How Long Does It Take For CBD to Work?

When you’re waiting for relief from soreness, a feeling of anxiousness, or restlessness, how long do you have to wait for CBD to work? It’s a common question that doesn’t have an easy answer. Several factors affect how long it takes CBD to start working in the body. One of those is bioavailability. This means how quickly and effectively CBD is available for your body to use.

Some of the factors that affect bioavailability include how you take CBD, the dosage, your metabolism, and how frequently you use it. But did you know that CBD oil contains more than just one compound? 

More Compounds in CBD Oil Improve Effectiveness

CBD is just one of the cannabinoid compounds found in the Cannabis sativa plant. In fact, the plant is a complex combination of over 60 cannabinoids and 400 other chemicals. 


Cannabinoids found in quality CBD oil do not have the intoxicating effect that you experience with THC. But they do have health effects as they interact with the cannabinoid system in your body, also called the endocannabinoid system. 

Cannabinoids fall into several families, including cannabichromenes (CBC), cannabicyclols (CBL), cannabigerols (CBG), and cannabinols (CBN). There are two primary receptors in the human body, cannabinoid 1 (CB1) and cannabinoid 2 (CB2). Cannabinoid compounds act on these receptors, although CBD itself does not. Rather, it acts as a catalyst for your own endocannabinoids and others like CBG, CBN, CBL, and CBC to act on the CB1 and CB2 receptors.

How quickly you experience results from taking CBD oil also depends on the speed at which these compounds interact with receptors in your body. CB1 receptors are found mainly in the brain, spine, and the peripheral nervous system. CB2 receptors are primarily found in the immune and gastrointestinal system. 

endocannabinoid system

Your perception of how quickly CBD oil works relies on your neurological system and the CB1 receptors. In other words, how fast you feel the effects from CBD oil is dependent on more than just the CBD compound in the product. Each of the other cannabinoids also affects the receptors in your body. It is the sum of these compounds that produce the health effects you experience..

How Fast CBD Works Depends on Other Factors

How quickly each of the compounds and CBD oil works also depends on other factors. For example, there are several ways of ingesting CBD oil:

  •       Topically (on the skin)
  •       Orally
  •       Sublingually (under the tongue) 
  •       Inhaled 

Each of these ways has a different level of bioavailability. For example, when you take CBD orally, it must first go through your digestive system and eventually to the liver. Once there, the liver breaks it down before it reaches the bloodstream. 

This is the “first-pass effect,” where liver enzymes lower the concentration of CBD. Whether you swallow a tincture or take a CBD edible, the same principle applies. 

When CBD oil is taken under the tongue, the body absorbs the compound through the mucous membranes directly into the bloodstream, bypassing your digestive system and liver. This increases how fast CBD works and the amount that's available to your body. 

Inhaling or smoking is a common way of using recreational cannabis. Using this method, the compounds are supplied to the bloodstream through the lung tissue. However, as is found in most cases when people inhale hot substances, there are inherent risks to your lungs.

Using lotions with CBD also bypass the digestive system, but the absorption rate is slower than when you take it under your tongue.

Frequency and Consistency

Finally, how frequently and consistently you use CBD oil also affects how quickly you experience results. CBD oil helps to naturally balance your endocannabinoid system. It helps promote physiological equilibrium, also called homeostasis. This helps control pain response, improve sleep and balance your mood. 

Some people may experience immediate effects, sometimes within minutes. However, you may not experience all the benefits until you are taking CBD oil consistently. This helps to stimulate your endocannabinoid system to become more active, and therefore sensitive to the actions of CBD oil. 

Through balancing your body’s systems, you may experience many of the health benefits associated with taking CBD every day. In addition to improving sleep quality and balancing your mood, using CBD daily may also improve:

Occasional Aches and Soreness — One of the more common reasons people use CBD every day is to relieve minor, temporary pain. Research has shown that it may be able to help reduce the use of opioids and improve sleep quality.

Feelings of anxiousness, sadness, and tension — Many people use CBD to help control emotions and temporary anxiousness. One study found it could effectively reduce behaviors associated with feelings of anxiousness, calm the emotions, and reduce tension and fears. In a review of several studies, researchers claim that CBD oil had mood-lifting effects.

Skin — Daily use of CBD oil has also demonstrated the potential to one day be used as a skin treatment because of its ability to help soothe mild acne outbreaks.

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