Medically Reviewed by
Jason Crawford

Article Last Updated on December 21, 2022

When one thinks of cannabis edibles, brownies are probably the first thing that comes to mind because they’ve been holding the throne for decades. However, another type of edible has also been taking the spotlight lately, and that is CBD gummies.

CBD (cannabidiol) is one of the two most important cannabinoids in the cannabis plant, and it’s known as the non-intoxicating cannabinoid. Unlike THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), it doesn’t directly bind to the receptors of the endocannabinoid system, but only partially, and it interacts with other types of receptors in the body. This allows CBD to act therapeutically, unlike THC which produces psychoactive effects.

CBD has many health benefits, which is why the variety of CBD products has gone up significantly. In this article, we’ll talk about CBD gummies and the duration of their effects.

What Are CBD Gummies?

CBD gummies are a fun type of CBD edibles that contain CBD oil. They’re very similar to conventional gummies, only with some special properties. They come in many different shapes, colors, and flavors (just think gummy bears), and they also come in many different concentrations of CBD. The reason why their popularity has risen among faithful CBD users is mostly due to their convenience.

Gummies are portable and discreet, and they’re ridiculously easy to dose. Each gummy contains a pre-measured concentration of CBD that’s usually stated on the package, so even beginners can easily figure out how much they’re taking.

As with all CBD edibles, there are CBD isolate gummies (just CBD), broad-spectrum gummies (CBD and other cannabinoids, but no THC), and full-spectrum gummies (CBD and other cannabinoids, plus 0.3% THC).

How Long Do CBD Edibles Take to Kick In?

The method of consumption can have a major impact on its bioavailability, or in other words, how CBD is absorbed, how long the onset of the effects will be, and how long they will last. By far, vaping and administering CBD tinctures sublingually are known to be the fastest-acting methods where the effects are felt after about 20 minutes. However, with edibles, it’s different.

CBD edibles, gummies included, as well as CBD capsules and any other CBD ingestible, need to go through the digestive system. Ingestion slows things down a bit. But that’s not a bad thing, and we’ll tell you why.

What Actually Happens

When you eat anything edible, it gets digested just like any other food. Once it passes your digestive system, the bloodstream carries it straight to the liver where the liver enzymes start metabolizing the CBD and creating byproducts that are then sent back into the bloodstream. From there, the CBD metabolites travel throughout the body and produce their effects, which is when they kick in.

This process takes at least 30 minutes to 90 minutes, so if you don’t feel anything after a short amount of time, you should wait, instead of taking another gummy. While the risk of experiencing side effects due to high doses is lower with CBD than with THC, it’s still advised to give it time.

That said, even though the onset of CBD edibles is slower, their effects last longer.

How Long Do the Effects of CBD Edibles Last?

The key to the duration of the effects of CBD gummies is their method of consumption. Since they have to go through the digestive system and get metabolized by the liver, the concentration of CBD is being slowly released into the bloodstream, resulting in longer-lasting effects

This means that even if you have to wait 30-90 minutes to feel something, the effects will last anywhere between 4-6 hours, and sometimes longer, compared to other methods of consumption. For example, CBD tinctures and vapes may work faster, but their effects start fading after about 3 hours.

For people with chronic pain problems or anxiety symptoms, edibles can be a great solution because they will keep them medicated for longer, and with pre-planning the doses, the relief will be bigger.

How Long Before I Start Feeling the Benefits of CBD Edibles? 

Whether you’re taking CBD edibles to treat a medical condition or just for general wellness, there are a variety of factors that determine the effectiveness of CBD.

CBD works best when you’re continually taking it. It works as a supplement that your body gets used to over time and it becomes like a little “helper.” Since CBD doesn’t produce psychoactive effects like THC, you won’t feel a notable buzz when you first eat a CBD gummy. Some people feel overall calmness and relaxation, but the best effects are first felt after a few days of consistent use. Then, as time goes by, you should start feeling the improvements.

That said, the effectiveness of CBD depends on how often you take it, as well as the amount of CBD that you’re ingesting. If you take very small amounts, it may take a while to get all the benefits. CBD is effective at smaller dosages, but your individual metabolism also plays a role. The dose that works for you may not be enough for someone else, or it may be too much. Therefore, your reference should always be your body’s reaction.

What Dose of CBD Gummies Is Right for Me?

As with all CBD products, the dosing is highly individual and mostly depends on your tolerance and symptoms. For example, if you take CBD for general wellness or if you take CBD gummies for anxiety, you might want to start with a small dose of about 2.5 mg and then slowly increase it as you go. Or if you want to use CBD gummies for chronic pain, you can start with 10 mg right away.

Most brands dose their CBD gummies at 5 mg or more, and there are 20 to 60 gummies in one pack. This makes them very easy to dose, even for beginners. It’s recommended to start with the smallest dose possible if you’ve never tried CBD before. You can cut a 5 mg gummy in half, for example, and start with 2.5 mg a day.

It could take some time until you find your ideal CBD dosage and adjust it to your needs, but as CBD is more forgiving with the doses, it shouldn’t be a bumpy ride.

Can I Take CBD Gummies on an Empty Stomach?

You shouldn’t have any problems taking CBD gummies on an empty stomach unless you have a sensitive digestive tract. CBD gummies are just like regular gummies and they behave the same, so your body shouldn’t have a problem with digesting them. Plus, CBD is a cannabinoid that is especially well-tolerated, so you should be fine.

Taking CBD gummies on an empty stomach may shorten the time it takes for them to kick in, though. They will be absorbed faster and the effects may be more prominent. This can be a good thing sometimes if you are impatient or need it to start working sooner to treat your symptoms.

The Takeaway – CBD Gummies Take Longer, but the Effects Last Longer

Besides being fun to eat, CBD gummies are very easy and straightforward to dose, especially for beginners. They’re also discreet and their effects are long-lasting, albeit they don’t kick in as fast as tinctures or vapes.

One word of caution, though, is to always get medical advice if you’re on any medication, as CBD can react with certain classes of medications. One helpful guide is to look for the grapefruit warning on the label, as CBD and grapefruit behave similarly when they interact with some meds.

A passionate advocate for the benefits of cannabis. Fraser Horton, who has a background in botany and a strong love of nature, has spent years researching how cannabis affects the body and mind. He established Leaf Nation in 2020, where he has devoted himself to educating people about the legalisation of marijuana and its safe and responsible use. Fraser is committed to highlighting cannabis’ potential for improving wellness and working to dispel the stigma associated with its use.


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