Another “It Depends”
Like so many other questions about CBD, the answer to how long the effects last is… it depends. There are a variety of ways to use CBD, each of which takes a different amount of time to take effect. Once it’s in your system, how long the effects last depends on even more factors, like how much you weigh or how much CBD you took in a serving.
There are a few common methods of taking CBD, and each of them will take a different amount of time to start working. They also will stay in effect for different amounts of time, again depending of a variety of factors.
Vaporization is a very fast way to get CBD into the bloodstream, so it will usually take effect within a few minutes. However, the effects usually aren’t lingering, and most people report that they wear off within two or three hours. This is explained by the rapid diffusion of the CBD molecule across the capillaries of the lungs, leading right into the blood.
Taking CBD sublingually, or under the tongue, is another method that allows the CBD to take effect quickly. In this method the solution absorbs partially through the glands and capillaries of the mouth, but is mostly be absorbed in the process of digestion after swallowing it. Since it is easily absorbed into the bloodstream, CBD starts working within about 30 minutes, but you’ll notice a lesser effect from the initial absorption in the mouth right away. People report the effects of taking CBD sublingually can last between four and six hours at a time.
Another method of taking CBD is in edibles. This could be something like homemade products, made by mixing oil or isolate powder into food, or in consumer products like gummies or capsules. Since the edible has to be digested before the CBD is absorbed into the bloodstream, CBD edibles do take a bit longer to kick in—about an hour, some cases two—and some people may also need to take more CBD with this method to see results. However, while they take longer to appear, effects from using CBD edibles do tend to last from four to eight hours.
The last most common method of using CBD is through topical application. It can be mixed into lotions and creams to provide relief for localized pain or to help with skin issues. Like edibles, topical applications need a while to take effect, but people report up to six hours of relief when using these solutions. These products also tend to have the greatest absorption rate since the surface area of the skin is so large and because it’s very receptive to absorbing topical solutions.
How Can You Tell It’s Working?
You might also be wondering how you can tell if the CBD has taken effect. This is another tough question to answer because, again, it’s different for everyone. Usually, it’s a gradual relief of symptoms; for example, if you’re taking CBD for anxiety, you will feel increasingly calmer. The key is to not take CBD expecting instant relief. Instead, try to ignore the time and reassess your symptoms within an hour or two after taking CBD. Getting the results you are looking for will probably take some time and experimentation!