Cannabidiol, or CBD, has been slowly increasing in popularity in recent years. Unlike its THC counterpart, broad-spectrum CBD doesn't produce the psychoactive high associated with cannabis use.
Despite this, CBD can stay in the system and appear in drug tests. As more individuals incorporate CBD into their daily routines, it is important to understand how long this compound remains in the body. In this blog post, we'll closely examine how long CBD stays in your system, and the factors that affect its breakdown in the body.
How CBD Works
CBD interacts with the endocannabinoid system (ECS), a complex network of receptors and neurotransmitters throughout the body. The ECS is vital in maintaining homeostasis, or balance, within various physiological processes such as mood, sleep, appetite, immune response, and pain perception.
Unlike tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the psychoactive compound in cannabis, CBD does not directly bind to cannabinoid receptors in the ECS. Instead, it influences the system in more indirect ways. One of the primary mechanisms of CBD's action is its interaction with CB1 and CB2 receptors, albeit with a lower binding affinity than THC.
In addition to its interaction with cannabinoid receptors, CBD also engages with other non-cannabinoid receptors in the body. For instance, it acts as an agonist for serotonin receptors, particularly the 5-HT1A receptor, implicated in mood regulation and anxiety.
Furthermore, CBD has been found to affect the activity of transient receptor potential (TRP) channels, which play a crucial role in sensations such as pain, temperature, and inflammation.
When CBD is consumed orally, such as through capsules or edibles, it undergoes a process known as first-pass metabolism in the liver. During this process, CBD is metabolized by enzymes before it enters the bloodstream, which can impact its concentration and half-life.
On average, the half-life of orally consumed CBD is estimated to be around 1 to 2 days, meaning it takes approximately 1 to 2 days for the concentration of CBD to decrease by half in the body.
How is CBD Metabolized in the Body?
CBD, or cannabidiol, undergoes a process of metabolism in the body, primarily in the liver, before it is eliminated.
Once CBD is consumed, it is absorbed into the bloodstream and travels to the liver, undergoing various metabolic processes. The primary pathway of CBD metabolism is through enzymatic actions mediated by cytochrome P450 (CYP450) enzymes, specifically the CYP3A4 and CYP2C enzymes.
These enzymes play a crucial role in breaking CBD down into metabolites, which are further processed and eliminated from the body.
The specific metabolites produced during CBD metabolism can vary, and their potential effects on the body are still being studied. One of the primary metabolites identified is 7-hydroxy-CBD (7-OH-CBD), which is believed to possess some pharmacological activity but is generally present in lower concentrations than CBD.
These metabolites are then sent to the kidneys, where they will be excreted, but some CBD is stored in your fat cells as it is fat-soluble.
Factors Affecting CBD Metabolic Rate
Metabolism varies from person to person, influenced by genetic and physiological factors. Some individuals may have a faster metabolic rate, leading to more rapid breakdown and elimination of CBD from the body. Conversely, those with a slower metabolic rate may take longer to process and eliminate CBD.
Larger folks will have a larger distribution volume, which can affect CBD's concentration and duration in the bloodstream.
Method Of Consumption
CBD oil: This method allows for relatively fast absorption and higher bioavailability than oral consumption. As a result, CBD oil or tinctures taken sublingually may have a more immediate onset of effects and potentially a shorter duration of action.
CBD edibles: When consumed orally as an edible, it passes through the digestive system and undergoes first-pass metabolism in the liver before entering the bloodstream.
CBD vapes: Vaping CBD bypasses the liver's first-pass metabolism, resulting in higher bioavailability and faster onset of effects than oral consumption.
CBD topicals: When CBD lotions are applied topically, it primarily interacts with cannabinoid receptors in the local area, providing targeted effects.
Dosage / Strength
Higher doses or concentrations of CBD may require more metabolism time than lower doses. Additionally, frequent or chronic CBD use may accumulate CBD and its metabolites in the body, potentially affecting the metabolic rate over time.
Types of Cannabis Drug Screenings
These durations are only estimates and depend on factors such as body weight and metabolism.
Cannabinoids can be detectable for up to 15 days for frequent and heavy users. Moderate and light users might be undetectable sooner.
While THC can only be found around 5 hours after ingestion via a blood test, CBD can be detectable for up to a week.
The longest of all the methods, cannabinoids can be detectable in the hair follicle for up to three months.
The saliva test will show CBD about two to three days after each use.
The Final Verdict
There are many variables involved that will determine how long CBD stays in your system. Depending on your consumption method, the types of CBD products, and your unique physiology, it can remain in your hair follicle for up to three months, while your saliva will only test for two to three days.
Since CBD products contain trace amounts of THC, they will show up in a blood test. If you're worried about a positive test result for THC, you should err on the side of caution and give your body at least two weeks for a urine test and at least five days for a blood test. Learn more about drug testing and CBD here.