How long does CBD oil take to work? Dr. Mudd tells us that the amount of time it takes for CBD like how it is taken, your body weight, the time of day. Wondering how long it takes for CBD oil to work? This article breaks down all the important factors, such as your metabolism, age, overall health, and different consumption methods.
How Long Does CBD Oil Take to Work?
To understand how long CBD takes to work, you first need a basic understanding of what CBD is, and how different variables can impact its onset of action. In general, CBD is absorbed into the bloodstream within 20 minutes to 2 hours depending on the method of delivery. 1 Other variables like the dosage, full spectrum or THC-free , consistency, and quality can also play a role in how quickly you begin to feel the benefits of CBD. How long does CBD oil take to work? It really depends on your goals and expectations, along with other variables like your age, body weight, and metabolism.
However, for anyone trying CBD for a more serious issue, consistency and patience needs to be part of your wellness routine for the full potential of CBD to be realized.
If you’d like to know more about what it takes to begin seeing results, read on as we explore the variables, but first watch my short video below!
How Long CBD Takes to Enter Your Bloodstream
As I mentioned above, the answer to how long CBD takes to work really depends on your own definition of the word “work.” Mild anxiety is going to be much quicker and easier to address than a more serious condition.
Simply put: the answer to this question isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution. It is a step by step approach that acknowledges how the benefits of CBD, and how long it takes to achieve them, may differ from different delivery methods and the issue at hand. For example: how long it takes CBD to work will differ drastically between sublingual oils, CBD capsules, and CBD topicals . So let’s get down to the nitty gritty!
Factor 1: Method of Intake
There are many different ways to consume CBD. Each of these methods has a different impact on how much, and how quickly, the CBD gets absorbed into your bloodstream. 2 This phenomenon is called bioavailability. It’s important to understand this because it will help you determine how much you’ll need to take to feel its effects; and you can also get an idea of how long it will take for your CBD to work.
CBD Bioavailability Chart
As you can see in the chart above, the consumption method of CBD is the biggest determining factor in how long it may take for CBD oil to work. The quickest and most bioavailable method of CBD consumption is through inhalation, but many states still prohibit the sale of CBD-rich hemp flowers for smoking. The next best is a sublingual oil or tincture, followed by ingestible CBD capsules and finally topicals.
Because CBD capsules have to travel through your digestive system, they have what’s known as a first-pass metabolism. This means that it’ll take longer to feel the effects of the CBD, or in medical terms – the bioavailability rate. (To clarify: this applies for all edible cannabis products, because all of them have to pass through your digestive system.)
On the other hand, CBD oil avoids first-pass metabolism by going straight through the capillaries under your tongue. This makes it the most effective method of delivery after smoking, and it means you’ll feel it quicker. 3 This is also the main reason we formulate our organic CBD oils with medium chain coconut oil . Because of its thin and viscous characteristics, it absorbs quickly when placed under the tongue.
There are other variables at play in how long it takes, but this should help you determine when your specific form of CBD will start working.
Factor 2: Dosage & Potency
The amount of CBD you’re taking every day will affect how quickly you will begin feeling its effects. In general, the more that you’re taking, the quicker you’ll feel it.
For example, if you take a high dose of CBD to Support a healthy Sleep Cycle , you’ll probably feel sleepy in about 15-30 minutes. In contrast, if you take a lower serving for general wellness or everyday aches or pains, it could take a few days of dosing to notice significant results. 4
How Much CBD Should I Take?
The bottom line is that when you’re choosing a CBD product, you should consider the type of results you’re trying to achieve and adjust your dosage accordingly. This may also include testing different consumption methods or a different application style. It can also depend on your body mass, and if you’re taking any prescription medications . 5
Everyone is different, and this is something you need to dial in for yourself. A full dropper of our 750 mg CBD oil is 25 mg, which we think is a great daily serving to start with. But some people take more, and some need less. CBD can be a powerful supplement, especially when it contains THC alongside it . So it’s best to consult with your doctor to determine the right dose for you and avoid any CBD side effects .
Factor 3: CBD Quality
We’ve said it time and time again: not all CBD products are created equally. Because this market is largely unregulated, many brands on the market do very little to maintain the quality of their products. 6 Some CBD brands use ingredients that have impurities, additives, and adulterants which will significantly effect the safety of your product. This is why you should always look for a third party lab test to know that you’re getting a high quality CBD product, along with the USDA organic seal.
We also recommend looking for a full spectrum CBD product, which contains more cannabinoids than just CBD. Just like CBD, these other cannabinoids don’t get you high ; but they do have a synergetic effect that heightens your body’s response through the “entourage effect.” 7 One of those cannabinoids is probably one you’ve heard a lot about, and that’s THC. In order for a product to truly be considered full spectrum, make sure it contains trace amounts of THC . The legal amount is no more than 0.3 percent of total dry weight.
The origin of the raw hemp plant material is another key factor that determines the quality of your product. Hemp is a powerful bioaccumulator, meaning that it soaks up all the nutrients and toxins in the soil it grows in. If the soil isn’t pre-tested for toxins, pesticides, or heavy metals, those things could end up in your CBD. That’s why you should only use CBD products made from hemp grown in the USA, and preferably in Kentucky. In addition, if the farmer uses synthetic fertilizers, or if the field doesn’t go through a multi-year crop rotation, there will be fewer nutrients in the soil and the hemp will contain less CBD. 8
You can avoid all of these problems by opting for an organic cannabis product that’s been certified organic by the USDA. As we explore in this article, the USDA has strict guidelines for organic farming and processing. This means that USDA certified organic products will be responsibly sourced and of higher quality. 9
Factor 4: Individual Biology
Although you can count on certain effects to take place, no two people respond exactly the same to CBD, even if they have the same consumption, the same delivery method , and the same body composition. One person could feel their CBD tinctures in 10 minutes, yet someone else could take the same dose and feel it in an hour. 10
There are several key considerations that fall into this category, and they all affect the amount of time it will take to feel CBD’s effects.
Like most cannabinoids, CBD is fat-soluble. Those who weigh more tend to have more fat cells in their body, which means that they’ll absorb and store CBD for longer in their body.
While this isn’t necessarily a bad thing, it does mean that people with more fat cells in their body will most likely need more time to adjust. It’s not all bad news, though: the higher your body mass, the longer it takes for CBD to work. 11
While individual metabolism does involve burning calories, it also affects how your body breaks down compounds like CBD . Depending on your age, your lifestyle, your digestive system, and your genetic profile, your metabolism can function at different rates. This is what we call our metabolic rate – and we all have different ones! 12
If you exercise regularly and have a high metabolism, you’ll feel the effects come on faster; but you’ll also feel it wear off more quickly. On the other hand, if you have a slow metabolism, you’ll notice that it takes longer to feel your CBD coming on; and it will stay in your body for longer.
CBD is part of a unique set of compounds called cannabinoids. These compounds interact with a biological system found in nearly all animals. It’s called the endocannabinoid system (ECS), and its cannabinoid receptors are found throughout your entire body. While we’re just beginning to understand how the ECS works, research suggests that it’s responsible for many of your biological functions like your mood, sleep, appetite, and pain response. 13
If your ECS is imbalanced, you could experience a large range of negative symptoms as a result. While the science is still out on this subject, CBD could help to alleviate these symptoms by attaching to the receptors and rebalancing your system. In general, the more your endocannabinoid system is imbalanced, the longer it will take to feel the effects.
While there’s no way to quantify how much of an imbalance you’re experiencing; you can probably gauge this yourself by assessing the severity of your symptoms.
Factor 5: Consistency
For some people, the positive effects come immediately. A lot of people will notice that they’re experiencing less stress, less tension, and better sleep after just one dose of CBD — but this is just from anecdotal reports. For others, it might take a few weeks to notice the powerful effects of CBD. So if you don’t feel it right away, be patient.
Some impatient people might give up after a few CBD doses and brush it off as snake oil that doesn’t work. While these people might be taking a bad-quality product, they’re also ignoring one of the key properties of CBD oil — take it consistently.
Regardless of what you’re feeling, the positive results come slowly. The key to getting the most benefits out of your CBD is consistency! A consistent, daily dose will eventually restore balance your ECS; and you’ll be glad you stuck with it.
Feeling Out How CBD Works for You
When you’re new to CBD, the first thing to know is that the effects take a few days to become noticeable. That means when you begin taking CBD every day, it’s good to be mindful of how your body responds to your daily CBD dosage. To discover its full effects, we recommend trying it for a full 30 days.
Your first 30 days on CBD is an important time to better understand your body and how it responds. Below we answer many of the most common beginners’ questions about CBD.
The potential therapeutic benefits that CBD oils and tinctures offer are becoming more recognized, making people more interested in getting started. The first 30 days can be a trial and error time in finding what works best for you, the individual. After reading these answers to the most common questions, you are likely to add a cannabis supplement into your everyday routine soon.
What Kind of CBD Should I Take?
For first time users, we always recommend starting with full spectrum CBD oil, which you take sublingually — which means a dropper of oil under your tongue for 30 to 60 seconds to let it absorb through the mucous membrane in your mouth.
Some people have trouble taking our CBD hemp oil under the tongue, and so they prefer the CBD capsules . They are also worth considering if you’re experiencing inflammation in the lower digestive tract, as capsules get further down into the gut.
People looking for pain relief in a specific area often apply a CBD lotion on the affected area, while avoiding the eyes and mucous membranes. For best results, we recommend pairing CBD lotion with sublingual oil, and using the same delivery methods at the same time everyday.
You’ll also always want to make sure whatever CBD product you are using has third party lab tests. The best companies have a QR code, and all of their company information, and testing lab information readily available to be reviewed before or after purchase. In order for CBD oil to work, you must first make sure that what you’re taking is real! If you can’t view the third party test results before making your purchase, then hold off until you can do more research.
Unfortunately, many unscrupulous brands sell fake CBD oil. 14 This is actually just hemp seed oil with a fake concentration listed on the bottle. You’ll also want to stay away from any brand that is making lofty health claims about its CBD oil. No medical claims regarding full spectrum CBD oil have been approved by the FDA, as of 2021. 15
What Time of Day Should I Take It?
This answer is different for everyone. The important thing is to find a time of day to best incorporate CBD into your daily routine. If you’re suffering from discomfort and inflammation during the day, maybe it’s best to take it in the morning. But if you’re using CBD because you’ve read reports that it can help you sleep, then taking it just before bedtime is your sweet spot.
How Often Should I Take CBD?
To begin, start taking CBD once per day, a full dropper of 25 milligrams, or 50 milligrams if you’re using our extra-strength CBD oils. See how you’re feeling and sleeping. For first time users, it can be good to “load dose” at first — taking larger than normal servings. That means, take a full dropper in the morning, and another full dropper before bedtime.
You will know if you have taken too much if you feel groggy in the morning, or if you experience diarrhea symptoms. 16 If you feel these side effects, dial back your current daily dosage to find something that works best for you.
How often you take CBD may also play a role in a drug test or work-related drug screenings. After taking CBD oil consistently for a period of weeks, the cannabinoids begin to build up within our systems, especially in fat cells, which could cause you to test positive during drug screenings. 17 If drug testing is a concern for your job, talk to your HR department before you start taking CBD consistently. You may also consider switching to a CBD topical, which has a far lower risk of showing up on a drug test.
How Long Does It Take For CBD Oil To Work?
It takes a few days for CBD to work, and it’s not something that you’ll notice right away. Be mindful of any pain, anxiety, and changes in sleep patterns as you work through your first week. Keep journal entries to track sleep and progress, and the amount of CBD you’re taking. This will help you be aware of the effects of CBD on your body. Understand that health benefits from natural supplements like CBD edibles, CBD tincture and oils don’t happen overnight. It takes time for the human body to adjust after implementing several different changes into our lifestyle. It also depends on the amount of CBD you’re taking to really experience the true effects of hemp derived CBD products .
After One Month of CBD: How Will I Feel?
After a month of CBD usage, you’ll likely feel different. 18 But if you don’t believe us, try taking it for one month consistently, and then don’t take it for a week. Those bad feelings may return. That’s when you’ll know how CBD makes you feel , and you’ll be ready to order your CBD oil here. At Cornbread Hemp, we are passionate about producing our Flower-Only™ full spectrum, USDA organic hemp extract for consuming CBD in several different effective methods. And because our third-party lab partner tests every batch, you’ll never need to worry about potentially negative side effects from any harmful contaminants.
About the Author
Dr. Leslie Mudd, PharmD
A board certified oncology pharmacist with 25 years experience at the James Graham Brown Cancer Center in Louisville, Kentucky, Dr. Leslie Mudd now serves as the Cornbread Hemp resident pharmacist and medical expert. Read Dr. Mudd’s full author bio here .
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All rights reserved. The statements made regarding these products have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. The health effects and benefits of CBD products have not been confirmed by FDA-approved research. Hemp derived CBD products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. All information presented here is not meant as a substitute for or alternative to health information from licensed health care practitioners. Please consult your health care professional about potential interactions with prescription medication, or about other side effects before using any product. Taking too much CBD, and high doses of CBD may also cause undesired side effects. You should always consult with your doctor or another health care provider if you are considering making any changes to your lifestyle, diet or nutrition. Any CBD product is not intended for those who are pregnant or breastfeeding, please consult your doctor for more information before choosing to use CBD.
Cornbread Hemp works with cannabis plant suppliers who guarantee an equal to or less than 0.3 percent THC content. While there are no psychoactive side effects with these trace amounts of no more than 0.3% THC, it is possible that users may fail a drug test. Cornbread Hemp does not take any responsibility in the instance a customer fails a drug test while using any form of CBD products. Check state laws before travelling with any hemp derived CBD products.
How Long Does It Take for CBD Oil to Work?
Cannabis is a complex plant — and so is its relationship with our bodies.
On top of modulating the endocannabinoid system (ECS), CBD has over 65 molecular targets, affecting a wide range of physiological and mental processes (1–2).
This makes it difficult to gauge precisely how long it will take for CBD oil to work for each individual. Every person is different and has unique body chemistry. People also have varying diets, lifestyles, and struggle with different health concerns.
CBD comes in many forms; each of them affects the absorption rate of the cannabinoid, determining the time CBD oil needs to kick in.
After years of research and advocating for the health benefits of CBD — and using it ourselves — we’ve created a concise guide to the effects of CBD oil: what they are, how long it takes for them to work, and how long they stay with the user.
We’ve also prepared a FAQ section with more detailed questions about this subject.
Factors that Impact CBD Oil Absorption
It may take anywhere from a few minutes to a couple of hours for CBD oil to work. The ultimate time depends on how you consume your CBD, your goals regarding the effects, and the serving size.
The most common forms of CBD include:
- CBD oil – products such as oil drops, tinctures, or sprays, provide relatively fast absorption and long duration of effects. They also offer precise dosing. CBD oil is taken under the tongue, where it gets absorbed through tiny blood vessels.
- CBD vape pen – vaporization offers the fastest absorption rate; the effects of CBD oil are felt almost immediately after the last puff from your vape pen
- Topical CBD – this form relates to a broad range of products, including CBD creams, lotions, gels, balms, bath bombs, and more. The absorption rate varies depending on the product’s formula, but it can take anywhere between 20 minutes and 2 hours until you can experience the effects. Topicals are used for localized relief and skin moisturization.
- Oral CBD products – taking a CBD-infused capsule, gummy bear, or sucking a honey straw straight from the tube is a fun way to enjoy the effects and benefits of CBD. However, since the CBD needs to pass through the digestive system, the effects are delayed by up to 2 hours.
Other important factors determining the time it will take for CBD oil to work include the potency of your product, the serving size, and what you want to alleviate with CBD.
In the next section, we elaborate on the efficacy of different CBD consumption methods.
How Fast Does CBD Work?
It’s advisable to consult a holistic doctor experienced in cannabis use before introducing CBD products to your routine. A consultation with a CBD-friendly professional should help you establish the right dosage and choose the most suitable consumption method for your needs.
Here’s how long it takes for CBD products to work depending on their form — and how long they last.
How Long Does It Take for Oral CBD Products to Work?
Taking CBD capsules have become popular due to their ease of use, convenience, and hassle-free dosage. Each CBD capsule offers a fixed amount of CBD, so there’s not much guesswork involved unlike with CBD oil. Before the CBD enters the bloodstream, it needs to pass through the digestive tract and the liver. From there, it can reach the endocannabinoid system and produce its effects. Due to the “first-pass” metabolism in the liver, the effects of oral CBD have a delayed onset. In the best-case scenario, you may start feeling the effects in as little as 20 minutes, but most people have to wait about 60 minutes to start feeling the effects of CBD capsules. The same pattern applies to edibles such as CBD gummies and honey sticks. As the liver releases CBD gradually into your system, the effects may stick around for up to 10 hours.
How Long Does it Take for Sublingual CBD to Work?
Sublingual CBD products range from CBD oils to tinctures and sprays. They are taken under the tongue for up to 60 seconds before swallowing; doing so allows the CBD to avoid the first-pass metabolism and absorb directly into the bloodstream. Sublingual CBD is considered the second-best form to take CBD if you want the effects to work fast. Typically, it takes around 15–20 minutes to feel the effects of CBD; they usually last for 4–6 hours.
How Long Does It Take for CBD Vape to Work?
Vaporization — inhaling CBD-rich vapor from a vape pen — offers the highest bioavailability of all consumption methods, meaning that you’re getting the most out of your CBD product. That’s because vaping delivers CBD and other compounds of your CBD liquid through the lungs, where they diffuse right into the bloodstream, bypassing the digestive system. The effects are often felt within a minute or two after inhalation, lasting generally for 3–4 hours.
How Long Does It Take for CBD Cream to Work?
Topicals like CBD cream offer many benefits. Studies suggest that the skin has its own endocannabinoid system. When you apply CBD topically, it penetrates the skin barrier, reaching the epidermis layer where CB2 receptors are located. From there, it can produce its soothing and antioxidant effects. In other words, CBD may protect the skin against the damage that causes wrinkles, pigmentation, and other signs of passing time.
The topical method needs more time to take effect than vaporization or sublingual use. People typically report first signs of relief after one hour, but the benefits are longer lasting (up to 8 hours).
What Are the Effects and Benefits of CBD Oil?
As said above, CBD is known to interact with the endocannabinoid system (ECS), which is a vast regulatory network responsible for the body’s ability to maintain homeostasis. This fancy term refers to the balance between all bodily functions; the ECS produces its own chemical messengers (endocannabinoids) that bind to cannabinoid receptors in order to restore that balance whenever it falls out of whack.
CBD and other cannabis compounds have a similar structure to endocannabinoids. They can either bind to the cannabinoid receptors or modulate their activity by signaling the endocannabinoid system to exert certain actions on the body and brain.
A dysfunctional endocannabinoid system can result in a condition known as Clinical Endocannabinoid Deficiency (CECD), which has been recently suggested by researchers as the underlying cause of many chronic ailments.
CBD signals the ECS to produce and maintain higher concentrations of its natural cannabinoids. On top of that, CBD works on several receptor-based and receptor-independent pathways, affecting other systems in the body.
This multifaceted mechanism of action is the reason why CBD has so many health benefits, including (3):
- Better stress management
- Enhanced focus
- Revitalized skin
- Healthy rest
- Reduced physical discomfort
- The overall sense of balance
- Better post-workout regeneration
- Elevated mood
- Improved alertness
Unlike its cousin THC, CBD is a non-intoxicant, meaning it won’t get you high. Instead, CBD will block the activity of THC on the CB1 receptors in the brain, resulting in a milder psychoactive effect when these two compounds are taken together.
CBD is found in hemp and selectively-bred high-CBD marijuana strains. Hemp-derived CBD is currently the only federally legal form. CBD from marijuana can be found in states that have legalized its recreational use or, at least, offer some sort of medical marijuana program for patients.
Numerous health agencies, including The World Health Organization (WHO), have classified CBD as a safe and well-tolerated substance without the potential for abuse. According to studies, CBD is as likely to be abused as a placebo (4).
CBD Effects FAQ
We’ve put together the most frequently asked questions about the time it takes for CBD oil to work. Here we explain everything from dosing CBD to establishing the best routine for your supplementation.
1. How Much CBD Oil Should You Take to Feel the Effects?
Determining the best CBD dosage for yourself is easier said than done.
There are no official dosage guidelines in place, nor is there a specific dose that would produce desired effects for everyone.
Everybody is different and reacts differently to CBD oil; the only way to find out how much CBD you need to feel its benefits is to experiment with different dosages.
If you want to take CBD for a general health boost, a dose of 5–10 mg a day should do the trick. Bigger people will need more CBD in their routine, as well as those who have been recommended higher doses by their physician. Others prefer microdosing, which means taking 1–2 mg of CBD every few hours, for biohacking purposes.
The effects of CBD may be felt instantly, but in order to evaluate its full potential, it’s best to give it about 2 weeks so it can consistently work with your endocannabinoid system.
Once you’ve found the effective dose — a.k.a. your recommended serving size, you can lock in at that dosage and stick to it, as people don’t build a tolerance to CBD.
2. Where Should You Start With Dosing CBD?
CBD isn’t a magical pill; it’s an effective tool for improving one’s quality of life, but it’s not a quick fix to all your health problems. There’s no need to rush with large doses unless your doctor has recommended doing so. The best thing you can do is start really low — up to 5 milligrams for a single serving — and gradually work your way up to the effective dose.
3. How Long Do the Effects of CBD Oil Last?
The duration of the effects of CBD oil largely depends on your metabolism. Although the trace amounts of CBD will stay in your system for 2–5 days, these amounts won’t produce any real effects.
Depending on how you consume CBD, its effects will stick around with you for anywhere between 2–10 hours. Here’s how it looks like for each of the common CBD formats:
- CBD oil – up to 6 hours
- CBD vape pens – up to 4 hours
- CBD capsules and edibles – up to 10 hours
- CBD topicals – 8–10 hours
4. Should You Take CBD Oil with Food Or on an Empty Stomach?
Some companies recommend taking their CBD oils on an empty stomach, using the argument that doing so will reduce the time needed for the effects of CBD oil to work. While you can’t argue with that, this approach reduces its overall potency. Since CBD is fat-soluble (it dissolves in fats), any amount that you swallow needs to pass through the digestive system. When you take CBD with hearty food, it will increase its bioavailability, allowing more CBD to enter the body.
When vaping CBD or taking tinctures, you can avoid taking CBD oil with food because the CBD doesn’t have to pass through the liver to start working.
5. What Time During the Day Should I Take CBD for the Best Results?
There is no such thing as “the best time of the day” for taking CBD oil.
Choosing the ideal time to use it depends on how it fits into your work schedule.
For example, when you have a day off, take your dose of CBD oil and monitor how long the effects will stay for you. Write down your CBD goals first, and once you’ve done it, keep track of the effects in a journal or log — this will help you establish the best times during the day to take CBD.
If you find the effects of CBD invigorating, it may be a good idea to use it in the morning or in the afternoon to enhance your productivity. However, if you take large amounts of CBD oil, then you may feel drowsy after each dose. If this is your story, take CBD in the evening to promote healthy rest.
Regardless of the preferred time of the day, make sure that your supplementation is consistent.
A Final Note on How Long It Takes for CBD Oil to Work
The effects of CBD oil may take anywhere from 1 minute to 2 hours to work. Although many factors impact the onset and duration — including your age, overall health, lifestyle habits, and diet — the consumption method appears to be the key player.
The golden mean between the onset of effects, their duration, and bioavailability is the sublingual use. Taking CBD oil in the tongue will likely produce its effects within 15–20 minutes after swallowing it, lasting for up to 6 hours and delivering more CBD to your system than oral forms.
If you don’t mind a slight delay but are looking for longer-lasting effects, consider adding CBD capsules or edibles to your routine.
For the fastest relief, it’s best to vaporize CBD. Doing so will produce the effects within minutes after inhalation at the cost of some duration.
Topical products, in turn, are the preferred method to target localized problems and nourish the skin.
No matter which method you chose, remember to consult your doctor about your CBD supplementation; always start at the low end, and don’t treat CBD as an overnight cure. If your endocannabinoid system is compromised, CBD may need more time to fix the cannabinoid deficiencies in your body.
How long does it take for you to feel the effects of CBD oil? What is your preferred consumption method? Let us know in the comment section!