With so much interest in CBD, there are bound to be some questions. Apart from understanding the endocannabinoid system and the general wellness benefits of CBD, you’re likely also wondering how long CBD stays in your system once you’ve taken it.*
There are various factors that impact how long CBD takes to work and how long it stays in your body—so let’s take a closer look.
How long does CBD stay in the body?
When taking CBD, knowing how long its effects might last can help you time your serving accordingly and get the most out of your favorite products. Maybe you’re preparing for a high-pressure day at work—or you’re working to craft the perfect wind-down routine before you crawl into bed.
Generally speaking, you can plan for the effects of an average CBD serving to last between two and six hours. Within this timeframe, you may experience a range of wellness benefits, such as relief from feelings of discomfort and tension, and an overall sense of well-being.*
A morning serving of CBD, or CBG, for example—will likely last through the first half of your workday, while an evening serving is likely to carry you through the last hours of your day and help you wind down before flipping off the lights in bed.
That said, CBD stays in your system for much longer, lingering even after the noticeable effects have faded. The half-life of CBD is between one and two days on average, meaning that metabolites may still be present in the body for several days or weeks after use.*
What factors affect how long CBD stays in your system?
Because CBD comes in so many different forms, delivery methods, and can be used at almost any time—many factors affecting how long it stays in your system. Even the exact same CBD product and serving will result in different durations of effectiveness, depending on variables both in and out of our control.
Knowing this, it’s hard to determine how long CBD will stay in your system with 100% accuracy—since factors can shift quickly based on diet, biology, and much more.
However, we can identify a few key factors that impact serving duration when taking CBD.
How much you took
First off, the milligram amount of CBD you take is certain to impact how long you feel the effects, as well as how long it takes for your body processes to fully flush out the cannabinoids over the following days and weeks.*
The larger the milligram amount in your serving, the longer it will take for the human body to break down the compounds, with more volume for the enzymes and liver to handle at once. However, there’s a limit to how much CBD the body can reasonably process in one timeframe. This means that larger miligram amounts may increase the degree to which you feel its effects, but this doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll feel those effects for much longer than usual.
In other words, you may feel more pronounced effects of CBD when taken in higher milligram amounts, though it’s unlikely you’ll feel them for longer than a few hours at a time.*
It’s also worth noting that CBD builds up in the system over time, meaning smaller servings may lead to greater efficacy with consistent dosing. This is the best way to get the most from your CBD regimen and avoid wasting the products you’ve paid for.*
What you ate
Your diet has a significant impact on how CBD is absorbed into your system and how long you may feel the effects. This is due to the fat-soluble nature of the CBD compound, which applies to nearly all administration types.
By taking CBD on an empty stomach, you may miss out on some of the benefits of the compound—but eating too much food before your CBD may also blunt some of the effects.*
Like we always say, balance is key—and the same goes when taking your CBD with food. You can try experimenting with meal size and frequency to see which approach gives you the best duration and positive effects.
Many biological and genetic factors influence how CBD is absorbed, how it interacts with the endocannabinoid system, and how long we notice the effects of the compounds. These can include our genetics, general health (being free of illness or disease), metabolism, body fat percentage, body mass index, and the use of other compounds or certain medications.*
These biological factors are not necessarily fixed, as we can influence things like metabolism through diet, exercise, and other habits. However, for practical purposes, you can look at these factors as clues to see how long CBD will last.
For example, individuals with a fast metabolism generally process CBD and break down the compounds more quickly. Those with slower metabolisms, however, may hold onto CBD compounds for longer, and individuals with higher body fat might take longer to flush the compounds out entirely due to fat solubility.*
What method you used
The way you use or consume CBD products, also known as the delivery method, makes a big difference in your overall experience.
You can use CBD topically (think lotions, creams, bath bombs, and sprays) or by ingesting—which comes in just as many forms.
CBD topicals, like our full spectrum topical cream, are absorbed through the skin and are used for localized recovery rather than a full-body wellness regimen. While that initial cooling, alleviating feeling may be more obvious when first applied—the localized receptor balance can last for several hours. There are many types of topical CBD products, from bath and beauty to athletic recovery.
Ingestible CBD products (edibles, oil tinctures, and capsules) will take longer to process and reach the bloodstream. This is because CBD has to be broken down and processed by the digestive system.
While these injestible products can take anywhere from 30 minutes to hours before feeling the effects, they also last much longer than other methods. Many can take a morning CBD gummy with breakfast and feel balanced throughout their day.*
As for a more fast-acting ingestible CBD product, go for the CBD water soluble. Because of a process called liposomal emulsification, CBD can systematically absorb much more quickly. This means you can feel the benefits of a CBD water soluble in minutes, and can utilize the product multiple times a day.*
And for that instant relaxation, a CBD inhalable is by far your quickest option. And, as you can guess—this method lasts the shortest amount of time.
How long does CBD take to work?
To summarize the concepts we’ve covered so far—how long CBD takes to kick in depends on your milligram serving, what you ate recently, your frequency of use, unique biological factors, and the method of administration you choose.
But in general, the delivery method makes the biggest difference. An easy tip for remembering the different delivery methods takes us back to learning about matter in science class: solids (gummies, capsules, tinctures) move the slowest; water solubles are in the middle, and gas molecules move the quickest. The same goes with CBD in our bodies.
As always, test out a range of products and take note of subtle differences in how long they take to work and last.
Can CBD cause a positive drug test?
Many CBD users wonder if a hemp supplement could produce a positive drug test, but this depends on a few variables.
Most drug tests are designed to detect THC—the compound in cannabis that causes intoxicating effects. If you're wary of a positive test result, go for a broad spectrum CBD product that has non-dectable levels of THC. An even so, some drug tests may be partical to THC findings due to the nature of CBD’s cultivation and production.
Full spectrum CBD only contains trace amounts of THC (0.3% THC by dry weight, to be exact), but there is some potential for these amounts to build up in the body over time. This, too, depends on your frequency of use.
The Bottom Line
There’s plenty to love about CBD, and part of setting up your regimen is knowing exactly what to expect in terms of timing, efficacy, and serving size. These insights can help give you an idea of how long CBD takes to kick in, how long it lasts, and which methods offer which outcomes.
Be sure to choose a product that best fits your lifestyle. Whether it’s a broad spectrum gummy for your daily wellness, a water soluble to sip throughout the day, a bath bomb for an end-of-day soak, or a full spectrum tincture to guide you to sleep—we have something for everyone.
Feel confident choosing the CBD product for you with Sunmed. We’ll meet you wherever you are on the journey.
Randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study about the effects of cannabidiol (CBD) on the pharmacokinetics of Delta9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) after oral application of THC verses standardized cannabis extract | NCBI