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How Long Does CBD Oil Take to Work? Ask a Pharmacist

How Long Does CBD Oil Take to Work? Ask a Pharmacist

Posted by Dr. Leslie Mudd, PharmD on Jun 30th 2020

When asking how long does it take for CBD to work, you first need a basic understanding of what CBD is, and how different variables can impact how long it takes to work. In general, CBD is absorbed into the bloodstream within 20 minutes to 2 hours depending on the method of delivery.1 Other variables like the dosage, full spectrum or THC-free, consistency, and quality can also play a role in how long it takes to feel CBD, and how long CBD will stay in your system.

But there’s one major caveat to all of this: it really depends on your body, your goals, and expectations.

Some people can get results fast, others need a long period of consistent use to notice a difference. Consistency and patience are needed before you make any judgements about whether CBD works for you.

If you find yourself wondering, "How long does it take for CBD oil to work?" read on as we explore the variables, but first watch my short video below!

Table of Contents

How Long CBD Takes to Enter Your System

As I mentioned above, the answer to how long it takes for CBD to work really depends on your own definition of the word "work." Taking CBD for mild discomfort is going to be much quicker and easier than someone who is trying CBD for something serious.

Simply put: the answer to this question isn’t one-size-fits-all. For example: how long it takes CBD to work will differ drastically between sublingual oils, CBD capsules, and CBD topicals because each enters your system and will stay in your system differently. So let's get down to the nitty gritty!

Factor 1: Best Method of Taking CBD

There are many different ways to consume CBD. Each method has a different impact on how much, and how quickly, the CBD is absorbed into the bloodstream.2

This phenomenon is called bioavailability. It’s important to understand this because it will help you determine how long it will take for CBD oil to work and when you can expect to feel the effects.

CBD Chart for Bioavailability

CBD Bioavailability Chart

As you can see in the chart above, the method of consumption is the biggest determining factor in how long CBD may take to work. The quickest and most bioavailable method of consumption is through inhalation. However, hemp flower is still illegal in many states, and vaping has a questionable safety record. The next best way to take CBD is by using CBD oils and CBD tinctures, followed by ingested products, and finally topicals.

CBD capsules, CBD gummies, and CBD edibles have to travel through your digestive system before fully absorbing. This means that it will take longer for the CBD to reach your bloodstream and longer to feel the effects of CBD.

On the other hand, consuming CBD via sublingual oil avoids first-pass metabolism by going straight through the capillaries under your tongue. This makes it the most effective method of delivery other than inhalation.3

This is also the main reason we formulate our organic CBD oils with medium-chain coconut oil. Because of its thin and viscous characteristics, it absorbs more quickly than long-chain triglycerides, like olive oil or hemp seed oil. This makes it the perfect carrier oil for quick CBD absorption.

Factor 2: CBD Dosage and Potency

The amount of CBD you take every day will affect how quickly you will begin notice changes. An individual's perfect CBD dose depends on their specific body chemistry and needs. It's best to be consistent with your CBD and take notes on your results, then you can adjust your dose for your body.

How Much CBD Should I Take?

When you’re choosing a CBD product, you should consider the level of your discomfort and adjust the amount of CBD in your dosage accordingly. This may also include testing different consumption methods as CBD experiences can also depend on your body mass, metabolism, and if you're taking any prescription medications.5 

Everyone is different, and this is something you need to dial in for yourself. We think 25 mg a great daily serving to start with. But some people take more, and some take less to feel the effects.

CBD may be an incredible discovery for maintaining general wellness, especially when THC is alongside it. Consult with your doctor to determine the right CBD dosage for you and avoid any potential miscommunications.

Factor 3: Choose a High Quality CBD Oil

Not all CBD products are created equal. Because the hemp market remains unregulated, many brands on the market do very little to produce high quality CBD products.6

Some CBD brands use ingredients that have impurities, additives, and adulterants which will significantly affect the safety of their CBD product. This is why you should always look for a third party lab test to know that you're getting a clean, safe CBD product.

We also recommend looking for a full spectrum product, which contains more cannabinoids than just CBD. Just like CBD, these other cannabinoids don’t get you high. But they do have a synergistic effect that could impact the final result.7

One of those cannabinoids that you’ve heard a lot about is THC. In order for a product to truly be considered full spectrum, it will contain trace amounts of THC. The legal amount is no more than 0.3 percent of total dry weight, and this is far from enough THC to become psychotropic or produce euphoric effects. But, it is enough to help the CBD compounds work better.

The origin of the raw hemp material is another key factor that determines the quality of your product. Hemp is a powerful bio-accumulator. That means that hemp absorbs all the toxins in the soil in which it grows. If the soil isn’t pre-tested for toxins, pesticides, or heavy metals, those things could end up in your CBD which could be harmful, especially for anyone taking the product consistently for a long period of time.

In addition, if the farmer uses synthetic fertilizers, those fertilizers could also end up in the final product. Although CBD companies are testing for pesticides and heavy metals, most of them are not testing for residual fertilizers. Because our fields go through a multi-year crop rotation in order to regenerate our nutrients in a natural way, there will zero risk of synthetic fertilizers ending up in the final product.8

You can avoid all of these problems by opting for a USDA organic hemp product that’s been certified by a legitimate agency - in our case the Kentucky Department of Agriculture. As we explore in this article, the USDA has strict guidelines for organic farming and processing. This means that USDA certified organic CBD products will be responsibly sourced and of higher quality with far less risk of contamination compared to non-organic CBD products.9

Factor 4: Individual Biology

Although you can count on experiencing certain effects of CBD oil, no two people respond exactly the same to taking CBD. Even if they take the same dosage, the same delivery method, and have the same body composition, they may have different results.10

There are several key considerations that fall into this category, and they all affect the amount of time it will take to feel any effects of CBD consumption.

Body Weight

Like most cannabinoids, CBD is fat-soluble. Those with higher body fat content will absorb and store CBD for longer in their body.

While this isn’t necessarily a bad thing, it does mean that people with more fat cells in their body will need more time to adjust. The higher your body weight, the longer it may take CBD to start working.11

Metabolism

A person's individual metabolism affects how your body breaks down compounds like CBD. Depending on your age, lifestyle, digestive system, and genetic profile, your metabolism can function at different rates. This is what we call our metabolic rate – and we all have different ones!12

If you exercise regularly and have a high metabolism, you should feel the wellness potential of CBD more quickly. On the flip side, it may wear off more quickly as well. If you have a slow metabolism, you’ll likely notice that it takes longer to feel your CBD coming on.

Endocannabinoid Balance

CBD is part of a unique set of compounds called cannabinoids. These compounds interact with a biological system found in nearly all mammals called the endocannabinoid system. This system is comprised of cannabinoid receptors that are found throughout the human body.

We are just beginning to understand how the endocannabinoid system works. Research suggests that the endocannabinoid system could be responsible for regulating different functions.13 If your endocannabinoid system is out of balance, you could experience any number of unwanted results. In that case, you may have better chance of finding comfort through cannabidiol extracts like CBD. While there’s no way to quantify what you’re experiencing, you can probably gauge this yourself by paying attention to how your body feels.

Factor 5: Consistency

For some people, results come sooner than others. A lot of people will notice the wellness potential after just one serving of high quality CBD. For others, though, it might take a few weeks to notice a difference. So if you don’t feel it right away, be patient.

A lot of people give up after a few doses and brush it off as snake oil that doesn’t work. They may be taking a bad-quality product, or they could be ignoring one of the key properties of CBD oil.

Regardless of what you have going on, the results of a consistent CBD routine will begin to reveal themselves slowly over time. The key to getting the most out of your CBD is consistency and longevity! A consistent, daily dose should eventually give you the end result you desire.

How CBD Works for You

Most people new to CBD want to know "How long does it take for CBD to work?" But first thing to understand about CBD is that it might take a few days or even weeks to notice. It's important to be mindful of how your body feels from day to day while consistently using CBD.

We recommend trying CBD for a full 30 days, while keeping a journal on your daily progress. Your logs should include the dosage and time of day so you can looks for patterns and find the dosage and routine that works best for you. Your first 30 days is an important time to better understand your body and how it responds. Below are frequently asked questions many people ask when starting a CBD regimen.

After answering these questions below, it won’t be long before you introduce hemp-derived cannabinoids like CBD oil into your every day wellness routine.

What Kind of CBD Should I Take?

For first time users, we always recommend starting with full spectrum CBD oil, which you take sublingually. "Sublingually" means taking a dropper of oil under your tongue for 30 to 60 seconds to let it absorb through the mucous membrane in your mouth.

Some people have trouble taking our CBD hemp oil under the tongue, and so they prefer CBD capsules or CBD gummies. Capsules may also be the best option for those experiencing digestive issues, because capsules allow the CBD to absorb further down into the gut.

CBD lotion and CBD balm can be used topically for direct relief to the uncomfortable area (avoid the eyes and mucous membranes to avoid irritation). We recommend pairing CBD lotion with sublingual oil, and using these two delivery methods at the same time every day.

You also want to make sure your CBD product has third party lab tests. The best CBD companies have a QR code on the product packaging that links to all of their company information and lab testing results. In order for CBD oil to work, you must first make sure that what you're taking is genuine and safe! If you can’t view the third party test results before making your purchase, then hold off until you can do the research.

Unfortunately, many unscrupulous vendors sell fake CBD oil.14 Fake CBD oil is just hemp seed oil with a misleading concentration listed on the bottle. You’ll also want to stay away from any vendor that is making lofty health claims about CBD oil.15

What Is the Best Time of Day to Take CBD Oil?

This answer is different for everyone. The important thing is to find the best time of day to incorporate CBD into your daily routine according to your needs. If you’re experiencing discomfort during the day, it may be best for you to take CBD in the morning. But if you’re using CBD to unwind and get ready for a good night's rest, then taking it just before bedtime may be your sweet spot.

How Often Should I Take CBD?

To begin, start taking a full dropper once per day. That's 25 milligrams of Cornbread Hemp's original strength, or 50 milligrams if you’re using our extra-strength CBD oils. Over your first week, be mindful about any differences you may notice.

For first time users, it can be good to “load dose” at first. A "load dose" is when you take larger than normal servings. That means, take a full dropper in the morning, and another full dropper before bedtime. This may give you a head start on getting a baseline amount of cannabinoids into your system.16

How often you take full spectrum CBD may also play a role in a drug test or work related drug screenings. After taking it consistently for a period of weeks, the cannabinoids begin to build up within our systems, especially in fat cells. This could cause a positive result for illegal marijuana on drug screenings.17 If drug testing is a concern for your job, talk to your HR department before you start taking CBD consistently. You may also consider switching to a CBD topical.

How Long Does It Take for CBD to Work?

CBD takes a few days, and it’s not something that you’ll notice right away. Be mindful of your issues as you work through your first week. Keep a journal to track progress, the amount of CBD you're taking, and when.

This will help you be aware of the potential effects of CBD that you may experience. Keep in mind, it takes time for the human body to adjust after adding cannabinoids into your daily routine.

After One Month of CBD: How Will I Feel?

After a month, you will likely feel the impact of taking CBD.18 But if you don’t believe us, try taking it for one month, and then stop for a week. That’s when you will likely begin to understand how CBD makes you feel. If you don't notice any difference, adjust your dosage or frequency of doses and see how it goes!

At Cornbread Hemp, we are passionate about producing full spectrum USDA organic hemp derived CBD extracts. Because we lab test every hemp plant along every stage of our supply chain, you’ll never need to worry about potentially negative results from any harmful contaminants.

References

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Bruni N, Della Pepa C, Oliaro-Bosso S, Pessione E, Gastaldi D, Dosio F. Cannabinoid Delivery Systems for ... Treatment. Molecules. 2018;23(10):2478. Published 2018 Sep 27. doi:10.3390/molecules23102478. Under heading number 3.

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Millar SA, Stone NL, Yates AS, O’Sullivan SE. A Systematic Review on the Pharmacokinetics of Cannabidiol in Humans. Front Pharmacol. 2018;9:1365. Published 2018 Nov 26. doi:10.3389/fphar.2018.01365. Last paragraph before Author Contributions

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VanDolah HJ, Bauer BA, Mauck KF. Clinicians’ Guide to Cannabidiol and Hemp Oils. Mayo Clin Proc. 2019;94(9):1840-1851. doi:10.1016/j.mayocp.2019.01.003. Under the “Finding a Quality Product” and Table 3.

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Pavlovic R, Nenna G, Calvi L, et al. Quality Traits of “Cannabidiol Oils”: Cannabinoids Content, Terpene Fingerprint and Oxidation Stability of European Commercially Available Preparations. Molecules. 2018;23(5):1230. Published 2018 May 20. doi:10.3390/molecules23051230. 5th paragraph in the introduction

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Girdhar M, Sharma NR, Rehman H, Kumar A, Mohan A. Comparative assessment for hyperaccumulatory and phytoremediation capability of three wild weeds. 3 Biotech. 2014;4(6):579-589. doi:10.1007/s13205-014-0194-0. Under the heading “Hyperaccumalative action by Cannabis sativa”

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Urasaki Y, Beaumont C, Workman M, Talbot JN, Hill DK, Le TT. Potency Assessment of CBD Oils by Their Effects on Cell Signaling Pathways. Nutrients. 2020;12(2):357. Published 2020 Jan 30. doi:10.3390/nu12020357. Throughout article

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Pauli CS, Conroy M, Vanden Heuvel BD, Park SH. Cannabidiol Drugs Clinical Trial Outcomes and Adverse Effects. Front Pharmacol. 2020;11:63. Published 2020 Feb 25. doi:10.3389/fphar.2020.00063. Throughout article

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VanDolah HJ, Bauer BA, Mauck KF. Clinicians’ Guide to Cannabidiol and Hemp Oils. Mayo Clin Proc. 2019;94(9):1840-1851. doi:10.1016/j.mayocp.2019.01.003. Under the “Finding a Quality Product”

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All rights reserved. The statements made regarding these products have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. The effects of CBD oil and the benefits of CBD products has not been confirmed by FDA-approved research. These CBD products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. All information presented here is not meant as a substitute for or alternative to health information from health care practitioners. Please consult your health care professional about potential interactions or other possible complications before using any hemp derived CBD product.

Cornbread Hemp works with suppliers who guarantee cannabis plant material with a less than or equal to 0.3% THC content. With these trace amounts of THC, it is possible that users may fail a drug test. Cornbread Hemp does not take any responsibility in the instance a customer fails a drug test while using CBD products. Check state laws before taking CBD products across state lines during travel.