Cannabidiol is a comparatively new method of managing health issues that trouble us, and many people have a lot of questions about it.
This is one of those questions, which may not seem much at first, but if you’re a first-timer, this can be quite a perplexing issue. CBD doesn’t come cheap, and you wouldn’t want to waste it by taking it the wrong way. That includes the right time and frequency of using it.
While the correct amount of dosing is important for the immediate effect, there are several variables in our lives. We need to make sure that a treatment method helps us work, relax and live better, not become a problem.
Remember how some cough syrups make us so drowsy that we can’t work? Well, this can become an issue with CBD too, if you don’t take it in the right dose and don’t mind the time of the day when you take it. Alternatively, a low dose of CBD taken at night can keep you up all night.
Then again, one-time use of CBD doesn’t do much to provide us with lasting relief.
Moreover, different methods of administering CBD, i.e. different types of products, affect the intensity at which CBD works on our body. That determines how long the effects of CBD remain in our body.
So, the key questions are:
- When’s the best time to take CBD oil?
- How does the delivery method of CBD affect the timing?
- How frequently must we use CBD to have the maximum benefit?
Read on to find out everything you need to know to make the most of a CBD product.
What’s the Best Time of Day to Take CBD
CBD’s effects vary from person-to-person. The reason why CBD works on us at all is that we have an endocannabinoid system. Cannabinoids, including CBD, interacts with the endocannabinoid receptors to have certain effects on our mind and body.
While the volume of dosing certain has an impact, like low doses make us alert and high doses make us relaxed, these effects can differ from person to person. While some people generally feel energized  after taking CBD oil, others generally feel a little sleepy . These differences in effects depend on two factors:
- Health issues
- Individual Endocannabinoid System’s Properties and Balance
So, when should you take it? With your morning cup of coffee or breakfast, in the afternoon when you could do with an added boost or at night before bedtime so that you feel more relaxed?
The answer isn’t as complicated as it sounds.
Firstly, with the first few doses of CBD, you’d know exactly how your body reacts to it. Secondly, ask yourself, ‘Why am I taking it?’
Once you know the answers to these two questions, you would know exactly when to take it.
The bottom line is: There is no ideal or specific time to take your dose. It is entirely on you to choose the right time for you to take CBD.
However, there is one little factor that you need to keep in mind. Products with different delivery methods take effect on your health at different rates and their effects last for different lengths of time. While some work on your body instantly, but wear off fast, others need time to kick in, but work on your body for a longer period.
So you must choose your CBD product depending on when you use it – unless you want its effects to be delayed, leaving you in agony, or its effects to wear off before the night is over, waking you up.
As you may have well understood, this is again about why you’re using it as well as how CBD generally impacts you.
So, let’s find out how different products contribute to the time you choose to take CBD.
Timings Depending on Delivery Method
While there are several ways of using (administering) CBD, here we will discuss only the most popular delivery methods.
- Inhalation method, like vape pens: Inhaling CBD vape oil makes sure you feel its effects almost instantly. This is because the substance quickly travels through the alveoli of your lungs into your bloodstream. Its effects last for only about 4 hours. Hence, this method is suitable for use during the day, especially during afternoon hours, when you need an extra boost or to overcome some severe pain issues. It can be quite okay right before bedtime, but not immediately after dinner (given you wait an hour or two before you hit the sack), so that its effects don’t wear off and wake you up from your sleep (especially if you suffer from insomnia). But then again, these are only ideal examples. Individual lifestyles dictate when you eat, sleep or work out.
- Oral consumption, like capsules & edibles: This is a slow process, but its effects last much longer. It takes about 30-45 minutes for its effects to set in, but lasts for over 8 hours. The reason for it is that CBD must travel through your digestive system, where the enzymes in your body first break down CBD before it can be absorbed into the bloodstream. Since, these options go well with meals it’s obvious you’d take CBD with your meals, both lunch, and dinner. Moreover, since its effects take a while to set in and last longer, it’s best to take these an hour before bedtime, preferably with your food or post-meal. While CBD may help you sleep better, sleep also helps rejuvenate the body, allowing CBD to do its work more effectively, i.e. in case you’re using it for pain, inflammation, or similar symptoms.
- Sublingual method, like tinctures: This method requires you to place a few drops (as per dosage) of CBD oil under your tongue (where sublingual glands are located). This method acts faster than CBD capsules or CBD-infused edibles, but little slower than inhalation. It usually doesn’t take more than 5 – 20 minutes, as the substance is easily absorbed through the sublingual glands directly into the bloodstream. However, its effects last longer than the inhalation method, although not as long as through the digestive system. Its effects usually last for around 5 – 6 hours. Tinctures can be used as a daily supplement once or twice a day, or as needed. Although most of the CBD in tinctures is absorbed through the sublingual glands, some of it that is gulped down goes through the digestive system. Nevertheless, it is a good idea to take CBD after meals, as the fat in the food increases its absorption into the bloodstream.
- Topical method, like creams, lotions, & patches: This method requires you to apply the CBD product directly on your skin on and around the affected area. By affected area, we mean rashes, irritations, soreness, inflammation, and pain (of the muscles or more localized on the skin). This is a cause-specific application and doesn’t impact the whole body (i.e. localized administration as opposed to systemic administration). This delivery method requires 15-20 minutes for the CBD to work. It remains effective for around 4 – 5 hours. This is great if you need to work out a lot and need something extra to fight the strain of a heavy exercise routine. It also helps to use it after a workout to ease the sore muscles and revive any damaged tissue. So, use it before or after a workout or during a long and tedious train journey.
The last method is particularly effective and useful for athletes and those who like to hit the gym regularly. [3, 4 & 5] It has been found that CBD helps muscle development and inhibits tissue damage, even while promoting recovery of the complete body after rigorous wear and tear.
In fact, the World Anti-Doping Authority, or WADA, recently removed CBD from the list of prohibited substances. So now, athletes of NFL, Olympics, UFC, and other major sports leagues can use it before and after training, and even during events!
How Often should you Take CBD
Frequency of your doses depends on your requirement and how your body reacts to CBD.
Unlike most prescription drugs, the body does not develop tolerance towards CBD, i.e. your body will never become immune to its effects. On the contrary, its effects will be enhanced with time and consistent use.
There is no ideal schedule for using CBD. While we have tried to give you an idea of how long the effects of CBD last depending on their delivery method, it is still difficult to say for sure. The reason for this is, again, your individual endocannabinoid system’s properties.
The need to increase or decrease your number of doses also depend on your CBD dosage, body weight, total body fat, and sometimes even your food intake. Besides, the frequency of dosage also depends on whether you’re taking it for only an immediate effect or long-term benefit. Hence, how often you should use CBD in a day is totally up to you.
Health Issues & Timings – General Idea
Like we mentioned earlier, why you use CBD is essential to deciding on the timings and time gaps. To give you a brief idea on when and how many times you should use CBD for different issues, take a look at this table:
|Health concern||CBD use|
|Anxiety||Oral supplements: Once or twice + vape pen when needed|
|Joint pain/ inflammation||Oral supplements: Once or twice + topical creams when needed|
|Sleep disorder||High concentration oral supplement an hour or so before bedtime|
|Sexual pleasure||Topical spray around the vulva as and when needed|
|Menstrual cramps||Vaginal suppository (capsules pushed in) as and when needed|
We have tried to give you a fair idea on when it’s best to take CBD and how often to take it. However, this is only a general idea. Each person reacts differently to cannabidiol. But one thing is certain: Everyone does react to it, and reacts positively too! Everyone benefits from it – even if they do so differently.
While a lot of research still needs to be done in this area and the CBD industry is quite new, we can expect to see more truths revealed in the near future.
- Potential Effects of Cannabidiol as a Wake-Promoting Agent; Current Neuropharmacology; May 2014; Eric Murillo-Rodríguez, Andrea Sarro-Ramírez, Daniel Sánchez, Stephanie Mijangos-Moreno, Alma Tejeda-Padrón, Alwin Poot-Aké, Khalil Guzmán, Elda Pacheco-Pantoja, and Oscar Arias-Carrión; https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4023456/
- Cannabis, Cannabinoids, and Sleep: a Review of the Literature; Current Psychiatry Report; Apr 2017; Babson KA1, Sottile J2, Morabito D; https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28349316
- Transdermal cannabidiol reduces inflammation and pain-related behaviours in a rat model of arthritis; European Journal of Pain; Oct 30, 2015; DC Hammell, LP Zhang, F Ma, SM Abshire, SL McIlwrath, AL Stinchcomb, and KN Westlund; https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4851925/
- Cannabis use in active athletes: Behaviors related to subjective effects; PLoS One; Jun 28, 2019; Zeiger JS, Silvers WS, Fleegler EM, Zeiger RS; https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/31251769
Cannabis and the Health and Performance of the Elite Athlete; Clinical Journal of Sport Medicine; Aug 28, 2018; Mark A Ware, MBBS, MSc, Dennis Jensen, PhD, Amy Barrette, MSc, Alan Vernec, MD, Dip Sport Med, and Wayne Derman, MBChB, PhD; https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6116792/