How Long Does CBD Oil Take to Work? Ask a Pharmacist
Posted by Dr. Leslie Mudd, PharmD on Jun 30th 2020
When asking how long it takes for CBD to work, you first need a basic understanding of what CBD is, and how different variables can impact how it works for you. In general, it takes CBD within 30 minutes to 2 hours to absorb into the bloodstream, depending on the method of consumption. 1 But other factors like the amount of CBD you take, whether your product is full spectrum or THC-free, how often you take it, and the product quality can all play a role in how long it takes to feel CBD, and how long CBD will stay in your system.
The major caveat to all of these questions are that it really depends on your body, your goals, and expectations.
Some people may notice results from CBD within a matter of days, while others may require weeks of consistent use before beginning to notice a difference. Consistency and patience are required before you can make any judgements about whether CBD works for you.
If you find yourself wondering, “How long does it take for CBD oil to work?” read on as we explore the variables.
Table of Contents
- Factors That Impact CBD Absorption
- Factor 1: Method of Intake
- Factor 2: Dosage & Potency
- Factor 3: CBD Quality
- Factor 4: Individual Biology
- Factor 5: Consistency
- What kind of CBD should I take?
- How much CBD should I take per day?
- What time of day should I take CBD?
- How often should I take CBD?
- After one month of CBD: how will I feel?
How Long CBD Takes to Enter Your System
As I mentioned above, how long it takes for CBD to work really depends on your own definition of the word “work.” Taking CBD for mild discomfort may have faster results than someone who is trying CBD for a serious issue.
Simply put: the answer to this question isn’t one-size-fits-all. For example: how long it takes CBD to work will differ drastically between sublingual oils, CBD capsules, and CBD topicals because of how each absorbs into your body. So let’s get down to the nitty gritty!
Factor 1: Best Method of Taking CBD
There are many different ways to consume CBD. Each method has a different impact on how much, and how quickly, CBD is absorbed into the bloodstream. 2
This phenomenon is called bioavailability. It’s important to understand this because it will help you determine how long it will take for CBD oil to work, and when you can expect to feel the effects of CBD.
CBD Chart for Bioavailability
As you can see in the chart above, the method of consumption is the biggest determining factor in how long CBD may take to work. The quickest and most bioavailable method of consumption is through inhalation. However, hemp flower is still illegal in many states, and vaping has a questionable safety record. The next best way to take CBD is by using CBD oils and CBD tinctures, followed by ingested products, and finally topicals.
CBD capsules, CBD gummies, and CBD edibles have to travel through your digestive system before fully absorbing. This means that it will take longer for the CBD to reach your bloodstream and longer to feel the effects of CBD. On the other hand, consuming CBD via sublingual oil avoids first-pass metabolism by going straight through the capillaries under your tongue. This makes it the most effective method of delivery other than inhalation. 3
Bioavailability is also the main reason we formulate our organic CBD oils with medium-chain coconut oil (MCT oil). Because of its thin and viscous characteristics, MCT oil absorbs more quickly than long-chain triglycerides, such as olive oil or hemp seed oil. Since MCT oil absorbs so easily into our skin membranes, it is the perfect carrier oil for fast CBD absorption.
Factor 2: CBD Dosage and Potency
The amount of CBD you take every day will affect how quickly you will begin notice changes. An individual’s perfect CBD dose depends on their specific body chemistry and needs. It’s best to be consistent with your CBD and take notes on your results, then you can adjust your dose for your body.
How Much CBD Should I Take?
When you’re choosing a CBD product you should consider the level of your discomfort, and adjust the amount of CBD in your dosage accordingly. This may also include testing different consumption methods. This is because your CBD experience can also depend on your body mass, metabolism, and if you’re taking any prescription medications. 5
Everyone is different, and your ideal CBD dosage is something you will have to dial in for yourself. We think 25 mg a great daily serving to start with. But some people need to take more to feel the effects, while some are able to take less for the same effect.
CBD may be an incredible discovery for maintaining general wellness, especially when THC is alongside it. Consult with your doctor to determine the right CBD dosage for you and avoid any potential miscommunications.
Factor 3: Choose a High Quality CBD Oil
Not all CBD products are created equal. Because the hemp market remains unregulated, many CBD brands do very little to produce safe, high quality products. 6
Some CBD brands use ingredients that have impurities, additives, and adulterants which will significantly affect the safety of their CBD product. This is why you should always look for a third party lab test to know that you’re getting a clean, safe CBD product.
We also recommend looking for a full spectrum product, which contains more cannabinoids than just CBD. Just like CBD, these other cannabinoids don’t get you high. But they do have a synergistic effect that could impact the final result. 7
One of those cannabinoids that you’ve heard a lot about is THC. In order for a CBD oil product to truly be considered full spectrum, it will contain trace amounts of THC. The legal amount is no more than 0.3 percent of total dry weight, and this is far from enough THC to become psychotropic or produce euphoric effects. But, it is enough to help the CBD compounds work better.
The origin of the raw hemp material is another key factor that determines the quality of your product. Hemp is a powerful bio-accumulator. That means that hemp absorbs all the toxins in the soil in which it grows. If the soil isn’t pre-tested for toxins, pesticides, or heavy metals, those things could end up in your CBD oil which could be harmful, especially for anyone taking the product consistently for a long period of time.
In addition, if the farmer uses synthetic fertilizers, those fertilizers could also end up in the final product. Although CBD oil companies are testing for pesticides and heavy metals, most of them are not testing for residual fertilizers. Because our fields go through a multi-year crop rotation in order to regenerate our nutrients in a natural way, there is zero risk that synthetic fertilizers will end up in the final product. 8
You can avoid all of these problems by opting for a USDA organic hemp product that has been certified by a legitimate agency – in our case the Kentucky Department of Agriculture. As we explore in this article, the USDA has strict guidelines for organic farming and processing. This means that USDA certified organic CBD products will be responsibly sourced and of higher quality with far less risk of contamination compared to non-organic CBD products. 9
Factor 4: Individual Biology
Although you can count on experiencing certain effects of CBD oil, no two people respond exactly the same to taking CBD. Even if they take the same dosage, the same delivery method, and have the same body composition, they may have different results. 10
There are several key considerations that fall into this category, and they all affect the amount of time it will take to feel any effects of CBD consumption.
Like most cannabinoids, CBD is fat-soluble. Those with higher body fat content will absorb and store CBD in their bodies longer.
While this isn’t necessarily a bad thing, it does mean that people with more fat cells in their body will need more time to adjust to taking CBD. So the higher your body weight is, the longer it may take for your CBD to start working. 11 Your ideal CBD dosage may also be higher than average.
A person’s individual metabolism affects how the body breaks down compounds like CBD. Depending on your age, lifestyle, digestive system, and 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 should feel the wellness potential of CBD more quickly. On the flip side, it may wear off more quickly as well. If you have a slow metabolism, you’ll likely notice that it takes longer to feel the effects of your CBD oil.
CBD is part of a unique set of compounds called cannabinoids. These compounds interact with a biological system found in nearly all mammals called the endocannabinoid system. This system is comprised of cannabinoid receptors that are found throughout the human body.
We are just beginning to understand how the endocannabinoid system works. Research suggests that the endocannabinoid system could be responsible for regulating different functions. 13 If your endocannabinoid system is out of balance, you could experience any number of unwanted results. In that case, you may have better chance of finding comfort through cannabidiol extracts like CBD. While there’s no way to quantify what you’re experiencing, you can probably gauge this yourself by paying attention to how your body feels.
Factor 5: Consistency
For some people, results come sooner than others. A lot of people will notice the wellness potential after just one serving of high quality CBD. For others, though, it might take a few weeks to notice a difference. So if you don’t feel it right away, be patient.
A lot of people give up after a few doses and brush it off as snake oil that doesn’t work. They may be taking a bad-quality product, or they could be ignoring one of the key properties of CBD oil.
Regardless of what you have going on, the results of a consistent CBD routine will begin to reveal themselves slowly over time. The key to getting the most out of your CBD is consistency and longevity! A consistent, daily dose should eventually give you the end result you desire.
How CBD Works for You
Most people new to using CBD oil products want to know how long it takes for them to work. The first thing to understand about CBD is that it might take a few days or even weeks to notice. Also, it’s important to be mindful of how your body feels from day to day while consistently using CBD oil, because the effects could be subtle.
We recommend trying CBD oil for a full 30 days, while keeping a journal on your daily progress. Your logs should include the dosage and time of day so you can looks for patterns and find the dosage and routine that works best for you. Your first 30 days is an important time to better understand your body and how it responds. Below are frequently asked questions many people ask when starting a CBD regimen.
After answering these questions below, it won’t be long before you introduce hemp-derived cannabinoids like CBD oil into your every day wellness routine.
How long until your CBD oil works? Dr. Mudd tells us that the amount of time it takes for CBD to work depends on variables like how it's taken, your body weight, the time of day, and more.
Here’s How Long It Takes to Feel the Effects of CBD
Plus the preferred method for feeling it fastest.
CBD oil is the top trendy ingredient on the market right now. It’s so popular, in fact, that revenue from products made with CBD are projected to grow to $20 billion by 2024.
In case you’re wondering what is CBD, exactly?, here’s a quick refresher: CBD is a naturally occurring compound present in the flowers and leaves of cannabis plants. There’s no THC in it, which means it can’t get you high, no matter how much you take.
The reason CBD is so compelling to consumers is due to a laundry list of promising purported health benefits, from reduced muscle pain and anxiety to help with nausea, insomnia, and inflammation. We’re still waiting for clearance from the FDA (and more robust research on the proven perks of the ingredient), but in the meantime, many Americans are eager to test out the positive potential of CBD.
If you’re wondering whether it’s time to jump on the CBD bandwagon, you’re not alone. But as with any new food, drink, or supplement that promises health benefits, it’s best to start slow—and smart.
One question we often hear regarding trying CBD for the first time is how long it will take to have an effect on your body. According to Boris Shcharansky, the chief operating officer at Papa & Barkley, the length of time depends largely on the dosing method. Here’s a simple breakdown.
Topical forms of CBD
CBD topical products, like balm, ointments, and lotions, should take effect pretty immediately. Once you apply these products to your body, you should start feeling relief within about 15 minutes.
Ingestible forms of CBD
For ingestible products, like tinctures, capsules, gummies, and the like, the results are different. When kept under the tongue, tinctures typically absorb within 30 seconds and effects are felt within 15 minutes. When ingesting CBD (i.e., swallowing it or consuming a food that contains CBD), you can expect to feel the effects within about 45 minutes to two hours.
Don’t overdo it without waiting
If you’ve got aches, inflammation, or other issues that you’re hoping to soothe with CBD stat, be very careful not to overdose without waiting the appropriate period of time. “Ingesting CBD is typically associated with more attentiveness, less anxiety, and less inflammatory-related pain,” explains Shcharansky. “While higher doses—over 200 milligrams—have been associated with drowsiness.”
In other words, dosing should be determined on an individual basis, and consumers should be wary of high doses early on. If you’re curious what the right dosage of CBD is for you, read our guide here.
For those who are hoping to feel the effects of CBD as quickly as possible, Shcharansky recommends taking a tincture sublingually, meaning dropping it under your tongue, waiting a few seconds, and then swallowing.
“But the benefits of CBD are less about immediate effects and more about cumulative benefits,” he explains. “If you take CBD daily, you’ll continuously reduce your inflammation, which over time, should reduce your pain and keeps flare-ups at bay.”
If you’re wondering if it’s time to jump on the CBD bandwagon, you’re not alone. One question we often hear regarding trying CBD oil for the first time is how long it will take to feel CBD oil effects. Here’s a simple breakdown.