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How Long Does It Take CBD to Work?

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If you’re new to the world of CBD and just started incorporating a CBD tincture or other product into your daily routine, your first question is probably going to be, “How long does it take CBD to work?”

It’s a perfectly valid question to be asking. And to answer it, we’ll have to cover some CBD basics and background info before we look at factors like delivery method, serving size, what kind of CBD you’re taking and individual considerations. 

By the end of the article, you’ll have a much better idea of how long CBD will take to work for you.

CBD, Cannabinoids and the ECS

Any good discussion about CBD starts with talking about where it comes from, what it is and how it works. 

Cannabidiol, which we call CBD for short, is a compound known as a cannabinoid and it’s derived from hemp plants. It is one of over a hundred known cannabinoids and is the most popular, along with tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). However, CBD is not psychoactive and will not cause any euphoric sensations like THC. That’s part of the reason why people like it so much. 

Cannabinoids are exceptional because they mimic molecules your body produces called endocannabinoids. And those are part of a sizable cell-signaling system that runs throughout your body, called the endocannabinoid system (ECS).  If the ECS is a new concept for you, that’s not surprising because it’s not something we learned about in school. It was first discovered in the 1990s and has only been researched for the last 25 years

Within the ECS are special receptors that allow endocannabinoids – or cannabinoids, like CBD – to attach to them. When this happens, changes in your body can occur as the ECS runs through various systems that influence mood, sleep, pain and more. 

When they’ve done their job, special enzymes that your body produces naturally move in and dispose of the cannabinoids.

Part of how long it takes CBD to work will be how quickly it gets into your system and contacts those special receptors.

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Delivery Method

There are typically three ways that people use CBD products.

Sublingual: This is when you place a dropper full of your favorite CBD oil or CBD tincture under your tongue, hold it for about 30 seconds and then continue on with your day. It’s an efficient and effective way to get CBD into your system quickly, as that squishy tissue under your tongue is great at absorbing it. 

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Ingestion: If you put your CBD oil in a drink or eat some delicious CBD gummies, you’ll be going with this method. It takes a bit longer for the CBD to make its way into your system, as it has to make its way through and be absorbed during the digestion process. 

Topical: This is when you apply products like CBD topical creams, lotions or roll-ons directly to your skin. This method is speedy and effective for localized relief for muscle aches or joint pain but won’t put much CBD into your overall system.

Serving Size and Consistency 

Two other important factors in how long it takes CBD to work are the amount you’re taking and how regularly you take it. 

Most people find that starting off with 10 to 20 mg of CBD per day is a good jumping-off point. Not everyone will feel the benefits right away, though, so you need to give it time. Generally, a week is good. If you’re still not feeling anything, try increasing the amount by another 10 to 20 mg. Be sure to listen to your body during this process. 

All CBD products will have the concentration of CBD clearly marked on them. Edibles like CBD gummies are simple, as the serving size is per unit. CBD tinctures usually have two amounts written on them one for the entire bottle and one per serving size, measured out by the provided dropper.

CBD topicals will have the amount of CBD per bottle written on them. When it comes to using these, you generally don’t want to exceed more than four applications in a day, though the relief is typically rapid and can last for hours.

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Individual Considerations

There are also some basic individual considerations related to body weight and size regarding how quickly CBD will work for you.

If you’re among those of us carrying around some extra weight, it may take longer for you to feel the effects of CBD as it won’t enter your system as quickly. However, once you do, it will likely stay a bit longer. 

If you’re gifted with a faster metabolism or have a very active lifestyle, the CBD you take is going to make its way into your system faster but it will also make a quick exit as well.

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Regardless of which category you fall into, it’s important to emphasize that different people will feel the effects of CBD in different ways. You do really need to monitor your body and keep track of how you feel. With consistent use at the right concentration, you’ll be enjoying the benefits of CBD sooner rather than later.


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