Cannabidiol (CBD) is the major non-psychoactive component of Cannabis sativa and has long been used for its therapeutic properties for a variety of health conditions. CBD has become especially popular because of the low tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) levels, resulting in the benefits without the associated “high” of marijuana¹.
Active Effects – How Long Does CBD Last?
There are a few considerations to make when taking CBD. Your weight, gender, and metabolism will impact how fast it’s absorbed and how quickly it is excreted by the body. There are also different methods of taking CBD that influence the onset and duration of effects and how long it remains in your system.
Different ways of taking CBD include:
Taken orally (e.g. tincture under the tongue) CBD effects can be felt within 5-10 minutes and last for up to 8 hours. With almost immediate effects, vaping is the fastest method for CBD to enter your system, but the duration of effects is shorter (up to 2 hours). Edibles need to be digested, so they can take anywhere from one to two hours before kicking in and last around 3-4 hours. CBD tends to combine with or dissolve in fat, so taking it with a meal will increase absorption². Topical creams and lotions will take the longest amount of time to be absorbed and expelled.
Drug Testing – How Long Does CBD Linger in Your System?
CBD won’t typically show up on a drug test. However, many CBD products contain trace amounts of THC, the main psychoactive component of cannabis. If there’s enough THC present, it can trigger a positive test. If you’re a short-term or occasional user, CBD will leave your system faster. A single dose of CBD won’t stay in your system for longer than seven days³. However, in long term users, traces of THC can lead to a build-up that can stay in the system for weeks or even months after last use ⁴.
The type of CBD product you use is an important consideration, especially if you are an athlete or require testing for your job. CBD isolates contain only CBD, whereas a full-spectrum CBD product may contain small amounts of THC.
There are a few different types of drug tests, such as urine, blood, hair, and saliva. Urine testing is the most common as it’s non-invasive and easy to collect a sample. Blood, hair, and saliva testing is less common. To pass a urine test in the United States the cut-off value of THC is 50 ng/m⁴.
The Legalities of CBD Legality
With the increasing popularity of medicinal CBD around the world, public and political pressure continue to support its legalization.
In the United States, CBD is legal in all 50 states, however, the laws vary. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, nearly all states have passed some sort of medical marijuana access laws. In Canada, CBD is legal and can be bought without a prescription for both recreational and medical use. CBD products and retailers are strictly regulated and must be in compliance with the Cannabis Act.
For Australian’s, medicinal cannabis can only be purchased via the Authorised Prescription Scheme, the Special Access Scheme (SAS), or under a clinical trial. Medical CBD products with less than 0.2% THC are available via prescription under Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA). In the United Kingdom (UK), CBD is recognized as a medicine and regulated under the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA). CBD products in the UK must contain less than 0.2% THC to be considered legal to use.
CBD and Your System
We can’t say exactly how long CBD stays in your system. There are many factors involved including the method you’re using, dosage, and how often you take it. CBD shouldn’t show up on a drug test. However, if you’re concerned, avoid using any CBD product for at least 7 days before a drug test to reduce the likelihood of a positive result.
- Van Dolah, J., Bauer, & B. Mauck, K,. (2019). Clinicians’ Guide to Cannabidiol and Hemp Oils. Mayo Clinic Proceedings, Volume 94, Issue 9, Pages 1840–1851.
- Millar SA, Stone NL, Yates AS, O’Sullivan SE. (2018). A Systematic Review on the Pharmacokinetics of Cannabidiol in Humans. Front Pharmacol. 26;9:1365. doi: 10.3389/fphar.2018.01365. PMID: 30534073; PMCID: PMC6275223.
- Welty TE, Luebke A, Gidal BE. (2014). Cannabidiol: promise and pitfalls. Epilepsy Curr. Sep;14(5):250-2. doi: 10.5698/1535-7597-14.5.250. PMID: 25346628; PMCID: PMC4189631.
- Kulig K. (2017). Interpretation of Workplace Tests for Cannabinoids. Journal of medical toxicology : official journal of the American College of Medical Toxicology, 13(1), 106–110. https://doi.org/10.1007/s13181-016-0587-z