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How long does CBD stay in your system?

CBD, or cannabidiol, is a naturally occurring cannabinoid that is extracted from the cannabis sativa plant. Studies have suggested when consumed, it can have many benefits, including reducing anxiety and improving sleep. Unlike its cousin cannabinoid, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) — the prime constituent of marijuana — CBD is not psychoactive. In other words, the compound does not get you high, while THC does.

Cannibidiol works by interacting with the endocannabinoid system, a regulatory network that maintains various bodily functions, including immune response, communication between cells and memory. Once absorbed, the substance goes to the liver and is metabolised into compounds that your cells can use. These metabolites then combine with a wide variety of receptors around the body, inducing the compound’s positive effects. 

There are two main methods of consumption for CBD. Oral ingestion (through the mouth and down the throat) or sublingual absorption (CBD oil droplets under the tongue). Keep in mind that the sublingual method allows CBD to be absorbed more efficiently than oral ingestion. This is important for later.

So, how long does the interaction between CBD metabolites and receptors last? Or, put in simpler terms, how long does CBD stay in your system? To understand that, we first need to explain the concept of ‘half-life’.

What is half-life?

Half-life is the time it takes for a compound to reduce to half its original effectiveness in the body, and can therefore be used as an indicator of how long a substance stays in a person’s system. In other words, it’s when the substance is at 50% of its original effectiveness in the body. 

It’s a term that is used throughout medicine, not just when looking at CBD, and is measured by checking blood plasma for traces of it at regular intervals. The amount of the compound’s metabolites in the plasma should increase, reach a summit, and then start to decline. Using this information, scientists can work out how long CBD stays in the body. You cannot do this yourself at home, but we can look at this scientific data to provide a general timeframe that applies to most people.

So, how long does CBD stay in your system?

It is difficult to say precisely how long it takes for a substance to be excreted in its entirety from someone’s body. However, a study by Consroe et al, was conducted to analyse the half-life of people taking CBD and was able to give a general, ball-park number. In the study, patients were given doses of 700mg of CBD per day for six weeks (which, by the way, is far more than a recommended dose). The scientists measured their blood at regular intervals, and gave an estimation of the half-life being roughly two to five days. According to this calculator, this means that it could take 10-25 days for CBD to be completely secreted from the body and its effectiveness level to be at 0%.

The reason for this varied estimation is because how long CBD stays in your system is affected by several biological factors, such as age, diet, gender and blood circulation. The way in which you consume CBD also affects this number. As a general rule, the more efficient the consumption method, the quicker CBD is processed— the faster CBD is absorbed, the sooner it leaves your system. As mentioned before, oral consumption is less efficient than sublingual. Therefore, CBD stays in your system longer if ingested through the mouth than it does when applied under the tongue.

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Will CBD show up in a drug test?

Drug tests do not check for CBD because it is not a controlled, illegal substance. Regardless, it is possible for people who use CBD to fail a drug test. This is because products that contain CBD may be contaminated with THC, or have improper labelling.

To avoid testing false-positive for THC on a drug test, make sure to only purchase CBD products from reliable sources. At Dragonfly we conduct a thorough testing of the CBD we use, removing all traces of THC. To prove the process is done effectively, we also release full lab reports of each batch.

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