How Long Does it Take to “Feel” The Effects of CBD?

Effects of CBD


If you haven’t noticed yet, the many varieties of how you can take CBD are obvious: vapes, oils, topical creams, skincare products, and even edibles like chocolate are available to get in a dose of this molecule.

However, one of the big questions asked about CBD is how long it takes to “feel” the effects of CBD. The reason this question remains somewhat unclear, especially for CBD newbies, is because it depends on quite a few factors. You may have even experienced trying a CBD oil with a friend and taken the same dosage, only to watch them visibly relax while you don’t feel a thing! 

We’re here to tell you don’t worry; this is common. Your own digestive process can determine how long CBD takes to kick in, as well as other factors we dive into below.

First Things First: Will CBD Make You Feel “High”?

This is one of the other common questions asked about CBD, mostly due to confusion as to whether CBD is actually considered marijuana or not. 

While CBD does come from a species of Cannabis plant, it will not get you high. This is because a separate molecule, THC, or Tetrahydrocannabinol, is the cannabinoid responsible for producing the classic “high” we get from marijuana. 

How this works is THC prefers to attach to one of the cannabinoid receptors found in our bodies (that’s right, we have built-in receptors for these molecules) called CB1, which deals with coordination, movement, emotions, mood, thinking, appetite, and memories. Because THC attaches to this receptor, it can influence these areas, causing a psychoactive effect.

CBD doesn’t attach to these receptors and instead prefers to regulate and direct our endocannabinoid system, which produces its own cannabinoids. CBD, in essence, helps improve the efficiency of our own system instead of directly altering the function of a receptor.

Some formulations of hemp oil or CBD oil contain THC, which is why it’s important to shop for CBD isolates or broad-spectrum CBD oil if you’re looking to avoid any type of high. If you see any type of labeling referring to “full-spectrum” CBD (meaning it can contain all compounds found in the hemp plant), it may contain traces of THC, as the two compounds are naturally present together in cannabis.

How Long Does It Take To Feel The Effects of CBD?

Long answer short: it depends. 

The time it takes for CBD to kick in largely depends not only on your own metabolic rate, body composition, and weight but also how you’re consuming it. For instance, the time it takes for a capsule of CBD to move through digestion will be different than how quickly you absorb a topical CBD cream.

Below is the general breakdown of how long it takes on average for the effects of different forms of CBD to work their magic.

  • Sublinguals

Start of effect: 15-20 minutes

Duration: 4-6 hours

Sublingual CBD lozenges or oils placed under your tongue are able to be absorbed into your bloodstream through the thin skin under your tongue pretty rapidly. Because this method bypasses digestion, it’s one of the quicker ways to get CBD into your system.

  • Orally (capsules and edibles)

Start of effect: Roughly 1 hour

Duration: Roughly 6 hours

When you take a CBD capsule or eat an edible (say, CBD chocolate or gummies) the CBD has to wait to be absorbed into your bloodstream until it goes through the digestion process. Depending upon how it is eaten, it may take less or more time for the effect to kick in. If you’re having these with a meal, it may take even longer to be digestion, since your body has to work to digest other ingredients as well.

The upside to this method is that the effects also last much longer than most other methods.

  • Inhalation

Start of effect: Roughly 5 minutes

Duration: 2-4 hours

Inhaling CBD through a vape is one of the fastest ways to get CBD into your system. This is because it travels straight to the lungs, where it is absorbed rapidly through the readily-available and exposed capillaries in your lungs. This method also lasts a decent amount of time and maybe a great choice as a middle ground between edibles and sublinguals.

  • Topicals

Start of effect: Roughly 1 hour

Duration: 4-6 hours

Topicals of CBD are usually lotions or salves you can apply to localized areas on your body to relieve pain (think sore joints or muscles). This method takes a little longer due to have to absorb through the layer of your skin into your bloodstream but lasts a decent amount of time as well.

Is It Safe To Increase Your Dosage?

Perhaps you’ve been trying different types of CBD and they don’t seem to be having enough of, say, a pain-relieving effect. There is technically no standard dosage of CBD, so you may want to try upping yours gradually before throwing in the towel. No adverse side effects have been reported in fairly high doses of 1,200 mg of CBD daily for several months, so as long as you moderately increase in increments, you should have nothing to worry about. [*]

Choosing the Right Product

Another thing to keep in mind aside from the time it takes to feel the effect of a certain CBD product, is also what level of quality it is. Here are some keys to look for before you purchase any CBD product;

  • Read the labels to confirm there are no added ingredients, while also checking for any THC. Some CBD oils will contain microdoses of THC, which could cause the classic “high,” so double check you’re getting pure CBD before purchasing. 
  • Decide on an isolate, broad-spectrum or full-spectrum oil. CBD isolate is pure CBD with no other ingredients, while spectrum oils contain CBD along with other compounds from the hemp plant, such as THC and various antioxidants. Learn more about the difference here.
  • Look for products that are grown in the U.S. and have been tested for contaminants. Cannabis plants easily absorb pesticides, toxins, and heavy metals, so you definitely want to make sure your oil has been screened and/or grown in a clean environment.

What About Pets?

Yes, your pooch can also benefit from the pain-relieving effects of CBD. One study found that multiple dog breeds with osteoarthritis showed a decrease in pain scores similar to NSAIDs, as well as an increase in activity, in as little as 4 weeks. [*]

Hemp oils for dogs are now available, as well as things like CBD dogs treats. They can also consume oil just like we do. Dosing will vary based on your breed and weight, so be sure to follow the instructions on your brand. 

Your personal body type and metabolic rate, as well as the various methods of taking CBD,  play a huge role in how long it takes to feel the effects of CBD. Keep these timeframes in mind during your next purchase, so you can find the product that works best for your needs.