How Long Does it Take CBD Oil to Work?


CBD oil can be used to treat a variety of conditions including chronic pain, anxiety, and seizure disorders. Since the legalization of CBD various products have become available to people who are looking to try this compound as an alternative to prescription narcotics to treat their ailments. For example, those who have been chronically taking opioids for pain or benzodiazepines for anxiety may find benefit from CBD oils in terms of reducing their consumption of these drugs if not eliminating its use entirely. For this reason, patients who are seeking treatment with CBD oils may wish to know how long it may take for the medicine to reach full effects.

It is important to mention that CBD can generally be ingested through several different routes – primarily by mouth. When CBD is consumed the compound is absorbed into the bloodstream where a lot of the medicine will be metabolized by the liver or excreted through the urine or stool.1 Therefore, when CBD is eaten it is likely that the strength of what is consumed will be reduced as the body metabolizes it. Thankfully CBD oil can be safely dropped under the tongue (sublingually) where the compound can get absorbed directed into the bloodstream and avoid some of those metabolic processes, thereby maximizing the potency of what is taken.

When CBD is taken sublingually the patients will notice effects around 30-90 minutes from ingestion.2 This method may be among the fastest when CBD oil is being consumed. If the CBD oil is eaten and not dropped under the tongue it may take somewhere around 60 minutes before the medicine is absorbed into the bloodstream to facilitate its effects.2Additionally, food consumption may also alter the onset of CBD effects as it can reduce or amplify the absorption of the oil into the bloodstream. Sublingual ingestion is the most ideal option when taking CBD oil as other formulations of CBD (e.g. wax) or hemp itself may be smoked or “dabbed” depending on the product on-hand.2  CBD oil can also be applied topically as a lotion, ointment, or cream to areas of pain or inflammation which can take several hours to observe its full effects.2

Some patients may need to consume CBD several times a day to optimize the benefits from the medicine. When treating conditions like anxiety or chronic pain the oil will only last for so long in the bloodstream before the body clears it from the system. Therefore, CBD may need to be taken on a scheduled basis (e.g. twice daily, once in the morning) to ensure that the treatment is working. In most cases however it should not take long before the CBD oil reaches its full benefits for the treatment of whatever condition it is being used for.

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  1. Grotenhermen F. Pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics of cannabinoids. Clinical pharmacokinetics. 2003;42(4):327-360. doi:10.2165/00003088-200342040-00003.
  2. How Long Does CBD Take to Work? How Long Does CBD Last? Healthy Hemp Oil. Published November 25, 2019. Accessed November 26, 2019.

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