CBD is a beneficial cannabinoid that can be taken as a food supplement in oils, capsules and edible forms. It’s incredibly versatile, allowing you to choose the CBD product, serving size and schedule that suits you best.
However, such flexibility can be daunting. Once you’ve chosen your product and worked out how much you’re going to take, you’ll need to decide which is the best time to take it. To help you choose, we’ve explored relevant scientific research, spoken to experts and chatted with people who consume CBD regularly.
Time to take CBD - fast facts
CBD can be taken any time of the day and night.
Small servings of CBD are best for daytime use.
Larger serving sizes work well in the evening.
Taking CBD with a fatty meal can increase the amount in your bloodstream by up to 14 times.
Different CBD products are absorbed into your body in different ways.
Some CBD products take effect quicker than others.
Some CBD products stay in your system for longer.
Daytime vs. evening use
CBD is a biphasic supplement that can behave in two different ways when taken in different amounts. Small amounts are best taken during the day and larger servings are better saved for the evening.
Depending on why you have chosen to take CBD, you can either use two or three small daytime servings or one larger measure about half an hour before bed. However, some people choose to do both.
Tim has been taking CBD for the last three years: “I take a few puffs of CBD e-liquid on my vape every couple of hours throughout the day. When I’m about to head up to bed I take a larger amount by placing several drops of medium strength oil under my tongue.”
With your meal
A study conducted at the University of Minnesota discovered that CBD was dramatically increased if participants took it with a high-fat meal. Compared to when taken with no food, the level of CBD in the blood increased by up to 14 times. This didn’t seem to affect how the CBD behaved, other than increasing the amount and making it to the bloodstream to be utilised.
Although why this happens is not fully understood, it is likely that the fat-soluble CBD molecules mix with the fat in the meal. This then allows for faster transport through the gut wall into the bloodstream.
The research used standard fatty breakfasts such as burritos, but different meals with different types and levels of fat will produce different results. While users can’t determine by how much certain meals will increase CBD absorption, this study is still enough to indicate that when you choose when to take CBD, you should prioritise taking it close to a mealtime.
Emma was introduced to CBD by a work colleague five years ago. She told us; “I always take my CBD oil just before I sit down for a meal. It helps me to remember to take it and the results usually seem better.”
Consistency is key
Once you’ve chosen when and how often you will take your CBD, it’s essential to stick to the plan as consistently as possible. This will help you build a sustainable routine and allow you to observe any results over time.
CBD interacts with your body’s endocannabinoid system and regular use will allow the cannabinoids to build up and provide almost continuous stimulation. In turn, this will support your body to respond to imbalances in your many internal systems.
Different times may suit different product types
Different types of CBD products are absorbed into your body in different ways. As a result, some take longer to work than others. It’s important to consider your product type and how you will take it before deciding when to take it.
Regular CBD user Estelle has colleagues in the CBD industry and often goes to them for advice. She said, “I have been taking CBD for the past 2 years. I take CBD oil in the mornings and CBD capsules in the evening."
Taking CBD under the tongue
CBD oils can be taken under the tongue or swallowed. If you hold them under your tongue and let them absorb across the thin membrane into your bloodstream, you could experience results within 15 to 25 minutes.
However, after about 6 hours, only half of the CBD that reaches your bloodstream will be left. This means that you can take CBD oil under your tongue at any time of the day, but if you want to keep it in your system, you should take it regularly with no more than 6 hours between servings.
If you choose to swallow CBD in the form of oil, capsules, tablets, or gummies, you will likely notice the first effects within 30 minutes to 2 hours. However, some capsules and gummies may take longer depending on how long it takes for the capsules or jelly to dissolve.
Because the effects take longer to begin, you will need to adjust your schedule accordingly. For example, if you plan on swallowing CBD before bed, you could do it between half an hour and two hours before you aim to sleep. This will allow the effect to start at the most helpful time.
As you get used to how each product works, you will be able to make even more precise adjustments. Swallowing CBD also means that it will stay in your system for longer. After one to two days, you should still have at least half of the amount that initially reached your bloodstream.
Vaporising and inhaling CBD e-liquid
If you use a vaporiser and inhale CBD e-liquid, the effects can start in just 10 minutes and up to 56% of each serving may reach your bloodstream. This makes it a rapid and effective method of taking CBD. In addition, half of the CBD taken this way will be metabolised within 2 to 10 hours.
Because of the quick effects and slightly shorter half-life, e-liquids are well suited for use at shorter intervals throughout the day and evening.
The best time to take CBD
CBD affects everyone slightly differently. This is due to various factors, including body mass, body chemistry and how healthy you are. Different products will behave differently, and you may even notice altered effects from one brand to the next. Consequently, the best time to take CBD depends on how the product you use affects you.
We recommend starting with a small amount one to two times a day for about a week. This will give you time to get used to it and see if the timings work for you. Then you can increase the servings or adjust the timings. Go slowly and get to know the effects. This way, you will soon be able to determine the best time to take CBD for you.