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CBD is a potent substance, but that doesn't mean you can take it once and be forever changed. If you want to reap the full benefits of CBD, you must take it consistently over time. This is due to the fact that CBD's effects only last 4-8 hours in most cases. Continue reading to find out how long CBD stays in your system and works its magic!

What determines CBD's effect duration?

Bioavailability is a crucial concept in the world of pharmacology and drug research. It is defined as "the amount of a drug or other substance that enters the circulation when introduced into the body and thus has an active effect." (1)

Assume you're taking vitamin C. It has a high bioavailability: at least 70% of what you ingest is absorbed and metabolized by the body.

CBD, on the other hand, has a much lower bioavailability. If you consume a CBD-infused edible, you may only retain 10% of the CBD you consumed and paid for. While CBD oils and tinctures are usually a little better, absorption rates don't get much higher than 30%. Those whose digestive or enzymatic health causes problems with fat absorption won't even make it that far. (2)

CBD also has a slow onset of action due to its low bioavailability. The effects of various CBD products last for varying lengths of time. CBD vapes work quickly and leave your system quickly; CBD edibles work slowly and stay with you for a while.

CBD tincture duration

The benefits of CBD tinctures typically start to take effect after an hour and last for four to eight hours. The CBD included in CBD oils and tinctures can linger in your system for even extended periods of time when taken regularly. If CBD saturates the fat reserves in your body, it may stay there for several days and release as needed. (3)

CBD edibles duration

CBD edibles have a substantially longer shelf life than oils or tinctures. Effects from alcohol generally last for more than eight hours. Some CBD products for consumption may remain active in your body for 1-2 days!

However, CBD edibles have a few downsides of their own, including a lengthy onset time and a low bioavailability. Start with a CBD gummy or two if you want to get the best of both worlds, then take a few puffs of CBD vape while you wait for the gummies to take effect. (4)

Other CBD products

One review of 792 academic papers claimed that the half-life of cannabidiol was reported to be between one hour and twenty-four minutes and ten hours and fifty-three minutes after oromucosal spray, two to five days following chronic oral administration, twenty-four hours after intravenous injection, and thirty-one hours after smoking. (5)

What about micro dosing?

One of the most recent CBD industry trends is microdosing. However, unlike many other recent trends, this one is straightforward. You can use the same CBD oil you've always used...and reap the same benefits. What is the only thing that has changed? The way you think about how much CBD is enough for your body to get the health benefits it requires.

Merriam-Webster defines microdosing 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 unwanted side effects." (6)

Homeopathy, an alternative health framework that 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, is the origin of microdosing. For example, to stimulate thyroid hormone production, one could take several milligrams of desiccated thyroid.

Such techniques usually work — and by going the natural route, one avoids ultra-high pharmaceutical doses and all of the unintended side effects that such drugs can cause. However, the effects of a single microdose tend to last between 1-3 hours. To get truly good results from microdosing, one must be consistent!

Long term effects of CBD

Even a small amount of CBD can cause the body to manufacture noticeably more endocannabinoids, which can lead to brain growth that lasts for months even after the initial CBD dose has long since worn off.

According to a mouse study, just three days of topical CBD treatment may be sufficient to reverse three months' worth of changes in brain chemistry, diverting attention from drug addiction and toward mental wellness. (7)


Most CBD products are active and alive in your system for 4 to 8 hours. CBD edibles or higher doses of CBD can stay in your system for even longer.

Because of these limitations, it's critical to take CBD consistently if you want to see the best results. But don't worry: studies show that even a few days of CBD use can help your brain in the long run.


  1. Wikipedia contributors. (2021h, October 16). Bioavailability. Wikipedia.

  2. Cadena, A. (2020, May 26). What is CBD Bioavailability and Why Does it Matter? Medium.

  3. Cannabidiol: Promise and Pitfalls. (2014). PubMed Central (PMC).

  4. Cannabidiol: Promise and Pitfalls. (2014). PubMed Central (PMC).

  5. Millar, S. A. (2018, November 26). A Systematic Review on the Pharmacokinetics of Cannabidiol in Humans. PubMed.

  6. Microdose. (2020). The Merriam-Webster.Com Dictionary.

  7. Unique treatment potential of cannabidiol for the preventio

n of relapse to drug use: preclinical proof of principle. (2018b, September 1). PubMed Central (PMC).

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