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How Long Does It Take for CBD to Work for Pain Relief?

by Bonnie Hagen 22 Feb 2022

Research has shown that CBD (cannabidiol) has a lot of promise for those suffering from pain. Whether you’re taking a few drops of CBD oil, or you’re using a topical CBD product, you will probably have a couple of questions. One of those is how long it will take for CBD to work for pain relief. The other is probably how long the benefits will last.

When Does Pain Relief Begin?

First, let’s be clear that CBD is different than THC. Unlike THC, CBD needs to accumulate in the body before you start to feel the effects. It is not unheard of to take CBD for a week or two weeks before you feel anything. Once you have reached this stage, the immediate effects of CBD usually take effect within 30 to 90 minutes, depending on the delivery system. For instance, oral CBD may take longer to yield benefits for some types of pain than a topical CBD product. This is because taking it orally means that, before the CBD can enter the body and bloodstream, it must first go through the stomach and the digestive system. When applied directly to the skin, CBD can penetrate the affected area faster. You can also take CBD sublingually (under the tongue). This is something of a middle ground. It’s faster than oral ingestion but slower than a topical application. This is why the directions on many labels advise to hold the formula under the tongue for 30-60 seconds before swallowing.

 How Long Will It Last?

Several factors affect how long your pain relief will last, including the size of the dose, the severity of your pain, the type of pain you’re treating, the method of application/ingestion, and more. For instance, oral ingestion may give you longer-lasting relief after a slower start, while topical application usually offers peak performance in about 90 minutes and then begins to decline, but pain relief is usually noticed very soon after application.

For most people suffering from chronic pain, the best option is to maintain a constant level of CBD in their system. This helps fight the effect known as “fading”, where pain relief drops off and then slowly rebuilds after the next dose. You must also find the right dose for your pain level and body composition/weight, as well as the right product for your needs. Dosing is more of an art than a science, and therefore requires some trial and error.


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