How long does it take CBD to work?
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- How does CBD interact with the body?
- The method of consumption matters
- Dosage matters
- How long does it take CBD to get out of your system?
So, you’ve heard about cannabidiol (CBD) oil possibly working wonders for chronic pain relief, anxiety, and many other conditions. You finally sit down, unscrew the cap from the CBD oil bottle, and prepare to set out on a soothing journey guided by this non-intoxicating cannabinoid. After taking a few drops of CBD oil or applying a CBD-infused topical to the skin, you might start to ponder the following questions:
- How long does it take for CBD to work?
- How long will the effects of CBD oil last?
More clinical research is required to answer these questions with unwavering confidence, but we can still look at how CBD interacts with the body to come up with well-educated estimates.
How does CBD interact with the body?
CBD interacts with the brain and body through a number of different mechanisms, creating a complex relationship that still merits further research before we can fully understand how this cannabinoid might relieve certain ailments.
Upon entering the system CBD interacts with a wide range of proteins in the body and central nervous system. A key part of this interaction takes place within the endocannabinoid system (ECS), specifically the CB1 and CB2 cannabinoid receptors. Unlike THC, which is the intoxicating cannabinoid that binds to these receptors and creates the stoned effect, CBD actually has an inverse effect. When cannabidiol is introduced to the ECS, it inhibits the absorption of anandamide, a natural cannabinoid that regulates pain.
When cannabidiol is introduced to the endocannabinoid system, it inhibits the absorption of anandamide, a natural cannabinoid molecule that regulates pain. Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps
CBD also interacts with other receptor proteins not directly related to the ECS, such as the serotonin receptor 5-HT1A and vanilloid receptor TRPV1. The widely perceived anti-inflammatory and pain relieving properties of CBD could stem from the activation of these additional biological pathways.
The relationship between CBD and the human body is rather complicated, but it’s a bit easier to understand how this cannabinoid moves through the body, as well as how long it takes CBD to leave your system. Even this answer, however, is contingent on several factors, including the method of consumption, the quality of the CBD product, and the person consuming CBD.
The method of consumption matters
Method of consumption plays a critical role in how long it will take to feel the effects of CBD. CBD is available in many different forms, and each has an influence on the onset time, among other factors.
The most common method for CBD consumption involves administering a couple of drops directly into the mouth. It is the quickest and easiest way to reap the potential benefits of this cannabinoid. But quickly swallowing the oil also prevents CBD from immediately entering the bloodstream, sending it instead through the digestive tract and eventually on to the liver, where it is broken down before finally reaching the bloodstream.
Studies show that when CBD compounds are metabolized by the liver, it undergoes what is called the “first pass effect,” where enzymes in the liver reduce CBD concentration before the remainder is finally sent to the bloodstream to be circulated throughout the body.
Administering a couple of drops of CBD oil directly into the mouth is the quickest and easiest way to reap the benefits Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps
For ingestion of CBD edibles, the same principle applies. Let’s say, for example, you’re taking CBD gummies or adding a few drops of CBD oil into your favorite recipe. It will ultimately go through the same lengthy process and reduce the total CBD concentration found in your blood stream. With ingestion, it could be one to two hours before the effects of CBD finally set in.
CBD oil can be consumed sublingually by placing a few drops of CBD under the tongue before swallowing. By using this method, CBD is absorbed by the mucous membranes located in the mouth, bypassing the digestive system and liver. Compared with ingestion, this process allows the consumer to skip over the initial metabolization process, where CBD molecules are broken down in the liver, allowing it to enter the bloodstream more quickly.
Whether you’re smoking a high-CBD strain or taking a draw from a CBD vape pen, inhalation is often seen as an effective method of delivery for CBD because of how quickly it’s absorbed in the body. When CBD is smoked or vaped, cannabinoids are sent directly to the lungs, where they are rapidly absorbed into the bloodstream and put into circulation throughout the body. It reaches peak concentrations within three minutes after consumption, meaning the effects can be felt shortly after use.
Topical CBD is applied directly to the skin and 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 of the skin. When CBD is applied topically, the effect peaks at about 90 minutes. This method of administration is often used for chronic pain in specific areas.
Topical CBD is applied directly to and can be absorbed through the surface of the skin. Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps
The way CBD operates throughout the body – and is inevitably excreted from the body – also depends on several factors that vary from person to person.
The amount of body fat influences the amount of CBD needed to be effective. Someone with a larger body mass will require more CBD in order to feel the effects. Body weight and mass also affect how long CBD remains in the system. Like THC, CBD is stored in fat cells and gradually eliminated from the body through urine and feces. Does CBD have to build up in your system to work effectively? No, but it does get stored in the fat cells and can remain in the body well after the effects of CBD diminish.
The metabolic rate of the individual also has some sway over how long CBD stays in the system. The body’s metabolism determines how long it takes to break down and synthesize compounds, which affects how long it takes the body to process and metabolize the cannabinoid.
The body’s metabolism affects how long it takes to process and metabolize cannabinoids. Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps
Frequency of use
It’s not just the human body that influences how long it takes CBD to work, but also the quality of the CBD product and how often it’s used. Once the CBD oil is acquired, the next step is to find the optimal dosing regimen, including frequency of use. Perhaps you’ve wondered to yourself:
- Should I take CBD oil in the morning or at night?
- What’s the right time of day to take CBD?
The answers will depend largely on the type of product, amount of CBD inside it, and the specific ailment you are targeting. Most reputable manufacturers will provide instructions on how to properly utilize the product, but experimentation may be required to find the optimal dose for you and your specific needs.
Settling on the ideal CBD dosage is an important part of the treatment process, and will also impact how long CBD stays in your system.
Hemp-derived CBD products are not intended to give the user a stoned buzz or intoxicated feeling, so there’s no need to be conservative with the dosage amount. Still, it’s recommended to start with a lower dosage and gradually increase it until the ideal effects are discovered.
How long does it take CBD to get out of your system?
We’ve covered the factors that determine how long it takes for CBD to work, but what about how long it takes to get CBD out of your system? Again, it depends on many of the aforementioned factors that determine the effectiveness of the cannabinoid itself.
A 2007 study states that CBD can be detected up to 72 hours after smoking. Since the effects of CBD may be felt directly after inhalation, this method is appealing for those seeking immediate pain relief. In another study, volunteers were given soft-gelatin capsules of cannabis extract containing 2.5 milligrams of THC and 1.35 milligrams of CBD. The research team found that CBD was only detectable in the blood for up to six hours after ingestion.
CBD can be detected up to 72 hours after smoking. Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps
Some people may be apprehensive to try CBD over concerns that it could cause them to fail a drug test. It’s highly unlikely that CBD would show up on most drug screenings, as most tests specifically look for the presence of THC and THC metabolites. But even hemp-derived CBD can contain trace amounts of THC, so there’s technically a chance, albeit extremely slim, of receiving a false positive test result from taking an unusually large dose (estimates range from 1,000 to 2,000 milligrams per day) of CBD oil.
For those worried about THC showing up in their system, look for broad-spectrum oil or products that contain pure CBD isolate. Broad-spectrum oil, as opposed to full spectrum oil, is refined to exclude the trace amounts of THC that may have been present in the hemp plant. Products with CBD isolate contain no THC or other plant-based cannabinoids. To find high-quality CBD, search for products that come with a certificate of analysis from a third-party testing lab to ensure that the information listed on the product label is accurate. Also, be on the lookout for products that claim to be hemp seed oil or hemp oil, which seldom contains any CBD at all.
How long does it take CBD to work? Copy article link to clipboard. Link copied to clipboard. Contents How does CBD interact with the body? The method of consumption matters
When And How Often Should You Take CBD?
There are a few frequently asked questions by those who are new to cannabidiol (CBD), and even those who have been taking it for a little while already. Allow us to elaborate on when to take CBD, and how much.
What most people are curious about is how much CBD they should be taking, how often they should take it, and whether or not there is an optimal time of day for it. Typically, all these questions can be answered by the statement “whatever works best for you”. But in this article, we’ll go over—in greater detail—why CBD is a substance that’s so beautifully tailored to each individual.
Questions & Answers: Taking CBD
WHEN IS THE BEST TIME OF DAY TO TAKE CBD?
CBD coffee anyone? Unsurprisingly, many people prefer to take their CBD first thing in the morning, along with other supplements/medications and with their coffee and breakfast. But not everyone feels this way, and some would rather take CBD in the evening with dinner or right before bed. For the most part, it boils down to what time is easiest to remember and what time is the most beneficial for each person.
Some people feel energised and alert when they take CBD, so taking it first thing in the morning makes sense. Others prefer to take it a few hours later when their afternoon exhaustion starts to kick in, giving them an extra boost to make it through the day. On the other hand, some people report feeling relaxed and sleepy after taking CBD, so in those cases, it would best be taken in the evening or before bedtime.
There’s really no ideal time of day to take CBD. It all depends on what works best for you. The more you use CBD, the more likely it is you’ll develop a pattern based on how it affects you at various times throughout the day. And of course, the easiest time to remember will likely be another contributing factor.
SHOULD I TAKE CBD WITH FOOD?
Taking CBD with food may help to increase the bioavailability—or absorption—of the cannabinoid. As a fat-soluble molecule, CBD readily binds to lipids. Natural fats are found in many different foods, meaning you’re likely to boost the absorption rate of CBD when you take it with a bite to eat. Some users like to take CBD before or after a hearty meal. Others prefer to compound their CBD absorption with a light snack.
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CBD BEFORE AND AFTER SPORT (PRE AND POST-WORKOUT)
Anecdotal accounts of both professional and amateur athletes taking CBD before and after performing are growing exponentially. This surge in CBD use can be partially attributed to the World Anti-Doping Agency’s landmark decision to remove CBD from its list of prohibited substances in 2018. Due to CBD’s lack of psychotropic or performance-enhancing qualities, the Agency did not feel the need to lump the cannabinoid in with THC-rich, psychotropic cannabis—which is still prohibited. This means that athletes in the NFL, Olympics, UFC, and many other major sports leagues can use CBD before and after training and events.
There is not a lot of comprehensive clinical research on the use of CBD in sport, but scientists and consumers are intrigued nonetheless. Given the role of the endocannabinoid system in mediating physiological functions  related to sleep, energy, coordination, metabolism, and much more, it’s worth exploring if exogenous cannabinoids like CBD can influence this system to benefit athletes. With the nervousness and restlessness experienced by many athletes before sporting events, and the sore muscles, inflammation, and exhaustion that follow, there is a widespread desire for any substance that may help with these issues.
The goal of any exercise regime is to help the body function more efficiently during activity, while also reducing the amount of time it takes to recover afterwards. Does CBD have any potential here? Unfortunately, there are no direct links, but one can look to studies that report on CBD’s potential for anxiety  , sleep, inflammation  , and pain relief for further reading.
HOW OFTEN SHOULD I TAKE CBD?
Just like there is no perfect time of day to take CBD, there is no perfect schedule that works for everyone either. Some prefer to take it daily to perpetuate regular CBD levels in their bodies. Others prefer to take it as needed so it maintains its effectiveness in treating certain conditions. It all depends on your body and what you’re taking it for.
Like many other substances, CBD can build up in the body over time. It’s believed that this can lead to an increase in cannabinoid receptors, which makes the entire endocannabinoid system more receptive and efficient.
How long CBD actually stays in the system varies greatly depending on a number of elements including the specific dose taken, total body weight and amount of body fat, and how often it’s used. When all these components are accounted for, the timeframe ranges from a few days to a couple of weeks.
FACTORS THAT AFFECT TAKING CBD
Many different variables can influence the way CBD affects users. Some of these factors, such as body fat and weight, aren’t possible to immediately modulate. However, other factors, such as potency and dose, are easier to change on the spot. Check out the most important elements of taking CBD below.
Like many substances, there is no “proper dosage” of CBD that will work for everyone. Factors such as weight, metabolism, and genetics can influence how much CBD one person may choose to dose. That said, doses are usually measured in milligrams, and range from around 2.5mg all the way up to a few hundred milligrams per dose in clinical settings. Another factor to consider is the method of delivery. For example, it takes longer for oral CBD and edibles to be absorbed into the bloodstream due to the first-pass effect  , while sublingual administration takes a matter of minutes. CBD topicals, on the other hand, are applied directly to the skin, where the cannabinoid does not reach the bloodstream.
Check out our in-depth guide on accurate CBD dosing regarding all methods of administration.
CBD Dosage Calculator
TYPE OF PRODUCT
As the CBD market continues to reach saturation, customers are spoilt for choice when it comes to product options. Different products not only offer alternative routes of administration, but provide dramatically different results as well.
For example, full-spectrum extracts feature a combination of different phytochemicals found in cannabis, including cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids. All of these molecules work in symphony to provide a balanced and natural effect.
In contrast, products such as CBD crystal isolate offer huge quantities of CBD with minimal terpenes. Although these products don’t offer the same synergistic effects, they allow users access to large doses not obtainable elsewhere.
The quality of CBD oil also determines how CBD affects the user. When buying CBD, you should always consider the steps a company takes to ensure the best quality oil possible. Many companies can’t back up their claims with data, and many products contain higher levels of THC than stated, as well as impurities.
At Royal Queen Seeds, we go above and beyond to guarantee clean and safe CBD oil. We source our oil from naturally grown EU hemp plants that contain less than 0.2% THC and fall within EU regulations. We then use supercritical CO₂ extraction to separate the cannabinoids and terpenes from the plant matter and any potential contaminants. The end result? A high-quality, clean, full-spectrum product with minimal levels of THC.
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If you're interested in taking CBD but have no idea when and how to do it, don't worry, you're not alone. Our guide should be able to answer all your questions.