One of the most popular CBD questions we get the most is how long it will take for CBD to work—when you can expect to “feel it.” Unfortunately, there is no ready-made answer. How long it takes to feel the effects of CBD will be different for everybody and depends on a number of factors:

  • A person’s body weight and metabolic rate
  • Type of CBD product
  • CBD Dosage
  • Cannabidiol strain and quality

How CBD affects different body types

Each CBD user’s body is a different size and make-up, and the combination of those factors will determine how CBD affects you. Often, it will take more time and higher dosages for people with higher body masses to feel the same effects as people with smaller body masses. However, metabolism also plays a role in CBD absorption. A high metabolic rate—in a person of any size—can mean the body will process CBD faster, reducing the amount of time it takes to feel the effects, whereas a lower metabolic rate increases that time.

How different CBD product types affect you

As the knowledge and benefits of CBD continue to grow, so does the number of different types of CBD products and different modes and time frames for its absorption within the body. Typically, products with oral delivery (e.g. oils, tinctures, vaporizing) enter the bloodstream faster while products absorbed within the gastrointestinal tract (e.g. capsules, pills, edibles) are less soluble and slower on the uptake.

  • CBD Vaporizing, Dabbing, Smoking: Inhalation through vaporizing and dabbing is the most effective for quick absorption and near-immediate effects. Smoking is close behind, but with has lower concentrations of CBD, so you need more flower product to get the same result.
  • CBD Topical Creams: Absorbed very readily into the bloodstream near the affected area, topical creams provide relief within minutes in most cases.
  • CBD Oils & Tinctures: Oils and tinctures are next in the efficacy line. While not as immediate as vaporizing, taken sublingually (beneath the tongue), their absorption is still quite quick (~ 5 to 20min).
  • CBD Capsules & Pills: Capsules and pills have a longer onset time as they must be broken down and absorbed through the GI tract, which also means the timing is much more variable from person to person (~ 20min to 1.5hr).
  • CBD Edibles: Naturally, edibles have to be broken down, digested and absorbed through the GI tract before the CBD enters the bloodstream. They take the longest to absorb of CBD product options (~ 30min to 2hr).

Dosage, dosage, dosage

Yet another variable to consider is, of course, a product’s CBD dosage. Taking a higher dosage of CBD will, in most cases, both increase the effects of CBD and also decrease the amount of time it takes to feel it. However, even with higher dosages, the type of CBD product and how it’s consumed will still be the main determining factor of how long absorption takes.

It’s important to note that dosages differ widely and are not currently regulated by the FDA, but the dosages of certain products—like oils, tinctures, and edibles—tend to be more standardized than others. Be sure to read product labels very closely so you know just how much you’re ingesting. When testing a new dosage, it’s especially important to give yourself ample time to learn how quickly a new dosage affects you and ensure that you are not affected negatively in any way. As we like to say, “start low and go slow.”

How CBD strains and quality affect you

In an earlier blog post, we discussed the three main strains of CBD: full-spectrum, broad-spectrum and isolate. As with every factor in the equation, each strain type will affect individuals differently, which includes absorption time. That being said, strain typically has more of an effect on how you feel the effects as opposed to when.
In this case, the ‘when’ is more affected by quality. In another post, we discussed the importance of buying good quality CBD. In addition to everything else “high quality” signifies, it also ensures there are no compromising ingredients or parts of production, meaning you get the safest, most effective absorption.

Remember, time is your friend

In addition to giving yourself enough time when testing a new CBD dosage or product, it’s also key to know that it may take many days or weeks to start feeling any long-term impacts of CBD when treating certain broader conditions. Everyone’s bodies are affected differently even by similar conditions, and in the same way that CBD affects everybody differently, it also influences symptoms of conditions in those bodies differently. Know that CBD may be working its magic long before you feel its impact.

Anthony Tribunella

Having experienced the benefits of CBD first hand when it was starting to gain popularity, Anthony decided to spend his working life championing it to the public and his peers in the wider CBD community. As a CBD innovator himself, Anthony likes to remain at the leading edge of scientific and product development to ensure that the potential of CBD has every chance of being fully realized.

See all posts by Anthony Tribunella

Research Papers