How Long Does It Take to Feel the Effects of CBD?

Whether you’re taking CBD to drift off more easily or keep anxious thoughts at bay, you probably want to start reaping the benefits immediately. But how soon, really, can you feel the effects of CBD? Is it like wine where you start to feel calmer after a few sips? Like coffee, where some people need a cup or two to get going? Or like other supplements, where you have to take it for days or even weeks to feel a change?

The short answer is: It depends. Though most people usually feel something within 30 to 45  minutes after taking a tincture, CBD affects everyone differently. Some may feel their body relax right off the bat; others may need to use trial and error to find their ideal amount to get the effect they’re looking for. Here, we’re digging into why that is and what you can expect.

Why CBD affects everyone differently

There are lots of different factors that go into how CBD affects you—and how quickly you feel its effects. And there’s still a lot to learn. What we do know is that each of us has a unique endocannabinoid system (the part of your body and brain that interacts with cannabinoids, like CBD). This means you may react to the exact same amount very differently than the person next to you.

Your genetic makeup, biological sex, whether you’ve used CBD in the past, and even what you just ate also play a role in how it makes you feel and how your body absorbs it.

Another major factor is the form you take it in. Because capsules and gummies have to travel through your digestive system, it can take a while for them to reach your bloodstream (the point at which you start to feel something). They’re also broken down by gut and liver enzymes along the way, diluting the amount that actually gets absorbed.

"The most efficient method is holding a CBD oil under your tongue for 30-60 seconds before swallowing."

The most efficient method is holding a CBD oil under your tongue for 30-60 seconds before swallowing. This speeds up the process, allowing a concentrated amount of CBD to enter your bloodstream via the sublingual gland almost immediately. 

Identifying the reason you’re taking CBD also matters. CBD has over 65 targets in the brain and body (that we know about), and they all get activated at different doses. For example, a lower amount of CBD may help with focus and clarity, whereas larger amounts tend to sedate. In other words, if you’re taking a small amount of CBD to help you sleep, you may not see a difference—likewise if you’re taking a higher amount to help you concentrate. 

What should I expect?

When taken under the tongue, CBD reaches your bloodstream in about 15 minutes and builds up over time, peaking about one to three hours in. You should feel something soon after it hits your bloodstream, but as we mentioned earlier, everyone is different. 

If you’re new to CBD, start with a low amount. Take it at the same time every day for at least the first week and keep a journal to track how you feel. The effects can be subtle, so it may be easier to notice what you don’t feel versus what you do. For example, are you not overthinking as much? Do you feel less tension in your body? Have you stopped waking up in the middle of the night?

"The effects can be subtle, so it may be easier to notice what you don’t feel versus what you do."

It may take some trial and error to find the right dosage for you. Knowing why you’re taking it (anxiety? aches and pains? sleeplessness?) can help give you a starting point and a sense of whether it’s working. Just remember a higher amount isn’t necessarily better. In fact, taking more than the optimal amount for you may actually make CBD less effective. 

Be consistent, give it time, and you should start to see the effects you’re looking for.

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