The CBD market is MASSIVE, with tens of millions of individuals around the world flocking to this purported wellness aid. Yet despite this exponential growth and popularity, many consumers lack knowledge about how it actually works in the human body.
Don’t worry, this isn’t your fault. For a long time, science and medicine failed to keep pace with the breakneck demand for this supplement, leading to a large gap between consumers reporting first-hand accounts of success, and the actual science to back up those claims.
Today, we know much more about CBD, including how long CBD oil takes to work. In this guide, we answer one of the most asked questions about CBD: “How long does CBD oil take to work?”
How Does CBD Oil Work?
In order to understand how long CBD oil takes to work, its beneficial to have a general idea bout HOW it works in the first place.
Each of us has what is known as an endocannabinoid system, abbreviated as ECS. The ECS is found throughout the body, and is affected when CBD is consumed, absorbed into the bloodstream, and interacts with ECS receptors. This interaction causes a wide range of physiological downstream effects.
This means that absorption rate, bioavailability, and maintaining a concentration of CBD in the body all play key roles in how long it takes CBD to work.
Factors That Impact CBD Absorption and Time to Take Effect
How quickly CBD is absorbed into your system depends on what form you use. We’ll cover this in more detail further on, but for now, we want to touch on the four main factors (apart from the type of CBD and method of consumption) that can affect how fast CBD oil will take to work.
How Product Quality Affects Time to Effect
The right CBD product can make a huge difference in how long it takes for them to produce desired effects. If you’re serious about the quality of the CBD product you’re buying, look for third-party test results and a company with a proven track record of producing pharmaceutical-grade CBD that is both pure and potent.
Higher quality products often result in faster absorption, improved uptake, and better bioavailability.
For Example, Palm Organix Premium CBD is:
- Made from high-quality USA farmed and harvested hemp
- Third-party lab tested with a COA (certificate of analysis) for purity, potency, safety and transparency
- Utilizes CO2 extraction processes to produce a superior product
- Is produced in a GMP certified facility
How Individual Body Chemistry Affects Time to Effect
The human body is a marvelous machine, and the way it works varies from person to person. These differences play a big role in how fast CBD oil may take to work for one individual vs another.
The downside here is that there is no clear way to measure or forecast how your own body will respond. The good news is that you now know your expectations as to how your own body will react vs that of a friend who took the same product and/or dose, may vary. Because of this, all CBD use generally comes with a bit of trial and error as you work to find the type, method of consumption, dose and other factors that best meet your individual needs.
How Body Weight Affects Time to Effect
When it comes to CBD absorption, the size of the molecule matters, but so does the size of the individual. If you weigh more than others, you need a higher dose of CBD to experience the same effect, and in the same timeframe.
Why? Some potential reasons why size may affect how long it takes to achieve the desired results include:
- A larger Endocannabinoid System may mean greater surface area and more receptors that require saturation
- Fat deposits may alter body chemistry
- Strength and/or volume of blood flow
- And more…
How Metabolism Affects Time to Work
Your metabolic rate, which involves breaking down and synthesizing compounds, helps keep your body functioning properly.
Fast metabolisms help the body absorb CBD more quickly. Alternatively, a slower metabolic rate may result in it taking longer for CBD oil to take effect. This doesn’t necessarily mean that a fast metabolism is a good thing though. The faster your body processes CBD, the faster it is likely to lose its effect as well.
Factors that can impact your metabolic rate include genetics, age, lifestyle, and overall health.
How Homeostasis in the ECS Affects Time to Work
As with all biological systems, your body’s ECS is always working to achieve an optimal level of homeostasis or balance. This can result in either a faster or slower absorption of CBD.
How Medical Conditions and Health Can Impact Time for CBD to Work
Various health conditions, genetics and even medications can impact how fast CBD works and how long those effects last.
For example, in 2019, a study published in the Journal of Clinical Pharmacology showed that individuals with liver impairment had higher blood concentrations of CBD and a slower rate of CBD clearance after dosage.
How Diet Can Affect How Long it Takes CBD Oil to Work
Cannabidiol is a fat-soluble molecule, requiring the presence of fatty acids for maximum absorption. Healthy fats from foods such as peanut butter, avocado or fish can aid in absorption, leading to a faster time to physiological action and effect.
For example, a study published in Epilepsia (2019) demonstrated that subjects who consumed a fatty meal prior to, or along with their CBD dose, achieved a blood concentration level of CBD 14 times higher than those who took CBD on an empty stomach (fasted state).
How Dosage Can Affect How Long it Takes CBD Oil to Work
Some research, such as that published in the journal of Frontiers in Pharmacology, found that they were able to triple the absorption rate and concentration of CBD in a dose-dependent manner, capping out around 400-800mg.
How Method of Consuming CBD Oil Impacts How Long It Takes CBD to Work in Your Body
Sublingual Use of CBD Oil
Mucous membranes located under the tongue are rich with micro-capillaries (blood vessels) capable of absorbing CBD directly into the bloodstream. This can be achieved by holding the dose under the tongue for between 1-3 minutes without swallowing.
By doing so, the effects of CBD can take hold within as little as 15-25 minutes, making sublingual use the next fastest mode of consumption after vaping. It also has a higher bioavailability than does oral use, with a study published in the journal of Current Pharmaceutical Design placing sublingual bioavailability of CBD at around 12-35%.
Oral Use of CBD Oil
Generally speaking, oral use of CBD oil may involve consuming the drops directly by placing in the mouth, or in an edible, capsule or CBD oil-infused drink.
This mode of consumption involves the salivary glands as well as the digestive system, requiring processing by the stomach and liver. As such, it is comparatively slower than vaping or sublingual use of CBD oil, taking between 30 min to 1 hour to work (on average).
In the same study reported above, the bioavailability of CBD when consumed orally has been measured between 4-20%.
Topical Use of CBD Oil
Topical use of CBD oil generally involves the application of a CBD infused product such as gels, creams, lotions, oils or balms to an area of the body. It should be noted that the use of CBD in this manner is localized and will not have a ‘whole body/systemic’ effect. It is also a slower acting method of use, taking time to absorb. Localized effects may be noticed between 20-60 minutes.
Closing Thoughts On How Long it Takes CBD Oil to Work
There are a multitude of factors (some controllable and some uncontrollable) that can affect how long it takes for CBD oil to work. By understanding these factors, you can gain greater control over how you use CBD and when to time your dosing to achieve the desired effect in the desired timeframe.