How Long Does It Take For CBD to Work?

The answer varies depending on how you are taking the CBD. For ingestibles such as edibles, pills or oils it takes 1 to 6 hours for CBD to reach peak bloodstream levels but effects should begin

Questions surrounding CBD are understandable, especially because of the popularity of this wonder supplement. CBD’s also a relatively new product on the market and is not yet fully understood by users and potential users who want results as quickly as possible. This brings us to question how long does it take for CBD to work or take effect.

How Long Does It Take For CBD To Work? It depends on how you take CBD: pills and oils take between 1 and 6 hours to reach peak bloodstream levels but effects start in 20 to 30 minutes. Vapes can take just 10 minutes to reach peak bloodstream levels.

Read on to see the options, how and why CBD takes different times to have an effect, that way you can use it in the most suitable way for your own situation.

CBD has to be absorbed into the bloodstream for it to deliver its benefits. This is because, once it is in the bloodstream, it can be taken to the endocannabinoid system and reach the cannabinoid receptors which it effects.

The human body actually produces cannabinoids of its own.

We have two receptors for cannabinoids, CB1 and CB2 receptors. CB1 receptors are found in the brain and are linked with such functions as coordination, movement, emotions, mood, appetite, memories and pain.

CB2 receptors are found in the immune system, they affect pain and inflammation.

It was once believed that CBD attached itself to these CB2 receptors however this is not the case. Rather, it helps the body to use more of its own cannabinoids.

The time taken to feel its effects varies from person to person, how quickly your body deals with the CBD, how it is taken and the quality of CBD.

Some forms offer a quick offering of CBD, while some give off a slow, steady offering.

How can the method of intake affect absorption? The method of intake is the most important factor affecting the absorption of CBD. The most common methods are split into 4 categories linked with absorption time:

  • Orally taken
  • Topicals
  • Sublinguals
  • Smokables

Orally taken includes pills, edibles, and drinks. Often the time of effect is around 20 to 30 minutes.

Topicals include creams, lotions, soaps, and shampoos. The effect time is around 25 to 45 minutes

Sublinguals (under the tongue) so oils, tinctures, and sprays. The effect time is around 15 to 25 minutes.

For smokables (vapes, e-cigs for example) the effect time is around 10 to 20 minutes.

Why does it vary from person to person and what are the body factors that affect the absorption?

The factors affecting absorption to do with the body are:

Metabolic rate 

Your metabolism is all of the processes in your body that occur. Whether that is building up substances (anabolism) or breaking them down (catabolism). Therefore the rate of your metabolism (how fast you can break down substances) affects how long it takes for absorption.

There are many factors affecting your metabolic rate and you can speed this up or slow it down too with biohacking.


 As with alcohol, your body weight is a big factor in absorption of CBD and pretty much any substance.

The larger the body weight, the more CBD will be required to feel its effects. Furthermore, the absorption time is increased because more CBD is in the body.

Other factors

  • Stress can lead to stomach enzymes not being as efficient in the digestion process
  • Certain medications and conditions can affect the absorption process and rate

Everyone is individual, results in time to take effect and how the CBD is felt varies from person to person.

Testing and trialing is the best way to get optimal results in feeling and absorption time. Test with different methods of intake and different amounts (mg) of CBD in the products you buy.

How can the quality of CBD vary and affect the absorption?

The quality of CBD can vary due to a number of factors:

  • Cheaper products may contain lower quality ingredients or other additives
  • The keeping of the CBD can be important also (away from heat and sunlight for example)
  • Product not properly produced

These factors can make absorption slower and affect the amount of CBD actually in the product. Always check the label on how to keep the product and what is actually in the product.

Will I ‘feel’ its effects?

CBD has a subtle, discreet non-feeling.

It’s unlikely you’ll feel a sudden rush or other feeling after consuming CBD through taking pills or one of the other methods of intake.

The feeling isn’t something felt it’s actually something you don’t feel. If you’re taking CBD for the most common reasons (anxiety, depression, or chronic pain) then you should stop feeling or feel less anxious, depressed or in pain.

This will be a massive relief for many sufferers, who will ‘feel’ a lot better in not feeling the effects of these such ailments.

How can I take CBD?

As previously touched upon, CBD comes in many forms, the most common methods of intake fall into four categories:

  • Orally taken substances
  • Sublinguals
  • Smokables
  • Topicals (applied directly to the skin)

The orally taken substances include:

  • Often easy to swallow pills or capsules.
  • Edibles ranging from cookies and gummies to chewing gum and water.

Sublinguals include:

  • Tinctures/oil drops that are placed/used under or on the tongue.
  • Sprays that are placed/used under or on the tongue.

The smokables include:

  • Vape liquids
  • Isolate powder
  • And wax

Topicals (applied directly to the skin) include:

  • Soaps and shampoos
  • Creams and lotions
  • Patches (like nicotine patches)
  • And even bath bombs

How much should I take?

Research that has been done on CBD, uses dosages between 40 to 1500 milligrams (mg) daily.

It’s recommended to start with 20 to 40 mg daily and increase to the desired effect if it is not achieved.

Talking with your doctor first is always a good idea, in terms of treatment for whatever your ailment is.

Keep in mind however, doctors can only recommend and not prescribe CBD due to the fact that there is no recommended universal daily allowance, everyone is individual in this case.

The Mayo Clinic suggests these CBD dosages:

Ailment Dosage (mg daily)
Anxiety 2.5 – 20
Depression 2.5 – 20
Chronic pain 2.5 – 20
Epilepsy 200 – 300
Huntington’s Disease 10 mg per kg of body weight for six weeks
Sleep disorders 40 – 160
Schizophrenia 40 – 1280
Glaucoma 20 – 40

As aforementioned, everyone is individual.

Guidelines and recommendations for CBD are always just that as the amount needed changes from person to person. Look at the guidelines and adjust toil your desired effect is achieved.

Can you overdose on CBD

Approximations suggest that an average 80kg male would need to have over 30 tablespoons of CBD oil to ‘overdose’ (around 414000 mg).

Considering the recommendations above and the most being 1280 mg the likelihood of overdosing is as close to impossible as can be so don’t worry about doing so.

Clinical trials have given CBD doses of up to 1200 mg daily for months without observing any serious side effects.


The effects of CBD vary from person to person as does the time frame for effect to happen.

It depends on a variety of factors from the method of intake to body condition. The methods of intake are the key factor in effect time as the difference can be vast. The ‘feeling’ of CBD is not exactly describable, to feel its effect fully, follow the guidelines and adjust accordingly.

Testing and trialing is key to finding the optimal amount and intake method individually for you and maximizing the benefits of CBD.

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