For most people, the answer is somewhere around 30-60 minutes. It can be faster or slower, depending on how much you have in your stomach already and how quickly your brain metabolizes CBD.
Everyone is different, of course. Every time you take a supplement, your brain comes up with ways to use it. In the case of CBD, the supplement works by holding the door open for your body to continue making endocannabinoids—something it produces on its own, with or without CBD.
The Endocannabinoid System & CBD
Taking a supplement orally means sending it through the digestive system first before it hits the bloodstream. Once it does, the brain sends out a signal to activate your endocannabinoid system (ECS).
What is the ECS? Thanks to research only done within the last couple of decades, we know that this system is one of Mother Nature’s oldest evolutionary mechanisms. It is shared by all mammals, and it helps to regulate sleep, appetite, and mood.
There are ECS hubs all throughout the body, including the muscles, liver, heart, and brain. When you take a CBD supplement, your body triggers the release of hormones signaling for the creation of endocannabinoids to send wherever they need to go.
The CBD you take won’t actually be used by your ECS. Instead, it prevents enzymes from naturally stopping the production of endocannabinoids when they normally would. CBD makes for a great supplement because it’s nontoxic, and it naturally occurs in your body.
How CBD Works When Taken Orally
When you swallow CBD, the first place it will go is into your stomach where it will be processed and digested. Because this can result in a loss of potency, we suggest that you leave the CBD product in your mouth for at least a minute. If it’s chewable, do as much chewing as you can.
This allows membranes in your mouth to leech out supplements before they head to the stomach. In the case of a CBD tincture oil, you can bypass the GI tract by putting drops directly under your tongue. The mucous glands underneath your tongue absorb nutrients faster, helping to speed up the reaction and get you feeling the effects sooner.
While oral ingestion of CBD isn’t the fastest way to experience the effects, many people prefer the slower, more drawn out to release that comes with it. If you aren’t a fan of the slightly bitter taste of CBD oil, there are far more delicious alternatives available.
After the CBD gets into your bloodstream, the effects usually last around 2-3 hours before your body’s enzymes slow the production of endocannabinoids.
Other Oral Avenues
Vape pens work faster than oral dosing. This is because the lungs have an incredibly intricate network of alveoli, bronchioles, and capillaries that distribute oxygen as quickly as possible. If the lungs didn’t work as quickly as they did, standing up would be too difficult a task for your muscles.
Unfortunately, the tradeoff is that the effects wear off quickly. While vaping CBD is convenient, effective, and discreet, its benefits are short-lived. Many people find that they have to vape hourly if they want to keep feeling the CBD, which can put them at risk of developing tolerance—a state where your body needs more of a drug to achieve the same effect.
For people who take a daily regimen of vitamins, CBD is available in discreet gel capsules formulated to gently dissolve and keep the effects active for longer periods.
Some prefer the gel capsule method because it looks no different from a vitamin E capsule, helping you avoid suspicious glances from anyone who isn’t on board with your wellness routine.
A full spectrum CBD tablet is a great way to deliver all the cannabinoids and terpenes in an easy, effective dose.
Making CBD More Bioavailable
Not all CBD products are created equal. There are vendors that buy isolate CBD in a powder form, mix it with other chemicals, and sell it as CBD oil. While this isn’t exactly misleading, it’s not totally honest.
A quality CBD oil will contain as many plant extracts as possible so that users get the full effect of the supplement. Leaving them out not only keeps you from experiencing them—but it also changes the way the other products work.
As an antioxidant, CBD plays an important role in minimizing free radicals throughout your neural pathways. In poorly formulated supplements, this may not happen, making it harder to experience the same benefits.
If CBD can’t be absorbed and used by your body, it probably won’t do much good.
How MCT Oil Helps
The term bioavailability describes how easily the body absorbs things. In most cases, large molecules are harder to break down than small ones. One way to enhance the effects of CBD is to pair it with a smaller molecule that the body can process.
MCT oil (medium-chain triglyceride) is one way to do this. Like salad dressing, the oils digest with the other nutrients. Some high-quality CBD products use MCT oil as a way to enhance the effects of the CBD.
Finding a Good Vendor
There are so many CBD vendors out there. It can be tough to find one that you can trust to deliver on quality and customer service. A good rule of thumb is to only buy organic products that have been tested and verified by a third-party lab. With a lab report, you’ll have information about what’s in the product and—maybe more importantly—what isn’t in it.
Start by reading reviews. When people rave about a company, it’s usually because the product is good and the service is satisfactory. The right vendor will carry a large selection of items so that you find one that fits your unique needs. Once you find one, congrats! The hunt for a good CBD product is finally over.
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