Cannabidiol (CBD) is one of the most popular topics in health and wellness. It’s discussed in the media, endorsed by athletes and celebrities, and used by a growing number of people in the UK and other countries to support their health.
Still, there’s much to learn about this non-intoxicating, natural substance. One of the most common questions people have about CBD is how long its effects last and how long it stays in your system.
The effects of CBD typically last anywhere from 1 to 6 hours. However, it can stay in your system for as long as a week, depending on a variety of factors. Read on for a detailed explanation.
How long do the effects of CBD last?
The biggest factor that determines how long the effects of CBD oil or other CBD products will last is how you take it. This is also known as the administration method.
Oral CBD refers to products that you ingest, such as capsules, softgels, gummies, drinks, and other edibles.
Taking CBD orally will produce the slowest-acting and longest-lasting effects. It can take anywhere from 30 minutes to as long as two hours for oral CBD to kick in, depending on how much and when you last ate.
As for the duration, the effects of oral CBD can last for more than six hours, although they gradually decrease over time.
This is because of something called first pass metabolism. Basically, when you ingest CBD, it has to go through your digestive system and the liver before it can be absorbed into the bloodstream and start having a beneficial effect.
During this time, CBD’s concentration is also greatly reduced, which means oral CBD is not as effective as other methods.
The sublingual method is when you hold CBD under your tongue to let it absorb directly into the blood vessels in the area. This is the method used by CBD oil, although you can also use it with some other product types, such as pure CBD isolate powder.
Sublingual CBD oil takes 10-30 minutes to start working. The effects of CBD oil typically last 4-6 hours, with a stronger effect in the first 3-4 hours and a weaker one for the remaining time.
Sublingual CBD lasts a shorter than orally administered CBD, but its effects are stronger due to better absorption.
Inhaling CBD through vaping or smoking is an increasingly popular practice. You will feel CBD’s effects right away because your lungs are incredibly efficient at absorbing small, fat-soluble molecules such as CBD.
However, this comes with a notable downside: the effects of inhaling CBD will usually last only 1-2 hours, although you may feel a weaker effect for another hour.
Topical CBD is applied directly to the skin, usually in the form of creams, lotions, balms, massage oils, and similar products. It differs from the other methods because its effects are not body-wide and will only be felt where you applied the CBD.
It can take upwards of an hour for topical CBD to start working and its effects can last for several hours.
How long does CBD last in your system
We’ve explained how long CBD’s effects can last, but what about the length of time it can stay in your body? CBD can linger in your system anywhere from several hours to more than a week. The precise duration depends on multiple factors.
As with most substances, the more CBD you take, the longer it will stay in your system.
How often you take CBD
If you only take CBD one time, it will be eliminated from your body relatively quickly. Meanwhile, if you take it regularly, CBD’s concentration can build up. More importantly, the body can store cannabinoids in fat tissue, which will allow them to stick around for longer.
Body weight and chemistry
We all have different bodies. Some specific factors that can affect how long CBD stays in your body are differences in metabolism, genetic variations of your endocannabinoid system, and body weight.
As we already highlighted above, the method used to introduce CBD into your body will affect how long it stays around.
For example, if you vape CBD, it starts working right away but is also eliminated from the body much faster. In comparison, if you ingest CBD, it stays in your system much longer.
We can see these factors at work in some of the published research. In one 2016 study, a single dose of CBD capsules was no longer detectable after 25 hours.
Meanwhile, in a 1991 study, people with Parkinson’s disease were given 700 mg doses of oral CBD daily for 6 weeks. After that, it took over a week for CBD to reach undetectable levels in the blood.
This study is a perfect example of regular, high-dose usage, so we would expect that one week or longer is close to the maximum amount of time that CBD will remain in your system.
Lastly, a 2018 review paper discussed CBD’s half-life: the time it takes for the concentration of a substance in your blood to be reduced by 50%.
After reviewing multiple studies, the researchers concluded that CBD’s half-life can be anywhere from 1 hour to 5 days depending on the dose and how it was taken.
The amount of time that the effects of CBD oil or another CBD product will last is not difficult to figure out. As long as you know which method you’re using — oral, sublingual, topical, or inhaled — you can estimate how long CBD’s effects will work for.
On the other hand, how long CBD stays in your system is a more tricky question. There are many factors at play, including how much and how often you take the CBD, which administration method you’re using, and your individual body chemistry.
That’s why CBD can linger in your system for as little as several hours to as long as a week or longer.