How Long Does It Take CBD to Work? [The ANSWER!]

CBD affects everyone differently so it may take more CBD to impact you than your neighbor, for example. Then there is the matter of how you consume it. The fastest method is intravenously, but since using a needle every day is not practical, the next quickest way is inhalation via a vaporizer.

The full answer is a lot longer, which is why we have created this article! CBD is arguably the world’s most popular health supplement at the minute.

CBD is arguably the world’s most popular health supplement at the minute.

CBD is an exciting compound because it has an increasing body of scientific evidence to back up claims. It has been linked with an improvement in mood, alleviation of pain, and reductions in the seizures associated with epilepsy.

However, you should not assume that a few milligrams of CBD will completely eliminate pain in a matter of minutes. There are several factors that influence the efficacy of the non-intoxicating cannabinoid and industrial hemp compound, and we analyze them below.

How Does CBD Work?

CBD must be absorbed into the bloodstream before it is distributed through our endocannabinoid system (ECS).  It is here that the cannabinoids in the compound interact with the body’s receptors. This interaction is the driving force behind many of CBD’s perceived benefits.

This method of activation means that how CBD is absorbed is VERY important. The best ways to consume CBD involve bypassing the digestive system and metabolism in the liver to improve bioavailability. Effective forms of CBD consumption not only get to the bloodstream faster, but they also lose a lower percentage of CBD along the way.

Factors Which Impact CBD Absorption

CBD Quality

Not all CBD products are created equally. We see sellers championing the fact their cannabidiol comes from organic hemp, which is the bare minimum one would expect! Low-grade cannabidiol not only contains a lower level of CBD but also may include ingredients that reduce bioavailability.

The biggest issue to consider when judging the absorption time for CBD is the size of the particle in which it’s delivered. High-quality CBD sellers invest in manufacturing processes such as microencapsulation, which breaks CBD down into tiny particles. The result is faster absorption and higher bioavailability.

The Individual

Human beings are remarkable creatures in many ways, each one of us is completely unique. This uniqueness comes into play when using CBD. If two individuals take the same CBD type, dose, and quality at the same time, it may have a different impact on each person.

Also, if these two people tried the same experiment three months later, not only would the results differ between the two people again, they would also differ from their own past results!

The rate of your body’s metabolism, known as the metabolic rate, and involves breaking down and synthesizing compounds to help the body function properly. Your body’s composition also plays a role. Individuals with certain medical conditions may not process substances as well as someone without them.

Additionally, the enzymes in your stomach aren’t activated as quickly when you are under stress. When it comes to CBD absorption, size matters. A heavier individual may need more CBD to have the same effect as a lighter person would get from a lower dose.

Medical Condition

As we mentioned above, you may need more CBD to combat a severe or chronic condition than a mild one.

It also depends on how ‘severe’ a specific condition is. Doses can vary depending on if you suffer from migraines vs. headaches, for example. However, it is always best to go low and start slow. Please contact your physician or a cannabis knowledgeable physician before using cannabis for any condition.

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Method of CBD Consumption

Now that the background information is out of the way, we can move forward and answer the title question. The length of time it takes for CBD to work depends mostly on how you consume it. The cannabinoid only works when your body absorbs it.

As a result, the CBD must make its way from the point of entry into the bloodstream where it can interact with cannabinoid and non-cannabinoid receptors.

The method of consumption dictates the speed and level of absorption into your bloodstream. In general, the faster it gets to the bloodstream, the higher the bioavailability level.


This involves injecting CBD directly into the veins. It is not a desirable method because not many people want to stab themselves with a needle every day. Sadly, it is unavoidable for patients with certain conditions. When you inject CBD, its bioavailability rate is 100%, and it works almost immediately.


This method involves inhaling CBD vapor directly into the lungs. The market is flooded with vaporizers that can heat up CBD oil in seconds. Once you inhale the vapor, CBD and other cannabinoids reach your bloodstream via the alveoli in the lungs.

Overall, the vaporized CBD is absorbed into your bloodstream within a minute or so; although it could be a few minutes before you experience the full effects. As well as being the fastest non-intravenous method, inhalation also offers the highest level of bioavailability.

2009 study by Huestis, published in Chemistry & Biodiversity, found that vaping cannabinoids has a bioavailability rate of 56%. Other data places it between 34% and 46%.


If you don’t want to vape your CBD for some reason, sublingual consumption is the next best option for oil. It involves placing drops of CBD beneath the tongue. You are supposed to hold it there for up to 60 seconds for the best absorption.

how long does cbd last

The mucous membranes have a permeable layer covering miniscule blood vessels, allowing the oil to absorb into your bloodstream faster. It can work in 5 minutes, although most users report experiencing effects in 15-25 minutes.

Several factors influence the absorption rate, which is why a 2012 study by Schoedel and Harrison, published in Current Pharmaceutical Design, placed the bioavailability rate anywhere between 12% and 35%.


As the name suggests, this involves consuming CBD through the mouth in the form of a capsule, edibles, or a CBD beverage. This method has a longer path to the bloodstream. It involves the salivary glands and the full stomach digestive process, which involves a journey through the liver, pancreas, and stomach.

It is relatively slow and can take up to 30 minutes to take effect. This taxing journey results in the loss of a lot of CBD. Huestis’ aforementioned 2009 study found that the bioavailability rate of orally consumed cannabinoids was between 4% and 20%.


This involves absorption through the skin, and common products include balms, creams, gels, and patches. It is the slowest acting method, and it can take up to 45 minutes to work. On the plus side, it is a good option to tackle localized pain, especially if you happen to experience side effects with other forms.

Final Thoughts on How Long CBD Oil Takes to Work

As you discovered, there is no one answer to how long CBD takes to work. How well CBD works depends on the quality of the product, your body composition, physical size, and physical condition.

How well CBD works depends on the quality of the product, body composition, physical size, and condition.

Next, you have to look at the form of consumption. Aside from taking CBD intravenously, vaping the cannabinoid is the next fastest option, and is also the best in terms of bioavailability.

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