How Long Do CBD Effects Last?

Evidence based

How Long Do CBD Effects Last?

CBD is pretty powerful stuff — but that doesn’t mean you can just take it once and be forever changed. 

Nope: CBD has to be taken consistently over time if you want to experience the fullness of its benefits. That’s because CBD’s effects only last for 4-8 hours in most cases. Keep reading to learn more about how long CBD stays within your system and works its magic! 

  • What determines CBD’s half-life?
  • How long do CBD tinctures last?
  • How long do CBD edibles last?
  • How long do other CBD products last?
  • How long do CBD microdoses last?
  • Why CBD’s effects can last longer than you think

What determines CBD’s half-life?

In the world of pharmacology and drug research, there’s a very important concept called bioavailability. It’s defined as “the proportion of a drug or other substance which enters the circulation when introduced into the body and so is able to have an active effect.” [1]

In other words, let’s say you’re taking vitamin C. Its bioavailability is pretty high: at least 70% of what you ingest will be absorbed and metabolized by the body. 

The bioavailability of CBD, however, is much lower. Eat a CBD-infused edible and you might only retain 10% of the CBD you ate and paid for. While CBD oils and tinctures are typically a little better, they don’t get much more efficacious than 30% absorption rates. And those whose digestive or enzymatic health gives them problems with fat absorption won’t even get up to that. [2

In addition to having somewhat low bioavailability, CBD kicks in pretty slowly. The effects of different CBD products last for different amounts of time. CBD vapes kick in fast and leave your system equally fast; CBD edibles kick in slowly and stick around for a while. 

How long do CBD tinctures last? 

The effects of CBD tinctures tend to kick in within an hour and last for between 4 and 8 hours. When taken consistently, the CBD contained in CBD oils/tinctures can stay in your system for even longer amounts of time. If CBD saturates your body’s fat stores it may last for several days — and be released later on when it’s needed. [3]

How long do CBD edibles last?

CBD edibles last for much longer than oils/tinctures do. Thir effects typically last for 8+ hours. Some edible CBD products may stay active within your system for 1-2 days! 

But CBD edibles come with their own set of drawbacks; they take at least an hour to kick in and have fairly low bioavailability. If you want to experience the best of both worlds, you might start off with a CBD gummy or two, then take a few hits from  CBD vape as you wait for the gummies to kick in. [4]

How long do other CBD products last?

One review of 792 research papers summed up all of the above well. “The half-life of cannabidiol was reported between [1 hour and 24 minutes]  and [10 hours and 53 minutes] after oromucosal spray, 2–5 days after chronic oral administration, 24 h after IV, and 31 hours after smoking.” [5

How long do CBD microdoses last?

Microdosing is one of the CBD industry’s latest trends. Unlike many other recent trends, however, this one is simple. You can take the same CBD oil you always have...and benefit from it in all the same ways. The only thing that changes? The way you perceive how much CBD is enough for your body to obtain the health benefits it needs.

Microdosing is defined by Merriam-Webster as “The action or practice of taking or administering very small amounts of a drug in order to test or benefit from its physiological action while minimizing undesirable side effects.” [6]

Microdosing has its roots in homeopathy, an alternative health framework which holds that small amounts of a natural substance can inspire one's body to produce much larger amounts of an internal version of that substance. For example, one might take several milligrams of desiccated thyroid to stimulate their own thyroid hormone production. 

Usually such techniques work — and by going the natural route one is spared of ultra-high pharmaceutical doses and all the unintended side effects such drugs can come with. However, the effects of a single microdose tend to stay in the 1-3 hour range. One must stay consistent with microdosing to see truly good results! 

Why CBD’s effects can last longer than you’d think

Just a few milligrams of CBD may stimulate the body to produce tangibly more endocannabinoids, which in turn can trigger brain growth lasting for months, even after that initial CBD dose is long gone. 

One rodent study found that only three days of topical CBD use may be enough to power three months of brain chemistry away, shifting things away from drug addiction and towards mental health. [7]

Summing things up

Most CBD products stay active and alive within your system for between 4 and 8 hours. Take CBD edibles or larger amounts of CBD, and it can stay in your system for even longer. 

Because of these limitations it’s important to take CBD consistently — at least if you want to experience your very best results. But don’t fret: research shows that even a few days of CBD use may benefit your brain in the long run. 

How Long Do CBD Effects Last?
IS THE CEO AND CO-FOUNDER OF MEDTERRA.
  1. Wikipedia contributors. (2021h, October 16). Bioavailability. Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bioavailability 
  2. Cadena, A. (2020, May 26). What is CBD Bioavailability and Why Does it Matter? Medium. https://medium.com/cbd-origin/what-is-cbd-bioavailability-and-why-does-it-matter-69d9a2e37e6c 
  3. Cannabidiol: Promise and Pitfalls. (2014). PubMed Central (PMC). https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4189631/ 
  4. Cannabidiol: Promise and Pitfalls. (2014). PubMed Central (PMC). https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4189631/ 
  5. Millar, S. A. (2018, November 26). A Systematic Review on the Pharmacokinetics of Cannabidiol in Humans. PubMed. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30534073/ 
  6. Microdose. (2020). The Merriam-Webster.Com Dictionary. https://www.merriam-webster.com/medical/microdose#:%7E:text=%3A%20an%20extremely%20small%20dose 
  7. Unique treatment potential of cannabidiol for the prevention of relapse to drug use: preclinical proof of principle. (2018b, September 1). PubMed Central (PMC). https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6098033/ 

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          <p>Written by:</p>
          <a href=Jay Hartenbach

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