When taking any supplement, the factor most people are interested in is how long it will take before they start to notice the effects. When it comes to CBD, there are quite a few variables that dictate how long before its effects are felt, as well as how long they last for.

The two most important variables are the means of administration and dosage. These factors will impact whether a person begins to feel the effects of the cannabinoid almost instantly, or an hour after ingestion, and whether these effects will last just a couple of hours or much longer.


There are numerous ways to introduce CBD into the body, each involving a different physiological mechanism. The metabolic pathways involved can greatly affect how long it will take to feel the effects due to speed of absorption.


Vaping or smoking CBD-rich flowers and extracts is one of the fastest ways to feel the effects of the cannabinoid. Inhaling CBD allows for near-instant access to the bloodstream. The cannabinoid diffuses into the capillaries via the alveoli of the lungs, with the calming effects of the molecule felt around 5–10 minutes later. However, the effects of these methods last the shortest amount of time, up to only 3 hours.

Smoking, Vaping and Sublingual Administration of CBD


Sublingual administration refers to placing CBD oil or tinctures directly underneath the tongue. This is a fairly common pharmacological route of administration, offering rapid access to the bloodstream. When CBD oil is dropped under the tongue, it is absorbed by the mucous membrane. The molecule then diffuses into the capillaries beneath the tongue and enters venous circulation. Effects are felt within minutes of administration. Once in the bloodstream, effects typically last between 4–6 hours on average.


Topical application refers to applying a product such as a cream or lotion directly to the skin. Once placed on the skin, dermal absorption occurs and molecules are transported from the outer layer of skin (epidermis) into the bloodstream. Various factors can influence the time it takes for topical CBD to be absorbed, such as solubility of the product, concentration, and condition of the skin.

Topical application takes a while to produce effects—usually around an hour—but is advantageous in that it can be applied locally to where it is needed. Research suggests that when applied locally, CBD may help attenuate inflammation.

Topical Vs Oral Ingestion of CBD


Oral ingestion is one method where individuals will be waiting the longest to feel the effects of CBD, yet it is known to last much longer than methods such as smoking and sublingual administration. It can take anywhere between 30–60+ minutes to feel the effects of oral CBD, as the cannabinoid has to travel through the digestive tract and into the liver before it is free to roam the bloodstream. The length of the effects experienced after oral administration can vary significantly depending on the product and concentration, but somewhere between 4–6 hours is common.

Oral CBD is available in many different forms, from oils to drinks, cakes, brownies, coffee, smoothies, and much more. It’s a fantastic route of administration as it’s easy to do and very discreet. Oral CBD can be taken anywhere without anybody batting an eyelash.

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