Understanding CBD Absorption: A Comprehensive Guide to CBD Edibles and Topicals

Understanding CBD Absorption: A Comprehensive Guide to CBD Edibles and Topicals

The increasing popularity of CBD products has led many to incorporate them into their wellness and self-care routines. With various forms available, from tinctures to sports creams, salves, gummies, and soft gel capsules, choosing the right product and understanding its effects can be challenging. In this blog post, we will discuss how long it takes for CBD to work and how it varies depending on the product type.

Factors Affecting CBD Absorption

Before diving into the specifics of each product, it is crucial to understand the factors that affect CBD absorption:

1. Method of consumption: How you consume CBD significantly impacts its absorption rate and effectiveness.

2. Bioavailability: The percentage of CBD that enters your bloodstream determines its efficacy.

3. Dosage: How much CBD you consume affects how long it takes to feel its effects.

4. Individual factors: Age, weight, metabolism, and overall health can influence CBD absorption rates.

CBD Tinctures: Quick and Effective

CBD tinctures are made by infusing high-quality hemp extract into a carrier oil like MCT oil or hemp seed oil. The most common method of consuming tinctures is sublingually, placing a few drops under the tongue for 30-60 seconds before swallowing¹. This allows CBD to enter the bloodstream directly, bypassing the digestive system and offering a quicker effect. Most users report feeling the effects of CBD tinctures within 15-45 minutes².

CBD Sports and Recovery Creams: Targeted Relief

CBD sports and recovery creams are topical products designed to provide localized relief from muscle aches, joint pain, and inflammation³. These creams are applied directly to the skin, allowing CBD to be absorbed through the skin's surface and interact with nearby cannabinoid receptors. The effects of CBD topicals typically begin within 25-45 minutes, providing targeted relief that may last several hours⁴.

CBD Salves: Soothing and Nourishing

Like sports creams, CBD salves are applied topically and provide localized relief. They infuse CBD into a base of beeswax, coconut oil, or shea butter, creating a thicker consistency. Salves are perfect for soothing and nourishing dry, irritated, or inflamed skin. The onset of effects from CBD salves is typically within 25-45 minutes, lasting several hours⁵.

CBD Gummies: Tasty and Convenient

CBD gummies are popular for those seeking a tasty and convenient way to consume CBD. They are made by infusing CBD into a gummy candy, making them an excellent option for those who dislike the taste of CBD oil or tinctures. However, CBD gummies take longer to work than other methods due to the digestive process. Most users report feeling the effects of CBD gummies within 45 minutes to 2 hours, with peak effects occurring around 90 minutes after ingestion⁶.

CBD Softgel Capsules: Consistent and Precise

CBD softgel capsules are ideal for those seeking a consistent and precise CBD dosage. They contain a predetermined amount of CBD oil, ensuring accurate dosing with each use. Like gummies, softgel capsules must pass through the digestive system, leading to a slower onset of effects. Users typically report feeling the benefits of CBD softgel capsules within 1-2 hours of ingestion⁷.


In summary, the time it takes for CBD to work depends on the product type, method of consumption, bioavailability, dosage, and individual factors. For quick results, CBD tinctures are an excellent option. For localized relief, sports creams and salves are ideal. If you prefer a tasty and convenient method, CBD gummies might be the right choice. Lastly, for consistent and precise dosing, consider CBD softgel capsules. Finding the right product and dosage that best suits your needs and preferences is essential. Remember to consult a healthcare professional before incorporating CBD into your wellness routine, especially if you have any pre-existing medical conditions or are taking medications.



¹ Huestis, M. A. (2007). Human cannabinoid pharmacokinetics. Chemistry & Biodiversity, 4(8), 1770-1804. https://doi.org/10.1002/cbdv.200790152

² Millar, S. A., Stone, N. L., Yates, A. S., & O'Sullivan, S. E. (2018). A systematic review on the pharmacokinetics of cannabidiol in humans. Frontiers in Pharmacology, 9, 1365. https://doi.org/10.3389/fphar.2018.01365

³ Hammell, D. C., Zhang, L. P., Ma, F., Abshire, S. M., McIlwrath, S. L., Stinchcomb, A. L., & Westlund, K. N. (2016). Transdermal cannabidiol reduces inflammation and pain-related behaviors in a rat model of arthritis. European Journal of Pain, 20(6), 936-948. https://doi.org/10.1002/ejp.818

⁴ Maida, V., & Daeninck, P. J. (2016). A user's guide to cannabinoid therapies in oncology. Current Oncology, 23(6), 398-406. https://doi.org/10.3747/co.23.3489

⁵ Russo, E. B. (2019). The case for the entourage effect and conventional breeding of clinical cannabis: No “strain,” no gain. Frontiers in Plant Science, 9, 1969. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpls.2018.01969

⁶ Linares, I. M., Zuardi, A. W., Pereira, L. C., Queiroz, R. H., Mechoulam, R., Guimarães, F. S., & Crippa, J. A. (2018). Cannabidiol presents an inverted U-shaped dose-response curve in a simulated public speaking test. Brazilian Journal of Psychiatry, 40(1), 9-14. https://doi.org/10.1590/1516-4446-2017-0015

⁷ Taylor, L., Gidal, B., Blakey, G., Tayo, B., & Morrison, G. (2018). A phase I, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, single ascending dose, multiple-dose, and food effect trial of the safety, tolerability, and pharmacokinetics of highly purified cannabidiol in healthy subjects. CNS Drugs, 32(11), 1053-1067. https://doi.org/10.1007/s40263-018-0578-5

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