wild flowers in paper bag in hemp field

Because of unfair marketing practices, CBD is often seen as a miracle cure-it-all that can save you from pain, anxiety, or even cancer. Because of that, when people decide to give CBD oil a try, they often expect it to work almost immediately: you take a CBD edible, and a second later, you feel immediate pain relief. However, that’s not how it works.

Just like with any other supplement, CBD absorption can vary from person to person. There are several factors that have an impact on this process: for example, the dosage, type of the product, quality of the product, and even your body composition.

If you are wondering how long does it take for CBD oil to work in your situation – read on. Let’s talk about the absorption of cannabidiol and many factors that impact that process.

First of All, How Does CBD Interact With Your Body?

The relationship between CBD and our body is a complex one, but there is some basic understanding of how exactly it works. When CBD molecules enter your body, they dissolve in your fat cells and later interact with cannabinoid receptors, which are a part of a larger system, called an endocannabinoid system. Those receptors are responsible for communicating signals from the outside to the inside of our body – for example, the feeling of pain.

The endocannabinoid system is very complex, and it serves multiple purposes, regulating various physiological processes like pain perception, motor control, appetite, memory, immune response, etc. The way CBD modulates the endocannabinoid system is still not fully understood by scientists. It may impact the receptors somehow, which results in the benefits you are looking for – pain relief, relaxation, decreased inflammation – but the mechanism of action is still unclear.

Some studies suggest that CBD may also influence non-cannabinoid receptors – for example, 5-HT1A serotonin receptor, known for playing a big role in mood regulation (i.e., stress response), and iTRPV1 receptor, responsible for pain and inflammation. This may be the reason for CBD being effective in the treatment of anxiety, inflammation, and pain – however, there’s still no theoretical evidence as to how exactly it does that.

What Are the Different Types of CBD Products

Depending on the type of product you take, more or fewer CBD molecules will enter your body. Also, in some forms, CBD works faster than in others – this is so because it gets metabolized and eliminated quicker. If you want to know how long does it take for CBD oil to work, it’s absolutely essential to learn about different types of CBD products and consumption methods.

Oil

Oil-based CBD products are the most common ones. They are made by extracting CBD from hemp or cannabis plant and then diluting it with a carrier oil, like coconut oil, hemp seed oil, etc. CBD is soluble in such oils, which means it will dissolve in them and enter your body and leave it with ease.

The effectiveness of oil-based CBD depends on the consumption method – if you take it orally, it will go through your digestive system and get metabolized slower than if you put it under your tongue, for example. Sublingual consumption is usually very fast-acting (it can take the oil about 20 minutes to kick in) – this is because CBD gets directly absorbed through the mucous membranes in your mouth. However, the results don’t last very long when you’re using this method.

Vaporized Oil

Vaping CBD oil allows it to get absorbed quicker- thanks to the heat, CBD molecules are able to pass through your cell walls and rapidly interact with the receptors. It’s also a convenient way of consumption, and since the effects last longer than when you take CBD orally, it’s often preferred. However, the effects of vaporized CBD oil can vary from person to person – for example, you can accidentally take a higher dose and experience drowsiness.

Tinctures

Tinctures are alcohol-based liquid extracts of CBD, which means they’re not as potent as other products. Tinctures are usually taken orally, but you can also add them to food or drinks. However, because they have to go through the digestive system, CBD tinctures usually start to work in about 30-60 minutes, depending on the dosage. The effect can be very mild – so you can use a CBD tincture to relax and unwind on a daily basis, but don’t expect rapid improvement.

Topicals

CBD topicals are creams, balms, or lotions infused with CBD. They are used externally – for example, to massage your sore muscles or treat acne and other skin conditions. Your skin acts as a great natural barrier, which means it allows fewer CBD molecules to interact with your cannabinoid receptors. Therefore, the effects of topicals tend to be milder than other products, and they will take longer to kick in – but the effects also last longer.

Edibles

Edibles are food products infused with CBD – they can be anything from brownies to coffee. If you choose to take CBD edibles, it will take a long time for cannabidiol to start working – edibles usually take about an hour to kick in, but their effects can last up to 8 hours or even more.

Gummies

By CBD gummies we mean fruit and vegetable-flavored candies infused with CBD. However, their effects are very different from those of other CBD edibles or products. First of all, gummies take even longer to kick in – it can take up to two hours for them to start working. Also, their effects last for a shorter period of time – about 3-4 hours, which means they are not very efficient if you require some quick pain relief. However, if you need to relax a little, they can be your best choice.

Bath Bombs

Bath bombs are a great option if you’re looking for CBD to help you relax and unwind after a long day. They take around 30 minutes to kick in, but their effects can last up to 8 hours or even more. CBD bath bombs are often made with Epsom salts – the combination of CBD and magnesium helps improve blood flow and reduces muscle soreness.

Dietary Supplements

Dietary supplements, such as soft gels, are products that provide you with a certain amount of CBD each day, so you don’t have to think about the dosage. Those are great if you take CBD daily – but they’re not very efficient and quick. A CBD dietary supplement won’t work if you need immediate relief from pain or anxiety, but it can help you manage stress on a daily basis.

Other Types of CBD Products

There are other CBD products, like sublingual sprays, patches, or rectal suppositories – but they’re not as popular as the ones mentioned above. They are usually used in specific situations – for example, when you have back pain or menstrual pain – and help manage unpleasant feelings. However, they are often combined with other products – whether CBD or non-CBD.

How Quickly Different Types of CBD Work?

Apart from different types of CBD products, there are also several types of CBD itself, based on the way it’s manufactured and processed. While all CBD has similar effects, different types of it may take longer to work. Let’s take a look at them:

CBD Isolate

CBD isolate, or CBD crystal is the most potent form of cannabidiol. It contains only CBD molecules – no THC or other cannabinoids, which means you can be sure that its effects are only due to cannabidiol. If you want to give CBD a try and make sure that you don’t ingest any THC – isolate is the way to go.

It can take around an hour or even more for isolate to kick in, depending on the way you administer it. For example, you can place it under your tongue for a quick but short-lasting effect – or infuse it into a carrier oil (for example, olive oil) and use it to make edibles.

Broad-Spectrum CBD

Broad-spectrum CBD (also called CBD-rich hemp oil) usually contains CBS as well as some other cannabinoids, excluding THC. If you want to help your endocannabinoid system to work better, broad-spectrum products are a great option. You will metabolize the extra cannabinoids, and they will impact your body and mind in many different ways, which may be beneficial for different conditions, such as low immunity.

Broad-spectrum CBD may not be as potent as CBD isolate or full-spectrum CBD – but it does offer you a wide range of benefits. Depending on the type of product, broad-spectrum CBD oil may take longer to kick in than CBD isolate. However, the effects may be more intense and longer, thanks to additional compounds working together.

Full-Spectrum CBD

Full-spectrum CBD is a combination of both CBD and other cannabinoids – including up to 0.3% THC  (which is regulated by the FDA). It is extracted from industrial hemp, which contains naturally occurring amounts of all cannabinoids, including CBD, THC, CBN, etc. This means that in addition to the CBD you’re looking for, full-spectrum CBD oil will provide you with other helpful compounds that have a wide range of effects on your body – for example, anti-inflammatory or pain-relieving.

The effects of full-spectrum CBD oil depend on the type of product you use and your unique metabolism – but on average, it takes around an hour to kick in. Also, its effects may last longer than those caused by CBD isolate or broad-spectrum CBD.

Hemp-Derived CBD

Hemp is a non-psychoactive variety of the Cannabis sativa plant, which is legal in numerous countries all over the world, including the US. Hemp-derived CBD needs to go through decarboxylation – a chemical reaction that turns CBDa into CBD. This process takes time, which means that it takes longer to make hemp-derived CBD products than those derived from cannabis. However, unlike cannabis-derived CBD products, this variety is fully legal – which means you can buy it in every specialized shop.

Hemp-derived CBD products are said to take longer to work than CBD extracted from cannabis. However, this really depends on the type of CBD product you’re using.

Marijuana-Derived CBD

Marijuana-derived CBD is made from cannabis – and the legal situation is a little more complicated here. The CBD is extracted from industrial marijuana, which is a plant with high amounts of THC – the cannabinoid that gets you high. In order to remove as much THC as possible, manufacturers use a variety of techniques, such as supercritical CO2 extraction or distillation. However, this type of CBD is illegal federally – and only legal under local law in some states.

In a state where recreational marijuana is legalized, it’s not challenging to find some marijuana-derived CBD oil. It’s also not uncommon for people to use it for medicinal purposes. Depending on the type of CBD product you use, it can take up to 4 hours to work – but because of high THC content, the effects may be stronger. Also, marijuana-derived CBD can get the user high – although the psychoactive effects may not be very intense.

What Other Factors Impact CBD Absorption?

As we said, the absorption of cannabidiol depends on many factors – for example, the type of the product or your body composition. While some people absorb CBD really quickly and don’t wait long for it to start working, others experience a slower process. Here are some factors that could influence how CBD interacts with your body:

  • Consumption method: We’ve already mentioned that the way you consume CBD may affect how fast it works – for example, CBD bath bombs tend to work slower than CBD topical creams – and CBD oils taken sublingually or vaped can be very fast-acting.
  • Body composition and body weight: Body composition does matter when it comes to how fast and how long CBD works. For example, if you have a lot of fat in your body (which is where cannabidiol is dissolved), the CBD molecules will have an easy time getting into your bloodstream and interacting with them. On the other hand, if you have a lot of muscle mass, the CBD will have trouble passing through your cell walls – so the effect will be slower.
  • CBD dosage: If you take a high dose of CBD oil, it may work quicker, but you may experience side effects, such as dizziness.  Moreover, depending on the CBD consumption method, the dosage will be different – for example, if you decide to vape CBD oil or take it orally.
  • CBD quality: If you use a low-quality product, chances are you will experience some side effects or even health problems, and little to no desired effects. To make sure that you gain a product that can bring you the necessary health benefits, use only high-quality CBD.
  • CBD storage: CBD is a very sensitive substance – it can easily degrade when exposed to heat, light, or air. Therefore, remember to store it properly – keep it in a cool, dark place, avoid the kitchen counter and consider purchasing a separate cabinet.
  • Your health condition: CBD may work too strongly for you if you have a certain health condition, such as liver or kidney disease, or if you’re taking certain medications. If that is your case, consult your doctor before taking any CBD. Also, if you are pregnant or breastfeeding, CBD is not recommended.
  • Food intake: If you consume CBD with food, the absorption will be significantly better than if you were to take it on an empty stomach – and the effects will also last longer. Moreover, if you include a healthy source of fat in your meal, CBD molecules will be absorbed more easily (remember about CBD dissolving in the fat cells?)

How Fast Does CBD Leave Your System?

It would be impossible to quantify how long does it takes for CBD to work. Results could vary from person to person depending on many factors, including those mentioned above. For example, premium CBD products are formulated to allow maximum CBD absorption – so a faster response will be achieved in a shorter period for users.

Also, among the variety of existing CBD products, topicals will last longer than anything else, simply because it takes the skin more time to absorb CBD. The fastest method would be sublingual absorbtion or vaping – CBD will get into your bloodstream and leave it quickly.

It’s important to know that CBD is a natural compound, and your body won’t have a problem getting rid of it. You may have CBD lingering in your system for up to 2 -5 days or longer.

Does CBD Affect Drug Test Results?

The short answer is no. CBD typically won’t show up on a drug test – since it’s not really a drug. However, if your CBD product had a high amount of THC (for example, if it was derived from marijuana or if the quality was not very good), it may affect your drug test results. To avoid that, stick to CBD isolate or broad-spectrum CBD oils or choose only hemp-derived full-spectrum CBD products.

Key Thing to Remember: You Shouldn’t Expect Immediate Results From CBD Products

Just like any other supplement, you shouldn’t expect immediate results from CBD oil use. Depending on the product, it can take anywhere from a couple of days to even more than a week for the effects to appear. The speed of the process depends on several factors – including the dosage, the type of product that you are taking, and the speed with which your body breaks down CBD molecules.

To have to best CBD experience, always read the instructions on the label and follow them carefully. We hope that now you won’t wonder how long does it take for CBD oil to work – but will be able to estimate the time yourself. Educate yourself on the topic – learn more and stay safe.