How long does CBD stay in your system?

by Laura Howarth September 30, 2023

How long does CBD stay in your system

CBD is an impressive compound with huge potential. But before you add this supplement to your daily routine, you want to be sure you understand how it works. Many newcomers to CBD want to know how long it takes to notice the effects, and then how long it will take to wear off.

Since CBD is extracted from the cannabis plant, you might be concerned about the THC content of your products. Since full-spectrum CBD products may contain trace amounts of THC, there is a natural concern that this could build up in the system and cause users to fail a drugs test.

Other users might be worried about taking too much CBD and then feeling uncomfortable until the effects have worn off. CBD can stay in your system for around two to five days, but this doesn’t mean that you’ll feel the effects for this long.

How long CBD sticks around in your system will also be influenced by a number of factors, including the serving size, your experience with CBD, how you take it, your individual composition and your metabolism.

Fast facts

  • CBD can stay in your system for as little as one hour and as long as one month.
  • How you consume your CBD will have the biggest impact on how long it takes to clear it from your system.
  • In general, the faster the CBD can get into your system, the faster it will leave.
  • There are ways to increase the rate at which your body expels CBD.
  • More research is needed to understand how different delivery methods impact how long CBD stays in your system.

How long does CBD stay in your system?

The short answer is that CBD will stay in your system for as little as a few hours and as long as a month. To be more precise, we need to consider a number of factors. 

The serving size and the method of consumption will have the biggest impact on how long the CBD stays in your system. Your height, weight and metabolism will also influence this.

Knowledge about CBD use is patchy, simply because there isn’t enough research available. Clinical studies are often looking at the potential dangers of THC use, or the impact of very high serving sizes of CBD, which are more relevant for medical-grade CBD.

This means we need to piece together what limited information is available from clinical trials and then pair this with anecdotal evidence from CBD users.

The determining factors:

1. Serving size

70mg

The single biggest factor that will impact how long CBD stays in your system is the serving size. If you take small amounts of CBD at a time, this will be quickly cleared out of your system. Once you start taking larger serving sizes – closer to the 70mg daily limit recommended by the Food Standards Agency – then it will take longer for this to clear from your system.

This means that continued use of higher serving sizes will mean there is an opportunity for CBD to accumulate in your system. While this isn’t necessarily dangerous, it is something you should be aware of, particularly if you are taking other medications. 

2. CBD product

Your chosen CBD products will also influence how long it takes for CBD to leave your system. As a general rule, slow absorption methods will allow the CBD to stick around for longer.

3. Body composition

Your body composition, including your height, weight and metabolism will have a big impact on how quickly you clear CBD from your system. CBD is highly soluble in fat, which means it can build up in fatty tissues in the body. Those with a higher body fat percentage can therefore expect it to take longer to clear CBD from the body.

4. Experience with CBD

If you are a regular CBD user, it will take longer to clear CBD from your system than it will be for infrequent users. This is simply because regular use will allow CBD to build up over time.

5. Other factors

Another key factor that will influence how long CBD stays in your system is what you eat before and after you take CBD. Research has shown that CBD will stay in your system longer when you are fed and is expelled more quickly when you are in a fasted state. Since CBD is fat soluble, high-fat meals will also allow the CBD to stick around for longer.

How long does CBD take to work?

How long CBD stays in your system is often directly related to how long CBD takes to work. In general, there is a direct link between the method of consumption and how quickly it clears from your system. 

When the method of consumption allows the CBD to enter your system quickly, you can also expect it to leave your system quickly. If you are using a method that allows the CBD to stick around for longer, you need to be more aware of the impact of serving sizes, as there is a greater risk that CBD could build up in your body.

1. Sublingual ingestion

The most popular method for using CBD products is CBD oil placed under the tongue. With this method, it takes around 15-25 minutes for the CBD to get to work.

2. Eat your CBD

When you swallow your CBD, either in capsule, gummy, paste, drink, or other edible form, you can expect it to take around 30 minutes to 2 hours to get to work.

3. Inhaled

Vaping CBD is one of the fastest methods available. It takes around 10-20 minutes for CBD to get into your system when you vape it.

4. Topical

When CBD is applied topically (balms, creams, and patches), it takes around 25-45 minutes for it to get to work, but the effects will remain localised.

CBD uses

How long do the effects of CBD last?

Once you’ve selected your method of consumption and CBD serving size, you then want to know how long you can expect the effects to last. It’s important to note that the effects of CBD are very mild, and some people don’t notice a significant change at all.

That said, higher serving sizes of CBD might produce more dramatic effects, and this could have a bigger impact on your day. With this in mind, you’ll want to know how long you can expect the effects to last after you take it.

1. Sublingual ingestion

When taken sublingually, the effects of CBD will typically last for around 3-5 hours. This is not the time it takes for it to be expelled from your system entirely, just the amount of time you can expect to feel the effects. Naturally, this will vary between individuals. 

2. Eat your CBD

CBD that is swallowed and absorbed through the digestive tract will last for around 4-6 hours. 

3. Inhaled

When you inhale CBD using a vape device, you can expect it to last for around 2-4 hours. 

4. Topical

CBD creams and lotions will last for around 3-5 hours but remember that these effects will remain localised. Patches is a little different as these are usually designed to release over longer periods of time.

Method

How long does CBD take to work?

How long does CBD last?

1. Sublingual ingestion

15 – 25 minutes

3 – 5 hours

2. Eaten

30 minutes – 2 hours

4 – 6 hours

3. Inhaled

10 – 20 minutes

2 – 4 hours

4. Topical

25 – 45 minutes

3 – 5 hours

How do you flush CBD out of your system?

The half-life of CBD is around 5 hours, which means this is how long it takes to expel half of the serving size from your body. After another 5 hours, the amount of CBD in your body reduces by half again.

Woman drinking water bicycle

There are three primary methods for increasing the speed at which your body can flush out CBD. These include drinking more water, eating high-fibre foods, and exercising.

Water will help to flush out CBD by increasing urination. However, increasing your intake of high-fibre food would be more effective, as the majority of CBD is expelled through the liver in faeces, not through the kidneys in urine.

Exercise will also help to flush out CBD by temporarily increasing your metabolism and increasing sweating. You should make sure you replace these fluids with water and electrolytes to help avoid dehydration.

There really isn’t any reason you would need to flush CBD out of your system, as it isn’t detectable in blood tests. Drug tests are looking for traces of THC, not CBD, so there is no risk of CBD leading to a positive drug test – unless your CBD product happens to contain higher than allowed levels of THC.

Conclusion

There is no way to know for certain how long CBD will stay in your system, but there are clues that will help us to ascertain how long it might take. If you take CBD and don’t like the way it makes you feel, the first thing you need to do is stop taking it. You can then add more fibre to your diet, exercise and increase your water intake to help start flushing out the CBD.

If you are concerned about how long CBD stays in your system because of an upcoming drug test, the first thing you should do is check the composition of the product you have been taking. 

Most CBD products contain very small amounts of THC or no THC at all. Since THC is the compound that drug tests are designed to detect, most CBD products are not at risk of triggering a positive result.

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Laura Howarth
Laura Howarth

Author

Laura Howarth is a specialist CBD author based in Manchester, UK. She is passionate about sharing her love for CBD through educational articles and in-depth guides.


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