September 27, 2019 4 min read

If you’re like us, you’re pretty careful about what you put in your body. 

So if you’re thinking about trying a new substance like CBD, you probably want some definitive answers to a whole range of questions: Is it safe? How much should I take? How long will it take to work?

For many people, the logical follow-up question is: how long does CBD stay in your system?

This can be a concern for several reasons. You may just want to know how long the effects will last. But if you’re concerned about taking a drug test for your job, the question has an added layer of urgency. 

Here we’ll take a look at the question from a couple of different angles to make sure we’ve got you covered. 

Onset to Half-life: how long do the effects of CBD last?

First of all, let’s talk about how long you can expect the effects of CBD to last. As a rule of thumb, you can assume that the faster you experience the effects of CBD, the faster they will dissipate.

Here’s a breakdown of how long you can expect CBD to last through three popular methods of delivery:

  • Sublingual CBD (Kanibi Oil Drops taken under the tongue):
  • How it works: CBD is absorbed directly into your bloodstream from the blood vessels under your tongue.

    Timeframe: You can expect CBD to begin working within 20-30 minutes after absorption. Because you’ll also swallow it, some will go through the digestive process and continue to be released into your bloodstream over the next hour or two. Tinctures are generally effective for 4-6 hours, peaking at around one hour.

  • Oral CBD (Kanibi Oil Drops infused into food or beverages):
  • How it works: Once swallowed, the CBD goes through the digestive process, being absorbed by the intestines, modified by enzymes in the liver, then delivered to the bloodstream. 

    Timeframe: Effects should begin within an hour two (depending on your metabolic rate), and peak within 4-6 hours, though effects will continue after that for several hours.

  • Topicals (Kanibi Sports Cream):
  • How it works: CBD does not enter the bloodstream but interacts directly with receptors under your skin. This is targeted CBD treatment.

    Timeframe: Usually you’ll feel effects between 10-20 minutes after application. Most people report that they last for a couple of hours (though there’s little official data on this).

    Once it’s stopped producing noticeable effects, CBD doesn’t completely dissipate, though.

    Studies show that the half-life of CBD  (when the absorbed amount is reduced by half) is one to two days. But CBD can linger in your body in decreasing amounts for five to seven days, depending on how quickly your body processes it.

    Can CBD be detected by a drug test?

    There’s a short, simple answer to this and a longer, more complicated one - we’ll go into both.

    The short, simple answer is that CBD itself almost certainly won’t be detected by a drug test given by an employer. This is because the drug tests that employers use aren’t looking for CBD. 

    A recent article by Consumer Reports talked to Barry Sample, senior director of science and technology at Quest Diagnostics, the largest administrator of drug tests in the U.S. In the article, he stated that the urine test most commonly used by employers doesn’t even look for CBD.

    So why the concern around CBD products and the potential of failed drug tests? This segues into the more complicated answer, which we’ll dive into below. 

    Drug tests: THC vs. CBD

    So CBD itself won’t cause you to fail a drug test. But when people have concerns about CBD and drug tests, often the real concern is about the presence of THC in a CBD product.

    The legal definition of hemp is a cannabis plant that contains less than 0.3% THC. And why, you might ask, is the government (or your employer) concerned with levels of THC? 

    Simply put, THC is the chemical in a cannabis plant that causes a person to get high. Marijuana generally contains large amounts of THC. Hemp, by law, does not.

    At Kanibi we use what is referred to as “full-spectrum” CBD for our products (you can read about our reasons for that below). That means that our CBD oil does contain trace amounts of THC. We test our products rigorously to ensure that any THC in our products is well within the legal limits. 

    So will taking our products cause you to fail a drug test?

    Because our products contain such tiny amounts of THC, it is highly unlikely that Kanibi products will cause you to fail a drug test.

    Highly unlikely, but not entirely impossible.

    That’s because, unlike CBD, THC can build up in your fatty tissue over time. So if you’re taking a high dose of full-spectrum CBD oil every day, and if you have a slow metabolism, it is possible that it could show up on a drug test.

    The amount of time a person needs for THC to be eliminated from their system entirely will vary based on those same factors.

    So why include THC in a CBD product?

    Simply put, at Kanibi we use full-spectrum CBD oil because there’s evidence that CBD works better in the presence of other cannabinoids like THC.

    A now famous 2011 study found that different cannabinoids (like CBD and THC) both compliment each other and “may strengthen and broaden clinical applications and improve the therapeutic index of cannabis extracts.”

    The way in which cannabinoids support each other is referred to as the “entourage effect.”  We want to create the most effective CBD products we can, so we leave trace amounts of THC in our CBD oil - always within the legal limits, and never enough to get you high.

    At Kanibi, we’re committed to being transparent with our customers so that you can make informed decisions. And we’ll continue to keep our ear to the ground for the best research we can find to ensure that our products make your endocannabinoid systems sing.