So what is the benchmark for assessing; how long it takes for CBD to work, the effects of CBD, how long CBD lasts and other factors that affect absorption?
Find out what we know from recent scientific research so you can enter your journey armed with the knowledge you need to make the most out of your CBD experience.
In This Article
Not all CBD is the same. Each variation of CBD product available will differ based on their level of cannabinoid content, additional compounds and the extraction methods used.
It is important to understand that many variables come into play to manufacture CBD extracts. Take note of this, as the substantial differences in formulation can potentially alter the consumer experience.
The three main CBD types you will likely come across are listed as follows. None of these types of CBD are necessarily better than the other.
CBD Isolate is an isolated form of cannabidiol. It is the purest form of CBD, since it does not contain any other cannabinoids from the hemp plant, including the psychoactive constituent called THC (tetrahydrocannabinol).
The plant’s compounds (including THC) are thoroughly removed during processing, except for CBD, which is extracted through an extensive process. This makes CBD Isolate a great choice if you want to avoid THC altogether.
High quality CBD Isolate products are usually over 99% pure. This type is commonly used therefore by people who have to undergo drug testing (although there is a slight possibility that small traces of THC may still show up).
A big benefit with CBD Isolate is that they are normally flavourless and odourless products, meaning you can maintain the potency of CBD even when added with other substances, e.g. taken as a capsule with food.
Full Spectrum CBD contains all compounds that the hemp plant naturally produces, including CBD and other minor cannabinoids, such as; CBN (cannabinol), CBC (cannabichromene), CBG (cannabigerol), terpenes and flavonoids. Notably, a small dose of up to 0.3% THC is not filtered out in the extraction process.
Some people will prefer to take this type due to the “entourage” effect theory.
This theory claims that taking CBD and THC together, along with other cannabis compounds, bolster each other and significantly increase the activity of our receptors than taking CBD alone.
These receptors interact with our Endocannabinoid System (ECS), and play a crucial role in supporting many of our body processes, such as our immune function, sleep cycles, stress response, muscle soreness, mood, and more.
While Full Spectrum products do contain levels of THC, it will not produce any unwanted “high” feeling.
There is a minimal amount of research into the “entourage” effect, however, and there is no clear answer on which specific type of CBD may benefit a particular health condition.
Broad Spectrum CBD falls somewhere in between CBD Isolate and Full Spectrum CBD. This type filters out all traces of THC (although some products will contain trace quantities), but will produce some heightened effects because of the additional compounds and other minor cannabinoids that work together.
The inclusion of multiple compounds is mainly to try and enhance the synergistic effects of CBD products, or to experience some of the “entourage” effect without having to take any amount of THC.
The time it takes for the effects of CBD to kick in depends on several factors:
- Method of Consumption (inc. dosage)
- Individual Physiology
- CBD Product Quality
- Type, or Formulation of CBD
Your chosen method of consumption greatly impacts how CBD affects you and the speed of absorption into the bloodstream:
1 to 2 hours to take effect
(NextEvo’s Premium Pure Extra Strength Capsules are clinically proven to be 4x better at absorption than oil-based formulations, and fast-acting so they are in your system in as little as 10 minutes.)
Vape Products (i.e. dried flower, vape oils, e-liquids)
Within 5 minutes
Topicals (i.e. lotions, moisturizers, bath bombs, patches)
10 to 20 minutes to take effect
(CBD topicals are the only product not intended for consumption and are applied to the skin. This means the CBD won’t enter the bloodstream, hence the topical effects are focal. It is not uncommon for these to provide a cooling effect almost instantly. You may need to allow time to feel it work.
Edibles (i.e. gummies, baked goods, drinks)
30 to 45 minutes to take effect
Many products on the market today are oil-based formulations (lipid-soluble) that aren’t all that compatible with how your body absorbs various substances and ingredients.
The key challenge with any formulation is that CBD is a lipophilic substance that doesn’t mix with water. For CBD to be effective, it must be highly absorbable through cell walls and made of ingredients that can easily be absorbed into the bloodstream. As a result, a large amount of oil-based CBD formulas (up to 95%) is flushed directly from the body through normal digestion. Read more about CBD absorption here.
A 2020 study by Colorado State University measured the time it took for various CBD formulations to work. Whereas it took the tincture and powder suspension over 3 hours to reach maximum concentration, the water-dispersible emulsion achieved “Tmax” in 0.7 hours. That would suggest that water-based emulsions, such as NextEvo’s SmartSorb solution, can increase bioavailability and speed up the time it takes to be impactful.
While you may think taking a higher amount of CBD will allow it to work faster, this is actually false. Excessive dosing will not speed up the product’s effects.
High dosage will, however, impact how long CBD stays in your system. Read more on this here.
CBD - like all cannabinoids - are biphasic. In pharmacology, this means there is a negative correlation between dose and potency - as dose increases, effectiveness eventually decreases. Too little CBD can be just as ineffective as too much.
Suggested Use & Supplement Facts for NextEvo’s Premium Pure
Every CBD product will have recommended serving guidelines. The amount you take will depend on factors such as body weight and unique tolerances. Furthermore, whether the CBD you purchase is a lipid-soluble formulation can have a big impact on the bioavailability of the product. Water-based emulsions have been shown to be more fully absorbed, meaning that more of the CBD actually enters your body, so you can take less and actually have more CBD present.
Most products on the market today are not formulated with our bodies in mind and fail to account for the body’s ability to absorb certain ingredients better than others. CBD is a lipophilic molecule that needs emulsifiers for your body to be able to absorb it more effectively and make it more bioavailable.
Anyone taking CBD for the first time should start with a low dosage and work their way up. Everyone’s bodies and tolerances are different and you may find your ideal dose through some gradual experimentation.
Exceeding any suggested dosage of CBD may accidentally build up to an intolerance or risk of adverse effects. This may force you to take a break from using CBD and eventually start again on a low dose to allow your CBD tolerance to reset.
As with any dietary supplement, contact your healthcare professional before using CBD and take only as directed.
You may have a naturally low or high tolerance to certain CBD products. Each person’s ECS is unique, and these are some of the factors that can affect the speed of absorption into the bloodstream:
- Biological Sex
- High/Low Tolerance
Body mass may play an important role. A larger fat-free mass contributes to a faster time to maximum concentration, largely because of the correlation between fat-free mass and blood volume. In those oil-based formulations that were absorbed more slowly, a person’s body size and composition exerted an even greater influence on how long it takes CBD to work.
This approach is supported by scientific research on other lipophilic molecules such as Coenzyme Q10 and Vitamins D and E, both of which suffer from poor bioavailability despite being naturally present in our diet and in our body’s cells themselves. The study in question found that the bioavailability of water-soluble Coenzyme Q10 was 2.4 times higher than standard capsules.
As not all CBD products are the same (and everyone’s bodies are different), some products may take longer for your body to metabolize than others.
In 2021, researchers from Colorado State University published a review where they found that CBD that had been mixed with food-grade emulsifiers to become water-dispersible (NextEvo’s formulation) can be absorbed within 10 minutes.
We took this rigorous scientific research into consideration when developing our SmartSorb product technology to improve the bioavailability of CBD and allow it to work faster.
With no current manufacturing or labeling standards in place, the CBD market is teeming with products that are either untested, underdosed, contain ingredients with poor bioavailability, or simply ineffective.
You should always purchase well-sourced and third-party tested products made by trusted and reputable companies. When looking at the quality, ask yourself the following questions:
- How has the product been sourced?
- What is the extraction process?
- What is the formula? (CBD Isolate, Full Spectrum, Broad Spectrum)
- What do the customer reviews say?
- Where has the product been tested?
- Is there paperwork & data? Such as a Certificate of Analysis?
It is essential to look at the research and science behind the product you’re considering.
Our proprietary technology creates pure refined 100% THC-free CBD Isolate products, made from naturally-derived ingredients. Our company is built on years of breakthrough CBD science and research, and we work with experts to develop products that amplify CBD absorption to make it more usable by your body. We test every batch of our CBD by our own independent labs throughout production to ensure unsurpassed purity and potency.
Although CBD performs well as a regular daily supplement to support long-term well-being, there are times you want the rapid effect. For example, you may want to act quickly to support calmness and focus before a work presentation or interview, remain active during a workout or help ease your mind before sleep when the clock is ticking.
A Sense of Peace
|Relaxation - Calmness - Balance (Homeostasis) - Balances Stress Behaviors|
Muscle Soreness Relief
|Reduced Exercise-induced Inflammation - Helps reduce Workout Aches & Discomfort, etc|
|Allows Better Sleep Cycle - Less Sleeping Difficulties - Settles Chaotic Thoughts|
Boost Energy & Focus
|Increased Concentration on Important Tasks - Improved Mood & Motivation|
|Further research is needed, but there are claims that CBD may be effective in Neurological Health|
The effects of CBD can vary substantially depending on your body and brain’s immediate state.
CBD acts as an adaptogenic, also referred to as “adaptogens,” which is “defined as agents that support the body’s ability to accommodate varying physical and emotional stresses” to influence more of what your body needs while promoting overall health and wellness.
Because of the way CBD interacts naturally with the body’s own endocannabinoid system, there is no “lightning strike” of sensation and no psychoactive effects or “high”.
Rather, CBD affects the body in much the same way as vitamins or health supplements, complementing and enhancing mechanisms already at work in the nervous system and immune system.
By binding to CB1 and CB2 receptors in the brain and central nervous system, CBD is thought to inhibit or moderate the effects of various neurotransmitters and proteins that influence sleep patterns, stress responses, and more.
For example, cannabinoids are thought to have the potential to affect normal inhibitory pathways, delivering an analgesic effect rather than a stimulating sensation. In other words, much of the focus with CBD is on what the user doesn’t feel rather than what they do.
CBD’s adaptogenic properties can differ, depending on your body’s needs. For instance, if your brain is always active you may notice a clearer head and more energy throughout a busy day.
You can reverse those effects, with many people using CBD as a sleep support for occasional sleeplessness or for general relaxation during inactive periods.
You may be less likely to experience that habitual stressful and worried feeling that can creep up on you during your workday, or the swelling and soreness that’s often triggered after increased physical activity.
You will not experience any physical or mental impairment, the likes of what THC produces.
Although uncommon, CBD products can cause some negative side effects - especially if taken at high dosage. Fortunately, these are mild compared to many prescription medicines. Side effects can include:
- Dry Mouth
- Reduced Appetite
- Inflamed Liver
- Dangerous Drug Interactions
The duration that CBD remains in your system also depends on a few factors:
- Dosage - the higher the dose you take in, the more time your body will need to eliminate it. A 1991 study demonstrated this after regularly administering subjects with 700mg of CBD.
- Metabolism - how quickly your body breaks down and gets rid of any remaining CBD.
- Tolerance - you may have a naturally high or low tolerance to CBD.
- Body Weight - Body size and lean mass are significant factors in how fast CBD is absorbed and how long CBD remains in the bloodstream.
People with higher lean mass may have higher blood circulation and volume, which dilutes the concentration of CBD. On the other hand, since CBD is lipid-soluble, people with higher fat mass tend to accumulate CBD in the body’s fat tissue, allowing the CBD to remain in the system longer.
In either case, the 2020 Colorado State University study established that the emulsion-based CBD preparation recorded the fastest time to maximum concentration.
Beyond the study in question, the terminal half life of CBD in the body varies enormously, ranging from 6 to 32 hours.
However, research suggests that water-dispersible CBD lasts longer and is absorbed more readily into the body. In another study in 2020 funded by the American Society for Microbiology, water-soluble CBD was found to be 4.5 times more bioavailable than the lipid-soluble form, with a time to maximum concentration of 90 minutes.
On the above evidence, there are limitations on establishing a magic number for how quickly CBD works and how long it lasts. But there is solid research that points to the preparation itself as a crucial factor in effectiveness and what to expect when you consume CBD.
Frontiers in Pharmacology - “A Systematic Review on the Pharmacokinetics of Cannabidiol in Humans”
Harvard Health Publishing - Cannabidiol (CBD) — what we know and what we don’t
Harvard Health Publishing - CBD products are everywhere. But do they work?
International Journal of Molecular Sciences - “Cannabis, the Endocannabinoid System and Immunity—The Journey from the Bedside to the Bench and Back”
Northwestern Medicine - What Research Says About CBD Oil.
Rambam Maimonides Medical Journal - “The Endocannabinoid System, Cannabinoids, and Pain”