Given the upward trend of CBD oil use and the seemingly increasing sophistication of cannabinoid drug tests that screen for THC and its metabolites, some people are starting to wonder – “how long does CBD stay in your system?”
It may sound crazy given the fact that CBD causes no high whatsoever (and, according to the World Health Organization, is a “safe and well-tolerable substance with no adverse health effects”), but believe it or not, some people have tested positive for THC metabolites after taking nothing but full-spectrum, non-psychoactive CBD oils. And of course, many of them have subsequently felt the consequences in terms of a lost job, a parole violation, etc.
To be fair, though, all full-spectrum CBD oils on the market will contain trace amounts of THC. The federal legal THC limit for industrial hemp (which most legal CBD oils are made from) is 0.3%, but even at these levels (and even with an average daily dose), it is entirely possible to fail a drug test — all quality CBD oil sellers should be disclaiming this on their website. (Though be advised that there is a difference between full-spectrum CBD and CBD isolate, which is 100% THC-free).
In any regard, if you’ve got an upcoming drug test (or perhaps if you’re just plain curious), it may be worthwhile to know just how long CBD stays in your system for.
In this article, we get right down to it and try to answer this question for you. Though be advised that there is very, very little reliable data on the matter, so even though we’ve thoroughly researched, we are still doing our best to make sense of this all.
First Things First: Do Marijuana Drug Tests Screen for CBD?
To be clear, the majority of drug screenings that test for the use of marijuana do not look for the presence of CBD – or any of its metabolites. Rather, what most employers are really looking for is the presence of THC (the psychoactive compound of marijuana) in your blood, urine, saliva, or hair.
However, as we mentioned, there have been people in the past that have tested positive for the presence of THC metabolites, even though they had been taking nothing but CBD oil (and in some cases, people have failed drug tests even after abstaining from CBD oil for a couple of weeks).
If you know you’ve got an upcoming marijuana drug test and you know that the test will be scanning for the presence of cannabinoids, it may be crucial to know just how long CBD stays in your system for – even if you’ve been taking a 100% legal, hemp-based CBD oil (such as this one).
And on a relative side note, if you’re unsure what exactly your upcoming drug test will be scanning for, we have heard (though have not fact-checked) that you are within your rights to anonymously call either the employer or the drug test company (or both) and ask them outright.
Preparing for the Test: How Long Does CBD Stay in Your System For?
As we’ve mentioned, there is little reliable data out there that shows exactly how long CBD stays in your system for. If you’ve been taking a full-spectrum CBD oil and are concerned about an upcoming drug test, however, it’s not the CBD that you need to be concerned about – it’s the trace amounts of THC in the full-spectrum tincture.
As such, what you need to do is determine how long THC stays in your system, and treat the situation as if you’ve been using actual marijuana (in other words, marijuana with usual amounts of THC).
If you are, in fact, interested to know how long CBD stays in your system for, the most reliable information probably comes from a 2014 publication in the scientific journal Epilepsy Currents. In the study, it was claimed that the half life of CBD after a single dose when taken orally is “about 1 to 2 days.”
What does this mean, exactly? The half-life of a drug compound is defined (by the University of Nottingham School of Health Sciences) as the “period of time required for the concentration [of a drug] in the body to be reduced by one-half.”
So for instance, if you took a single 20 mg dose of CBD orally, according to this data you would have approximately 10 mg in your body after 1 to 2 days. But what does this mean in terms of a drug test?
Well, it’s estimated by most accounts (see reference studies below) that drugs reach their “steady state” (i.e. the point in which the compound is effectively eliminated from the body) after 4-5 half lives. This may seem to imply a very simple calculation in terms of exactly how long it would take for a drug to become undetectable by a drug test, but in fact the calculation can get very, very complex when you take into consideration certain variables, such as the frequency that the drug was taken, the metabolism of the individual in question, their sex, age, weight, etc.
Another study, published May 2012 in the journal Pharmaceuticals, claimed a bit longer of a half-life for CBD in terms of how long it remains detectable in humans. It found the magic number to be between 18 and 33 hours for IV administration, between 27 and 35 hours for smoking, and between 2 to 5 days for oral administration.
As you can see, it appears that for a CBD oil administered orally to be completely eliminated from the system, you are looking at a minimum of 4 days and a maximum of 25 days. Yes, we realize this a pretty radical swing, but all things considered, it’s the best information that anybody has to go off of.
How Long Does CBD Stay in Your System? One Study Seems to Show Not Very Long…
With the above-mentioned numbers in mind, it seems (according to one study at least) that the length of time CBD stays in your system leans more towards the former rather than the latter (in other words, more towards the 4-day mark than the 25-day mark).
The study in question was carried out in 1991 and published in the journal Pharmacology, Biochemistry, and Behavior. It monitored CBD blood plasma levels among 14 Huntington’s Disease patients that were given 700 mg/day doses of CBD for a total of 6 weeks.
After the 6-week period was over, blood plasma CBD levels averaged at just 1.5 ng/ml among the 14 test subjects in the week immediately following administration of the compound. After this first week, the CBD levels were “virtually undetectable.”
As such, the study concluded the “elimination half-life” for CBD to be between 2 and 5 days, with no apparent distinguishment between genders.
How Long Does CBD Stay in Your System: Final Thoughts
Again, if you are concerned about failing a drug test after taking full-spectrum CBD oil for a consistent period of time, it is actually the trace THC metabolites that you most likely have to worry about — not CBD. (There have, however, been some studies showing that even pure CBD can break down into THC in the stomach, but this is speculative in terms of the effects it might have on a drug test).
All in all, if you are really concerned about an upcoming drug test, there are certain measures you can take to help improve your risk of passing – even if you’ve smoked weed or taken CBD as early as the day before the test.
And lastly, if you did in fact come to this article with the hopes of answering the question “how long does CBD stay in your system,” hopefully we were able to provide some good insight and valuable information!
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