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With the increasing popularity and demand for products containing CBD, it’s piqued a lot of people’s curiosity about how CBD can fit into their lives. One of the most common questions we get asked is “how long does CBD last?”, as people often wonder how long they’re going to be feeling the effects of CBD, as well as the shelf life of various CBD products. By determining your dosage based on the duration of CBD’s effects, you can decide whether CBD is the right product for you.
Factors that Affect How CBD is Absorbed by the Body
Current research shows that, on average, the effects of CBD can last between 2-6 hours. However, if you’re wondering “how long does CBD last in your system?”, it’s vital that you understand that everyone metabolizes CBD differently.
Depending on how you consume CBD, the dosage, the strength of your CBD oil, end even your body composition, the effects of CBD have been known to last as little as thirty minutes or as long as 2 days.
With this in mind, many people within the various communities that use CBD for mental health issues, chronic pain, or other health conditions often start with a small dose taken twice a day to understand its effects on their bodies. This gives them a baseline from which they can increase, decrease, or adapt when and how they take CBD products.
As everybody absorbs CBD differently, this trial and error methodology starting with the lowest possible dose is a great way to understand just how much CBD is effective for you.
#1 - Bioavailability
Every pharmaceutical and compound that you consume has what’s known as bioavailability, which refers to how much of the active substance is absorbed into the bloodstream. So, when doctors prescribe you medication, the dosage you take will largely depend on the compound’s bioavailability. As a rule of thumb, the higher bioavailability of your CBD, the less you need to take to feel its effects.
Bioavailability largely depends on how CBD is absorbed into the bloodstream. For example, dropping a CBD tincture beneath your tongue means it’ll be absorbed by the blood vessels that are close to the surface of the skin, so this has a high bioavailability. However, eating CBD gummies means the CBD has to be processed by your digestive system before it reaches the bloodstream, giving it a low bioavailability.
#2 - Lifestyle
Having an active lifestyle is proven to raise your resting metabolic rate, which doesn’t just apply to food. Whether you’re a gym rat, love team sports, or walk your dog for hours on end, it might mean that the effects of CBD don’t last as long for you because your body will metabolize it faster.
#3 – Body Composition
CBD is a fat-soluble compound, which simply means that it’s stored in your body’s fat cells once your body has absorbed it. So, if you’re wondering “how long do CBD effects last?”, it highly depends on your body fat percentage. People with more muscle than fat will typically process CBD at a much higher rate, as there are fewer fat cells to store CBD. However, if you have a higher body fat percentage, then your body will typically process the stored CBD slower, meaning you’ll feel the effects for longer.
#4 – Dosage
While there’s no evidence to suggest that you can build up a tolerance to CBD, there’s no doubt that the higher your dose, the longer you’ll feel the effects in your system. As we mentioned earlier, the best way to understand what dosage you need is to start low and slow and to only increase your dosage and frequency once you completely understand how CBD affects your body and mind.
#5 – Frequency
CBD is currently understood to have a biological half-life of 18-32 hours. Biological half-life refers to the amount of time it takes for the amount of CBD in your system to be halved. As with other pharmaceutical products, this half-life means that the more frequently you consume CBD, the more that remains in your system over time. This means that, as you continue to use CBD products, you might find that the effects last longer.
Different Methods of CBD Consumption and the Duration of CBD Effects for Each
As CBD-infused products and edibles are more popular than ever before, there’s a wide range of ways to use CBD. As with every mood-altering chemical, the way that it’s absorbed into your bloodstream can greatly affect not only how quickly you notice its effects, but also how long the effects last for.
Vaping, smoking, or dropping CBD oil under the tongue is the fastest way for CBD to enter your system. Through both of these consumption methods, CBD can take the fastest possible route to your bloodstream.
Ingesting edibles, such as CBD gummies or oil capsules, means that the CBD has to be absorbed by your digestive system before it’s released into your bloodstream.
If you prefer to use CBD-infused products on your skin or CBD patches, then the CBD has to pass through your skin and layers of fatty tissue to reach your bloodstream.
Here’s a quick comparison chart to help you understand how long CBD lasts in your system depending on your method of consumption.
|Method of Consumption||How Soon CBD Works||How Long CBD Effects Last|
Inhalation (i.e. vaping, smoking, CBD flower)
Sublingually/Under the tongue (i.e. CBD oil, CBD tinctures)
Within 30 minutes
Eating (i.e. CBD gummies, CBD oil capsules)
Within 60 minutes
Topically (i.e. CBD-infused skincare products, CBD transdermal patches)
Up to 2 hours
5 hours, some patches last up to 48 hours
How Long Does a Bottle of CBD Oil Last?
We understand that you want to budget for your CBD use, which is why many people ask us “how long does a bottle of CBD oil last?”. The short answer is that it depends on the size of your bottle, the strength of your CBD, and how much you consume daily.
As we mentioned earlier, we always recommend that anyone using a CBD product for the first time only uses the lowest suggested dose at the lowest frequency to understand how their bodies metabolize the CBD. No matter how you’ve used CBD before, we recommend this method every time you switch products or add a new product to your daily routine.
So, if you’re new to CBD, or you’re trying a new product, your mileage with a bottle of CBD oil may vary as you work out what dosage is right for you.
Unfortunately, that means there’s no easy way for us to tell you how long a bottle of CBD oil lasts. However, there is a simple formula you can use to work out how many bottles of CBD oil you’ll need, which is as follows:
500 (total mg content) /20 (daily mg intake) = 25 (days of use from your chosen CBD oil product).
While this formula will provide you with a useful estimation of how long a bottle of CBD oil will last you, you must understand that this is only an approximation. Depending on how accurately you dose your CBD intake, you might end up with more days, or less. Of course, as we mentioned earlier, it also doesn’t account for changing your dosage levels, so this formula can only give you an estimate.
You can also use this formula with a CBD vape if you’ve been wondering “how long does a CBD cartridge last”, but it’s a much rougher calculation as it can be hard to tell how much CBD is in every drag. However, as an estimate for how long does a CBD vape last, one three-second drag each day roughly means you’ll need a new cartridge every 50 days.
How Much CBD is Safe to Consume for a Start?
One of the many benefits of CBD is that the body already has an endocannabinoid system that can make efficient use of this compound. However, because the popularity of CBD is a very recent development, there is very little information available about safe dosage levels and in particular, how much CBD you should use if you’ve never used it before.
In a 2017 study, researchers found that the human body can tolerate up to 1,500mg of CBD a day. However, that doesn’t mean that everyone will be able to handle an excessive amount of CBD like this, and nobody should be using this amount if they’ve never tried CBD before.
The amount of CBD that you take depends on a myriad of factors, many of which are difficult to understand and control for without medical guidance. Your activity levels, body composition, and metabolism all affect how quickly CBD enters your bloodstream and how long its effects last for.
For this reason, many people start at a dosage of 10-20mg, taken once or twice daily. Most products usually come with a suggested dosage between these amounts. It’s a good idea to use this dosage for a week to see what effect it has on your body and increase in small amounts each week until you get the desired effect. We recommend doing this in 5mg increments.
We also recommend that if you’re suffering from depression, whether as a diagnosed condition, part of a diagnosed condition, or you suspect you have depression, you start taking CBD at a lower dose of either 5-10mg once or twice a day, or 10-20mg once a day.
As with any health supplement, you must seek medical advice before you start CBD, particularly if you’re taking any medication. While you should check with your doctor before you take CBD alongside any medication, whether it’s something you take over-the-counter or as prescribed, you need to be careful with the following medications in particular:
- Antidepressants (such as Prozac/Fluoxetine)
- Medications that can make you drowsy (such as antihistamines or benzodiazepines)
- Heart medications (such as certain calcium channel blockers)
- Macrolide antibiotics (such as clarithromycin or erythromycin)
Shelf Life of CBD Oil: Does it Expire?
Now that you likely have a CBD product and dosage in mind, you’re probably wondering “how long does CBD oil last before it goes bad?”. We get asked this a lot, particularly about CBD oil-infused topical products that people intend only to use when they need them, but we’re also asked about this with regards to CBD oils and tinctures.
As a rule of thumb, most CBD oils and tinctures have a shelf life of around 14-24 months. However, this largely depends on what other compounds the CBD oil is mixed with and how you store your product. Some CBD oils and tinctures can contain other compounds that expire before the CBD does, so make sure you check the shelf life of your particular product.
We recommend keeping your CBD oils and tinctures in a cool, dark, and dry place away from children and pets.
If you don’t have access to a pantry or garage to store your CBD, then your first question is probably “how long does CBD last in the fridge?”. This is one of the best places you can keep your CBD, providing it can maintain a consistent temperature and doesn’t run too cold to the point where the CBD and carrier oil get too cold, as it might thicken and become cloudy. However, many people who keep CBD in the fridge find that it lasts for over a year without any degradation in quality.
While CBD does have a shelf life, it doesn’t mean that it can become toxic or dangerous if you consume it after it’s passed that date. So, when we’re looking at the question “how long does CBD oil last before it goes bad?”, the true answer is it doesn’t go bad, it just loses potency. You’ll normally notice this as your CBD oil or tincture will have a different color or smell. We recommend that you don’t use CBD products that are more than two years old as they won’t be as effective.
Proper Storage of CBD Products
Ideally, you want to store CBD upright, and you want to make sure that it stays at a stable temperature with no extreme heat or cold, light, or moisture. As we mentioned earlier, a pantry, garage, or refrigerator is great for storing CBD. Make sure that you keep your CBD away from children and pets, even if you’re planning on using it with them.
Some CBD edibles, such as CBD gummies, need to be refrigerated to maintain a long shelf life. If you’re adding CBD oils to foods at home, such as if you’re making CBD butter, then keep these refrigerated in an airtight container.
If you know you take CBD daily, then keeping your products in a dark cupboard away from heat will be fine. However, if you only use CBD on occasion, mix it into food, or have edibles you’re not going to be able to use within the use-by date, then you can freeze CBD without any loss of potency. CBD topicals should also be kept in a cupboard, as the carrier oils used in these often degrade in a cooler environment such as the fridge.