Health & Wellness

How Long Does a CBD Edible Last?

By Melena Gurganus

We’ve seen CBD offered in a variety of forms, including everything from vape juice to capsules, and edibles are no exception to the ever-growing market of CBD products. There are endless possibilities when it comes to infusing CBD oil into food and desserts, and tasty treats like CBD gummies, chocolates, and baked goods are growing in popularity. Ingesting a CBD-infused edible might help you relax, but how long can you expect the effects to last? The truth is, there are several different factors that contribute to how long a CBD edible lasts, and when it starts to work.

Different types of edibles

Before we dive into the effects of CBD, it’s necessary to outline the importance of potency. Different products will contain varying amounts of CBD, which plays a role in the efficacy of an edible. Gummies are a popular and easy method of CBD ingestion, but there may be only 5 milligrams of CBD in one gummy, compared to a cake pop that contains 30 milligrams. This doesn’t mean that the stronger edible is the better choice, but that you should take CBD potency into consideration before deciding on a product.

[Learn more about CBD gummies]

What can affect how long a CBD edible lasts?

Since edibles must first pass through your digestive system in order for CBD to absorb into the bloodstream, it’s hard to pinpoint exactly how long you’ll feel the effect of a CBD edible. Science tells us that it can take anywhere from 6 to 8 hours to breakdown food in the stomach and small intestine and absorb its nutrients. If you ingest a CBD edible, the effects may last this long, but likely won’t be initiated until an hour or so after eating it. Also, there isn’t always a definitive result when using CBD products since they lack the psychoactive effects of THC. You won’t feel high from eating a CBD edible, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t working. Some people do experience a sense of calm or relaxation, but responses can differ from person to person.

When it comes to edibles, certain factors can alter the amount of time the CBD is effective, including:

  • The last time you ate—The time that it takes for a CBD edible to start to work, and how long it lasts, might depend on how full or empty your stomach is. If you just ate a big meal, you can expect the effects of CBD to set-in later than usual, since your digestive tract will have to breakdown all of the contents in your stomach before it starts absorbing the CBD. In contrast, your body will quickly start to process a CBD edible if you haven’t eaten anything in a while.
  • Your metabolism—As with any food, your metabolism is key in determining when and how your body absorbs nutrients from the products you’re eating. If your body processes food quickly, you’ll likely feel the effects of a CBD edible sooner, but these may not last as long as someone with a slower metabolism. When CBD is absorbed at a slower rate, it may potentially extend the effects for a brief period of time.
  • Strength of the edible—In some instances, a higher concentration of CBD may have longer lasting effects than a less potent edible. However, we do not recommend increasing your CBD dosage just to obtain such results. CBD works best when it’s administered periodically rather than all at once, and sticking to your typical dose is always preferred.

Dosing strategy for CBD edibles

If you’re considering eating a CBD edible, first ask yourself what your ideal outcome is for using CBD, or what symptoms you hope to address. If you have anxiety and are looking for a natural remedy, you’ll likely need less CBD than someone with insomnia who’s trying to fall asleep at night.

If it’s your first time trying CBD, don’t overdo it. Although there are almost no negative side effects when using quality CBD products, you should always take precautions when ingesting a new supplement. Start with a low dose of CBD, and if necessary you can slowly increase the amount until you find your “sweet spot.”

For those that have already been exposed to CBD and avidly use it, you’ve most likely found a CBD dosage that works best for you. You’ve made it through the trial and error phase, and can use your typical dose of CBD to determine what kind of edible is best suited for you. If you usually take 10 milligrams of CBD twice a day, look for edible products that contain a similar amount of CBD as well, and take them as often as you would usually administer a CBD capsule or oil.

[See our dosing guide for more information]

Choose your edible wisely

Before you start eating CBD edibles regularly, it’s important to note that these products have not been evaluated by the FDA, and they aren’t intended to treat any medical condition. CBD may have potential for alleviating various symptoms, but a CBD supplement seems less healthy when it’s packed with sugar and flavor additives. For this reason, we suggest researching before you buy CBD edibles, and look for products that use natural ingredients and have accurate lab test results.

When taking CBD edibles, it’s important to pace yourself and refrain from ingesting too much at one time. The effects won’t set in until at least 30 to 90 minutes after eating an edible, and you should not take more CBD to try and enhance or speed-up the absorption process. Start sparingly, because you can’t undo the amount of CBD in your system once you’ve already ingested the edible. If you’re looking for faster CBD absorption methods, tinctures and vapes work almost immediately, but their effects wear off more quickly.

While many people have found symptom relief by introducing CBD as a wellness supplement, there’s no guarantee that you’ll feel any different after eating a CBD-infused chocolate bar or gummy bear. Everyone has their own personal chemistry, so you may have a different response or experience with CBD than someone else. If you are considering taking a CBD edible, it’s something worth discussing with your doctor, especially if you have any pre-existing conditions or take prescription medications.

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