Some people get instant relief from CBD oil while others have to wait for months. What gives? Find out what the latest research has to say. 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.
How Long Does it Take for CBD Oil to Work?
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One of the most common questions about CBD oil is how long it will take to work. In truth, we just don’t have enough studies to answer this question definitely. Read on to understand what the early research shows.
How Long Does it Take for CBD Oil to Work?
The most important thing to remember is that that the only approved use of CBD oil comes in the form of prescription anti-seizure medication and further research needs to be done to decipher its benefits in other conditions . But that has not stopped many people from using it for a myriad of conditions. So we just don’t have enough studies to definitely answer this question. That being said, we will give you the latest research findings on CBD oil and try to answer this question as best as we can.
If you are thinking about taking CBD oil, remember to speak with your physician about it!
Being a relatively new product, CBD oil users often struggle to figure out the best way to take it. Among many questions, people often want to know how long it will take for CBD oil to work. Will you feel the effects after a few minutes, days, or weeks?
If you don’t notice the effects after taking it for some time, you might feel frustrated and conclude that CBD oil doesn’t work.
First, you want to make sure that you’re not missing out on any important factors that affect the onset of the effects – such as the delivery form, product composition, dosing regime, and your health status.
Below is a comprehensive list of the factors that will determine how long it will take until CBD oil starts working.
- CBD oil may relieve acute conditions, such as panic attacks, in a couple of hours
- Vapes and mouth sprays are better for acute conditions
- People with chronic problems may need to wait a couple of months
- Capsules release a steady supply of CBD and may be better for chronic conditions, taken twice daily
- Your microbiome and genes can affect how quickly you will respond
- If you’ve been taking CBD oil for 4-5 months and still don’t feel anything, you may not be dosing it right or it may not work in your case
How Long It Takes for CBD Oil to Work by Product Type & Composition
The delivery method is probably the factor that most strongly influences the time until the onset of the effects.
Some forms will allow CBD to quickly pass into your blood and reach its targets. In contrast, others will release CBD much slower, but their effects will last longer.
There are two main types of oral CBD oil:
- Fast-release forms: tinctures and mouth sprays.
- Slow-release forms: capsules, tablets, edibles (such as gummies, lollipops, and cakes), and teas.
Fast-release forms are applied directly in the mouth. Although you will eventually swallow part of the liquid, you will absorb most of the CBD through the blood vessels under your tongue, along your gums, and on the inner lining of your mouth.
Thus, CBD will bypass your digestive system and be released directly into your bloodstream. As a result, the effects will start to kick in after only 15-30 minutes. They will be strongest when your blood CBD levels peak (~2-4 hours) and may last up to 6 hours [2+, 3].
Conversely, you will need to digest slow-release forms and should feel the effects 30-180 minutes after taking them. CBD has to pass from the gut into the liver before being released into your bloodstream. Liver enzymes break down part of CBD, so less will reach the blood (first-pass metabolism) [2+, 3, 4].
However, slow-release forms do have an advantage: their effects are sustained over a longer period of time. You can expect them to last up to 8 hours [2+].
It takes about half an hour for CBD oil tinctures and mouth sprays to start to work and up to three hours for capsules and edibles.
When and for how long you will feel the effects of topical forms depend on various ingredients that alter how well CBD penetrates the skin. According to users, you may start noticing the effects after 30-120 minutes [2+].
Creams, lotions, and balms act locally, while transdermal patches also deliver CBD into the bloodstream. For example, CBD oil patches effectively reduced inflammation in animal studies [5, 6].
Together with smoking medicinal cannabis, vaping CBD oil is the fastest way to absorb CBD. Vaping is, however, preferable because it irritates the lungs less and produces fewer toxic byproducts such as carbon monoxide [7, 2+].
Each inhalation will immediately release CBD into your lungs, which quickly passes into your bloodstream. You may notice the effects after only 5-15 minutes. However, blood CBD levels will start declining after 1 hour and the effects will only last 2-4 hours [2+, 3].
The effects of vaped CBD oil kick in after 5-15 minutes, but they will last for only a couple of hours.
CBD is also available in anal and vaginal suppositories. Similar to topical forms, their effects may be strongest locally – in the mucosal tissue, nerves, and muscles of the anus and vagina. Because these areas are very rich in blood vessels, part of the CBD may pass into the blood and reach other areas .
How fast you will feel the effects depends on the exact ingredients, e.g. oils and additives used. You will usually feel the local effects quickly, while it will take a couple of hours for CBD from anal suppositories to reach the bloodstream .
Product Quality & Composition
It’s important to choose high-quality CBD oil from reputable vendors. Low-quality products may have less CBD than stated on the label, meaning they will take longer to work – if at all .
In addition, be sure to check the expiry date and keep the packaging in a cool and dry place protected from direct sunlight to prevent degradation of the active compounds.
Plant-derived extracts (also called full-spectrum CBD oil) also contain other plant compounds that slow CBD absorption – a drawback if you need quick relief. However, these compounds act in synergy and enhance the effects of CBD at high doses, which may be preferable for chronic problems .
Similarly, capsules and edibles release CBD slower if they contain ingredients such as fiber .
In turn, CBD is a fat-soluble molecule and will be absorbed faster and better in combination with fats (e.g., CBD cakes with butter) .
Full-spectrum CBD oil extracts release CBD oil slower but their effects are stronger. Fiber slows CBD oil absorption while dietary fats enhance it.
How Long it Takes for CBD Oil to Work by Health Condition
Whether your condition is acute or chronic may determine how long it will take CBD to work. Users with chronic conditions often overlook this one.
As a rule of thumb, single doses may relieve acute, episodic conditions (such as panic attacks), while chronic conditions (such as arthritis) may require sustained CBD therapy.
Below is an overview of how long it took CBD oil to work in clinical trials, by health condition.
1) Anxiety (Acute & Chronic)
People with acute anxiety episodes responded quickly to oral CBD (capsules or liquid solution). It was effective after 90-160 minutes in those with anxiety caused by stress, social phobia, and heroin craving [14+, 15, 16+, 17, 18+].
In contrast, chronic anxiety needed longer-term therapies. CBD normally improved anxiety – and other symptoms – in 4-8 weeks in people with PTSD, fragile X syndrome, and autism [19, 20, 21, 22].
CBD oil may relieve acute anxiety and panic within 3 hours; those suffering from constant anxiety might need to take it for 4-8 weeks to feel the effects.
Only one clinical trial tested pure CBD for chronic pain. In this study, CBD improved pain from kidney transplants after repeated use during 1-3 weeks .
CBD-rich preparations reduced pain after 12 weeks in girls with adverse effects from the HPV vaccination, 1-7 months in children with complex movement disorders, and 1-3 months in people with migraines and cluster headaches [24+, 25+, 26+].
A mouth spray with the same amount of CBD and THC (nabiximols) was far more commonly used for chronic pain in clinical trials. It relieved rheumatoid arthritis pain after 5 weeks, multiple sclerosis and nerve pain within 4-10 weeks, and cancer pain in 2-5 weeks [27, 28+, 29, 30, 31+, 32+, 33+, 34+].
It may take up to 10 weeks for CBD oil to relieve pain. Although it can be used alone, its combination with equal amounts of THC works better. Remember THC is still illegal in the United States federally!
3) Sleep Disorders
In people with insomnia, CBD improved sleep quality after 1-2 months [35+, 36].
Similarly, CBD oil improved sleep disturbances from Parkinson’s disease, fragile X syndrome, and PTSD within 1-2 months [37+, 38+, 21, 19, 20].
CBD reduced seizure frequency and severity in people with epilepsy who took it for 4-14 weeks [39+, 40+, 41+, 42+].
In people with schizophrenia, CBD started improving the symptoms after 2-6 weeks [43, 44+, 45].
6) THC Side Effects
In regular cannabis smokers, a 10-week therapy with CBD improved adverse effects from THC use such as depression and psychosis .
After 13 weeks, CBD reduced the levels of a hormone that raises LDL cholesterol (resistin) and increased gastric inhibitory polypeptide, which stimulates insulin release in response to high blood sugar, in people with type 2 diabetes .
Initial studies say CBD oil improves seizures in 4-14 weeks, symptoms of schizophrenia in 4-6 weeks, THC side effects in 10 weeks, and hormonal profile in type 2 diabetes in 13 weeks. Remember, however, that these results are preliminary and not considered conclusive.
Dosing & Other Factors that Impact When You May Feel CBD Oil’s Effects
According to a clinical trial on 56 people, taking CBD oil twice daily increases its blood levels better than taking it just once in the morning. Thus, it may help keep CBD levels steady .
So if you use CBD more frequently, you may reach the required levels quicker [7+].
This may be especially important for people with chronic health problems who need a stable supply of CBD oil to feel its effects. Consistency is crucial, and missing doses may prevent you from reaching high-enough CBD levels.
Dosing CBD oil twice daily keeps its levels stable, which might be important for people with chronic health problems.
Factors Unique to You
You will need less CBD oil if you are lighter and you are likely to feel the effects faster. But since CBD is stored in fat, heavier people – who tend to have more body fat – may feel the effects over a longer period of time. In line with this, exercising will quickly release CBD stored in fat [49+, 50].
Being fat-soluble, CBD is absorbed through the small bowel. Your gut health – particularly, your microbiome composition – will determine how quickly and efficiently you absorb it .
Once in the bloodstream, CBD rapidly passes into deep tissues. However, health conditions can alter its distribution, e.g. a leaky blood-brain barrier [52+].
Genetics may also play a role. Genetic variants of CBD targets (such as FAAH, TRPV1, 5HT1A, or GPR55) can make you prone to responding faster or slower [53, 54, 55].
Your weight, body fat, genetics, and gut and brain health can all affect how quickly you will feel the effects of CBD oil.
What if I Still Don’t Feel Anything After Taking CBD oil?
If you don’t feel the effects of CBD oil, even after carefully considering all the above-described factors, it’s possible that you are not taking the right dose or that CBD oil just does not work for you. Speak with your doctor about any issues you might be having.
Read through this protocol to learn how to find the dosage.
CBD oil is experimental and investigational. Speak with your doctor before trying it out.
When you may feel the effects of CBD oil mainly depends on how and why you are taking it. The quality and additional ingredients in the product you’re using also weigh in.
CBD oil might relieve acute conditions, such as panic attacks, in a couple of hours. Vapes and mouth sprays are probably the best choices if you need quick relief.
People with chronic problems may need to wait a couple of months. For example, CBD oil improved sleep in 1-2 months, seizures in 4-14 weeks, and type 2 diabetes in up to 13 weeks in clinical trials.
Capsules are probably the best choice for chronic conditions. They release a steady supply of CBD, which starts to act in 1-3 hours. Capsules should be taken twice daily with dietary fats for optimal results.
Additionally, your microbiome, body fat, and genes may affect how quickly you will respond to CBD oil.
If you’ve been taking CBD oil for 4-5 months and still don’t feel anything, you’re either not taking the right formulation, dosage, or it just does not work for you.
Some people have genes that make them more likely to experience inflammation. Check out SelfDecode’s Inflammation DNA Wellness Report for genetic-based diet, lifestyle, and supplement tips that can help reduce inflammation levels. The recommendations are personalized based on YOUR DNA.
About the Author
Carlos spent 9 years in the laboratory investigating mineral transport in plants. He then started working as a freelancer, mainly in science writing, editing, and consulting. Carlos is passionate about learning the mechanisms behind biological processes and communicating science to both academic and non-academic audiences. He strongly believes that scientific literacy is crucial to maintain a healthy lifestyle and avoid falling for scams.
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The information on this website has not been evaluated by the Food & Drug Administration or any other medical body. We do not aim to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any illness or disease. Information is shared for educational purposes only. You must consult your doctor before acting on any content on this website, especially if you are pregnant, nursing, taking medication, or have a medical condition.
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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