Before you decide on what time of day is best for you, it’s important to understand CBD’s different effects on the body. Some people report wakening effects, others find it makes them feel relaxed. This varies from person to person, depending on when and how you take it.
If you need a bit of get-up-and-go in the morning, an early dose of CBD might help. Recent research has found small doses of CBD may act as a ‘wake-inducing’ compound via its interactions with neurotransmitters in the brain(1). This could have a nice flow-on effect, improving energy and clarity throughout the day. The same study also reported the opposite effects for some people. This was largely dependent on how the CBD was administered, the dose, and the individual.
CBD has been used for centuries as a calming agent. This is due to its anti-depressant and anti-anxiety effects(2). People with anxiety, depression, or insomnia, may find taking a higher dose can help ease their symptoms. Doses can be taken throughout the day, with meals, or a few hours before bedtime.
However, CBD does not work alone, as it is known for its complex profile producing a vast array of cannabinoids and terpenes.
The Effect of Terpenes
Terpenes are the natural compounds found in the cannabis plant. These terpenes are responsible for the plant’s aroma and beneficial qualities. Scientists have recently discovered what’s known as the ‘entourage effect’. This is where terpenes combined with cannabinoids work together, increasing their effects throughout the body (2). Together, they interact with the body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS). The ECS is a system of receptor sites throughout our body and brain that regulates homeostasis – promoting balance in the body.
Terpenes and CBD work together in creating stronger and more powerful effects than each would achieve on their own. For example, research has found terpenes like myrcene, linalool, and caryophyllene help to promote sleep and have anti-anxiety and sedative effects (3). Whereas terpenes such as limonene and β-pinene have anti-depressant like activity, helping to improve mental clarity, memory, and mood (4). These terpenes were also found to have neuroprotective, anti-inflammatory, and anti-anxiety effects.
Duration and onset of effects
CBD is metabolized in different ways depending on how you take your product. Sublingual drops are a common method of taking CBD oil. Holding it under the tongue for up to 30 seconds allows for CBD to absorb quickly into the bloodstream. Effects can be felt within 5-10 minutes and last up to 8 hours. Vaping has almost immediate effects, lasting for around two hours.
Another common method is taking CBD orally. This includes edibles, capsules, or with food and beverages. This method allows for it to be absorbed through your digestive system and metabolized by the liver. As digestion is involved, this method takes a little longer to take effect, around one to two hours. The good news is when taken with food, especially a meal containing fat, CBD is absorbed up to 3 to 6 times faster5.
The effects of CBD vary from person to person. Some people report feeling energized or calm after taking CBD. Need to feel energized? Smaller doses in the morning can increase alertness and reduce daytime sleepiness. Try a CBD product with terpenes such as limonene and pinene to increase energy and performance throughout the day.
To improve sleep, taking CBD in the evening with a terpene like linalool, can have calming effects. It may be helpful to keep a diary of what time of day you take your CBD and how you feel afterward. This will help you to experiment with a schedule that is best for you.
- Murillo-Rodríguez, E., Sarro-Ramírez, A., Sánchez, D., Mijangos-Moreno, S., Tejeda-Padrón, A., Poot-Aké, A., Guzmán, K., Pacheco-Pantoja, E., & Arias-Carrión, O. (2014). Potential effects of cannabidiol as a wake-promoting agent. Current neuropharmacology, 12(3), 269–272. https://doi.org/10.2174/1570159X11666131204235805
- Ferber, S., Namdar, D., Hen-Shoval, D., Eger, G., Koltai, H., Shoval, G., Shbiro, L. & Weller, A. (2020). “The “Entourage Effect”: Terpenes Coupled with Cannabinoids for the Treatment of Mood Disorders and Anxiety Disorders”, Current Neuropharmacology, 18(2), 87-96. https://doi.org/10.2174/1570159X17666190903103923
- Guzman-Gutierrez, S.L., Bonilla-Jaim, H., Gomez-Cansino, R. & Reyes-Chilpa, R. (2015). Linalool and β-pinene exert their antidepressant-like activity through the monoaminergic pathway. Life Sci, 1, 24-29. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.lfs.2015.02.021
- Russo E. B. (2011). Taming THC: potential cannabis synergy and phytocannabinoid-terpenoid entourage effects. British journal of pharmacology, 163(7), 1344–1364. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1476-5381.2011.01238.x
- Millar, S. A., Stone, N. L., Yates, A. S., & O’Sullivan, S. E. (2018). A Systematic Review on the Pharmacokinetics of Cannabidiol in Humans.Frontiers in pharmacology, 9, 1365. https://doi.org/10.3389/fphar.2018.01365