How Long Does CBD Oil Take to Be Effective? A Guide.

long does CBD last to work

CBD oil has grown in popularity almost overnight, and with good reason.

More consumers are beginning to ignore the negative say and opening themselves to the incredible health benefits of CBD oil.

The pet industry, cosmetics brands like Sephora, and the wellness sector have jumped on the bandwagon as well to take advantage of this market that’s foreseen to be worth over $20 billion by 2024.

There’s also an expanding list of scientific studies that show that this non-psychoactive hemp product has tremendous therapeutic properties.

With that in mind, CBD oil is now touted as a safer and more effective alternative treatment for a wide range of common ailments, including diabetes, heart disease, glaucoma, lupus, asthma, leukemia, obesity, acne, several cancers, and even insomnia.

Even more exciting, further research into CBD use has shown that it can be instrumental in treating or managing numerous neurological disorders that continue to plague Americans.

Although additional research and studies need to be carried out, CBD is a promising therapeutic treatment for anxiety, depression, Huntington’s Disease (HD), Parkinson’s Disease (PD), Alzheimer’s Disease, ALS, bipolar disorders, Multiple Sclerosis, epilepsy, and PTSD.

We’ve already delved into the science, the benefits, and the side effects of CBD oil in this comprehensive guide.  

So, today, we are going to turn our attention to one question that’s often asked: how long does CBD last? How long does CBD oil take to work? How long does it take before its effects wear off?

Let’s get right to it.

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Factors Impacting CBD Absorption

The CBD market is not exactly regulated. In fact, there’s no universally accepted CBD dosage for everyone or recommended daily allowance (RDA) typically tied to conventional meds.

Not all CBD that you ingest will make it into your bloodstream and even less will reach the endocannabinoid system (ECS), where it’s thought to have the most impact.

When you take CBD oil, it will be processed first by the gut, liver and other digestive organs. Here, the oil is broken down into both usable and unusable substances.

Some CBD and non-usable components will go to waste right from this stage because they cannot be absorbed through the lining of the intestines.

The amount of CBD that is eventually absorbed into the bloodstream and therefore available to be used by the ECS is known as bioavailable CBD.

As such, CBD bioavailability is defined as the rate at which the compound is absorbed into the blood. It also refers to the measure or degree of CBD that is available in a product, which is ready to be absorbed

Any excess CBD that cannot be used by the endocannabinoid system is usually deposited into the fat cells where it’s stored. If a sufficient amount of CBD is stored in fat, it’ll be released little by little for use by the ECS, delivering its therapeutic effects for days.

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Naturally, there are several different factors that affect bioavailability and therefore the absorption of CBD into the bloodstream. When it comes to answering the question of how long does CBD last, you need to consider the following factors:

Method of Consumption: The method with which CBD is administered into the body can have a huge impact on the bioavailability of CBD. In theory, intravenous (famously called IV) administration is a direct way to get the most CBD absorbed into the bloodstream. But that isn’t always the most comfortable or the most preferred option.

The next popular method is oral administration. This is ideal for CBD forms like powder, capsules, edibles, tinctures and coil — anything you can swallow.

Through this method, CBD will take the longest period to reach the ECS, but it’ll have the longest active time. 

Taking CBD orally usually take anywhere between 1 hour and 6 hours for its levels in the bloodstream to peak. In saying that, this makes oral consumption the perfect method for individuals looking for long-term therapeutic effects or supplementation.

Other common methods with which CBD can be consumed include smoking, vaporized consumption (e.g., vaping), topical application, sublingual consumption, anal & vaginal administration, and more.

Weight of the User: No two people respond in the same way to CBD consumption. That’s because weight as a factor influences your metabolism, circulation, and health.

People who weigh more tend to have more fat cells, which means they can absorb and store more CBD. So, by definition, heavier people with more fat will get prolonged effects of CBD. A person who weighs 150-240 pounds should take a dose of 15-20mg twice daily to get the most effects.

Dosage and Potency: It’s a no-brainer that a higher dosage of CBD will increase the amount that will eventually be absorbed into the body. The same goes for the concentration, potency or purity of the CBD product. The higher the CBD content, the more bioavailable it is.

Quality: Not all CBD oil products are created equal. Some will have impurities, additives, and carrier oils like hemp seed oil, coconut oil, terpenes, etc. Anything that is included in the product will in one or more ways affect how CBD will be absorbed, processed and metabolized by the body.

How much CBD Should I Take?

How long does CBD last to work

Again, there’s no universally accepted or daily recommended dosage for CBD oil.

However, it is advised that you start by consuming around 25mg of CBD two times every day (preferably once in the morning and the other dose in the evening). This way, you can add your dosage in increments of 25mg every three to four weeks until you get the most results from CBD.

As a rule of thumb, it is crucial that you do NOT self-medicate but consult with your physician or doctor to ascertain proper dosage for your health status and needs.

How Fast does CBD Oil Work?

How does CBD last to work? The time between consumption and when you feel the first effects of CBD varies depending on a number of factors, including but not limited to:

  • CBD content, quality, and potency
  • How you to take CBD (method of consumption)
  • The dose of CBD you consume
  • The effects you are trying to achieve or symptoms you intend to relieve
  • Your weight, and other factors like if you’re taking medication, whether you’ve eaten, etc.
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Although all of the above factors play a role in how quickly the CBD will work in your body, the most dominant factor is the consumption method.

Generally, you should start experiencing the therapeutic effects of CBD within 1-6 hours, but it can take longer or shorter time depending on how you take it.

For instance, when you inhale vaporized CBD oil (say through vaping), the effects can kick in as soon as 5-10 minutes after inhalation. Oral intake, on the other hand, takes up to 6 hours before you experience the effects.

How Long Does CBD Stay in Your System?

As we’ve mentioned earlier, unused or excess CBD is usually stored in the fat cells because it isn’t soluble in water (read: blood). The reserve then will be released gradually to the bloodstream, where it’ll be taken primarily to the endocannabinoid system and other parts of the body.

How does CBD last to work might depend on absorption, but how long it will stay in your system will depend on how much fat you have. The more fat cells you have, the more CBD they’ll store, and the longer it will stay in your system.

Of course, other factors like the method of consumption, CBD potency, presence of other medications, and dose will impact bioavailability and therefore how long the compound will stay active in your body.

If you take a high oral dose of CBD, which is considered between 150mg and 1500mg per day, you can expect the substance to be present in your system and the effects to last longer than if you took a lower dose.

Similarly, when you opt for methods that deliver higher levels of bioavailable CBD, such as inhaling vaporized CBD, the substance will likely stay longer in your body.

In one study, scientists found the half-life (the time it takes 50% of the amount of CBD that reached the bloodstream to be cleared from the body) to be between 2 and 5 days.

With that being said, it is generally regarded that it takes around 1 week for CBD to be metabolized completely in your body. That’s the rule of thumb, but it can take longer especially in people with more fat.

All in all, that means that if you are tested for CBD after one week or later, the drug test will likely return a negative result.

It is, however, crucial to remember that trace amounts of CBD may remain even longer, and might not reflect on drug tests.

How Long Does a Bottle of CBD Last?

Most so-called CBD virgins often wonder …

How long does CBD last before the bottle is empty?

There’s no exact answer. It typically depends on the daily dose you intend to take, and the concentration/strength of the CBD product you have purchased. Remember, most CBD oil products are sold in standard 1 fluid ounce (30ml) bottles.

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So, if you’re taking a 15mg dose of CBD each day (which is the minimum amount found in CBD oil tinctures), then the smaller bottle (200mg tincture) will last about 13 days, while the bigger bottle (500mg tincture) will last for no more than 34 days.

Of course, how accurate you measure the dosage will determine how long the CBD bottle will last. The general formula is as follows:

Number of days that the bottle will last = total amount of CBD in the bottle in mg / daily dose in mg

Common Methods of CBD Consumption

(1) CBD Tinctures

How long does CBD last to work

Tinctures are consumed orally (swallowed), sublingually (placed under the tongue) or buccally (put against the cheeks).

The sublingual glands under the tongue whizz CBD from the tincture and absorbs it directly into the bloodstream without going through the liver. Some of the CBD in the tinctures will go down the gut and will be absorbed through the walls of the stomach, intestines and even the rectum.

Oral consumption of CBD tinctures will lead to the bioavailability of rate of 4%-20%, according to a 2009 study. That’s pretty low. To give you a rough idea, if you consume 100mg of CBD tincture orally, a maximum of only 20mg will get into your bloodstream. Sublingual consumption of tinctures offers a higher bioavailability rate that ranges from 12% to 35%, which is reasonably higher than the oral method.

One dropper of tincture is usually a serving, which should be your dosage (typically 25mg-100mg). It will take 30 minutes to 5 hours to be absorbed, and it’ll last no more than 1 week in your system.

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(2) CBD Gummies

How long does CBD last to work

Traditional flavored gummy bears can be laced with CBD. These chewables sit in the mount for a significant amount of time, so sublingual and buccal glands are responsible for the biggest portion of the absorption. It is the preferred method of consumption for persons who love the pleasant taste and ease.

Like capsules, gummies produce effects that last longer than other methods of consumption. It is recommended that you take between 10mg and 25mg gummy after every 6 or 12 hours. However, you can up the dosage if you want more effects and results.

Like all orally consumed CBD products, CBD gummies will take longer to be absorbed. The rule of thumb is that the effects of CBD gummies will last longer than 8 hours.

The time of effect, however, varies from one case to another depending on factors like: (1) when you last ate (how full you are), (2) your metabolism (slower it’s the longer the effects of CBD), and (3) the strength of the gummies.

(3) CBD Edibles

How long does CBD last to work

CBD-infused food items, CBD edibles can be baked stuff like cookies, donuts, cakes, chocolates, brownies and so forth. Some people can prepare their own edibles using CBD extracts, such as pasta, butter, jam, etc. According to a 1986 study, most edibles can be expected to have CBD bioavailability of around 6 percent.

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They are an ideal method of consumption for people who desire a fun twist on consuming CBD. CBD edibles offer the greatest discretion and provide the longest-lasting results compared to other methods like tinctures.

While opportunities for edibles are endless, they usually take between 2 and 4 hours to be absorbed. The good news is that the effects of CBD edibles will last longer. It can last up to 5 days for some people.

Because you want to take the recommended daily dose of 25mg, it is important that you read the label of the edible. If a single edible has 5mg of CBD, you can take 5 or more to get the desired results.

(4) CBD Vaping

How long does CBD last to work

Vaping started out as a smokeless alternative to cigarette smoking and is now all the rage. It involves inhaling vaporized CBD directly into the lungs through an e-cig, vaporizer device or vape pen.

When the CBD vapor reaches the lung air sacs, it is absorbed directly into the bloodstream, delivering high bioavailability of between 34% and 46%, according to a 2010 study. It can go as high as 56%, as per another study conducted in 2009.

Vaping is one of the fastest and the most efficient ways to get CBD into your system. You can expect the effects to kick in instantaneously (in as little as 5-10 seconds), or within 5-10 minutes. As you might expect with fast absorption, CBD vaping is only effective for a short period of time. You can expect the effect to wear off in 2-3 hours.

When it comes to the daily recommended dosage, you can vape micro-doses of CBD throughout the day. It is recommended that you begin vaping a 250mg CBD vape oil, 3 inhales in between 30 minutes. You can vape CBD oil on its own or blend with your conventional vape liquid.

(5) CBD Topicals

How long does CBD last to work

CBD topicals are commonly CBD-infused lotions, salves, creams, and balms. They are applied directly onto the skin, allowing CBD to sleep or diffuse across your skin before it gets to targets like inflammatory cells, spasmic muscles, and painful nerve centers.

A significantly small amount of CBD from topicals is absorbed into the bloodstream because of the barrier. The period of time it takes for CBD topicals to be absorbed depends on the CBD content in the cream or lotion. They target CB2 receptors in the skin cells, so they can activate the endocannabinoid system

As far as dosage is concerned, there’s no universally recommended amount to be applied on your skin. It depends on the symptoms that you are trying to attack with the CBD topic. For instance, if you are attempting to get rid of headaches, you might want to use a lower dose than when you want to ease muscle spasms.

While absorption of through this method of consumption can take a while, the effects usually last longer. You can expect the therapeutic effects of the cream, lotion or salve to last longer than 5 hours.

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(6) CBD Drinks and Alcohol

How long does CBD last to work

How long does CBD last when mixed drinks or alcohol. The tinctures of extracts are blended well into a cocktail. There’s a good advantage of doing this. CBD can not only deliver therapeutic effects, but also help reduce alcohol levels in your blood.

In one interesting study, researchers found that giving mice alcoholic drinks infused with CBD can help protect their livers against alcohol-induced damage. CBD mixed with drinks or alcohol can take a few hours before they are absorbed, and its effects can last up to 24 hours, or even longer.

There is no recommended dosage for CBD alcohol, but it depends on what you want to achieve. If you want to get run of the mill effects of CBD, you might want to add around 25mg, which is around 30ml of CBD tincture to the drink or alcohol. 

You must consume at least twice a day to get the desired effects. 

How to properly store CBD?

Highly concentrated CBD oil or tincture can crystallize, which may make it harder for you to consume it. That’s why the best place to keep your CBD products is the pantry or refrigerator (CBD and other cannabinoids last the longest in cold environments). Keep the following tips in mind when storing your CBD properly:

Keep them away from direct or intense sunlight or light. It should be stored in a cool, dry and dark place.

Don’t expose your CBD products to heat. Oftentimes that means not keeping them in shelves or cupboards close to heat-giving appliances, AC, windows, etc.

Avoid exposing your CBD product to air. It disintegrates in the presence of air elements like oxygen, rendering them ineffective.

Are There Any Side Effects of CBD?

There’s a good reason why CBD has enjoyed an ever-growing crowd. Its side effects, if any, are listed as mild, minimal and temporary.

As a therapeutic compound without psychoactive effects often associated with marijuana, CBD side effects have been found by researchers to be short-lasting. And when compared to conditions it’s being used to manage or treat, most people consider CBD to be worthy of the tradeoff.

While CBD is usually considered pretty safe, some users might see some not-so-scary side effects like diarrhea, tiredness, irritability, appetite changes, nausea, and fatigue.

A 2017 study that looked into CBD oil as a treatment option for psychotic disorders and epilepsy, scientists found it to be quite safe for use by consumers. If you peruse through the side effects of conventional medication and drugs used to treat these conditions and other neurological problems, you will find out that those associated with CBD oil have by far shorter lasting and milder impact on the patients.

It is worth noting, however, that the study recommended that additional studies be done to establish long-term use effects of the drugs versus CBD oil.

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Marina Turea

Marina has been calling Chicago home since 2007. She's a world traveler and an avid reader.

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