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How long does CBD Oil take to work?

With so much different information online surrounding CBD, it’s hard to tell what’s true. Misinformation surrounding CBD can lead to new users dismissing it as a fad when they don’t see immediate results. This may be the case due to the rise in oral products with low absorption- such as CBD gummies, coffee and chocolate. Before you give up on CBD after taking a few drops, make sure to read through this article on how long it takes to work.

What is CBD?

CBD is one of just over a hundred known cannabinoids in the Cannabis plant. It is non-psychotropic, which means it doesn’t get you “high”. CBD is short for Cannabidiol, removed from the plant through a process called extraction. The concentration of cannabinoids in the plant varies depending on many factors, such as where it is grown.

What is Bioavailability?

Female scientist in laboratory testing cbd oil extracted from a cannabis plant. She is using a various long glass tubes and bowls for the experiment. Healthcare pharmacy from medical cannabis.

Bioavailability is the speed and degree at which substances are absorbed into the blood. You may have heard this being called the “absorption rate” in your science classes.

For example, if a medication was injected directly into your bloodstream, it would have 100% bioavailability. This is, however, not possible or recommended with CBD. When you take substances through other means, such as orally, sublingually or topically, it must go through many parts of the body before it gets to your blood. 

The amount of CBD that gets into your bloodstream following consumption is known as “CBD bioavailability”.

This is affected by the strength of your CBD product, it’s quality and your consumption method. As the options for administering CBD are so different, they each have a different level of bioavailability.

This results in diverse interactions with your Endocannabinoid System– influencing how effective your CBD will be and how long it will take to work. 

What are the different methods of CBD consumption?

1. Sublingual

Taking CBD sublingually means that it is placed under the tongue, and held for 1-2 minutes. There is a vein called the sublingual gland which is right under the tongue. When substances are placed on top of this, it gets quickly absorbed into the bloodstream. These effects are typically felt within 15-30 minutes. The main loss of CBD through this method is through the enzymes present in your saliva. This method produces the maximal rate of absorption for CBD oils, as compared to oral administration. You must make sure to not swallow it too quickly, as this results in oral ingestion. 

Healthcare Worker Dropping CBD Oil on Patient's Tongue- high bioavailability

2. Oral Ingestion

Oral ingestion means that CBD is swallowed. This may be through capsules, gummies, food and drinks or directly swallowing the oil. This means that the CBD has to pass through the digestive system before reaching your bloodstream. Passing through various metabolic systems leads to a lower absorption rate than the sublingual route. This also means that oral ingestion can take between 30 minutes to two hours for some to feel effects. However, this can be a great method to conveniently build CBD into your routine. It’s also great for those that dislike the unique taste of CBD.

A pile of gummy bears made with cannabis extract next to a hemp leaf. These medical cannabis edibles contain CBD- low bioavailability

3. Topical

Topical CBD involves applying CBD directly to the skin. This results in local absorption in a particular area, great for targeting specific regions. However, this method produces the lowest bioavailability. This can be compensated for by applying products liberally to the skin. Topically applying CBD will not make it enter your bloodstream, instead interacting with local receptors on the skin. This means that some may feel effects within a few minutes, whereas others may take a few hours. Topical application may be done through body moisturisers and face creams such as our own. You can also apply a few drops of CBD oil directly to the skin, or mix it into your own moisturiser!

Woman applying topical cbd, low bioavailability

What else affects how long CBD takes to work?

The strength, quality and consumption method of your CBD are the main elements affecting bioavailability. So you don’t have to worry about these, we recommend using Dragonfly CBD – high in quality and with strengths up to 3000mg!

However, these are not the only factors. The way that CBD operates throughout your body is dependent on many elements which vary between people. This means that ultimately, it is very hard to say exactly how long it takes for CBD to work. In reality, the onset time differs entirely from person to person. 

Crowd of people in the shape of a heart stock illustration

1. Your body

A person’s body weight, type, water content and height can have a huge impact on the effects of CBD and how long it takes to feel it. Metabolism also plays a large part, as it affects how long your body takes to break down compounds. This affects how long it takes to metabolize CBD, as well as how long it stays in your system.

2. How often you take it

Furthermore, the frequency of your CBD use also plays a large role. This affects both how long you take to feel it, and how long it stays in your body. CBD builds up in your body as you take it over time, which is why it is recommended to trial it for at least a week.

3. Food

The rate of CBD absorption is also affected by when, how much and what you’ve eaten.

We learnt in our conversation with Professor Saoirse O’Sullivan that CBD is a highly lipophilic compound, meaning that it loves fats. This means that taking CBD after a meal can improve absorption by up to 5 times! Especially if the meal is high in healthy fats. 

At Dragonfly CBD, it is a core part of our mission to educate our consumers on the science behind CBD. You can find batch specific, third party lab results for all of our products. Check out some fantastic Dragonfly CBD reviews or take a look at the rest of our CBD products.

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