September 27, 2019 4 min read

So you’ve done your research and taken the plunge. You’ve got your new bottle of Kanibi CBD oil in your hand and are ready to try it out for the first time. You put some under your tongue, hold it there for 30 seconds and...nothing? 

This is a very common scenario for those starting out with CBD. Expectations are high, the investment isn’t negligible, and we want our anxiety and tension to melt away, preferably immediately. 

To help you get started (and to help you manage expectations), we’ve got some guidelines for how long it takes CBD to start working. We’ll also go into some of the factors that will affect how long it might take to feel the effects of CBD. 

So, how long does it take for CBD to Work?

What we’re talking about here is what scientists refer to as “onset of action.” That is, how long it takes a substance to be absorbed into your bloodstream and begin working. And it turns out that not all methods of CBD have equal onset times, though they all have their own advantages. 

At the top of the chart for speediest delivery is vapable CBD. Vaping has a very quick onset of action, but the downside is that it also dissipates more quickly than other CBD carriers.

CBD oil drops, or tinctures, on the other hand, take a bit longer to begin acting, but the CBD will also stay in your system longer. For a sublingual tincture, the rule of thumb is to hold it under your tongue for at least 30 seconds. Some experts recommend keeping it there for up to a minute. 

This may feel odd the first time, but there’s a good reason for it. The plentiful blood vessels that lie under your tongue are capable of pulling CBD directly into your bloodstream, bypassing the slow digestive process.

Once you’ve held it under your tongue, much of the CBD in the tincture will be absorbed into your bloodstream (the rest will be digested more slowly when you swallow it). The research on this varies, but studies suggest that once it’s absorbed, sublingual CBD generally begins taking effect within 20-30 minutes, peaking at about one hour.

  • Tip: For maximum absorption of the CBD in your Kanibi tincture, try swishing the CBD oil around your mouth after letting it sit under your tongue. There are blood vessels in your cheeks as well, which can help deliver even more CBD to your bloodstream (this is called buccal absorption). 

Does putting CBD oil in my food change onset time?

Many people have discovered the joys of CBD-infused food and beverages. And why not? A CBD latte or coffee is a win-win. You get the energizing, buzzy action of caffeine and your favorite CBD all in one beverage.

Keep in mind, though, that ingested CBD - which includes any CBD oil that you swallow - has to pass through the digestive tract. This means that the CBD will take longer to take effect than a sublingual dose.

That’s because the CBD has to go through “first pass metabolism” in which it is absorbed through your intestines and sent to the liver to be modified by enzymes. All this takes place before it’s sent to your bloodstream and spread throughout your body.

The complexity of the digestive process means that you may have to wait an hour (or two) for ingested CBD to take effect. On the other hand, the effects will linger for longer.

  • Tip: Studies suggest that ingesting cannabinoids like CBD with other fat-containing foods may increase the amount of CBD your body is able to absorb.

How long will my Kanibi CBD Sports Cream take to work?

Most CBD products depend on being delivered to the bloodstream to take effect, but CBD topicals are a completely different animal

That’s because the CBD in your Kanibi Sports Cream interacts directly with receptors under your skin. This is why it delivers such targeted benefits - it’s a completely local treatment. 

There aren’t pharmacological studies yet that give authoritative data on how long it takes for topical CBD to start working. But anecdotal evidence suggests that it can take anywhere from 10-20 minutes to feel effects. 

  • Tip: For maximum topical absorption, massage the cream into your skin until most of it has been absorbed. You don’t want to damage your skin, but don’t be afraid to use a firm hand. 

Other factors to consider 

Keep in mind that “onset of action” times merely refer to the time it takes for CBD to begin working in your body, not the time it may take for you to feel effects. 

Some people experience noticeable effects right away, but if you don’t have a mystical experience the first time you try it, there are some good reasons for that. Everyone’s body is different (obviously), but our endocannabinoid systems (which interact with CBD) are really, truly unique. 

This means that finding your dose is really important, and can take time. Most experts recommend starting with a low dose (as low as 5-10 mg of CBD) and using that for five to seven days before increasing it. 

That’s because for many people, the benefits of CBD aren’t immediately noticeable, even if they’re taking a good dose. It often takes time and consistent dosing before you start to notice a difference.

So start low and go slow. And keep track of your symptoms so you have a good sense of what changes are taking place!