How Long CBD To Work

How Long Does CBD Take To Work? (Tinctures vs. Edibles)

If you’re just starting on your CBD journey, it can be a bit confusing. From lollipops to shampoos, there are a plethora of CBD products to choose from, and it can be daunting deciding which is best for you. 

Tinctures and edibles are two popular CBD products taking the market by storm, and both are a great place for CBD beginners to start. 

Tinctures and edibles are very different CBD delivery methods compared to smoking CBD, so how do they work? How long will it take to feel the effects? And which is best for you?

CBD Tinctures

A tincture is a medicine made by dissolving a drug in alcohol. Full-spectrum cannabis tinctures are made by suspending cannabis in alcohol. The alcohol suspension extracts all the active compounds in cannabis. The resulting liquid product contains all the compounds present in that cannabis plant but without any plant material. 

CBD tinctures undergo a slightly different process and instead uses hemp strains that are high in CBD. While a tincture made from a cannabis plant will create a tincture with CBD present, it will also contain THC. THC is a psychotropic substance and tends to fall under more strict federal and state regulations. 

With high CBD hemp, the tincture will be high in CBD and other hemp compounds but free from THC. The US federal regulations state that CBD products must contain no more than 0.3% THC, so CBD hemp products generally follow federal law. 

CBD tinctures can be consumed by simply placing a drop of the product under your tongue. Manufacturer recommendations will highlight the appropriate dose for you. Also, it’s best to keep your tincture in a cool, dark place to reduce CBD degradation.

Tincture Bioavailability and Speed

CBD tinctures have a high bioavailability and speed of delivery when used under the tongue. This is because the CBD tincture is absorbed by the mucous membranes, which quickly transfer CBD and any other compounds in the tincture into the bloodstream. 

The sublingual delivery also avoids a route through the gut, which aids in the bioavailability and delivery speed. When CBD must enter the gut, it is broken down by the digestive system’s highly metabolic action, resulting in a lower CBD concentration reaching the bloodstream. 

A CBD tincture delivered sublingually will reach peak bloodstream concentration levels after around two hours. Studies of other medications have found that sublingual delivery can result in a bioavailability of 35%, meaning that 35% of the compound actually reaches the bloodstream. As this method offers a medium-high bioavailability and slow peak delivery speed, a sublingual tincture is a good CBD option for those who want relatively strong but long-lasting effects (1, 2). 

CBD Edibles 

CBD edibles can come in a range of forms, but they are typically in the form of food or drink containing CBD extract. These edibles come in variable concentration levels and flavors, making it easy for you to find an edible product that best suits your needs and preferences. 

Edibles come as gummies, chocolates, drinks, and even entire meals, so there is a literal smorgasbord of CBD foods available for you to try. CBD edibles are also very easy to use and incorporate into your everyday routine. 

Cannabinoid edibles can be made by baking cannabis into a brownie, but there are more sophisticated products on the market today that use CBD-only extracts in their recipes. These products mean you can be sure that your CBD edible contains exactly the substances you are looking to try. 

Edible Bioavailability and Speed

While CBD edible products offer great variety and ease of use, they do have a low bioavailability. CBD edibles will likely only provide 6-20% bioavailability (3). 

This low absorption rate is mostly because of the high metabolic action of the gut. CBD edible products pass through the gut, where they start to be broken down, leading to less of the CBD compound being absorbed into the bloodstream. 

A low bioavailability may not sound like a good thing, but it does make CBD edibles a good option for those new to CBD and those who want to start with a lower concentration. 

CBD edibles also have a slow-release time. You can expect a CBD edible to reach peak blood-level concentration after one and a half to three hours. This slow-release time combined with its lower bioavailability means that CBD edibles may be a good fit for lower-level but more sustained CBD treatment (4). 

Tinctures or Edibles?

CBD tinctures and edibles have subtle variations in their bioavailability and absorption rates. 

Because tinctures avoid the stomach, CBD tinctures are likely to be absorbed in higher concentrations and slightly faster than CBD edibles. CBD tinctures’ sublingual delivery is not the fastest or highest bioavailability delivery product available, but it can be a good option for many. 

When deciding between a tincture or edible, finding the best fit for you will depend on the symptoms you want to treat, your experience with CBD, and your personal preferences. 

Since sublingual tinctures and edibles have slow-release times, both these CBD products are good options for those who could benefit from the slow-release effect, e.g., sufferers of chronic conditions. While those new to CBD may want to start with an edible because of its ease of use and low bioavailability, you should decide which dosage is best for your needs. 

Choosing between tincture or edible may simply come down to taste as you may prefer the taste of a sweet CBD gummy to the alcohol-based tincture. It’s really up to you!

The Bottom Line 

Tinctures and edibles are both convenient CBD products that are great options for CBD beginners. 

Both tinctures and edibles have a relatively slow-release time, meaning that they can take over an hour to reach peak CBD concentration levels in the bloodstream, with tinctures being slightly faster. The main difference between the two is bioavailability, with tinctures delivering a higher concentration level of CBD to the bloodstream. 

Depending on your symptom needs and experience, one of these delivery methods will likely be a better fit for you. But both CBD tinctures and edibles are practical delivery options for anyone who would like to add CBD into their routine.

**Standard Disclaimer: CBD is not FDA-approved. We make no such claims that using our products will guarantee relief. Moreover, research regarding CBD is still ongoing and in the early stages.**

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