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How Long Does it Take For CBD to Work?

 How Long Does it Take For CBD to Work?

CBD products have taken the market by storm in recent years. You’ve probably seen it all — from CBD oils to CBD gummies. You may have even considered picking up one of these products, ready to feel its stress-relieving, wellness-promoting properties but wondered, “how long does it take for CBD to work?”

Typically, CBD effects will kick in between 15 minutes and 2 to 3 hours after use. However, many factors contribute to the amount of time that’ll pass before you start to feel CBD effects and benefits.

This guide will explore how CBD works within your body and how those factors impact how long it takes for CBD to take effect.

How Does CBD Work in Your Body? 

CBD interacts with your body’s natural endocannabinoid system, an advanced cell signaling network found throughout the body. The endocannabinoid system supports many functional processes throughout the nervous, immune, gastrointestinal and reproductive systems, including sleep, appetite and mood. 

Essentially, the endocannabinoid system works to maintain homeostasis within your body. 

There are three main components of the endocannabinoid system that you need to know to understand how CBD interacts with the body. These include:

  • Endocannabinoids – These are molecules your body naturally produces on an as-needed basis to keep the endocannabinoid system humming along. They bind to endocannabinoid receptors, and they are similar to the cannabinoids found in a cannabis plant and CBD extract.
  • Receptors – There are two types of endocannabinoid receptors found throughout your body: CB1, which is primarily found in your central nervous system, and CB2, which is most predominantly present in the peripheral nervous system.
  • Enzymes – Enzymes help break down the endocannabinoids so they can be cleared away when the processes are completed.

When something is off in your body — for example, you feel discomfort in a specific area of your leg, the endocannabinoid system shifts into gear. Looking for ideas on how to soothe sore feet from standing all day? Try CBD. It produces endocannabinoids that go to the receptors in your central nervous system to provide relief.

Does CBD Bind to Endocannabinoid Receptors?

Researchers are still trying to understand exactly how CBD works in your system. One thing they do know is that it doesn’t bind with endocannabinoid receptors, but it may interact with them. However, THC cannabinoids do bind with CB1 and CB2 receptors. 

Unlike THC, CBD absorption doesn’t make you feel high. This is because it interacts with your body differently. While it’s still not certain howexactly CBD absorption works, some believe it prevents your body from breaking down its natural endocannabinoids. This prolongs their effect and allows the endocannabinoids to keep your systems functioning more effectively. 

What Impacts How Long CBD Takes to Work? 

So, how long does it take for CBD to work effectively? Most people will feel the effects within 15 minutes after use, but it can take up to several hours depending on:

  • Method of consumption
  • CBD Dosage and potency
  • Body consumption

Let’s examine each of these factors in more detail.

#1 Method of Consumption

There are four main ways in which people consume CBD, which include:

  • Inhaling – Vaping CBD products is one of the fastest methods for feeling the impact. When you inhale CBD it goes into your lungs and begins to work quickly. You’ll likely feel the effects within a few minutes. 
  • Sublingual – Sublingual CBD oils are placed under the tongue. This allows them to be absorbed into your bloodstream quickly. Like vaping, you’ll typically feel the effects within a few minutes.
  • Ingesting – Nibbling on a few CBD gummies is another way to consume CBD. When you ingest a product containing CBD, it must pass through your digestive system before it can take effect. Edible versions of CBD can take anywhere from 2 to 3 hours to kick in.
  • Topical – Rubbing a cream or oil onto your skin is a way to use CBD to relieve physical discomfort. With this method, the CBD never reaches your bloodstream. As such, it can take an hour or two to feel the effects of a topical CBD product.

#2 Dosage and Potency

Along with the method of CBD consumption, the amount of CBD you take impacts how long it takes to feel the effects. If ingested orally, the CBD dosage will pass through your digestive system. However, it’s then estimated that as low as 20-30% is absorbed into the bloodstream. 

To that end, a higher dose of CBD will take effect more quickly than a lower dose.

Additionally, you’ll feel the effects of high-potency CBD quicker than a low-potency product. This includes full-spectrum CBD products, which are extracted from the marijuana plant rather than the hemp plant. Full-spectrum CBD often contains other cannabinoids as well, in addition to CBD and low amounts of THC.

When purchasing any CBD product, ensure that the product is tested by a third-party lab to ensure you’re getting a high-quality product. You’ll also want to find the Certificate of Analysis to identify the ingredients present.

#3 Body Composition

The effectiveness of a CBD product is also impacted by your overall body composition, which can include:

  • Weight – The heavier you are, the more CBD it will take for you to feel the effects. Lighter people will also feel the effect of lower dosages more quickly than heavier individuals.
  • Metabolism – The speed of your metabolism impacts both how quickly you’ll feel the effects andhow long CBD will remain in your system. A faster metabolism will clear the CBD from your system more rapidly, so you might not feel the effects for as long a period.

How Long Does CBD Stay in Your System?

Now that you know how long it takes CBD to work, you’re probably wondering how long those effects will last. Typically, the effects of CBD might be felt for 2 to 6 hours. 

But CBD will remain in your system anywhere from 2 days to 2 weeks. The length of time depends on several factors, such as:

  • Food consumption – If you take CBD on an empty stomach, it will take less time to metabolize and clear your system. Conversely, your digestive system will work more slowly if you’ve eaten a big meal around the same time you took your CBD product, which may cause CBD to stay in your system longer.
  • Amount used – The more CBD you use, the longer it’ll hang around in your system. 
  • Frequency of use – If you use CBD products often, the CBD will build up over time and it will take a longer time to clear your system completely.
  • Body composition – Your weight, metabolism and age all make a difference in how quickly your body clears CBD. Younger people tend to have faster metabolisms so they may process CBD more rapidly than older users.
  • Usage method – How you use CBD also impacts how it leaves your body. Vaping works quickly and also exits the body rapidly. Ingesting CBD takes longer to work and exit the body since there are so many gates it must pass through during the digestive process.

If you’re wondering “Does CBD show up on a drug test?”, then check out our blog for more information.

Benefits of CBD

While the effects and duration of said effects may vary, many people seek CBD products to provide a variety of benefits, including:

  • Encourage restful sleep – Sleep is a key component to overall health. Products containing CBD may settle you into a calm and relaxed state. This helps you get those restful nights you need to wake up rejuvenated the next morning.
  • Soothe muscles – The peripheral nervous system is responsible for managing different aspects of your body. When CBD interacts with your endocannabinoid system, it may support the peripheral nervous system in its quest to manage discomfort.
  • Improve your mood – When your body’s endocannabinoid system is working effectively, you feel better. To that end, using CBD may improve your mood and cognitive functions.
  • Maintain a calm demeanor – If you’re trying to figure out how to wind down after work, taking a deep breath and eating a few CBD gummies is an ideal way to get yourself in a calm and relaxed state so that you can tackle the rest of your daily tasks with ease.
  • Help energy and concentration – If you find your mind drifting throughout the day or you regularly hit that 2 p.m. slump, you’re not alone. A CBD product might help restore your vigor and focus.

How to Choose the Perfect CBD Products For Your Needs

Now that you know more about CBD products and how they work, let’s discuss how to select the right product for you. Most importantly, you must identify the quality of each product. A few markers of trustworthy CBD products include:

  • Third-party testing – The FDA doesn’t regulate CBD products. As such, you must choose a CBD company that’s transparent about what’s inside their products. A third-party tester without any stake in the product gives you an added layer of confidence that the product contains what the label claims it does.
  • A readily available COA – Products that have gone through a third-party testing process will have a Certificate of Analysis (COA) that you can easily access. Typically there’ll be a QR code right on the product that you can scan. Otherwise, the company’s website is another place where you can find the COA.
  • Accurate labeling – COAs should help you determine whether a product’s label is accurate. The concentration of CBD and THC listed on the label should match that listed on the COA. Many CBD products do not have accurate labels. In fact, one study found that 69% of the CBD products analyzed over or underestimated the amount of CBD in the product.

After you’ve found a CBD company you can trust, peruse their offerings to find support for:

  • Overall wellness
  • Joint discomfort
  • Attention and focus
  • Memory and brain health
  • Healthy eating and appetite
  • Calm and healthy mood

Your experience may differ from that of your friends and family because everyone’s body has a different reaction to CBD.

Some people are more comfortable ingesting CBD while others prefer a sublingual product. The way you take CBD may impact its ability to provide the support you need. Remember, sublingual products act very quickly, while edibles may take several hours to pass through your digestive system and into your bloodstream. 

How long you want to wait to feel the impact is an important factor in deciding which type of product to take.

CBD Usage Tips

Navigating the world of CBD can be tricky. That’s why it’s critical to find a company you trust. Once you’ve found a CBD product to try, there are a few things to keep in mind, including:

  • Avoid vaping – Vaping CBD is not recommended. While you’ll certainly feel the effect more quickly, vaping can be harmful to your lungs and throat. The cartridges used for vaping products may also contain harmful additives.
  • Start small – If you’re new to CBD products, start with small doses to see how well you can tolerate them. Speak with your doctor for the best advice on what amount is appropriate for your body size.
  • Be patient – It may take a week or two for you to feel like your CBD products are having the desired impact.

Zebra CBD: The CBD Company You Can Trust

CBD products can take anywhere from 15 minutes to several hours to work. The length of time it takes depends on the method of consumption and your body composition. The duration it remains in your system will also vary depending on the type of CBD and your method of consumption.

One thing that never changes is Zebra CBD’s dedication to producing premium CBD for health and vitality. At Zebra CBD, we’re your trusted CBD expert. We’re the only CBD company with a Label Accuracy Guarantee™, so you know exactly what’s in each of our products. We have a variety of CBD products to suit your needs, including gummies, topicals, oils and chewable tablets. Shop our online store today.


Health Europa. CBD: Understanding How CBD Works With Our Bodies.

Project CBD. Best Way to Take CBD.

Health Europa. Handpicked CBD Explores the Best Way to Take CBD Products.

Discover Magazine. The Benefits of CBD Oil.

Discover Magazine. How Long Does CBD Stay In Your System.

Healthline. Does CBD Show Up On a Drug Test?

JAMA. Labeling Accuracy of Cannabidiol Extracts Sold Online.

Co-founder of Copycat Copywriters, Adam has written for dozens of CBD and cannabis companies on a wide array of topics, including regulations, economics, farming practices and biochemistry.

About the Author

Adam Biederman Image

Adam Biederman

As co-founder and lead writer of Copycat Copywriters, one of Adam’s primary areas of expertise is within the budding CBD and cannabis space. He has written for dozens of CBD and cannabis companies, producing a collection of white papers, press releases, blog posts, articles and ebooks about a wide array of industry-related subjects, including regulations, economics, farming practices and biochemistry.

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