Whether you have an upcoming drug test or you’re simply curious about the way CBD interacts with the body, you may be wondering how long CBD stays in your system. While the phytocannabinoid does not produce psychoactive effects like THC, the more popular compound in the cannabis plant, it may still affect your body for a longer stretch of time than you may think. This could mean that certain drug tests will detect it.
Unfortunately, there are no exact parameters for how long CBD stays in the system because different products yield different results. If a product contains only pure CBD like CBD oil drops, then it most likely won’t show up on a drug test. This isn’t because CBD is undetectable, but because most drug tests are looking for the presence of THC. On the other hand, if a product is described deemed “whole plant” or “full spectrum” like Vitagenne’s Total Wellness, then it not only contains a trace amount of THC, but also many other cannabinoids and terpenes. While this combination is beneficial for our health in creating an “entourage” effect, these types of products may also lead to a positive drug test. As with any CBD product, it’s best to avoid if you know (or anticipate) that you’re going to undergo a drug test in the coming month.
If you’re taking full-spectrum oil, capsules or other products, it’s probably best to look into how long THC stays in your system. While THC is usually detectable in body fluids for 1-30 days after your last use, different workplaces have different cutoff values, which means trace amounts may not show up on a drug test at all. For pure CBD, there is little evidence of how long the phytocannabinoid stays in the system, though a 2014 publication in the scientific journal Epilepsy Currents reported that CBD has a half-life “1-2 days” for a single oral dose, meaning that 25 milligrams of CBD would, after one or two days, remain in the body as 12.5 milligrams. 6.5 milligrams would remain in the one or two days after that, etc.
For an industrial hemp-derived CBD product to be considered federally legal under the 2018 Farm Bill, it must contain less than 0.3 percent THC. However, even in states where hemp and marijuana are legal for medicinal and/or recreational use, employers still hold their own rules about whether or not to test for THC. While there seems to be a trend in dropping marijuana from testing protocol, even in a liberal state like California Proposition 64 maintains that public and private employers may still enforce “policies prohibiting the use of marijuana by employees and prospective employees.”
It’s crucial to keep in mind that every person’s body is different, and while one person may pass a drug screening test after taking CBD, another person might not. Pay attention to product labels and know the difference between pure CBD and full-spectrum, especially if you plan to use CBD regularly. Most of all, if you have an upcoming drug test scheduled, the best rule of thumb is to avoid taking CBD until after the test is complete.
Erica Garza is an author and essayist. Her work has appeared in TIME, Health, Glamour, Good Housekeeping, Women’s Health, The Telegraph and VICE. She lives in Los Angeles.