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You can expect the effects of CBD to last for a few hours. But even after it wears off, is the stuff still in your system? More importantly — how long does it actually stick around for?
Generally, you should count on CBD hanging around in your body for anywhere from 2 to 5 days.
Of course, that’s a ballpark range, and there are lots of factors that can influence how long the stuff stays in your individual system. That includes your size, your dose, how often you take it, and even whether you took it with food.
In short, there’s no way to know exactly how long CBD can be detected in your body for.
But by reading up on influencing factors, you might be able to get a better sense of what to expect. Here’s what experts know, plus whether CBD that’s still in your system will show up on a drug test.
What exactly happens when you take CBD anyway? To understand how long the stuff stays in your system, it helps to take a step back and look at the bigger picture.
When you use CBD, you’ll feel the effects within 15 to 45 minutes. Precisely how long it takes depends on a bunch of factors including the dose you took and your body composition.
Your delivery method plays a role too. Vaped CBD enters your lungs and takes effect quickly. (Though you probably shouldn’t vape it.) Tablets and oils tend to kick in pretty fast too. But edibles, creams, and lotions usually take a little longer.
At some point you’ll start to notice a feeling of calm relaxation wash over you, kind of like you just finished a really chill yoga class or got a great massage. You’re not high the way you would be if you smoked marijuana or took something with THC. You’re just chill. Like a more mellow version of yourself.
As for how long you’ll keep reaping those stay-calm benefits? Again, a lot of it boils down to your delivery system. Vapes will wear off in about an hour, while you’ll feel the effects of oils or edibles for a few hours or more. If you’re using a skin patch, the effects could last up to 2 days.
CBD will stay in your body for anywhere from 2 to 5 days. But there’s no one-size-fits-all answer for when you can expect CBD to kick in, how long you’ll feel the effects, and ultimately, how long it will stick around in your particular body.
That said, there are some clues that can help you figure out whether your body is likely to get rid of the stuff on the faster or slower side. These include things like:
Your body composition
CBD is a fat-soluble compound, meaning it gets stored in the body’s fat cells. Leaner people with more muscle and less body fat will metabolize CBD quicker, so it’ll exit their systems faster. If you have more body fat and less muscle tissue, CBD will stay in your cells a little longer.
Your activity level
How physically active you are can also affect how quickly (or slowly) CBD gets metabolized. If you’re the kind of person who works out every day, you can probably expect CBD to make its way out of your body on the faster side. Tend to be more sedentary? The exit process might be a little slower.
How often you take it
Taking CBD on the reg will cause it to build up in your system, so it’s less likely to clear out. The opposite is true if it’s your first time taking it or you only take it once in a while. In that case, it’ll probably leave your system sooner.
Whether you take it with food
Using CBD with food is kind of like drinking alcohol with food. Do it on an empty stomach, and it’ll probably hit you sooner and clear out quicker. Do it with something to eat (or just take a CBD edible), and the food will cause the CBD to be metabolized at a slower rate.
All in all? There’s no clear-cut answer to how long it’ll take CBD to leave your body. But you can expect it to take longer if you’re heavier or less active, if you take CBD regularly, or if you use it with food.
On the other hand, it will likely clear out faster if you’re leaner or more active, only use CBD once in a while, or you take it on an empty stomach.
In most instances, CBD shouldn’t show up on a drug test.
Pure CBD products don’t contain THC, the part of the cannabis plant that gets you high. However, certain products may contain trace amounts. If enough THC is present, it will show up on a test. It’s rare, but it can happen.
To be sure your CBD products are free of THC, you can:
- Stick to CBD products made from hemp, CBD isolate, or broad-spectrum CBD, all of which are either naturally THC-free or have had the THC removed.
- Avoid full-spectrum CBD, which contains all the compounds naturally found in cannabis plants, including THC.
- Thoroughly read the labels of any CBD products before purchasing.
- Stick to high-quality vendors or products regulated by the FDA (only one FDA regulated prescription product is available, Epidiolex).
Experts don’t know for sure how CBD could potentially affect babies. What they do know? Babies can definitely get CBD through breast milk. They can also get any other substances that might be mixed in with the CBD, like THC.
What’s more, this isn’t the kind of situation where you can take it, pump and dump, and then go right back to breastfeeding. Since CBD can stay in your system for days, it’s best to avoid it while you’re breastfeeding.
If you do plan on breastfeeding in the future, the FDA recommends staying away from CBD for at least 1 week beforehand.
The whole thing can be kind of confusing, so we’ll boil it down to the basics. Hemp-derived CBD products with less than 0.3 percent THC are legal on the federal level. But they’re still illegal under some state laws.
On the other hand, marijuana-derived CBD products are illegal on the federal level, but legal in some states.
The bottom line? Check your state’s laws to see what’s legal and what isn’t where you live, or in any states where you plan to travel. Also keep in mind that nonprescription CBD products are not FDA-approved and may be inaccurately labeled.