How long does CBD stay in your system?

Wednesday September 8, 2021

How effective is CBD and how long does it stay in your system? These are questions that we often get asked.

CBD is short for cannabidiol and is used by many people to help with pain, anxiety, skin conditions and general wellbeing. The length of time CBD stays in your system depends on several factors including the form it was taken in, the dosage and personal metabolism.

How long CBD Creams stay in the system
CBD creams are often used for skin conditions and for painful joints and muscles. CBD creams and lotions work by interacting with the CB- CB-2 receptors in the area the cream is applied to. The CBD remains on the skin layer with very little of the CBD that you apply never entering the bloodstream so it won’t “stay” in your system.

With regards to how long you can feel the benefit of the CBD lotion, evidence suggests most people feel the benefit of creams for about 5-6 hours.

How long CBD Oils and Capsules stay in the system
CBD capsules and oils work differently from creams and are more often used by those looking to manage anxiety, insomnia or non-localised pain. Capsules and oils do enter the bloodstream.

CBD capsules travel through the digestive system to the liver which then breaks down some of the CBD molecules and passes the rest on to the bloodstream.

CBD oils are taken sublingually, which means placing a few drops of CBD oil under the tongue. The membranes in our mouths transfer the CBD to the bloodstream directly, bypassing the liver. If you’re looking to get as much CBD out of the oil as you can, putting it under your tongue is the best way to do that. Doing this after food can also be more effective due to increased blood flow in the mouth at this time.

There hasn’t been a lot of research on how long capsules and oils stay in the system and so estimates vary. There’s evidence that  moderate doses of CBD remain in our systems for 1-2 days with some reports have CBD as remaining in your body for as long as 3-4 days.

Because CBD capsules pass through the digestive system before entering the bloodstream the CBD will take longer to enter the bloodstream than oils and may well remain in the system for longer than an oil, meaning that there is a larger bioavailability of CBD in your system from capsule form.

While CBD may stay in our systems for  3-4 days, most people experience the effects of CBD oils and capsules for approximately 2-6 hours and of creams and lotions for 5-6 hours.

What affects how long CBD stays in our system?

Many things influence how long CBD remains in our systems.

  • Body Mass Index: CBD is fat-soluble – which means it is stored in our fat cells, so if you have more body fat CBD will remain in your body for longer.
  • Metabolism – Our metabolism is a combination of chemical reactions, one of which includes the conversion of food to energy. The faster your metabolism, the quicker substances (including CBD) are broken down, processed and eliminated. If you exercise a lot and burn off fat, then you’re more likely to get rid of the CBD particles faster than someone who is sedentary.
  • Dose rate – higher dose capsules will likely take your liver more time to process than lower doses because the liver can only filter so much of a substance at once. As a hypothetical example, suppose your liver may break down 50ml of CBD per hour. If you ingest 600ml, CBD will remain in your system then for 12 hours. However, if you ingest 100ml, CBD will be eliminated in two.

Take a look at our other CBD expert guides