Cannabidiol, or CBD, is the active ingredient found in countless food, drink, and health products around the globe. CBD is the chemical compound extracted from the hemp plant, which contains cannabidiol that closely resembles the natural molecules that exist in the human body and help to regulate the nervous system. This is called the endocannabinoid system, or ECS.
Initial research has shown that when CBD enters the human body, it chemically interacts with the ECS to help reduce the pain and natural inflammation responses in the body. CBD does not produce mind-altering effects, allowing it to be used far more broadly than cannabis products.
As a result of the recent federal legalization of hemp plant production, seemingly endless possibilities exist for the medicinal benefits offered by CBD. But with CBD still being relatively new — in addition to not yet being regulated by the FDA — new users must take it upon themselves to research, review, and understand the benefits of CBD use. Let’s take a look at how long CBD lasts, and also learn how to measure the benefits of CBD over time.
How Long Does CBD Last?
To understand how long CBD will last in the body, you must consider several different factors. Many of these factors include the amount of your CBD dose, the delivery system, frequency of use, and the individual’s metabolism. These factors can be analyzed to determine the bioavailability of the CBD.
CBD bioavailability is the rate that CBD is absorbed into the bloodstream. Each form of CBD is ingested differently, which alters the bioavailability. It is essential to use your body weight as a starting point for your initial dosing. Research implies that a starting dose of 1-6 mg/per 10 lbs of body weight is an excellent place to begin. For example, for an individual who weighs 200 lbs, an initial dose of 20-120 mgs a day would be ideal to start. You should always look to experiment with the lowest possible dosage and incrementally increase it until you find the dosage that works best for you.
Delivery Systems and Bioavailability
There are several different forms or delivery systems available for CBD. From balms, creams, and softgels to sprays and oils, there are many application methods to help provide the relief and holistic benefits that come with using CBD.
Currently, the most popular CBD type is a tincture; this is an oil-based product that is placed under the tongue and can begin to take effect in as little as 20 minutes. The bioavailability of this method falls somewhere in the range of 12-35%. Vaping is also a very common way to ingest CBD oil. This form is inhaled into the lungs, where it quickly hits the bloodstream and its effects can be felt in as little as 5-10 minutes. This makes it the fastest form of ingesting CBD. The bioavailability of vaping CBD is generally in the range of 35-55%.
It’s worth noting that vaping has recently come under scrutiny due to some harmful and potentially deadly side effects. Often times, these side effects are caused by the poor quality of oils and other ingredients used to make the CBD inhalable.
Oral consumption of CBD is available in many forms, predominantly in soft gels and oral sprays. Oral and edible forms of CBD are consumed and undergo the digestive process, where 90% of the CBD is broken down by stomach and liver enzymes. It typically takes approximately 1-2 hours to feel the effects of this application method, and it has a relatively low bioavailability of about 4-20%. However, it is a popular choice because it lasts longer in the system than other methods.
Topical forms of CBD come in balms or creams and are applied directly to the skin. The skin has a low cannabidiol absorption rate, which makes determining its bioavailability more difficult. But if the CBD is applied liberally to a painful area, once absorbed, it can last up to 5 hours.
Measuring the Benefits Over Time
When beginning to use a CBD product for the first time, it can be a period of trial and error. There is no specific delivery system or dosage that is guaranteed to work for a particular symptom, and each individual reacts differently to CBD.
To assist in measuring the benefits of CBD over time, it’s helpful is to journal your experience by keeping track of the product amount, frequency, and results you are experiencing from your CBD usage. Journaling may help you to see what delivery systems and dosages are producing the desired results. In its many forms, CBD oil may take weeks or even months of continued use to begin to show lasting results, so it is essential to be patient with the experience and not be discouraged if you fail to see immediate benefits.
Another helpful tip is to thoroughly research the CBD product you are looking to try out and ensure the company has its products certified by a third-party laboratory. This helps to validate consistency and quality of the product you are trying, in order to have the best chance for success. As is the case with any new supplement routine, it is suggested you consult your doctor or physician before starting use, to ensure beginning a CBD regimen is safe and will not interact with any other medications you may be taking.