How Long CBD Takes to Work (How Long it Lasts)

Hemp-derived CBD oil has demonstrated an ability to relieve a myriad of symptoms. Researchers have observed the ability of CBD to relieve anxiety, pain, and inflammation, in animal and human studies. These CBD oil studies now have people wondering, “How long does CBD take to work,” and “How long does CBD last for pain, anxiety, and inflammation?

Broadly, it takes CBD oil anywhere from 10 minutes to 2 hours to work. The truth is that CBD works differently depending on the product formulation and delivery method.

How Long Does CBD Take to Work?

The cannabinoid known as CBD does not produce intoxicating effects like THC. This means users will not feel high from CBD when it starts to work. The feeling of symptom relief from hemp-based CBD products is tangible in a more subtle way. How soon you might feel relief is highly dependent on the delivery method by which you take it.

There is an ongoing debate about the effects of THC vs. CBD. Much research suggests that products containing a full spectrum of cannabinoids and terpenes produces an “entourage effect.” In the entourage effect, a product with more diverse plant compounds may act on more of the endocannabinoid system.

CBD Smokables (Vapes, Hemp Flower)

Takes 5-20 Minutes; Lasts 1-3 Hours – Most Effective, High Doses Difficult

CBD can be smoked using vapes, prerolls, or smoking hemp flower from a joint, bong, or pipe. Inhaled CBD may be felt in as little as five minutes and as long as twenty minutes. The smoking delivery method acts faster than ingestible products. These effects of inhaled CBD may also last up to three hours.

Tips for Smoking/Inhaling CBD

  • Inhalation is one of the fastest and most potent ways to consume CBD.
  • Take the smallest possible dose and gradually increase until you feel symptom relief.
  • For a vape or CBD pre-roll, take one or two puffs and wait for about fifteen minutes.
  • If you don’t feel relief, take another puff or two and wait again.
  • Eventually, you will become acquainted with the CBD dosage that works best for you.

CBD Oil Tincture Drops

Takes 15 to 20 Minutes, Lasts 1-3 Hours – Highly Effective, High Doses Easily Reached

Taking cannabidiol via CBD tincture drops lasts between one to three hours. You will usually feel the effects within 15 to 20 minutes after administering the CBD drops sublingually (under the tongue). Taking CBD tincture drops sublingually is one of the fastest delivery methods. CBD Tinctures act faster than oral capsules because they don’t pass through the digestive system.

Capsules, Gummies, and Other Edibles

Takes 30 to 60 Minutes, Lasts 2-6 Hours – Somewhat Effective, High Doses Relatively Easy

When ingested in the form of CBD oil capsules or as CBD gummies, the effects of cannabidiol can last between two to six hours. The feeling of ingested products can take 30 minutes to an hour or more. It should be noted that the effectiveness of ingestible CBD is generally low due to the body’s digestion process.

Pain & Inflammation

Takes 30 minutes, Lasts 6 Hours  – Locally Effective, High Doses Difficult

The best and longest-lasting method when using CBD for pain relief is via topicals. Common topicals include products like CBD cream, sunscreen, and lotion. It should take about 30 minutes to feel pain relief from topical creams, and the effects may last as long as 6 hours.

CBD for Dogs and Cats

Takes 10 minutes to 2 hours, Lasts 3 Hours

Dogs and cats most often take CBD orally. Unlike humans, pets can absorb CBD better through digestion. Most CBD pet products are oils that can be given on food or in the mouth. The effects of CBD may be felt by your furry friend anywhere from ten minutes to two hours.

The effects of CBD on pets are similar to what humans feel. So how long does CBD last for dogs and cats? Research suggests that oral products, such as CBD dog treats, can last up to three hours.

Always talk to a veterinarian before giving CBD to pets. Literature suggests a starting dose of 0.5mg per kilogram of body weight may act as a good starting CBD dosage for pets.  You will want to verify the dosage with your vet first.

CBD for Anxiety & Depression

When using CBD hemp oil for anxiety, starting at a low dose and gradually increasing as needed is the best way to meet your goals for use. A suggested CBD oil dosage for anxiety of 25mg from an oil tincture may be a good starting point. A 25mg dosage would be equivalent to 1/2 of a dropper of 1500mg tincture oil in aa 1oz/30ml bottle. 25mg dosage is also equivalent to a full dropper of 750mg CBD tincture oil.

How Long Does CBD Last?

Many are wondering, “How long does CBD last for anxiety?” or “How long does CBD last for pain?” There is no single answer for how long the effects of CBD last, whether taking CBD for anxiety or any other condition. A solution doesn’t exist yet because there are many different ways to take CBD. Each method will have slightly different effects given the person and the intensity of their symptoms.

The product’s formulation, how a person’s body distributes the compounds, the delivery method of the product, and how it is processed and eliminated from the body all influence the absorption of CBD. Collectively, these factors are called “pharmacokinetics.” Pharmacokinetic processes can change with time and depend on user habits.

When buying CBD products, consumers need to consider the bioavailability of the product. Since CBD is available in a variety of products, many people use more than one delivery method. They may start with a low daily dose from CBD capsules or gummies, and use additional products to sooth more acute symptoms.

How Long Does CBD Last in Your System?

Pharmaceutical CBD products like Sativex, an oromucosal spray, have effects that last 1.4-10.9 hours after two to five days of regular daily use. IV infusions of CBD are administered directly to the circulatory system. Through IV, CBD can have rapid effects for up to 24 hours.

Products like CBD oils, CBD oil tinctures, and CBD oil capsules can take about five days to start producing effects. After that time, regular daily doses can maintain the activity of CBD in the body. CBD has a half-life and will stay in the system at lower levels for 24 to 48 hours.

CBD Bioavailability

The amount of CBD that enters the circulatory system after consumption is known as its bioavailability. Awareness of bioavailability is essential because it influences how long CBD will take to work in the body, and how long CBD will last.

The most potent and fast-acting effects of CBD will come through administering in ways that move CBD directly to the circulatory system.

These methods include inhalation, oral sprays, tinctures, IV, and suppositories. Taking 25mg of CBD oil tincture will deliver up to six times the amount of CBD to the circulatory system when compared to a 25mg CBD oil capsule.

CBD bioavailability depends on three main factors:

  1. Product potency and formulation
  2. Delivery method
  3. Individual body chemistry

Oil Potency

Many people feel the best CBD oil from hemp vs. cannabis is a CBD product with 1000mg. A 1000mg CBD oil in a 30 ml bottle would effectively deliver about 33.3mg CBD per 1ml dropper. If a 25mg dose of CBD is desired, taking ¾ a dropper full would be close to that amount. A 1000mg product that is close in price to a 500mg CBD product, is also a better value since there is more potency per milliliter. This higher potency CBD will last longer than the lower strength if taken at the same dosage.

Oil Formulation

Full-spectrum CBD extracts contain other plant compounds like terpenes. Terpenes play a significant role in a plant’s flavor and smell. They also have beneficial properties of their own.

For example, a person who wants to take CBD for anxiety symptoms may feel more symptom relief with a lower dose of full-spectrum CBD oil. The reason for this may be because the terpenes like linalool have naturally occurring CBD benefits of calming.

Full-spectrum CBD products can work on more biological pathways. Due to this, there is more overall activity than in an equivalent amount of CBD isolate, which can only travel a few pathways in the endocannabinoid system.

Oral Bioavailability

Ingested CBD products have low bioavailability in humans because of a phenomenon called “the first-pass effect.” The first pass effect happens when a substance is rapidly taken up and metabolized by the digestive system and liver.

The stomach and liver can inactivate a large amount of CBD. This means that higher doses of CBD hemp oil are needed when taking them orally. Higher doses of CBD gummies and CBD capsules may need to be taken to get a dose equivalent in bioavailability to a CBD vape.

In humans, oral bioavailability has been shown to be as low as 6% and as high as 20%. That means 6% of the CBD taken reaches the bloodstream. CBD oil for dogs has been shown to have a higher bioavailability from 13% to 20%.

CBD has one to two-day half-life so it can build in the system. It can take about five days for supplements to increase a person’s baseline CBD levels. Regular daily doses of CBD capsules or edible gummy style supplements should achieve this.

Oil Tincture Bioavailability

A CBD oil tincture is a product that is taken sublingually. Tinctures are absorbed through the buccal membrane under the tongue. While only a few studies regarding CBD oil tincture bioavailability exist, it is believed to be one of the highest delivery methods. Some claim that tinctures can deliver up to six times the amount of CBD to the circulatory system compared to CBD oil capsules

Bioavailability of CBD Vapes

The strongest and most fast-acting effects of CBD will come through administering in ways that move the compound directly to the circulatory system. Inhalation is estimated to have a bioavailability of 31%. It is the most fast-acting and potent dosage delivery methods outside of IV administration.

Oil vapes can irritate air pathways like smoking, but most people feel they are less irritating. Smokable hemp isn’t practical for many people, and CBD heavy marijuana isn’t widely available. Due to this, oil vapes have become a popular alternative.

To calculate the amount of CBD is in a vape puff, take the total amount of CBD in the vape, and divide it by the total number of puffs in the vape. So if a vape contains 500mg CBD and lasts for about 20 puffs, there would be approximately 25mg per puff.

At 31% bioavailability, that translates to about 7.5mg to the bloodstream. By contrast, a 25mg  oil capsule would convert to about 1.5mg CBD to the blood.

Body Chemistry and CBD Bioavailability

Every person’s body will be tuned a bit differently and may respond to more or fewer milligrams. Titrating the dosage is the best way to find the right oil dosage. Titrating is when you start at the lowest possible dose and gradually take more as needed. The goal is to take as little as possible for the greatest positive effects.

For people taking orally, an empty stomach can help them feel the effects faster than when taken with food. Since everyone’s metabolism and the endocannabinoid system is unique, the rate at which the body absorbs and utilizes CBD will always vary. Symptom intensity can also affect how much CBD a person will need to feel relief.

CBD is biphasic, meaning it can work differently at low and high concentrations. Lesser concentrations can sometimes be surprisingly effective at relieving intense symptoms. Using lower dosages for maximum effects has been observed in epilepsy, but in cases like high levels of pain, it might be necessary to take higher dosages.

Age can also influence metabolism. Children and the elderly have less developed endocannabinoid systems, so there is some evidence that they may be able to tolerate stronger doses.

CBD Delivery Methods and Dosing

There are a large number of CBD products with highly variable formulations. Therefore, setting universal dosing limits for cannabinoid products is impractical because of this variability. People considering using a cannabinoid product such as an oil tincture or vapes should consult their physician for recommendations.

A 1991 study reported that average daily doses of 10mg per kilogram of body weight per day are safe. For a 150 lb person, this would be equal to 680mg per day. Subsequent research has also shown great toleration in doses up to 1500mg per day.

High Doses of CBD

High doses of CBD for strong symptoms seem intuitive, but sometimes low doses are sufficient. Even at lower doses, CBD has effects that promote and maintain health. These benefits include antioxidative, anti-inflammatory, and neuroprotection effects. CBD does not always need to be taken in high doses. Doses as small as 2.5mg can be useful for some symptoms.

CBD can act on different body mechanisms depending on the dose concentration and the individual’s body chemistry. There is no set dose recommendation or limitation, but the occurrence of CBD side effects can communicate that a dose is too strong. Many product manufacturers recommend that consumers start at a low dose. After that, the dose can gradually be increased until the desired feeling comes into effect.

The delivery method determines the bioavailability of the cannabinoid. Vaping and taking oil tinctures are the best methods for fast and potent dosing. Consuming oil, oil capsules, and edibles reduce potency and takes longer for effects to be felt.


Information on dosing reflects reports from peer-reviewed journal articles and common online recommendations. This information should, in no way, be perceived as a recommendation made by a licensed doctor. Non-prescription cannabis-derived products have not been evaluated for safety by the FDA and have not undergone clinical trials. Always consult a doctor for their guidance on cannabis-based products.


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