Chances are you’ve seen the letters “CBD,” which refer to cannabidiol (one of the hundreds of active compounds in the cannabis plant) emblazoned on everything from supplements to skin creams.
Though CBD doesn’t cause the notorious “high” we associate with marijuana, its long list of potential health-boosting abilities have made it increasingly popular throughout the last year or so.
Whether you’re looking for a natural addition to your bedtime routine, help recovering from a tough workout, or a nourishing addition to your skin-care routine, CBD offers promising potential. But given the many ways in which you can use CBD, you may wonder: When will the magic happen?
How Long Does It Take For CBD To Work?
“Compared to most of my natural modalities, CBD acts the fastest,” says Dr. Aimee Shunney, N.D., naturopathic doctor and medical advisor for PlusCBD.
Exactly how long it’ll take for you to start seeing results from CBD, though, depends on a couple of factors.
Different Forms Of CBD
Having the flexibility to use CBD in a variety of forms—from oils to capsules to gummies to topicals—makes it easier to incorporate the compound into your daily life. However, it also influences how quickly you notice any benefits.
CBD oils get into your bloodstream the most rapidly, says Shunney. Typically, you can start to feel CBD’s effects in about 15 to 25 minutes of ingesting it.
CBD capsules, meanwhile, which are broken down in the digestive system, take effect more slowly, Shunney says. Generally, you’ll notice a difference in about an hour to an hour and 20 minutes.
Despite the differences in how they’re absorbed, CBD capsules and oils both typically offer body-wide benefits.
Topical CBD creams and salves, meanwhile, which affect the body more locally (think muscle aches or dry skin), take effect quickly, Shunney says. Of course, how much of these products you use also influences their effect.
Your Individual Endocannabinoid System
In addition to how you use CBD (and how much you use), your unique endocannabinoid system (or ECS) also influences your experience with the plant compound.
Some experts consider the ECS the “master switchboard” for creating balance in the body, says Jen Palmer, N.D., naturopath and Director of Education for Charlotte’s Web.
CBD and other phytochemicals interact with the ECS, supporting its ability to regulate memory, appetite, and metabolism. However, factors like sleep, stress, weight, trauma, inflammation, and lifestyle all impact your ECS’ balance, says Palmer.
Read More: 5 Ways Stress Can Impact Your Health
The overall state of your ECS then influences just how profoundly (and how quickly) you reap the benefits of CBD. Basically, someone with more serious ECS issues may need more—and have a more transformative experience with CBD—than someone whose ECS is already quite balanced, says Shunney. (That’s why, for many, benefiting from CBD takes a little bit of experimentation.)
CBD’s Long-Term Benefits
Despite CBD’s notable immediate benefits, experts recommend using it consistently for the best possible results. One study published in The Permanente Journal found that almost 80 percent of people who took CBD capsules regularly reported improvements within one month.
“Regular CBD use provides consistent support for the endocannabinoid system, which most of us can benefit from,” says Shunney.
Just how long you need to use CBD for, though, depends on the state of your ECS and the aspects of your health you’re trying to address.
Many people find they need less and less CBD over time, as their ECS becomes increasingly balanced, Shunney adds.
How To Make CBD Quick And Effective—For YOU
“One thing I’ve learned about CBD is that everyone’s experience is unique,” says Palmer. “Some people notice a benefit right away, while others need to take it daily for several weeks.”
To find your most effective amount of CBD, start with a low dose (10 mg) and track how you feel daily, suggests Palmer. CBD only stays in the body for eight to 10 hours, so Shunney recommends increasing your dose daily until you notice a difference. Once you find your “sweet spot,” stay there.
Most people don’t develop a tolerance to CBD, so don’t worry about needing to take more over time in order to continue reaping the benefits. (If anything, you’ll need less, reminds Shunney.)
If you don’t experience the desired benefits of CBD, consider changing the type of CBD you’re taking, Shunney suggests. Of course, working with a knowledgeable health practitioner also helps ensure you reap CBD’s benefits.
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