We’re often asked by our customers how long it takes to experience the therapeutic benefits of CBD, and the answer to that question is difficult. It depends on the concentration of the product, the application (sublingual, topical, oral, etc.), as well as how one metabolizes CBD, which is unique from person to person. There have been thousands of studies examining the extensive benefits of CBD, and although the focus of the study can differentiate (different diseases, different symptoms, different subjects), one variable remains constant – the CBD application is both concentrated and consistent.
Why does consistency matter?
If you were trying to build strength or flexibility, you wouldn’t sporadically exercise and stretch, and expect to see results. If you were learning a new skill, like speaking a new language or sewing your own clothes, you wouldn’t expect to be an expert after a few attempts. Although many of our customers have shared almost an immediate change in how they feel upon using our products, if your goal is to use CBD as either a preventative or combatant against chronic issues, consistent use of an effective application is essential because of how CBD is processed in the body.
CBD is lipophilic, which means it dissolves in fats (i.e. fat soluble), and as result, compounds in your body over time. This means when taken routinely and consistently, those compounded levels will increase its medicinal benefits. The World Health Association states CBD is non-addictive, has no withdrawal symptoms, and has a great safety profile. That being said, CBD is metabolized through the same pathway as prescriptions and over-the-counter drugs, so in some instances, CBD can negatively interact with different medications. Although consistent daily-use is strongly encouraged for optimal effect, one should speak with their physician prior to using CBD, especially if they are already taking other medications.
How does CBD work in the body?
There are multiple applications for consuming CBD, and by default, multiple pathways for how it is processed in the body:
- Inhalation (vaporizer/smokable flower): Highest bioavailability. When inhaled, the cannabinoids and terpenes pass directly into the bloodstream from the lungs. Peak blood levels are achieved almost immediately, but do drop-off faster than other applications.
- Sublingual (tinctures): The cannabinoids and terpenes diffuse into the blood through connective tissue under the tongue. Absorption rate varies (20-60min), and unlike oral applications, sublingual tinctures bypass first-pass metabolism through the liver, meaning a higher absorption rate.
- Oral (tablets & gummies): Slower means of consuming cannabinoids and terpenes because the active ingredients must first pass through the gastrointestinal tract during digestion before entering the bloodstream. This can take up to 30-90min. The potency of the cannabinoids and terpenes are further minimized due to “first-pass metabolism” (i.e. the concentration of a drug is greatly reduced before it reaches systemic circulation) in the digestive tract.
- Topical (balms/roll-ons/lotion): Delivers active ingredients to the bloodstream through the skin. Effects generally occur within 5-15min, and can last up to 12hrs.
However, these various applications are only therapeutically effective because of the Endocannabinoid System (ECS). The ECS exists within every mammalian body, and is responsible for regulating a broad range of biological and physiological processes to include appetite, digestion, metabolism, pain-sensation, inflammation, mood, sleep, stress, and memory. The ECS is that which keeps the body balanced, and is comprised of three core components:
- Endocannabinoids – cannabinoids naturally produced by the mammalian body; activates the cannabinoid receptors in cells.
- Cannabinoid Receptors – found throughout the mammalian body; endocannabinoids bind with them, signalling the ECS to take action.
- Metabolic Enzymes – breaks down endocannabinoids once they’ve carried out their function.
Not only does the ECS process endocannabinoids, but it also processes phytocannabinoids (i.e. cannabinoids produced by plants) like CBD, which allows for the countless medicinal benefits CBD offers.
Taking “more” CBD doesn’t necessarily mean “better”, so long as you’re using a concentrated product. As a solution is diluted, the absorbance of the solution is decreased (this isn’t just an opinion, it’s a law, and is true of all medicinal compounds). In regards of CBD, if you are using a diluted product, your body will metabolize the cannabinoid before it reaches the bloodstream, thereby robbing you of any medicinal benefit.
If you are using a legitimately concentrated product, your ideal dose will depend upon the issue you are treating, the severity of the issue, and how you metabolize cannabinoids, which can only be determined through titration. For sublingual applications, we generally recommend 10-20mg to start for three days. After three days, take note of your symptoms and how you feel. If you aren’t feeling much of a difference, increase your dose by 4-6mg for three more days, and see how you feel. Keep increasing your dosage every three to four days till you establish your perfect dose. And don’t forget that over time, CBD compounds within the body, so you will likely be able to decrease your dose (and save yourself some money) following consistent use.
Establishing a CBD Routine
Starting any new routine can have its challenges, and oftentimes the biggest challenge is just remembering to do it. So, make it easy for yourself by placing your CBD in plain sight – on your bedside table, near your toothbrush, or with your other daily supplements.
Also, consider what application would be most convenient for you. Do you already take vitamins, so adding a tablet or capsule to your routine makes the most sense? Do you moisturize your skin following your morning/evening shower, so applying a topical to your achy joints and muscles seems easy enough? More than anything, the most important part is consistent use of a quality product. If you purchase a tincture, and never remember to take it, it’s not going to do you a lot of good. So consider what application will best serve you and your needs.
Remember, patience and consistency are your best friends when it comes to establishing a new routine. Some folks take days or even weeks to experience the medicinal benefits of CBD, so be patience with yourself as you establish your optimal CBD routine.