Medical marijuana use and distribution in California became officially legal in 1996. In 2016, Prop. 64 was introduced and passed, allowing California residents to legally use, produce, and sell recreational marijuana and other cannabis products. Despite this, the Federal Government as well as certain California districts still actively crack down on marijuana use, distribution, and possession.
While much progress has been made in the way of legalizing and normalizing the drug, many of the laws surrounding marijuana use in California are still up in the air. As such, the drug is still frowned upon by some and unlike alcohol; certain workplaces still run pre-employment drug tests to check for signs of marijuana before hiring applicants.
Frequently used pre-employment drug tests that we may all have come across include; urine tests, blood tests, oral fluid tests, and hair tests. The most common of all of these is perhaps the urine test. Designed for detecting both casual and chronic use, urine tests can detect THC compounds for as long as a month after marijuana use.
In an article written for Medical News Today, Zawn Villines outlines several factors that can play a part in how long THC remains in one’s system. A person’s body fat content, their gender, and even their hydration level can all play a significant role in making THC easier or harder to detect.
Although the article goes into great detail about the detection windows and various factors influencing drug tests, it does not mention the cannabis plant broadly or its other derivatives.
“Marijuana,” “cannabis,” and “weed” are often used so interchangeably that we forget the difference between the compounds that make up the cannabis plant and their varying uses.
While traditional cannabis products often include at least a fair amount of THC, scientists have now begun to develop pure CBD concentrated products for use in pain and mood management from hemp.
This new generation of CBD based products is designed to provide all of the benefits of marijuana without causing the user to come under the influence.
This is great news for those who need an alternative to opiates for pain management such as arthritis patients or former addicts. However, the advent of these new CBD based drugs leads one to wonder whether CBD is detectable through testing. Moreover, exactly how long does CBD stay in your system?
CBD: Distinction and Detection
Before discussing the specifics surrounding CBD’s duration and detection, it’s important to discuss the compound’s legality. One would think that because CBD doesn’t get you high, it being found in your system should not get you in trouble, right? Well, not exactly.
CBD’s legality is dependent on how it is extracted. When one asks: “is CBD oil legal,” one must make a distinction between CBD extracted from hemp and CBD extracted from cannabis directly.
According to the Food and Drug Administration, CBD oil extracted from hemp is legal nationwide due to the passing of the Agricultural Improvement Act. On the other hand, CBD oil extracted from cannabis directly is illegal nationwide and varies by state.
Both types are closely monitored by the FDA and any products made using either variation must be approved by the agency before commercial distribution.
The reason we bring this up is because CBD extracted from cannabis is illegal primarily because it may have some THC mixed in it. This chemical mix up is what makes cannabis CBD products detectable in drug tests. The CBD itself is not detectable in urine, but THC most definitely is. Hemp CBD also contains some trace amounts of THC, but the amount is usually so negligible that it often goes unnoticed.
That being said, is there a difference between how long hemp CBD and cannabis CBD lasts? And on that note, what are some of the side effects that you might experience from taking CBD?
CBD Oil Duration
When it comes to the question of duration, we must step back yet again and make a distinction between the types of CBD we’re talking about. While both variations are essentially the same, their use and chemical makeup does vary slightly.
Cannabis CBD Oil:
Cannabis CBD oil is derived from the flowering regions of the marijuana plant. This extract is typically found along with THC and encased in vape cartridges, housed in tincture bottles, and found in syringes.
According to Prohbtd.com, THC is an agonist compound while CBD is an antagonist. What this means is that CBD works by negating the stimulating effects of THC and helping you get back down from a high. When both compounds are ingested together, they essentially rush to bind to CB1 and CB2 receptors. The duration of your high is then dependent on who bound with what, how quickly, and to what extent.
The duration and potency of the CBD in this situation isn’t something that can be gauged because it is meant to actively work against the THC present in your system. Therefore, the only way to determine the effectiveness of CBD is to examine the ratio of THC/CBD in a given strain.
For example, a strain like: Viper City OG will likely get you high and will do so for a long period of time due to it mostly being made up of THC molecules. Alternately, a strain like Charlotte’s Web will not get you high due to its negligible THC content. Instead, it will provide you with exceptional pain relief and make you feel relaxed for a certain duration of time (dependent on the dose).
Hemp CBD Oil:
Hemp CBD oil is derived from the leaves and stalks of hemp plants. This kind of extract is primarily used for medicinal purposes and contains little to no THC. As a medicinal product, hemp CBD comes in a variety of products depending on your specific needs. These include:
Tinctures – An excellent choice for pain, tinctures activate in 30-60 minutes and provide roughly 2-4 hours of relief.
Vapes – Another great choice for pain, vapes activate almost instantly and provide 45 minutes to an hour worth of relief.
Topicals – Great for inflammation, topicals can be applied to the affected area directly. They can take about an hour to kick in, but may provide 1-2 days of relief if enough is applied.
Edibles – Take 30 minutes to an hour to kick in, but are great for anxiety and depression. Will provide relief for about 1-2 hours.
As you can see, the onset and duration of relief experienced is dependent on the method of application. That being said, the CBD found in these products does not act as an antagonist because there is no THC found alongside it. Instead it acts as an agonist and provides treatment without the high that cannabis may cause.
That being said, you might still be wondering how long CBD stays in your system. Although CBD is virtually undetectable alone, a study published in 1991 tried to answer this very question. In the study, 14 subjects suffering from Huntington’s disease were given around 700mg of CBD per day. To put it in perspective, the average arthritis patient takes about 50-100mg per day to treat pain and inflammation symptoms.
The study found that after six weeks of 700mg doses per day, the subjects’ blood revealed little to no trace of CBD after just 1 week of stopping use.
CBD Oil Side Effects
You might be wondering, do either of these CBD variants cause side effects? For starters, if you’re worried about getting a CBD hangover –rest assured, that doesn’t happen in either case.
Aside from relieving pain, anxiety, and depression symptoms, CBD may have some unwanted side effects though. According to Health Line, some possible side effects of CBD use include: diarrhea, changes in appetite, and fatigue. Moreover, some studies have shown that frequent use of CBD may increase liver enzyme levels in some individuals. This can be a sign of possible liver damage; however this is rarely the case.
Obviously, the duration and severity of side effects is entirely dependent on the dose taken and the duration of use. The more frequently you use CBD, the more prominent the side effects will become and the longer they will last. So long as you maintain healthy control over your CBD use, you shouldn’t run into any problems.
Don’t worry, managing your intake of CBD is not like managing prescription medication. Unlike most opiates, CBD is not habit forming. You will never develop a “need” for the drug, so your management ultimately comes down to personal self-control. This is due primarily to CBD working with your endocannabinoid system rather than your pleasure center. CBD aids in chemical regulation rather than activating a rapid dopamine release.
Conclusion: The Long and Short of It
For years lawmakers have been struggling to determine the legalities of cannabis. The questions still surrounding the drug extend to all aspects of its cultivation, distribution, and use. As such, we can expect pre-employment drug tests to continue for an undetermined time in the future. The uncertainties of cannabis even extend to CBD oil –an extract that has proven its benefits numerous times now.
While this helpful compound is surrounded by a large gray area, there are some things that we do know. First off, we know that CBD can be extracted from 2 different sources and we know that each variant carries its own strengths and repercussions.
We also know that due to CBD’s chemical makeup, it does not show up on drug tests taken a week after its use. In some instances, CBD doesn’t show up on drug tests at all if not mixed up with a significant amount of THC.
CBD has been proven to be a safe product to use for the treatment of various disorders that cause; anxiety, depression, pain, and inflammation. Unlike alcohol, using CBD does not cause a hangover nor is the drug habit-forming.
As we dive deeper into the research surrounding cannabis, we are certain to uncover more of its secrets. Until then, please talk to your doctor before taking CBD for any reason. While the compound is relatively safe, it is not free of side effects and like any other medication, it should be respected