It’s important to know how long you need to wait before you experience the effect you want from CBD oil. This especially true if you’re using it to treat or alleviate ailments such as muscle sores and joint aches since you want to get rid of the pain as quickly as possible. But it is also important to know just how long does CBD you can expect to stay in your system.
Some people are afraid that the CBD oil may cause some sort of intoxication, so of course, they don’t want to drive and do similar activities while they’re “under the influence”. Others are worried about corporate drug testing, and they may lose their job if they use CBD oil the night before and then undergo a surprise drug test the next morning.
CBD and THC
The general indications according to current scientific data is that CBD oil isn’t really an intoxicant. The CBD in CBD oil refers to the chemical compound known as cannabidiol, and this compound is credited with a variety of therapeutic benefits. It is different, however, to THC, which is another compound found in cannabis. Both are chemical compounds called cannabinoids, but it is the THC that’s responsible for the “high” that many recreational users are looking for.
In the old days, growers of marijuana bred plants aiming for high THC content. That was the effect that most users were looking for. Today, medical marijuana is mostly about CBD and lowering the THC content. In fact, CBD oil can come from hemp and not marijuana. Hemp plants CBD oil has a THC level of no more than 0.3%, which definitely excludes it from being an intoxicant. It just won’t get you high.
If you use hemp CBD oil or stick with pure CBD isolate oil, you won’t get flagged down with a positive drug test result either. Most of these tests that test for marijuana look for THC, not CBD. With pure CBD products and virtually non-existent THC levels, you should be in the clear.
However, it’s always best to be sure. Research on CBD and THC is still on its initial stages, so we don’t really know as much as we should about how the human body reacts to CBD oil. In any case, current scientific studies do offer some data regarding the duration of CBD effects.
Factors to Consider
There’s no way to know for certain right away as to how long the effects of the CBD will last and how long the CBD will stay detectable in the human body. But some factors are known to affect these issues.
The Delivery System
This refers to how you choose to consume the CBD oil. Some methods such as smoking, vaping, or sublingual (under the tongue) generally lead to the quicker onset of effects. On the other hand, consuming CBD oil through edibles takes a lot longer, as the CBD compounds have to first pass through the digestive system. It can take as long as 2 hours for you to feel the effect of CBD-infused edibles. In contrast, some who smoke or vape the CBD oil report feeling the effects in just 15 minutes (or even less in some cases).
It stands to reason that if you take a larger amount of CBD, the CBD will remain longer in your body. In a way it’s just like taking an alcoholic beverage. A single bottle of beer may have the alcohol in your bloodstream in just an hour or so. But an entire 6-pack of beer consumed in just an hour will certainly last longer in your system.
The same goes for CBD. You may want to start with a low dosage of 10 mg (or even 5 mg) rather than with 20 mg if you’re concerned about the duration of the effects. On the other hand, if you’re using the CBD oil for pain relief so you can sleep through the night, a larger dose may be required.
In addition, you should pay attention to the THC content of the CBD oil. Drug tests regularly screen for THC, and you can be banned from a sports league or fired from your job if the drug test proves positive for THC.
Again, this is quite obvious. If you take CBD often, the longer it stays in your body.
Detectability in the Blood and in Urine
Here are the results of some studies:
- One study involved patients taking gelatin capsules with just 1.35 mg of CBD (along with 2.5 mg of THC, incidentally). Afterward, it was found that the CBD remained detectable in the bloodstream for 6 hours (positive result).
- Another study involved patients taking daily doses of 700 mg each. Seven days after the patients stopped taking their daily doses, the CBD levels in the blood were “virtually undetectable” at just 1.5 nanograms per milliliter.
- It’s been found that the half-life of CBD is about 3 to 5 days. In other words, after 3 to 5 days the amount of CBD in the blood is cut in half. This is true for both men and women.
- A study conducted in 2016 gave 15 subjects a variety of CBD products. These were in different forms, including flower (“buds”), capsules, and CBD oils. Among the 15 subjects, 14 tested positive for both CBD and THC in their urine after just 2 hours taking the CBD products. Just 24 hours later, the CBD was undetectable in the urine.
Just keep in mind that most drug tests look for THC, which means you definitely want to minimize the THC levels if you don’t wish to feel “high” or if you’re worried about drug tests.
The Duration of the Effects Depending on Delivery System
Let’s take a closer look at how long you’ll feel the effects of the CBD depending on how you consume the product.
This means you’re smoking the CBD or taking a puff from a vaping device. Either way, you’re inhaling the CBD into your lungs. The compounds are quickly absorbed into the bloodstream this way and you can feel the effects without having to wait too long. It’s been indicated that the CBD gets into the blood in just 3 minutes or so, which means you’ll feel the effects soon afterward as the blood flows all over your body and into your brain.
One study found that after smoking the CBD product, the CBD can be detected up to 72 hours later. That’s great for those who take CBD oil for pain relief, as that means the effects should last longer as well.
That may be too long for some people, however, especially those who consume the CBD oil and are worried about drug tests.
Ingestion (CBD edibles) is another traditional way of consuming cannabis products, although these days the menu options aren’t limited to the classic brownies. Instead, today you can mix in the CBD oil or spray into a wide variety of dishes. You can find CBD-infused pizza, cakes, and even chocolate and gummy bears.
You’re not limited to food either as you can also mix in the CBD into coffee, tea, and alcoholic cocktails. It’s a rather enjoyable way of consuming CBD, especially if you’re adventurous in your tastes. You can share meals and drinks with friends.
There are some issues, however. When you swallow the CBD, the chemical compounds have to go through your digestive system. Your liver will have to metabolize the CBD before these compounds enter the bloodstream and spread around your system. This will take time, which is why it’s fairly common to wait up to 2 hours before you feel any of the effects.
Another problem lies with the bioavailability of the CBD in edible form. The fact of the matter is that very little of the swallowed CBD actually enters the bloodstream. It’s been found that only about 5% of the CBD present in the edible actually gets into your blood.
This makes ingestion not quite the ideal method for immediate relief, especially when you’re taking the CBD oil as you’re already in pain. You also may not have as much of the CBD as you should have.
This term refers to applying the tincture or spray under your tongue. You can use a dropper to put in a few drops of the CBD tincture, under the tongue. Wait for about 2 to 4 minutes, as the compounds are absorbed. Then you can maneuver your tongue to rub the remaining liquid into your cheeks, and if there’s any left you just swallow it.
This method bypasses the liver, and instead, the CBD goes through the mucous membranes to get into your bloodstream more quickly. This is certainly better than ingestion, and also better than inhalation if you’re not used to inhaling smoke or vapor into your lungs. Furthermore, you’re able to absorb more of the CBD compared to the measly 5% you get through ingestion.
This method of delivery involves a direct application to the skin. For the most part, the category includes lotions, salves, and creams. In some cases, it also includes patches, similar to the nicotine patches that people use when they’re trying to quit smoking.
The skin does have a rather low absorption rate for cannabis compounds, so you should apply the CBD lotion liberally. The effects do take time to occur, and it may take as long as an hour and a half.
However, it does let you target specific areas in which you feel localized pain. In addition, the skin really has a poor absorption rate for THC with CBD absorption going 10 times faster. If you’re worried about drug tests then at least this method really minimizes the THC you can possibly absorb.
Drug Tests and CBD Oil
So, if you take CBD oil, will you end up positive for cannabis if you undergo a drug test? Chances are good that you won’t, especially if you take the effort to pick low-THC CBD oil in the first place. In most drug tests, the point is to look for THC specifically. In fact, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services (SAMHSA) has set guidelines specifying that companies should only test for THC and not CBD, and employers should abide by these guidelines.
Of course, even with hemp CBD oil you still have to deal with a THC content of 0.3%. That may be worrisome for people who just don’t want any THC at all that may end up with a false positive in their drug tests.
Statistically, however, such results are extremely unlikely. This is only possible if you take a full-spectrum variant of CBD oil (meaning it has lots of THC as well) and your daily dosage is at least 1,000 or even 2,000 mg a day.
Stick to reasonable doses and CBD oil from hemp, and you’re virtually in the clear. You can go with pure CBD isolate products, which means the CBD may come from marijuana but the THC has been weeded out (excuse the expression). You do need to make sure that your CBD isolate comes from a reputable brand because lots of manufacturers aren’t all that conscientious when it comes to label information. It’s very common for products to have inaccurate dosage in their labels, and they may say they have low THC when the truth is that the THC levels are high.
Most company-sponsored drug tests involve the urine test, which is actually not as sensitive as testing the blood. The SAMSHA guidelines allow for no more than 50 nanograms per milliliter. If you have less than that in your system, you’re in the clear.
Remember to stick with hemp and CBD isolates and if you take CBD in the evening you won’t have any trouble the next day. Chances are, you won’t have to worry. If you do test positive, request another test or be ready to provide your employer with a good explanation. But this is very rare, realistically speaking!