How long does it take for CBD oil to work? Consumption methods, dosage, and more

CBD is prized as a potent anti-inflammatory medicine that gives you the medical benefits of marijuana without the high. But the lack of psychoactive effects can make it difficult to gauge the effect that CBD has on you. Many people have trouble figuring out if their CBD has “kicked in” or not.


So how long does it takes for CBD oil to work?

How long does it take for CBD oil to work?

CBD starts working in as little as a few minutes, or as long as an hour . The exact time depends on the method of consumption, person-specific factors, quality of CBD, and type of CBD.


The exact combination of all these factors determines the true answer — so we have prepared the following cheat-sheet.

Time it takes CBD to work by method of consumption

How fast CBD oil works will depend on how you take it. Inhalation is the quickest method, followed by sublingual (under the tongue), and then oral ingestion. Read on for a detailed breakdown of each method.


The quickest way to get CBD into your bloodstream is by inhaling CBD vapor or smoke. When you inhale, the cannabinoids enter through your lungs so the effects are experienced instantly. However, this means that the effects will wear off quicker as well.

Sublingual ingestion (under the tongue)

When you ingest a CBD tincture sublingually the cannabinoids are absorbed through the veins beneath your tongue. The effects of sublingual ingestion can be felt in as little as 5 minutes, and 20 minutes at the most. You just have to hold the drops underneath your tongue for 30-60 seconds.

Oral ingestion

Oral ingestion with CBD edibles, capsules, pills, or oil takes longer to kick in, since the cannabinoids are absorbed over a long period in the digestive tract. It can take 30 minutes to an hour for you to feel the effects of orally ingested CBD, but the effects last much longer than other types of ingestion. This makes oral ingestion ideal for daily treatment, while individuals who need instant relief may prefer inhalation or sublingual ingestion.


People use CBD topically for localized joint, muscle, bone, and skin problems. The CBD is absorbed through the skin, and is most commonly used for arthritis and joint inflammation. The effects of topical CBD should kick in within a few minutes, though for best results you need to use topical CBD repeatedly over a long period of time.


Consuming CBD intravenously is extremely uncommon, and reserved only for the most severely ill medical patients. The effects of CBD injections will be felt almost instantly, since the CBD is put directly into the bloodstream.

3 factors that influence CBD absorption

Though CBD absorbs into the bloodstream at a different rate with each method of consumption, that’s not the only factor that determines how long it takes for CBD to work. Here are some other influencing factors.

Personal variation

Each person’s unique physique and biochemistry will influence how long it takes for CBD oil to work. This includes:


  • Metabolic rate: This is the speed at which your body breaks down compounds. The faster your metabolism, the quicker your will feel the effects of CBD.
  • Body weight: Overall body weight is very important in determining how quickly CBD will work. More body weight means it will take longer for your body to process the CBD.
  • Medical conditions: If you have certain medical conditions or are on any medication, this may conflict with how your body processes CBD.

Quality of CBD

Simply put, the more pure the CBD, the higher the bioavailability and the quicker it will work. Some CBD products are cut with additives that are difficult for the body to digest and may inhibit the absorption of CBD. Other quality issues that can delay or reduce absorption:


  • Expiration
  • Sun damage
  • Improper production

Type of CBD

There are numerous different types of CBD: raw, decarboxylated, water-soluble, and refined or “gold.” The variation in release time between these different types is small, but decarboxylated and refined CBD are slightly more easily absorbed into the body, so they work slightly quicker.

FAQs on how quickly CBD oil works

How does CBD work?

In short, human bodies are meant to work with cannabinoids. CBD activates or inhibits parts of the natural human endocannabinoid system, which responds to stress, physical pain, anxiety, and more. Introducing certain cannabinoids, then, can reduce pain and inflammation, and relieve stress.

How long do the effects of CBD last? Can you feel the effects of CBD?

On average, the effects of CBD last between 5 and 6 hours, if ingested orally. If you inhale CBD, then the effects will last closer to 2-3 hours. Since CBD does not have any psychoactive properties, you will not get high or feel any kind of euphoria.

How long does CBD oil stay in your system?

CBD only stays in your system for a few days: 2-5 days for moderate doses, or up to a week for heavier doses. Read more about how long CBD oil stays in your system here.

How much CBD should I use?

New CBD users are typically recommended to start with only 5-10mg. For daily use, a good rule of thumb is 1-5mg of CBD for each ten pounds of body weight you have. This puts the average dosage range between 20 and 60 mg of CBD for most adults.