How Long Does it Take for CBD Oil to Work?

Reading time – 10 minutes

So, you have your CBD vape starter kit, and you’re ready to take your first dose to help you sleep. But how long will it take for CBD oil to work? Will you feel the effects at their full strength immediately, or will you have time to finish your laundry or make your lunch for tomorrow?

These sorts of questions are common for new users of CBD oil and for people who are changing up their delivery methods. If you’re a new user, you might not know what to expect. And if you’ve used topical CBD products in the past, you might wonder what happens if you switch to an edible like CBD mints or vape like CBD vape juice.

Don’t worry. We’ll give you all the information you need to take advantage of CBD on your own terms and with the right timing for your lifestyle.

What Is CBD Oil?

CBD is cannabidiol. Cannabidiol (CBD) is a therapeutic compound found in hemp and cannabis. While CBD oil derives from hemp and is a prevalent active ingredient in marijuana (cannabis), it doesn’t cause a high like weed, at least not on its own. The "high" feeling related to weed is produced by Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) – one of the other 100 cannabinoids present in the plant. It is also well-tolerated by most people.

It is widely available in the United Kingdom and other countries, but there are some places where it is restricted or even illegal. You should always check your local laws before buying CBD.

CBD is gaining popularity because there is growing evidence that CBD may have helpful and non-toxic effectiveness in managing chronic conditions that cause pain, sleep and stress issues.

How Does CBD Oil Work?

CBD oil interacts with your body in a few ways. If taken topically, it reaches receptors in your skin and can help treat localized pain or inflammation. When taken orally, CBD interacts with your endocannabinoid system. The endocannabinoid system (ECS) is a network of receptors throughout our bodies that are linked to our immune system and general wellness.

Not all of the effects are well-studied or understood. However, there is some evidence that CBD can help modulate pain signals, influence the central nervous system (CNS), and assist in the regulation of non-psychoactive functions, like our general wellness.

CBD oil also contains terpenes, a chemical occurring naturally in fruits, vegetables, and other plants, like hemp. Since hemp is the source of CBD sold in the UK, some CBD oil extracts contain terpenes, while others do not, and in some cases manufacturers add terpenes back in after the extraction process.

Some CBD oils contain trace amounts of THC (tetrahydrocannabinol). To be legal in the UK, products must contain less than 0.2% THC, which is not enough to get you to feel any intoxicating effects. Pure forms of CBD called CBD isolate only contain CBD. Distillates, broad-spectrum and full-spectrum CBD products contain different concentrations of cannabinoids and terpenes. All forms or CBD must follow Novel Foods guidelines in the UK to be considered compliant.

How Long Does it Take for CBD Oil to Work and How Long Does CBD Oil Last?

It can take anywhere from just a few short minutes to a few hours for CBD to start working. That’s because the onset of effective symptom relief varies based on the method of consumption, whether you’ve eaten recently in some cases, and if your particular CBD has any additives that might accelerate its work. Bioavailability refers to how much and how quickly CBD is absorbed into the bloodstream. The mode of delivery has a significant impact on bioavailability and absorption rate. CBD can be ingested in a variety of ways, including intravenously, orally, sublingually, topically, or inhaled.


So how quickly does CBD oil work? Let’s focus on a few different means of consumption and how quickly they each work respectively. It’s crucial to know when to take your dose of CBD to maximize its effectiveness, especially if you’re using CBD as a sleep aid or CBD oil for pain relief.

After discussing the timeline for how long CBD takes to affect the body in each method of consumption, we’ll also explain how long CBD oil lasts in each case. Again, this is vital for taking the proper doses of CBD when you need it, to achieve your health goals.

CBD Oil Drops (Sublingual)

CBD oil drops are administered by placing a few drops under the tongue, so they absorb into the bloodstream. There are tiny capillaries right near the surface of the mucous membrane of your mouth, and this is a fairly speedy way to get CBD’s active ingredients into your body.

Ideally, you’ll hold the oil drops under the tongue for about 20 seconds to a minute, using your tongue to swish the liquid around your lower palate and gums for better absorption. As the oil moves, it is exposed to more capillaries (our smallest blood vessels), and this increased contact accelerates the uptake of CBD oil into your bloodstream.

After that first minute of absorption, it’ll take another fifteen minutes or so for the onset of CBD oil’s effects. Then, you can expect the effects to remain anywhere from one to several hours.

CBD Vape

If you use a CBD vape pen, you can expect an extremely rapid onset of the effects of CBD. Just power on your vape, add your preferred CBD vape juice, and inhale from the pen’s mouthpiece. This method of consumption brings the vital ingredients of CBD into your lungs, where it crosses into your bloodstream.

Within about two to five minutes, you’ll be feeling the effects of your CBD consumption. This method is not affected by what you have eaten recently as the CBD is does not pass through your digestive system.

Though this is the fastest way to deliver CBD, it also has a relatively short duration of effectiveness. After less than four hours, the effects can wear off completely. However, since vaping is so convenient, you can top up your dose anytime.

CBD Cream or Lotion

The topical application of CBD creams or lotions doesn’t introduce the ingredients into your bloodstream. Instead, ointments, lotions, or creams with CBD interact with receptors in the top layers of your skin for a more targeted approach to pain.

This method of delivering CBD to your body has been shown in studies to provide relief from some inflammatory conditions. And there is some evidence that CBD creams or lotions applied to the skin can provide pain relief. 

If your CBD cream or lotion is optimized to deliver cannabinoids to your skin’s receptors, it may begin to work very quickly. On the other hand, if it hasn’t been blended properly or it doesn’t have the right sort of fats as a base, it could take much longer to provide analgesia or anti-inflammatory relief to your condition.

CBD Mints

CBD mints are easier to dose than oils or tinctures. But, their convenience is a trade-off against the longer period you’ll be waiting to feel the effects. That’s because the mint, capsule, or gummy you place in your mouth needs to be broken down before it reaches your bloodstream.


That means chewing or just swallowing the CBD product, then breaking it down into its components in your stomach. Finally, your liver will metabolize the CBD, separating it into its various components or metabolites.

Eventually, they’ll enter your body’s blood. It can take anywhere from twenty minutes to two hours for the CBD to kick in when you use it this way. But, that delayed onset is countered by a long duration of effects. If you eat a CBD mint, it may last for up to a few hours.

Alternately, sucking on CBD mints will allow a quicker uptake of effects as CBD will be taken into the bloodstream as a sublingual through the glands in your mouth as well as through your digestive system once swallowed.

What Is CBD Used For?

CBD oil is used for a variety of conditions and ailments. It’s used to promote muscle recovery, treat pain, as a mood-relaxer, and as a sleep aid. All kinds of people use CBD oil for various benefits. Plus, there are a few other potential uses for CBD currently being researched that include:

  • Lowering blood pressure
  • Easing arthritis inflammation and resulting pain
  • Reducing anxiety due to mental health conditions
  • Alleviating depression symptoms
  • Managing the negative effects of cancer treatments
  • Improving heart health
  • Reducing symptoms of psychosis
  • Aiding the management of substance abuse issues, particularly heroin
  • Reducing cravings
  • Improving appetite
  • Controlling nausea

Does CBD Oil Work for Pain?

CBD oil does have some evidence of efficacy in treating pain, particularly for acute issues. Oral dosing is best for systemic pain flares. A topical application will have the best results for localized treatment of an arthritic joint, a painful sports injury, or sore muscles. 

CBD oil can not only tamp down your pain, but it can also possibly help prevent future episodes. The chemicals in CBD send a signal to the body’s endocannabinoid system to help the body maintain a healthy, natural balance of cannabinoids. It also optimizes the communication pathways that signal pain in our brains. 

Not all aspects of CBD’s powers are understood, but there is increasing evidence of its effectiveness. CBD may also enhance the body’s anti-inflammatory response by interacting with the CB2 receptors in our immune system. That may be useful for treating certain conditions.

Does CBD Work for Anxiety?

CBD oil has been shown through multiple studies to have some anxiolytic properties. That’s just a fancy way of saying that CBD may have the ability to relieve anxiousness in people who suffer from a range of neuropsychiatric disorders.

For clarity, the efficacy of CBD oil for anxiety isn’t understood completely. But most studies and clinical evidence point toward CBD having substantial potential as a treatment for a range of anxiety disorders, particularly during acute episodes.

The focus now is on further study of CBD’s use in treating chronic anxiety. Since many of the current pharmaceutical products used to treat anxiety have significant downsides, like increased risk of suicide, the possibility that CBD can offer relief to the roughly 8 million people in the UK with an anxiety disorder is extremely promising.

Consider that CBD may be able to help alleviate anxiousness or fear for people who suffer with:

  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD)
  • Acute panic disorder (PD)
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)
  • Social anxiety disorder (SAD)

Does CBD Oil Help You Sleep?

CBD oil has been shown to have some efficacy as a sleep aid, helping people to fall asleep faster, rest more and less fitfully, and remain asleep longer. These effects may be particularly strong for those who suffer from diagnosed insomnia.

Since anxiety and sleep disorders are often linked, it’s not a big surprise that CBD oil has some effectiveness as a sleep aid, as it’s been proven to aid people who suffer from stress and excessive fearfulness. For people who experience stress symptoms from anxiety that prevents them from falling asleep, CBD can be a gamechanger.


But, finding the right method of consumption, the right dose, and the right timing to help you get to sleep may take a little bit of experimentation on your part. Everyone’s body is different, so you have to find the right dose, method of delivery, and timing for you.

CBD for Muscle Recovery

After we exercise, our muscles can become inflamed. As we already know, CBD interacts with the immune system in our body and can modulate inflammation. Though the effects of CBD for muscle recovery haven’t been studied as much as its other properties, research is ongoing to test whether CBD doses can decrease soreness and increase strength and the speed of recovery. Studies will also assess other ancillary benefits of CBD and how it is excreted by our bodies.

Many are hopeful that the anecdotal stories of improved muscle recovery when using CBD will finally be brought to light.

How Much CBD Oil to Take

Since CBD comes in so many varieties, it’s hard to know how much to consume. For dosing, we recommend journaling to see how each dose affects you and find your optimum dose.

In general, you should always take the minimum effective CBD dosage for your body. It’s healthier, and you won’t be wasting your money on over-applying CBD. If you think you’re ready to try CBD oil don’t hesitate to shop Amphora for CBD oil drops, vape juice, CBD mints, or another product that’s right for you!