How Long Does CBD Oil Take to Work?

CBD Tips

How Long Does CBD Oil Take to Work?

CBD is a popular hemp extract that people use for various purposes. Although consumers report similar experiences, some express frustration with the results. It’s easy to get caught up in the hype and not learn the full details of a product before buying it.

CBD and the other hemp compounds are complex phytochemicals. So when you ask, “How long does CBD oil take to work?” The short answer is that there are many variables involved in the process. From bioavailability and the method of delivery to the dose, strength, quality, and formula, a lot goes into figuring about how long it takes to notice the effects of CBD and how long those effects will last.

how long does it take for cbd to work

Understanding Bioavailability

How it takes cbd oil to work depends on bioavailability. Bioavailability involves how much CBD absorbs into your bloodstream after ingesting, smoking, vaping, or applying it topically. It’s never a 1:1 ratio, and it varies by product type. Why does this happen? Cannabinoids, including CBD, is a lipophilic molecule that’s oil-based and not water-soluble. Given the human body contains as much as 60% water, you can see how that could be a problem. Cannabinoids won’t dissolve in water. Oil and water don’t mix, presenting manufacturers with a bioavailability problem. 

So, what’s the most effective option? Believe it or not, inhalation1. The compounds enter the bloodstream directly through the lungs. This method allows an estimated 31% of the CBD to break the blood barrier. 

What’s the least effective2 way to use CBD? Topical applications. Companies are correct when they say creams and salves don’t enter the bloodstream. However, many consumers report topical applications are highly effective. More research is necessary to confirm how these products are helping buyers. 

In-between the best and worst products for effectiveness are sublingual and oral. The tincture taken under the tongue absorbs directly into the bloodstream through the membranes. This method is almost equal to inhalation. Absorption is between 20% and 30% of each dose. 

Much to the dismay of many CBD customers, edibles offer an even lower amount. Studies show products processed without advanced technology have a bioavailability of 13% to 19%.  Plus they take longer to feel the effects. But consumers appreciate how long the effects last when compared to other delivery methods.

Companies have been working to improve the bioavailability of oils, edibles, and capsules through nanotechnology. For example, Nano emulsion increases the absorption of CBD. The process uses ultrasonic waves to break the CBD molecules into smaller pieces that absorb better. These products are more expensive because of the technology involved. However, consumers get more of the CBD, and it works faster than traditional items.

So, the moral of the story is that a brand can’t promise 100% bioavailability or predict how your own personal experience will be.

Method of Consumption

Anyone who’s browsed the available CBD products knows it can be confusing. With dozens of products to choose from, making a decision can be challenging. Unfortunately, it’s not as simple as buying some flowers or a tincture to get started. It requires a bit more research a which product is best for your situation, how to use them, how long they take to work, and the duration of each one.


When the legal CBD market got its official launch in December of 2018, most brands focused on different formulas for tinctures, edibles, vape oil, capsules, and topicals. Over the past two years, more companies have turned their attention to premium hemp flowers. Unfortunately, these are a bit more confusing for new consumers. 

Flowers are available in different strains. Much like you can buy various tomato and cucumber types, you can do the same with hemp. Each strain differs by the naturally occurring formula. For example, CBD levels can vary from as little as 10% to 25%. The buds are an ideal option because they don’t go through any processing, preserving much of the 500-plus compounds found in the trichomes that cover them.

Smoking and Vaping

For people with normal lung function, smoking hemp once in a while is safe. However, it’s best to remember that all smoke can harm your body. For the best results, consider vaping. You can vape flowers and have the same response as smoking with less damage to your lungs. Both products work in a minute or two but have a very short duration compared to other CBD items. 

The effects of smoking and vaping wear off in about 60 minutes. However, the good thing is a few more puffs will set you up for another hour. Taking a few extra puffs from a hemp cigarette or vape pen won’t extend the duration, but it will intensify the effect. 


CBD oil otherwise known as a tincture, is a hemp plant extract infused into a carrier oil for delivery into the bloodstream. Most carrier oils are made from fractionated coconut oil which is a very light oil that is known as MCT. Besides MCT carriers, company’s offer multiple formulas with other natural flavoring and other plant-based ingredients to enhance the blend.

Most oils are taken sublingually and provide fastest route to the bloodstream and quickest onset. You place a few drops of the oil under your tongue, and it absorbs into the bloodstream. It takes about 30 minutes to work and can last two to four hours. You can also mix your oil with coffee, tea, smoothies, or place on your a favorite salad.

CBD Edibles

Edibles are a fun and tasty way to experience CBD. You can infuse the hemp compound into most foods and drinks. However, some of the more common treats include cbd gummies, honey sticks, and chocolates. CBD is fat-soluble, which means it works better when combined with fats or oils. Similar to ingesting a tincture, edibles must go through digestion to work. They take the same amount of time to digest, between 30 and 90 minutes and last about four to six hours. 


Capsules contain powdered CBD. A benefit of capsules and softgels is the dose is pre-measured. . Thus, you only have to take one or two pills, depending on the amount necessary to meet your needs. They are also discreet and easy to carry in your purse or pocket


Softgels might sound the same as capsules. However, these have a casing that keeps the oil enclosed until it can break down in the liver and absorb into the bloodstream. These have the same onset and duration as edibles. Another benefit of the softgel is it eliminates the taste and smell of the hemp oil. Some consumers dislike the taste and can’t find a natural flavoring they prefer. 


Topicals have the least amount of bioavailability. However, the products aren’t intended to absorb into the bloodstream. Reports indicate they work in about 20 minutes and last three to four hours, depending on the strength of the cream or balm. 


Transdermal CBD patches are similar to nicotine and pain patches people use over-the-counter. These are developed to break the skin-blood barrier and deliver a slow release of hemp compounds over several hours. You apply these directly to the area causing a problem, and they offer localized relief. Unfortunately, there aren’t any clear statistics on bioavailability for transdermal patches. 

Vape Cartridges

Vaping is a popular way to use CBD. Along with vaporizing flowers, you can vape CBD oil. But it’s not the same oil as a standard tincture. That is too thick and would clog a vaporizer. Instead, these are available in pre-measured cartridges that are disposable. Similar to vaping flowers, a few puffs from a cart works in a minute and lasts about an hour. 

CBD Dosage & Strength

The amount of CBD you take and the more concentrated the dose determine how long CBD takes to work. However, the larger the quantity you take daily can play a role in how fast you feel the desired effect. For example, individuals that use a small amount of CBD in the morning to reduce anxious thoughts might take a few days of taking the same serving to notice a change. 

How Much Should I Take?

The age-old question that comes with “How long does CBD oil take to work?” is “What dose is best for me?” Unfortunately, there’s no exact answer for everyone, which can be frustrating for some people because dosing could be why they’re not getting the full benefits of CBD. 

The product you purchase should have a label that gives a starting point. While everyone will advise you to start low and go slow, that might not work for you. The serving size varies by experience, potency, weight, method, and the reason you’re taking CBD. In fact, many experts are still debating dosage. 

For example, many consumers achieve the effect they’re looking for with as little as 10mg once or twice a day. However, others, such as anyone looking for relief from sore joints and muscles or a good nights’ sleep, can take anywhere from 100mg to 600mg daily5. Unfortunately, once you get into the 100mg per day, it can get pricy. Additionally, these figures only cover tinctures, edibles, and capsules. Vaping and smoking are hard to gauge, and topicals are different because they don’t enter the bloodstream.

For the best results, begin with the starting amount on the product’s label and increase it until you achieve the most relief with the most negligible side effects. Yes, hemp products can potentially cause mild adverse responses from your body. Although they’re rare6, some consumers experience nausea, diarrhea, irritability, and drowsiness. These often go away after using the same dose consistently for a few days or with a smaller serving size. However, for consumers looking to get a little more sleep at night, no changes are necessary. 

CBD Quality

The more you process hemp, the fewer of the plant’s naturally occurring compounds are left intact. There are three main CBD oil formulations, full-spectrum, broad-spectrum, and isolate. Additionally, some brands offer a whole plant option that only lightly removes the compounds. It doesn’t go through a second or third refining method to remove excess plant parts. However, the whole plant blend produces a powerful flavor that isn’t masked with a natural flavoring to retain its purity. 


The full-spectrum CBD formula contains all 500-plus compounds, including over 140 cannabinoids and between 100 and 200 terpenes. Hemp also contains flavonoids and fatty acids. Additionally, it does include up to 0.3% THC. But this small amount isn’t enough to produce a “high.” These phytochemicals work together to deliver the best results.


Broad-spectrum formulas remove THC. A broad-spectrum oil is a good choice for people who have reactions to even the smallest about of THC or want to avoid any potential for a hot-drug test. 


The isolate is just as it sounds. It’s a 99% pure CBD that removes everything but the single compound. As a result, the isolate is odorless and tasteless. Isolate is use alot in baking foods.

CBD and Individual Biology

CBD is a unique compound that affects each person differently. How long the CBD takes to work depends on several factors, including consumption, delivery method, and body composition. For example, one individual may feel their tincture’s effects in 10 minutes while another feels it an hour later depending upon how much they consumed or if they used a different delivery method such as smoking versus eating/drinking cannabis-infused food items. There are many variables at play, so experimentation will help you find what works best for your personal needs.

Body Weight

CBD is fat-soluble., which means that people with more weight and body fat will need more time to adjust, as they have a larger supply of cells in their bodies for CBD storage. So, yes, it might take longer to feel the full effects of CBD when you have more fat or a larger body mass.


Metabolism is about more than burning calories to reduce fat. It’s about how your body breaks down certain compounds, including cannabinoids. Your metabolism rate depends on several things, such as age, lifestyle, digestive system, and even genetics. The faster your metabolism, the quicker you’ll feel the effects of CBD. On the other hand, people with a slower metabolism will take longer to get the full benefits of CBD. 

Endocannabinoid Deficiency

Endocannabinoid deficiency is a potential cause for some medical conditions. For example, your endocannabinoid system is responsible for maintaining balance throughout the body. However, if there are endocannabinoid deficiencies, the symmetry is off. When you take CBD with a deficiency, the compounds first go towards reducing it. In this case, you may take longer to feel the effects of the Phyto cannabinoid because your body is still adjusting the levels. 

Consistency of CBD

To improve CBD benefits, be consistent with your dosing. For example, take the same amount every day at the same time. This faithful routine will help your body get used to the all-natural extract. 

What Time of Day Should I Take CBD?

The time of day depends on the reason you’re using CBD. Consumers that use CBD to reduce stress and anxieties might take small doses throughout the day to maintain calmness. However, if you’re taking CBD for occasional sleeplessness, a large amount of 30 to 60 minutes before bed is the best option. Additionally, if you use it for multiple reasons, you may use different methods at various times throughout the day. 

For example, you might take a few puffs of a vape cartridge in the morning to get past any jitters about daytime tasks. Then, at lunch, you notice that your elbow’s sore from typing. So, you rub some CBD cream on it. Later, you want to unwind when you get home, so you throw some CBD flower in your pipe and take a few hits. Lastly, it’s time for bed, so you eat one or two gummies about an hour before falling asleep.

How Often Can I Take CBD?

How often you can take CBD depends on the method and the dose. Always follow the label, and if you have concerns about mixing products, reach out to the manufacturer with any questions. However, you can safely use CBD creams throughout the day and still take oils, gummies, and other items. 

Choosing the Right Method of Intake for You

A significant part of finding how long CBD oil takes to work is finding the suitable method and dose to fit your needs. Now that you understand the difference between them, it might require a little experimentation to find the perfect fit.  In other words you have to be your own doctor. Listen to your body’s feedback, keep upping the dose until you reach the desired effect.

Most consumers notice a significant difference after 30 days of consistent CBD use. However, if you still feel like you’re not getting the full effects of the hemp extract, try taking a break for several days and see if you notice the difference. There’s no withdrawal or adverse effects from stopping CBD. 

CBD is not meant to treat cure or prevent diseases. All statements have not been evaluated by the FDA and should be used after due diligence.







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