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The Timeliness of CBD Oil Part 1

Talk About It Tuesday Blog Series: The Timeliness of CBD Oil Part 1  

One question I hear very frequently from people new to CBD is, how long does it take to work?  This is an important question and it’s natural to want to know when the desired effect will begin after the dose has been administered.  The short answer is it varies.  To deliver the benefits, CBD must first be absorbed into our bloodstream, and the pertinent question is how quickly does that occur?  The main factors involved in answering this question are the CBD quality, body specificity, and the bioavailability of the CBD in connection with the intake method.  Let’s take a look at each.

CBD Quality

Taking low quality CBD products can dramatically reduce your bodies level of absorption and how quickly it takes effect.  There can be a variety of reason why this is the case including if:

  • The product contains harmful ingredients such as harsh chemicals, fillers, or genetically modified ingredients
  • The product is expired or damaged in the extraction process in some way
  • The product contains low quality ingredients
  • The product is created from hemp that has  bio-accumulated unhealthy soil contaminants.

Remember, all CBD is not created equal.  There are definite low quality and high products on the market so it is important for consumers to do their research and ensure that any CBD they consume has been 3rd party tested.

Body Specificity

No two people have the exact same body composition, size, health factors, etc.  Thus, it stands to say that no two people will react in the same way to CBD, even if they take the exact same dose via the exact same method.  Two of the most common body factors are:

Body Mass – the larger your body mass the more CBD it will take to feel the desired effect.

Metabolic Rate – this is the rate at which your body is able to break down compounds to use as energy.  The quicker your metabolism the quicker CBD will be absorbed and used in your body.

CBD Methods/Bioavailability

First, let’s consider the different methods CBD can be taken because they play a part in determining the rate at which your CBD takes effect.

There are 4 general ways you can dose with CBD:

  1. Sublingual: CBD oil placed under tongue and absorbed, e.g. tincture oils
  2. Topical: CBD applied and absorbed through the skin, e.g. creams and lotions
  3. Oral: CBD swallowed via mouth, e.g. edibles, soft gels
  4. Pulmonary: CBD absorbed through the lungs, e.g. vape oils

Based on these 4 methods, many different CBD products are available with each having a different duration of when the CBD benefits are felt.  The amount of CBD and the dosing method determine the level of absorption and thus the rate at which the CBD works.  The concept of how much CBD is absorbed is known as Bioavailability.  Now let’s take a look at how quickly CBD works when used with the 4 different application methods.


CBD products taken sublingually (under the tongue) are held for up to 30 seconds in the mouth before being swallowed. This allows CBD to be absorbed quickly through the mucous membranes in the mouth, while bypassing the digestive system and metabolization process of the liver.  This speeds up how quickly the CBD enters the bloodstream and interacts with the endocannabinoid system.

Duration: 10-30min


CBD products applied externally on the skin interact with the cells on the skin surface without entering the bloodstream.  This allows for topical applications to be focused where they are needed most without having to wait for the cannabinoids to travel through the body to the bloodstream.  Applying multiple applications to the skin can increase the rate of absorption.

Duration: 20-45min


CBD taken orally passes through the digestive system and is metabolized by the liver, the same way a daily vitamin supplement would be processed.  Excess CBD consumed orally is stored in fat cells and can be released gradually over time if enough is consumed.  This makes it a very effective way to help certain chronic conditions even though it doesn’t provide the highest level of bioavailability. CBD taken orally on an empty stomach in general will be absorbed quicker than if taken on an full stomach.

Duration: 30-60min


CBD absorbed through the lungs via vaporization is the quickest method of absorption and allows for the benefits to be felt the soonest.  This is because CBD enters the blood and crosses the blood-brain barrier while bypassing the first-pass effect.  The first-pass effect describes the metabolism of compounds in the liver and other digestive processes, which causes a  portion of medicine consumed orally to be broken down into unusable components and limits the bioavailability.

Duration: 5-10min


Duration and Rate Chart

Method Effect Duration Absorption Rate
Oral 30-60min Slow
Topical 20-45min Average
Sublingual 10-30min Fast
Inhalation 5-10min Very fast

In summary, it really does depend on many factors as to how quickly CBD will work.  It is important to experiment with different methods to see what works best for your body.  Be consistent with the dose level you use and slowly titrate up until you reach the desired effect.  Doing this will allow you to receive the greatest benefit from your CBD.


Golden Legacy CBD Owner

We are Jason and Hannah,

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