How Long Does It Take for CBD To Work?

how long does it take for CBD to work

CBD – or cannabidiol to give it its chemical name – is a substance that may change the way you feel. It works by interacting with the body’s feel-good systems, substituting for chemicals produced by the brain. 

Millions of people are now using CBD and enjoying the benefits. But how long does CBD take to work? That’s a slightly more complicated question. 

how long does it take for CBD to work

How Long Does It Take For CBD To Get Into Your System? 

How long you have to wait before feeling the effects of CBD depends on how you take it. It can take up to 2 hours for CBD to get into your system and begin interacting with receptors on the surface of your brain and nerve cells. 

How long it actually takes depends on the method you use to take it. Here’s a list of different methods and how long you typically have to wait for them to take effect: 

  • Oral: 90 to 120 minutes
  • Sublingual: 15 to 60 minutes
  • Topical: 30 to 120 minutes
  • Inhalation: Less than one minute


Taking CBD orally takes time because your stomach first has to break down the pill capsule and then the CBD has to travel through the stomach lining. 


Sublingual is faster. That’s because there is no pill and the tissue under the tongue is highly permeable. It is easy for CBD molecules to pass through the mucus membrane and into the body.


Inhalation, as you might expect, is nearly instant – something which explains the popularity of CBD vaping. Cannabidiol in the vape enters the alveoli of the lungs and passes through them, like other gases. 


Topicals are a little different. It can take many minutes – sometimes hours – for the active CBD component to penetrate the upper layers of the dermis and reach the site causing the trouble. 

Dosage Matters

Dosage also determines how long it takes for CBD to work. If you take a small amount, you might not notice much at all. Perhaps you’ll feel slightly calmer throughout the day, but the change will be relatively minor. By contrast, if you take a large dose of CBD, you may start to feel sleepy within around 15 to 30 minutes and much more relaxed overall.  

Research widely regards CBD as safe, even at high doses. However, as with any chemical, you can have too much. It’s best to start with a small dose and dial it up until you get to a level that’s right for you. Typical starter daily servings range from 10mg to 25mg per day. 


CBD Quality Makes A Difference

The quality of the CBD that you put into your body also makes a difference. You may think that you’re getting 25mg of CBD per serving, but the quality of the product itself might be poor. Remember, the CBD market is largely unregulated, so you can’t always be sure of what you are getting unless you go to a trusted brand. 

Whether you take full-spectrum CBD may also make a difference. There is substantial evidence to suggest that taking CBD with other compounds in cannabis, such as terpenes, enhances its effectiveness. It works synergistically. 


CBD Tends To Works Both Short And Long Term

Lastly, evidence suggests that CBD works both short term and long term. The compound doesn’t activate the brain’s endocannabinoid receptors directly. In that way, it doesn’t work in the same way as regular drugs which do directly interact with these receptors. For this reason, experts do not believe that CBD is habit-forming. In other words, it is unlikely that people will become addicted to it. 

Some research shows that CBD gets to work quickly in the body. However, there is also evidence that it tends to work best when used consistently – that is, over a long period of time. 


Wrapping Up

We are still quite early in our collective understanding of CBD, and there is still much that we do not know. Long-term studies still need to confirm the benefits of using CBD over many years. 

Researchers are still trying to figure out how and why CBD improves quality of life. At present, there are only a handful of CBD-containing drugs approved by the FDA and other medical bodies. 

Most people should feel the effects of CBD quickly after ingesting or inhaling the substance. However, taking CBD is not like getting a caffeine shot or taking an antidepressant, so you’re unlikely to feel anything extreme. It’s more of a slow-burn than a quick flash. 

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