How Long Does it Take for CBD Oil to Work

How Long Does it Take for CBD oil to Work

How long does it take for CBD oil to work after you take it?

Sure, seems like a simple question, we know. But the answer, as everything with CBD tends to be, is a bit more complicated.

Does that mean it’s too complicated to answer? Of course not.

But first…

How Does CBD Work?

Maybe you’ve heard of the endocannabinoid system (ES)? This is a complex system found throughout your body. It’s made up of different cannabinoid receptors, endocannabinoids, and the enzymes that break them down.

The job of the ES is to keep your body regulated and maintain balance, or homeostasis. That’s pretty darn important.

How does this happen? Well, it’s all about communication.

CBD interacts with the body by communicating with the cannabinoid receptors in the ES, specifically the CB1 and CB2 receptors. CBD is an inverse agonist to those cannabinoid receptors. That means it binds to the same receptors as an agonist but causes an opposite response. In the case of cannabinoids, THC is an agonist, meaning it binds to the receptors and gives you that ‘high” feeling, which you don’t get with CBD.

So, CBD oil elicits a response in the body, but how long does it take for that to happen?

Related: CBD isn’t the only way to support your ES. Here are a few other ways you can boost it!

How Long Does it Take for CBD Oil to Work?

The time it takes for CBD to have an effect depends on a few different things.

The most important is the way you use it. And of course, there are many different ways.


This is probably the most popular way to use CBD oil. Whether you drop a few drops directly into your mouth, drink it in a cup of coffee or eat it in an edible, ingestion is arguably the easiest way to use it.

The thing with this method though, especially if you’re looking for fast results, is that swallowing the oil prevents it from entering the bloodstream right away. Instead, it has to pass through your digestive tract first. And, then it has to go through your liver. In the liver, it’s broken down before it actually gets into the bloodstream.

Because of this, you might also get a reduction in the total CBD concentration, so you’re not actually getting the full results.

So, how long does it take for CBD oil to work when you ingest it? Because of the lengthy process, it could take up to 2 hours (or sometimes even longer) before it kicks in. If that’s cool, and you’re looking for slow-motion effects (which is popular for some people), choose this route of administration.


This is when you drop your dose under your tongue and hold it there for several seconds. This way, the CBD gets absorbed by the mucous membranes in your mouth, bypassing the whole digestion process and going straight into your bloodstream.

This is our favorite method, particularly because you can start to feel the effects in as little as 20 minutes. And although with vaping (as you’ll see later) the results may be even more immediate, the effects tend to be longer lasting.

How Long Does it Take for CBD oil to Work


Your skin is your body’s biggest organ. It’s also covered in cannabinoid receptors, so it makes sense that CBD topicals are becoming so popular.

When you use a CBD salve, it gets absorbed through the surface of the skin to interact with localized cannabinoid receptors. That said, the skin can have a lower cannabinoid absorption rate, so use a fair amount and massage it in well.

With topical CBD products, you should begin to feel the effects within an hour to an hour and a half.


Despite the bad press vaping has received over the last little while, vaping CBD remains a very popular method for use. That’s partly because of its ease of use, and partly because this is the quickest way to feel the effects.

Typically when vaping CBD, you’ll notice a change in as little as 5 minutes. That’s because, with inhalation, the CBD is sent directly to the lungs, rapidly absorbed into the bloodstream, and sent throughout the rest of the body. This doesn’t take very long. The only downside is that typically the results don’t last as long when compared to other methods of use.

If you choose this route, just be sure to do your research first and buy legal lab-tested products from reputable retailers. Although there have been many reports of vaping related-illnesses, to date there haven’t been any of a tainted CBD vape cartridge sourced from the legal market (they’ve all been from sketchy products made with vitamin E, which you don’t want!).

Related: CBD oil works best as part of team. Here’s what you need to know about the Entourage Effect!

No One-Size-Fits-All Answer

Now, and this is essential, these are just approximate time frames. The time it takes for CBD oil to work not only depends on how you use it. It also depends on your dose, the strength of your CBD, and the quality.

If you’re not using the appropriate dose, the quality is poor, or your oil isn’t strong enough, these time frames may be way off. You may not even notice results at all. Trial and error is a really good thing to keep in mind when you start using CBD.

Also, remember everyone is different. Some people notice the benefits right away, after as little as one dose. Others need to take it for a few days (even a few weeks) to realize the full potential.

It’s important to be patient. A lot of people give up too soon, or don’t do enough experimenting to figure out what dose is appropriate. Keep at it. You’ll be glad you did!