Can CBD show up on a drug test?
by Taylor Hogan
Some people are hesitant about using CBD for fear of failing a drug test alongside general concerns that come from stigmas surrounding the world of cannabis. In this article, we’ll dig into the details of CBD to further examine how long it stays in your system and what factors can influence its presence in your body.
As a non-psychoactive compound found in the hemp plant, CBD can remain in your system for a few days or a few weeks. The actual answer of how long CBD stays in your body, and whether it can show up on a drug test is based on a number of factors.
How long does CBD stay in your system?
CBD, or cannabidiol, will typically remain in your body for at least 2-5 days, but it may be longer. Research shows that different factors influence how long CBD stays in your system. Keep reading to learn what those factors are so you know what to expect from your body.
Factors that influence the presence of CBD
The amount of time CBD will remain in your system is dependent upon several factors. Here are the ones you need to know.
Your metabolism is, by and large, the most important factor that will influence how long CBD stays in your system. Your metabolism refers to the process of converting food into energy as a means of allowing your body to function. Those with a fast metabolism will use calories quickly while those with a slower metabolism won’t.
When you consume CBD, your body will metabolize it until any remaining chemicals are removed as waste. As a result, the efficiency of your metabolism will determine how long it remains in your system.
Whether or not you consume CBD on an empty stomach is also a factor. Research indicates that consuming CBD with certain foods containing high amounts of fat may lead to an increase in the CBD concentration in your body. This includes foods like:
- Whole eggs
- Nuts and seeds
2. Frequency of use
How often you use CBD will influence how long it remains in your system. For instance, those who use CBD frequently or take a daily dose of CBD will have higher CBD levels in the body. When consuming CBD in any form, be sure to review the product packaging for further instructions. Though research suggests consuming high doses of CBD is well-tolerated in humans, it’s always best to follow manufacturer guidelines.
The amount of CBD you take at a time will influence the amount of time cannabinoids remain in the body. A higher dose is more likely to show up during drug testing.
When consuming CBD, be sure to review the concentration on the product packaging. It will be measured in milligrams (mg). For instance, if a bottle of CBD oil has a concentration of 1,000mg and contains 30ml of oil, each 1ml will contain 33mg of CBD (1000mg/30ml = 33mg/ml).
4. CBD methods of consumption
CBD can be consumed by ingesting, smoking, vaping, or applying it to the skin as a topical cream or lotion. The method of consumption will determine how long it takes for your body to process the CBD and how long it will remain in your system.
You can eat CBD as part of food, like CBD edibles or CBD gummies. Though this method is easy to administer, it's the least efficient because it takes the body so long to digest and process CBD before it can finally help you. By the time it passes through your digestive system, only 5% of CBD will have entered the bloodstream.
A popular and highly effective consumption option involves using a dropper to place a few drops of CBD tincture under the tongue and holding it in your mouth for 2-4 minutes. Also known as sublingual consumption, this is considered the most effective means of consuming CBD since it bypasses the digestive system and reaches your bloodstream faster.
Topicals come in the form of creams, salves, lotions, and other wellness products. Topicals that contain CBD are applied to the skin where they're absorbed. This option allows CBD to pass through your skin and muscular barriers. Since this must pass through your skin before entering your bloodstream, it is less likely that it will appear on a drug test.
CBD extract options
CBD is extracted from the plant in a variety of ways, and the ingredients in CBD products will vary based on which extraction method is used. For instance, CBD may be present in your system alongside other cannabinoids depending on the extract you choose to consume. Let's take a closer look at the primary extract options below.
Full spectrum CBD
Full spectrum CBD contains all of the natural cannabinoids that are found in the hemp plant, one of which may be THC. All hemp-derived CBD must contain less than 0.3% THC. Keep in mind that any trace amount of THC in the human body can potentially be detected during a drug screening, so full spectrum CBD may produce a false positive result.
Of the many CBD products that exist, full spectrum CBD is considered the most effective. It contains other cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids that encourage the entourage effect, meaning that the restorative benefits of the whole plant are greater than the sum of its parts. Full spectrum hemp CBD is also purely extracted and minimally refined to leave most of the hemp plant intact.
CBD isolate is a refined product that “isolates” the CBD molecule to create a processed version of the hemp extract. A CBD isolate doesn’t contain any of the other natural compounds found in a hemp plant and typically has no taste since it doesn’t contain terpenes. Some people might choose a CBD isolate to ensure there’s no THC in their product, but a drawback is that you don’t get the full synergistic benefits that come when all of the compounds work together.
Broad-spectrum CBD combines aspects of CBD isolate and full spectrum CBD. It contains many of the cannabinoids you'd find in the hemp plant, but most of the THC has been removed during the extraction process. It’s therefore a more refined product than full spectrum CBD.
Research on how long CBD can stay in your system
Multiple studies have been conducted that seek to determine how long CBD will stay in your system. For instance, one 2005 study found that CBD was only detectable in the blood up to six hours after consumption.
A study published in “Pharmacology Biochemistry & Behavior” found that individuals suffering from Huntington's disease who were administered a daily dose of CBD for six weeks could not be detected for CBD use after one week of dosing. The same study found the half-life of CBD is 2-5 days. The half-life is how long it takes for CBD levels to drop to half of their original values, so CBD may still be in your system after this period.
Will CBD appear on a drug test?
Most drug tests screen for “marijuana compounds” without distinguishing the various cannabinoids that make up the cannabis plant. This includes THC, but it can also include a variety of other compounds such as CBD, CBN, and CBG.
Due to the nature of the extraction process, CBD products could contain trace amounts of THC, though these legally can’t contain more than 0.3% THC. While CBD shouldn’t show up on a drug test, on rare occasions, it can. This happens more often at high doses for regular users. If you work in a sensitive work environment, consider speaking to your employer before starting on your CBD journey. Becoming more educated about CBD and collecting the right resources is also a good place to start.
CBD is a cannabinoid that will spend some time in your body once you’ve consumed it. Factors that include frequency of use, dosage, consumption methods, and your metabolism will influence how long CBD stays in your system. Generally speaking, we can say that CBD will remain in your body for at least 2-5 days, but you would be wise to give it at least two weeks, just in case. Take some time to learn more about the different CBD extraction methods to better understand how CBD can best serve you.
Mentioned In This Article
Full-Spectrum Hemp CBD Oil