5 - 7 days, if you used cannabinoids daily, it should take anywhere from 15 - 30 days to be undetectable in your system. As your dosage/frequency of application increases, the other factors, specifically physical characteristics, come more into play in determining how long CBD will be detectable in your body.Administration method
For the most part, sublingual and edible consumption will require the same amount of time for elimination in the body; both methods of ingestion will end up processing all the cannabinoids through your bloodstream eventually. During topical application, however, not all the cannabinoids will permeate into your blood. A good amount of them will not be transdermal, or won't fully penetrate through the skin and into the bloodstream (this is why topicals are a great solution for more localized pains). Imagine our skin is like a piece of bread: if you apply a little bit of olive oil, it will sit on top of the bread and the other side will be fine; but if we apply a couple servings of olive oil, it will become saturated and seep through to the other side. This is similar to how our skin works. Because a good portion of cannabinoids remain on the surface of our skin and don't enter the blood, a lot less have to be flushed from the body decreasing the amount of time it is detectable.Bodily factors
Everyone’s body and metabolism is slightly different and therefore processes cannabinoids at a different speed. Certain things like genetic factors don’t have that drastic of an effect, maybe they will add or subtract a day or two, but the biggest factor in eliminating cannabinoids is body weight. People with more weight, muscle or fat, will find it easier to remove CBD and THC. Because they are bigger individuals, it takes more cannabinoids to be at a detectable threshold and because their bodies are bigger, their metabolisms process things faster than smaller individuals. In general, healthy and active individuals will eliminate cannabinoids from their body quicker than more sedentary individuals.
What do I have to know about CBD oil and drug tests?
Cannabidiol’s half-life after a single application is somewhere between 20 to 30 hours, but when many customers ask about appearing positive on drug tests, they are mainly referring to THC as a pose to CBD. As of the writing of this article, no one tests for CBD and it doesn't act as any sort of determining factor for jobs, legal disputes, sport participation, etc… Generally, however, CBD will remain in one’s system for just as long as THC if consumed in similar quantities
Certain hemp oils, like full spectrum oil products, will contain trace amounts of THC, however, and if consumed in large quantities can cause a positive indication for THC in certain individuals. This is highly unlikely though as the amount of oil required would be around 5 - 7 servings depending on the products COA’s.
Here is how THC and CBD are shown during different drug tests:
Cannabis chemicals during urine screening
This is the most common testing method that almost every company uses. Unfortunately, this test can detect cannabinoid metabolites for up to a month and a half depending on how heavy of a user one is. The detection window for both CBD and THC can vary, but in most cases it really comes down to the last time you used the supplement and how much you took. If one were to take a stronger full spectrum product continuously for a week, they could expect THC to show up on a drug test up until about 5 days after stopping their last dose.Cannabis chemicals during blood screening
If a company doesn’t use a urine test, then they will most likely rely on a blood screening. The detection window for blood tests are similar to that of urine tests, with the only difference being that a blood test can detect cannabinoids instantly after use whereas a urine test can only detect cannabinoids after a couple hours after one’s first use. Blood tests are less common, however, due to being more expensive and invasive than urine tests.Cannabis chemicals during hair screening
Hair tests are very rare and are only really administered for highly sensitive positions. Nonetheless, they still exist and deserve discussion. Hair tests are notorious for their detection longevity. THC can remain in one's hair for months on end. There have been reports of testing positive even 3 - 6 months after one's last usage. Trace amounts of THC get stored in the hair and to avoid detection it is safest to cut all the hair on your head since your last use.Cannabis chemicals during saliva screening
Cannabinoids can stay present in your saliva for up to 36 hours and only registers if the product was consumed orally. Edibles and tinctures may trigger a test to come up positive but topical applications will not. These tests are also very rare, however.
Corroon, J., Phillips, J., (2018), A Cross-Sectional Study of Cannabidiol Users, Cannabis and cannabinoid research, New Rochelle, NY, the USA
Solowij, N., Broyd, S., van Hell, H., Hazekamp, A., (2014), A protocol for the delivery of cannabidiol (CBD) and combined CBD and ∆9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) by vaporization, BMC Pharmacology and Toxicology