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How Fast Does CBD Work?

How Fast Does CBD Work?

Published by David Nadel on Jan 06, 2021

If there’s one thing that we want to happen when we take CBD, it’s that we want the compounds we are consuming to make their way into our bodies quickly so that we can reap the full effects of these fascinating chemical properties. The absorption of CBD into the body is widely misunderstood but understanding it comprehensively can give us greater insight into how to arrange our hemp routines in order to reap the most rewards and have the most fulfilling experience possible.

Do All Forms of CBD Work the Same?

One thing that complicates matters is the fact that different administration methods utilize different processes of absorption into the bodily system. For instance, consuming CBD in the form of a tincture absorbs into the body using a totally different mechanism compared to vaping CBD. And, the way in which CBD absorbs can determine so much more than how quickly it actually takes effect.

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Hemp and Bioavailability: Why These Compounds are So Unique

One of the things that is so fascinating about the compounds in hemp, such as the cannabinoids, the terpenes and the flavonoids, is that they are extremely bioavailable. This is basically a fancy word meaning that these compounds naturally absorb into the body with ease, as long as you are administering them to yourself properly. So, it is important to know that ultimately, whichever method of CBD administration you choose, your body is receiving high potency levels of the compounds that you’re taking in.

One reason why these compounds may be so bioavailable has to do with the endocannabinoid system. This system has cannabinoid receptors throughout the body that are basically eager to receive cannabinoids so that they can be put to good use. This system controls the body’s homeostasis and does so by regulating various bodily processes via the bonding of cannabinoids with their corresponding receptors found in every major system.

Different Absorption Rates and What They Mean

As you know, CBD comes in many different forms. Today, we can choose between a wide variety of products including oral tinctures, edibles, vape products, topicals and more. Each method supplies the body with CBD using its own unique delivery method. In order for CBD to be properly dispersed throughout the body so that it can be utilized accordingly by the endocannabinoid system, it must absorb into some area of the body, whether that be the lungs, the sublingual tissue, the digestive tract or the skin.

While all of these areas properly absorb CBD and other hemp compounds, it’s how they absorb them that makes a difference. This is why one type of delivery method can act more quickly than another, or last for a longer period of time, or have a different level of potency. So, allow us to break down each major delivery method and explain how it absorbs.


CBD topicals refer to any hemp products that are applied directly to the skin. This is the only method that doesn’t require internal administration. CBD topicals come in a wide variety of formulas, including gels, oils, creams and even adhesive patches. They allow a person to concentrate all of those CBD compounds onto a specific target area.
CBD topicals can, in fact, work instantly. The higher the potency level, the faster it can take effect. And, topicals are capable of lasting for hours. The potency level that you feel primarily depends on how much actual hemp you are applying to the affected area.


Edibles are any type of CBD product that is ingested. This means that it absorbs by gradually moving along the digestive tract before it’s at last processed by the liver and released into the bloodstream. Due to the nature of the digestive tract, edibles are basically the slowest-acting delivery method out there. However, this isn’t necessarily a drawback. Even though it can take one to two hours for the CBD to take effect, the effects can last for several hours longer than other delivery methods. And, the effects tend to be more subtle and steady, rather than peaking all at once.

Oral Tinctures

Oral tinctures utilize sublingual absorption. This means that the product is held beneath the tongue for a short period of time, which is usually one minute. During this time, the liquid that carries the hemp compounds absorbs into the sublingual tissue, which is the highly absorbent tissue just beneath the tongue. This method is sort of a happy middle-ground in that it can provide effects within as little as fifteen minutes, and usually no more than thirty. And, it can last for about three to four hours. It also offers a decent level of potency due to the way in which the sublingual tissue absorbs the compounds.

Vape Oils

Vape oils are easily the most fast-acting internal method available, providing compound activation in as little as a few minutes. This is because of how quickly the compounds reach the brain and bloodstream when inhaled via vapor. CBD vape oils vary in potency level, but the actual absorption method allows your dose to be felt more potently. This is a method where users may experience a clearly defined peak. It’s important to also note that this is one of the most short-lived delivery methods.

Absorption Rate Matters Just as Much as Quality, Milligram Strength and Dosage Level

True, the absorption process of CBD and other desirable hemp compounds is fairly complicated. However, by reading this guide, you’ll have a much better idea of how to plan your CBD regimen based on your needs and your knowledge of the full variety of different absorption mechanisms.