How long does CBD oil take to work for anxiety?

How long does CBD oil take to work for anxiety?

 · 8 min read
Last updated and fact checked:

Our fast-paced modern lifestyle and Covid-19 have increased anxiety in recent years. One in four people in England experiences a mental health problem every year, and one in six reports having depression or anxiety every week. Can cannabidiol (CBD) help?

  • Every year, one in four people in England has reported a mental health problem.
  • CBD, unlike THC, another type of cannabinoid, does not cause the "high" feeling with cannabis.
  • 11.3 million UK citizens choose holistic treatments, like CBD oil, to treat their mental health problems.
  • CBD may help relieve anxiety, but consult a doctor before using any CBD products for the first time.

CBD oil for anxiety: FAQs

  • Does CBD relieve anxiety right away?

    Yes! It is capable of acting within 10 minutes. Generally, pure CBD takes about 10-45 minutes to feel the effects of CBD.

  • What does it feel like to take CBD for anxiety?

    Unlike many natural remedies, CBD affects you, and you will notice it. Keep in mind that CBD does not produce a "high" like THC but rather a subtle effect of calm and relaxation.

  • Are there risks when taking CBD oil?

    CBD use is not without risk. While CBD is generally well tolerated, it can cause side effects such as dry mouth, diarrhoea, decreased appetite, drowsiness, and fatigue. Additionally, CBD may interact with other medications, such as blood thinners.

Editorial Note: We earn a commission from partner links on Health Times. Commissions do not affect our writers’ or editors’ opinions or evaluations. Read our full affiliate disclosure here.

CBD is everywhere these days: people are putting it in their coffee, rubbing it on their skin, mixing it into their cocktails, and blending it into their post-workout smoothies. 

Why is CBD oil so popular these days?

Well, research indicates that CBD oil has the potential to help relieve anxiety. 

Cannabidiol (CBD) is a cannabinoid chemical found naturally in cannabis plants (marijuana and hemp). 

Cannabinoids such as CBD and THC bind to cannabinoid receptors in the brain. 

When CBD is ingested, it affects a wide variety of proteins throughout the body and the central nervous system.

Cannabidiol prevents the intake of a natural molecule that controls pain when introduced into the endocannabinoid system.

How quickly will the cannabinoids take effect?

CBD isn't one-size-fits-all. Various factors such as the amount you take, the form you take it in, and where you got your CBD can all impact how long it takes to work. 

For example, if you mix your CBD product with sugar, almond milk, or anything else that needs to be digested, the effects of CBD oil will be slower than if you put a few drops directly under your tongue. 

If you have juice or put a little bit on your tongue, it will be an immediate reaction versus when it's in fruit with fibre, which slows absorption.

Adding CBD oil to a coffee or smoothie will take about 30 minutes before you notice anything.

Types of CBD products/cannabis products include: 

  • Edibles like CBD gummies
  • Capsules 
  • Vaporised oil 
  • Hemp oil for cooking
  • Oil sublingual spray 
  • Cannabis flowers 
  • Topical creams, balms, and lotions

The method of administration determines how quickly cannabinoids take effect.

Methods of taking CBD include:

  • Taking CBD orally. The effects of CBD taken orally, such as oils, edibles, or capsules, start working within 30 minutes to 2 hours. 
  • Smoking CBD. The effects of vaping or smoking CBD oil or cannabis buds are more immediate. 

CBD Oil as a supplement for anxiety

24% of all adults prefer to manage their mental health with natural treatments like CBD. 11.3 million UK citizens would choose holistic treatments to treat their mental health. 

You can relieve anxiety by taking oral CBD products throughout the day to boost serotonin levels. Taking these products with food first thing in the morning may be beneficial. 

Smoking or vaping CBD oil can provide immediate relaxation, which may be beneficial in stressful situations such as giving a speech. 

People should think of CBD as a dietary supplement. It can take four to six weeks use of CBD to fully realise the benefits of CBD, particularly if you're taking it to relieve anxiety, pain, or stress. 

Each of us has unique needs and bodily systems; therefore, the short and long-term effects will differ from one person to the next. 

Some people notice immediate and significant benefits, while others see benefits over time and daily use, as is familiar with many dietary supplements.

Not all CBD Oils are the same

Quality is the most critical factor. The best CBD oil is made from a high-quality hemp plant.

There is a lot of variation among CBD products, which can also affect how long it takes to feel any effects. 

Not all CBD is created equal, and it's critical that whatever you're purchasing contains everything it needs to be effective. 

Reputable businesses should not conceal or obscure this information in any way. 

The reality is that finding the right amount of CBD for the first time will require a lot of trial and error. 

However, with some research, you should be able to find the right amount for you that produces the desired results.

Health benefits of taking CBD oil

CBD, unlike tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), another type of cannabinoid, does not cause intoxication or the "high" feeling with cannabis. 

CBD has no such effect.

Instead, it may provide several broad-spectrum health benefits. For example, potential benefits of CBD might include:

  • Treatment for anxiety
  • Pain relief
  • Alleviating certain cancer-related symptoms 
  • Neuroprotective properties may exist
  • Benefit heart health
  • Antipsychotic properties
  • Treatment for substance abuse
  • Reduces epilepsy
  • Glioblastoma patients may have their lives extended
  • Sleep quality may improve

In the United States, the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) stated that CBD oil had been shown to reduce stress in animals such as rats when used to treat generalised anxiety disorder (GAD). 

The study participants exhibited fewer behavioural signs of anxiety. In addition, their physiological anxiety symptoms, such as increased heart rate, also improved. 

But, more research, particularly on humans and GAD, is required.

According to an article published in Dialogues of Clinical Neuroscience, anxiety disorders are among the most common psychiatric conditions.

The review's authors also discovered preclinical and clinical evidence that established CBD as an effective treatment for a variety of anxiety disorders, including: 

In a 2020 study, researchers investigated the effects of CBD on 397 adults.

The researchers gave medical CBD prescriptions to study participants for a variety of ailments, including:

  • Non-cancer chronic pain
  • Neurological symptoms
  • Cancer-related symptoms 
  • Mental health symptoms

After three weeks of CBD treatment, all clinical trial groups improved their overall quality of life. 

70% of study participants expressed satisfaction with CBD treatment ranging from good to excellent. 

Only 9.9% of participants reported adverse side effects like sedation and vivid dreams. Even fewer people in the study (0.8%) reported worsening symptoms. 

Possible side effects and Reactions to CBD oil

Some animal studies showed that CBD oil might have side effects. 

The specific side effects and their severity vary from person to person and the CBD type.

Some people have also reported the following CBD side effects: 

  • Appetite changes 
  • Modifications in mood 
  • Diarrhoea 
  • Dizziness 
  • Tiredness or drowsiness 
  • Mouth dryness 
  • Nausea 
  • Vomiting 

Do not drive or operate heavy machinery while taking CBD oil, especially if you are new to it or switching brands. Remember that THC is present in some products, even in trace amounts. 

Your doctor may advise you not to use CBD oil if you: 

Are pregnant or nursing

Because of the current lack of data for harmful effects on these populations, the UK Food Standards Authority (FSA) advises against using CBD by pregnant or breastfeeding women. If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, you should not use CBD oil. This is because CBD does pass through the placenta, despite its effects not being fully understood. 

Have liver disease

There is some evidence that cannabidiol oil (CBD) can cause an increase in liver enzymes, which is an indication of inflammation in the liver. Before using CBD oil, consult with your doctor. 

If you decide to use it, your liver enzymes may need to be checked regularly. 

Have vision problems

CBD oil may cause vision problems. 

According to a 2018 study, it may increase intraocular pressure. This can aggravate the condition of people who have glaucoma. Some users of CBD oil report dry eyes as a side effect. 

CBD dosage

Researchers and healthcare professionals have yet to develop a standardised dose of CBD recommendations, especially for anxiety.

Researchers discovered that 300-600 mg of CBD significantly reduced anxiety symptoms in 57 adult males in a 2019 study

The dosage a person takes to relieve anxiety is determined by the CBD product and how it is administered. 

However, the typical recreational dose range is 5 mg to 25 mg. 

Each product works slightly differently depending on the form, so following the instructions is critical. 

How to Determine a CBD Dose 

Because their doses are pre-measured, sprays, gummies, and capsules are simple to use. 

Tinctures are a little trickier. Most oils come in 30-millilitre bottles with a dropper cap to aid measurement. 

However, some tinctures have 1,500 mg per 30ml concentrations, while others have concentrations of 3,000 mg per ml or higher. 

That means calculating the precise amount of CBD per millilitre of oil requires some maths. 

To determine the correct amount of CBD to take, remember that one drop of oil is equivalent to 0.05 millilitres of fluid. 

This indicates that a 30ml bottle will contain approximately 600 drops of CBD oil.

If the tincture's concentration is 1,500 mg per ml, one drop contains 2.5 mg of CBD (1,500 mg x 600 drops = 2.5 mg).

Before using CBD oil for anxiety

It's true; evidence suggests that CBD may help relieve anxiety, the most common mental health disorder. 

However, the Food Standards Agency (FSA) and the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have not yet regulated CBD for anxiety treatment. 

This means that the quality and dosage of products and manufacturers can vary greatly. 

People who take prescription medications or supplements should consult a doctor before using CBD.

Ilse van der Merwe
Ilse van der Merwe
Ilse joined Age Group in 2022 and is a registered mental health professional. Ilse writes for various websites on several health and wellbeing topics and loves researching new ways to present ideas and break down stigmas around mental illnesses and other conditions.
The content on is for informational and educational purposes only and should not be construedas professional medical advice or guidance. Should you need professional medical advice or guidance, you should consult with such a professional in their relevant field. Likewise, you should always seek professional medical advice before starting a diet, exercise regime or course of medication, or introducing or eliminating specific elements from your lifestyle. We strive to write accurate, genuine and helpful content, and all views and opinions expressed within this article are specifically the views of the author.