CBD products have exploded in popularity and availability in the past two years.
This trendy chemical, also known as cannabidiol, is a cannabinoid produced in the cannabis plant.
Hemp-derived products must contain less than 0.3% THC to be considered legal, as stipulated in the 2018 US Farm Bill. THC and CBD are both cannabinoids found in marijuana. This connection can be worrisome for CBD users.
THC is used for medicinal and recreational purposes, and it makes people feel high. CBD doesn’t. It can cause mild sedation, but this effect only occurs when someone takes a very large dose.
Because CBD and THC come from the same plant, the possibility of failing a drug test is a valid concern. It’s common for people to wonder, “How long does CBD stay in your system?”
How Does CBD Affect People?
CBD has many effects on a person’s body and mind. Users will typically experience a calming effect and a general feeling of well-being.
Dr. Robert Flannery, CEO of Dr. Robb Farms, told Public Goods that CBD triggers the serotonin receptors in the brain and increases one of our endocannabinoids, anandamide. Serotonin and anandamide are widely-known for reducing anxiety and promoting calmness.
Serotonin is a naturally produced chemical in our bodies. It is often referred to as the ‘happy chemical.’ Anandamide is an endogenous compound (a compound produced within the body) that can bind to our endocannabinoid receptors. Anandamide regulates our motivation and pleasure, especially in social settings.
How Long Does CBD Stay in Your System?
The CBD compound is a fat-soluble molecule, and it can store in our fat cells for up to 30 days. It’s important to remember that everyone is different, and various factors will contribute to the matter at hand. One of those factors is the type of CBD product and how you consume it.
CBD Flower and Vaporizers
When you inhale CBD by smoking or vaporizing, it enters your lungs within mere seconds, resulting in a rapid onset. This method of consumption allows the medication to leave your system quickly.
Through this mode of consumption, you will feel the effects in less than five minutes. These two forms of CBD are ideal for anxiety and panic attacks because they provide calming effects so quickly. Inhalation is also beneficial for near-immediate pain relief.
Depending on dosage, frequency of use and metabolism, you can expect the CBD to fully flush from your system within 2-5 days.
Topicals come in a variety of forms. There are lotions, balms, body butter, salves and transdermal patches. They are applied directly onto the part of your body that is hurting.
Unlike other consumption methods, topicals do not lead to a full-body experience. They only treat localized pain. Depending on the type of topical, they can take effect anywhere from 15 minutes to two hours after application.
Some topicals can only cross the skin and muscle barrier without entering the bloodstream, meaning they will not be in your system at all. Transdermal patches are placed on one of your veins and they do enter the bloodstream. The CBD delivered into your body may stay in your system for approximately 2-5 days.
CBD tinctures are similar to CBD oil, aside from the fact that they’re alcohol-based. They are made by steeping cannabis flowers or isolates in grain alcohol, then applying low heat to the mixture.
The end result is a potent tincture. Tinctures are always alcohol-based, and oils are always oil-based. Tinctures are meant to be taken sublingually.
If you’re attempting to use a tincture sublingually, you will want to hold the liquid beneath your tongue, or even swish it around your inner-cheeks, until it’s fully dissolved. Your mucous membranes absorb the majority of the CBD.
Edibles, CBD Oil and Capsules
Whether you’re indulging in CBD gummies, oil or capsules, they all undergo the same lengthy digestive process.
When you ingest CBD, it can take anywhere from 30 minutes to a few hours before feeling any effects. If you dose on an empty stomach, it tends to take effect quicker.
Let’s dive deeper into the question, “How long does CBD oil stay in your system?” Are you swallowing the oil or administering it sublingually? Sublingual use is defined by holding the CBD oil beneath your tongue for several minutes or until it’s fully dissolved. This method has higher bioavailability and will take effect much faster.
Typically, ingested CBD oil or edibles will be out of your system in 1-2 weeks. If you choose sublingual use, you can expect to be CBD-free in less than one week.
Metabolism, Dosage and Frequency: Factors That Determine How Long CBD Stays In Your System
There are many individual-specific factors that determine how long CBD will stay in your system.
Dr. Flannery told us that a person’s body weight doesn’t really change how long CBD will stay in your system. The leading contributors are metabolism, dosage and frequency of use.
Because CBD stores in our fat cells, it can take up to 30 days to eliminate from the body.
Someone with a fast metabolism has smaller fat stores, thus a smaller storage capacity for CBD that won’t be immediately processed through the liver. If you have a fast metabolism, CBD will remove itself from your system faster than someone with a slower, sluggish metabolism.
“The size of the dose plays a lot into how long CBD stays in our bodies,” Dr. Flannnery explained. “Let’s assume an average person consumes 5 mg. 24 hours later, there will be 2.5 mg of CBD in that person’s system. 48 hours after the initial dose, there will be 1.25 mg still in their system. But what if instead of 5 mg, someone were to consume 20 mg of CBD? It would take 48 hours just to get back down to 5 mg, assuming the individual hasn’t continued dosing.”
While the type of CBD product you use factors into how long it will stay in your system, Dr. Flannery described a general guide for figuring out when you would test clean for CBD. The dosage you’re taking affects the time CBD stays in your system. But what about frequency of use?
Dr. Flannery explained that if someone samples CBD once, it will soon clear their system. Weekly users encounter the issue of using before their last dose flushes out of their body. And CBD will never fully purge from a daily consumer’s system.
Exercise and how we eat matters, too. Regular exercise is known to speed up our metabolism. Every time we eat, digest and store food, our metabolism gets a boost. This process is called the thermic effect of food.
Remember that protein helps speed up our metabolism more so than fats and carbohydrates, because it takes longer for our bodies to burn protein and fully absorb it.
Will CBD Show Up On A Drug Test?
Another big question you might be wondering is, ”How long is CBD detectable in urine?” Many places of employment mandate random drug tests for their employees, just as they do amid the hiring process.
For certain jobs, there’s a good chance you will have to provide urine or blood for a drug test. So, will CBD show up on one of these drug tests? What about the trace amounts of THC inside of hemp-derived CBD oil?
Well, it depends on how much and how often you are dosing, the form of CBD and whether you’re using CBD isolate, broad-spectrum CBD oil or full-spectrum CBD oil.
Dr. Flannery touched on a common theory. He said oral consumption (capsules, edibles, swallowing oil) is more likely to cause a positive drug test due to CBD converting into THC in acidic environments, like our stomachs.
“However, the science behind this doesn’t seem to support the hypothesis, in my opinion,” he said.
The research he referenced is from a study in 2016 that used animals as test subjects. The research team used a simulated version of stomach fluids. One year later, two scientists proclaimed that there is no enzyme in the human body that would allow for conversion.
Dr. Flannery explained the likelihood of THC showing up on a drug test.
“Unless you are consuming CBD isolate, there’s a good chance that there may be some THC in your system, even if it’s minuscule amounts. If you are taking CBD on a regular basis, the chances of you failing a drug test are higher because the minute quantities of THC can accumulate over time.”
It’s also important to remember that at-home urine drug tests do not test for cannabidiol. Drug tests look for THC and its metabolites, THCA and THC-COOH. Tests that are sent to a lab — urine or blood tests — may be checking for CBD, but it’s highly unlikely.
The half-life of THC and its metabolites play an important role in the outcome of a drug test. When referring to the half-life, we’re specifically talking about the time needed to eliminate half of the active elements of the substance. However, there’s no exact science to determining the half-life of THC and THC metabolites. The answer also depends on individual factors such as metabolism and dosage amount, as well as the type of drug test.
CBD Isolate vs Full-Spectrum vs Broad Spectrum
When hemp-derived products became legal, the bill stated that CBD oil and other CBD products could not contain more than 0.3% THC. The trace amounts of THC inside the majority of CBD products are probably your main concern. Learning the difference between CBD isolate, full-spectrum and broad-spectrum will help you decide which is best-suited for you.
If you have a drug test coming up, you may opt to use a CBD isolate. Isolates have two benefits: they are more helpful for people seeking a stronger dose of just cannabidiol, and isolates contain no THC.
CBD isolate is an extracted product where everything but the cannabidiol has been removed. In other words, the CBD has been isolated. If you want the assurance of knowing you will pass a THC drug test, an isolate is a safe option.
Full-spectrum CBD oil contains all of the cannabinoids, none of them are extracted. In total, there are 113 cannabinoids, with CBD and THC being the most researched. Full-spectrum CBD boasts the entourage effect — all of the cannabinoids working together to provide the most relief and betterment, with THC included.
And that brings us to broad-spectrum CBD. It undergoes a refining process where unwanted cannabinoids can be removed from the formula. Most CBD companies selling this product offer the same oil as full-spectrum, minus the THC. This is another safe option for people expecting a drug test.
If you have medical marijuana certification, you can use any form of CBD or THC, as long as it’s legal in your state. Bring your medical marijuana card with you when you are going for your drug test. Your card is proof that you’re legally allowed to have these cannabinoids in your system.
In Your System, Out of Trouble
We advise you to use CBD safely. If you think a drug test may be in your near future, err on the side of caution and stick with broad-spectrum or isolates.
You also want your dose to be effective. Taking too much CBD can cause sedation. If you’re a new user, start with 2-5 mg and see how you feel.
If that amount doesn’t help the condition you’re trying to treat, raise the dose in small increments every few hours until you find what dosage works best for you. CBD is a person-dependent medication; everyone reacts differently.
CBD is a natural, holistic option compared to over-the-counter pain medications or prescription opioids. Once you find your favorite form and the proper dose, you will see that using CBD can make life seem just a little bit brighter.
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