To date, CBD (“cannabidiol” in long-form) is the single most potent cannabis compound that researchers have isolated to research its potential health benefits.
Here, we will cover how long it takes to experience the multiple potentially beneficial mental and physical health effects of CBD, how long they last, and the timeframe that CBD remains in the system.
How Long Until Users Feel the Effects of CBD?
First of all, let’s note at the outset that each human body is different in terms of its physiology. Accordingly, the length of time it takes for the effects of CBD to accrue will vary from person to person. The factors that influence how fast CBD works are:
- Type of CBD (delivery method)
- Body composition (body fat) and individual metabolism
The most important of these is the delivery method. CBD can be consumed in the following ways with different correlating timeframes to become active in the bloodstream:
- Inhalation (smoking or vaping). Straight to the lungs and into the bloodstream, this is by far the fastest method of CBD consumption; effects begin to appear within 3 minutes and peak between 15-30 minutes after inhalation.
- Sublingual. In this delivery method (as exemplified by Smypleaf CBD tinctures), the CBD is applied under the tongue (“sub” meaning “under” and “lingual” meaning “tongue”) where it is absorbed relatively rapidly. Sublingual tinctures require about 15-30 minutes to begin to take effect.
- Ingestion. Edible CBD products like Sympleaf CBD gummies generally take the longest of any method (1 to 2 hours) to work because the materials must pass through your body’s digestive process. Also, CBD taken in through ingestion goes through the “first pass effect” in which a large portion of the CBD never actually reaches the bloodstream. For this reason, ingestion is the least efficient method of CBD consumption.
- Topical. When CBD is administered to the skin (via Sympleleaf lotions, creams, salves, for example), it usually takes about 90 minutes to become active.
Once CBD has entered the bloodstream and connected with the various receptors of the endocannabinoid system to exert its potent health benefits, its effects generally last 2-6 hours.
How Long Does CBD Stay in the System and Will It Show Up on a Drug Test?
CBD can remain in the system for approximately 2-5 days. In extreme cases, CBD is detectable in urine for up to 2 weeks following cessation of use.
Employers, schools, and other entities sometimes require drug tests that include screenings for THC (not to be confused with CBD), the compound in cannabis that causes the “high” associated with recreational cannabis use.
Naturally, many newcomers to the world of CBD wonder if their medicinal CBD will trigger a “positive” on a urine test for THC.
The short answer is: no. Per the 2018 US Farm Bill that essentially legalized CBD across the entire country, CBD products can legally contain no more than 0.3% THC – a concentration so minimal that it is virtually impossible to detect through a drug screening.
The only snag here is that some unregulated CBD products produced by shady manufacturers may not conform to the federal limits on THC content. In theory, they could trigger a positive test result.
Among other reasons, this is why always sourcing your CBD from the highest-quality producers who carefully screen their products for THC content is critical.