The Effects Of CBD

How Long Does It Take for CBD to Work– and How Long Does It Stay in Your System?

CBD is everywhere- in lotions, chocolate, seltzers, chapstick, bath bombs, and even coffee. People are eating, drinking, vaping, applying, and using CBD all the time – but how long does it actually take to work, and how long will it work for?

Whether you’re a daily doser or a CBD debutant, you might have found yourself asking this very question. 

Because CBD use, application, consumption, and product type are so versatile, a few things factor into cannabidiol onset, effectiveness, and duration.

Depending on the amount, preferred product, method of consumption, and your body, it can take anywhere from minutes or days for CBD to take effect.

Consumption of CBD

Method of consumption is the most significant determining variable in how long it will take for you to feel the effects of CBD. 

The Endocannabinoid System

It is not uncommon to refer to the complex interior of the human body simply as our system, especially when talking about drugs, medications, or food. But what exactly is our system? And how does it relate to the use of CBD?

The system that allows CBD to take effect in your body is a biological system called the Endocannabinoid System (ECS). The ECS assists with communication and connection between organs and other systems and regulates many bodily functions and effects, including appetite, sleep, immunity, anxiety, headaches, and inflammation – many of the symptoms and areas of ailment for which CBD is used. 

This is important because CBD enters our endocannabinoid system and takes effect after we apply, drink, eat, or inhale it. Each of the consumption methods differs in how CBD enters your body and how long it takes for the CBD to enter the ECS and begin working.

The Ingestion Question When it Comes to CBD

Using CBD in its original, basic form of oils or tinctures is one of the most common ways to ingest it. However, there are a few ways to do this.

Sublingual Absorption 

The first requires applying a few drops under your tongue, leaving it there for 30 seconds, and then swallowing. This is called sublingual ingestion and allows for a semi-absorption of the CBD through the cells and capillaries under the tongue and in the mouth. When this happens, some of the CBD is immediately diverted to the bloodstream, while the rest is sent through the lengthier digestive tract. 

Because there are two paths to travel at different rates of speed, sublingual ingestion causes the user to experience both a primary effect, which ranges anywhere from immediate to 30-minutes and a secondary wave of impact once the rest has been adequately digested.   


The second form of digestion is similar, but instead of holding it under the tongue, the user immediately swallows the CBD. Immediate swallowing sends the CBD through the digestive system to the liver and from the liver to the bloodstream.

This form of consumption weakens the effects of CBD as it requires more steps and a further breakdown of the materials before reaching the bloodstream. This also means that it takes longer for a user to feel the effects.  

CBD ETA: Sublingual absorption can be felt in seconds, while general ingestion may take up to two hours, but both options are to taste.

CBD Express – the Vape Train

The fastest and most intense method of CBD consumption is through inhalation. CBD can be inhaled via vape pen or when smoking CBD-potent hemp or high-CBD marijuana. Inhaling substances sends them right to your lungs and straight into your bloodstream, and the effects are felt almost immediately. 

Different states vary in their legal regulation of CBD vape devices and CBD hemp flower strains due to the varying opinions on how smoking and vaping affect health. So, be sure to read up on your state’s CBD laws and consider health guidelines before consumption. 

CBD ETA: CBD concentration is high, and the timeframe is low, creating a fast and potent use that can be felt right away. 

Topical Paradise

Topical CBD products such as lotions, creams, relief rubs, salves, or balms are absorbed through your skin by ECS receptors and afford a more localized, targeted approach to CBD use and application.

This process occurs slowly, so you may not feel effects for over an hour.

For consumers looking for stronger, more consistent, topicals transdermal patches may be available. Transdermal patches offer a more substantial CBD effect dosed out over hours. 

CBD ETA: Topical CBD takes effect in an hour to an hour and a half. Transdermal patches can take effect in an hour and last for several more. 

Every Body Is Different, and so It Is With the Effects of CBD

Everybody differs in how long it takes them to digest food, feel full, or start to feel hungry again. Because of this, your body weight, metabolism, and overall physicality play a part in CBD effectiveness and duration. 

The more ground CBD has to cover, the further it has to travel and the longer it takes to experience its effects. CBD is fat-soluble, which means that it is stored in the liver and fatty tissues. 

The more fat cells a person has, the longer CBD will remain in their body. Conversely, the fewer fat cells a person has, the shorter the time CBD will stay in their system, but the faster it will take effect. 

Your metabolism functions similarly and determines how fast CBD cycles through your system and how long it takes your body to break it down and distribute it. Everyone has a different rate of metabolism, so everyone experiences the burning of calories, breaking down of compounds, and dispersing and discarding materials over different lengths of time. 

If you have a high metabolism rate, the effects will occur faster- but they will also dissipate more quickly. Those with a slower metabolism may experience a delayed onset, but the effects will last longer. 

The Expected Effect -Dosage and Frequency

Just as your body can become accustomed to how much coffee you drink, how much marijuana you smoke, or how much alcohol you have, it can adjust to the amount of CBD you use and how often you use it. These factors affect the time it takes to feel the effects of CBD and how long that effect will remain.  

For example, if you use a high dose of CBD to target a specific ailment, such as anxiety or restlessness, you may feel the effects within 15 to 30 minutes. But if you are using a low dose of CBD for general health purposes or a chronic condition, the effects may not occur for a few days. 

Using CBD combinations, such as balm for a sore muscle and oil as a sleep aid, can also cause a change in effects as the CBD enters your body in different forms and at other times. Daily dosage or intermittent use will cause your body to react differently.  

If you are using CBD for homeopathic or alternative medicinal reasons, you should choose consumption methods and amounts that are most comfortable and safest for you. It is always a good idea to consult your doctor if you have questions or concerns. 

What Kind of CBD Is Right for Me?

Because everybody is different and product type, dose, and use vary, it is good to start small, listen to your body, and adjust as needed. Not feeling the effects of CBD doesn’t mean it isn’t working; it just means that a particular amount of product isn’t right for you. 

Trying out new products, combining products, using different amounts of CBD, and switching up how often you use it can help you find your desired effect. The next time you’re shopping online for your first or favorite CBD merch, add an extra item to the cart because you deserve the full effect. 


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Jack Studebaker

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