How long is CBD detectable in urine?
Many organizations require employees to undergo drug testing as a condition of their employment. Some do it to improve safety and productivity, while others are concerned with fairness and ethics. The latter is true for athletes who are covered by the United States Anti-Doping Agency.
Here are some of the industries that require drug screening:
Transportation. The Department of Transportation (DOT) requires employees in safety-sensitive positions to have their urine tested for drugs regularly. These include workers in aviation, trucking, mass transit, railroads, and pipelines.
Construction. The construction industry has one of the highest rates of drug abuse, and we all know that impairment can be extremely dangerous in this line of work. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration as well as contractors and unions often require drug testing.
Sports. Whether you are a college freshman or an Olympian, athletes have to undergo mandatory drug testing. Organizations that implement this rule include the National Football League (NFL), the National Basketball Association (NBA), the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), and the International Olympic Committee (IOC).
Is CBD detectable in urine?
Since CBD comes from the cannabis plant, some people are worried that it might show up in a drug test.
Here's the good news: most drug screenings do not look for the presence of CBD in your urine, blood, saliva or hair. What employers are most concerned is the presence of THC – the psychoactive compound of marijuana that can get you high.
However, there have been rare cases where people have tested positive for THC even though they had been taking only CBD oil. This is why it is important that you know every ingredient in the product you are taking or, in cases where you are taking full spectrum, know how long you have to abstain from CBD if you are due for a drug test.
If you know that an upcoming drug screening will look for the presence of cannabinoids, it is crucial to know how long CBD stays in your system.
How does CBD enter your system?
Whether you're smoking or eating cannabidiol, your body only processes about 35% of that CBD.
When you inhale CBD, the compound reaches the blood in less than five minutes.
When you eat a CBD edible or take a CBD capsule, the compound can take up to 90 minutes before reaching the bloodstream.
Once in the blood, the CBD travels throughout the body and is processed by the liver. Fat cells will store some of the CBD while the rest exits your body through the digestive tract and kidneys.
Most of the CBD you take is expelled with stool after a day or two of your first dose, with about a quarter of the CBD exiting via urine.
How long does CBD take to work?
Another common question for beginners is how long it takes before one starts feeling the effects of CBD. This is important if you are expecting an upcoming drug test. By finding the right product, the right delivery method, and the right dosing schedule, you can enjoy the benefits of CBD without worrying about false positives.
The first thing to consider is the method of delivery. You can take CBD through inhalation, ingestion, or applying it directly onto the skin.
Smoking or vaping CBD
When you smoke or vape CBD, the lungs immediately absorb the compound so it goes straight into your bloodstream. Inhaled CBD takes effect very quickly – within a couple of minutes.
Sublingual CBD drops
Similar to inhaling, CBD sublingual drops are an efficient way to take cannabidiol. This method involves putting a few drops of CBD oil under your tongue and holding it there for a minute or so before swallowing. The capillaries under your tongue absorb the CBD so it goes directly into your bloodstream. You can start feeling the effects of CBD in around five to 20 minutes.
Topical CBD salves
While topical CBD does not enter the bloodstream, it is a great way to target localized aches and pain. CBD-infused lotions, creams, balms and ointments are applied directly to the skin so the pores absorb the cannabidiol for prolonged relief. You can start feeling the effects of CBD within 60 minutes or more after application.
CBD edibles are very popular because they are discreet and convenient. They come in all shapes and sizes – gummy bears, chocolate, coffee, smoothies and shakes. But because CBD has to go through your digestive tract, the effects can be delayed by about an hour. If you take CBD edibles on an empty stomach, it could work much faster.
In addition to method of delivery, a number of biological factors play a role in the onset of CBD benefits. These include your weight, age, and metabolic rate. Lifestyle and diet can also affect how long CBD presents its effects.
How long do the effects of CBD last?
Now that we know how long it takes for CBD effects to kick in, the next question is how long do these effects last. The two most important factors are the size of the dose and method of consumption.
Generally, higher doses of CBD create longer lasting effects. A small dose of 5mg to 10mg will probably last for one to three hours. A dose of 10mg to 20mg might last three to five hours.
Since every individual is unique, there really is no definite time frame. The only way to know for sure how the CBD effects will last is to experiment. A good dosage to start is 2mg to 5mg of CBD per day. Monitor how your body reacts and increase the dose slowly as needed.
How long does CBD stay in your system?
The lack of research and the unique biological makeup of each person make it impossible to find a one-size-fits-all time period.
Based on early data, we can provide you with a general idea of how long CBD stays in your system.
Single use: up to 3 days
Moderate use: 3 to 5 days
Regular use: up to 10 days
These loose estimates are based on limited research on the half-life of CBD.
Half-life of CBD
In pharmacology, the term "half-life" refers to the amount of time it takes for the quantity of a drug to decrease by half its original value.
According to a 2016 review paper published in the journal Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research, the average half-life of a single dose of CBD administered to five participants is between 27 to 35 hours. Another study mentioned in the review found that the half-life of injected CBD is 19 to 30 hours.
The most often cited study on the half-life of CBD is the one that dates back to 1991 where researchers looked at 14 subjects with Huntington's disease who took high doses of CBD for six weeks. After consuming about 700mg per day during this time period, the subjects stopped taking the drug. Tests revealed that CBD levels in the blood averaged just 1.5 ng/ml after only one week of abstinence – or virtually undetectable. The findings showed that it took the patients two to five days to clear half of the CBD out of their system. The researchers concluded that CBD will completely leave the blood after just one week in most people.
There are no specific studies on how long CBD is detectable in urine, saliva or hair.
In general, pharmaceuticals stay in the saliva for a couple of hours to one day.
Based on studies of THC detection times, moderate to large daily doses of CBD (10mg to 100mg) should be cleared from your urine within a couple of weeks.
When it comes to hair, your entire pharmacological history stays on record. Even if you get a trim, information on the drugs you took are kept in your body hair. Most hair tests, however, only cut an inch-and-a-half of your hair which represent the last 90 days of your life.
Other factors that determine how long CBD stays in your system
Aside from the half-life of a substance, there are several major factors that affect how long CBD stays in your system.
- Body weight
CBD is a fat-soluble molecule. If it is stored in fat cells, it can stay longer in your body. While more research is needed to determine how metabolism can affect CBD, it is possible that people with higher body mass indexes (BMIs) could retain excess CBD longer than those who are able to quickly burn fat.
Similar to BMI, those who are active and stick to a fiber-rich diet may eliminate CBD more quickly those with a sedentary lifestyle and poor diet.
Walking, jogging, aerobics, and cardio exercises help you burn fat and eliminate CBD.
Meanwhile, dietary fiber aids stool elimination, pulling fatty compounds out of your body and clearing CBD as well.
- Individual biochemistry
Lifestyle and diet aside, some people are just born with a slow metabolic rate. How quickly your body can process CBD could depend on your individual biochemical makeup.
Another factor in determining how long CBD stays in your system is dosage – specifically how much CBD you consume and how often you take it.
The more CBD you take each session, the longer it will take for CBD to leave your system.
The more often you supplement on CBD, the longer the compound will take to clear.
Will CBD show up on a drug test?
As we mentioned in the beginning of this article, most drug tests are designed to look for THC and not CBD.
For employers, the purpose of a drug test is to ensure that employees are not high while at work and that productivity is not compromised by an altered mental state.
CBD will never get you high nor cause impairment.
Most employer-mandated drug tests involve a 5-panel or 10-panel screen that includes THC-COOH – the byproduct of THC after it is metabolized by the body. The 5-panel test also looks for recreational drugs such as cocaine, opiates, PCP, and amphetamines or methamphetamines. The 10-panel screen looks for barbiturates, propoxyphene, benzodiazepines, methadone, and propoxyphene. The difference between the two screens is the addition of pharmaceutical drugs which have become a growing epidemic over the last few decades.
Drug tests that screen for cannabis are actually looking for the presence of THC or THC metabolites. Although CBD can be detected once your body metabolizes the compound, standard drug tests are not designed to pick up CBD or any other cannabis compound that is not THC.
There are two conditions that might trigger a false positive:
- Although pure CBD is not detectable in a standard drug test, legal hemp products do contain less than 0.3 percent of THC.
- The trace amounts of THC might be detectable in urine if a patient took very high dosages e.g. 1000 milligrams or more per day. Most people consume only around 120mg to 160mg of CBD daily.
Detection thresholds vary according to drug test type. Hair tests are designed to catch chronic substance abuse so trace amounts of THC in low dosages probably won't show up. Even if you take 2000mg/day of hemp-derived CBD, it is unlikely that it would surpass the federal limit of 50 nanograms of THC metabolite per milliliter of urine.
Is there a drug test designed to specifically detect CBD?
There are specialized tests that could detect CBD metabolites. If an employer would want to commission one, they would have to notify the testing company and pay an additional charge to cover expenses for testing CBD. These expenses include modifying their existing standard testing procedures to include detecting an additional analyte.
With such a complicated and expensive procedure, it is highly unlikely that an employer would bother paying extra just to screen for a drug that does not get people high nor impair their ability to perform tasks at work.
Federal employees are not tested for CBD. Even those who are drug tested for the DEA are not tested for CBD.
If you want to know how long CBD stays in your system, here are general guidelines:
- CBD is undetectable in your saliva after a few hours
- CBD is undetectable in your blood after about a week
- CBD is undetectable in your urine after a couple of weeks
Pure CBD isolates will not make you fail a drug test. However, full-spectrum CBD products could test positive for THC metabolites.
The federal legal limit for THC content in industrial hemp is 0.3 percent. If you are about to be tested, here are three ways to ensure that no cannabis is found in your urine:
- Take a CBD isolate instead of full-spectrum
- Choose CBD products that have been tested by a third-party laboratory
- Only purchase CBD from a trusted and reliable vendor
The popularity of CBD has skyrocketed the past few years, thanks to thousands of anecdotal reports and a growing number of research studies supporting the therapeutic potential of cannabidiol.
However, because of the association of CBD with cannabis, some people are reluctant to try it for fear of failing a drug test and losing their job, violating parole, or getting banned from a sport.
Although CBD will not show up on a standard drug screen, check your workplace drug policy first before taking any supplement.