Article written by
Ruth LemonVP of Operations
Content reviewed by
Dr. Lewis JasseyMedical Director - Pediatric Medicine
Table of contents
You can take CBD in the morning, afternoon, or at night. It provides many therapeutic benefits with fewer and less intoxicating effects associated with cannabis use, making it ideal for any time of the day.
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When Is the Best Time to Take CBD Oil?
The best time of the day to take CBD is determined by why you are taking it, be it potent stress and pain reliever, to reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression, or other effects. These therapeutic effects will be beneficial at all times of the day. However, if you want to try CBD oil to improve sleep onset or quality, it would be best to take CBD at night and in higher doses for more sedative effects.
CBD oil can also be taken at any time of the day, regardless of its consumed form. However, how soon the effects kick in and the impact duration will differ between methods.
Drops of CBD oil placed under the tongue result in the fastest effects, between 15-30 minutes, as it is absorbed directly into the bloodstream. These effects will wear off after two to three hours, although the effects can last six to eight hours if higher doses are ingested. Drinking cannabis-infused beverages have a similar onset time to tinctures, sometimes quicker, as the cannabinoids are absorbed through your mouth and under the tongue.
CBD oil used in edibles will take 60-90 minutes to have an effect. Edibles take longer to work as the CBD has to pass through the liver and metabolize before entering the bloodstream. Effects of CBD consumed via edibles tend to peak two to three hours from ingestion but may last for four to 12 hours. The best method of consuming CBD for you will depend on whether you require the effects to occur quickly or if you would benefit more from prolonged effects.
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Energy boost. Research has shown that CBD is energizing in low doses. CBD doesn’t give the same energy boost like caffeine, but it is thought to increase protein synthesis in parts of the brain involved in wakefulness. Taking CBD in the morning may help “wake up” your brain and give you the feeling of a clear head, ready to take on the day.
Pain relief. You may find relief using CBD oil if you suffer from acute or chronic pain conditions, and CBD has proven to be a safe therapeutic option for acute and chronic pain.
CBD oil may provide pain relief regardless of the time of day you take it. However, if you suffer from pain in the morning, this could impact how you start your day and whether you get where you need to be. Using CBD oil for pain relief can help ensure you have the best possible start to your morning.
Anxiety relief. It can be challenging to get started in the morning and get out the door when dealing with anxiety. CBD can relieve feelings of anxiety, helping you feel more relaxed and able to take on the day.
Sedative effects. CBD is shown to have sedative effects in healthy adults when taken in high doses. This effect occurs when people consume 300-600 mg of CBD daily, but this can differ from person to person. However, the reason for this sedative effect was not apparent: It was thought that this might be because of a significant drop in the stress hormone cortisol caused by the CBD, resulting in a more relaxed state.
Stress relief. It is common to feel stressed during the day, so taking CBD oil in the afternoon can help reduce these feelings of stress. When you are stressed, your adrenal glands release more cortisol — the primary stress hormone — into your bloodstream, causing the common symptoms of stress: increased heart rate and high blood pressure. CBD interferes with the release of cortisol into the bloodstream, reducing the symptoms of stress and helping you feel more relaxed.
Antidepressant. Low levels of serotonin often cause depression. Some people experience an “afternoon slump” or notice their mood is low in the afternoon. This effect may be linked to stress, which can cause serotonin to fluctuate.
If you experience a drop in mood in the afternoon, you may benefit from using CBD oil as it is a partial agonist of serotonin receptors. This means that CBD acts on the serotonin receptors in the body similar to serotonin molecules, boosting your mood.
Energy boost. Similar to the energy boost from CBD in the morning, CBD can boost your energy in the afternoon. Although the mechanism is poorly understood, studies have shown that CBD may reduce fatigue.
Improved brain health. Research has found that CBD may improve mitochondrial function and reduce oxidative stress in brain cells, improving brain health. Unfortunately, research on the effects of CBD on brain health is still scarce.
Side effects of CBD. Although adverse effects of CBD are not experienced often, they do sometimes occur. Common side effects of CBD are fatigue, reduced appetite, and diarrhea. While these side effects are a drawback of CBD use at any time of the day, these effects are arguably the most impactful when experienced during the day when many people are at their busiest.
Unwind. CBD is known to help with relaxation in the evenings. As CBD can reduce the amount of cortisol in the bloodstream, it can help you feel more relaxed and aid in winding down after a stressful day.
Sedating Effects. CBD may help healthy adults fall asleep when taken in high doses of 300-600 mg per night. Additionally, CBD may improve overall sleep quality by reducing cortisol in the bloodstream. High cortisol levels can increase night awakenings and reduce sleep quality.
For better sleep, CBD can also be combined with THC or blended with relaxing terpenes:
Muscle Relaxant. Studies have shown that everyday use of CBD use is for muscle relaxation. The muscle-relaxing and pain-relieving effects of CBD are beneficial at night as these effects can improve the ability to fall asleep.
Promotes Wakefulness. When taken in low doses, CBD can be wake-promoting in healthy adults. Taken at the wrong time may hinder falling asleep and result in a restless night. A combination of beta-caryophyllene, pinene, and limonene in high doses may also promote wakefulness. Other cannabinoids, like CBG and low doses of THCV, may also promote wakefulness when used alongside CBD, whereas cannabinoids like CBN have sedative effects.
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Finding the correct dose for your needs can be tricky. The best place to start is with a low dose, slowly increasing that amount until the desired effects occur. Research suggests that doses as low as 25 mg daily are sufficient to relieve anxiety or pain, whereas healthy adults may require 300-600 mg for sedative effects.
It is wise to remember that the doses required differ from person to person and that CBD or any other form of cannabis is not a miracle cure. Many have, however, utilized medical cannabis and individual phytocannabinoids like CBD successfully for therapeutic purposes and a better quality of life (QoL) on measures like eating and sleeping well and lowering pain.
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Frequently Asked Questions
Is it better to take CBD oil with food or on an empty stomach?
Take CBD after eating for best results. This is because having food in your stomach allows for better absorption of CBD.
When should I take CBD, morning or night?
You can take CBD at any time of the day, so when you should take CBD depends on your needs. If you struggle to sleep due to anxiety, depression, stress, or pain, CBD at night may help you sleep better. Taking CBD in the morning or afternoon can help if you need an energy boost.