A person in a white lab coat drips CBD oil into a bottle from the dropper, and a hemp plant and the chemical arrangement of CBD are both superimposed over the image

How Long Does CBD Stay in Your System?

Cannabidiol, or CBD, is increasingly available nowadays and more and more people are seeking it out to see if it works as part of their personal regimen. CBD popularity continues to grow and, as such, many who have previously been skeptical are beginning to think about trying it.

This skepticism has meant that people are wanting answers to questions such as “how long do the effects of CBD tend to last?” For someone who has not used CBD before, knowing the potential for its effects is an important determining factor before starting, and can help someone to decide if they think CBD will be right for them.

CBD and Half-Life

For those that want to know a little more about CBD and how it works in the body, it is important to learn about its half-life. A substance’s half-life is the time it takes for half of the initial dose of the substance to reduce by half in the body. 

A review of almost 800 CBD research papers has discovered that the half-life of CBD, when taken via oromucosal spray, was between one hour and 24 minutes and 10 hours and 53 minutes. When consumed regularly by mouth, the half-life was reportedly between two and five days. When taken intravenously, it was around 24 hours and finally, after smoking, the half-life was reported as around 31 hours.

Similarly, when it comes to drug research and pharmacology, experts talk about the concept of bioavailability. Bioavailability is defined as the amount of substance that enters the body’s bloodstream when consumed and therefore is able to have an effect on the user. For many substances, the bioavailability is very high. For example, if someone takes a vitamin C supplement, around 70 percent of the ingested supplement is readily absorbed and then metabolized in the body. 

However, CBD has a much lower bioavailability. With a CBD gummy, the body only tends to retain around 10 percent of the CBD within the gummy. For CBD tinctures and oils, the bioavailability is slightly higher, at around 30 percent absorption. But for those who have digestive complaints or enzymatic problems, their absorption will be even lower. 

As well as having a bioavailability that is quite low, CBD does not begin to work immediately. What’s more, different forms of CBD can last for different lengths of time. Someone who vapes CBD will experience a quicker effect, but this effect will also leave the system quickly too. Gummies will be slower to act and will last slightly longer.

Factors That Affect How Long CBD Lasts 

The manner in which you take CBD is one factor that affects its duration and effects, but it is not the only one. Many other factors can influence its impact. These include your body weight, some lifestyle choices, frequency of use, and the dosage. 

Body Weight

CBD is a fat-soluble compound.  This means that the body’s fat cells store CBD within them. Other fat-soluble substances include vitaminK and vitaminD, and like these, your body weight will affect CBD’s metabolization rate. 

Someone who is leaner and has a body fat percentage that is relatively low will find that the effects of CBD may not endure for as long as someone who has a higher percentage of body fat. Usually, those with more muscle mass than fat will have a higher metabolic rate. This means that their body processes substances such as CBD at a faster rate, therefore reducing how long its effects last.

Lifestyle Factors

A person’s activity level and lifestyle also affect how long substances like CBD last in the body. Someone who is active is more likely to process CBD at a quicker rate due to a faster metabolism. This results in its duration being reduced.

A young man drops CBD oil under his tongue while sitting outside on a park bench


How often someone uses CBD products will have an influence on its effects. With CBD, it is not likely that someone builds up a tolerance to the substance. In fact, theories suggest the reverse, with repeated use meaning you may begin to need less CBD than you did initially to feel its effects over a period of time. Researchers believe that CBD can increase the abundance of the body’s natural endocannabinoids. This means that your body adapts, and you begin to require less CBD to have the same result. However, in taking CBD frequently, this reverse tolerance could mean that you perceive that you’re feeling its effects for shorter amounts of time.


It is common sense that the more CBD oil that someone takes, the longer the body will take to process it. Consequently, the effects last longer. To begin with a CBD product, you should start with the lowest possible recommended dose until you establish how it will affect you. Taking it slowly is recommended.

How Long do the Effects of CBD Last?

To make things easier, we have created a chart for some of the typical forms of CBD to explain their usual onset time and the duration of their effects. 

CBD Oil Product

Effect Onset

Effect Duration

Inhalants (vape oils, juices, e-liquids)

A few minutes. Inhalants bypass digestion and are absorbed directly by the lungs.

30-60 minutes

CBD Gummies 

Up to one hour. Gummies need to pass through the body’s digestive system before absorption by the liver.

Four to six hours

CBD oil drops and tinctures

Up to half an hour. These bypass the body’s digestive system and go straight into the bloodstream through the skin under the tongue.

Two to four hours

CBD oil capsules

Up to one hour. The capsules pass through the body’s digestive system.

Four to six hours

CBD topicals

Up to two hours. The CBD is absorbed through the skin. This can be affected by fatty tissue under the skin or hair on it.

Usually, five hours plus

CBD transdermal patches

Hours before showing effects. This can be affected by fatty tissue under the skin and any hair on the skin. Some transdermal patches are specifically designed to release CBD slowly.

24 to 48 hours

The length of time that a person feels the effects of CBD is very specific and there are many factors at play when it comes to its duration. This is why it is recommended to start taking CBD at a low dose to see its effects before commencing a regular routine dose.

CBD Delivery Methods and Duration of Effects

There are many uses for CBD, as our bodies already naturally possess a mechanism for interacting with the compound. Our Endocannabinoid System is associated with regulation and control of many of our body’s critical bodily functions. This wide reach of the endocannabinoid system means that people come to CBD for a wide variety of reasons. Since each person’s intentions are different, as are their bodies, there is no one-size-fits-all for CBD. The most useful information, aside from your own empirical research, is what each type of product is, and roughly how long the effects will last according to product type.


CBD tinctures are a good way of ensuring a regular intake of CBD without much effort. Tinctures tend to work within an hour, and the effects can be sustained between four and eight hours. If the tincture is taken regularly, the effects are maintained and the CBD can saturate the fat stores in the body, meaning it lasts for a while and is released when the body needs it.


A woman pours CBD gummies into her hand

CBD Gummies can last for over eight hours, however, some other types of comestible CBD products may last for one or two days. But, as mentioned, gummies can take an hour or so to start to work and their bioavailability is quite low depending on whether the gummy has been infused or coated with CBD. Some consumers tend to mix up their CBD consumption by eating a gummy and then taking more while they wait for it to work.


Microdosing is the new kind on the block in the CBD world. This latest trend is quite simple. People continue to use the same brand and form of CBD oil that they already use, but benefit in the same way. However, The idea is that the perception of the quantity of CBD needed is enough to reap the benefits. In other words, microdosing is taking very small amounts to benefit from it whilst reducing any unwanted side effects.

Microdosing has been around for a while in homeopathy where the belief is that small amounts of a substance can stimulate the body to produce an increased amount of a natural substance that would have the same effect. 

This technique often works and is preferred by many because it is a more natural option rather than taking higher doses of pharmaceutical drugs. Microdosing effects only tend to last between one and three hours, which is why it is so important to keep consistently microdosing to reap its benefits.

By microdosing with CBD oil, it is possible to see the results over a sustained period of time as well as help the body to produce its own natural cannabinoids to have similar, encouraging effects. 

Longer Than Expected CBD Effects

As implied above, microdosing with CBD or taking CBD regularly can help stimulate the body’s endocannabinoid system, meaning the body produces more endocannabinoids long after the CBD dose has dissipated. This effect can endure for weeks or months. 

What Does Taking CBD Feel Like?

A hemp leaf dipped in CBD oil, dripping into a dark glass tincture bottle

Before knowing how CBD feels, it is important to understand that CBD will likely feel different to each user. Many of its effects can be achieved with consistent use. 

CBD products that are hemp-based do not contain much THC (less than 0.3% by federal law). The effects, therefore, are more subtle, and there is no “high” that users of THC products (such as marijuana smokers) tend to feel. CBD establishes endocannabinoid pathways in the body, but these pathways can take days or weeks to develop. However, once established, a person begins to feel the effects more quickly. 

Some people who take CBD for conditions such as inflammation and pain have subsequently reported benefiting from its effects in just 30 minutes. However, for those taking CBD products for stress or anxiety, the positive feelings can take a little longer to recognize, but many attest to feeling calmer afterward.

Does CBD Give a Positive on a Drug Test Result?

There is plenty of research out there into the safety of CBD products. Largely, the research shows that CBD products such as oils, tinctures and topicals are very safe to use. Every CBD user’s needs are unique, and this means that people will react differently.

Whilst it is important to check the laws in your country or state, generally speaking, CBD products that are derived from hemp and therefore contain less than 0.3% THC are legal in many places. In the U.S., they are legal on a federal level, but some state laws still forbid them. CBD products that are derived from marijuana  are illegal on a federal level, but are also legal under some state laws. As such, before buying, using, or traveling with CBD products, always check the individual laws in your location.

Even if you are not taking CBD at all, it's possible for a drug test to throw a false positive. Having said that, the safest bet would be to use CBD isolate if you are concerned about drug tests. However, if it's a matter of potentially losing your job, you may want to skip it all together, or speak to your employer about the testing protocols so that they can do their due diligence keeping company standards and you can keep up with your personal wellness plan.

The Takeaway

A young man chooses from an array of CBD products on a shelf in his house

In sum, with CBD being widely available, it is understandable that you many want to know how long the effects of CBD will last. As explained above, the effects of CBD products depend on the type of CBD consumed and also depend on the person and their biological make-up. It’s important to try it out and see what works best for you in terms of dosage and type, being sure to give yourself time to test out the various possibilities.