How Long Does it Take for CBD Oil to Work?

How Long Does it Take for CBD Oil to Work?

Reprinted with kind permission of Elixinol

by Dr. Philip Blair, MD

Individual response to cannabidiol (CBD) is just that: completely individual from one person to the next. So how long does it take for CBD oil to work? Do some people respond more quickly than others?

The short answer is, it depends on the person, the product, and the method of consumption. (Remember, CBD from industrial hemp is non-intoxicating, so it doesn’t create a “high” when it’s consumed.)

What’s more, a group of individuals consuming the same CBD oil product might all report completely different experiences from one person to the next. How is this possible?

Take a look at this video where I observe several patients sampling Hemp Extract Liposomes for the first time. Notice that each person has a different experience.


Just as each human is as individual as a fingerprint, our bodies–and ECS–all have unique needs.

Nourishing The Endocannabinoid System

The endocannabinoid system (ECS) is a network of receptors, transport molecules, ligands, and enzymes in the bodies of humans and many animals, including dogs. It serves as a master regulator for the entire body, and it helps to support various organ systems.

The ECS wasn’t discovered until 1992. Since then, research has determined that its role in the body is to help maintain homeostasis, which helps us adapt to external stressors. The problem is, in our modern world, most of us have a starving or overstressed ECS that gets out of balance. In other words, we may not be consuming enough cannabinoids in our diets, if we’re getting them at all.

What is CBD’s Role in the Endocannabinoid System?

CBD relates to the ECS by restoring, bolstering, and balancing the endocannabinoids. When we consume CBD, we’re simply replenishing the cannabinoids needed for our ECS to thrive. In other words, we’re raising the levels of substances that our ECS naturally produces.

CBD oil may also alleviate temporary anxiety, inflammation, and mood swings. Some people say that they notice a healthier glow when consuming CBD oil, and other people simply report feeling more like themselves. Others notice a decrease in their levels of nervousness and sleeplessness.

One of the beauties of CBD is its ability to adapt to each situation. It’s like a Boy Scout: always doing the right thing at the right time and in the right place. It’s the smartest molecule in the world.

By supporting the ECS, we can address a wider range of physical and emotional stress with a healthy response to get back to normal quickly. When our bodies are in homeostasis, we’re more likely to notice a sense of well-being, energy, and focus.

How Should I Take CBD For The Fastest Results?

The method of delivery is one of the biggest determining factors in how long it will take CBD oil to work. Many people take CBD oil orally (tinctures, liposomes, X-Pen, or by drinking CBD water) or in a capsule. Other people prefer to apply their CBD topically in a lip balm or a formula like our Hemp Balm, Respira, or Liposomes. Some people even use oral tinctures directly on areas of the body experiencing temporary inflammation.

Each method of consumption comes with different levels of bioavailability. So what does that mean? And how long does it take for CBD oil to work in each instance?

Bioavailability means how much of a dietary supplement serving absorbs into your body (usually just a fraction of the full amount you ingest). It’s the measure of the serving that reaches the bloodstream.

Some CBD oil products have higher bioavailability than others. We recommend always choosing a full-spectrum CBD oil that has been extracted through a non-toxic method like supercritical CO2 extraction. This ensures:

  • All the cannabinoids, terpenes, phytonutrients, antioxidants, and flavonoids that naturally occur in hemp have been preserved in a clean extract
  • Higher purity and potency in the final CBD product

When Does CBD Get Into the Bloodstream?

Different products deliver CBD to the bloodstream at different rates. Let’s dig into the differences among common methods of delivery.

Sublingual Delivery

Method: Hemp Oil Liposomes
Time to bloodstream: approx. 2 minutes

Place 5 pumps of Liposomes onto your tongue and swish in your mouth for about two minutes. Allow the CBD to make contact with the entire inside of your mouth before you swallow.

Method: CBD Oil Tinctures
Time to bloodstream: approx. 2 minutes

Place a serving of Natural or Cinnamint tincture on your tongue and swish it around in your mouth for two minutes. Let the oil come in contact with your tongue, cheeks, and the area beneath the tongue before swallowing.

Oral Delivery

Method: CBD Oil Tinctures
Time to bloodstream: approx. 20 minutes

Swallowing CBD tinctures, rather than swishing them in your mouth, means the cannabinoids are absorbed in your digestive tract. This method of absorption takes a bit longer than sublingual delivery. The added mix of MCT oils gets absorbed into the intestinal lymphatics, which may concentrate the amount of CBD on the immune cells.

Method: CBD Capsules
Time to bloodstream: approx. 1 hour

This method of consuming CBD works more slowly because, instead of absorbing through the mucous membranes in your mouth, the CBD must pass through your liver and digestive system. Take CBD capsules with fatty food, which cause the CBD to enter lymphatics, concentrate there on the immune cells, and bypass liver detox.

The upside to taking a CBD pill is that the effects can last much longer than oil or tincture delivery–possibly as long as twelve hours, according to my observations.

Topical Delivery

Method: Hemp Balm, Respira, Liposomes
Time to bloodstream: no CBD levels in the blood with topical application

Topical CBD delivery works differently, in that you won’t get blood levels of CBD. Instead, the CBD molecules are signaling locally to give you fast relief of temporary inflammation, right where you applied the topical. People may feel a difference within about 5 minutes.

You can apply Hemp Balm, Respira, or Hemp Oil Liposomes to your skin for localized relief. Sensitive individuals who are unable to take CBD orally may find that topical application works well for them.

Choose a CBD topical cream that includes inflammation-fighting essential oils like wintergreen or copaiba to get the most out of your topical CBD experience.

Choose the CBD That Works Best for Your Lifestyle

In the end, the type of CBD you choose, and how long it takes for CBD oil to work, depends entirely on you. CBD experiences may vary, depending upon your lifestyle, activity, and nutrition. Choose whichever form of CBD delivery best fits with your lifestyle and health needs.

What proper serving sizes look like for you may not be exactly what your neighbor needs. There are no known negative effects of consuming CBD products and, according to the World Health Organization, CBD has a very good safety profile.