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How Long Does It Take For CBD To Work? Science-Backed Truth

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One of the most common questions new CBD users have is "how long does CBD take to kick in?"

People will often take CBD tincture or CBD gummies for the first time and sit there wondering whether or not they feel its effects and how long they have to wait before they experience all the benefits listed on the packaging. We're here to answer all that and more to help you make the most out of your CBD product.

First of all, the onset of CBD depends on several factors, including genetics, experience with CBD, consumption method, and the strength of the dose. The truth is, there's still a lot of research looking to uncover the intricacies of CBD and its interaction with the human body, but we'll present you with what we do know based on science right here. 

Does CBD Oil Actually Do Anything?

CBD is short for cannabidiol. It's one of the main active compounds harvested from cannabis plants to support a healthy lifestyle. 

CBD has a long list of wellness benefits that make it appealing for people looking for a natural and gentle approach to support their health. There truly is more to CBD than snake oil, but it's important to separate its actual benefits from exaggerated marketing. 

The CBD industry is a bit of a Wild West right now. There's a lot of money to be had and very little regulation to hold companies accountable for what they're selling and how they market their products to consumers. 

You'll find brands claiming their CBD oil is a cure-all for everything from skin conditions, immune deficiencies, cancer, and even hair loss. As a general rule, if a product sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

Distinguishing hyperbolic claims from reasonable uses for CBD can be difficult through all the noise, especially with limited research available to the public. Try to keep a healthy sense of skepticism when reading the marketing claims and uses for CBD oil. The research on CBD is still quite young, and we're still discovering the intricacies that CBD and other cannabinoids have on the body. 

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How Does CBD Interact In The Body?

The cannabis plant is a remarkable source of cannabinoids, which are lipid-based messengers that interact with receptors in a unique regulating system in the body called the endocannabinoid system (ECS).

The ECS is present in all animals with a central nervous system. Its principal role is to maintain homeostasis (balance) for systems integral to our survival: sleep/wake, metabolism, stress, endocrine, memory.

Cannabidiol (CBD) is most abundant in hemp strains, and has a unique interaction in the ECS. While it's not the best at binding to the cannabinoid receptors, it inhibits the release of enzymes that breakdown internally produced cannabinoids (endocannabinoids). Higher levels of cannabinoids in the system improve the feedback system that the ECS controls to maintain balance. Other cannabinoids such as CBG and THC interact directly with endocannabinoid receptors to exerts their effects.

Stressors, both internal and environmental, can throw a number of our systems out of balance. Our body's ability to counteract some of these influences to their optimal point is critical to our survival.

The Top Benefits Of CBD Oil Backed By Science:

  1. CBD helps to support a healthy inflammatory response [1]
  2. CBD helps to support a healthy stress response [2]
  3. CBD helps to support a more comfortable recovery [3]
  4. CBD helps to support healthy brain function [4]
  5. CBD helps to support healthy hormone function [5]

How Long Does It Take For CBD To Take Effect?

It can take anywhere from minutes to an hour to feel your CBD. The way you consume CBD will have the biggest impact on how long you can expect the CBD to kick in and the duration of the effects.

These days, you can find CBD in all forms — CBD oilsCBD gummiesCBD capsulesCBD smokeablesCBD topicals, and CBD skincare. We'll go over the most common consumption methods and let you how long you can expect to feel the effects and how long each effect lasts on average.

How Long Does It Take Sublingual CBD To Work?

The most common form of CBD on the market is CBD oils. These are concentrated CBD extract mixed with a CBD carrier oil, such as olive oil, hemp seed oil, or coconut oil.

The CBD carrier oil added to improve the cannabinoid's absorption rate into the gut (CBD is fat-soluble), and the carrier oil makes dosing CBD easier.

If you're taking CBD oil, you can increase the absorption by holding the oil under the tongue (sublingually), where there's a concentration of microcapillaries that can transport CBD directly into the bloodstream.

Taking your CBD oil sublingually, you can expect to feel the onset of effects in half the time (15–30 minutes).

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How Long Does It Take Edible CBD To Work?

Are you wondering how long it takes for CBD gummies to work? CBD gummies and capsules fall under the edible CBD category, and they have the longest onset time.

Oral forms of CBD can take anywhere from 30–60 minutes to feel the onset of their effects.

This is because the active ingredients need to go through the digestive system (into the stomach and the small intestines) before it's absorbed. It's the least bioavailable method of getting your CBD in as the digestive tract can break down up to 40% of the active compounds before it enters the bloodstream [7].

The effects of ingesting CBD orally can last anywhere from 4–6 hours on a single dose. Your metabolism and genetics may also contribute to how long you feel the effects. 

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How Long Does Smoking CBD Take Effect?

If you want the fastest way to feel the effects of CBD, CBD vape juice and cartridges are your best bet — but they're not for everyone.

When you smoke CBD, the active ingredients are absorbed via the lungs and enter the bloodstream within minutes.

A couple of downsides of inhaling your CBD is that it's difficult to get an accurate dose, and the effects don't last as long as ingesting CBD. It can last anywhere from 2–6 hours [8].

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How Does It Take To Feel The Effects Of Topical CBD?

Topical CBD is any CBD product that you apply to the skin. CBD Lotions and CBD rubs cover a wide range of applications, from supporting sensitive skin to healthy inflammatory function.

CBD immersed in topical formulas interact with endocannabinoid receptors on the skin to exert its effects, so it doesn't enter the bloodstream. It's better suited for localized benefits, such as muscle and joint discomfort.

CBD creams and ointments can take anywhere from 45–90 minutes to feel their effects, and they can last up to 3 hours

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Other Factors That Affect How Long It Takes CBD To Work

CBD doesn't work the same for everyone. There are several factors at play that can determine your CBD experience.

For example, your genes can influence how long it takes for you to feel the effects and how long it stays in your system. Some people may feel little to no effect from CBD use, while others are more sensitive.

Your gut health is also a critical factor in your ability to efficiently absorb plant-based cannabinoids. The population and health of the microbes in your gut are critical to your overall wellbeing. An unhappy gut can mean that less CBD is efficiently absorbed into the bloodstream.

Some brands will add additional ingredients to their CBD product to speed the onset of effects. For example, you might find a CBD muscle rub with capsaicin (the compound responsible for the heat in peppers) to stimulate the pain receptors while allowing the CBD to penetrate the skin.

Another factor that can influence how long it takes for you to feel CBD is the dose.

How Long Does It Take for CBD to Work infographic

How Much CBD Should I Take?

If you're not feeling anything from your CBD oil, chances are high that you haven't taken an appropriate dose.

Don't worry — the art of dosing CBD is a tricky thing, and the right dose will differ from one person to the next. Some people will take 5MG of CBD per day, while others may take higher doses of 200MG or more.

It's always better to start on the low end of doses and work your way up slowly. Gradually increasing your doses will help prevent you from feeling any adverse effects from taking too much CBD. Most people will dose their CBD on their weight and how strong of a dose they'd like (low, medium, and high).

When working with CBD oil, read the total MG of CBD on the label. Dropper bottles typically administer 1ml of oil.

Let's say your bottle of oil has 1000MG of CBD in a standard 1oz (30ml) bottle. That means every dropper full of CBD contains about 33.3MG of CBD.

  • Low doses: calculate 1MG of CBD per 10lbs of your weight.
  • Moderate doses: 3-4MG CBD/ 10 lbs of your weight
  • High doses: 6-8MG CBD/ 10lbs of your weight

How Long Does CBD Stay In Your System?

CBD is active in your system for 6 hours, but can remain in your system for days. The elimination half-life of edible CBD is roughly 1- 2 days [6].

The half-life of a drug is the measure of how long it takes for an active compound in the body to be reduced by half of the starting dose. That means if you took 40MG of CBD, the next day you'll have 20MG, and you'd have about 10MG of CBD the following day.

The active effects of CBD may have worn off after 6, but CBD is stored in fat cells and can remain in your body for up to a week unless you're a frequent user. In which case, it can linger for several weeks, but it's no longer contributing to effects on your endocannabinoid system.

What Can You Expect When Taking CBD Oil For The First Time?

If you're taking CBD oil for the first time, we must reiterate that the effects and potency of CBD will differ from one person to the next.

Contrary to a lot of what the marketing out there says about their CBD product — there is no cure-all for any ailment.

It's important to keep a realistic expectation from your supplements in mind. CBD is an excellent compound that supports your overall well-being. Still, it likely won't be the solution to all your problems.

You may start to experience the full benefits of CBD after regular use, so try to take your doses around the same time every day. If you don't feel anything from your initial dose, you can wait an hour before taking more, or you can increase your initial dose the following day until you start to feel your desired effects.

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The Takeaway: How Long Does CBD Tincture Take To Work?

This was all to tell you in as much detail (backed by science) that the effects and how long it takes for CBD to work depend on the individual and the ingestion methodGenetics and lifestyle are also huge factors in your sensitivity to the active cannabis compounds.

The factors that you do have control over are your ingestion methods and the strength of doses.

Smoking CBD will give you the fastest onset of effects while edible CBD tends to have the lowest bioavailability and can take over an hour to feel — but it can last a lot longer.

CBD is highly personalized and does take a bit of experimentation to get right. If you're looking for more resources on CBD and its benefits, be sure to check out more articles like this on our blog.


How Long Does It Take For CBD Oil To Take Effect?

CBD oils are the most prevalent type of CBD on the market. These are concentrated CBD extracts combined with a CBD carrier oil, such as olive oil, hemp seed oil, or coconut oil, to increase cannabinoid absorption into the gut (CBD is fat-soluble), and the carrier oil facilitates CBD dosing. When you take CBD oil sublingually, you can expect to feel the effects in half the time (15–30 minutes).

What Factors Affect the Time It Takes CBD To Work?

CBD does not have the same effect on everyone. There are various factors at play that can influence your CBD experience. The length of time it takes for CBD to work depends on the individual and the manner of consumption. Your susceptibility to active cannabis chemicals is also influenced by genetics and lifestyle. Your ingestion methods and dose strength are the only elements over which you have control.

How Long Does CBD Stay In Your System?

CBD is active in your system for 6 hours but can stay there for days. The elimination half-life of edible CBD is around one to two days. The active effects of CBD may have worn off after six hours, but CBD is retained in fat cells and can stay in your body for up to a week unless you're a heavy user. In that instance, it may stay for several weeks, but it is no longer contributing to endocannabinoid system effects.

What Is CBD And Does It Actually Do Anything?

Cannabidiol (CBD) is abundant in hemp strains and has a distinct interaction with the ECS. While it is not particularly effective at binding to cannabinoid receptors, it does block the release of enzymes that degrade cannabinoids produced internally (endocannabinoids). Increased cannabis levels in the system increase the feedback loop that the ECS regulates to keep the system in balance. Other cannabinoids, such as CBG and THC, work by interacting directly with endocannabinoid receptors.


  1. Burstein, S. (2015). Cannabidiol (CBD) and its analogs: a review of their effects on inflammation. Bioorganic & medicinal chemistry, 23(7), 1377-1385.
  2. Bergamaschi, M. M., Queiroz, R. H. C., Chagas, M. H. N., De Oliveira, D. C. G., De Martinis, B. S., Kapczinski, F., ... & Crippa, J. A. S. (2011). Cannabidiol reduces the anxiety induced by simulated public speaking in treatment-naive social phobia patients. Neuropsychopharmacology, 36(6), 1219-1226.
  3. Leung, L. (2011). Cannabis and its derivatives: review of medical use. The Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine, 24(4), 452-462.
  4. Schurman, L. D., & Lichtman, A. H. (2017). Endocannabinoids: a promising impact for traumatic brain injury. Frontiers in pharmacology, 8, 69.
  5. Vemuri, V. K., Janero, D. R., & Makriyannis, A. (2008). Pharmacotherapeutic targeting of the endocannabinoid signaling system: drugs for obesity and the metabolic syndrome. Physiology & behavior, 93(4-5), 671-686.
  6. Millar, S. A., Stone, N. L., Yates, A. S., & O'Sullivan, S. E. (2018). A systematic review on the pharmacokinetics of cannabidiol in humans. Frontiers in pharmacology, 9, 1365.
  7. Jiang, R., Yamaori, S., Takeda, S., Yamamoto, I., & Watanabe, K. (2011). Identification of cytochrome P450 enzymes responsible for metabolism of cannabidiol by human liver microsomes. Life sciences, 89(5-6), 165-170.
  8. Millar, S. A., Stone, N. L., Yates, A. S., & O'Sullivan, S. E. (2018). A systematic review on the pharmacokinetics of cannabidiol in humans. Frontiers in pharmacology, 9, 1365.


The statements made regarding these products have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. All information presented here is not meant as a substitute for or alternative to information from health care practitioners. Please consult your health care professional about potential interactions or other possible complications before using any product.

Katrina Lubiano

BA in English Katrina has always had a passion for health sciences and literature. She works as a content writer, editor, and strategist in the health and wellness space, primarily focusing on cannabis education. She’s written well over 400,000 words on the subject—including demystifying laws a...

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