Have you ever taken a CBD product and then waited around, asking yourself, “well… how long does it take for CBD to kick in?”
You’re not alone. Especially if you’ve experimented with a few different types of CBD products, it can be difficult to figure out the timing of CBD.
How do you get the beneficial effects you’re looking for, exactly when you are looking for them?
Whether you’re using a vape pen or eating a gummy, you need to consider how each type of product interacts with your body to understand when it will “kick in.” CBD products have varying rates of absorption, based on how they are applied or consumed.
Here, we explain the reasons behind these variances. Then, we break down what kind of timeline you can expect with each type of product: vaping, topical use, oral ingestion, and eating.
Cannabidiol (CBD) oil is a non-psychoactive compound derived from the hemp plant. Many people turn to CBD for therapeutic benefits because of how the compound interacts with the body’s endocannabinoid system.
The endocannabinoid system is responsible for maintaining balance within your body, especially for functions like mood, pain, stress, and anxiety.
While your body naturally produces some cannabinoids, the exact levels can vary by person. Especially if you experience low levels of naturally-occurring cannabinoids, CBD products can provide reinforcements to restore the natural balance of your body’s endocannabinoid system.
The optimal level of CBD ranges depending on who you are, and the exact right amount will change over time. There are no universal serving guidelines for CBD, and every person needs to experiment to find out what level is best for them.
When deciding how much CBD to take, start by considering personal factors such as weight, metabolism, and other genetic factors. You also need to consider external factors, like the concentration of the product and, to get back to our original question—the product’s bioavailability.
Bioavailability is the key concept to understand to know how long it takes for your CBD to “kick in”. Bioavailability refers to how quickly your body absorbs and metabolizes a compound. For cannabinoids, this is how quickly the CBD enters your bloodstream and becomes active.
The bioavailability of CBD depends on how, exactly, it is ingested or applied to your body. Each method provides slightly different results. So let’s dive into the different methods for taking CBD, and how their bioavailability differs.
Vape pens have become more and more popular over the past few years. While vapes are convenient and easy to use, a large part of the popularity may also be because they offer the highest bioavailability rate of any CBD product.
If you take a puff of a CBD vape pen, the cannabinoids enter your bloodstream directly through your lungs. You feel the effects of your CBD faster with a vape pen than with any other CBD product. Absorption through the lungs allows the effects to be felt in a matter of minutes.
Vapes not only help provide the relief you’re looking for relatively quickly, but vaping also allows you to easily regulate your dosage. Vapes can prevent the kind of guesswork that many don’t like with other CBD products.
Some CBD products are applied topically to the skin for relief in specific areas. Common topical products may range from CBD lotions and balms to patches, oils, and CBD-infused Epsom salts.
Products that are infused with cannabinoids and rubbed onto your skin function differently than all of the other categories we have listed here. These topical products never actually enter your bloodstream.
Rather, CBD and other compounds travel through your layers of skin to reach the muscle areas you are targeting. As the CBD starts to move through the dermal and subdermal layers of the skin, the cannabinoids are binding to cell receptors in your endocannabinoid system.
This absorption takes roughly the same amount of time as tincture oils or edibles, but it is in the form of targeted relief. With topical CBD products, you can get direct therapeutic benefits to the source of the issue, without the compound entering your bloodstream.
In addition, many topical products are blended with other botanicals and nutrients that complement CBD’s effects, such as menthol.
Tinctures of CBD oil have been a backbone of the CBD market, and they remain a classic crowd favorite. They are versatile, convenient, and easy to take on-the-go. In addition, after vape pens, tinctures offer the second-highest level of bioavailability.
Tinctures are ingested by the oil being dropped under the tongue. General guidelines recommend that you hold the drops there for 60 seconds. During this time, CBD and other compounds are absorbed through the capillaries under your tongue to enter your bloodstream.
Although tinctures and oral ingestion offer an effective way to rapidly feel the effects of CBD, many people shy away from tinctures. At first, it can seem challenging to dose out the exact right serving of CBD oil.
However, many tincture droppers are lined with measurements that can help you ingest a specific dosage. Usually, with a pre-measured dropper, a drop is equal to 1mL. As you experiment with finding the right dose, you can always slowly increase the number of drops you place under your tongue until you achieve the effect you’re looking for.
Gummies are the most popular CBD product on the market today, and with good reason. These small bites are a convenient and tasty way to get your dose of CBD. Gummies and other pre-portioned products like CBD capsules are particularly popular with those new to CBD because they come in defined doses.
However, some people do have issues with edible forms of CBD because they generally take the longest to “kick in”. Gummies have to pass through the digestive system before the CBD can be absorbed into your bloodstream. The journey through your digestive system also reduces some of the product’s potency.
Some people may find that gummies don’t provide the fast relief that they’re looking for. Generally, the effects of CBD products you eat can be felt within 20 minutes to a few hours.
Although this is a drawback for some, others find that the delayed effects are actually a benefit. For example, especially if you use gummies for something like your nighttime routine, the slow absorption of the compound allows you to spend a long time winding down before sleep.
THE MOST IMPORTANT FACTOR
Finally, in addition to all of the talk about bioavailability, there’s one last factor that determines how you feel the effects of CBD: the quality of your product. At the end of the day, no matter what form of CBD you take, it should be high-quality.
Make sure to choose a product that is verified through third-party lab results.
Each different CBD product comes with its own unique bioavailability. When it comes to your CBD product, so choose the best fit for you.
You are responsible for figuring out what works for you and experimenting with different products. The experimentation with timelines, products, and dosages is the fun part—just like the moment right when the CBD kicks in.