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How Long Does It Take for CBD Products to Work Effectively?

Have you recently started using CBD products, or are you interested in adding cannabidiol to your personal wellness routine?

You’ll want to know how long your chosen CBD product takes to kick in and give you the desired effect. You may also be curious whether it’s normal not to notice any particular effects when you start using CBD, and how long you’ll have to wait before you feel anything. 

Dive in! A word of warning, though — CBD absorption is more complicated than you might think.

What Is CBD?

Cannabidiol is a non-psychoactive cannabinoid — a component extracted from industrial hemp or marijuana plants that won’t get you high. 

Authorised CBD products, which have a THC content of up to 0.02 per cent, are legally available in the UK over the counter. As the CBD market continues to expand and public awareness increases, more and more people are curious about trying cannabidiol to support their overall health and wellness. 

It is important to note that researchers are still learning about CBD’s potential benefits and side effects. Therefore, consumers should not use cannabidiol to prevent, treat, or cure any particular medical condition — and are advised to consult their GP if they are worried about their health.

Having said that, many people incorporate CBD products into their relaxing wellness routines. If you’re one of them, or you’re planning on trying CBD for the first time soon, you may wonder how long CBD products take to start working.

CBD: What Factors Can Impact the Effects and Absorption Rate?

Future CBD consumers can easily hop on the internet and find general information about how long it takes for each type of cannabidiol product to take effect. The truth is more complicated. 

Numerous factors impact the absorption rate (how long it takes for your body to gain access to the CBD you take). Some are predictable. Others? Not so much. Let’s take a closer look!

1. Route of Administration: How You Take CBD

The route of administration (or, in plain English, “how you take a substance”) has a huge impact on how long it takes to work. 

Generally speaking, using CBD oils or tinctures sublingually (under the tongue) leads or vaping CBD has the fastest effect. These ways of using CBD bypass the digestive system, and deliver cannabidiol faster. 

Oral administration (ingesting CBD, for example, in the form of gummies or capsules) means waiting a little longer for the desired effect. How much longer? That depends on your metabolism, but it’s safe to say (based on research) that your CBD will kick in faster if you take it on an empty stomach. 

You can also use topical CBD products like creams or lotions. These are unlikely to reach your bloodstream. Instead, your skin absorbs them. According to the Cannabidiol Primer for Healthcare Professionals, published by the NIH in 2020, topical CBD products have higher bioavailability than oral CBD products.

2. Personal Factors: CBD and You

How long it takes for CBD products to start working effectively also depends on your unique body. 

Your age, the speed of your digestive system, general health, and the contents of your stomach all play a role in determining how long CBD takes to kick in if you are ingesting cannabidiol orally. 

No two people are exactly the same. That explains why it takes some experimentation to discover how you react to CBD and how long you have to wait for the desired effect. 

So, How Long Does It Take for CBD Products to Start Working? 

There’s no clear scientific evidence that tells you how long you have to wait before you notice the desired effect of CBD products. 

That can partially be explained by the fact that cannabidiol has only recently become popular, and research is still ongoing. However, it’s not unusual for the time of onset to be somewhat unclear. (To name an example, there’s no clear answer about how long the effects of paracetamol take to kick in, either. That, too, depends on a multitude of personal factors.)

Anecdotal evidence from CBD consumers and reputable health information websites can give future consumers a general idea, however:

  • CBD edibles (like CBD gummies or CBD oil incorporated into a meal) take up to two hours to start working. That’s because they have to pass through the digestive system. The same is true for CBD capsules.
  • CBD vape liquids are inhaled, so they take effect faster — within 15 to 30 minutes. 
  • CBD products administered under the tongue (oils and tinctures) don’t have to be digested before they start working. The mucus membranes under the tongue allow for faster absorption. These products take 15 to 45 minutes to take effect. 
  • CBD topicals, like creams and lotions, do not enter the bloodstream and instead work locally. They may take 45 to 60 minutes to start working.

What Should You Know Before You Start Using CBD Products?

People who are new to CBD are advised to start with the lowest possible dose. 

Your first dose of CBD can be as low as 2 mg if you’re using CBD oil or a CBD tincture — and the manufacturer should include information about dosage on the package. 

If you choose CBD edibles, like CBD gummies, your starting dose is usually 25 mg. This reflects the fact that not all of the cannabidiol you ingest reaches your system; some is lost as you digest the product. 

Not feeling anything yet? Don’t take more right away. As we’ve seen, everyone absorbs CBD at a different pace. If you’re new to CBD, stick with your starting dose, even if you don’t experience any effects yet, and allow your body to get used to the cannabidiol. 

You can gradually build your dose up over time until you experience the effect you desire — but take things slowly!

A Final Word: How Long Does CBD Take to Work?

Consumers new to CBD products should know that CBD vape liquids and CBD tinctures and oils (used under the tongue) take effect most quickly. CBD edibles and other oral forms of CBD, including capsules, take longer to kick in. 

Be patient! Start with the lowest dose. Then, gradually work towards a higher dose until you experience the desired effect, and pay attention to your body. 



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