You’ve most likely heard about the therapeutic effects that cannabidiol can offer for various conditions and ailments. While many individuals could benefit from taking cannabidiol, they may be hesitant to try it out due to the general stigma that still surrounds cannabis or the fear of failing a drug test.
While cannabidiol does not produce the same psychoactive effects at tetrahydrocannabinol, it does continue to store inside in the boy after the therapeutic effects subside. Most cannabis drug tests screen for only THC and its associated metabolites, but some individuals may still be curious as to how long CBD stays in your system.
Using the existing research that has been done thus far on endocannabinoids and their interaction with the human body, we can attempt to better understand just how long it can stay in your system.
In today’s article, we’ll be discussing the amount of time CBD stays in the body, methods that are more effective than others, as well as which forms are available for those who want to be extra-cautious.
1, 2, 3, let’s dive into the system!
THE ENDOCANNABINOID SYSTEM AND ITS ROLE
Speaking of systems…...the endocannabinoid system is our main focus for today.
The endogenous cannabinoid system (ECS) is one of the most important physiological systems involved in maintaining and establishing human health and wellness. Yeah, you read that right. The goal of the ECS is to maintain a balance of homeostasis, which is our personal maintenance system in charge of keeping a stable internal environment despite changes in our external environment.
The endocannabinoid system can be described as a signaling system within your body, composed of endocannabinoids, receptors, and enzymes that work simultaneously and together with most other physiologically systems.
These cannabinoids can be found throughout the body, connective tissues, glands, immune cells, organs, and in the brain. Think of the ECS as an ever-continuing process within our bodies: binding cannabinoids to our receptors, doing what it needs to do, and using enzymes to break them down. Continuing, continuing, and continuing.
So how does CBD work in the ECS? Hold that thought, for now.
WHAT IS CANNABIDIOL
Let’s be honest, you’ve been wondering about CBD for awhile now. You’ve scrolled through pages and pages of Google search results and there’s still hundreds of thousands more to go, seeing no end in sight.
If you live in a state that has legalized marijuana, you might be seeing more holistic, all-natural remedies, like cannabidiol, popping up just about everywhere. I mean, everywhere. Even though you’re seeing it in stores, shops, and online and social media, you may still be wondering, what is it and how does it work.
CANNABIDIOL AND THE ECS
Diving into the ESC, cannabidiol does not bind directly with CB1 and CB2 receptors. More so, this cannabinoid acts indirectly with the endocannabinoid receptors and influences them in other ways. It influences these receptors through regulations of other compounds that interact with the endocannabinoid system’s receptors. Because it doesn’t connect directly with the receptors, it doesn’t cause users to “feel high” or “high as a kite”. Some experts consider CBD oil to be an “anti-marijuana”.
You can think of CBD as sending a letter: you write the letter, put it in the mailbox to be sent off with all the other mail in the mailbox (connecting with the other compounds), and the mail(wo)man takes your outgoing mail and sends it off to where it’s addressed to go (interaction with the cannabinoid receptors). The cannabidiol gets what it wants, but it just influences others to do it for them, sort of.
What Affects How Long Cannabidiol Stays In Your System
Okay, now that we’ve got the foundational roots covered, let’s get down to the nitty-gritty: how long does cannabidiol stay in your system.
First and foremost, the time that CBD remains detectable in your body depends on several factors:
1. Frequency of Use
How often you use cannabidiol (CBD) will influence the amount of time it can remain in your system.
The amount you take at a time will also influence how long the cannabinoids remain in your body.
An individual’s metabolism plays a major role in just how fast the CBD gets metabolized and excreted from the body. Also, depending on whether or not you take cannabidiol with food or on an empty stomach may alter the metabolic effect. For instance, certain foods may enhance bioavailability and increase the overall CBD concentration in your system.
4. Administration Method
The presence and effects of this endocannabinoid in the body are dependent on how it was originally introduced into the body. For example, vaping or smoking CBD can take into effect almost instantly, while ingesting it may delay the onset by an hour or two.
WHAT THE RESEARCH SAYS
In the early 1990s, a study published in the Journal of Pharmacology and Biochemistry Behavior examined high doses of CBD and its concentration in the bloodstream. The study was performed over a six-week period, with participants taking 700 milligrams of CBD daily. After the six-week period of dosing ceased, the endocannabinoid levels in the blood remained “virtually undetectable” thereafter.
Thus, researchers suggested that the elimination of cannabidiol was estimated to be about 2 -5 days and this does not significantly differ between genders.
Published in Therapeutic Drug Monitoring, a 2005 randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study about the effects of cannabidiol after ingestion came to fruition. With 24 volunteers involved, each volunteer was either given 1) a soft-gelatin capsule with 10 mg of THC, 2) cannabis extract with 10 mg THC + 5.4 mg CBD, or 3) a placebo. Blood samples were taken at numerous time intervals after the intake. Researchers concluded that the cannabidiol was only detectable in the blood for up to 6 hours after oral administration.
The effect of CBD is small in comparison to variability caused by other factors, such as THC, in the bloodstream.
Yes, those research studies were solid in answering some questions about CBD in the bloodstream, but what about it being detectable in a urine sample? Hmmmm.
In 2016, a study was conducted in Chatsworth, CA in Pacific Toxicology Laboratories. Participants were given different types of cannabidiol-rich products. Just two hours after administration of these phytocannabinoid-rich products, 93% of participants tested positive for THC and CBD metabolites. For that one person that tested negative, the researchers found that their CBD was no longer detectable after 24 hours in their urine.
Accurate information as to just how long cannabidiol stays in the body remains limited.
HOW LONG DO THE EFFECTS LAST
Again, it depends. It depends on your metabolism, how much you take, how often you take it. But in general, the effects of cannabidiol can last from 2 to 6 hours.
WILL IT SHOW UP ON A DRUG TEST
This is a tricky one - mostly no, but maybe yes. CBD doesn’t typically show up on a drug test, but if your CBD products contain THC, it will. The only way to guarantee that you won’t test positive on a drug test is to avoid consuming cannabis products, if possible.
Many cannabidiol products contain trace amounts of THC. Meaning, there may be very minor, yet still detectable amounts, of THC. Depending on the composition and quality of the product, you may test positive on a drug test.
If you’re worried or concerned about THC levels, be aware and mindful of the types of CBD products you’re choosing. Here’s a quick reference:
If you’re wanting to go with a full-spectrum, look for hemp-derived instead of one that is marijuana-derived. Hemp-derived is legally required to contain 0.3% THC or less. Most drug screening test have been developed to look specifically for the presence of THC or THC metabolites. Employers commonly follow the guidelines set forth by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services (SAMHSA), including the detection for THC, but not cannabidiol. However, other employers may have more strict testing requirements that also look for the presence of other cannabinoids.
In the very rare case that you test positive for THC after taking cannabidiol oil, you can always try and explain the situation to the employer or request another test.
CBD IN YOUR SYSTEM: FINAL THOUGHTS
When all is said and done, it’s hard to say exactly how long it can stay in your system. Plus, different bodies can respond differently to cannabis and endocannabinoids.
Research is still needed to provide the general public with guidelines for how long cannabis derivatives can stay in your system. From the research done thus far, researchers have suggested that CBD may stay in your system for 2 - 5 days. However, many factors contribute to how long it can stay in your system: how often you take it, your personal metabolism, the dosage, and the method of administration.* DISCLAIMER: The information in this article is for educational purposes only. It does not exploit or provide medical advice of any kind. Therefore, any reliance you place on the information below is strictly at your own risk. Please check with your medical provider before starting or changing a CBD routine.
Consroe P, Kennedy K, Schram K. Assay of plasma cannabidiol by capillary gas chromatography/ion trap mass spectroscopy following high-dose repeated daily oral administration in humans. Pharmacol Biochem Behav. 1991.
Nadulski T, Progst F, Weinberg G, et al. Randomized, double-lind, placebo-controlled study about the effects of cannabidiol (CBD) on the pharmacokinetics of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) after oral application of THC versus standardized cannabis extract. Ther Drug Monit. 2005.
Kirsten Thornhill, MSNanocraft SciencesContent Writer x Physiologist x ResearcherKirsten Thornhill was born and raised in a small farm town in Stanislaus County, California. Kirsten graduated with a Master of Science degree in exercise physiology from Point Loma Nazarene University in San Diego, CA. She is very passionate about human physiology and the metabolic and nutritional adaptations that occur during exercise in active individuals and athletes. Kirsten has specialized in maximal oxygen consumption testing in athletes and teaching laboratory, clinical, practical, and research applications of exercise testing to college students. She enjoys educating and informing people on the importance of lifetime movement, plant-based eating, and health research and development. Her passion for natural, lifestyle medicine enables her to strive when promoting health and education.