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Determining How Long CBD Stays in Your System


With CBD exploding in popularity lately, perhaps you’ve become aware of the potential benefits of CBD on the body and eagerly want to try it out for yourself. When it comes to starting CBD for the first time, it’s normal to ask questions like:

  1. How long does it take for CBD oil to be effective?
  2. How long does CBD stay in your system? or
  3. Is CBD detectable in urine?

We answer these questions here to help you on your CBD journey!

How Long Does CBD Oil Take to be Effective?

The time it takes for you to start feeling the therapeutic effects of CBD coming on depends primarily on how you’ve taken it. CBD’s many forms of application all have different times of onset. Listed below are popular methods of consumption, from the shortest onset time to the longest.

CBD Modes of Delivery 

  • Inhalation (smoke or vape)
  • Sublingual (tinctures)
  • Topical (creams, lotions, or even bath bombs) 
  • Ingestion (edibles such as gummies or CBD capsules)


Inhalation, whether through smoking or vaping, has an extremely quick absorption time. When smoked or vaped, cannabinoids including CBD are sent straight to the lungs, then enter rapidly into the bloodstream. Peak levels of CBD are in effect in as little as 3 minutes, making inhalation an effective mode of delivery for CBD.  


A sublingual application involves applying CBD oil directly under the tongue and holding for around 30 seconds before swallowing. Holding the CBD oil before swallowing allows the CBD to be absorbed through the mucous membranes of the mouth. This method of consumption enters the bloodstream more quickly as it bypasses both the digestive system and liver. You can start feeling the effects of CBD oil within 15-30 minutes of a sublingual application.


The skin has a strong capability to respond and interact with cannabinoids. Topical applications of CBD where it is applied directly onto the skin has peak effects around 90 minutes. While it has a longer onset time, the effects of topically applied CBD last for at least 5 hours. Some of CBD’s skin benefits include reducing pain as a result of inflammation, muscle spasms, acne, and even eczema. Topical applications of CBD lotions such as Calyx’s Smooth (600mg of hemp-derived CBD) and Smooth+ (1200mg of CBD) are particularly helpful when you are looking for a CBD product to provide relief for targeted areas of pain (such as arthritis pain), skin inflammation such as eczema or acne, and for optimal skin nourishment. 


With an abundance of edible CBD products such as brownies, cookies, and gummies, ingestion is an extremely popular method of CBD consumption. This delicious way of consuming your CBD won’t enter your bloodstream right away (as with inhalation), rather, it’ll be first sent to your digestive system and then metabolized by the liver. After passing through the gut, the CBD moves on to the liver where through the first-pass effect, the CBD is filtered and then enters the bloodstream, allowing you to feel its effects. This lengthy process will usually take at least 1-2 hours.  

However, the way you take your CBD isn’t the only factor in knowing how long CBD takes to be effective. Dosage, quality, and your own specific body all play a part. These factors are also the same factors that determine how long CBD stays in your system. 

How Long Is CBD in Your Body?

How long CBD stays in your system depends on your body composition, whether or not you’ve eaten, the frequency of dosage, and the mode of delivery. The mean half-life of CBD has been reported as 1 hour to 5 days depending on dose and mode of delivery. As a general rule of thumb, CBD can be fully metabolized by your body within a week. Those with a higher body fat percentage or a higher frequency of use may have CBD stay longer in their body. 

Body Composition: Fat vs. Muscle

Differences in body composition (body fat percentage to muscle), metabolism, and elimination from kidneys (through urine) affect how long CBD stays in your system. Cannabinoids including CBD are fat-soluble compounds that build up in fatty tissue and are released gradually by your endocannabinoid system. This means that the higher body fat percentage you have, the longer CBD can be detectable in your system. 

Fed vs. Fasted State

Animal studies have shown a 3 to 6-fold increase of bioavailable CBD when oral CBD was administered with a type of fat such as sesame oil. Further, another study reported an increase in bioavailable CBD in fed vs. fasted states in humans. A fed state allows for better absorption, while also lengthening the time CBD will be in your body. So if you have taken your CBD on an empty stomach, it will clear out quicker. 

Occasional vs. Regular Use

As discussed earlier, CBD can accumulate in the body. This affects how long it will stay in your system. Occasional users will have CBD eliminated faster while regular users will have CBD around for longer in their body. The type of CBD you use also matters. For example, do you solely use a pure CBD product, or do you also smoke cannabis which also includes THC and other metabolites? A higher dose will also stay longer in your system.

Is CBD Detectable in Urine?

Cannabis and its metabolites are detectable in fluids such as saliva and urine. Cannabis can be detectable in urine tests for 1-5 days, with up to 15 days for chronic users. Since THC is what is responsible for psychoactive effects, most drug tests only look for the THC compound. CBD oil derived from the hemp plant contains a maximum of 0.3% THC and does not produce the “high” effect. The best way to make sure you are getting a high-quality CBD product is to look for a CBD isolate, rather than a full-spectrum oil.  

Final Thoughts

While the method of application plays a critical role in how long it will take for you to feel the effects of CBD, it is not the only factor. Smoking, vaping, or sublingual application of CBD have the quickest onset time, and topical or ingested applications have longer times. Taking CBD oil with fat or food helps for better absorption and allows the CBD to stay in your system for longer. How long CBD stays in your system depends on you and your body—whether or not you have more fat on your body, your frequency of use, and whether or not you take CBD on an empty stomach. CBD can be detectable in urine, so it’s best to get a high quality, hemp-derived CBD oil to ensure what you’re taking.

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