How Long Does CBD Last? Onset & Duration

Medically Reviewed by Johnelle Smith, M.D. on March 22, 2023

Cannabidiol (CBD) is an oil derived from hemp that has recently been marketed in oils, edibles, tinctures, and capsules. The method of ingesting CBD is the primary factor that affects how long the effects of CBD last.

How Long Does CBD Last?

How long cannabidiol (CBD) stays in your system depends on the dose, frequency of use, and the method of use.

Depending on these factors, the initial effects of CBD could take anywhere from a few minutes to a couple of hours to manifest, and there are similar variations in the duration of CBD’s effects.

These variations may also be affected by a multitude of additional factors that impact how long drugs last.

What Is CBD?

CBD is derived from a part of the cannabis plant (cannabis sativa) known as hemp. It typically contains 0.3% or less tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana.

CBD products are legally sold in some states depending on local laws, but they are not approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The only exception is the prescription Epidiolex.

As such, many CBD products are sold as unregulated supplements. They may claim to have health benefits or treat conditions like anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and chronic pain.

Unfortunately, without thorough research and standardized regulation, it is impossible to say whether any of these claims are true for a specific product.

How Long CBD Lasts By Method Of Ingestion

CBD has different onset times and lengths of duration depending on the method of ingestion.

Some forms of CBD take effect quickly and cause short-term effects, while others are slow-acting and produce prolonged effects.

In addition to the method of ingestion, factors like body weight, tolerance, and age may affect how long CBD lasts.

Vaping CBD

CBD can be inhaled using a vape pen. Vaping CBD is the fastest method of use and can take effect within minutes. The effects of vaping CBD oil usually last about half an hour.

CBD Tinctures

CBD oil tinctures or drops have the second fastest onset because they are absorbed under the tongue using a dropper, which allows them to bypass the digestive tract.

The onset of effects can take about half an hour, and they typically last two to four hours.

CBD Edibles

Unlike tinctures or drops, edibles, such as CBD gummies, have to go through the digestive system to be absorbed by the liver. This means onset could take as long as an hour.

However, the duration of an edible’s effects can last between four and six hours.

CBD Capsules

Capsules are also absorbed in the liver and take about 60 minutes to become effective. Like edibles, they can last about four to six hours.

CBD Topicals

Despite the similar onset, the duration of effects can differ between topicals. Topical oils last around five hours, but transdermal patches can last between 24 and 48 hours.

Topical uses of CBD can include:

  • oils
  • creams
  • lotions
  • salves
  • balms
  • transdermal patches

These methods get absorbed through the skin, and it can take two hours or more to begin taking effect.

How Does The Half-Life Of CBD Impact Duration?

Different methods of CBD ingestion can affect the concentrations found in your system. While the half-life of CBD does not change between different forms, higher concentrations will take more time to process.

The half-life of CBD is between one and two days depending on a person’s metabolism. As a result, CBD may be detectable for up to 12 days after the initial ingestion.

Can CBD Build Up In Your System?

Yes, CBD builds up in your fat cells, and that means that the frequency of use is as important as the amount of CBD when it comes to determining how long CBD stays in your system.

If you take repeated doses of CBD every day over some time, it will take longer for it to get out of your system.

How Does The Bioavailability Of CBD Impact Duration?

Bioavailability measures how much of a drug reaches its intended destination. CBD generally has very low bioavailability (about 6% when taken orally).

This means duration may not be as long or effective as it could be because so little has reached its intended destination.

Does CBD Show Up On A Drug Test?

No, CBD will not show up on a drug test result, but a person who uses CBD may test positive for THC metabolites on a drug test despite not using psychoactive marijuana products.

This scenario is possible because many full-spectrum CBD products contain other compounds that naturally occur in cannabis. This can include varying amounts of THC.

Even products that claim to be THC-free, like many broad-spectrum CBD products, may contain more THC than is legally allowed due to the lack of regulation.

Is CBD The Same As Marijuana?

CBD is not the same as marijuana. This distinction is difficult to make explicit because, in popular parlance, CBD, cannabis, and marijuana are often used interchangeably.

Think of it this way. Cannabis is an umbrella term that could include any of the 540 compounds found in the cannabis plant, including CBD and THC.

CBD Versus THC

The difference between CBD and THC has largely to do with the part of the plant from which they are derived.

The part of cannabis we refer to as marijuana has high THC content and is primarily responsible for the psychoactive effects it produces.

CBD is derived from the part of the plant referred to as hemp. The hemp plant contains less than 0.3% of THC and was removed from the Controlled Substances Act through a farm bill in 2018.

FAQs On How Long CBD Stays In Your System

If you want to know more about CBD, its effects, and how long it stays in your system, review the frequently asked questions below.

Like all other substances, the side effects of CBD will wear off with time. Your system will process CBD after you stop taking it and the accumulation of the drug wears off.

If you take more CBD, either in a single dose or through multiple doses, it will stay in your system longer because the compound builds in your system.

Regular or heavy CBD use will result in a longer period to expel the compound.

CBD interacts with the endocannabinoid system (ECS) in your brain by engaging ECS receptors that impact learning and memory.

This is why some people claim that CBD can help with medical conditions like anxiety and PTSD.

CBD is generally considered non-addictive. However, people who smoke marijuana for the benefits of CBD may develop a marijuana use disorder

Always get medical advice before trying a type of CBD product or a CBD extract. 

You can find treatment for an addiction to marijuana; however, you may not necessarily find CBD addiction treatment.

Find Treatment For Marijuana Addiction Today

If you are facing marijuana addiction you can get help today from an addiction treatment center near you.

Call our helpline today to learn more about how we can guide you or your loved one toward addiction treatment.

This page does not provide medical advice. See more

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Medically Reviewed by
Johnelle Smith, M.D. on March 22, 2023
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