By LeeWEpstein

June 24, 2021


In recent years, CBD has become a popular health supplement thanks to its wide range of potential health benefits and its recent federal legalization under the 2018 Farm Bill making it more widely available than ever.

Because of this, there are ever-growing numbers of first-time CBD users who might not know everything they need to know about it. Some of the common questions these users have included how to use CBD oil, how long its effects last, and what its side effects are.

This guide is here to answer all these questions and more – so if you’re interested in using CBD for the first time, read on to find out how to enjoy it safely and healthily.

Method of Administration 

CBD comes in a variety of different forms, all of which offer different properties in terms of how long it takes for their effects to begin and how long these effects last. Depending on the way you take CBD, its effects can last anything from 30 minutes to 48 hours.

This gives CBD users a lot of flexibility, as different types of CBD can be chosen depending on the speed and duration of the CBD effects you want.

Some methods of consuming CBD are good for fast but short-lived quick fixes, while others take longer to provide their effects but also last much longer for relief from chronic conditions. 

The following are some of the most common ways of taking CBD.

Smoking or Vaping 

Smoking and vaping CBD allows for fast-acting effects, as the CBD is able to quickly enter your bloodstream via the lungs. You should feel the effects of CBD within a matter of minutes when you smoke or vape CBD oil, which is great for when you need a quick dose of pain relief.

However, this method of taking CBD is also one of the shortest-lasting. The CBD is quickly filtered out of your bloodstream, so depending on the strength or quantity of CBD that you inhale, the effects can last between 30 minutes and 3 hours.

One thing to remember is that inhalation is one of the hardest methods to dose effectively, as it’s hard to control or measure how much CBD you inhale.

This is because the absorption rate of CBD when smoking can be anywhere between 2 and 56%. This means the exact length of the effects can be more unpredictable than other methods.

Topical Application 

The topical application involves applying CBD to a specific area of your body using a cream, lotion, or body oil. Instead of being absorbed into the bloodstream, CBD topicals are absorbed through the skin, acting by binding with the receptors of the endocannabinoid system (ECS) found in the skin.

Topical application allows targeted, long-lasting relief ideal for chronic pain in specific areas of the body. However, the low bioavailability of CBD absorbed through the skin means it may take longer to take effect.

Generally, topical CBD will begin to act within 15-20 minutes, but in some cases, it may take as long as two hours. Similarly, the length of topical effects may be unpredictable – generally, they will last around 6 hours, but the slow speed at which they are absorbed and processed by the body means the effects could linger for as long as two days.

Capsules or Edibles 

CBD capsules and edibles are designed to be ingested orally, allowing your body to absorb the CBD through your digestive system. This takes much longer than absorbing CBD through your bloodstream, however, meaning CBD capsules and edibles take longer to begin working, but also deliver much longer-lasting effects.

For capsules, it can take around an hour for the effects to kick in, which will then last for around 6-8 hours.

Edibles also take around an hour for the effects to become visible, but their duration is harder to gauge – in most cases, they’ll last 4-6 hours, but they may also last much longer, even up to durations of 12-24 hours.

These long-lasting effects make CBD edibles and capsules a good option for those seeking pain or anxiety relief throughout the day.

Oil or Tinctures 

CBD oil and tinctures are also taken orally, but instead of simply swallowing them, they’re best used by holding them under your tongue for around a minute first. This allows the CBD to be absorbed into your bloodstream via the sublingual veins beneath your tongue – known as sublingual administration.

This allows tinctures and oils to take effect rapidly – usually in 10-15 minutes, or 30 minutes at most. The effects are also fairly long-lasting since the remaining oil or tincture not absorbed sublingually is then swallowed and processed by the digestive system.

This has led to conflicting reports on how long CBD tincture lasts – generally, it’s assumed to last between 4-6 hours, but some users have reported lower durations while others claim it can last anywhere between 12-24 hours. 

Tinctures and oils are also the easiest form of CBD to dose since they should come with a clear CBD content indicator and a dropper for easy measuring. Be aware that CBD tinctures tend to be very strong though, so avoid taking too much in one day.

How Long Do The Effects of CBD Oil Last

Transdermal Patches

Working in a similar manner to nicotine patches used to help quit smoking, CBD patches apply a slow release of CBD into the skin. They usually contain a permeation enhancer to help CBD permeate the skin more easily.

Unlike topicals, which need to be re-applied repeatedly to continue enjoying their effects, CBD patches provide a steady release over a longer period – usually up to 3 days. 

However, this slow release also means that they take longer to take effect. They usually take at least an hour for the effects to appear, and sometimes can take up to 3 or 4 hours. However, after this waiting period, patches allow targeted relief over a number of days.

Factors Affecting The Duration of the Effects of CBD Oil 

The way you administer CBD isn’t the only factor affecting how long its effects will last. A number of personal factors also come into play, such as your preferred CBD dosage, your weight, and your lifestyle. 


The more CBD you take, the longer it will take for your body to process it. As a result, higher doses of CBD will lead to longer-lasting effects.

However, higher doses are also more likely to induce unwanted side effects, especially for newer users. As such, if you want a longer-lasting effect it’s safer to use a different form of CBD like edibles or patches rather than simply increasing your dose of a shorter-duration CBD product.


The duration of CBD’s effects is heavily influenced by your weight since CBD is fat-soluble – in other words, it gets stored in fat. Generally speaking, the more you weigh, the more CBD your body will store and the longer it will take to process it, extending its effects.


Your lifestyle has a big effect on your body’s metabolism, which in turn affects how quickly your body metabolizes CBD. Factors like regular exercise and a healthy diet are likely to increase your metabolism; as a result, you’ll process CBD quicker, leading to shorter effects.

Conversely, if you have a less active, more sedentary lifestyle, you may have a slower metabolism and therefore CBD’s effects will last longer for you.


CBD products aren’t regulated by the FDA; as a result, there can be a lot of variation between the contents of products from different manufacturers. The exact contents of your CBD product will affect how long its effects last, particularly in terms of its CBD concentration.

It’s therefore important that you always check the label of your CBD products to find out exactly what’s in them, and always buy from a supplier with good reviews so that you know you’re getting a high-quality product.

Frequency of Usage  

Regular use of CBD can lead to a build-up of the compound within your body over time, which means that it will take longer and longer for your body to process it. Frequent, heavy use of CBD may therefore lead to longer-lasting effects.

Will You Fail a Drug Test For CBD Oil?

Strictly speaking, you can’t fail a drug test from having CBD in your system, as drug tests screen for a different cannabinoid – THC, the psychoactive compound responsible for marijuana’s signature high. 

However, CBD and THC both come from cannabis plants, and some CBD products may also contain THC as a result. CBD products that contain THC may therefore cause you to fail a drug test.

In terms of THC content, CBD products fall into three broad categories:

  • Full Spectrum: These CBD products contain all the naturally occurring compounds of the plant they’re derived from, including THC. Marijuana-derived full spectrum CBD may contain varying levels of THC; however, hemp-derived full-spectrum CBD is federally required to contain 0.3% or lower THC content.
  • Broad Spectrum: These products contain all the naturally occurring compounds of the plant they’re derived from, except for THC which is removed entirely. Broad-spectrum CBD normally comes as an oil but is less common than other types of CBD.
  • CBD Isolates: These are essentially pure CBD – all other cannabis compounds are removed, including THC. It usually comes in a powdered form, but can also be bought as an edible, oil, or tincture.

Knowing which type of CBD you use is important for telling whether you’ll pass your drug test. Broad-spectrum and CBD isolate products carry no risk whatsoever since THC has been removed, but full-spectrum CBD may pose more of a risk.

Even then, hemp-derived CBD products carry little risk, as the federally allowed THC content is so low. Marijuana-derived full-spectrum CBD is a different story, as it can contain widely varying THC levels – always check the label to find out just how much THC it contains.

THC can remain detectable in the body anywhere between 3-15 days, or up to 30 days for heavy or frequent users. If you regularly take full-spectrum marijuana-derived CBD, you should therefore stop taking it well in advance of a scheduled drugs test.

How Long Do The Effects of CBD Oil Last

Do The Side Effects of CBD Oil Go Away?

CBD is extremely well-tolerated in humans and can be used to reduce the psychoactive effects of THC; it’s almost impossible to overdose on it, and it produces very few side effects which are normally fairly minor.

Some of these minor side effects include:

  • Nausea
  • Dry mouth
  • Diarrhea
  • Loss of appetite

For the most part, these side effects only occur when using CBD excessively, and will normally go away on their own after a while. 

However, more serious consideration is if you use other prescription medicines. CBD may have adverse interactions with other medications; for example, CBD may act as a blood thinner, which can cause complications if you already take blood-thinning medication.

If you take prescription medication, always consult a doctor before starting to take CBD medicinally. 


Overall, there are many factors affecting how long CBD’s effects can last – it mainly depends on the method of ingestion that you use, but can also be affected by dosage and personal factors such as weight and lifestyle. The key is to do your research and experiment with different types and doses of CBD to find the ideal CBD solution for you.


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