Those who take hemp-based wellness supplements on a regular basis may wonder just how long does CBD stay in your system? Because they are lipophilic (fat-loving) compounds, all cannabinoids—including CBD—are dissolved in your body’s fat tissues (as they don’t mix well with water).
When asking how long CBD stays in your system, there are two possible answers. The first asks how long CBD affects your brain and nervous system. The second deals with how long cannabinoids remain present in your body’s fat stores.
Let’s take a look at how CBD is processed and metabolised by your body.
Your Body’s Endocannabinoid System
In the past few decades, scientists have made advances in the study of what is known as the endocannabinoid system (ECS). Up until the 1990s, there was no knowledge of this system, leaving a lot of mystery around cannabis and its powerful effects.
As it turns out, all mammals have an ECS. In fact, it may be one of our oldest evolutionary mechanisms, helping our bodies regulate sleep, mood, inflammation, and appetite. The ECS affects organs and systems all throughout the body, and it has the power to regenerate cells and curb harmful growth.
Because it is such a new science, not much is known about what CBD actually does. Aside from its recent approval for the treatment of severe epilepsy, there aren’t any major medical applications involving cannabinoids. However, there are some things we do know.
Charting a Course through Your Body
The ECS works like most other systems in your body: it signals the need for hormone production, causing the brain to send out certain chemicals, get some rebuilding work done, then wash it all out with enzymes once the process is over.
What CBD does is keep those enzymes from stopping the process as soon as they normally would. This allows your brain to continue producing its endocannabinoids and giving you the boost that we associate with hemp oil products.
So, How Long Does It Last?
Putting a time limit on how long CBD will last is a tricky ordeal. The truth is that each person will metabolise the compound in their own unique way, so no two people will have the same experience.
On top of that, each method of delivery will have a different effect. Vaping CBD, for example, is metabolised and spent much more quickly than with taking it in gummy form. That’s because the lungs have a far more fast and efficient network of capillaries to get nutrients into the bloodstream.
Below, we’ll list out some very general, non-specific timelines of how long you may be able to feel CBD in your system. Keep in mind, these are just estimates. Only you can know how your body deals with these compounds.
Depending on the method of delivery, CBD may last as long as:
Again, this isn’t a science. Some people have much longer reactions with CBD depending on their weight and BMI. Others have almost no reaction at all, whether that’s through tolerance or just a difference in brain chemistry.
Shortening the Effects through Tolerance
The key to an effective CBD experience is knowing just the right amount to take for your body type. Less is more, making it important for you to find a good vendor with quality products. While most CBD products will contain what they claim to, low-quality products will be missing other key components that can enhance the experience.
If you buy poor quality CBD, odds are you will have to take more if you want your body to respond. This can lead to your brain adjusting its chemistry in the short term—a reaction called tolerance.
By taking too much CBD, your brain may respond by requiring more and more CBD before it gets to work. Over time, your dose increases, and you’re spending more money for less of a benefit. Thankfully, the solution is simple: stop taking CBD for a couple of days.
Taking a break will help your brain reset and get back to where it was before the tolerance kicked in. This isn’t the case with all drugs, of course, but it is with CBD. However, the best way to avoid this issue is to buy high-quality products and stick with a moderate dose.
How Long Does CBD Stay in the Body?
Now that we’ve gone over how long CBD works in the brain, the next question is how long does the residual material remains in the fat stores. After the compound has worn off and is no longer actively affecting your body’s systems, enzymes come in and stop the process, resulting in waste material that simply has to break down and leave the body.
As mentioned earlier, cannabinoids are lipophilic. They are attracted to fat and have the easiest time breaking down there. Once their active components wear off, the remaining material can be found in the fat cells for the next few days up to even a month afterward.
Does CBD Show Up on a Drug Test?
Thankfully, drug tests are not designed to test for any cannabinoids except THC—the only psychoactive component in cannabis. Even though all hemp-based products (like CBD oil) will contain some THC, it isn’t enough to make you fail a marijuana drug test. However, some supplements contain more than trace amounts of THC. While they generally don’t contain enough to pose a problem, it is possible.
Full spectrum hemp oils are the most likely to show up on a drug test. These supplements are unfiltered so that more of the plant matter remains intact. While there’s usually no more than around 2% THC present, it might be a little too close for comfort.
Broad spectrum supplements, on the other hand, only contain trace amounts of THC. Still, labels can be confusing. If you want to be sure, check the lab report.
Proof of a Quality Product
Lab reports are the undisputed best method for verifying exactly what is in your CBD supplement. These are documents from third-party science labs that take a sample of the product in question and provide important information about its contents.
These reports tell you not only how much CBD and other cannabinoids are present in your supplement (including THC), but also whether there are other toxins like synthetic pesticides and fertilisers. Reading a lab report can help you feel more confident about the effectiveness of a product.
So, How Long Does CBD Stay in Your System?
If your vendor can’t provide a lab report for the product you’re about to buy, shop somewhere else. As there’s already very little regulation on CBD products, lab reports are one of the only ways to know whether or not a vendor’s products will do what they claim to.
Quality products will work better, and you’ll end up spending less per dose.
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