how long does it take cbd to kick in?

One of the questions people often have when they first start using CBD is, “how long will it take for me to feel the effects after I take it?” Like any wellness product, the ability to accurately judge when your CBD will kick in is key to deciding how to consume it — along with understanding your dosage. Getting this information can be challenging because there are so many different CBD options on the market, with each differing in how long they take to affect you. So here’s a quick guide on how long it takes different kinds of CBD to kick in.

There are several ways for the body to absorb CBD. From taking a tincture, vaping it, rubbing a CBD topical on the skin, or eating CBD from some sort of food or drink. All of these methods have their advantages and disadvantages as well as different rates of bioavailability, but in order for CBD to work, the body must absorb it first. This means that it must find its point of entry into the bloodstream and cannabinoid receptors found throughout the endocannabinoid system (ECS).

Since there are so many factors at play regarding the absorbency rate of CBD, it’s important to become well-versed in the most common methods of delivery. 

what is bioavailability?

We will talk a lot about bioavailability regarding these delivery methods, so it’s best to build a good understanding of what that means.

Bioavailability is the degree and rate of absorption of CBD into the bloodstream after processing through the body.
For example, even holding CBD oil in your mouth before swallowing can make all the difference in how quickly your CBD kicks in. So let's look at a few of the most popular ways to take CBD, and find out how long they take to work their magic.

delivery methods


cbd ingestion

This method of CBD delivery includes taking CBD via ingestion through capsules, soft gels, food, and/or drinks. A  recent study conducted at the University of Minnesota found that “when compared to fasting, taking CBD with food increased the amount in the body by four-times and the maximum amount recorded in the participants' blood by 14-times.” To learn more about taking CBD with food, check out our blog post all about it here


sublingual cbd

Studies show
 that sublingual CBD applications are highly effective but can take from around a half-hour to two hours to take effect.

Sublingual administration is arguably the most effective way to use CBD tinctures. It’s the act of placing the extract directly under the tongue and holding it for 30-60 seconds. Under the tongue, there is a gland called the sublingual gland that absorbs substances and transfers them directly into the bloodstream. When taking CBD using this method it can easily flow on to receptors throughout the body’s endocannabinoid system and bypass enzymes in the digestive system that breaks CBD down.


topical cbd

Topical administration is when CBD is applied to the skin topically for systemic distribution. These products are formulated to penetrate the skin, offering either whole-body or targeted effects.

The popularity of CBD topicals like our body lotion and pain cream have seen an increase in popularity more recently — and it’s easy to see why. They’re discreet, easy to use and are great for treating muscles. Just rub a bit of the CBD lotions on your skin and you’re all set. When you use CBD topicals, your skin absorbs the CBD, and it enters your bloodstream directly. However, CBD’s relatively low water solubility means that your skin can’t absorb it all that quickly, meaning topical CBD can take anywhere from one to two hours to take effect. 


Inhalation is by far the quickest way to get your CBD fix. When you  vape a CBD concentrate or smoke high-CBD cannabis, you’ll start to feel the effects in as little as three minutes. When CBD is inhaled by vaping or smoking, a small air sac in the lungs called the alveoli works to absorb the compound very quickly. The lungs also offer a very large surface area that is ideal for quick and complete absorption. Once CBD passes through the alveoli, it enters the bloodstream. From there, it flows through the body and acts on the receptors throughout the ECS.

Research conducted by Chief of the Chemistry and Drug Metabolism Section of the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), Marilyn Huestis Ph.D. showed that effects [of CBD] generally begin within a few minutes of the first inhalation (smoked or vaporized), a peak value is reached after 10 minutes and is maintained at a steady-state for 3–5 hours.

the products you use 

Of course, there are other factors to consider when estimating how long it will take for CBD products to impact you. Things like the quality of the CBD products you use, as well as the concentration of CBD in them, are also worth noting. Full-spectrum CBD products, like the ones made by Pachamama, will typically give you the best and quickest results. Products with higher CBD concentration also tend to take effect more quickly than those with lower amounts of CBD — but remember to know your dosage.

every body is unique

Your body plays a role in how quickly CBD affects you as well. For example, if you have a naturally faster metabolism, you’re going to feel the effects a bit sooner than other people might. This means you’ll probably need to take some time to experiment and find out exactly how much CBD is best for you.

While our products do contain specific ingredients known to have cognitive effects, those effects will likely not be experienced after first use. For example, our Kava Kava Valerian tincture contains root extracts that have been researched for the calming and tranquil effects that they have been shown to produce. However, those quick-to-feel effects are typically experienced by people that are taking large serving sizes of the root. Due to the quiet amounts of extract incorporated into our tincture, the compounds of kava and valerian will need time to build up in your system. Similar to CBD in this way, desired outcomes may occur through the consistency of use.

It’s important to note that when using CBD internally, you may not feel any effects right away. This is because it also takes time to build up in the system. However, everyone has a unique internal chemistry and will feel effects at different rates. For instance, one person may feel benefits within a couple of days whereas another person may feel the benefits after a month or longer. It’s unknown exactly why this is the case, but could partly be due to the function of each individual's endocannabinoid system.

That’s why it is very important to use your sublingual product with consistency and mindfulness.

Sign up for our email list
for new product notifications, lifestyle and CBD content, and special offers! 


Get the latest news you need, straight to your inbox.