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How Long Does CBD Stay in Your System?

Although healthcare professionals and natural health specialists have described health benefits associated with CBD for decades, only recently with the widespread legalization of medical and recreational marijuana has CBD become widely popular as a health supplement. Because this supplement has only gained widespread use within the last few years, many of the millions of people who are considering its use have a range of concerns about it’s effects. Perhaps the most common question prospective users will suggest is this: how long does CBD stay in your system?

There are two main reasons people tend to ask this question. First, they need to know how long the positive effects will last in order to determine the ideal dosage schedule. Second, they are concerned about the possibility of CBD causing them to fail a drug test. We’ll deal with each of these questions in detail.


How long will the positive effects of CBD last?

As with any other supplement, the duration of CBD’s beneficial effects vary depending on how you ingest it. CBD is available in a variety of mediums, from oils, to pills, to creams, to compounds that can be used to smoke and vape. These CBD products can be divided into three main categories based on their method of ingestion: oral intake, inhalation, or topical application. Each of these methods will result in CBD’s effects having different durations, as your body will process the compound at different speeds in each case.


For oral intake, CBD users can usually expect to begin feeling positive effects within twenty to thirty minutes of ingestion. These effects will typically last 4-6 hours, after which they will gradually begin to wear off.


Since inhalation is a less popular method for pure CBD use, the length of its effects has not been studied in as much detail. However, users who inhale the compound can expect to feel the effects much more quickly than oral users —sometimes immediately — and will often begin to feel the effects wear off within two hours.


Similar to oral intake, topical application via lotions or creams tends to produce effects that appear after twenty to thirty minutes and begin to fade after five or six hours.


For how long will CBD show up on drug tests?


Although CBD does not have any intoxicating effects, many people are worried that since it’s derived from the same compound as the psychoactive compound THC, the presence of CBD in their bloodstream will suggest that they have been smoking marijuana. Luckily, this is not a problem that most people will need to worry about; most commonly-administered drug tests only test for intoxicating or controlled substances like THC, alcohol, or hard drugs. Even in the unlikely event that a drug test did test for CBD, this would not be a concern for most people either; CBD is completely legal in every state except Iowa, Idaho and South Dakota. 


Another concern some people have is that trace amounts of THC will show up in their blood or urine samples even if they are only taking CBD. This should be a very minor concern for most people. To be sold as CBD, a supplement must contain no more than 0.3% THC. This means that THC will not show up on most drug tests under standard doses of CBD. However, if you take a full-spectrum CBD, this means that the compound is derived from a complete marijuana plant, so it’s possible that trace amounts of THC could trigger a positive drug test. This problem can be easily avoided, however, by taking a broad-spectrum or isolate CBD, both of which remove all traces of THC from the final product. 


How long does CBD stay in your system?

Nonetheless, if you’ve gotten through all of these scenarios and believe drug tests may be an issue for you, it will be important to know how long CBD takes to pass through your system. Like the positive effects of CBD, its presence in your body will vary based on the method you use to consume it.


For oral ingestion or inhalation, researchers believe that CBD will take anywhere from 12 hours to several days to pass through your system. If you apply CBD topically, it will not pass into your bloodstream at all.


For most people, however, CBD will simply not cause a problem with drug tests. The best way to ensure a negative drug test is to only consume CBD products that a manufacturer can confirm to be THC-free.