Health & Wellness

How Long Does It Take for CBD to Work?

By Melena Gurganus

CBD has jumped to the forefront of newspaper headlines and product descriptions, yet there are still a lot of unanswered questions about this cannabis extract. Many people wonder how long it takes for CBD to work, but the answer may vary depending on multiple factors. For starters, there are several different ways to take CBD, and each application style will require a different amount of time before the compound starts to take effect. If you really want to give CBD a try, it’s good to experiment with different brands, products, and dosage levels to find what works for you.

Four different ways to use CBD

Inhalation

If you’re looking for the fastest method of CBD absorption, inhaling CBD vape or smoke will begin working within your body almost immediately. Once you’ve inhaled the vapor, CBD and other cannabinoids will enter your bloodstream through alveoli sacs in the lungs. This only takes a matter of seconds, but this also means the effects may wear off more quickly than other application styles. You should also recognize that introducing anything into your lungs other than oxygen probably isn’t the healthiest practice. Weigh the pros and cons before trying any new supplement, especially one that includes inhaling a foreign compound. This application style may be best for the converted smoker rather than non-smokers, who may find vaping or smoking to be too harsh.

Sublingual Drops

If vaping CBD doesn’t sound appealing to you, CBD tinctures work almost as quickly as inhalation. Tinctures are typically applied sublingually, meaning they are placed beneath the tongue. The key to making this method worthwhile is to hold the CBD oil drops in place for 30 to 60 seconds. Doing so allows for the CBD to enter your bloodstream at a faster rate, as the veins beneath your tongue soak up the CBD molecules directly. It takes slightly longer for the sublingual drops to penetrate into the bloodstream than through the lungs, but you can expect the CBD to take effect within 5 to 20 minutes when administered this way.

Ingestion

For those looking for long lasting effects, consuming CBD oil via ingestion is your best option. This application method will prolong the effects of CBD, as your digestive tract breaks down the CBD over the course of several hours, causing the compound to steadily absorb into the bloodstream. It can take anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour to feel the effects of CBD, or perhaps even longer depending on your metabolism, weight, and if you have a full or empty stomach.

Ingestion options range from swallowing CBD oil, adding it to a meal, or buying pre-made CBD edibles, capsules, and even CBD-infused coffee—the possibilities are endless. Although ingesting CBD seems to be a popular and easy option, you should always be cautious of what you are putting into your body. Products with little CBD concentration and high amounts of sugar and flavor additives aren’t going to be as beneficial when it comes to the possibility of symptom relief, which some people attribute to CBD.

Topical Application

Using a CBD topical is different than any other application style, because the cannabis extract only comes into contact with your skin rather than entering your body. This method of consumption is best for targeting pain in localized areas on the body, and is commonly used to aid in arthritis or exercise-induced inflammation. When applying a CBD lotion, balm, or salve, it will start to work when it comes into contact with your skin. Although you may not feel the effects of CBD right away, it’s possible for a quality topical to relieve joint and muscle pain within minutes.

What to know before using CBD

We’ve focused a lot on how long it takes for CBD to work, but it’s important to know that this will vary on an individual basis, and some people may not feel any effect from CBD at all. CBD oils, vapes, edibles, and similar creations are touted as supplemental dietary products with potential health benefits, but more research and clinical studies are necessary before those opinions become fact.

Although CBD products are widely available, they have not been evaluated by the FDA and are not intended to diagnose, treat, or cure any medical condition. Talk with your doctor before taking CBD as a wellness supplement, and remember that dosing is paramount when it comes to the efficacy of CBD. Too little CBD and you may not see any benefit, but too much could also produce unwanted side effects like tiredness or change in appetite. If you feel confident enough in trying this cannabis extract, always start with a low dose of CBD and work your way up until you find what works for you.

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