With its possible benefits now widely publicised, the number of users of CBD in the UK continues to grow – and many are curious how long CBD stays in your system.
Lots of users are aware of the potential impact of CBD on physical and mental health. However, the way cannabinoids produce these effects is often unclear. It’s common to wonder how long the CBD you use will stay in your body.
There are several reasons for this. Those researching CBD’s properties may be seeking clarification around how long they might feel its effects. Others may be considering whether it will show up on a work-required drug test.
So, how long does CBD stay in your system?
Studies have shown CBD generally stays in your system between two to five days.
However, there are a range of factors that may accelerate, or slow, this process. It’s also important to note there is a difference between how long you might feel the effects of CBD and how long it stays in your system.
Read on for a breakdown of some of the key factors surrounding how long CBD remains in the body.
How is CBD processed in the body?
The starting point to understanding how long CBD stays in your system is to look at how it works.
Once you take CBD, your liver metabolises the substance into usable compounds. After that, these compounds – or CBD metabolites – move around the body to receptors of the endocannabinoid system, and its potential benefits come into effect.
This is only a simplified description of the journey of CBD in the body. However, it does hint at the factors that impact the length of time CBD remains in the body.
Let’s look at some of these factors in more detail.
CBD, your body, exercise and food
Your body is a major factor in how long CBD stays in your system.
Some people simply have faster metabolisms than others, resulting in a shorter length of time of CBD remaining in their system.
CBD is stored in the fat cells of your body, so BMI and water content also causes variance between people.
Building on this, exercise may also impact the length of time CBD remains present. Regular exercise may burn fat cells in which CBD was stored, removing it from the system more quickly.
If you take CBD prior to eating, you will absorb it more quickly – resulting in faster metabolisation and subsequent elimination.
So how long does CBD stay in your system if it’s taken after you’ve eaten? Consumption of CBD on a full stomach will lead to slower digestion. This will mean it remains in your body for longer.
Dosage and method of use
Unsurprisingly, the amount of CBD taken affects how long it remains in your body.
Larger doses will take longer to metabolise and will subsequently stay in your system for more time.
Note: we generally recommend new users begin with a low dose and increase this over time – and also take care to only purchase CBD products from trusted suppliers. Learn more about exact dosages with our blog on how much CBD you should take.
There are several ways to consume CBD. Your choice will impact how quickly you feel effects, how long they last, and crucially, the length of time it remains in your body.
CBD consumed sublingually as an oil, or CBD vape oil absorbed directly through the lungs, enters your system quickly. As a result, your body will also process and eliminate the CBD sooner.
On the other hand, a pill or edible must pass through your digestive system. This method sees a more gradual breakdown of CBD and it will generally remain in your system for longer.
How quickly do you feel the effects of CBD?
All the factors detailed above will influence how quickly you feel the effects of CBD.
Sublingual absorption will generally have an impact 15 – 20 minutes after consumption. Edibles and pills, on the other hand, may take a couple of hours.
Again, the factors we’ve looked at will impact how long you feel the effects. However, four to six hours is generally common.
Be aware that some of the most pronounced potential benefits of CBD are described in users that take CBD over a period of several weeks or more.
As stated, CBD can remain in your system for two to five days – and in some cases longer. It’s not always easy to answer the question of exactly how long CBD stays in your system.
Crucially, though, the CBD will not have any active effect after that initial window of use.
How long does CBD stay in your system when breastfeeding?
Research has shown that CBD is detectable in mothers’ breast milk for up to six days after use. Due to the various factors that can influence how long CBD stays in your system, it’s best to avoid it altogether if you’re pregnant or breastfeeding.
Since experts can’t study CBD’s effects in infants, we still know little about what impact it could have. However, THC – which could be in some trace amounts of certain CBD products – can harm infant development.
Even for THC-free CBD products, experts recommend staying away until we know more about CBD’s effects in children.
How long does CBD stay in your system?
We have provided an overview covering how long CBD remains in the body.
And while the two-to-five-day estimate provided a reasonably data-backed rule of thumb, the varying factors are highly significant.
Users should research the CBD products they use, as well as their methods of consumption. They can also seek expert guidance, for a deeper understanding of their own metabolism.