This figures importantly into how often we want to take CBD.
It also hinges on how we take it and with what!
That second part is really important in understanding how long it lasts and we'll get into that.
It can increase your absorption of CBD 4x's.
Of course, all of this hinges on one question…
How long does CBD stay in the system?
Let's look at this question but also provide detail on the optimum way to take CBD for the most effect.
Keep in mind that everyone's body is different.
Test and try to see what your effects are.
Adjust and repeat.
Let's get into it.
We'll touch on these areas below:
- How long does CBD stay active in the body
- Does how you take CBD affect how long it lasts in the body
- Does food affect how long CBD stays in the body
- Do medications affect how long CBD stays in the body
- Long term effects of CBD in the body
Let's get started.
What about the initial response or reaction to CBD.
How long does CBD stay active in the body?
This partially depends on how you take it (we'll cover next) but here's the general rule:
CBD's immediate effects usually last from 2-6 hours
For people using CBD for anxiety, pain, sleep, or specific and acute issues, a good benchmark is about 4-6 hours.
Studies show that peak CBD blood concentrations occur 4 hours after consumption.
Peak CBD metabolites in urine occur 6 hours after consumption.
This means that CBD was "processed" by the liver and other organs within the body.
The general effects of CBD on balancing our endocannabinoid system can actually exist for a much longer time.
We'll touch on this below.
CBD has an immediate effect and a long term cumulative build up as well.
Obviously, the immediate effect is what most people are asking about in terms of how long it lasts.
Let's look at the processing of CBD in the body.
CBD first goes through the P450 pathway in the liver.
We can take advantage of this process to not only get more CBD into the system but also to make it last longer.
We'll discuss in the food section below on how to do this.
Otherwise, CBD only has a bioavailability of 6% when taken orally since the liver is aggressively trying to break it down.
The "half-life" of CBD was actually shown to last 1-2 days.
This means that CBD's effects were still present for 1-2 days following a single dose at about ½ the original level.
Does how we take CBD to affect its duration in the body?
Does how you take CBD affect how long it lasts in the body
There are a few basic ways to take CBD:
- Orally (oils, capsules, edibles, etc)
- Topically (skin creams, balms, and patches)
- Inhalation (vape oils, high CBD concentration flower)
The means of taking CBD will affect not only how long it lasts, but how quickly it can be felt.
Anything that is consumed orally is in for a real battle!
- Stomach acid
- Gut bacteria
And the mother of all battles...our liver!
The liver is a ruthless taskmaster bent on breaking down, metabolizing, and getting rid of everything we swallow.
CBD is no exception.
Orally taking CBD will mean a great deal of it never makes it into the body.
There are tricks to offset this which we'll discuss below and at our How to Take CBD article.
Here's the general rule of thumb on how long CBD lasts by type:
- Oral - 4-6 hours
- Topical - 6+ hours; slower to make it into the body but slower to leave
- Inhalation - 2-4 hours; fast-acting, faster to leave the body
For the oral administration (most popular oil tinctures), let's look at how we can get more out of the CBD we do take!
Does food affect how long CBD stays in the body?
In a big way.
CBD is metabolized and also eliminated via the P450 pathway in the liver primarily.
This is a very busy thoroughfare in the body for breaking things down.
The liver is also tasked with metabolizing a great deal of our food...especially fat...through this same pathway.
If you take CBD after a meal, preferably your fattiest meal, it can increase the amount of CBD that makes it into your body by 4x's.
It can also stretch how long CBD lasts in the body by 50%
In studies, the blood serum level of CBD would jump from 4 to 6 hours (50%) when taken after food.
The studies looked at taking CBD within 2 hours after eating a meal.
This is why the MCT or other base oils are so helpful for its absorption.
It needs fat to sneak past the liver's guards!
Learn more about how to get the most out of CBD here.
What about medications?
Do medications affect how long CBD stays in the body?
The same thing happens with medications and CBD.
Over 60% of common medications use the liver's P450 pathway to be metabolized.
For this reason, we want to take CBD at least 4 hours away from medication.
In this case, we're not trying to extend how long CBD stays in the body.
We don't want the CBD metabolism to interfere with how your medications work!
Make sure to check with your doctor of all supplements including CBD in regards to your medication.
More on CBD and medications here.
We talked about half-lives and immediate effects of CBD….what about long term effects of CBD?
Long term effects of CBD in the body
As we discussed above, CBD's immediate effects appear to last 4-6 hours depending on:
- How we take CBD
- If we take CBD after food
- Our own body's chemistry
That's not the end of CBD's story in our body.
Research is pointing to a longer effect.
In one study on addiction, the positive effects of CBD lasted for 7 days after three dosages!
Other studies are showing similar CBD retention in terms of "effects".
Of course, there are many longer-term effects.
For example, CBD is shown to increase neuroplasticity.
This is a fancy word for saying that is helps to build new neurons in the brain.
This is the holy grail for PTSD, depression, anxiety, and many other disorders.
Check out CBD for neurogenesis here.
New connections in the brain are obviously going to last longer than 4 hours!
We want to hear from you.
How long does CBD last for you? At what dosage? How do you take it?
Share so we can all feel better. No, feel our best!
Always work with a doctor or naturopath with any supplement!
The information provided here is not intended to treat an illness or substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment from a qualified healthcare provider.