What Affects the Half-Life of CBD?
Whether you’re just starting out or a long-term CBD user, you might be wondering how long it stays in the body.
How CBD interacts, gets absorbed, and is excreted from the body is complex due to various factors. In this article, we cover these factors and explain how they affect the half-life of CBD.
How Does CBD Work?
CBD is short for cannabidiol, and it is a naturally occurring compound found in the cannabis plant. Cannabis has around 100 different cannabinoids, each with its own features, chemical structure, and therapeutic properties (1). CBD is arguably the most popular and well-known cannabinoid and can be isolated and purchased in CBD-based ointments, oils, tinctures, and edibles.
All cannabinoids, including CBD, work by interacting with the endocannabinoid system (ECS), a complex cell-signaling system within the body of all mammals. The ECS consists of endocannabinoids and cannabinoid receptors found in the brain, body tissues, and nervous system. Because the ECS is responsible for balancing and maintaining a variety of bodily processes, when CBD binds with cannabinoid receptors, it causes various therapeutic effects within the body (2).
Due to its potency and versatility, CBD is a popular natural treatment option for many health conditions like insomnia, digestive issues, and anxiety and depression.
What Is Half-Life?
The scientific explanation of half-life is a term used to measure the amount of time taken for a specific compound to be reduced to half its original effectiveness or amount within the body (3). The half-life of CBD is how long it takes for it to be metabolized and eliminated from the bloodstream.
You cannot test for the half-life of CBD by yourself at home. Scientists have researched its half-life by testing the blood plasma of study participants for traces of CBD after administering doses. By using this data, scientists worked out how long CBD stays in the body within a general timeframe.
The Half-Life of CBD
The commonly accepted time frame is between 18-32 hours (4). However, this can depend on the bioavailability and method taken. A recent systematic review collated data investigating the half-life of CBD from various oral delivery methods. Oral sprays were seen to have a half-life between 1.5-11 hours, oral tinctures between 2-5 days, and approximately 31 hours after smoking (5).
This highlights the extensive range in CBD pharmacokinetics (how a drug moves through the body), despite its widespread use. Analyzing and understanding the half-life of CBD is critical for its therapeutic success.
CBD Dosage Methods
CBD is praised for its versatility and well-tolerated nature. Taking it is convenient, as there are various methods of consumption. One of the most popular ways to take these products is sublingually (under the tongue). Placing a few CBD oil or tincture drops on the capillary-rich area under the tongue can enhance the absorption rate (6).
Other methods include topical ointments and creams, which are good options for skin conditions like eczema, capsules, gummies, and vapes.
Which Factors Affect the Half-Life of CBD?
As mentioned earlier, the half-life of CBD is around 18-32 hours. However, several factors can influence how it gets absorbed, processed, and eventually excreted out of the body. These factors can shorten or lengthen the half-life.
Your Body Composition
CBD is fat-soluble and can be stored in fat cells. If you have a higher body fat percentage, the concentration can stay in your system for a little longer and may require additional time to be fully excreted (7). This will extend the half-life.
Our metabolism describes the various chemical processes occurring within our body that help keep our organs functioning normally. All of these processes require the conversion of food to energy (8). A faster metabolism means substances like CBD are quicker to break down, get processed, and eventually eliminated.
Dosage and Consumption
The amount of CBD you take and how you take it can also affect the bioavailability and the half-life. Generally, the more you take, the longer it takes for your body to process and excrete it. However, taking too much CBD at one time can increase the side effects, so it’s vital to monitor the dose (9). The method of consumption also affects the potency and duration of therapeutic effects.
Generally, taking CBD from methods with greater bioavailability also means it will leave your body more quickly. For example, smoking CBD will cause faster effects compared to CBD edibles as it doesn’t need to pass through the digestive system before being processed. However, the half-life will be significantly shorter as it’ll be excreted faster.
Purity and Quality of the CBD
CBD is incredibly popular, and the rise in the use of this cannabinoid means there is an extensive range of CBD-based products available for purchase on the market. It’s essential to choose high-quality products from reputable companies as there is a lower risk of contamination from additional compounds, resulting in increased product potency (10).
The higher the concentration of CBD in a CBD oil or product, the longer your liver will need to process it. The active ingredients will then remain for longer within your body, and the half-life will be longer.
The Bottom Line
Understanding the half-life of CBD can help you tailor your use to get the best results for your needs. The half-life of CBD can be affected by several factors as they can enhance or limit the absorption rate within your body.
**Standard Disclaimer: CBD is not FDA-approved. We make no such claims that using our products will guarantee relief. Moreover, research regarding CBD is still ongoing and in the early stages.**