Cannabidiol (CBD) is a cannabinoid derived from the cannabis plant. Its use has skyrocketed in recent years as many people turn to natural supplements to augment conventional medications.
According to a 2021 SingleCare survey, roughly one-third (109 million) of adult Americans have used CBD products. One in seven (14%) Americans use CBD regularly. So, there is no doubt that CBD products are gaining traction among the American public.
So, you’ve been using cannabis-based products for some time now and, for some reason, want to flush out the cannabinoids from your system. Whatever the reason, there are several methods we will discuss herein to help you quickly remove cannabinoids from your system.
But first, let’s loop you in on CBD’s pharmacokinetics.
Does CBD show up in a drug test?
CBD is one of the 100+ cannabinoids existing naturally in the cannabis plant. The cannabis plant has two main variants – marijuana and hemp. Both are essentially the same insofar as their contents are concerned. However, they differ in content concentration levels.
Marijuana plants typically contain high tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) levels, usually in the range of 10 – 15%. However, as breeders continue experimenting with different crosses, hybrids with even higher THC content have been created. For example, strains like Ghost OG, Grease Monkey, and 99 Problems can have as much as 28% THC!
By comparison, hemp has very little THC content (less than 0.3%), which is why it is preferred for industrial purposes. But it makes up for this by having higher CBD concentrations than marijuana. Hemp CBD content varies per strain but often ranges from 10 – 20%.
On the topic of drug tests, the cannabis compound these tests primarily seek to detect is THC. THC is a well-known psychoactive compound with mind-altering properties. Studies on the effects of THC on the brain indicate it is potentially deleterious.
For example, a research article published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences journal showed that chronic marijuana use (read THC) could cause complex neuroadaptive changes in the brain that may lead to lower IQ and neural abnormalities.
So, as to whether CBD can show up in a drug test, the answer is no because drug tests typically don’t test for CBD. However, there have been instances of people failing these tests even after consuming products marked as non-THC.
The explanation is simple – the CBD industry is not regulated by a single set of rules and regulations across states. So it is virtually impossible to tell what is inside a CBD product unless tested by independent third parties.
Recent lab test reports showed that many CBD brands do not test their products. For example, a 2022 survey by Leafreport, a leading online reviewer of CBD products, showed that 25% of CBD brands (N = 136) do not test their products.
Of those that tested their products for purity or potency, only 7% tested for the “big three,” i.e., microbes, pesticides, and heavy metals. Further, 80% of CBD products tested (N = 2946) had unacceptable variances, i.e., the advertised concentrations of cannabinoids (e.g., CBD and THC) were outside the 10% variance required by industry standards.
You can see why despite using seemingly “THC-free CBD products,” you can still fail a drug test. This is why buying CBD products from approved vendors and/or manufacturers is critical.
Check out the Certificate of Analysis (COA) whenever possible to learn more about the product’s complete profile.
How long does full spectrum CBD stay in your system?
The duration of time CBD stays in your system depends on several factors. These are:
- The dosage – the higher the amount of CBD you take, the longer it will stay in your system. Consequently, you’ll need more time to flush it out.
- Consumption frequency – If you take CBD frequently, it accumulates in your body, implying it will stay longer.
- Diet – what you eat, how much you eat, and when you eat pretty much determines how long CBD stays in your body. If you ingest CBD on an empty stomach, it will be metabolized and eliminated much faster than when taken on a full stomach. Fatty foods absorb CBD much better, helping it last longer in the body.
- Body peculiarities (e.g., weight, metabolism, water content, etc) – CBD impacts us differently depending on our body characteristics. For example, a person with a higher metabolic rate typically metabolizes and ejects CBD from their body faster than a person with a slower metabolic rate.
- Method of use – CBD can be taken in many ways, which determine how long it stays in the body. For instance, CBD aerosols enter the lungs and are absorbed quickly into the bloodstream, meaning they don’t remain in the body long. On the other hand, CBD edibles take longer comparatively.
That said, studies indicate that the duration of CBD stay in the body ranges between 1.4 hours and 5 days. For example, a 2018 study on the “Pharmacokinetics of CBD on Humans” showed the half-life of CBD via inhalation was 1.4 – 10.9 hours, 24 hours after intravenous administration, 31 hours when smoked, and 2 – 5 days when ingested.
These findings were corroborated by an earlier study showing that oral CBD was completely eliminated from the body in 2-5 days after discontinuation. So, it is safe to say that you can get rid of CBD in your system in roughly one week.
How long can CBD be detected?
From the above research findings, CBD can be detected in your system for up to 5 days from when you last used it. Oral CBD lasts longer in the body (5 days), while CBD aerosols have the shortest half-life (1 – 11 hours). So, it appears the administration method plays a crucial role in determining how long CBD stays in your body.
As one study shows, you are unlikely to get a positive drug test after 5 days using the current workplace drug testing guidelines prescribed by the federal government.
However, if you’ve been using CBD products that contain THC, you may produce positive urine results for the THC metabolite ∆9-THCCOOH.
How can I get CBD out of my system?
Most waste products leave the body through sweat, urine, or stool. So these are the main ways you’ll eliminate CBD from your system. We’ll shortly discuss some measures to help you get rid of CBD from your body.
One of the things you’ve got to do when flushing out CBD from your body is to stop taking any more CBD. Just let your body’s cleaning systems do their work, and you should be CBD-clean in 2-3 weeks.
How to clear your system of CBD
You can clear your system of CBD in many ways depending on how fast (or slow) you want the process to be. Follow these simple steps to get rid of CBD from your system.
Drink lots of water
Generally, we are advised to drink lots of water to keep our bodies well hydrated. There are good health implications for this.
However, when flushing out CBD, this is vital because it enables you to urinate more, thereby ejecting the cannabinoid from the body.
Eat more fiber
A high-fiber diet stimulates bowel movements. This hastens the elimination of CBD from your body as it gets rid of other waste products. So eat lots of fruits, legumes (e.g., beans), vegetables, and pulses.
While you’re at it, avoid fatty foods as these offer binding sites to cannabinoids like THC and CBD. This will neutralize the detoxing process. So, no more French fries, chicken skin, pork sausages, butter, or egg yolks.
Try a diuretic
Taking diuretics has the same effect as drinking water – it makes you urinate more. However, be informed that when paired with taking water, your urine may become very pale. Pale urine color implies lower creatinine levels.
Creatinine is a by-product of the usual wear-and-tear of body tissues. High creatinine levels can mean the kidneys are not efficiently filtering blood, which may connote potential kidney problems.
Low creatinine levels also mean there is a problem with its production in the body. This may mean kidney disease, malnutrition, or reduced kidney function. Women tend to have lower normal creatinine levels than men (0.6 to 1.1 mg/dL to 0.7 to 1.3 mg/dL). Please consult a doctor if you are experiencing any abnormalities in your urination.
Practicing regular exercise
When you are trying to remove CBD from your system, it may help to take your workouts a notch higher. An intense workout makes you sweat more, allowing you to expel more CBD from your system.
Moreover, an intense training session makes you drink more water, helping the detoxing process and breaking down fatty tissues. If you have less fat in your body, CBD and other cannabinoids have less storage space. This makes it easier to remove them from your body.
Be wary of detox pills
Sometimes, time may not be on your side, and you need to cleanse your system fast. Under such circumstances, you may be tempted to turn to detox pills. These medications help purge toxic substances from the body.
However, conducting proper research on detox pills is crucial to ensure you understand their potential side effects before using them. Some notable side effects of detox pills are vomiting, diarrhea, nausea, stomach cramps, sweating profusely, headaches, and muscle spasms.
Patience and time
Ultimately, the best way to get rid of CBD from your system is by the natural method. This is not ideal, however, we recommend this method.
Patience is a virtue. The good thing about this method is that your body’s biological processes can get rid of all traces of CBD from the body so long as you stop taking more. As earlier pointed out, this should take no more than 2-3 weeks.
The tips provided herein may speed up the process of removing CBD from your system. But it is much easier to simply stop taking CBD a few weeks.
CBD on its own is non-toxic and not often looked for in drug tests. So, you don’t really need to worry about flushing it out of your system if you have been using pure (CBD isolates) or broad-spectrum CBD products. However, if you have been using full spectrum CBD, which typically has minute amounts of THC, cleansing before a drug test may be necessary.
If you are not time-barred, let your body’s natural cleanup system do its job.