So you’ve just taken some CBD. If this is your first time, you’re probably wondering two things. First, how long will it take before I feel anything. And second, how long does a dose of CBD last? And frankly, those are two great questions. So let’s break down all of the factors that go into how long a dose of CBD lasts.
Cannabidiol (CBD) comes in many different forms. These include:
- smokable flower (hemp and mixed CBD/THC varieties)
- skincare and beauty products infused with CBD oil (topicals)
- CBD concentrates designed to be vaporized (waxes, sauces, etc)
- CBD-infused foods (edibles)
- Transdermal CBD applications, i.e. a CBD patch that can be worn on skin for 24-72 hours
- Sublingual CBD (CBD oil under the tongue)
- CBD suppositories (rectal/vaginal)
- oromucosal spray (Sativex, a 1:1 THC to CBD prescription solution)
- Chemically isolated CBD (CBD isolate), which can be used in a variety of ways. It can be added to CBD oil, topicals or even vaporized.
The manner in which you choose to consume your CBD will greatly affect the nature of your experience. Select CBD applications, for instance, are more bioavailable (more CBD enters the bloodstream) than others. How quickly CBD will affect you
— known as onset time — is another factor that dictates what your CBD experience will be like.
To help you get a better understanding of how CBD can act differently, we’ve provided information on how long a dose of CBD lasts for each type of product listed above. But before we can dive into that we need to talk about a few factors that can affect CBD’s metabolism.
Let’s Talk Tolerance
Everybody’s body processes cannabinoids differently. Some people might be able to consume hundreds of milligrams of CBD and feel a minimal effect while others can consume 10 mg and feel distinct changes in mood. This is what’s known as tolerance.
Tolerance to cannabinoids seems to be, at least to some degree, inherent–that is, some people are more susceptible to the effects of CBD and THC from the get go. Some researchers refer to this population as ‘cannabis naive individuals’. One working theory suggests the idea that some people lack the natural endocannabinoids such as Anandamide produced by our bodies’ endocannabinoid systems (ECS). This theory of endocannabinoid deficiency has been tied to several health conditions including migraines, fibromyalgia and IBS. It’s also why externally consumed plant cannabinoids (phytocannabinoids) such as CBD may feel so good: CBD can activate our ECS in ways similar to our own endocannabinoids, producing therapeutic effects.
Frequent cannabis users may also develop a tolerance with time, requiring more cannabinoids to achieve the same effect.
In short: everyone’s unique body chemistry means there’s no one-size-fits-all CBD experience.
Also Read: Want CBD without the THC? Here are the Seven Best Pure CBD Oil products
Metabolism also has an affect on how long a dose of CBD lasts
Another aspect of body chemistry to consider is metabolism. Your metabolism can affect the rates at which CBD is absorbed as well as how long it will take to leave the body. This especially comes into play if you’re consuming CBD edibles. Orally consumed CBD is subject to something called first pass metabolism. This means it gets broken down in the digestive tract, resulting in the absorption of less CBD. People with a higher metabolism rate who consume CBD edibles, for instance, may not feel the effects very strongly, or might find the effect of CBD is very short-lived.
Also Read: Can you get addicted to CBD?
Like any other substance CBD may also affect you differently depending on your body weight/body mass index.
There’s also some evidence to suggest men and women may absorb cannabinoids differently. A 2020 study found that CBD-dominant cannabis produced, “…discriminable subjective drug effects, which were sometimes stronger in women.”
How Long Does a Dose of CBD Last? It Depends What You Consume It With
If you’re eating CBD edibles, the amount of CBD you absorb can vary depending on what you consume it with.
“The type of food can make a large difference in the amount of CBD that gets absorbed into the body,” says Angela Birnbaum, co-author of a 2019 study that examined how CBD was absorbed with fats compared to an empty stomach. The study found CBD bioavailability improved greatly when taken with foods high in fat, compared to a fasting state: “…taking CBD with food increased the amount of CBD in the body by four-times and the maximum amount recorded in the participants’ blood by 14-times.”
Grapefruit juice is another culprit which can impact CBD absorption. This is due to the fact that grapefruit juice inhibits the activity of CYP enzymes. CYP enzymes are responsible for metabolizing many drugs, including CBD.
Diving In: How Long Does Each Type of CBD Last?
While we have some data which suggests how long THC lasts for when smoked, there’s more research needed before we can determine the same values for CBD. Health Canada estimates that the bioavailability of smoked CBD is 31%, with a range of 11-45%. Health Canada also noted that these values are “generally similar to that seen with Δ9-THC.”
A 2007 research paper on human cannabinoid pharmacokinetics found THC concentrations of 60% and 20% of peak concentration at 15 and 30 minutes post smoking. Plasma levels of THC were less than 5.0 ng/ml within 2 hours of smoking. Detection windows for THC ranged from 3 to 12 hours for lower doses to a full 27 hours for larger doses.
Bioavailability of smoking CBD has been estimated to be 31%, with effects that may peak between 0-4 hours. The half-life of CBD, or how long it takes for half the amount of CBD to clear away, has been reported as 31 hours following smoking.
Vaporization: CBD concentrates
Vaporization is a process in which cannabis concentrates are heated up without direct combustion. This produces an inhalable vapor.
Unfortunately the bioequivalence of vaporizing CBD compared to smoking hasn’t been established just yet. A 2016 research paper cited a study in which peak CBD levels were found to occur 36 minutes after administration, with a half life of 66 min for CBD in plasma.
As you can see, there are a lot of factors when it comes to how long a dose Of CBD lasts.
CBD Edibles/Oral Consumption
We need more research to determine how long orally consumed CBD stays in our system.
Bioavailability of edible cannabinoids is estimated to be between 20-30%. Cannabis edibles may have a peak effect between 2-3 hours after consumption.
Researchers have noted that the half-life of CBD is 2–5 days after chronic oral administration.
The bioavailability of transdermally applied cannabinoids is generally fairly low due to skin’s limited permeability. However some CBD patches promise relief to the wearer in 8, 24, 48 or even 72 hour increments.
A 2018 research paper reviewing the pharmacokinetics of cannabinoids in humans lamented that, “…no other studies attempted to report the absolute bioavailability of CBD following other [non-smoking] routes in humans, despite i.v formulations being available.” There is some evidence that the peak for sublingual CBD oil may occur between 1.5-4 hours after administration.
CBD’s half-life for oromucosal sprays is reported to be between 1.4 and 10.
In Conclusion: How Long Does A Dose Of CBD Last?
Figuring out how long a dose of CBD will last is not simple. There are many, many factors that go into how long a dose will last. As well as how long it will take to kick in. Always make sure you are aware of these factors. And take into account how things can change depending on some things you may not be aware of. What’s great is that CBD doesn’t have any psychoactive effects. So it’s not a very big deal if a dose lasts a longer or shorter amount of time.
Janelle Lassalle is a writer and content creator that specializes in cannabis. She’s also an insanely passionate advocate and expert in all things CBD. You can find her work featured in a variety of publications such as Healthline, The Huffington Post, Leafly, Forbes, and High Times. Check out her portfolio, or follow her on Instagram @jenkhari.