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How long does it take CBD to work?

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Contents

  1. How does CBD interact with the body?
  2. The method of consumption matters
  3. Dosage matters
  4. How long does it take CBD to get out of your system?

So, you’ve heard about cannabidiol (CBD) oil possibly working wonders for chronic pain relief, anxiety, and many other conditions. You finally sit down, unscrew the cap from the CBD oil bottle, and prepare to set out on a soothing journey guided by this non-intoxicating cannabinoid. After taking a few drops of CBD oil or applying a CBD-infused topical to the skin, you might start to ponder the following questions:

  • How long does it take for CBD to work?
  • How long will the effects of CBD oil last?

More clinical research is required to answer these questions with unwavering confidence, but we can still look at how CBD interacts with the body to come up with well-educated estimates.

How does CBD interact with the body?

CBD interacts with the brain and body through a number of different mechanisms, creating a complex relationship that still merits further research before we can fully understand how this cannabinoid might relieve certain ailments.

Upon entering the system CBD interacts with a wide range of proteins in the body and central nervous system. A key part of this interaction takes place within the endocannabinoid system (ECS), specifically the CB1 and CB2 cannabinoid receptors. Unlike THC, which is the intoxicating cannabinoid that binds to these receptors and creates the stoned effect, CBD actually has an inverse effect. When cannabidiol is introduced to the ECS, it inhibits the absorption of anandamide, a natural cannabinoid that regulates pain.

When cannabidiol is introduced to the endocannabinoid system, it inhibits the absorption of anandamide, a natural cannabinoid molecule that regulates pain. Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps

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CBD also interacts with other receptor proteins not directly related to the ECS, such as the serotonin receptor 5-HT1A and vanilloid receptor TRPV1. The widely perceived anti-inflammatory and pain relieving properties of CBD could stem from the activation of these additional biological pathways.

The relationship between CBD and the human body is rather complicated, but it’s a bit easier to understand how this cannabinoid moves through the body, as well as how long it takes CBD to leave your system. Even this answer, however, is contingent on several factors, including the method of consumption, the quality of the CBD product, and the person consuming CBD.

The method of consumption matters

Method of consumption plays a critical role in how long it will take to feel the effects of CBD. CBD is available in many different forms, and each has an influence on the onset time, among other factors.

Ingestion

The most common method for CBD consumption involves administering a couple of drops directly into the mouth. It is the quickest and easiest way to reap the potential benefits of this cannabinoid. But quickly swallowing the oil also prevents CBD from immediately entering the bloodstream, sending it instead through the digestive tract and eventually on to the liver, where it is broken down before finally reaching the bloodstream.

Studies show that when CBD compounds are metabolized by the liver, it undergoes what is called the “first pass effect,” where enzymes in the liver reduce CBD concentration before the remainder is finally sent to the bloodstream to be circulated throughout the body.

CBD oil dropper

Administering a couple of drops of CBD oil directly into the mouth is the quickest and easiest way to reap the benefits Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps

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CBD oil dropper

For ingestion of CBD edibles, the same principle applies. Let’s say, for example, you’re taking CBD gummies or adding a few drops of CBD oil into your favorite recipe. It will ultimately go through the same lengthy process and reduce the total CBD concentration found in your blood stream. With ingestion, it could be one to two hours before the effects of CBD finally set in.

Sublingual

CBD oil can be consumed sublingually by placing a few drops of CBD under the tongue before swallowing. By using this method, CBD is absorbed by the mucous membranes located in the mouth, bypassing the digestive system and liver. Compared with ingestion, this process allows the consumer to skip over the initial metabolization process, where CBD molecules are broken down in the liver, allowing it to enter the bloodstream more quickly.

Inhalation

Whether you’re smoking a high-CBD strain or taking a draw from a CBD vape pen, inhalation is often seen as an effective method of delivery for CBD because of how quickly it’s absorbed in the body. When CBD is smoked or vaped, cannabinoids are sent directly to the lungs, where they are rapidly absorbed into the bloodstream and put into circulation throughout the body. It reaches peak concentrations within three minutes after consumption, meaning the effects can be felt shortly after use.

Topical

Topical CBD is applied directly to the skin and can be absorbed through the surface of the skin to interact with localized cannabinoid receptors. In some cases, CBD-infused topicals should be applied liberally to overcome the low cannabinoid absorption rate of the skin. When CBD is applied topically, the effect peaks at about 90 minutes. This method of administration is often used for chronic pain in specific areas.

Topical CBD is applied directly to and can be absorbed through the surface of the skin. Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps

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Dosage matters

The way CBD operates throughout the body – and is inevitably excreted from the body – also depends on several factors that vary from person to person.

Body weight

The amount of body fat influences the amount of CBD needed to be effective. Someone with a larger body mass will require more CBD in order to feel the effects. Body weight and mass also affect how long CBD remains in the system. Like THC, CBD is stored in fat cells and gradually eliminated from the body through urine and feces. Does CBD have to build up in your system to work effectively? No, but it does get stored in the fat cells and can remain in the body well after the effects of CBD diminish.

Metabolism

The metabolic rate of the individual also has some sway over how long CBD stays in the system. The body’s metabolism determines how long it takes to break down and synthesize compounds, which affects how long it takes the body to process and metabolize the cannabinoid.

The body’s metabolism affects how long it takes to process and metabolize cannabinoids. Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps

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Frequency of use

It’s not just the human body that influences how long it takes CBD to work, but also the quality of the CBD product and how often it’s used. Once the CBD oil is acquired, the next step is to find the optimal dosing regimen, including frequency of use. Perhaps you’ve wondered to yourself:

  • Should I take CBD oil in the morning or at night?
  • What’s the right time of day to take CBD?

The answers will depend largely on the type of product, amount of CBD inside it, and the specific ailment you are targeting. Most reputable manufacturers will provide instructions on how to properly utilize the product, but experimentation may be required to find the optimal dose for you and your specific needs.

CBD dosage

Settling on the ideal CBD dosage is an important part of the treatment process, and will also impact how long CBD stays in your system.

Hemp-derived CBD products are not intended to give the user a stoned buzz or intoxicated feeling, so there’s no need to be conservative with the dosage amount. Still, it’s recommended to start with a lower dosage and gradually increase it until the ideal effects are discovered.

How long does it take CBD to get out of your system?

We’ve covered the factors that determine how long it takes for CBD to work, but what about how long it takes to get CBD out of your system? Again, it depends on many of the aforementioned factors that determine the effectiveness of the cannabinoid itself.

A 2007 study states that CBD can be detected up to 72 hours after smoking. Since the effects of CBD may be felt directly after inhalation, this method is appealing for those seeking immediate pain relief. In another study, volunteers were given soft-gelatin capsules of cannabis extract containing 2.5 milligrams of THC and 1.35 milligrams of CBD. The research team found that CBD was only detectable in the blood for up to six hours after ingestion.

woman smoking joint

CBD can be detected up to 72 hours after smoking. Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps

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woman smoking joint

Some people may be apprehensive to try CBD over concerns that it could cause them to fail a drug test. It’s highly unlikely that CBD would show up on most drug screenings, as most tests specifically look for the presence of THC and THC metabolites. But even hemp-derived CBD can contain trace amounts of THC, so there’s technically a chance, albeit extremely slim, of receiving a false positive test result from taking an unusually large dose (estimates range from 1,000 to 2,000 milligrams per day) of CBD oil.

For those worried about THC showing up in their system, look for broad-spectrum oil or products that contain pure CBD isolate. Broad-spectrum oil, as opposed to full spectrum oil, is refined to exclude the trace amounts of THC that may have been present in the hemp plant. Products with CBD isolate contain no THC or other plant-based cannabinoids. To find high-quality CBD, search for products that come with a certificate of analysis from a third-party testing lab to ensure that the information listed on the product label is accurate. Also, be on the lookout for products that claim to be hemp seed oil or hemp oil, which seldom contains any CBD at all.

How long does it take CBD to work? Copy article link to clipboard. Link copied to clipboard. Contents How does CBD interact with the body? The method of consumption matters

How Long Does CBD Last?

How Long Does CBD Last?

People have a lot of questions about CBD. One of the most common questions we hear:

How long do the effects of CBD last?

It’s a great question! And anyone interested in taking CBD deserves to know the answer. No matter what your reason for taking CBD, you obviously want to know how long the effects are going to last. Who wouldn’t? We’re here to clear this up once and for all.

How Long the Effects of CBD Last: What You Need to Know

One of the first things to understand about how long CBD effects last is that CBD affects everyone differently. How long it takes to feel the effects and how long these effects are experienced depend a lot on the person who is taking it.

That being said, there are a couple general things to keep in mind when determining just how long CBD effects will last.

If You’re New to CBD, Give it Some Time

If you’re new to CBD and you’re wondering how long the effects of CBD last, you’ll want to give your body some time to adjust to taking it. Many people just starting out on their CBD journey try it for the first time and think they’re going to immediately see extraordinary results, but this isn’t always how CBD works.

Maybe for some it does (and we love hearing these stories), but remember that CBD affects each person differently. It’s best to give your CBD regimen some time before determining how long various methods work for you.

How You Use CBD Determines How Long it Takes to Feel the Effects and How Long the Effects Last

There are several different ways to take CBD and the method you choose will ultimately determine how long the effects last. While there is the option of CBD flower, which can be smoked or vaped in several medical marijuana dispensaries, most individuals who use CBD favor products made with CBD oil.

How long it takes CBD to work, as well as how long the effects last, will differ. As a general rule, CBD effects will last between 2-8 hours.

Some of the most popular methods of using CBD (including how long it takes to feel the effects of each and how long these effects last) include:

Tinctures
Tinctures are one of the most popular ways to enjoy CBD. CBD tinctures are taken most effectively by mouth — many people will hold it there for one to two minutes before swallowing.

It typically takes 15–30 minutes to feel the effects of a CBD tincture, and the effects are known to last between 4–6 hours.

CBD capsule effects

Capsules
CBD capsules are taken just like a regular supplement. When CBD is ingested orally this way, it must first pass through the digestive system and then the liver, where CBD molecules are metabolized by various enzymes. This is something that reduces the concentration of CBD compounds that are then passed into the bloodstream. Because CBD must pass through both the digestive system and the liver, it takes longer to feel the effects.

It can take up to one hour to feel the effects of capsules, which usually last between 6–8 hours.

Edibles/Beverages
CBD edibles and beverages work much like CBD capsules. When CBD is consumed in the form of CBD gummies or infused hard candies, chocolates, drinks or other edibles, it must pass through the digestive system and the liver.

Many people who take CBD in the form of capsules, edibles or drinks prefer to do so on an empty stomach, which can reduce the time it takes for CBD to make its way through the digestive tract and be broken down by the liver. However, consuming capsules or edibles with fatty-acid-rich foods may help increase bioavailability.

Like capsules, it typically takes up to an hour to feel the effects of edibles or beverages, and the effects last between 4–6 hours. (Also see our excellent CBD gummies guide for additional information)

Topicals
CBD topicals are applied directly to the skin, coming in the form of lotions, creams, balms and salves. CBD topicals are excellent for providing localized benefits to the area of the body to which they are applied. They are absorbed through the skin, bypassing the digestive tract completely.

Research indicates the presence of an endocannabinoid system in the skin, which has been associated with several biological processes. Because CBD topicals bypass the digestive tract and liver, the effects can be felt much quicker than when using other methods.

Generally, CBD topical effects can be felt within 15–20 minutes and can last for up to 6 hours.

Vaping
Vaping CBD oil is generally the quickest way to feel the benefits of CBD. When you vape CBD, your lungs quickly absorb the CBD you inhale. From here it quickly enters the bloodstream, where it then travels to various parts throughout the body.

The effects of vaping CBD are felt almost immediately but don’t last as long as other traditional products. The effects of vaping CBD are expected to last around 2–3 hours.

How Much CBD Should You Take?

Now that you know how long the effects of CBD last, you might be wondering just how much CBD you should take to feel these desired effects. Remember, CBD affects everyone differently and ideal servings will vary tremendously. Like we mentioned before, the best thing you can do is give it some time.

When you first start taking CBD, it’s best to give your body time to adjust to something new. Start by slowly by taking a low serving size (5–10mg) and then work your way up over the course of a couple weeks until you hit that sweet spot and feel the benefits you desire.

CBD works differently for everyone, which will ultimately determine how long the effects last for them personally. The type of CBD product and how you use it also has a significant influence on how long the CBD effects last. Generally speaking, depending on what type of CBD product you’re using, the effects will last between 2–8 hours.

Do you have any questions? Please reach out to us — our customer service team has answers!

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Joy Smith

Joy Smith is Joy Organics Co-founder and visionary. After her own life-changing experience with CBD, Joy started Joy Organics to create a line of sustainable and premium CBD products consumers could trust. Before founding Joy Organics, Joy worked as an itinerant speaker, traveling to over four continents to empower women across the globe.

There are a couple general things to keep in mind when determining just how long the effects of CBD will last. Contact Joy Organics with any questions!