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How Long Does CBD Take to Work? When Will I Feel The Benefits?

Cannabidiol (CBD) is the natural health and wellness supplement that everyone is talking about, and millions across the UK are incorporating it into their daily routines. Unfortunately, the surge in CBD’s popularity has led to an influx of poor-quality products because the industry is largely unregulated. Rather than seeing this as a problem, it presents an opportunity for consumers to conduct their own research and ensure they know how to maximize the potential benefits of CBD.

Before you get started with CBD then, it’s important to find out how CBD works, what conditions it can help with, how to get your dosage right, and which factors will impact the effectiveness of your dose. This article will also explain the nuanced factors influencing the onset and duration of CBD’s effects, starting with an explanation of the body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS) and how this influences how CBD works.

CBD is one of over 100 cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant. Unlike its well-known counterpart, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), CBD does not produce psychoactive effects. Instead, it interacts with the endocannabinoid system (ECS), a complex network of receptors and neurotransmitters that play a crucial role in maintaining homeostasis, and regulates a number of our physiological processes including sleep, mood, memory and appetite.

The endocannabinoid system was originally discovered in the early 1990s when researchers were investigating THC.

These are cannabinoids produced by your body. The two most important ones are anandamide (AEA) and 2-arachidonoylglyerol (2-AG).

Found throughout the body, endocannabinoids bind to receptors. The two main types are CB1 receptors (found predominantly in the central nervous system) and CB2 receptors (found in the peripheral nervous system).

The activation of these receptors triggers a cascade of events that can modulate various physiological processes, contributing to CBD’s potential therapeutic effects.

Endocannabinoids can bind to either type of receptor to produce a result that is dependent on the location of the receptor and the type of endocannabinoid.

Enzymes break down the endocannabinoids once they have fulfilled their function. The fatty acid amide hydrolase enzyme breaks down AEA, while the monoacylglycerol acid lipase enzyme breaks down 2-AG.

Based on the available research, the ECS contributes to homeostasis because it is linked to appetite and digestion, metabolism, pain and inflammation, mood, sleep, motor control, cardiovascular health, muscle formation, learning and memory, bone health, liver function, reproductive health, stress and skin function.

CBD is different to THC as it doesn’t bind to CB1 or CB2 receptors in the same way. Instead, CBD may inhibit the work of the enzymes that break down naturally occurring cannabinoids (endocannabinoids), to support the health and function of receptors throughout the endocannabinoid system, and promote homeostasis.

Endocannabinoid system, image courtesy of Harvard Health Publishing (2021).

Because everyone is different, CBD has a slightly different effect on different people and so finding the right dose might take some time and experimentation. But there are some other factors to consider that contribute to the compound’s absorption and effects.

The amount of CBD you take plays a pivotal role in how quick CBD works. Higher doses may lead to a more pronounced and rapid response, while lower doses might necessitate more time for the effects to become noticeable. Getting the right dosage can be confusing because almost every company has different recommendations. At Purity Hemp we take a science-backed approach to dosage, to help you get it right off the bat.

  • CBD Oil: If you’re new to CBD, start small. Place two to three drops of CBD under your tongue, hold for between thirty seconds and a minute, and swallow. You should then wait for at least half an hour to assess your body’s reaction to CBD. The effects are usually felt within 5 to 20 minutes.

  • CBD Gummies: Like with CBD oil, we recommend starting small with one to two gummies, then waiting 30 minutes to feel the effects of the CBD before consuming more. At Purity Hemp, one CBD dome is the equivalent of 5mg of CBD, and the effects are felt within 30 to 90 minutes.

  • Aim for consistency in timing and frequency; set calendar reminders so you can consume the same amount of CBD at the same time each day to help your body get into a natural rhythm.
  • Some people may find that a low dose of CBD boosts alertness, and a larger dose may be more calming or sedating.
  • Listen to your body and note how your body feels to get an idea of how your body is responding to the dose.
  • Follow the UK government recommendations, which are set at a maximum of 70 milligrams of CBD oil per day.

The method of CBD administration significantly impacts how quickly it takes effect. Inhalation methods, such as smoking or vaping, often provide the fastest onset, with effects felt within minutes. Sublingual administration, where CBD is placed under the tongue, is also quick. On the other hand, oral ingestion, such as through capsules or edibles, may take longer due to the digestive process.

You won’t get the benefits of CBD if you aren’t using high-quality CBD from a reputable brand. Many people, especially if you are using CBD for the first time, assume that a higher-priced product means that you’re getting a good quality product. Unfortunately, many companies are selling low-quality products that contain little to no CBD (and may even contain harmful ingredients) at a high price point. There are several studies that have investigated these discrepancies with one from Penn State University finding that close to 70% of cannabidiol extracts are mislabelled. More recently, a California company found incredibly high levels of dangerous chemicals and misleading labels, and forensic toxicologists from Virginia Commonwealth University identified the addictive compound dextromethorphan and Spice (a potentially dangerous synthetic cannabinoid) in several of the ‘pure’ CBD extracts that they tested.

In addition to the many different types of CBD products available on the market, there is also the added confusion of different CBD concentrations. It’s important to take into account the concentration of the CBD that you are using to ensure that you take the right amount.

CBD strength is based on the concentration of CBD in the product, which is measured in milligrams (mg) per millilitre (ml) or as a percentage of the total product. This is calculated by dividing the total amount of CBD by the total volume of the product. For example, if a CBD oil contains 1000mg of CBD in a 10ml bottle, the strength of the tincture would be 10%. This would be different to 1000mg in a 20ml bottle, which would be 5% concentration despite containing the same amount of CBD.

The more concentrated the CBD, the less you need to take.

The effect of CBD will also be impacted by your individual body chemistry. Factors such as age, weight, metabolism, existing medical conditions and overall health can contribute to substantial variations in the onset of effects.

The type of CBD you choose will have an impact on the benefits you experience because dosage is not the same as intake. Bioavailability is the degree and rate at which CBD is absorbed into the bloodstream and determines how much of the dose is absorbed and able to have an effect. The bioavailability of your CBD depends on the concentration of the CBD and the consumption method used.

CBD oil has sublingual bioavailability of 13% – 19% (possibly even up to 35%). This is significantly higher than other methods as the CBD is held beneath your tongue for at least 30 seconds. It can then be absorbed by the sublingual gland and into the bloodstream. This method is more direct and therefore impacts the body quicker and offers higher availability.

CBD gummies, in comparison, are subject to the body’s digestive and metabolic systems which break down and filter out some of the CBD, reducing its bioavailability. Research shows that the bioavailability of oral consumption methods is somewhere between 4% and 20%.

Many people feel the benefits of CBD the very first time they try it. But if you don’t, the good news is that it’s a learning process. Every person is different and finding the right dose might be a process of trial and error. It’s best to start small and increase the dosage incrementally until you find the right level, taking into account the type and concentration of the CBD you are using. Keep in mind though, that if you’re not using a high-quality product, you won’t experience the benefits of CBD at all, which might lead you to conclude, incorrectly, that CBD itself is not effective.

CBD is linked to a large number of wellness-supporting benefits. While there is still more research needed, initial studies show promising results, and anecdotal evidence points towards the benefit of using CBD to improve your physical and mental health.

CBD may impact the way receptors in your brain respond to serotonin and may help those with social anxiety and PTSD. Animal studies have linked CBD to lowering anxiety by reducing stress, regulating heart rate, helping with PTSD and improving sleep quality.

Pain relief is one of the primary reasons people turn to CBD. This is, in part, because it is thought that CBD can increase the body’s levels of anandamide, a compound associated with regulating pain which can reduce pain perception. A 2017 review of studies concluded that, in adults with chronic pain, patients who were treated with cannabis or cannabinoids are more likely to experience a clinically significant reduction in pain symptoms.

Pain often treated with CBD includes muscle pain, joint pain (such as arthritis), and nerve pain.

CBD may help with seizure disorders, with research supported by The American Epilepsy Society and the New York University Langone Medical Center showing promising results. Learn more about CBD for Seizures and Epilepsy here.

There is ongoing research into the ability of CBD to help with neurodegenerative disorders including Alzheimer’s (and dementia), multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s and strokes. This is because CBD is linked to reducing free radical damage and inflammation to protect brain cells and help grow new ones (neurogenesis).

According to the American Society for Clinical Investigation, CBD may help to lower high blood pressure by regulating anxiety, as well as providing anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits. Read our full guide on Does CBD Lower Blood Pressure? here.

In addition, CBD may help with treating acne by reducing the production of sebum which can lead to acne. It may also play a supporting role in cancer treatment as it can alleviate symptoms and reduce the side effects of treatment.

If you’re considering using CBD, there are some final factors to keep in mind when choosing a product.

  • Medications: CBD has the potential to interact with certain medications, so it’s important to consult with a healthcare professional before taking CBD.
  • Type of CBD: Broad-spectrum CBD is a great option for those who want to experience the effects of CBD without consuming THC, the psychoactive compound in the cannabis plant. Clinical reports suggest that broad or full-spectrum CBD may have a better effect due to the number of cannabinoids and other plant compounds they contain that work together, otherwise known as the entourage effect
  • Type of Product: CBD products come in various forms, such as oilstopicals, capsules, edibles, and vape pens. Choose a delivery method and dosage that suits your needs. 
  • Dosage: Finding the right dose and administration method can be a trial-and-error process as results can vary significantly from person to person. Start with a low dose and gradually increase it while monitoring its effects.
  • Source and Quality: Choose CBD derived from organically grown hemp, as this ensures minimal exposure to harmful chemicals. You should also look for third-party laboratory reports to verify how pure and potent your product is, and to ensure there are no contaminants.
  • Individual Variability: The effectiveness of CBD may vary from person to person; what works for one individual may not work for another.

Need additional help? Take our CBD Quiz for product recommendations in minutes, or read our full guides on How to Choose the Right CBD Product and The Different Types of CBD

We are Purity Hemp, the UK’s #1 Online CBD provider. Backed by science, and built on the principles of traceability, transparency & trust, we are dedicated to improving the health & wellness of people around the world. We are proud to be one of the only companies to guarantee full traceability from seed to shelf with our premium range of CBD products, tested by third-party, independent quality control analysts.

Date Uploaded: August 24, 2020
Last Updated: January 10, 2024

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Directions for Use:

  • Shake well before use
  • Add dose directly to your pet’s food, stirring it in if necessary
  • Use up to twice daily – (See dosage table for guidelines)
  • Store in a cool dry place out of direct sunlight

Weight of Pet Regular Dosage Strong Dosage
Up to 20lbs/9kg 1 to 4 drops 4 to 8 drops
20 to 40lbs/9-18kg 2 to 8 drops 8 to 16 drops
Over 40lbs/18kg 4 to 20 drops 16 to 40 drops

Contains Zero THC, chlorophyll free

*This product is sold for use by pets only, as it contains CBD Isolate.

We recommend discussing the use of CBD with a qualified vet, especially if your pet is pregnant or nursing a litter.

Keep out of sight or reach of children.