How Long Does it Take for CBD to Work? Get Results Faster

When starting with CBD, the time it takes to work and the results you can expect will vary. There isn’t a single hard and fast way to know when CBD will provide results for you. There are a range of factors at play that influence both how effective CBD will be in helping with your health condition or goals, plus the speed at which it does so. People in Australia use CBD for a range of different reasons. This might be in helping to alleviate a condition like anxiety, helping to improve sleep, boosting recovery, lowering inflammation or even daily mood improvement. Being clear on your purpose for using CBD and the results you desire is the first step to achieving a successful outcome. How long it takes to achieve your goal will depend on the method of ingestion you use, your dosages and usage frequency, your unique physiology and genetics, plus what health conditions you have. Results could appear in minutes or take weeks to achieve. Let’s take a look at how long CBD takes to work, the factors affecting this and how to get results from it quickly plus effectively.

What’s CBD?

CBD is a naturally occurring cannabinoid compound. It is found in hemp plants. Hemp is a form of cannabis that contains no THC. ‘CBD’ is an abbreviation for cannabidiol, one of hundreds of different cannabinoids. It has a range of benefits for the mind and body. CBD alleviates the symptoms of anxiety, inflammation, sleep issues, pain and stress. It can also assist with cardiovascular health, neuroinflammation, epilepsy and blood pressure. It is thought to provide these effects via the endocannabinoid system in the body. This system has regulatory capacities on many of the body’s other systems like immune function, mood, circadian rhythm, metabolism and inflammatory response pathways.

How CBD Works

When CBD is taken, molecules of the cannabinoid enter the bloodstream and are transported to the cannabinoid receptors. Binding sites within each receptor absorb the cannabinoid and produce endocannabinoids. Endocannabinoids act on other areas of the body such as the immune system, brain, nervous system, tissues and cells. These are the compounds that provide therapeutic benefits. Anandamide and other endocannabinoids are highly anti-inflammatory, and anxiolytic, aid with sleep, boost immunity plus help lower pain perception.

Cannabinoid and Neurotransmitter Receptor Activation

The cannabinoid receptors are located throughout the body’s tissues and organs. They can also be found throughout the central and peripheral nervous systems. There are two types of cannabinoid receptors called CB1 and CB2. CB1 receptors are largely present in the brain, spine and CNS. CB2 receptors occur in the immune system, plus tissues and organs like the gut or spleen. Both are key to unlocking the potential of the cannabinoid’s health-promoting properties. 

There are other pathways that CBD interacts with the body to provide beneficial effects. Non-cannabinoid receptors such as the glycine and serotonin receptors in the brain play a part in the benefits CBD can offer for the mind. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter responsible for memory, learning, mood, sleep and more. Glycine on the other hand is a key component of the nervous system’s motor control and pain reception functions. CBD’s capacity to influence important neurochemicals and transmitters is the reason it has potent mental and pain-relieving benefits. For example, its ability to mitigate depression and improve mood is thought to relate to its serotonin receptor activating capacities. If it binds to a glycine or pain receptor, the response experienced will lower sensations of pain. 

How Long Does it Take for CBD to Work?

The length of time it takes for CBD to work for you is highly individual to your circumstances and the methods with which you use it. Different factors will influence its effectiveness for you and how quickly you see benefits. These include your physiology such as weight, sex, genetics, methods of CBD consumption, underlying health conditions, frequency and dosage, the type of CBD product you select, its strength, plus what your goals of using CBD are. Let’s explore these factors and how they impact the time it takes for CBD to work.

Health Goals

Before starting with CBD, you need to decide what you’re using it for. There is a huge variety of purposes that CBD can be used for by different people. This is because its effects are broad. You may wish to use CBD as a daily recovery aid for wellbeing, or to target symptoms of a specific health condition like anxiety. Depending on the severity of your condition or how challenging your health goals are, CBD may take longer to work. For severe conditions, it often won’t be able to provide any benefits at all. For example, while CBD is great for minor aches or pains, it won’t be able to treat severe forms of pain. Differing symptoms are also experienced and perceived differently in each person which will influence how successful CBD appears to be for you and the time it takes to get results. You’ll need to be patient, consistent and methodical with CBD to achieve your goal, no matter what you’re taking it for.

Individual Physiology

Everyone has a unique body. Differences in body mass, age, sex, metabolism, biochemistry and health status will all influence how well you absorb and benefit from cannabinoids in CBD products. If you are large, you may require more CBD to achieve an equivalent effect as a small person. Similarly, if your metabolism is sensitive or responds well to cannabinoids, you may not require as much CBD each day to achieve results. If you have liver or digestive problems these could impact or slow the absorption of cannabinoids. Each of these factors also influences how long the CBD will stay in the body which can play a part in obtaining results. For example, factors which affect circulation will also impact your ability to transport CBD to the cannabinoid receptors.

Underlying Health Issues

Individuals with any organ impairment or chronic medical conditions will need more or less CBD depending on their issue. For example, issues like liver impairment may impact your ability to process and absorb CBD which could mean your dosage approach needs adjusting. A weakened liver may also mean CBD isn’t suitable for you due to it being processed via this organ. If certain conditions make you more sensitive to cannabinoids like CBD, you may require less of it to achieve a strong result. In cases like these, you’ll need to consult with your physician to gauge the best method of using CBD while dealing with an underlying health problem. They’ll guide you on the risks involved and the best methods to maximize results without causing potential complications with your condition.

Dosages & Frequency of CBD Use

CBD dosages as well as the frequency you use it will impact how effective it is for you, plus how long it takes you to get results. It’s safe to use CBD daily, which is advisable to obtain benefits more rapidly. You can also take CBD multiple times a day. It is well tolerated and can be used at high doses daily. However, it is best to start at a low dose and increase over time. Not taking enough CBD will mean delayed results, reduced benefits and slower effects. Striking a balance with your dosing is key, but we recommend using it at least 3 times a day initially. Over time you can adjust your approach based on your individual needs. An increased dosage approach may be needed if you’re a larger individual or your condition calls for it.

CBD Strength and Quality

The potency and quality of your CBD product will affect the results you can achieve, plus how quickly you can achieve them. Don’t get tricked into buying low-quality CBD for the sake of cost. Low-quality products are at higher risk of contamination with pesticides, alcohol or other solvents which can be detrimental to your health. They’re typically produced with lower efficacy production processes which means lower potency, import products. It will also lead to the concentration of beneficial cannabinoids being reduced such as CBN, CBG and CBD. Many low-cost CBD products are also fake, containing large quantities of filler oils like olive oil. They may also be mislabelled and contain no CBD at all. Ensuring you buy a quality product is critical to obtaining results.

Product strength is a major factor in how long it takes for CBD to work for you. In determining the potency of your product, understanding the concentration of CBD in it is essential. There can be a huge variance between high and low-strength products in terms of the total quantity of cannabidiol in mg. Products should always list their CBD content in mg. Low-strength products are typically dosed at 1000mg per 30 mL. High-dosage products will contain 2000mg or more per 30 mL of CBD oil. 

Look for higher-strength formulations to get faster results. These will contain more CBD which means you can use less overall quantity of product and get to the outcome you need faster. Full-spectrum CBD oil is also generally more potent because it promotes the entourage effect to occur due to its terpene content. The entourage effect is the synergistic interaction between terpenes and cannabinoids like CBD which amplifies the effects of both. It increases the strength of CBD by promoting its absorption more effectively via the cannabinoid receptors. Terpenes are scent compounds produced by cannabis which also have therapeutic benefits like reducing anxiety or lowering inflammation.

Methods of Taking CBD

The way you consume CBD has a large effect on the time it takes to achieve results. Every method of CBD administration has a differing bioavailability and strength of effect. Bioavailability also affects how fast the cannabinoid is absorbed and the speed to obtain benefits. It’s defined as the degree to which cannabinoids can be absorbed and used by the endocannabinoid system in the body. Higher bioavailability rates mean more cannabinoids can reach the bloodstream faster and at higher concentrations. For example, orally taken CBD products must be digested via the gut first making them slower to be absorbed, but they tend to have moderate bioavailability. Let’s take a look at the bioavailability of different CBD consumption methods.  

Ingestion (Oral Consumption)

Ingesting CBD as an oil, capsule, edible, CBD gummy or tincture means it must pass through your stomach to be absorbed. The effects after ingesting CBD occur slowly. This is because the gut needs to dissolve and process the oil, slowing absorption. Some cannabinoids are also inevitably destroyed during this process by the stomach’s acids. This can reduce the quantity of CBD that makes its way to your bloodstream and cannabinoid receptors. Effects from oral ingestion begin to express 1.5 to 4 hours after administering but last longer than other methods. The bioavailability percentage in the ingestion method is around 6 to 20% which is moderate.

Inhalation of CBD

Inhalation is a fast way to benefit from the effects of CBD. A common technique for inhalation is smoking or vaping. In this method, the smoke or vapour directly reaches the lungs. A vaporiser can heat a CBD and glycol mixture, atomising it for absorption. Once you have inhaled the CBD, it will reach your bloodstream through the lungs. It takes a few minutes for full absorption from the lung’s membranes to the bloodstream. Permeable tissue in the lungs allows for fast uptake of CBD molecules to cannabinoid binding sites (the CB1 and CB2 receptors). The effects will begin to express within a few minutes of inhalation and are moderate-lasting. Inhalation bioavailability is around 31%. However, if you opt for vaping, it can be up to 70% as less of the cannabidiol material is degraded when atomising versus combustion during smoking. 

Sublingual CBD

The sublingual method of CBD ingestion involves placing oil drops or CBD strips under the tongue or on the gums. The mucous membrane present in the inner lining of the mouth has blood vessels that allow the absorption of CBD directly into the blood at a fast rate. It will take much less time to absorb into the bloodstream when taken sublingually versus ingesting as the CBD molecules move straight into the blood via the gums. As such, the stomach’s digestion process is entirely skipped which improves bioavailability. The digestive system will break down and absorb any remaining CBD in the liver. You will feel the effects of sublingual ingestion within 30 minutes. It is great to use before bed for getting to sleep. The bioavailability of CBD products taken sublingually ranges between 12% and 35%.


The transdermal method of CBD administration is a lesser-known one. CBD patches are commonly used in this method. It can be used interchangeably with topicals for targeted pain treatment, or relief from aches in the joints caused by arthritis. Once applied, CBD in the product penetrates the skin and is absorbed into the blood after passing through the skin’s layers. Effects from transdermal application appear after a few hours. It may take up to a day in some cases. The effects can be much more targeted as more CBD is concentrated in the localized site of absorption. However, the transdermal method has lower bioavailability than other methods and is more of a slow-release approach.

Taking CBD Topically 

‘Topical’ simply means applying a substance to the surface of the body such as the skin or scalp. Topically using CBD is similar to the transdermal application method. Topicals can include lotions, balms, salves or gels. The effects of topical methods are relatively localized as topicals are applied to a small area of the skin. Topicals typically have fewer side effects as they require more time to absorb and have lower bioavailability. You can always wash off a topical if you feel any irritation. 

How to Obtain Results Faster

Although individual results will always vary, there are some tactics you can always use to help speed up the time it takes for you to achieve your goals with CBD. Let’s explore some of the main ones to consider.


CBD is not a magic pill that will work overnight. It requires planning, patience and consistency to see the desired results. Using it multiple times daily is advised. This will ensure it’s always in circulation and activates your ECS to provide its effects and accelerate the benefits you’ll receive. Figure out your dosage for each day or week and ensure you stick to it. We recommend 3 drops 3 times a day to start. It is essential to keep up your dosages and frequency in the beginning. Maintain daily dosages for at least 6 weeks initially and increase your dose over time if you need further relief. Don’t worry about issues if you need to stop using CBD for some reason. It is not addictive and you won’t get withdrawals. 


Gradually increasing doses over time can help to achieve effects quickly. But be cautious. Excessive dosing won’t help and there are limits to the amount of CBD your body can absorb adequately. You may also end up with more side effects if you ramp up the dose too quickly. Drowsiness in particular can occur at high dosages which can be dangerous when driving. This is particularly the case for beginners who haven’t adapted to using the product. It is reported that more than 200 milligrams of CBD daily can induce drowsiness and lethargy. It’s helpful if you begin with lower doses and then slowly increase based on your body’s response.

Product Selection

Product choice is also a key factor you can change to improve the speed at which you get results from CBD. Ensure you buy a product which meets your needs and preferences. There is a wide range of CBD products available. If you don’t like the taste of CBD oil and it is impacting your consistency of use, try out gummies or topicals. These will help you obtain benefits from CBD without having to deal with its earthy taste that can be unpalatable. You’re more likely to stick to your dosage plan and stay consistent when using a product you enjoy. If you need a faster absorbing product for relief, try sublingual or inhaled product methods. These have higher bioavailability and speed of effect than oral or topical administration. Experiment with different methods or products and find what you prefer. To maximise the strength of CBD’s effects and the results you obtain, opt for higher bioavailability products like CBD oil or sublingual.


Patience, consistency, planning and a high-quality CBD product are important if you’re seeking to achieve your health goals quickly. But these factors will also help you to acquire lasting, sustainable results. Don’t expect to see benefits overnight or from a single use of CBD. It can take multiple weeks to begin seeing the effects. The speed at which you see these effects will be influenced by a range of factors like your unique body chemistry, weight, whether you have existing health problems, dose and frequency of use, your product strength and quality, method of ingestion, plus the severity or extent of your health issue. If you’re starting, ensure you maintain daily doses for at least 6 weeks then reassess whether you need to alter your dosing approach. Always check in with your doctor before trying CBD. They can help guide you in getting results more quickly.


Steve Jacobs Author Headshot

Originally from Byron Bay (Australia), Steve Jacobs is a writer and expert on the world of hemp. His passion for hemp products developed from working with organic hemp cultivators and sustainable skincare brands in Byron. Inspired by these eco-friendly approaches to crafting superb products, Steve realised the opportunity at the intersection of aromatherapy, natural skincare and the magic of hemp. He founded Bondi Hemp to bring this dream to life, bringing rejuvenating hemp extracts, refreshing botanical hemp topicals and revitalising essential oils to everyday Aussies. True to his Byron roots, Steve infuses every drop of his responsibly produced hemp products with the rich terroir of the Byron Region, resulting in unsurpassed quality without harming the earth. Today, Steve continues to write and speak about hemp, skincare, and aromatherapy from his family’s home in Northern NSW.