How Long Does It Take CBD to Work, Anyways?
W e probably don’t have to tell you that CBD is everywhere these days: people are putting it in their coffee, pouring it into their cocktails, rubbing it on their skin, and blending it into their post-workout smoothies. Researchers are learning more about CBD every day, but there’s still a lot about it that we don’t know. and that can be really confusing if you’re a CBD newbie.
One of the biggies: How long does it take for CBD oil to work? Because who hasn’t been in the situation where it seems like one person takes CBD and turns into a zen mother earth goddess right away, while you’re sitting over here waiting for something (anything!) to happen to take your morning anxiety away. (What’s that saying? A watched mug of CBD coffee never kicks in?)
Turns out, CBD isn’t one-size-fits-all. Various factors—such as the amount you take, the form you take it in, and where you got your CBD from—can all impact how long it takes to work, says Brooke Alpert, RD, the founder of Daily Habit, a line of CBD powder.
For example, if you’re putting your CBD product in a coffee that has almond milk or sugar or anything else that might need to be digested, your CBD will kick in more slowly than it would if you put a few drops directly under your tongue. “I look at it the same way I talk to people about their sugar consumption,” Alpert explains. “If you have juice or put a little bit on your tongue, it’s going to be an immediate reaction versus when it’s in fruit where you have fiber, which slows down absorption.” (Generally speaking, CBD oil added to a coffee or smoothie will probably take around 30 minutes before you start to feel anything.)
It’s worth noting that the research on taking CBD sublingually (science-speak for under your tongue) is mixed: As Well + Good has previously reported, many studies on the subject have included both CBD and THC, so it’s hard to generalize the findings to products that are just CBD-based. However, chemist Jesse Kater previously told tell Well+Good that “most of the literature supports the notion that CBD has better bioavailability when consumed sublingually versus orally.” That supports anecdotal evidence that CBD starts working almost immediately when taken under the tongue. Alpert agrees to an extent, saying that it can take anywhere from 10 minutes to an hour to kick in when taken sublingually.
Charlotte’s Web co-founder Jesse Stanley adds that CBD products often come in different strengths and thus the amount of CBD that works for your bestie may not work for you. “You might need to try a few strengths until you find what works for you,” he says. (Good to know!)
“Every day consistency is key,” he adds. “Rome wasn’t built in a day.” He encourages people to think of CBD as a dietary supplement and notes that it can take up to four to six weeks to “fully realize the benefits of CBD,” especially if you’re taking it to alleviate anxiety, pain, or for stress relief. “We are all unique in our needs and bodily systems. Some people experience rapid and very noticeable benefits while others notice benefits over time and daily use, which is common for many dietary supplements,” Stanley says.
The most important factor, Alpert says, is quality. There is so much variance among CBD products, and that can also impact how long it takes before you start feeling any effects. “This is where people are getting frustrated with CBD, because they’re like, ‘Well, I got a CBD gummy from my local bodega and I didn’t feel anything,’” Alpert says. Some things Alpert and Stanley say you should consider when shopping for any CBD product:
- The origin of the hemp: ”Hemp is a powerful phytoremediation crop, which means it cleans the soil, so you’ll want to find out that it’s grown using responsible farming practices in soil that is pre-tested for toxins or heavy metals,” Stanley says.
- Is the product full-spectrum? Both Stanley and Alpert recommend looking for full-spectrum products, which means that all the different compounds in the hemp—the foundation of every CBD product—work together to “further heighten [your] body’s response to CBD,” according to Stanley.
- Transparency: Look for third-party testing that shows you what’s in there, Alpert recommends. “All CBD is not created equally and it’s really important that whatever you’re buying actually has what it needs to have in order for it to be effective.” Reputable companies shouldn’t hide or obscure that info in any way.
The reality: Trial and error is the name of the game when it comes to finding the correct amount CBD that will actually work for you. With a little research, you’ll hopefully find the right amount for you that gives you the results you’re aiming for.
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How Long Does It Take for CBD Oil to Work?
Have you ever felt like your CBD was taking too long to kick in? What did you do? Some people in this situation claim that CBD doesn’t work for them. Others re-dose and end up taking too much.
Even though you can’t overdose on CBD and it won’t get you high, there really can be too much of a good thing. If you overindulge, you might experience some unpleasant side effects like diarrhea, fatigue, and changes in your appetite.
So, before you jump to conclusions, and assuming there’s something wrong with your CBD or taking another dose, let’s set some expectations about how long it takes for CBD oil to work.
What Affects Your Response Time to CBD?
How CBD affects us and how long it takes to feel the effects vary based on the individual. We’ve identified a handful of circumstances that can influence the body’s response to CBD. We’ll discuss each of them briefly but focus primarily on how you consume CBD— the delivery method.
The way that you consume CBD tends to have the most dramatic effect on its effectiveness timeline.
If you’re new to CBD, it’s recommended that you start with a small dose. This helps you ease into the experience and get a feel for what effect CBD has on your body. However, if you’re too conservative with your dose, you might not feel anything at all.
Higher concentration CBD products tend to produce more dramatic results. Again, beginners should start with either low concentrations, or stick with a low dose if you’re consuming a higher concentration CBD product. We offer three potency levels. With Royal CBD products, you can easily step-up your dosage over time.
Individual Biological Factors
Your gender, weight, health, metabolism, and experience levels can all influence how you respond to CBD and how long it takes for it to work.
Method of Consumption
While things like dosages and concentration influence how dramatically you experience CBD, your method of consumption will dictate how long it takes before you feel anything.
Knowing what to expect here is especially beneficial because it will help you determine if you should take another dose or wait longer for CBD to be metabolized. We’ll give you some rough guidelines, so you’ll be prepared the next time you consume CBD.
There are four ways to consume CBD, and each has a different rate of absorption:
- Inhalation: This method is the fastest, and you’ll typically feel the effects within moments. Smoking or vaporizing CBD causes it to go straight to your bloodstream through the lungs.The inhalation method can be controversial.
- Topical: Applying CBD to the skin or a localized area can produce immediate effects for some situations. If you’re using CBD to help with something like stress, then a topical application could take longer and not have the desired result.
- Sublingual Application: This method involves applying a tincture or spray directly under the tongue. Many feel the effects almost right away, but it could take anywhere from 15-60 minutes.
- This method is one of the most preferred ways to take CBD for both the speed and effect. The reason is that there is a vast network of capillaries (tiny blood vessels) under your tongue that helps the compounds get absorbed quickly into your bloodstream.
Though oral administration takes the longest to work, it’s also known for being the longest lasting. Taking CBD orally could extend the effects for a total of six hours, while a sublingual administration may last only about four hours.
Over the years, we’ve amassed some helpful tips that can improve your experience with CBD.
- If you don’t feel anything right away, wait the appropriate amount of time before re-dosing. Knowing how long it takes for CBD oil to work based on different consumption methods is helpful. Armed with this knowledge, you’ll be able to decide if you should have another dose or wait until what you’ve already consumed to kick in.
- Be patient with CBD, especially if you’re seeking a long-term solution. CBD affects the endocannabinoid system, helping to bring homeostasis (balance) back to your body. The effects aren’t always immediate, and instead can be cumulative.
- Make sure you’re careful when sourcing CBD. Because CBD doesn’t require lab testing before being sold, you won’t know for certain what you’re getting unless you buy from a company that gets its products tested—like ours. Royal CBD follows a rigorous third-party testing policy.
CBD labs test for a variety of items, including the presence of THC, the cannabinoid concentration and profile, the presence of pesticides and foreign materials, and more. Implementing consistent lab testing is our way of upholding our commitment to producing the highest-quality CBD products on our market.
A Few Final Notes
As a disclaimer, we should add that we are not making health claims about CBD treating any conditions. These guidelines are meant to give you a general idea of how long you can expect it to take before you start feeling any effect from CBD, such as a calming effect or reduction in stress.
The timeframes presented in this article are a reflection of both anecdotal evidence and biological standards about the absorption of chemicals and substances when consumed in different ways. Your results and experiences may differ, but at the very least, you’ll have a frame of reference for how long CBD oil takes to work based on the factors we outlined in this article.