Revised July 2022
The multitude of benefits attributed to CBD has led more and more people to try this compound for themselves — whether for managing pain, anxiety and depression, sleep, or any of a number of other ailments CBD has been associated with helping. And the variety of options for CBD use has made this supplement more and more accessible — from CBD oil to gummies, topical solutions to vapes, there’s really something for everyone. But with variety comes some inconsistency, and many are left wondering, “How long does it take for CBD oil to work?”
While CBD is one of the more extensively researched cannabinoids present in the cannabis sativa plant, it remains a relatively new product. But while there’s much we’re still learning, we do know there are several factors that determine how quickly (or slowly) CBD begins to work. Depending on these factors, you could experience the effects almost instantly, or it could take as long as 2 hours after use. It’s even possible for the effects to be so slight at first that you don’t notice a change for days (but we’ll get into that later).
How Fast Does CBD Oil Work? What Are the Factors?
From the type of CBD you’re taking to how you take it to your own physical characteristics and more, there are many factors that work together to determine how quickly CBD will take effect. Ready? Let’s dive in.
The potency — or strength — of the CBD product you’re taking is definitely an important factor. Two main points to consider when looking at CBD potency:
- Which method is used to extract CBD from the plants? NuLeaf Naturals utilizes a green extraction method (CO2 extraction), which allows us to obtain the greatest cannabinoid and terpene content. Though not every CBD supplier utilizes this method, it’s considered the golden standard within the industry, and it’s what you should look for when selecting your CBD source.
- Are the products third-party lab verified? Consumers are advised to do their own due diligence to ensure they’re receiving a quality product. One of the easiest ways to do this is to check the results of the manufacturer’s independent third-party testing. Those results should be readily available online. If not, you should find another source.
The quality of the product itself plays a big part in how fast you get results. Here are some things to consider when determining the quality of a CBD product:
- Is the product verified by a third-party lab? As mentioned above, reviewing the lab results from third-party testing is the best way to really understand the quality and specific contents of the CBD product you’re using. Reputable manufacturers will make these lab results available online, making it easy for consumers to find the best CBD option for them.
- Does the manufacturer have additional certifications? There’s not much regulation in the CBD industry, but there is some. You should look for companies that hold the following certifications as these demonstrate their ability to consistently provide products and services that meet the highest standards. These certifications can help consumers identify which products are safe and contain high-quality ingredients:
- cGMP (current Good Manufacturing Practices)
- ISO (International Organization for Standardization)
- B Corporation
- Are there any unnecessary ingredients? While additives or flavors can make a product more palatable, they can also lead to a decrease in bioavailability (how much of the product will actually be used by your body). Choosing a pure CBD formulation (just hemp extract) over a product with additives will allow your body to use more of the CBD.
CBD is available in tinctures, capsules, softgels, edibles, beverages, salves, lotions, and more — so there are many different ways to take CBD. This matters because some methods create nearly instant effects, while others take hours.
CBD products applied topically to the skin —balms, salves, lotions, bath bombs, etc. — are used to provide temporary relief from local pains and soreness. This method provides the lowest bioavailability of CBD and liberal application may be necessary due to the skin’s low cannabinoid absorption. It can take anywhere from 20 minutes to 2 hours to feel the effects, however some experience near-instant relief from arthritic pain. Though typically slower acting than other methods, topical CBD tends to be longer-lasting (up to 8 hours). Reapplication is necessary when pain or discomfort returns.
CBD oil added to a food or beverage tends to produce quicker effects than topical solutions, but it’s still not the fastest method. When you swallow CBD (such as in a gummy, oil, soda, etc.), it doesn’t immediately enter your bloodstream. First, the CBD travels through your digestive tract, eventually reaching the liver — where some CBD compounds are metabolized, reducing its concentration — before finally entering the bloodstream. It may take as little as 20 or 30 minutes for you to start feeling effects (albeit, weaker effects), but it will likely take as long as an hour, possibly two, to really experience the benefits. One perk to this method is that the liver will continue to gradually release CBD into your system, allowing effects to continue for up to 10 hours.
Taking CBD oil sublingually (under the tongue) is a fast and direct method of absorption. This is because the veins under the tongue absorb the CBD and other cannabinoids directly into the bloodstream. This method is typically faster-acting than either topical or edible forms and can work in as little as five to 20 minutes.
When taking CBD oil drops, simply hold the CBD oil under your tongue for 30 to 60 seconds before swallowing. This allows a portion of the CBD to be absorbed into your bloodstream right away, bypassing the digestive tract and the liver. You’ll experience the immediate effects of your dose within about 30 minutes, and a second onset of benefits within two hours — once the CBD oil that was swallowed finally reaches your bloodstream. Effects should last between 4 and 6 hours.
The inhalation of CBD vapor or smoke provides the most immediate effects (and the highest bioavailability). The tissue in your lungs is extremely permeable and allows the CBD to quickly enter your bloodstream. You should experience peak effects within 3 minutes of inhalation. Vaping or smoking CBD comes with similar risks to vaping other substances, like marijuana and tobacco.
Regardless of the type of CBD you use, taking it regularly (on a daily basis), as opposed to occasionally, ensures more consistent results.
Your Unique Physical Chemistry & Dosing
Each body is unique. Personal physical factors, such as weight and metabolism, will affect what dose is required, the optimal frequency of use, and the time it takes for you to feel the effects of CBD.
This is why NuLeaf Naturals recommends a starting dose of 30mg (10 drops) per day of full spectrum CBD oil. We suggest that you split this between 2 doses, taken sublingually, and increase the amount slowly as needed. Remember that CBD works differently for each individual, so mindful experimentation is key.
What Should I Expect to Feel?
The specific sensations associated with taking CBD are often subtle. Depending on the type of CBD you use, you could feel more relaxed or calm, or you may notice a pain or soreness subsiding. CBD is non-intoxicating and doesn’t impair your ability to drive, work, and function in normal life — making it much easier to integrate into your routine.
- If you don’t feel the effects immediately, give the CBD product time to kick in. Now that you have an idea of how long it takes different forms of CBD to go into effect, be sure to wait at least that long before taking another dose. Though CBD can be tolerated in relatively high doses, it can still have negative side effects, including diarrhea, vomiting, and drowsiness.
- Don’t give up if you don’t see the results you want right away. The long-term benefits of taking CBD may take several weeks to notice. Give it time and remember that the benefits can be cumulative.
- Be selective when choosing your source. Not all CBD companies are created equal, so look for one that has the proper certifications, a history of offering high-quality products, and makes its third-party lab test results available to consumers.
Experience the Full Effects of CBD Oil with NuLeaf Naturals
A leader in the manufacturing and distribution of pure CBD oil, NuLeaf Naturals offers quality and experience you can trust. Shop now and get the most out of your CBD regimen with our pure and effective full-spectrum products.
Do you have questions about our products, or are wondering which one is right for you?
Our Expert Team is here to help via phone, email, or online chat:
Email: [email protected]
Online chat: nuleafnaturals.com
Don’t hesitate to get in touch with us between 9am and 5pm MT, Monday – Friday.