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How Long Does CBD Take to Work?

5 min read
How long does CBD take to work

How Long Does CBD Take to Work?

5 min read

Medically reviewed by

If you’re just dipping your toe into the wonderful world of CBD, you’ll likely have a ton of questions. 

Of particular interest for many is the classic: “How long does it take CBD oil to work?

It’s an important question. Many people use CBD to try and obtain relief, perhaps from chronic pain or anxiety, or maybe they’re just looking for a wellness boost – but would rather it kick in sooner than later!

If you’re curious about how long CBD oil takes to work, we first have to understand how it is absorbed into the body – and then how it is expelled. 

Let’s dive in.

In this guide:

How long does CBD oil take to work?

How long CBD takes to work will vary from person to person and will also be influenced by the type and quality of CBD consumed. 

Let’s take a closer look at these factors.

CBD bioavailability

CBD bioavailability refers to the percentage of CBD that reaches the bloodstream – and the speed with which it’s able to do this. 

A high bioavailability percentage means you will experience stronger effects from CBD. 

With CBD, the bioavailability of a product is significantly influenced by the method of consumption. CBD can be consumed in many forms – from oils to vapes, creams, to edibles.

Ingesting oil sublingually and vaping CBD are the two methods which offer the highest bioavailability and will allow CBD to work quickest

Edibles have lower bioavailability, as they have to pass through our digestive systems. This means less CBD makes it to our bloodstream – and it takes longer to do so. However, edibles are likely to produce longer-lasting effects than fast-acting sublingual doses.

how long does it take cbd to take effect using sublingual
Sublingual CBD is absorbed into the bloodstream and gets to work quicker than other methods.

CBD strength and dosage

Another factor to consider is the strength of your CBD oil

The strength of CBD oil refers to the concentration of cannabinoids within the product. 

While the strongest oil doesn’t always mean the most effective, ingesting oil at stronger concentrations will likely allow you to experience effects more quickly. 

CBD quality

CBD quality is perhaps the most important contributing factor, as low-quality CBD is unlikely to offer any positive effects at all.

You can ensure your CBD is of good quality by ensuring it has a certificate of analysis, has been third-party lab tested, and comes from a reputable supplier. 

We’d also recommend choosing either broad-spectrum or full-spectrum CBD products, which are filled with lots of naturally occurring cannabinoids and terpenes present in the hemp plant. 

Lastly, choosing an organic CBD product is always a good choice – this will ensure your CBD is free from additives, toxins, heavy metals and unnecessary chemicals. 

Individual biology 

CBD really does impact individuals differently. 

One factor is weight. CBD is fat soluble, which means if you weigh more, you’ll absorb and store CBD for longer in your body. 

Metabolism also plays a contributing factor when it comes to how long CBD oil takes to work. Everyone has a different metabolic rate – depending on age, genetic profile, digestive system and lifestyle. 

If you have a high metabolism, you’ll feel the effects of CBD more quickly – but they will also wear off more quickly. If your metabolism is slower, it will take longer to feel the effects of CBD – but it will stay in your body for longer.

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How long does it take for CBD to take effect for different usage methods?

Sublingual CBD 

As we’ve explained above, sublingual CBD (CBD drops under the tongue) can be fast-acting. You could begin to feel the effects after 15 minutes, but most people will feel the effects of sublingually ingested CBD within half an hour.

Vaping CBD

If you are looking for a CBD delivery system with the highest level of bioavailability, vaping is the way to go. 

Vaping CBD will allow you to feel the effects almost instantly

While this is great for those looking for pain or discomfort relief, you should be aware that if you vape CBD, you’ll be consuming CBD isolates. So you will unfortunately not receive the maximum therapeutic value from your CBD.

Read more: CBD benefits

Topical CBD

CBD topicals – such as balm, ointments, and lotions – are absorbed through the skin and work very quickly, but only on the area they are specifically applied to. 

Once you apply these products, you should start feeling relief within about 15 minutes. However, the deeper or more complex the source of the issue, the longer the CBD will take to work.

CBD edibles

CBD edibles exist in many forms; from CBD brownies to CBD cakesCBD smoothies, to CBD tea and CBD coffee – the possibilities are deliciously endless!

But how long do CBD edibles take to work? 

Our gut doesn’t tend to be in a rush! So CBD edibles will likely begin to work in the first 45 minutes to an hour after ingestion – but could take up to 4 hours in some cases.

How long does edible CBD take to work
CBD consumed orally needs to be absorbed through the digestive system therefore it takes longer to work.

How long does CBD oil stay in your system?

CBD stays in your system for between 2-5 days

As we’ve laid out, this depends on your metabolism, as well as the dosage, strength and quality of your product.

Just because you can no longer feel the effects, it doesn’t mean CBD isn’t still detectable in your body. 

The half-life of CBD is between 18 and 32 hours

This means that after this time, half of the dose will be metabolised and removed from your system. Then, it will take another 18-32 hours to reduce the CBD by half again

This process continues until there are no traces of CBD left.

If you are concerned about blood testing, CBD shouldn’t present a problem – provided you choose a broad spectrum CBD, like ours at Evopure, or CBD isolate. 

To learn more about drug testing and CBD, check our complete guide here.

How long does CBD oil take to work for anxiety?

A 2019 study looking into the impact of CBD on anxiety and sleep found the following after one month:

  • 79.2% and 66.7% of all patients experienced an improvement in anxiety and sleep;
  • 15.3% and 25% experienced worsening symptoms in anxiety and sleep, respectively. 

However, this is very much
preliminary research conducted on small numbers of participants

CBD isn’t approved as a specific treatment for anxiety, so it’s difficult to detail any sort of timeline in relation to the condition. 

What we can say is that CBD may work well alongside other methods, such as mindfulness and meditation, and may help you reach a more relaxed state of mind.

CBD oil taken orally will be absorbed into the bloodstream after around 15-20 minutes. Therefore, it can easily be added to your nighttime routine and may help you wind down before bed.

Read more: CBD for sleep

How long does CBD take to work for pain?

Just as with anxiety, CBD shouldn’t be considered a treatment for pain.

Rather, CBD is a supplement that, by interacting with our endocannabinoid system (ECS), can help to rebalance and restore the body’s natural homeostasis

This, in turn, plays a role in the pain response.

Anecdotal reports suggest that CBD may offer quick relief for mild pain upon first use – sublingual, vaping or topicals for targeted areas are ideal. 

However, if you’re looking to use CBD for pain, we’d advise consuming daily doses for a month and monitoring your body and pain levels closely.

Read more: CBD for pain

Final thoughts on how long CBD takes to work

What’s clear is that CBD works differently for everybody

But there are also multiple contributing factors at play, all of which, to some extent, can signify how long it may take for the effects of CBD to kick in. 

Everything from personal characteristics to the type of CBD you choose to take can impact the answer to this question. 

If you’re looking to take CBD to gain relief – from chronic pain or anxiety, for example – always speak with a medical professional first. CBD may interact with other medications you are taking and, in this case, may do more harm than good.