How Long Does CBD Oil Take to Work for Anxiety?

Reading time - 10 minutes - April 28, 2023

For many of us, anxiety has become an everyday occurrence, what with the Coronavirus pandemic, followed by a cost-of-living crisis, all of which combine with the fact that our lives seem to be more fast-paced and busier than ever. While anxiety has been one of the most common mental health problems experienced by people worldwide for decades, evidence shows that its prevalence is on the rise. It’s not surprising, then, that the use of perceived anxiety remedies, such as CBD Oils, has also been on the incline in recent years. But if this natural ingredient can be effective, how long does CBD oil take to work for anxiety?

In any given week, 6 in 100 people will be diagnosed with generalised anxiety disorder in England. Not to mention the over 8 million people in the UK who are experiencing an anxiety disorder at any one time. Even those of us who only experience feelings of anxiety from time to time or under certain circumstances could sometimes do with a helping hand. Whether we turn to therapy, prescription medications, or natural remedies like CBD, everyone is simply after one thing: anxiety relief.

Unsurprisingly, we get a lot of questions concerning CBD, from concerns about the cannabis derivative’s safety and legality to its potential health benefits. But possibly the largest chunk of questions we receive relates to CBD and anxiety. And given that anxiety is consistently ranked as one of the top reasons for using CBD in the UK, that makes perfect sense.

So, what is CBD? Can it really help and, if so, how long does CBD take to work for anxiety?

CBD – An Overview

Over the last few years, CBD has taken the wellness world by storm. This versatile cannabis-derived compound can now be found in all kinds of products from CBD oils and CBD gummies, to topicals and e-liquids. But what exactly is it?

Well, CBD is one of over 100 compounds found in the cannabis plant known as cannabinoids. The other most well-known compound in this group is THC – a psychoactive substance that is largely responsible for the ‘high’ we often associate with cannabis. But fear not. CBD is very different from THC, despite their common abundance in the plant. 

Yet, both these cannabinoids – and many more besides – have been found to hold impressive health and wellness potential. In fact, the vast majority of medical cannabis research and product development focuses primarily on the properties of these two compounds. It is through their interaction with receptors in the endocannabinoid system (ECS), as well as other systems in our bodies, that these cannabinoids are able to influence a number of physiological and cognitive processes, including mood and pain signalling!

In addition to anxiety, some commonly reported reasons for using CBD products include stress, sleep problems, and pain and inflammation. While there is a growing body of evidence to support the potential of CBD in these areas to some extent, more high-quality research is needed to fully understand its application in these settings.

CBD for Anxiety

A number of observational and clinical studies have aimed to assess the potential of CBD for anxiety relief – and some have yielded some impressive results. 

For example, a recent review of the current evidence assessed data from 49 primary preclinical, clinical, and epidemiological studies. The authors concluded that “existing preclinical evidence strongly supports CBD as a treatment for generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, social anxiety disorder, obsessive–compulsive disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder when administered acutely.” However, it is noted that few studies have so far investigates chronic CBD dosing. It is also concluded that human studies reflect these findings, indicating that CBD may have significant anxiolytic (anxiety-relieving) potential. 

Furthermore, a 2019 study designed to determine whether CBD helps improve sleep and/or anxiety in a clinical population likewise found promising results. Anxiety scores decreased in the majority of patients (79.2%) after one month of CBD use and remained decreased during the study period.

There is also an abundance of anecdotal evidence from thousands of regular CBD users who swear by their chosen products for anxiety relief. It’s difficult to read any review sites, forums, or even scroll through social media these days without coming across a CBD fanatic who has successfully incorporated this incredible cannabinoid into their everyday health and wellness regimen.

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How Long Does CBD Take to Work?

Many CBD users – whether they are new to the game or not – want to know exactly how long after they take CBD, they can expect to see results. Unfortunately, this is far from an exact science and so the answer can be dependent on a wide variety of factors. For example, everything from personal tolerance, age, weight and metabolism of the user, and method of administration can all play a significant part in the absorption rate of CBD.

However, the administration method and the type of product used is among the most reliable guides in this area. You see, taking CBD in an edible product means that the active ingredient has to take a different route to your bloodstream than CBD that is inhaled. And it isn’t just the length of the journey that can impact the final effects of your product. Obstacles encountered on the way can also play a role in how long the CBD takes to kick in and even how effective it can be.

Let’s take a look at a few examples.

CBD Oils

CBD oils remain among the most popular CBD oils on the market, thanks to their versatility and the wide range of available strengths. While CBD oils can be added to foods, drinks, and even topicals, the most popular way to take them is to apply them sublingually – that is, under your tongue. 

Applying CBD oil in this way allows the active ingredients to absorb into your bloodstream through the thin layer of skin at the bottom of your mouth. In comparison to applying CBD products topically to other areas of the body, CBD applied sublingually has much less distance to travel before it reaches your bloodstream. Furthermore, using CBD oil in this way allows you to bypass the liver (more on this later) which is not the case with edibles and drinks.

CBD Edibles

Another increasingly popular CBD product is the CBD edible. This can refer to CBD gummies, chocolates, and even drinks. It is easy to see why CBD edibles have become so popular in recent years: they are discrete, tasty, and offer easy and convenient dosing. However, they may also come with their setbacks when it comes to onset time.

As briefly mentioned above, edible products need to pass through the liver before the active ingredients can be effectively absorbed into the bloodstream. As the liver is effectively a filter for our bodies, this can mean that some of the active CBD contained within your gummy or chocolate is destroyed before it has finished its journey. This is known as the ‘first pass’ effect. As a result, your CBD may take longer to kick in and you may not receive quite as much bang for your buck.

Inhaling CBD

Opting for a product like a CBD e-liquid, which can be consumed with the help of a vaporizer, is another way to incorporate CBD. Like using CBD oils, this method allows you to bypass the liver by instead delivering CBD directly to the lungs. From here, CBD is quickly absorbed into the bloodstream, making for possibly the fastest but most short-lived onset of effects from CBD.

For a more detailed guide to the various methods of CBD administration, check out our recent blog: ‘How to take CBD: A Beginner’s Guide’.

Other factors that affect onset of CBD for anxiety

As we have said, your chosen route of administration – while important – is far from the only factor that will affect how long your CBD takes to kick in. Every CBD user is different. From their height, age, and weight to their metabolism and tolerance. All of these considerations can significantly affect not only how long it takes for CBD to take hold, but also how much CBD you will need to take before you see any effects. 

When looking to find the perfect dosing regimen to effectively manage your anxiety with the help of CBD, the most important thing to remember is to start slow and go slow. This method will allow you to have the highest possible control over how much CBD you are consuming. Furthermore, slowly increasing the dose of your CBD oil will allow you to monitor any effects you may experience after each increase. 

Thankfully, it is easy to keep track of how much CBD you are taking with the use of a CBD oil/tincture. The vast majority of CBD tincture bottles feature a dropper which makes application a walk in the park. Simply fill up the dropper and apply the desired amount to the space under your tongue, using the number of drops to keep track of the amount used! You may choose to slowly increase your dose by a drop or two every few days until you feel you have found your optimal dose.

If using CBD to manage your anxiety – or for any other reason – it may be useful to take a few drops in the morning or before you go to bed. You can then take a few more drops as and when you feel you need it for some extra relief – for example, before heading into a meeting or setting off on a stressful journey. Importantly, CBD is considered completely safe with an extremely low risk of serious adverse events so you can incorporate this trusty cannabinoid into your everyday routine with complete of mind.

Have you had success using CBD oils for your anxiety? Let us know! If you are interested in the potential of CBD products for anxiety or simply want to give your wellness a boost, check out our impressive range of CBD products today.

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