How Long Does It Take for CBD to Start Working?

CBD and Time

While it’s a complicated question to answer, many of our community still want to know: how long does it take before CBD actually starts working?

The answer is based on so many variables, it’s different for everyone, but today we’re going to work to answer that question as fully as possible. How long does it take CBD to kick in, both when you first take it and when you start feeling amplified effects? Let’s look deeper!

Splitting Up the Question

First things first: there are two answers people are looking for when they ask how long it’s supposed to take before CBD starts working.

The first answer is how long it takes before your body starts feeling the effects of the CBD serving just taken. This one is far easier to answer then the second, which is wondering how long it takes before routine use of CBD starts to amplify the effects to feel genuine and effective relief.

For the first answer, the biggest variable up in the air here is which method you use to take your CBD serving.

If it’s a topical salve, a smoking or vaping product, or a tincture that you apply under your tongue, the effects are felt almost immediately; most find it takes no more than 15 minutes before feeling the difference they’re after. For edibles or another ingestible item, it takes closer to an hour up to 3 hours before you can feel the effects; and in some extreme cases, it doesn’t kick in for 6 hours.

Consistency is the Key

The second answer is more complex as we look at how long it takes of routine, daily use before CBD starts really providing the relief people are craving. Contrary to popular belief, you likely won’t feel much when you try CBD for the first time, especially if you just take a small serving.

What you feel on your first day will be nothing in comparison to what you feel on your 15th day – and that will be nothing compared to what you feel after one full month of taking CBD.

Everyone is different, though, and we cannot stress that enough. What works for some people is virtually useless to someone else, and vice versa. There wouldn’t be as vast a range of CBD products as there are if those options didn’t have some form of efficacy that keeps people coming back to them.

Given that fact, you’ll need to spend some time experimenting to discover which method you prefer using and how often you’ll need to use it to get the results you’re looking for. Consistent, routine use is truly the key for experiments like this, so expect that you may have to persist for more than 4 weeks before feeling the effect you were wanting.

Why Doesn’t it Happen Immediately?

Unfortunately, CBD is not a cure-all for any disease or condition. We would compare it more aptly to melatonin, which is a supplement that our bodies naturally produce but we can always use more of when in need. Just like melatonin, we already produce our own version of CBD, called endocannabinoids, all throughout our body. These endocannabinoids interact with our ECS, or endocannabinoid system. Interestingly enough, though, they’re also almost molecularly identical to outside cannabinoids that enter the body.

Before it can work, CBD must enter our bloodstream; a fact that is the reason why edibles take longer to work than other methods. Once it’s in the bloodstream it can interact with those same receptors in our ECS that our natural endocannabinoids interact with. The interaction CBD has with our cannabinoid receptors is what researchers believe is the result of many of the benefits CBD products are known to provide.

What Kind of Hemp Extract is it?

Likewise, it may not happen immediately because of the type of CBD product you’re using – not the method, but the formula. All CBD products are considered either isolates, broad-spectrum, or full-spectrum. We explained briefly in our What to Know When Shopping for CBD Online blog what the differences are between these types of products; you can go check that blog post if you missed it, but we’ll give you a summary here.

When CBD is extracted from the hemp plant, other cannabinoids like CBN, CBG, CBC and more come with it, as well as terpenes and flavonoids that impact the flavor, smell, and overall effect that the hemp strain will provide. Whenever this entire spectrum of compounds remains in the hemp oil with the CBD, this is known as a full-spectrum extract.

If there’s a rigorous refining process after this full-spectrum hemp oil is extracted, it become a broad-spectrum CBD product. This process is usually what refines the product of THC, chlorophyll and other undesirable compounds.

Finally, a CBD isolate is a CBD-rich hemp extract that’s as pure 100% CBD as it can be. Usually, you’ll see a 98% to 99.9% isolate when brands do sell it.

The impact of the compounds that are or aren’t included in these types of CBD products stretches out even to how long it’s going to take for the cannabidiol to work. When using a CBD isolate product, it often takes significantly longer than it would take for a full-spectrum or even broad-spectrum product.

While CBD has its benefits, an isolate means accompanying compounds that amplify the effects aren’t there anymore. In order to get the most out of your CBD-rich hemp extract, make sure you’re choosing a broad-spectrum or full-spectrum option.

CBD Quality Matters

We know now that there are a range of factors in play that determine how long it would take a CBD formula to start affecting you. The quality of the CBD product is another vital factor to consider, though. If a product is damaged by being left in the heat or sun or it’s expired, the quality might be tarnished.

Likewise, if the formula is made containing low-quality, genetically modified, or harmful ingredients or the ingredients are hard to digest, the quality is not going to meet most standards. If it wasn’t produced correctly with every batch tested through a third-party lab, the quality is going to be questionable at best.

Other Factors in Play

Like we said, everyone is different, so it’s not just the CBD product that we have to take into account. On the contrary, there are physical variables to consider for how long it might take CBD to work for you.

First consider your body weight and mass, as those both impacts how much of a substance you’ll need to consume before you feel it affects. The larger the mass, the more CBD it will take and the longer it will take to process.

Second, your metabolic rate plays a huge role and even makes some sensitive to CBD and other cannabinoids. The faster your metabolism, the faster your body can process CBD.

Finally, your body’s composition has an impact on how quickly you’ll be able to process CBD. The composition of your body can be altered through stress, suffering certain conditions, and more. Stomach enzymes don’t digest as efficiently when you’re stressed, as an example. It could be medications that cause your body composition to be altered that makes the absorption process conflicted or slowed down.

Final Thoughts

So, our original question was: how long does it take for CBD to work? And in our guide, we hope you were able to see there’s not a universal answer to that question – though we were able to give you an idea on what to expect. Everyone has variables that affects how CBD processes within their bodies.

If you’re new to CBD or looking for an effective product that can finally start working, switch up the kind of product you’ve been using. If you’re vaping or taking a capsule, for example, try instead using a tincture or stronger edible. We hope our guide helped you answer any burning questions you had and helped you better determine if routine use of CBD is the right path for you to take. Now, when someone around you asks, “how long does CBD take to work?” you have an answer to give them!

Author Profile Picture

Rachel Sims | Author

Rachel Sims is a passionate CBD and cannabis writer. A huge proponent for marijuana legalization across the country, Rachel's proud to be on the ground floor of an industry making history. Her goal is simple -- help spread awareness and destigmatize cannabis. Rachel regularly writes for companies in the CBD and marijuana industries, as well as on her own website, Hashing It Out.

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