How Long Does it Take for Full Spectrum CBD Oil to Work?

You might have just started using CBD oil or are thinking about getting started. This could be for any number of reasons as it can assist with anxiety, stress, sleep, weight loss and more. But how long does it actually take to work and start delivering results? This will come down to a few key factors. Many of these will be unique to you and your individual physiology or metabolism. Let’s take a look at how CBD works, when you can expect results, what affects how long this takes and tips on using it. The biggest takeaway here is that getting it to work for you takes time. When starting out you need to remain persistent to see true benefits like reduced inflammation and better recovery. It will take some discipline but the ongoing improvements in your health will be worth it. 

What’s CBD?

CBD is a naturally occurring chemical compound. It is found in cannabis or hemp plants. Hemp is a form of cannabis that contains very low or no THC. CBD is an abbreviation for cannabidiol and is one of the hundreds of cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant. It, along with another integral cannabinoid, THC (short for Tetrahydrocannabinol), is known to impart a range of effects on the human body. CBD alone has numerous health and therapeutic benefits. 

There is evidence from research that it might be able to improve the symptoms in conditions of chronic pain such as arthritis. Other ailments that CBD alleviates the symptoms of include anxiety, inflammation, sleep disorders and stress. It may even assist with cardiovascular health and blood pressure. It is thought to enact these benefits via the endocannabinoid system in the body. 

The Endocannabinoid System (ECS)

In the human body, CBD works in close coordination with cannabinoid receptors. Its method of action with this system involves endocannabinoids, which are neurotransmitters. These are vital components of the endocannabinoid system and are produced by the body itself.  The endocannabinoid system is neuro-modulatory. It works with the Central Nervous System (CNS), and responds to both endogenous and environmental factors. The cannabinoid receptors are widely distributed throughout humans’ central and peripheral nervous systems. There are two types of cannabinoid receptors, namely CB1 and CB2. Apart from them, there are non-cannabinoid receptors as well. CB1 receptors are largely present in the brain, spine and CNS while the CB2 receptors are more peripheral, occurring in tissues and organs like the gut or spleen.

How does CBD work?

The interaction of CBD with the ECS is different from all other cannabinoids. Unlike other cannabinoids, it forms a weak link with CB1 and CB2 receptors. This action suggests that the cannabinoid receptors are not the principal mode of action for CBD. Instead, the non-cannabinoid receptors do the main job. CBD binds to the non-cannabinoid receptors of the ECS and then acts on other receptor pathways. The receptor it binds to determines the nature of the response. If it binds to a serotonin receptor, the consumer may experience an elevated mood and reduced anxiety. If it binds to a glycine receptor, the response might be anti-inflammatory. However it may also create a response from the ECS which results in the production of anti inflammatory endocannabinoids like anandamide.

How long does it take for CBD to work?

To answer how long it takes for CBD oil to work, you first need to know about its entry into the bloodstream. Once you take it and it enters your body, its action mechanism is different from many cannabinoids, as discussed above. Most of the compounds from hemp are highly bioavailable, meaning they can be readily absorbed by the body. This is due to hemp being a natural plant – unlike synthetic compounds the body is able to recognise and metabolize its chemicals with ease. The time taken by CBD to enter the bloodstream is dependent on certain factors. These include:

  1. Method of Intake

The way you consume CBD has a large effect on the time it takes to enter the bloodstream. It also affects when you start feeling the effects of hemp extract. This phenomenon is known as the bioavailability percentage of a consumption method. Bioavailability is the degree to which the cannabinoids and other phytonutrients in hemp can be absorbed and used by the ECS in the body, plus their rate of absorption. Higher bioavailability rates means hemp extract can reach the bloodstream faster and at higher concentrations. Let’s take a look at the bioavailability of different CBD consumption methods

Ingestion

Ingesting CBD as an oil, capsule, edible 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 it, slowing absorption. Effects begin to express 1.5 to 4 hours after ingestion. However, the effects last longer via ingestion than many other methods. Only a small amount of it reaches the bloodstream as a portion of it is degraded in the gut. The bioavailability percentage in the ingestion method is around 6 to 20% which is moderate.

Inhalation

Inhalation is a quick way to benefit from the effects of CBD. A common technique for inhalation is smoking. In this method, the smoke directly reaches the lungs. The same happens when you use a vaporizer. You can easily find a CBD vape that heats up and evaporates it to atomise it in a few seconds. Once you have inhaled the CBD, it will reach your bloodstream through the lungs. It takes a few minutes for full absorption via the lung. Permeable tissues of the lungs allow 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 generally long-lasting. In smoking, the bioavailability percentage is 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 from smoking.

Sublingual

The sublingual method of CBD intake sounds similar to the ingestion method, but it doesn’t involve swallowing. To use it sublingually – place oil drops or the CBD strip under the tongue or on the gums. Keep it there for 60 seconds to maximize rate of absorption and ensure you get the entire dosage. The mucous membrane present in the inner lining of the mouth has blood vessels that allow absorption of CBD 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 compounds move straight into the blood via the gums. Absorption will involve salivary glands at first then the digestive system will break down and absorb any remaining CBD molecules in the liver. You will feel its effects within 30 minutes – great to use before bed for getting to sleep. The bioavailability of CBD products taken sublingually ranges between 12% and 35%.

Transdermal

The transdermal method of CBD intake is a lesser-known one. CBD patches are commonly used in this method. It’s often used interchangeably with topicals for targeted pain treatment or relief from aches caused by arthritis. Once applied, CBD in the product penetrates the skin and is absorbed into the blood after passing through the epidermis (skin) layers. Other products present in a CBD patch allow the transport of hemp extract to the bloodstream. Effects from transdermal application appear after a few hours of use. It may take up to a day in some cases. Typically the effects are much more targeted as more CBD is concentrated in the site the product is applied. However it has lower bioavailability so is more of a slow release approach.

Topical 

The topical method of using CBD is quite similar to the transdermal application method. Topical includes lotions, balms, salves or gels. The effects of topical methods are relatively localized as topicals are applied to a small area on the skin. Topicals typically have fewer side effects as they require more time to absorb and have lower bioavailability. You can always wash off the topical if you feel any irritation.

  1. Dosage & Potency

Dosage may impact the strength of CBD’s effects as well as how long they take to occur. Consistent high doses often intervene with the desired effects of CBD and may induce drowsiness. On the other hand, not doing enough will mean delayed onset and reduced effect. Striking a balance is key but we recommend using it at least 3 times a day and adjusting based on your individual needs. Another critical factor is the potency of the CBD product you are using. In determining the potency, understanding the concentration of CBD in your oil is essential. There can be a huge variance between high and low strength full spectrum CBD oil in terms of actual molecules of cannabidiol per milliliter. Look for higher strength formulations in general to get faster results.

The purity or potency of the product affects the results you can achieve. Products with higher levels of cannabinoids have been shown to be more bioavailable. This factor comes down to the liver and other organs filtering out and discarding some of the compounds that are ingested with the oil. The more actual CBD molecules you ingest the higher the rate and probability of their successful uptake and usage by the ECS.

  1. CBD Quality

You cannot expect high-quality effects from a cheap CBD product. Quality is the key to every benefit of CBD. Don’t get tricked into buying low-quality CBD for the sake of cost. Low quality products are also at higher risk of contamination with pesticides, alcohol or other solvents which can be a detriment to your health. They’re typically produced with more cheap processes which mean lower potency and concentration of the beneficial cannabinoids like CBN, CBG and CBD. Many low cost products are also fakes, containing large quantities of filler oils like MCT or olive oil.

High-quality hemp oils are manufactured through microencapsulation which converts the oil into smaller particles. This is done to increase absorption rate. You will see very similar techniques used in a range of areas like health supplements leveraging ionization to reduce the compound particle size. Smaller size particles mean larger surface area for the gut to digest and absorb them, improving bioavailability. They’re also typically quality assured, use CO2 extraction to increase purity and are derived from organic, high quality medicinal hemp plants to maximize quality.

  1. Individual Biology

There is a difference in response to CBD depending on the individual. Its effect depends on the body’s mass index, metabolism and organ health. Your metabolism is responsible for the breakdown and absorption of cannabinoids and other nutrients from hemp oil. The composition of your body plays an important role in metabolism. Those with impaired livers, digestive systems or existing diseases may experience slower (or sometimes more rapid) absorption and take up than those without these factors at play. These factors also influence how long the CBD will stay in the body. Factors which affect circulation will also impact absorption rate and effectiveness of it. This is due to it impacting your ability to transport CBD to the cannabinoid receptors.

Similarly to other supplements and pharmaceuticals, larger individuals usually need higher doses to achieve equivalent effects. Particularly for cannabis products – the body can easily store and absorb a lot of the cannabinoid compounds of hemp. A person weighing between 150-240 pounds can typically  take 15-20mg daily of CBD (more for those on the larger side) for faster results.

  1. Consistency

CBD is not a magic pill that will work overnight. You should load it to the body by using it multiple times daily. This will ensure its always in circulation and activating your ECS to improve its effects and accelerate the benefits you’ll receive. It requires planning, patience and consistency to see the desired results of CBD. Figure out your dosage protocol for each day or week and ensure you stick to it. We recommend 3 drops 3 times a day. Things might not work initially as the body is getting used to a new product. So, it is essential not to lose heart in the beginning. Keep at it for at least 6 weeks initially and increase your dose over time if you need further relief.

  1. Medical Conditions

Individuals with any sort of organ impairment or chronic medical problems will typically need a higher dose of full spectrum CBD oil. Minor impairments or pain and aches can benefit from low dosages and don’t need high quantities. Doses of the supplement can vary from patient to patient and may be adjusted depending on what the issue and its implications are. In any case, always start with a small amount of full spectrum hemp oil to assess your body’s response and gauge future dosage protocol. Always consult with your physician prior to taking up any kind of new supplement or dosage regime.

What kind of CBD should I take?

You must figure out what form of CBD works for you. It depends partly on your goals and partly on your personal preference. However, the reason for using it in the first place is a more critical factor. After some time, it will be easy for you to decide what consumption method suits you based on your observation. We prefer tinctures as it is easy to consume and the subtle earthy flavor is enjoyable, however many prefer sublinguals or topicals to avoid the flavor or texture of oil. Experiment and see what you prefer.

What time of day should I take CBD?

A simple answer to what time you should take CBD lies in your own experiences and observation. If you observe that hemp extract makes you feel refreshed, energized, and awake, then take it in the morning. Whereas, if you feel that helps you relax and unwind, take it at night. This difference is mainly due to your perceptions of the experience of CBD. You might even choose to use it throughout the day and add it to your food to mask the flavor. It’s a personal choice and there’s no ‘correct’ answer.

How Often Should I Take It?

For beginners, a straightforward answer to this question is “less is more.” You should maintain strictly low doses in the beginning. Experts advise gradually increasing the doses over time if you want to see the effects quickly, then overdosing won’t help. You may end up with more side effects too if ramping up too quickly. Drowsiness often occurs at high dosages but particularly for beginners who haven’t adapted to using the product. It is reported that more than 200 milligrams of CBD daily induces drowsiness and lethargy. So, it would be helpful if you begin with lower doses and then slowly increase as per your body’s response. Full spectrum CBD oil typically works faster when used for mild discomfort rather than when it is used for serious problems. 

When starting out, look to load your body by maintaining daily dosages to build up a constant level of CBD in your system and accelerate its effects. When loading the body, it can take 3-5 days typically to achieve body load. You may want to use ‘load dosages’ at first to accelerate the body’s uptake and loaded state more quickly. This type of dosing means you will use much higher doses to start with for the first few days, before shifting back to a more ‘standard’ daily dosage protocol to maximize the body’s take up and use of therapeutic cannabinoids. CBD is not a magic pill that will work overnight. In the first month, you might feel the side effects. These include fatigue, dry mouth, diarrhea, etc. Feeling better immediately after taking it is nothing more than a myth.

How long will it stay in my body?

As mentioned above, the body will store cannabinoids in the fat cells or lipids due to these compounds being water insoluble. The performance of full spectrum hemp oil depends on the rate of absorption but the length of time the compound stays in your body depends completely on the fat you have. More fat cells your body has, the more absorption into lipids you’ll experience and as a result, the cannabinoid compounds will stay longer in the body. Scientists have observed that it takes 2-5 days for half of the cannabinoids in full spectrum hemp oil to be cleared out of the body. It is then estimated that it takes about one week to get completely metabolized by the body – although this can be longer or shorter depending on how much you ingest and your usage pattern.

Conclusion

Patience, consistency and a high quality product are key to seeing sustainable health benefits from CBD oil. CBD oil may start working quickly, but your body may take a few weeks to truly begin to see results from its anti-inflammatory, analgesic and anxiolytic effects. You may experience the effects later than expected. So, before you jump to conclusions, give it some time. Always remember that it’s not a cure for any medical condition. It’s a supportive option to use for your health issues such as pain, anxiety, arthritis or weight loss. We’ve covered what it is, how it works and the top factors that influence how long it takes to see results here. These factors are your method of intake, dosage, potency and quality of your product, plus your unique individual physiology and whether you have any underlying medical conditions. Always consult with your doctor before starting with any new health product.