Cannabidiol, or CBD, has been at the center of a hot debate since the discovery of its anti-seizure properties and the potential to treat epilepsy. In 2018, the FDA approved a CBD-infused oral solution for the treatment of two rare forms of childhood epilepsy. In the meantime, CBD advocates have found that the substance may have a plethora of other health benefits from treating insomnia and depression to helping alleviate chronic pain and inflammation.
Nevertheless, while more research needs to be done to confirm the said applications, most research is based on animal studies. So, there is no consensus on how long it really takes the CBD to produce its effects on the human body.
But it is worth noting that, the efficacy of CBD and CBD oil, the most popular product containing the compound, largely depends on several factors, such as the quality of the CBD extract, method of use and user’s metabolic rate and weight. But one of the decisive factors is the delivery system.
The Best Method of Use
To produce its full effects, CBD first needs to reach the bloodstream. Not surprisingly, the fastest delivery system is intravenous injection, with the effect being nearly instant. But for obvious reasons, injecting CBD intravenously is not very popular with CBD users.
So, the next in line, is vaping, or inhalation, of CBD. Through this method, CBD oil needs around 15 to 20 minutes to produce its full effects, as your lungs account for a relatively large area of absorption.
Another very effective method, which is the most popular as well due to its convenience, is sublingual application. It is recommended holding the CBD oil under your tongue for 30 seconds to 2 minutes for it to be fully absorbed by your system. It should take no longer than 30 minutes for full effect.
Another method is ingestion, which is not that effective at preserving CBD’s or CBD oil’s healing properties by the time the product reaches the bloodstream.
When you ingest CBD oil, it must first pass the digestive system and be processed by the liver. CBD is then broken down but cannabidiol concentration is greatly reduced before reaching the bloodstream. This means that taking high concentrations of CBD oil orally will take some time to produce their effects (up to 2 hours). The good news is that, according to scientists, ingesting CBD with fatty acids may help boost the absorption rates of the product.
Also, if you are taking CBD oil for joint pain or inflammation, you should apply it topically, i.e. directly on to your skin. But applied topically, CBD oil will never reach the bloodstream, which is not the point either when trying to alleviate local pain.
What’s more, because the human skin barely lets foreign substances enter the system, you’ll need to apply the oil generously to the skin and the oil should have high concentrations of CBD for real relief.
How Long Does CBD Take to Work
In short, here’s a list of how long it takes the CBD to reach the bloodstream and its effects to kick in depending on the delivery system:
- Injection: Instant
- Ingestion: Up to 2 hours
- Sublingual administration: 20-25 minutes
- Vaping: 15-20 minutes
- Topical (on skin): N/A (the CBD never reaches the bloodstream; its effects occur locally)
How Does CBD Work
CBD and its psychoactive sibling, THC, impact the endocannabinoid system and two if its main cannabinoid receptors: CB1 and CB2. When tapped, these two receptors influence pain perception, the way we process memories, and our motor control.
However, unlike THC, CBD will not get you high, which means that it lacks the psychoactive element. On the contrary, when THC is taken with CBD, the latter prevents the former from binding to the CB1 receptors in the brain and get the feeling of “high.” CBD taps only the CB2 receptors in the brain, which modulate the immune response. This is why CBD can help reduce inflammation, infections, chronic pain, convulsions, and anxiety symptoms.
Can You Get Addicted to CBD?
Before answering this question, we should clear up what addiction is. Addiction is a disease that affects both your mind and body. The negative changes tied to addiction are often caused by an addictive substance or a compulsive behavior, like gambling and video gaming.
Just like any disease, addiction is caused by several factors including genetics, environment, and behavior. Substance addiction can get so severe that it can alter the structure and chemistry of the human brain.
Addictive substances tap the reward system of the brain and get it to produce more of the pleasure hormone, aka dopamine. In time, the reward system in the brain fails to function properly and releases less and less dopamine, which causes the addict to increase the amount of the addictive substance to feel good again.
So, can you get hooked on CBD? The short answer is no.
CBD is a non-psychoactive substance, which means that it won’t get you high no matter how much you try it. It is usually extracted from industrial hemp, cannabis, or kriya. The feeling of ‘high’ cannabis users experience is caused by another cannabinoid found in the cannabis plant, called Tetrahidrocanabinol (THC).
However, the general public tends to liken THC and CBD and consider that they both can get you high and addicted. However, most CBD products contain only minor amounts of THC, which are not enough to induce addiction.
What’s more, unlike THC, CBD does not tap the dopamine center of the brain and cannot lead to addiction in time. In 2017, a group of WHO experts reported that CBD lacks “dependence potential.” In fact, cannabidiol can help treat some types of dependence by counteracting addictive substances’ effects.
CBD Can Help Treat Addiction
According to a 2011 study, smokers who used CBD to curb their nicotine addiction smoked on average 40% fewer cigarettes than users who did not. Two years later, another study revealed that CBD can prevent morphine from tapping the brain’s reward system and keep the user hooked. In 2017, a team of Brazilian and British scientists found that CBD’s regulatory effects on emotions and emotional memory functioning can sensibly improve substance abuse treatment.
Featured image: SplitShire via Pixabay
Photo 2: Kelly Sikkema via Unsplash