How Long Does It Take For CBD To Work?

Medically reviewed by Bryan Doner, MD, and Cannabidiol Life’s Medical Review Team.

Wondering how long it takes for CBD to work? Keep reading for more information regarding how long it takes to experience the effects of CBD.

The Answer:

This is an important question to ask for anyone that takes CBD, and especially someone who is trying it for the first time. Depending on the size of the subject, and the amount of CBD administered, results will vary.

The medium by which CBD is delivered to the Endocannabinoid System (ECS) also influences how long reactions within the body will occur and for how long. In general, for CBD products that are absorbed quickly, like vape CBD oil or pure CBD cigarettes the ECS will begin to take effect from CBD in approximately five to twenty minutes. The potency or strength of the CBD and the amount taken in a dose will also influence this time.

The Method of Consumption Matters

Probably the most important factor in how soon you will feel the effects of CBD is the method of consumption. This is critical because the way CBD enters the body drastically changes the way in which it is absorbed, which is through fat or lipid cells.

Oral Consumption

For clarity’s sake, oral consumption refers specifically to swallowing full-spectrum CBD oil or eating CBD edibles, for instance. One can enjoy the most common, and probably the easiest way to enjoy CBD by administering a few drops directly into the mouth and swallowing it. However, it should be noted that swallowing CBD oil prevents it from being immediately absorbed into the bloodstream. The reason for this is that it must first be digested and then metabolized by the liver before the effects can be felt. Studies show that CBD is processed through the digestive tract and eventually onto the liver, where it is broken down before finally reaching the bloodstream, the time it takes increases. Although the effects can generally be felt about 45 minutes to an hour after oral consumption.

Regarding the ingestion of CBD edibles, the same principle applies. For example, let’s say you are making vegan CBD gummies by adding CBD oil into your favorite recipe. It will ultimately go through the same lengthy process which can reduce the total CBD concentration. With ingestion in this manner, it could even be as long as one or two hours before the effects can be felt.

Sublingual Consumption

CBD oil can be consumed sublingually by placing a few drops under the tongue and allowing it to sit longer before swallowing. This method allows the CBD to be absorbed by the mucous membranes located in the mouth, bypassing the digestive system and liver to some extent. Compared to oral consumption, this process allows the consumer to route out some of the metabolization processes which may allow it to enter the bloodstream sooner. Trial and error will let a person know how soon it should take.


A popular method of taking CBD is inhalation. Some people may enjoy smoking a high-CBD strain or raw hemp plant material, while others may prefer taking a draw from a CBD vape pen. Either way, inhalation is seen as a quick and effective method of CBD delivery. This is mainly because of how quickly CBD is absorbed in the body when inhaled. When CBD is smoked or vaped, cannabinoids are sent directly to the lungs, this allows them to pass much more quickly into the blood-brain barrier. CBD is rapidly absorbed into the bloodstream this way and put into circulation throughout the body quickly. Generally speaking, the effects should be felt almost immediately, but even for experienced CBD users who have inhaled regularly, it should only take about three minutes at the most.

Topical Application

When CBD is applied directly to the skin it can be absorbed through the surface of the skin to interact with localized cannabinoid receptors in some cases. CBD-infused topicals should be applied liberally to overcome the low cannabinoid absorption rate through the skin. Allowing CBD to pass through the skin via the pores is not as effective as oral consumption or inhalation, but can still be effective in some cases. Fortunately, the permeability of CBD has been shown in animals to be tenfold higher than THC, and peaks after about 90 minutes. This method of administration is ideal for dealing with chronic pain in specific areas. The effects can generally be felt sooner when applied to an area with specific pain, like when rubbed into the temples during a headache or migraine, for example.


CBD interacts throughout the body in various ways, below are some of the factors that may influence the amount of time it takes for the effects of CBD to be felt from person to person.

Body Weight

Body fat does influence the amount of CBD that can be deemed effective. Someone with a larger body mass will require a CBD dosage higher than someone who is thinner so that he feels the effects. CBD does not have to build up in your system for it to work effectively.


From studies we have seen that metabolic rates of individuals can vary and also affect how long CBD takes to react with the ECS. The body’s metabolism determines how long it takes to break down and synthesize chemical compounds like cannabidiol. A person with a faster metabolism will likely be free of the compound faster than someone who isn’t, which could be a factor for someone who is subject to urinalysis or drug screening.

Frequency of Use

It’s not just the human body that influences how long it takes for CBD to work, but also the quality of the CBD product and how often it’s used. Experts suggest It’s best to find the minimum effective dose to avoid building up a tolerance and requiring more CBD to get the same level of relief.

CBD Dosage

The ideal CBD dosage is an important part of the process to determine exactly how long it will take to feel the effects. The minimum dose is generally however much it takes for you to experience relief personally. At Cannabidiol Life our serving size is 25 mg. If you don’t experience relief double it to 50 and so on, and so forth until you experience relief. For more information on dosing please see our dosing guide.

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