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how long for cbd oil to work

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 It Take for CBD Oil to Work?

by Taylor Hogan

So you’ve made the decision to start taking CBD. After taking a few drops of CBD oil or drinking some CBD coffee, you might start to wonder how long it will take for the CBD to work and how long the effects of CBD will last.

While many factors can influence how quickly your body absorbs CBD, it will generally take anywhere from a few minutes to a few hours for CBD to work properly, which we’ll examine in greater detail below. Of course, this will depend primarily on factors like your method of CBD consumption, your body chemistry, the CBD serving size, and your frequency of use.

Let’s begin by taking a closer look at CBD and the many factors that will influence how long it takes for CBD oil to work. Then we’ll explore how long the effects of CBD may last.

How CBD interacts with your body

CBD, or cannabidiol, is a cannabinoid found in the hemp plant that works with your body’s endocannabinoid system. The effects of CBD are non-psychoactive, so we can use CBD for a variety of reasons and consume it in multiple forms.

From CBD oil products to CBD lotions and tinctures, often the CBD we consume is extracted from the hemp plant. The 2018 Farm Bill ensures that any CBD product derived from the hemp plant won’t contain more than 0.3% THC.

To understand how long it takes for CBD oil specifically to work, we need to take a closer look at how CBD interacts with our brain and body.

Once you’ve consumed a recommended serving of CBD, it will begin interacting with your endocannabinoid system (ECS). For this to occur, special receptors in the ECS have to accept CBD and allow it to interact with your body. They’re called your CB1 and CB2 receptors.

While THC may bind to these receptors and create the feeling of being high, CBD has an inverse effect when it binds to these receptors. When cannabidiol is introduced to your ECS, it inhibits the production of a neurotransmitter known as anandamide, a natural cannabinoid your body produces in order to regulate pain.

Though the relationship between CBD and our body is complicated, it’s easier to understand which factors will influence how long it takes for CBD to work and how long the effects of CBD will last.

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Factors that influence CBD

There are a lot of things that influence how long it takes for CBD to work. From your method of consumption to your body weight and metabolism, we’ve broken down these primary factors in greater detail below.

The method of consumption

There are five predominant ways to consume CBD that will influence how long it takes for CBD to work in your body. These include ingestion, topical application, sublingual consumption, vaping, and transdermal.

Ingestion

A common CBD delivery method is to ingest as CBD oil. (Other ingestion methods include a CBD capsule or CBD edible like gummies.) With this method of consumption, CBD enters your digestive system and eventually reaches the liver. There, enzymes will break down the CBD before reaching the bloodstream. When CBD is broken down by the liver, you lose some of the concentration before the remaining CBD is sent to your bloodstream. Because the process of digestion and absorption takes time, it could be up to two hours before the effects of CBD set in.

Topical application

Topicals made with CBD include lotions, balms, rubs and creams. Your skin absorbs topical products upon application and CBD begins interacting with cannabis receptors. Because our skin can’t absorb CBD as easily, it’s best to either increase the amount of CBD topical you use or instead find a topical that contains a higher concentration of CBD. The effects of CBD topicals will often peak within 90 minutes of application.

Sublingual consumption

Sublingual CBD consumption is a fancy way of classifying CBD products that are absorbed under your tongue. CBD tinctures, sprays, lozenges, and more can be held and absorbed in your mouth, and work more effectively by bypassing the digestive system. This allows CBD to enter your bloodstream without being metabolized. The effects of sublingual CBD ingestion can be felt faster than edible products, so choose this route if you’re looking for quicker results.

Vaping

Vaping CBD is the process of inhaling vaporized CBD oil contained in a cartridge or pen designed for that purpose. When you inhale CBD, it enters your bloodstream through the lungs. While little data exists to suggest how long it takes to feel the effects, since CBD gets to the bloodstream fairly quickly and from there can be distributed throughout the body, you should feel the effects within 2-5 minutes.

Transdermal

People have been using transdermal skin patches in some form for decades. Because our cells are made of lipids and CBD is a lipid, we can diffuse CBD through our cells until it eventually reaches our blood vessels. Though this option is discreet and effective, it’s still somewhat slow because CBD needs to pass through the many protective layers of our skin. Transdermal patches tend to be slower, taking around 45 minutes to set in but lasting for upwards of 96 hours.

Your body

The way CBD interacts with your body is also dependent upon factors that change from person to person. These include your body weight and metabolism.

Body weight

How much body fat you have will directly influence the amount of CBD you need to consume in order to receive the benefits of CBD. Those who weigh more will need a higher dosage of CBD oil in order to feel the effects, and body fat will also dictate how long CBD stays in your system. While CBD doesn’t have to build up in your body for it to work effectively, it does get stored in fat cells and will remain in your body even after the effects of CBD decline.

Metabolism

Your body’s metabolism determines how quickly you break down and synthesize compounds, and this includes CBD. Those with a faster metabolism will feel the effects of CBD oil sooner because their body will process CBD in a highly efficient manner. Those that have a slower metabolism, on the other hand, will wait a bit longer to feel the effects of CBD. Because everyone’s metabolism is different, there’s no specific amount of time in which CBD will take effect. Trial and error will help you better understand how your body’s metabolism works with CBD.

How much you consume

Frequency

Finding the optimal dosing schedule that’s right for you is an important part of the consumption process. Do you want to enjoy a CBD oil tincture every day? Are you using a CBD topical every now and then in your skin care routine? The answer to these questions will depend on the type of CBD product you use, the concentration of CBD in the product, and the frequency with which you use CBD. Consuming CBD more frequently may increase the cannabinoid receptors in your body, thus making your endocannabinoid system more receptive to CBD.

CBD dosage

Finding the ideal CBD dosage is an important part of the consumption process and will directly impact how long it takes for CBD to work as well as how long it will stay in your system. High-quality CBD derived from the hemp plant is not intended to produce a high, so you don’t need to be conservative with your dosing. That being said, it’s best to start with a lower dose and gradually increase it over time until you’ve found the ideal effects. Taking a higher dosage will also change how long CBD remains in your system, as will the concentration of the CBD oil you’re using.

How long will CBD last?

The amount of time CBD remains in your system is heavily dependent upon the factors above. In general, CBD will remain in your system for 2-5 days or longer, though this doesn’t necessarily correlate with any detectable effects of CBD.

Depending on your consumption method, the effects of CBD will last for 2-4 hours. Of the many consumption options that exist, CBD topicals will last the longest simply because it takes the skin longer to absorb CBD. However, absorbing it through the tongue, such as with a CBD tincture, will tend to work the fastest.

If CBD doesn’t seem to be working for you, be sure to check both the dosage and quality, particularly that you’re using full spectrum CBD oil.

How will CBD oil work for you?

To understand how CBD will interact with your body, it pays to start small and work your way up. If it’s your first time or you’re new to CBD, follow a process of trial and error to determine which CBD product meets your needs, always making sure you’re purchasing something that’s high quality. From there, you can fine-tune your dosage until you’re receiving the desired effects.

Be patient as you find out how much CBD oil works for you. Check out our handy guide to help you determine the right quantity and concentration of CBD oil to use.

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Many factors influence how long it takes for CBD oil to work. We look at how CBD interacts with the body so you know when and how it starts to take effect.