One of the first questions we often get from people new to CBD is “How long does it take for CBD Oil to Work?” While there is no specific, one size fits all answer to this question, we can give you a really good idea. 

With so many of the common questions about CBD Oil, the answer is “It depends”.  In this article, we’ll cover why “it depends” and what things you need to factor in when wondering how long it will take for the CBD Oil you just took to work. 

How Long Does it Take For CBD Oil to Work?

The first, and probably biggest determinate, is how you consume CBD. Vaping CBD will have a different absorption time than CBD capsules or oil, for example. This also may determine which delivery method is right for you. 

The common forms that CBD is currently offered in are oils, vapes, topical applications, and edibles. 


Probably the most common method of taking CBD Oil is taking it in oil form. All the Oils and Tinctures you see offered using the same delivery method. When taking CBD Oils, you use a dropper and deposit a few drops under the tongue. This method is also commonly referred to as sublingual CBD.

When you do this, the oils are absorbed by the huge number of membranes that are found under the tongue, going right to the bloodstream. The benefit of taking CBD oil vs CBD capsules is that CBD doesn’t have to be digested and will affect you quicker. 

Vaping CBD

The fastest way is to Vape CBD. This results in the compound being directly absorbed into the bloodstream. When you vape CBD an e-liquid that contains a high dose of CBD is heated up and inhaled. In the lungs, this is absorbed through capillaries and directly into the bloodstream. Because of the almost instant absorption, vaped CBD can be felt almost immediately.

Now, there are some health concerns related to vaping in general. If you choose to consume CBD in this fashion, look for a brand that uses as few additives as possible in the liquid. The fewer the ingredients, the better! 

Edibles and Capsules

As expected, this group is consumed like many medicines are. The pills and gummies can be eaten or swallowed with water, and powders can be mixed into food or drink. Many companies have also found ways to infuse CBD into food, Our Honey CBD for example. 

The downside of taking CBD like this is that the product must go through the digestive system and into the liver to be processed before it can reach your bloodstream. 

This also means that the rate at which you’ll start feeling the effects greatly varies. A CBD Pill taken on an empty stomach might be felt after 20-30 minutes, while a powder mixed in with a large meal could take at least an hour. 

Because the timing relies on other factors you probably want to experiment and take notes about how long these products take to kick in so you can time your dosing correctly. 

Topical CBD

If you’re using CBD for achy joints or chronic pain, you may want to use CBD creams or lotions. 

This is a great method if you want concentrated relief in a specific area over a longer timeline as the skin slowly absorbs the lotion or cream. 

This brings us to our next factor in how long it takes to feel the effects of CBD Oil. The symptom that you’re trying to relieve will change the timeline of the effects. CBD creams can start to relieve pain almost instantly while vaping for anxiety or stress relief could take 10 minutes or more. 


Lastly, the dosage of CBD will affect the timeline of its effects. If you are taking a very small dose it will take longer to spread through the body, and in a worst-case scenario might not be strong enough for you to alleviate your struggle. 

Dosing is a very complicated topic that we will cover in a future blog post! 

Should You Take CBD Oil with Food or On an Empty Stomach? 

When considering if you should take your CBD with food or on an empty stomach you should once again consider your delivery method. Oils, tinctures, topicals, and vaping all bypass the digestive system completely, so it really doesn’t matter. 

When considering pills or edibles, CBD will work faster if you take it on an empty stomach since it will be the first and only thing to digest at the time. But this doesn’t always mean it’s the best way. 

We actually recommend that you take CBD with a small amount of fatty food. A few tablespoons of peanut butter, a handful of cashews, or even a glass of full fat milk. CBD is fat soluble, so when you take it with fatty food more of it will digest and reach your bloodstream. This increase in bioavailability will far outweigh a little extra time before CBD starts to work! 

What Time of the Day Should I Take CBD?

The best time of the day to take CBD depends on the reason you are taking it. If you are using CBD to help you sleep then after dinner might be the best time. This will give the CBD a while to take effect and help you relax and unwind. 

If you’re taking CBD for anxiety or to relieve pain, muscle soreness, or aches then during the day when you are feeling these things is the best time. 

Summary – How Long Does it Take for CBD Oil to Work?

As with many questions regarding CBD there is not one clear cut answer to the question of “How long does it take for CBD oil to work?”. There are multiple factors in play, not the least of which is the individual taking it. 

Pay attention to how CBD oil makes you feel when you take it, the dose, delivery method, and how long it takes for CBD to work when you take it. This way you’ll have a specific answer for future use! 

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