How Long Does It Take for CBD Oil to Work for Pain, Anxiety and Depression?

Lifelong Hempby Lifelong Hemp Last updated April 7, 2019
How Long Does It Take for CBD Oil to Work?

Many people who suffer from pain, anxiety, and depression can agree:

It can be difficult to find relief. Traditional medication may help, but unfortunately it comes with negative side effects.

Did you know…

…that CBD oil is a natural compound that can provide many therapeutic benefits to the human body? Studies have shown (1, 2) that CBD’s properties may alleviate pain, anxiety, and depression without any side effects or psychotropic change to your brain. But you’re probably wondering:

If you decide to take CBD to help ease your suffering, how long does it take to work? And how will you know it’s working?

In this article, you’ll discover all the knowledge you need to understand the length of time it takes for CBD oil to work for pain, anxiety, and depression. By the end, you’ll have an understanding of different types of CBD products and how they can help you find the relief you’ve been searching for.

So, relax and keep reading…


How does CBD oil interact with the human body system?

There are several different forms of CBD oil products, and different ways in which you can ingest CBD. It all depends on the essence of production. You’ll be able to choose from salves, tasty drops, oil concentrates, and many other products that contain CBD oil.

One of the forms of CBD that you can take is CBD hemp oil. It is either ingested through the mouth, or applied topically, which means you apply it directly to your skin.

Whichever way you take CBD, it interacts with the human endocannabinoid system (ECS).

Endocannabinoid System [a list of receptors target]

The endocannabinoid system receives transmitted signals from the natural cannabinoids in your body through the CB1 receptor, which is dominant in the brain, and the CB2 receptor, which is found in the immune system.

A healthy and balanced endocannabinoid system produces cannabinoids naturally by itself. When you ingest CBD, this influences the endocannabinoid system to produce more cannabinoids for the benefit of the human body.


What are the factors that determine the effectiveness of CBD oil?

CBD oil is an active substance that is easily absorbed into your body’s systems.

But the question is what determines the efficacy of CBD oil?

It all depends on the bioavailability of the method of ingestion. Bioavailability indicates how fast something is absorbed into and circulated by your body’s bloodstream, and the degree to which it takes effect.

As mentioned earlier, CBD oil can be taken in several different ways. It can either be vaped, ingested sublingually, or applied topically.

So, which method is the best?

In general, CBD that is inhaled or vaped takes effect much more quickly. This is because during this method, CBD passes from your lungs into the bloodstream through the alveoli. You can feel an effect in as little as fifteen minutes.

CBD that is administered orally, by consuming an edible for example, requires a lengthy process, since it has to go through your entire digestive system in order to be absorbed. In this case, it will take an hour or two for the effect to make an impact.

What are your other choices?

You can take CBD oil sublingually, which typically means you put a drop of oil underneath your tongue. The CBD is absorbed through your mouth’s mucus membranes and reaches your bloodstream more directly, bypassing the digestive system. In this case you’ll also feel the effect much faster.

If you purchase a CBD lotion or salve and apply CBD topically, you will have to apply a liberal amount to the affected area in order to feel a benefit, since our skin does not absorb cannabinoids very well and in this case the CBD will not reach the bloodstream.

Whichever way you use CBD oil, it can take anywhere from a few minutes to a couple of hours before you feel the effect.

A time for CBD to take an effect

So, how long does it take, exactly? Well, …

…this can make all the difference:

  • The amount of CBD oil you take (the dosage)
  • Your overall health and wellness
  • Which systems are involved—in other words, what ailment you’re attempting to alleviate by taking CBD

For example, a European study concluded that CBD can reduce pain and inflammation associated with arthritis. The alleviating effects took several days to become prominent.

Increasing your dosage may bring you benefits faster, however you should always start with a small dosage and increase in slow amounts until you achieve your desired effect.

CBD also interacts better with an endocannabinoid system (ECS) that is healthy and well-functioning. The chemical make-up of our bodies are all unique, so results will vary by individual as well.

But wait, there’s more:

Among the biggest factors you should consider is the time and situation in which CBD was used, and the method for ingestion. For example, a good question to ask yourself is:

Was it the first thing you took in the morning, or it was taken after eating a heap of food?

According to a recent study, consuming CBD oil with food increases the CBD’s bioavailability and its effectiveness. However, if you’re intending to achieve a quick effect rather than a more intense effect, taking CBD on an empty stomach can speed up the absorption process.


The effectiveness of CBD oil according to ingestion methods

CBD is a natural supplement that easily interacts with the body system through the ECS. The effect of this compound on the receptors of your ECS is what’s responsible for numerous influences in the brain and immune system. The potential benefits that CBD has to offer are the same no matter which method you use to ingest CBD.


…the length of time it takes for you to feel an effect and the intensity of that effect will differ according to the ingestion method. There are several means of ingesting CBD. It all depends on the method of ingestion recommended by the manufacturer of a product and your personal preference.

CBD oil ingesting methods


The most effective way of ingesting CBD oil is vaping. This is done through the use of a vape kit and either a pen-style vape or a tank-style vape. It is very easy to vape, and it is safe.

What does this mean for you?

It means you’ll quickly feel the effects of CBD if you vape. There is a consistency to this ingestion method of feeling its effects in less than 15 minutes with each puff of the vape pen. This method easily penetrates into the bloodstream through your lungs, and produces a faster result.

Sublingual method

Another effective way of ingesting CBD oil is the sublingual method through the use of CBD oil sprays, drops or CBD concentrates. This is an easy way to get CBD absorbed into your body because you put the product directly into your mouth and underneath your tongue.

Once absorbed through the mucus membrane of your mouth, it interacts fast with the endocannabinoid system and may give relief quickly in no more than 20 minutes. This method is one of the best ways of quickly and effectively absorbing CBD into the body. For people who dislike vaping, it is an especially appealing solution.

Edibles or capsules

If you are looking for the most long-lasted effect of CBD, edibles or capsules are the best option for you. Edibles come in many forms such as gummies and candies. When you eat these, you have to wait for the CBD to pass completely through the digestive tract in order to enter the bloodstream. However, the end result is very effective, and you will feel it for several hours.

With this method, it will take a little longer and it could be 30 minutes to an hour before the CBD to become absorbed.

Topical application

When you apply CBD oil topically, it does not get absorbed into the body as fast as the vaping and sublingual methods, and because it takes longer for your skin to absorb CBD. It is a relatively slow, gradual process. Nevertheless…

…it does offer a more prolonged effect. It will take anywhere from 40 minutes to over 2 hours before you start feeling the effect of CBD through this method.

A topical application is a great choice for people who are using CBD to alleviate pain and inflammation. You can apply a CBD lotion or balm directly to the affected area, and you can apply however much you need to. Over time, you should begin to feel better.


How do you know when CBD is at work?

You may be wondering…

How do you know whether CBD is working already or not?

The answer to this depends on which exact ailments you’re suffering from and why you’re using CBD. An obvious way to know the product you purchased is working is when you feel a sense of relief from your symptoms.

For example, someone who is taking CBD in order to alleviate their nausea will know the product is working when their stomach settles. Others might know CBD is at work when their headache begins to fade away. Or, for others, they’ll know a CBD topical is working when they witness a change in the physical appearance of their skin irritations and inflammation.

Generally, CBD hemp oil is widely known for its beneficial properties and for the way it has helped alleviate some health issues for people around the world.


How long does it take CBD to work for pain?

A large percentage of people suffer from chronic pain in their bodies,  whether as a result of certain injuries, or as general pain associated with diseases. Old age is another factor that comes with several ailments which tend to cause pain in the body.

So, at one point or another…

…your body may be subjected to pain, and your joints are especially at risk.

The American Academy of Pain Medicine (AAPM) has confirmed that more Americans suffer from chronic pain than other ailments such as heart disease and diabetes.

In addition, whenever a part of the body becomes inflamed, pain is sure to follow. There are certain kinds of pain, such as ones that are associated with old age, that cannot be cured and which can only be managed.

Chronic pain statistics according to The American Academy of Pain Medicine

Recent studies (3, 4) show that CBD oil plays a significant role in alleviating chronic pain. When CBD oil is taken, it interacts with the ECS which may help to regulate specific hormones that are involved in pain, immune system responses, sleep, and so on.


The ECS is active in controlling pain, and the CB2 receptor in particular plays a major role in the immune system by managing inflammation and pain. CBD influences these due to its antioxidant and neuroprotective properties. These properties are the backbone of CBD’s beneficial qualities, which enable it to act effectively.

While introducing CBD into your body for pain relief, you can choose to apply it topically to the affected area. This method makes it easy for CBD to penetrate directly on the specific area of pain, though its effect is not usually fast. You can also ingest CBD through a capsule or through the sublingual method.

So then, what length of time will it take CBD to work for pain?

Depending on the body system, the amount of CBD you start with, and the mode of use, as soon as CBD is ingested it could take up from 30 minutes to an hour before you feel changes in the pained area.

Traces of CBD will last within your body for 3 to 4 days, and the beneficial effect you feel once you take CBD will potentially last from 4 to 6 hours.

How long does it take CBD to work for pain?

An article review on pain management established the efficacy of cannabinoid analgesic following recent research and a clinical trial in pain management.

Muscle spasms are a common cause for pain. In a 2014 study, it was confirmed that using CBD helped reduce tremors and involuntary movements in patients who had Parkinson’s disease.

Whatever reason for their pain, many people use CBD in order to find relief.


How long does it take CBD to work for anxiety?

It has been found that 18% of adult Americans suffer from anxiety every year.

But that’s just part of the story…

Several mental health issues are associated with anxiety, including anxiety disorder, panic disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, social anxiety, and obsessive-compulsive disorder.

What can be done about this?

There are pharmaceutical medications available that have been developed to alleviate anxiety, yet these often come with side effects that demand necessary precautions.

Types of Anxiety

Apart from the anxiety a lot of individuals suffer due to stress from working round the clock, anxiety disorder is a complicated issue that brings sleepless nights, phobia, fear of the unknown and a lot more.

Social anxiety disorder is an especially common anxiety condition. If you’re searching for ways to get help aside from traditional prescribed medications, a natural product is a good option to consider.

As it turns out…

…cannabidiol (CBD) is a non-psychoactive phytocannabinoid that may reduce anxiety. In one study, a group of people who suffered from social anxiety were given either a single dose of CBD or a placebo. It was discovered that pretreatment with CBD significantly reduced anxiety and improved speech performance. The placebo group, however, displayed an increase in anxiety and discomfort.

CBD targets the serotonin receptor in the synaptic space and gives it a boost, which increases signals that are transmitted to the brain. CBD directly activates the 5-HT1A (hydroxytryptamine) serotonin receptor. This is what releases the anti-anxiety effect.

Taking CBD may help to enhance your mood and reduce anxiety. Research that was released in 2014 discovered that CBD does have anti-anxiety and antidepressant effects.

What’s more…

…feelings of anxiety can cause tension and a lack of motivation. For people who are seeking treatment that won’t come with negative side effects, CBD contains therapeutic and nutritional properties that can promote relaxation and may improve your state of mind.

Remember: CBD works faster through vaping or the sublingual method.

How long does it take CBD to work for anxiety?

The duration of time at which CBD works for anxiety is under 20 minutes to an hour.

What does this mean for you?

After you take CBD, there should certainly be a difference in the way you feel. The specific time range at which CBD work for anxiety is yet to be determined. These numbers are difficult to pinpoint considering there are several individual factors that may contribute such as overall health and body size.


How long does it take CBD to work for depression?


Depression is a pathological disease related to anxiety, and it impacts your emotions and overall state of mind. Did you know that over 300 million people suffer from depression worldwide?

Some people are naturally more inclined to be depressed, or sometimes depression is due to trauma derived from an unfortunate circumstance.

Some of the symptoms of depression are suicidal thoughts, uncontrolled anger issues, irritations, insecurity, restlessness, sleeplessness, feeling empty, loneliness, increased or decreased appetites, and weight loss.

Depression signs and symptoms

CBD oil could potentially be a reliable remedy for depression and may regulate human responses to stress (5,6). The endocannabinoid system is an important regulator of stress, and it has an influence over certain activities in the brain.

Simply stated…

…When CBD oil is ingested, it interacts with serotonin, as well as the dopamine receptor (which is also known as the happiness hormone). These may help regulate your mood and social behavior.

The hippocampus, a limbic system located in the brain, helps to regulate emotions. CBD is able to deliver effectiveness by stimulating the hippocampus as it increases the amount of calcium in the mitochondria of this part of the brain (7).

Good news!

It could take 6-8 weeks for an anti-depressant medication to have an effect, whereas the time frame at which CBD works for depression may take no more than five hours.

How long does it take CBD to work for depression?

A 2006 study titled “Decreased depression in marijuana users” established that people who consumed medical cannabis to alleviate depression had a less depressed mood.

Despite the effect of CBD in the brain, it does not cause a “high,” but rather simply boosts the hormone that influences a happy mood.

So, where do we go from here?

Fortunately, the world is more readily accepting natural supplements as a means to combat depression, especially given the fact that most anti-depressant medicines come with side effects. Some traditional medication can also unfortunately be addictive.

Due to this, CBD is a viable option for people who are suffering depression and would like to see ways of healing that won’t have a negative side effect or get them addicted.  


Final Thought

CBD oil is a non-psychoactive compound. It contains ameliorating and potentially neuroprotective properties that can benefit your overall health. The rate at which CBD penetrates into the body and how long it takes to have an effect depends mainly on the method you use to ingest CBD.

According to research, the fastest means of getting CBD absorbed into the body system is vaping, the next is the sublingual method, next is through the digestive tract, and lastly, applying a CBD balm or lotion topically. This is due to the bioavailability factor of the method.

CBD oil might help for pain, depression and anxiety by interacting with a number of biological pathways in order to enact wide range of effects. While CBD can be administered through several methods, the exact length of time it takes to work cannot be specifically stated, so keep a range of time in mind the next opportunity you have to take CBD.

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  • SSeadals

    People who I know that use the CBD actually claims their CBD works better taken on an empty stomach but for me it is with food. Definitely consuming CBD oil with food allows it to penetrate quickly into the bloodstream and increases its effectiveness. But still, not all methods works for everyone so you just have to know which works best for you.

    • Lifelong HempLifelong Hemp

      Hi Seadals,

      I’m glad to know that you are able to ingest CBD directly with your food. I know how important it is to know what works best for our body and health.
      It’s wonderful to know that you are able to absorb the nutrients on your food and anything that goes with it. Thank you so much for letting us know your best experiences and results of CBD.

      Have a nice day!

  • AAshlee

    Very informative article. Thanks for sharing!

    • Lifelong HempLifelong Hemp

      Hi Ashlee,

      I’m happy to know that you are learning quite a few things from our articles. Thank you for your time.

      Best regards,

  • JJane

    I am considering to switch to your hemp gels. How do I know if it is good for me? I have allergies to specific food, does this have to do with that?

    • Lifelong HempLifelong Hemp

      Hi Jane,

      I am happy to know that you are looking to try our soft gels. For your food allergy, it is always recommended for you to consult your physician if there’s a counter effect with CBD towards it. For our most recent lab tests, there was no positive effect on over the counter medicines versus cbd capsules. But to be sure, your health is our priority, and we always recommend for our customers to seek medical advice for such.
      I hope that you can try out our soft gels soon and enjoy the great results thereafter.

      Best regards,

  • JJemalyn

    What product do you recommend for a patient with sleeping disorders and depression? My sister in law is a bit worried about this and I want to help her.

    • Lifelong HempLifelong Hemp

      Hello Jemalyn,

      Thank you for showing interest in our products. As for your sister in law, I would recommend for her to try our CBD Concentrates, made from 100% pure and organic hemp. This one comes in 3 labels: Blue, Gold and Green. I’ve had a lot of customers saying that these products were able to help them with depression and insomnia. I hope that your sister in law feels better after trying this one.
      For dosage information and product label, please check this link:

      Best regards,

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