CBD, or cannabidiol, is a popular compound derived from the cannabis plant, known for its potential therapeutic benefits without the psychotropic effects associated with THC. One common question among CBD users is, “how long does CBD stay in your system?”

The answer varies depending on several factors, including dosage, frequency of use, body composition, diet, and the method of consumption. Typically, CBD stays in the body for two to five days, but this range can differ significantly from person to person.

Factors Affecting CBD Retention in the Body

1. Dosage

The amount of CBD you consume plays a significant role in how long it remains in your system. Generally, the higher the dosage, the longer it will take for your body to process and eliminate it. For beginners, it is often recommended to start with a low dosage of 10-20mg, gradually increasing until the desired effect is felt. Everyone has a ‘sweet spot’ where dosage is optimal, but this is differ for everyone.

CBD is stored in fat cells due to its fat-soluble nature. This means that if you consume larger doses, the CBD can accumulate in your fatty tissues and be released more slowly over time.

As a result, people who take higher doses of CBD may find that it stays in their system for longer periods compared to those who take smaller doses.

2. Frequency of Consumption

How often you take CBD can also affect its duration in your system. Regular, consistent use leads to a build-up of the compound in your body, extending the time it remains detectable. Conversely, if you use CBD sporadically, it will be cleared from your system more quickly. For those who take CBD daily, it could take longer for the effects to diminish and for the compound to be fully eliminated.

Frequent use of CBD leads to what is known as a “cumulative effect.” This accumulation can prolong the time it takes for the CBD to be completely metabolized and eliminated from your body.

Therefore, individuals who use CBD daily as part of their wellness routine may experience longer retention times than those who use it occasionally.

Man and woman using CCELL batteries

3. Body Composition

Individual differences in body composition, such as body mass index (BMI), water content, and metabolism, significantly influence how long CBD stays in your system. For instance, a person with a higher metabolism will process and eliminate CBD faster than someone with a slower metabolic rate. Similarly, those with a higher body fat percentage may retain CBD longer, as the compound is fat-soluble and stored in fat cells.

Additionally, factors such as age, overall health, and genetic makeup can also influence how your body processes and retains CBD.

4. Diet

Your eating habits also impact CBD retention. Consuming CBD on an empty stomach leads to quicker metabolism and elimination. Taking it after a substantial meal can slow down its digestion and prolong its presence in the body. This is because the digestive process is slower when your stomach is full, allowing CBD to be absorbed more gradually.

The type of food you consume along with CBD can also affect its absorption and metabolism. Foods that are high in fat can enhance the bioavailability of CBD. This means a greater amount of the compound is absorbed into your bloodstream. This can result in more pronounced effects and potentially longer retention times.

5. Route of Administration

The method of CBD consumption greatly affects how long it stays in your system. Different methods of intake lead to different absorption rates and durations:


When taken sublingually (under the tongue), CBD oil is absorbed directly into the bloodstream through the capillaries. This method usually takes effect within 15 to 60 minutes and can stay in your system for 11 to 28 days. Importantly, this time range, as with all kinds of CBD products, is greatly affected by the other factors explored above.

The rapid absorption through the mucous membranes under the tongue allows for quicker onset and efficient delivery to the bloodstream. However, because the compound is stored in fat cells, its release into the system can be prolonged.

a tub of 1200mg orange county gummy bears being poured into someones hand with the sun shining and grass in the background

Oral CBD Products

Oral CBD products, such as capsules, drinks, and gummies, need to pass through the digestive system. This results in a delayed onset of effects (typically 30 minutes to an hour or more) and a reduced concentration of CBD in the bloodstream.

These products can stay in your system for a longer period, though still ranging between between 11 and 28 days. The digestion and metabolism process affects the bioavailability and retention time of CBD, often leading to sustained release and prolonged effects.

Oral CBD products are convenient for maintaining consistent CBD levels in the body. They go through first-pass metabolism in the liver, which can reduce the amount of CBD that reaches the bloodstream but extends the duration it stays in your system.

Topical CBD

Topical CBD products are applied directly to the skin and are absorbed through the epidermis. This method is primarily used for localized relief, targeting specific areas of the body. Since topical CBD does not enter the bloodstream, its effects are usually confined to the area of application and do not produce systemic effects.

Topical CBD is often used for muscle aches, joint pain, and skin conditions. The duration of effects can vary based on the concentration of CBD in the product and the severity of the condition being treated. Typically, the effects of topical CBD can be felt within 15 to 45 minutes and can last for several hours.

However, since it does not enter the bloodstream, the duration CBD stays in your system through topical application is minimal compared to other methods.

Inhaled CBD

Inhaling CBD, whether through vaping or smoking, allows the compound to enter the bloodstream almost immediately through the lungs. This method provides the fastest onset of effects, often within minutes, and the highest bioavailability. However, the effects are typically shorter-lived compared to other methods, lasting about one to three hours.

Inhalation is preferred by users seeking rapid relief from acute symptoms such as anxiety, pain, or nausea. The fast absorption and high bioavailability make it an efficient method for delivering CBD to the system. However, the duration CBD stays in your system when inhaled is shorter. Therefore it needs to be consumed more frequently to maintain its effects.

The Goods Forbidden Fruit flavoured CBD Disposable Vape Pen lying on gronud with "get your head in the clouds" written on the black packaging

More on CBD and Metabolism

How Long Does It Take for CBD to Work?

The time it takes for CBD to work is affected by the metabolic process in the same way that retention is. Generally, sublingual CBD oil is absorbed the quickest, within 15 to 60 minutes. Edibles and capsules take longer, usually between 30 minutes to an hour, due to the need to pass through the digestive system.

However, this is only a rough estimate, and timing can be influenced by your body’s unique characteristics. Once again, individuals with faster metabolisms may experience quicker effects. Those with slower metabolisms might take longer to feel the impact. Additionally, factors such as the presence of food in the stomach, the type of food, and the specific CBD product can all play a role in how quickly CBD takes effect.

CBD and Drug Tests

CBD itself is unlikely to show up in standard drug tests, which typically screen for THC. However, some CBD products contain trace amounts of THC, which can be detected. To avoid the risk of testing positive for THC, choose CBD isolate or broad-spectrum products. These contain only CBD and other minor cannabinoids, whereas full-spectrum products may contain small amounts of THC.

If you do prefer a full spectrum product, then ensure to bear in mind the different factors discussed above to ensure no CBD or trace amounts of THC are left in your system for your test.


The duration CBD stays in your system varies based on several factors, including dosage, frequency of use, body composition, diet, and method of consumption. While the typical range is two to five days, individual differences can extend or shorten this period. Understanding these factors can help you make informed decisions about your CBD use and how it fits into your lifestyle. Always choose reputable CBD products and consult with a healthcare provider to ensure safe and effective use.

If you are new to CBD, it’s essential to start with a lower dosage and gradually adjust based on your body’s response. This approach helps you achieve the desired effects while minimizing the risk of adverse reactions.

As the popularity of CBD continues to grow, ongoing research and advancements in product formulations will likely provide more insights into its pharmacokinetics and optimal usage. Staying informed and choosing high-quality, tested products will ensure you get the most out of your CBD experience while maintaining your overall health and well-being.

Want to know more about CBD?

If you’ve enjoyed this cannabinoids guide you may like to read more about the science of CBD. Here are some of our most popular posts on Learning CBD specifically around cannabinoids.

Alternatively check out our other blog categories to learn all about – Using CBD | Buying CBD

Any questions?

We would love to help if you have any questions around this topic. Let us know by dropping us an email or comment on one of our social channels. We will endeavour to get back to you asap but while you wait the answer to your query may lie in our CBD FAQs.

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