CBD Oil Half Life

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The amount of time CBD remains in the body depends on how much you took, how often you use it, and what form of CBD you’re using. Wondering how long the effects of CBD oil will last? Or how long does CBD stay in your system? Will CBD show up on a drug test? This article leaves no stone unturned to answer these questions. Consuming CBD may have many potential health benefits, which explains its popularity. We break down the factors that impact how long CBD stays in your system.

How Long Does CBD Stay In Your System

The amount of time CBD remains in the body depends on how much you took, how often you use it, and what form of CBD you’re using.

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Regardless if you’re a long-term CBD user or you have just begun your CBD journey, you may be wondering — “how long does CBD stay in the body?”

Different methods of CBD administration produce different results. You may feel the effects of CBD quickly after inhalation. But, how long does CBD stick around after the effects wear off?

If you want to take a short break, increase your dose, switch from one method of consumption to another, or are simply curious about what happens to CBD after it enters the body — we provide you with all the answers.

In this article, we’ll cover how CBD is absorbed, metabolized, and excreted. We’ll compare long term CBD use with short term and how this can affect the amount of time CBD remains in your body after the effects have worn off.

Table of Contents
  • So, How Long Does CBD Oil Stay in Your System?
  • What Does CBD Half-Life Mean?

So, How Long Does CBD Oil Stay in Your System?

We need more research to get a definitive answer to the amount of time it takes CBD to leave your body. But here’s what we know so far:

CBD won’t be in your system for longer than 7 days after your last use — unless you’re a frequent user of CBD (more than 10 mg per day for several weeks).

In this case, CBD may linger for up to two more weeks depending on how often you use it.

What the Research Says

In a study published in Pharmacology, Biochemistry, and Behavior, 14 patients with Huntington’s disease were given an extremely high dosage of oral CBD (10 mg/kg/day — about 700 mg/day) for six weeks. The study found that the levels of CBD dropped to an average of 1.5 ng/ml one week after discontinuing CBD. Cannabidiol levels were virtually undetectable after about a week [1].

The study found the elimination half-life of CBD was about 2-5 days. There was no difference between genders for the half-life of CBD. This half-life is significantly shorter for people who don’t use CBD regularly.

What Does CBD Half-Life Mean?

The elimination half-life of a drug or compound is a common measurement in medicine to determine the time it takes for 50% of the starting dose of a compound to leave the body.

Each half-life results in proportionally less elimination.

Here’s how the half-life of CBD works — assuming the half-life of 10 mg CBD is 3 hours [2]:

  1. About an hour after taking, CBD reaches peak concentration of 10 mg
  2. After the first half-life (3 hours) there’s only 5 mg of CBD left in the body
  3. After the second half-life (6 hours) only 2.5 mg of CBD is left in the body
  4. After the third half-life (9 hours) only 1.25 mg of CBD is left in the body
  5. After the fourth half-life (12 hours) 0.62 mg of CBD is left in the body
Amount of CBD Left in the System Over Time

The half-life changes depending on the mode of administration and the amount of time CBD is used. Smoking CBD has a 31-hour half-life, and using oral CBD for long periods of time increases the half-life to 2-5 days [2].

Estimated CBD Concentrations After 10 mg Dose

Time After Dose Oral CBD (Single Dose) Oral CBD (Long-Term Use) Inhaled CBD
3 Hours 5 mg 10 mg 10 mg
24 Hours 0.3 mg 8 mg 6 mg
3 Days 0 mg 5 mg 2.3 mg
1 Week 0 mg 2.3 mg 0.3 mg

The bottom line is that single-use CBD will be gone from the system in about a day, while regular users of CBD and those who smoke or vape to get their CBD may need to wait a week or longer for the CBD to leave the system completely.

What Happens When CBD Is Consumed at a Much Lower Dose?

As you might imagine, lower doses of CBD won’t stick around in the bloodstream as long as high doses.

A study published in Therapeutic Drug Monitoring found that 1.35 mg of CBD and 2.5 mg of THC were only detectable in the blood for about 6 hours after ingestion [3].

It’s important to keep in mind that the seven-day time frame can vary from person to person. The time it takes for CBD to leave your system depends on several factors, including:

  1. Your individual metabolism
  2. The method of consumption
  3. How often you use CBD
  4. The dose of CBD you took
  5. Your age (older people metabolize compounds slower)
  6. Other medications

How Does The Body Process CBD?

The elimination of CBD directly revolves around how CBD is processed by the body.

This can change depending on the form of CBD you use:

1. Oral Consumption (Swallowed)

What happens in the body when CBD is taken orally?

If administered orally, CBD has low bioavailability of around 13-19%. The bioavailability of a drug (in this case CBD) is the amount of CBD that enters the circulation to produce an active effect [2].

To better understand the bioavailability of swallowed CBD, let’s compare it with an intravenous dose (directly into the vein) of CBD. When you take CBD or any other drug directly in the vein, the bioavailability of the drug is assumed to be 100%. This is because the drug is injected directly into the systemic circulation.

Things work differently in the body when you take a CBD capsule through the mouth. The capsule material travels through the organs and gets processed in the gut and the liver before reaching the systemic circulation.

The metabolic process of CBD and other drugs that get broken down by gut and/or liver enzymes is known as the “first-pass” metabolism.

The low absorption of orally administered CBD has been largely attributed to the first-pass metabolism where CBD gets processed by the gut and the liver.

According to several studies, CBD goes through the CYP450 enzyme system in the liver — the key pathway for drug metabolism [4]. This is where CBD is inactivated and prepared to be eliminated from the body via the kidneys.

There are roughly 100 different metabolites of CBD discovered in various animal species. The major human CBD metabolites are derivatives of CBD-7-oic acid (7-COOH-CBD) [5].

There’s an exception to this metabolic pathway — molecules absorbed into the lymphatic system or distal rectum can bypass the liver.

The lymphatic system plays a role in the process of absorbing fats and fat-soluble nutrients. Cannabidiol as a highly lipophilic compound — a compound that has the ability to dissolve or combine with lipids or fats — can be transported by the lymphatic system.

The lymphatic system has a special membrane in the small intestine that takes up most of the absorbed fats from the gastrointestinal tract. The absorbed fats are delivered by the lymph fluid directly into the venous blood circulation [6].

Furthermore, studies show that when CBD is ingested together with lipids, it is better absorbed into the lymphatic system. So, it is advisable to take your CBD after a high-fat meal.

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This means that CBD oil skips the first-pass metabolism in the liver. So, how does it get metabolized?

In the intestines, CBD gets metabolized by the cytochrome P450 enzyme system, more specifically by the CYP3A4 isoenzyme, which accounts for nearly 70% of the total CYP450 in the intestine and 60% in the liver. The extensive metabolism by this enzyme in the intestines is what causes the poor bioavailability of many drugs [6].

The lymphatic metabolic transport of CBD is important for several reasons, including:

Higher CBD levels compared to plasma.

Plasma is the largest component of human blood and contains water, enzymes, salts, antibodies, and other proteins. When a drug reaches the plasma, it needs to be present in a minimum concentration to produce effects, which can be hard if the drug has low bioavailability rates.

According to an animal study published in Scientific Reports, if taken together with lipids CBD has a higher chance to follow the lymphatic transport. The study found that the CBD concentrations in the lymph were 250-fold higher than in plasma. This means that if taken with a high-fat meal, the oral administration of CBD is more effective.

More effective in regulating and normalizing the immune system.

When taking CBD through the mouth after a high-fat meal, the absorption of CBD in the intestinal lymphatic system is much higher and shows potential for the treatment of autoimmune diseases [7].

(Source: Scientific Reports)

Picture 1: Distribution of CBD and THC to lymph nodes. Orally administered CBD and THC in formulations with and without lipids.

2. Smoking CBD

Inhaling CBD has been shown to have rapid absorption rates because the lungs transfer CBD directly into the bloodstream. The compound reaches the blood within seconds, transferred by the network of capillaries.

A fraction of CBD converts to 7-carboxy-cannabidiol (inactive CBD) and is further metabolized to 7-carboxy-cannabidiol-glucuronide. The rest gets excreted in the urine. When using this method of consumption, CBD is rapidly absorbed within a few minutes after use, but that also means that the effects of CBD are short-lasting.

According to a 2018 review, three minutes after smoking a cigarette with 19.2 mg of CBD, the highest plasma concentrations noticed were 110 ng/ml. After an hour of initial administration, the CBD concentrations dropped to 10.2 mg/ml.

The average bioavailability of the smoke route is 31%, which means that, if inhaled, CBD tends to get absorbed into the bloodstream at a higher percentage than when taken through the mouth. But, inhaled CBD also clears up faster [2].

3. Sublingual Consumption

With sublingual consumption, CBD is placed under the tongue and transferred into the bloodstream via the mucous membranes and capillaries in the mouth — effectively bypassing the digestive system and the liver.

Therefore sublingual administration will follow a similar path of metabolism and excretion to inhaled or smoked CBD.

4. Topical Application

During topical application, CBD lotions, creams, and other products are applied directly to the skin.

Topical application is best for localized symptoms, such as local inflammation and pain caused by arthritis. Strictly topical application of CBD works locally — the applied CBD product never reaches the bloodstream.

Topical CBD has an effect on human sebocytes — cells that make up the sebaceous gland, which produces an oily secretion that keeps the skin flexible, also known as sebum [7]. This also makes CBD a great additional ingredient for skincare products.

When applied topically, it is expected for CBD to enter the skin via the transfollicular route and accumulate in the sebaceous gland. This means that CBD can enter through the hair follicles into the sebaceous gland to achieve a local effect [8].

Part of the topical administration is the transdermal application where CBD is administered into the skin but is absorbed by the skin to reach the systemic circulation.

How Long Does CBD Stay in the Urine?

Research on how long CBD is detectable in urine is scarce. In a 2016 study, researchers from Pacific Toxicology Laboratories in Chatsworth, California, administered different cannabis products rich in CBD to a controlled group of 15 participants [9].

After two hours of administration, 14 out of 15 participants tested positive for CBD and THC metabolites. The researchers followed one participant after the last day of administration to find out that CBD was no longer detectable in the participant’s urine after only 24 hours.

Does CBD Interact With Other Drugs?

Yes, CBD may interact with other drugs — which may speed up, or prolong the time it takes to excrete CBD from the body.

The very first pharmacological effect of CBD ever observed was related to drug interaction. CBD is both a substrate and an inhibitor of CYP450 enzymes, so it could interfere with the metabolism of other drugs.

One study examined the potential drug interactions between a THC/CBD oromucosal spray and CYP450 inducers and inhibitors in various dose regimens.

The study done on healthy male subjects showed that inducers of CYP3A4, an enzyme involved in the metabolism of CBD significantly reduced the peak plasma concentration of CBD. On the other hand, a CYP3A4 inhibitor nearly doubled the peak plasma concentration of CBD [5].

The Bottom Line: How Long Does CBD Last In Your System?

Single-use CBD doesn’t stay in your system for longer than a week — even if taken in the highest dose.

However, with long-term use, CBD may take a week or more to completely clear the body. This is primarily due to the fact that CBD concentrations build up over time in the bloodstream and fat storage if it’s not completely cleared after each use.

The amount of CBD that stays in your system after a dose depends on several factors, including the method of consumption, dosage, and frequency of use, and the use of other medications.

How Long Does CBD Stay in Your System?

There are several reasons why a person may ask this question.

Perhaps you have an incoming drug test at work and are worried if they will test you for THC alone or THC and CBD combined.

Or, you’re just interested in the biochemistry of CBD and how it can affect you over time.

Regardless of your motivation, we’d like to answer your question.

This article will clear up any confusion about the time CBD may last in your system on top of explaining the onset time of different consumption methods and the duration of CBD effects.

How Long Should I Have to Wait for CBD Oil to Work?

Some people report the first effects within minutes after consuming CBD, whereas for others, it may take up to an hour until they can feel the difference.

Where does that disparity come from?

That’s because CBD has a different onset depending on how you consume it.

Below we outline the most common forms of CBD and compare the time required for the effects to kick in.

Sublingual CBD (Oil Drops, Tinctures)

Sublingual CBD, such as CBD oil or tinctures, act relatively fast. When using those, you squeeze out the desired amount of oil with a glass dropper and apply it under the tongue. Once there, you hold it for up to 90 seconds, and swallow.

The oil gets absorbed through a complex network of blood vessels that transfer CBD into the bloodstream allowing it to avoid the digestive system. Usually, the effects of sublingual CBD come within 15–20 minutes after administration.

Topical CBD (Creams, Lotions, Balms)

CBD creams and gels have made big headlines in the skincare market thanks to their effectiveness in relieving inflammation, pain, and revitalizing the skin. It’s a smart way to deliver CBD into your system without ingesting it directly. Topicals are applied to the specific area of the skin to help the user fight localized problems. When you rub CBD into the skin, it engages with CB2 cannabinoid receptors in its deeper layers, providing a range of therapeutic effects. This method requires CBD to pass through the pores to reach your system. The onset of their effects may vary from 10 to 90 minutes depending on the user.

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Oral CBD (Capsules, Edibles)

CBD capsules offer an easy and convenient way to take your daily dose of cannabidiol. If you’re not into encapsulated supplements, you can also try CBD edibles, which are the new trend on the market — especially the gummies. Not only that, but CBD can be infused into shakes, cookies, dressings, or even pet treats.

Edibles and capsules are taken orally, meaning they need to pass through the digestive system before they can enter the bloodstream. Therefore, this form of CBD has a delayed onset. The effects may come in 20 minutes, but the waiting time can get as long as 90 minutes depending on your weight, metabolism, and whether you take CBD along with a meal or on an empty stomach.

Vaporized CBD (Hemp Flower, CBD Vape Oil, Concentrates)

Vaporization is by far the most efficient way to consume CBD. It combines the quickest onset with the highest amount of CBD that gets delivered to your system. You can experience the effects of vaporized CBD within minutes after inhalation; CBD vapes also have the highest bioavailability of all consumption methods, ensuring that up to 56% of the inhaled content makes it to the bloodstream.

CBD vape products include E-liquid (vape oil), concentrates, and hemp flower, which is a THC-free version of cannabis buds that you can roll into joints or consume in a dry herb vaporizer.

How Long Do the Effects of CBD Last?

Now that we’ve established how long it takes for CBD to take effect, let’s take a look at their duration. Of course, this will depend on a number of factors, such as your unique body chemistry, weight, age, gender, metabolism, as well as the size of the dose and consumption method.

Long story short, the more CBD you take, the longer the effects should last. However, there is no one-size-fits-all pattern for figuring out how long each person will experience them.

You can always experiment with different doses of CBD to see how your body responds to them, and how long it will take for the effects to dissipate. We suggest that you start around 2–5 mg per serving, which is considered a small amount. From there, you can monitor the effects and observe your reaction until you reach the point where you start to feel better.

CBD is well tolerated in humans, even in very large doses like 1,500 mg daily. That being said, we encourage you to use it responsibly if you don’t want to experience some minor side effects, such as dry mouth, sedation, or diarrhea.

Generally speaking, the effects of CBD can linger anywhere between 1 and 10 hours depending on the above factors.

How Long Does CBD Oil Stay in Your System?

This one is actually a bit confusing. The time CBD stays in one’s system varies from person to person and is driven by a number of factors.

The potency of your CBD oil, the amount of CBD taken, or personal traits like your gender, weight, age, overall health, and even the amount of water you consume daily — all of them can determine how long CBD stays in your system.

If you use CBD from time to time, your body should remove its metabolites in less than 7 days.

But what if you’re a regular user? How long will CBD stay in your system?

Here’s the Answer: We Don’t Know Precisely Yet

Research on cannabis has made tremendous progress since the past decade, but the truth is that we haven’t always had access to CBD oil that we know it today. Therefore, we still need more studies about the time CBD will last in one’s system. Experts in cannabis science don’t know it yet.

That being said, there have been a few studies that looked into the time CBD can stay in our bodies.

How Long Will CBD Stay in Your System? Here’s What Some Studies Say

A study that examined people who took 700 mg of CBD every day for six weeks has found that after the 6-week period, blood plasma CBD levels reached just 1.5 ng/mL on average among the 15 participants in the first week following the end of their therapy. After the first week, the research team concluded that CBD levels were “virtually nonexistent.”

Another paper on how long CBD can stay in one’s system comes from a 2014 study published in the journal Epilepsy Currents. The authors of the study stated that the half-life of CBD after a single dose applied orally lasts up to 2 days.

According to the University of Nottingham School of Health Sciences, the half-life of an active substance is defined by the “period of time required for the concentration [of the substance] in the body to be reduced by one-half.”

So, let’s say you take 20 mg of oral CBD. After 1-2 days, you would have approximately 10 mg of CBD in your system.

Sounds simple, right?

A growing number of studies suggest that drugs reach their “standby state”, which is the point where they can be effectively flushed from the body, after 4-5 half-life cycles. This would imply that you could use a simple calculation to determine how long CBD will stay in your system. However, the math gets complicated when you consider factors like the bioavailability of CBD or the administration route.

In a 2012 study published in the Journal Pharmaceuticals, the authors claimed that CBD actually had a longer half-life in humans than in animals. The duration is estimated to be between 18 and 33 hours for intravenous administration, between 27 and 36 hours for inhalation, and between 2 to 5 days for oral forms of CBD.

To sum up, CBD oil can stay in your system for anywhere between 4 and 25 days. While we admit this is a huge span, it’s currently the most accurate estimate scientists have come up with so far.

Does CBD with 0.3% THC Show Up On a Drug Test?

As mentioned earlier in the article, there’s a common misconception that CBD could show up on a drug test.

In fact, drug tests have nothing to do with CBD. They only look for THC metabolites in your system.

Not if it’s made from pure CBD or full-spectrum hemp that contains less than 0.3% of THC. CBD can be extracted from hemp and marijuana, so it’s important that you know the source of your CBD oil. Marijuana-derived products contain a significant amount of THC; they can get you high and are legal only in places that allow marijuana for recreational or medical use. Marijuana will also show up on a drug screening.

Hemp products are legal in all 50 states and shouldn’t result in a positive result for THC — as long as they were tested in a third-party laboratory for their CBD content.

Summing it Up: How Long Does CBD Stay In Your System?

We have no accurate resources to give you a definite answer to how long CBD stays in your system. It depends on how you apply the CBD, how much you take it, and how your body processes cannabinoids. However, most of the time, CBD should be gone out of your body no later than 7 days after the last application. Remember that CBD doesn’t appear on a drug test, so you don’t need to abstain from taking it for the sake of saving your career. As long as your CBD oil doesn’t come from marijuana, you’re safe.

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Did you look into the time your body needs to get rid of CBD? If there’s something you know, and we haven’t mentioned it here, let us know in the comment section! We’ll be updating this article every time new data comes out.

Livvy Ashton

Livvy is a registered nurse (RN) and board-certified nurse midwife (CNM) in the state of New Jersey. After giving birth to her newborn daughter, Livvy stepped down from her full-time position at the Children’s Hospital of New Jersey. This gave her the opportunity to spend more time writing articles on all topics related to pregnancy and prenatal care.

How Long Does CBD Stay In Your System?

Commissions we earn from partner links on this page do not affect our opinions or evaluations. Our editorial content is based on thorough research and guidance from the Forbes Health Advisory Board.

Table of Contents

  • 5 Factors That Affect How Long CBD Stays in Your System
  • How Long Do the Effects of CBD Oil Last?

Research shows consuming cannabidiol (CBD) may have a host of potential health benefits, such as reducing anxiety, relieving pain, and promoting sleep—explaining the latest surge in CBD’s popularity. But people who use CBD—either regularly or just once in a while—might wonder how long it stays in your system.

No matter how you take CBD, it’s likely that the clinical impact can last for several days after use, says Kelly Johnson-Arbor, M.D., a triple-board certified medical toxicologist and co-medical director of National Capital Poison Center. In fact, a 2020 study in the Journal of Analytical Toxicology found people who consumed a single dose of a standardized CBD formulation had detectable levels of CBD in their urine for four to five days after ingestion [1] Spindle T, Cone E, Kuntz D, Mitchell J, Bigelow G, Flegl R, Vandrey R. Urinary Pharmacokinetic Profile of Cannabinoids Following Administration of Vaporized and Oral Cannabidiol and Vaporized CBD-Dominant Cannabis. Journal of Analytical Toxicology. 2020;44(2):109-125. .

Continue reading to discover the myriad factors that may impact how long CBD stays in your system.

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5 Factors That Affect How Long CBD Stays in Your System

According to Dr. Johnson-Arbor, how long CBD stays in your system can depend on various factors.

How and What You Eat

How much you eat, as well as what you eat, can impact how your body processes CBD, says Dr. Johnson-Arbor. After consuming a high-fat meal, higher levels of CBD are typically present in the bloodstream, making its half-life (the time it takes for half the amount of a substance to be eliminated from the body) longer than in individuals who consume CBD while fasting, she explains. In other words, if you consume CBD on an empty stomach and don’t eat immediately, CBD is more likely to leave your system sooner. Meanwhile, eating high-fat foods, such as avocados, cheese and nuts, can have the opposite effect. One 2019 study also found CBD exposure and absorption increases significantly when paired with high-fat foods [2] Birnbaum A, Karanam A, Marino S, Barkley C, Remmel R, Roslawski M, Gramling-Aden M, Leppik I. Food Effect on Pharmacokinetics of Cannabidiol Oral Capsules in Adult Patients with Refractory Epilepsy. Epilepsia. 2019;60(8):1586-1592. .

Medications Processed in the Liver and Liver Disease

Certain medical conditions may impact how long CBD stays in your system. “Since CBD is metabolized by the liver, people with liver disease or who take other medications that are metabolized by the liver may have altered metabolism of CBD,” says Dr. Johnson-Arbor. She explains that the human liver contains enzymes that help the body break down medications and other compounds, and some medications can increase or decrease the activity of these enzymes. “When this happens, medications can be metabolized either faster or slower than normal, and this can lead to unwanted adverse reactions,” she says. Since CBD is metabolized by liver enzymes, there can be a potential drug interaction with many other medications.

Frequency of Use

If you use CBD frequently, it can build up over time and stay in your system longer, largely because CBD is highly soluble in fat. “This means that it can build up in our fatty tissues for a long period of time after heavy use and can therefore remain in the system for prolonged periods of time (e.g. weeks) in heavy users,” says Dr. Johnson-Arbor.

How Much You Use

Unsurprisingly, the more CBD you take at once, the longer it stays in your system. A 2005 study in the journal Therapeutic Drug Monitoring found taking 1.35 milligrams of CBD was only detectable in the blood for about six hours after ingestion, but higher doses were detectable for longer periods of time [3] Nadulski T, Pragst F, Weinberg G, Roser P, Schnelle M, Fronk E, Stadelmann A. Randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study about the effects of cannabidiol (CBD) on the pharmacokinetics of Delta9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) after oral application of THC versus standardized cannabis extract. Therapeutic Drug Monitoring. 2005;27(6):799-810. .

Type of CBD Administration

The way in which you consume CBD can impact how long it stays in your system. According to a 2018 review, smoking or inhaling CBD not only causes CBD to enter the bloodstream faster but also leave the body quicker. Meanwhile, the same review found CBD oil can stay in your system longer—up to two to five days. Dr. Johnson-Arbor explains that the reason smoking or inhaling drugs leads to faster clinical effects than consuming a drug orally is because orally administered drugs have to be absorbed through the gastrointestinal tract, and that takes more time. However, whenever you’re talking about how long CBD can stay in your system, it’s important to remember that it really depends on the frequency of use. “CBD (and other cannabinoids) are fat soluble, which means that they can accumulate in fat tissue after chronic use and then be released back slowly into the blood for elimination from the body,” she says. “This means that chronic users may have longer detection times than acute or one-time users (the latter is what’s generally represented in clinical studies and may not be applicable to the general population). The same is true for smoking and inhaling CBD. I don’t want people to get the wrong impression and believe that no matter how much or how frequently they use, CBD will only be detectable in their system for two to five days.”

How Long Do the Effects of CBD Oil Last?

How long the effects of CBD last varies greatly depending on the factors discussed above. “In a study involving healthy individuals who consumed a highly purified CBD formulation, the elimination half-life in the bloodstream was 14 to 17 hours. Since it takes approximately five half-lives to completely eliminate a drug from the human body, it’s likely that CBD stays in the system for about 85 hours, or about 3.5 days” says Dr. Johnson-Arbor.

So, based on the half-life of the drug, it’s likely that detectable levels may be present for several days after use.

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