How Long Does CBD Cream Stay in Your System?

How Long Does CBD Cream Stay in Your System?

CBD or Cannabidiol is derived from the cannabis plant. The non-psychoactive compound has many health benefits that have become popular over the recent years. CBD today is used in creams, lotions, balms, edibles, capsules, oils, and many other health supplements. CBD is particularly popular for its specialized ability to provide localized relief especially when used in creams. A common question among users remains – how long does the CBD cream stay in the system? 

Let’s understand the science behind topical CBD absorption, and factors affecting its duration, and its detection in drug tests.

Understanding Topical CBD Absorption

CBD cream when applied onto your skin, gets absorbed through the dermal and subdermal layers of your skin. Unlike products that are taken orally, when CBD is used in creams topically, it doesn’t enter the bloodstream in huge amounts. The topical application of CBD in creams

  • Causes the interaction of CBD with cannabinoid receptors in the local area of application. 
  • Resulting in local effects: reduced inflammation, pain relief, and improved skin conditions.

The ECS or the endocannabinoid system is responsible for the mechanism of action. The ECS comprises a complex network of receptors found all throughout the body. The skin’s ECS system interacts with the CBD upon topical application. The interaction between the two helps regulate various physiological functions in the skin, including inflammation, pain perception, and cell proliferation.

How Long Does Topical CBD Stay in the System?

The half-life of CBD ranges from a day to about five days depending on the mode and method of administration. CBD can also stay in a person's system for up to a month. Many factors govern how long the CBD cream remains in your system. The main factors include

Dosage and Concentration 

The higher the concentration of CBD, the more long-lasting its resulting effects. The potency of the cream also plays a big role in factoring how long the active ingredient stays in the body. It is important to note that even with high-concentration creams, most of the CBD remains in the area where it was applied.

Frequency of Application

If you apply CBD cream more often to the same area, there may be a cumulative effect. Over time, the CBD may build up in the local tissues, leading to more prolonged benefits. However, this effect is still mostly localized.


Every person's metabolism is different – this can affect how quickly CBD is metabolized and excreted from the body. In general, topical CBD is not metabolized to the same extent as compared to when it is ingested because, upon consumption as an oral supplement, it is processed by the liver.

Individual Variability

Each person may have a different reaction to CBD. Factors such as skin type, overall health, and the specific condition being treated can influence how long the effects of CBD cream last.

Can Topical CBD Cream Cause a Positive Drug Test?

The oral consumption of CBD may not show up on a drug test as opposed to drugs like THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) which is the psychoactive compound in cannabis. Standard drug tests are formulated to detect THC and its metabolites, and since CBD creams contain very low levels of THC (less than 0.3% in compliant products) it is unlikely that it would show up in a drug test. The small amount of THC present in CBD products is not enough to produce psychoactive effects or trigger a positive result. However, there are some considerations to be aware of.

  • Product Quality: Choose high-quality CBD creams from reputable manufacturers that provide lab-tested, THC-free products.
  • Accidental Ingestion: While the risk is low, theoretically it is possible for trace amounts of THC from a CBD cream to be absorbed through the skin into the bloodstream. Using large amounts of cream and then ingesting could result in trace amounts of THC.
  • Cross-Contamination: In some cases, cross-contamination in manufacturing facilities can lead to trace amounts of THC in CBD products.

Factors Influencing the Duration of Topical CBD Effects

While topical CBD generally does not stay in the system for an extended period, the duration of its effects can vary depending on the specific product, the condition being treated, and individual factors. Some key factors that influence how long the effects of topical CBD may last are

Type of CBD Product

The type of topical product you use is important. Creams and lotions are designed for slow absorption and longer-lasting effects compared to a quick-absorbing CBD gel.

Condition Being Treated

The nature and severity of the condition you're treating with CBD can impact how long the effects last. Chronic conditions may require more frequent application for sustained relief.

Application Area

The location on the body where you apply the CBD cream can affect how long it stays effective. Areas with thinner skin may absorb CBD more rapidly.


The amount of CBD in the product and the quantity you apply will also influence the duration of the effects. Higher doses may provide longer-lasting relief.

Individual Variability

Each person's body responds differently to CBD. Factors such as body weight, metabolism, and genetics can influence how long the effects last.

Consistency of Use

Regular and consistent use of a topical CBD product may lead to more sustained effects over time.

It's important to observe how your body reacts and decide how to use the CBD cream appropriately. For instance,

  • If you find that the effects wear off too quickly, experiment with higher doses or more frequent applications.
  • If you find the effectiveness with smaller doses stick to smaller doses and less frequent applications.

Whatever way you choose to experiment with the application, be sure to stay within the recommended usage guidelines provided by the product manufacturer.

In Summary

Topical CBD is a valuable option for those seeking localized relief from inflammation, pain, or bad skin conditions. These creams offer a localized approach to CBD use – providing relief to specific areas that only need it.

Although the duration of CBD effects via creams is influenced by many factors, it does not stay for very long in the body, and neither does it produce systemic effects.

Also, the risk of testing positive for its psychoactive compounds is minimal, provided you choose the best product and follow recommended guidelines. For more help on how to choose the right CBD products reach out to us at Pakamana. We're here to help start you on your wellness journey :)

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