How Long Does It Take CBD to Work, Anyways?
W e probably don’t have to tell you that CBD is everywhere these days: people are putting it in their coffee, pouring it into their cocktails, rubbing it on their skin, and blending it into their post-workout smoothies. Researchers are learning more about CBD every day, but there’s still a lot about it that we don’t know. and that can be really confusing if you’re a CBD newbie.
One of the biggies: How long does it take for CBD oil to work? Because who hasn’t been in the situation where it seems like one person takes CBD and turns into a zen mother earth goddess right away, while you’re sitting over here waiting for something (anything!) to happen to take your morning anxiety away. (What’s that saying? A watched mug of CBD coffee never kicks in?)
Turns out, CBD isn’t one-size-fits-all. Various factors—such as the amount you take, the form you take it in, and where you got your CBD from—can all impact how long it takes to work, says Brooke Alpert, RD, the founder of Daily Habit, a line of CBD powder.
For example, if you’re putting your CBD product in a coffee that has almond milk or sugar or anything else that might need to be digested, your CBD will kick in more slowly than it would if you put a few drops directly under your tongue. “I look at it the same way I talk to people about their sugar consumption,” Alpert explains. “If you have juice or put a little bit on your tongue, it’s going to be an immediate reaction versus when it’s in fruit where you have fiber, which slows down absorption.” (Generally speaking, CBD oil added to a coffee or smoothie will probably take around 30 minutes before you start to feel anything.)
It’s worth noting that the research on taking CBD sublingually (science-speak for under your tongue) is mixed: As Well + Good has previously reported, many studies on the subject have included both CBD and THC, so it’s hard to generalize the findings to products that are just CBD-based. However, chemist Jesse Kater previously told tell Well+Good that “most of the literature supports the notion that CBD has better bioavailability when consumed sublingually versus orally.” That supports anecdotal evidence that CBD starts working almost immediately when taken under the tongue. Alpert agrees to an extent, saying that it can take anywhere from 10 minutes to an hour to kick in when taken sublingually.
Charlotte’s Web co-founder Jesse Stanley adds that CBD products often come in different strengths and thus the amount of CBD that works for your bestie may not work for you. “You might need to try a few strengths until you find what works for you,” he says. (Good to know!)
“Every day consistency is key,” he adds. “Rome wasn’t built in a day.” He encourages people to think of CBD as a dietary supplement and notes that it can take up to four to six weeks to “fully realize the benefits of CBD,” especially if you’re taking it to alleviate anxiety, pain, or for stress relief. “We are all unique in our needs and bodily systems. Some people experience rapid and very noticeable benefits while others notice benefits over time and daily use, which is common for many dietary supplements,” Stanley says.
The most important factor, Alpert says, is quality. There is so much variance among CBD products, and that can also impact how long it takes before you start feeling any effects. “This is where people are getting frustrated with CBD, because they’re like, ‘Well, I got a CBD gummy from my local bodega and I didn’t feel anything,’” Alpert says. Some things Alpert and Stanley say you should consider when shopping for any CBD product:
- The origin of the hemp: ”Hemp is a powerful phytoremediation crop, which means it cleans the soil, so you’ll want to find out that it’s grown using responsible farming practices in soil that is pre-tested for toxins or heavy metals,” Stanley says.
- Is the product full-spectrum? Both Stanley and Alpert recommend looking for full-spectrum products, which means that all the different compounds in the hemp—the foundation of every CBD product—work together to “further heighten [your] body’s response to CBD,” according to Stanley.
- Transparency: Look for third-party testing that shows you what’s in there, Alpert recommends. “All CBD is not created equally and it’s really important that whatever you’re buying actually has what it needs to have in order for it to be effective.” Reputable companies shouldn’t hide or obscure that info in any way.
The reality: Trial and error is the name of the game when it comes to finding the correct amount CBD that will actually work for you. With a little research, you’ll hopefully find the right amount for you that gives you the results you’re aiming for.
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What Is the Most Effective Way to Take CBD?
Americans are discovering CBD for the first time and are falling in love with its wide range of all-natural benefits. Every day, new people are experimenting with cannabidiol (CBD) for the first time and discovering the wonders of the body’s natural endocannabinoid system.
With such a huge array of CBD products available, many in our community are left wondering what the most effective method could be. Different delivery methods change how CBD is absorbed, which causes it to have different lengths of onset and duration times. The question remains: What is the best way to take CBD? Edible gummies? What about dropping it under your tongue or rubbing it on your skin?
The truth is, the best way to take CBD largely depends on you and what you’re trying to get out of it. What benefits are you looking to experience? Those looking for a solution to manage discomfort may prefer a different delivery method compared to someone using CBD to promote general wellness. Here is a breakdown of the pros and cons of the three most popular forms of CBD: Tinctures, gummies, and topicals. After an overview, we’ll explain what the most efficient method can be.
WHAT IS CBD?
CBD, or cannabidiol, is an extract found most commonly in both hemp and cannabis plants. After the Farm Bill was passed in 2018, industrial hemp that contains less than 0.3% THC on a dry weight basis was removed as a Schedule I drug by the DEA. This made CBD products legal to manufacture, distribute, and consume.
Products that are extracted from hemps, such as CBD, other cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids can be turned into a variety of bases, namely CBD oil. There are pure CBD isolates that appear in powder form, but in this guide, we’ll focus on the best way to take CBD oil.
WHAT ARE THE BEST TYPES OF CBD FORMULAS?
There are three main types of CBD: Full spectrum, broad spectrum, and isolates. Each one aims to achieve the same thing, though they’re not equal in terms of how the oil is extracted.
Full spectrum CBD relies on using the entire plant (stalk, leaves, and flower) to extract its necessary cannabinoids. Full spectrum includes the whole molecular structure, retaining all cannabinoids and plant matter, including THC.
If you were to compare full spectrum CBD to, say, an orange, the orange’s skin would constitute the plant matter and the white pith that separates the skin from the rest of the fruit would be the THC.
Broad spectrum CBD also uses the entire plant to extract its necessary cannabinoids. What differs between this and full spectrum is that during the extraction process, the molecular structure of the plant is altered slightly to remove certain cannabinoids, such as THC.
If you were to compare broad spectrum CBD to a glass of orange juice, the juice was derived from the orange but the composition was altered as the skin and pith were not included in the finished product.
CBD isolates rely solely on CBD upon extraction. Whether you use the full plant or not doesn’t really matter, because everything else is effectively removed. What you are left with is the full, concentrated amount of CBD, and only CBD.
Continuing our analogy, CBD isolates would be like a vitamin C tablet. It was derived from an orange but stripped of any defining characteristics. Similarly, while vitamin C alone can provide value to your overall wellness, it doesn’t come close to the benefits of drinking a glass of orange juice or eating an orange.
SO WHAT ARE THE BEST TYPES OF CBD?
Many believe a full spectrum CBD formula works best, as all cannabinoids and plant matter are retained upon the initial extraction.
Our full spectrum CBD, as the name suggests, uses the entire plant. We grind cultivated hemp into a coarse powder, then put it through a critical CO2 extraction process. The result is raw, crude CBD oil. Once we have the crude CBD oil we winterize it to -85C, which helps to isolate unwanted plant matter, lipids, and wax that would otherwise throw off the purity of the CBD product. After the winterization process, we apply a state-of-the-art chromatography process that filters out the majority of the THC, resulting in a refined, potent, and pure CBD oil.
Again, referencing an orange, this is the equivalent of taking an orange fruit, peeling its skin, and removing the pith. It’s nearly impossible to remove all of the pith from the fruit, so while there will still be some degree of unwanted matter in the final product, the levels are low enough to not react with our bodies. Because the THC is not completely removed, it retains the complete molecular structure that defines full spectrum CBD products.
WHAT IS THE BEST WAY TO TAKE CBD OIL?
By far, the most common and possibly the best way to take CBD oil is to take your preferred serving under the tongue. This is called sublingual consumption, and you hold the oil under your tongue for 60 to 90 seconds before swallowing. Sublingual consumption allows the CBD to absorb directly into the bloodstream, so your body doesn’t have to metabolize it through multiple systems before experiencing its effects.
CBD TINCTURES – PROS
- Easy to Use – Drop some under your tongue and hold it there for 60 seconds, or drop some into your favorite beverage or food! The small bottle easily fits in your pocket, your purse, briefcase, or backpack. What are some other clever ways to store your tinctures?
- Fast-Acting – Tinctures are great for immediate, fast-acting relief against discomfort. As soon as you dose up, there is only a 15 to 20 minute onset time before its effects are experienced throughout the body.
- Most Efficient Method of Consumption – Sublingually-administered CBD is the most direct and efficient form of CBD consumption, having the highest and fastest absorption rate of cannabidiol. This means you need less CBD to get the same results as the less-efficient delivery methods.
- Consistent Absorption – Since tinctures are not eaten, metabolizing does not occur. Therefore, tinctures possess a more-consistent absorption level than edible CBD, such as gummies.
- Best for High Dosage – Tinctures are the best way to take CBD if you’re administering large doses for people with a high tolerance or those who are taking it for specific, and often, serious complications.
CBD TINCTURES – CONS
- Easiest to Dose Incorrectly – Droppers can be tricky, and until you are familiar with a tincture, it can be hard to gauge exactly how many drops you need. Luckily, all Envy Tinctures include measurements on the dropper, making it easy to discern.
- Shorter Effects – Tinctures are one of the most efficient delivery methods of CBD. The downside to this, however, is that the effects wear off in a shorter amount of time compared to other delivery methods, like gummies.
If you are okay with waiting longer, other types of CBD oil can be an effective method. Our gummies and topicals each offer their own unique form of CBD consumption with varying onset and times to satisfy a particular need or lifestyle.
If you don’t feel like carrying a bottle of liquid around with you, or if putting a dropper under your tongue could put you in a compromising situation, the best way to take CBD comes in the form of our CBD Gummies!
CBD GUMMIES – PROS
- Easy to Consume (and Delicious) – Designed for convenience and longevity, CBD gummies are sweet, chewy morsels that come in a variety of sizes, shapes, and flavors, making them an easy and tasty way to get your daily serving of CBD.
- Easy to Dose – Gummies are also easy to dose, meaning there’s no guesswork or math for you to figure out. Our Gummies contain 10mg of full spectrum CBD per piece. This makes dosing easy as you can dial in the dose that works for you and keep that dose consistent.
- All-Around Relief – This delivery method requires the CBD to be metabolized in your liver before it is distributed throughout the bloodstream. Delivered this way, CBD will work with your endocannabinoid system in all parts of your body and brain.
- Long-Lasting – Gummies provide slow-release comfort, which makes them the best way to take CBD if you want long-lasting relief. Instead of carrying around that bottle of CBD tincture and dosing every 4 to 6 hours, simply eat a couple of gummies and continue about your day. Their effects take longer to come on, but they can last up to 12 hours after a single serving.
- Discreet – Gummies are arguably one of the most discreet ways to consume CBD. Odorless and silent, you can keep a low profile wherever you choose to dose.
CBD GUMMIES – CONS
- Slow Onset Time – Due to the gummies being eaten, a slower onset time is to be expected. Gummies must be metabolized for the CBD to be absorbed, and this time varies between 45 minutes to 2 hours for its effects to be felt. This means they are not ideal for immediate, fast-acting relief.
- Metabolism Changes – Metabolism also plays a factor. As your metabolic rate speeds up or slows down over the day, it will change the CBD absorption rate. This means you could potentially have inconsistent effects even with a consistent dose. However, common sense and routine can help mitigate this factor. If you have a relatively regular and healthy diet and eat the gummies around the same time every day, the absorption rate should be more consistent.
- Lower Dose Size – If you require higher doses of CBD for whatever reason, Gummies may not be the most effective method as its dose size per gummy is rather low. Of course, you COULD always eat more!
What if an intense sports game, sore muscles, joints, or even skin irritation began to take its toll on your overall comfort? In this case, CBD Topicals can be the best way to take CBD because they aim to relieve localized discomfort. The magic happens as our skin absorbs lotions, salves, creams, and balms normally for general wellness. Adding CBD into the equation only compounds the total benefits. Most topical products achieve some degree of moisturization, and CBD factors in a therapeutic aspect thanks to its anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties.
TOPICALS – PROS
- Easy to Use– If you’ve used lotion before, you’ll have no trouble using ours. Simply apply a generous amount to the affected area and rub those worries away!
- Discreet – Generally, topicals are pretty easy to carry along in your purse or car. In fact, they’re so easy to conceal that many of us have a few of them tucked away in the office, the bathroom, our significant other’s bathroom, and wherever else you’d imagine lotion would be.
- Direct Application – Because topicals are direct application, they’re the best way to take CBD for those that are sensitive to CBD or other cannabinoids. Instead of bombarding your whole body with CBD, you can apply it directly to the source of your discomfort. If your knee has been killing you, rub it there! If you are clearing up skin conditions you can apply it directly on your break-outs; no need to treat your entire body.
- Emollients –When you use Envy CBD topicals, you are not just getting the benefits of CBD but also the benefits of our unique, moisturizing emollient blend. The vitamins contained in both our Body Lotion and Face Cream help to nourish and moisturize the skin while the CBD performs its magic. It’s the best of both worlds!
TOPICALS – CONS
- Low Absorption Rate – While CBD does get absorbed through the skin barrier, the rate is significantly lower than other types of CBD delivery methods. This means you need to use more CBD to yield the same results.
- Difficult to Dose – While you know how much CBD is contained in a full container, it is hard to say exactly how much CBD is in a dollop of the cream.
- Not Ideal for Mental/Psychological Conditions – Due to the lower absorption rate and direct application, topicals are not the ideal method of CBD application for those looking to alleviate mental and/or psychological conditions such as insomnia.
- Not Ideal for Higher Dosage – If you have a naturally high tolerance to CBD, this is not going to be your preferred method, again due to needing more CBD to yield the same results.
By and large, CBD Tinctures are the best way to take CBD because of convenience. It takes less than 10 seconds to open the bottle and drop some liquid under your tongue. Once swallowed, its effects come on within a matter of minutes and its effects last for several hours. Who can argue with that?
DO GUMMIES, TINCTURES, AND TOPICALS HAVE THE SAME CHARACTERISTICS?
While CBD tinctures, topicals, and gummies all aim to achieve the same thing, these types of CBD delivery characteristics are different due to something called bioavailability. Bioavailability is defined as the process in which our bodies take in new compounds and distribute the contents across the bloodstream before being filtered out as waste.
Typically, CBD itself is a hydrophobic compound, meaning it does not react well to water. Because our bodies are largely composed of water, CBD must be bound to a carrier liquid to increase bioavailability. Whether these carrier liquids are MCT oil, coconut oil, or even ActivAloe, binding CBD with these fat-based oils increases the rate that our bodies can take in the CBD and increases the duration that it stays in the body before being filtered out.
Regarding the CBD bioavailability by product type, the breakdown is as follows:
- Oral Consumption (Gummies): 6% – 15%
- Sublingual Consumption (Tinctures): 34 – 46%
- Vaporized Consumption (Vape): 40%
- Transdermal Consumption (Topicals): 45%
Given the bioavailability of each product type, the lines can be drawn on their different characteristics. For example, CBD gummies differ from CBD tinctures because of their relatively low bioavailability. This low percentage is caused by the loss of nutrients upon digestion. When you eat or drink anything, the material must first pass through the stomach, where enzymes strip some of the matter away. After that, they pass through the intestines, where more is lost, before finally passing through the liver where the remainder is broken down and distributed throughout the bloodstream.
At the same time, however, despite the loss in bioavailability, a compound like CBD that passes through two systems before it is distributed allows for a more potent effect that stays in your system for a longer period.
HOW LONG DOES EACH METHOD TAKE TO KICK IN?
As we’ve mentioned, the types of CBD product you use will determine how long it takes for the cannabidiol to take effect, and, given the bioavailabilities of each type, you can expect different onset and duration times for each. The best way to take CBD will depend on your own preferences and needs.
- Initial Onset: 15 to 20 minutes.
- Duration: 4 to 6 hours.
- Suggested Use: Drop desired serving under the tongue to achieve whole-body wellness.
- Initial Onset: 1 hour.
- Duration: 4 to 6 hours.
- Suggested Use: Apply directly to the skin for general wellness or localized issues.
- Initial Onset: 45 minutes to 2 hours.
- Duration: 6 to 12 hours.
- Suggested Use: Take as needed before or after meals.
THE BOTTOM LINE
In conclusion, we still can’t help recommending sublingual consumption as the best way to take CBD oil. Fast-acting and powerful, it’s a potent way to get your daily serving of cannabidiol without feeling the psychoactive effects from THC or wasting your time with a large serving.
Overall, tinctures are the most cost-effective way to incorporate CBD into your daily wellness routine – with the highest bioavailability, low onset time, and average longevity of its effects, you absorb the most cannabidiol possible instead of wasting product. The great thing about Envy CBD products, particularly our CBD tinctures is they are flavored, making the entire journey to wellness enjoyable at the very least. Enjoy!