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How Long Does CBD Take to Work?

This question is the very definition of ‘how long is a piece of string?’ In simple terms, it is impossible to determine how long it will take CBD to work for you, the reader because there are so many things to consider. First and foremost, you have to determine the strength of the CBD. Then there is the small matter of how you consume the CBD and why you are taking this outstanding medicinal application in the first place.

What we will do in this article is give you a general outline of how long it may take for CBD to work depending on the method of consumption. We will also discuss how you may feel when the effects start to take hold.

What Are The Different Ways to Consume CBD?


This is a fancy term for the practice of consuming CBD oil and holding it beneath your tongue before swallowing. Sublingual consumption is the second fastest method of finding relief and is arguably the most popular. You can consume CBD oil in drop form or via sprays. You should feel the effects within 20-30 minutes, and they last for 4-6 hours on average.


This is the fastest acting CBD consumption method as you’ll feel a positive impact within a few minutes. As is the case with sublingual consumption, vaping allows the active ingredients to reach the bloodstream directly. You will need to purchase a vape kit and CBD oil to take advantage of this form of CBD consumption. The effects last for a couple of hours.

Edibles & Capsules

While you can create your own edibles, there are various readymade forms including gummy bears and mints. It is important to remember that edibles and capsules work best on an empty stomach. If you’ve eaten just before consuming the CBD, the absorption process is slowed.

Also, edibles work faster if you have a healthy digestive system and fast metabolism. If you meet the right criteria, edibles could work in as little as 20 minutes. Otherwise, expect them to take an hour. Capsules also take around an hour to work. Both methods should provide you with at least four hours worth of relief.

Topical Applications

These come in the form of balms and creams, and you are supposed to rub them on the skin. They work well when treating chronic pain if you rub the topical on the affected area. As well as helping with pain, topical CBD applications can protect your skin from the free radical damage that results in signs of aging such as wrinkles. CBD cream or balm is also effective against skin conditions such as acne or eczema.

Topical applications are the slowest to work and normally take over an hour. However, you should experience five or more hours of relief.

How Much CBD Do I Need?

Again, there is no simple, all-encompassing answer to this question. As well as considering the symptoms you’re looking to treat, it’s important to remember that everyone’s body will react differently. The recommended dosage you read on a CBD product’s label is nothing more than a guideline and companies tend to err on the side of caution. As a result, you should begin with a low dose, analyze the effects, and work your way up or down as necessary. CBD products are expensive so don’t take more than is necessary!

In truth, the majority of people require less than the recommended dosage, and when you use CBD regularly, you tend to need less of it over time. Of course, there is the matter of symptoms. Someone using CBD for anxiety will need less than an individual using it for chronic pain for example.

We recommend using as little as 2-3mg per dose, to begin with. Monitor your symptoms and up the dose until the stage where your symptoms have disappeared. This could be when you take 50mg a day or 500mg; there is no sure way to know until you test the theory.

At the time of writing, there has yet to be a fatality from a CBD overdose, but this doesn’t mean you can go wild and take as much as possible. Research suggests that you could safely consume up to 1,000mg of CBD a day; but since it typically costs $50+ for 1,000mg of CBD, you would need deep pockets!

There is also a possibility that the CBD will make you feel sedated so don’t take it before driving or working if it has this kind of effect on you. There is no need to consume more than one dose every few hours.

How Do I Know When The CBD Is Working?

Guess what? This is another question that is difficult to answer! If you’ve never taken CBD before, you’ll have no idea what to expect. Since there is no ‘high,’ you may not realize when the dosage is effective. It tends to provide a subtle feeling. If you take CBD for pain, you may eventually realize that the pain has gone, but it might take time for you to understand what has happened.

Likewise, if you take CBD for anxiety, it is hard to pinpoint the exact moment when you went from anxious to calm. All you know is that you now feel ‘better.’ Unless you have severe symptoms, you may even feel disappointed at the lack of ‘sea change’ in how you feel.

CBD oils that work

Final Thoughts & Where to Find High-Quality CBD Products

CBD is a natural way to alleviate the symptoms of a variety of conditions including anxiety, depression, chronic pain, PTSD, Alzheimer’s and many more. It is legal in most U.S. states because unlike THC; it doesn’t provide you with a psychoactive high.

We pride ourselves on informing our readers about the best CBD suppliers in the industry. We recommend choosing reputable firms with an established reputation that invest in independent third-party testing, use supercritical CO2 extraction and take their CBD from premium quality industrial hemp. Our reviews are independent and unbiased, so readers know the real story about CBD suppliers.

If you want to know who ranked the #1 CBD for 2018, continue to the section on our site where we compare CBD oil brands.

Customer Reviews Based on 26 reviews

  • James Eaves

    Wow! What a unique one. I am going to go for topicals from now on, as I am looking for something to help me in chronic pain, and I am never in a hurry. I am using one from Premium Jane as of now, and I am very happy with the results. The best part is, it does not smell bad at all.

  • Jennifer Cobb
    Wonderful and fast

    I am very fond of CBD. For me it acts very quickly, in just about 15 to 20 minutes, whether I take in the oil form or some edible form. I think this is kind of panacea for everything, and it is absolutely wonderful.

  • Robert Torres

    If you go in for the massage thing, the ointment, and the creams, they will work faster but will last less longer. However, the oral versions start late but last even after a few days you consume them. I am taking CBD from the last two years, and this is what I have observed.

  • Simon Ball

    Could have done with reading this some time ago – not quite the same but I didn’t know edibles took longer, and smoked too much pot thinking I was invincible to it. Until it all hit… thee types of articles are gold dust in this community.

  • Taylor Smith
    Interesting read

    My local cafe sells CBD coffee – when i have one of those the stuff hits me in what feels like minutes!!!

  • Gordan Parsons
    I love this article!

    I have been using CBD for 3 years, it has been an absolute god send for me, and i am happy to say it always work within 30 mins of me taking it (I use CBD capsules). I imagine everyone is different but for me it is fast to work and lasts a long time

  • John Bull
    Vaping for me

    I used to take CBD capsuled for IBD/IBS but found that sometimes the relief wasn’t effective enough. Now I vape CBD and it hits hard, fast and lasts for ages.

  • Trevor
    Vape the best

    I used to take CBD capsules, but when I quit smoking and got a vape I decided to try vaporizing CBD and I love it! The effects take hold very fast, which is great for me because I have very severe migraines that can come on from nowhere and get bad very quickly. I would suggest that those looking to quit a bad habit try CBD and vaping!

  • David
    Great article!

    This is a great article! It took me 3 years to find my perfect dosage. I am a 150lb female who really struggled with mental health and physical pain following a car crash in 2005. I tried cannabis first but wanted something less mind-altering, and heard about CBD. I think i have tried every method of consumption, but eventually settled on topicals which I find great for my back pain. My anxiety is still an issue but for now I am sticking with topicals. Can you take more than one kind at a time?

  • Billy Graham

    Have you any recommended ways of using CBD in an edible? I have tried a few consumables but i would love to make my own!

  • Jane
    SO helpful

    Thanks Jonathan this is SO helpful! I am going to be sharing this with my social media friends, many of which use CBD for one thing or another. Where we live there aren’t many shops selling this and so not many people know about dosage and how long things take. So this is so appreciated.

  • Marian Hagger

    I have been taking CBD capsules for 3 weeks now, this is to ease pain in my back and shoulders after a car incident last year. So far I am finding that the CBD isn’t working at all – could you advise me, should i try something else or stick with it?

  • Jenny Ringer

    Is it possible to mix methods? I have read you can’t overdose on CBD – so if i wanted to vape and take CBD via an edible, would this be safe?

  • Richard Long

    I hate the taste of CBD, but love what it can do! I tried taking CBD under the tongue as advised, and it was disgusting so after that I have always opted for vaping or edibles. Thank you for this in-depth article, I didnt realise why the different methods took longer to work than others, so this is great!

  • Jack Skundrich

    I just ordered a bottle of the cbd oil. Should I be concerned since I am prescribed 25mg Metropolol twice a day

  • Mason Jones

    I have about 5 different vapes now, it is a bit addictive! THC isn’t really my thing, so vaping CBD products is great for a fast-acting, fun and stylish way to consume. Great article dude!

  • MD

    My daughter bought this for me I have been taking twice a day I so want and need it to work she said it’s amost been a week so she wants it back said too expensive to waste! As I’m 65 I have various problems including bad arthritis should I try the bottle or give it back?

  • Natasha Jones

    Majority of what I have read have been accurate to me. I am 23 suffering from chronic back and neck pain. I was tired of always having to take pills for my pain (which didn’t work unless I took a few), so my friends suggested I get a med card. My doctor wasn’t with the idea of the med card, but suggested CBD as an alternative. I honestly had no idea what it was or what it did until he explained it to me. That day I seeked out a dispensary. The woman game me 75mg of gummies and 75mg of vape oil. I’m only 108 pounds so it shouldn’t take much to help. Is what I thought. Jonathan is right, you don’t feel when it works, the pain is just “gone” at some point. Everyone is different though just remember that. I just got these the other day so i’m not sure when exactly it kicks in but I know for sure that the gummies do work for me and they last about 4 hours for me. The vape on the other hand, I do need to get a higher dose. I haven’t vaped at all before trying this, but I can tell it doesn’t work the best for me at 75mg. I will be going back for a higher dose. I am honestly surprised at how well the CDB works and it makes me happy to not have to feel drowsy and weird all of the time. Instead I feel relaxed, I eat a lot more, and I sleep a lot better! Honestly the best thing I have tried and I recommend the products, but everyone works different. Some will need a higher dose, some will need lower. Try low then work your way up.

  • Roger Munt

    I have been taking 1000mg capsules for about 3 weeks now and have not really noticed anything. Recently I upped it 2x 1000mg capsules. It has only been a few days at that level but can’t say I am aware of anything. I am taking morphine for the pain otherwise so perhaps I am expecting too much…..

  • James Hopkins

    Started taking CBD oil 2 weeks ago for chronic hip pain be as wll taking water no pain releif what so ever. Wast of money based on my experience

  • Lori Edgerly

    I have just started taking CBD oil. I am so keeping the faith that it works for my chronic arthritis pain i have .
    This was very interesting to read. Thanks for sharing

  • Dr William

    The most important things are here. Medical Cannabis goes forward and now there are many dispensaries work.I am a medical consultant and we are top legit genuine supplier of the medical cannabis, cannabis oils, cannabis capsules, harsh, concerntrates and marijuana seeds.We believe that cannabis is a good medicine and should be freely available to everyone regardless of unjust laws. We provide prescriptions for your health issues including Hypertension, Arthritis, Glaucoma, Anxiety, Hypertension, Asthma, Cancer, Gastrointestinal Disorder, Epilepsy, Nausea, Anorexia, Cachexia or wasting syndrome, severe and chronic pain, seizures, severe and persistent muscle spasms and more.
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  • Judy Garrett

    I started taking Green Mountain CBD 3 Feb 2018
    60mg per day for primarily chronic sciatica daily pain. As of this writing NO relief

    • Natasha Jones

      You more than likely need a higher dose as 75mg works good for me.. I might make the dose a little higher.

  • David Ross Sr

    Plan on buying everything I need if I start getting help through

  • Jonathan Miller

    Which CBD oil did you purchase? They are different

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