How Long Does It Take For CBD Oil To Work For Joint Pain On The Knees?

Written By on May 25, 2022 — Medically Reviewed By Mich Torres (PT)

Cannabidiol is increasingly being used for joint issues. But, how long does it take for CBD oil to work for joint pain? Well, this depends on how you use it, among other factors.

For instance, oral intake of CBD oil may be absorbed faster, but the benefits won’t be specific to the knee. Whereas using it topically will require more time but the pain relief is more targeted.

We’ll talk about CBD oil for knee joint problems, how it works, and other useful tips. Here are the topics we’ll cover, tap on any of them to easily navigate through the article:

First things first – how does CBD interact with our body?

CBD (short for “cannabidiol”) is a type of compound known as a “cannabinoid”, found naturally in the cannabis plant.

It’s chemically similar to our body’s endocannabinoids. These are molecules present in our endocannabinoid system (ECS), an intricate network that experts are still trying to understand.

From what’s known, the ECS has a significant role in (1, 2, 3, 4):

  • Appetite and digestion.
  • Chronic pain.
  • Inflammation and other immune system responses.
  • Learning and memory.
  • Motor control.
  • Sleep.
  • Muscle and bone growth.
  • Mood.

Learn more: Our complete guide for using CBD to manage knee pain.

CBD works because of its interaction with the ECS.

This is because of how similar it is to our endocannabinoids. CBD binds to our ECS receptors, which are present in different parts of our bodies.

The result of this interaction is a release of chemicals that help with pain management, boost immune function, and reduce stress. (5, 6)

But the time CBD needs to provide benefits depends on several factors.

The most important being its bioavailability. This is a term to describe the ability of a substance to be absorbed and used by the body. (7)

For CBD, its bioavailability largely depends on the form you’re using.

Further reading: How does CBD help bad knees?

The 5 main forms of CBD products

It’s worth noting that CBD is not the same as medical marijuana. The latter has THC, the compound responsible for the “high.” The following products contain little to no amounts of it.

With that said, here are the main forms of CBD:

1) Oral CBD oil

The benefits of consuming CBD oil can be seen after 1.5 to 3 hours. This is because it has to go all the way through the digestive tract and the liver before going into the bloodstream. (8, 9)

However, one way to bypass this is by placing the substance under the tongue. This area is full of blood vessels that can quickly absorb the CBD. The effects can be seen within 20 minutes. (8, 9)

Taking a CBD tincture provides the same effects. The main differences are that it has an alcohol base and the taste is much bitter, compared to the oil form.

Pros

  • Comparatively cheap.
  • Ingest it directly or mixed with food.
  • Place sublingually for faster effects.

Cons

  • When ingested, the absorption is slower.
  • Exact dosing can be difficult.
  • Unflavoured CBD oil can have a non-pleasant taste.
  • May cause stomach upset.

Know more: Benefits of CBD oil for knee joint problems.

2) Topical CBD oil

This form has a targeted effect because you apply it directly to the area. It’s absorbed through the skin, which increases its bioavailability – at least compared to the ingested form. It also allows for a steady, more constant dose of CBD. (10)

The onset of effects may take between 30 minutes up to a few hours. This depends on what other ingredients are included, the amount of CBD, and other factors. (10, 11)

Apart from oil, topical CBD is also available in creams, lotions, and skin patches. Some people use it for dose maintenance to keep the cannabidiol levels constant throughout the day. (11)

It’s ideal for treating a specific site, but it’s not the best option if you want effects on the whole body.

Pros

  • Low risk of overdosing.
  • Allows targeted pain control.
  • Easy to apply.
  • Useful in chronic conditions for dose maintenance.

Cons

  • Only has localized effects.
  • Risk of skin irritation.
  • Relatively slow absorption and late-onset effects.
  • Require higher doses to achieve the same effects as other forms.

Related: Is it safe to put CBD oil directly on your knee?

3) CBD vapes

In this form, you inhale the CBD through a vaporizer machine. The vapor quickly goes to the lungs, where it’s absorbed by tiny blood vessels that take it into the bloodstream.

Vaping CBD oil is the form that provides faster effects – within a few minutes of inhalation. It also has the highest bioavailability. (8, 12, 13)

But as with topical applications, the benefits are not specific to the knee. Yet, if you want a fast-acting form, vaping CBD is your best bet.

Pros

  • Quick onset of action.
  • Easy to use.
  • Convenient to carry.

Cons

  • Vape machines can be expensive.
  • Machines require regular maintenance and cleaning.
  • Can cause lung damage.
  • Risk of toxicity from impure CBD oil.

4) CBD edibles

Edibles include CBD gummies, chocolates, beverages, brownies, lollipops… Basically, these are foods with cannabidiol added to them.

As such, they have the same properties as ingested CBD oil, meaning they take equally long to show their effects – 1.5 to 3 hours. (9, 12)

Pros

  • Easy to use.
  • Has a long duration of action.
  • CBD dosage is more precise, compared to oil or tinctures.

Cons

  • Slower absorption.
  • Delayed effect.
  • Safe dosing can be difficult in inexperienced hands.

5) CBD capsules

This is another common oral form. As such, its properties and bioavailability are similar to ingesting CBD oil or consuming edibles. (10)

However, they may be more practical for some – it’s just like a dietary supplement.

Pros

  • Convenient and easy to take.
  • No risk of mismatching doses.

Cons

  • Slower absorption.
  • Delayed effect.

FAQs

Is CBD beneficial for joint pain?

Yes, thanks to its anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and pain-numbing properties.

Which form of CBD works fastest for knee pain?

Inhaled CBD is the fastest-acting form.

How long does it take for CBD oil to work for joint pain?

This depends on the type of CBD product. Inhaled forms can work within minutes, while oral forms can take 1.5 to 3 hours.

Conclusion: How long does it take for CBD oil to provide relief from joint pain?

Of all the ways of taking CBD, the topical oil variant may be the most effective in relieving joint pain. This is because it’s directly absorbed into the problem area.

However, it’s true that it may need longer to provide effects. If you want whole-body benefits, consider taking the inhaled or ingested form.

Resources

  1. Chanda, Dipanjan et al. “The endocannabinoid system: Overview of an emerging multi-faceted therapeutic target.” Prostaglandins, leukotrienes, and essential fatty acids vol. 140 (2019): 51-56. doi:10.1016/j.plefa.2018.11.016
  2. Komorowski, Jan, and Henryk Stepień. “Rola układu endokannabinoidowego w regulacji czynności dokrewnej i kontroli równowagi energetycznej człowieka” [The role of the endocannabinoid system in the regulation of endocrine function and in the control of energy balance in humans]. Postepy higieny i medycyny doswiadczalnej (Online) vol. 61 (2007): 99-105.
  3. Wu, Jie. “Cannabis, cannabinoid receptors, and endocannabinoid system: yesterday, today, and tomorrow.” Acta pharmacologica Sinica vol. 40,3 (2019): 297-299. doi:10.1038/s41401-019-0210-3
  4. Zou, Shenglong, and Ujendra Kumar. “Cannabinoid Receptors and the Endocannabinoid System: Signaling and Function in the Central Nervous System.” International journal of molecular sciences vol. 19,3 833. 13 Mar. 2018, doi:10.3390/ijms19030833
  5. Mlost J, Bryk M, Starowicz K. Cannabidiol for Pain Treatment: Focus on Pharmacology and Mechanism of Action. Int J Mol Sci. 2020;21(22):8870. Published 2020 Nov 23. doi:10.3390/ijms21228870
  6. Kilaru, Aruna, and Kent D Chapman. “The endocannabinoid system.” Essays in biochemistry vol. 64,3 (2020): 485-499. doi:10.1042/EBC20190086
  7. “NCI Dictionary of Cancer Terms.” National Cancer Institute, https://www.cancer.gov/publications/dictionaries/cancer-terms/def/bioavailable.
  8. Millar, Sophie A et al. “A Systematic Review on the Pharmacokinetics of Cannabidiol in Humans.” Frontiers in pharmacology vol. 9 1365. 26 Nov. 2018, doi:10.3389/fphar.2018.01365
  9. Wall, M E et al. “Metabolism, disposition, and kinetics of delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol in men and women.” Clinical pharmacology and therapeutics vol. 34,3 (1983): 352-63. doi:10.1038/clpt.1983.179
  10. Bruni, Natascia et al. “Cannabinoid Delivery Systems for Pain and Inflammation Treatment.” Molecules (Basel, Switzerland) vol. 23,10 2478. 27 Sep. 2018, doi:10.3390/molecules23102478
  11. Lodzki, M et al. “Cannabidiol-transdermal delivery and anti-inflammatory effect in a murine model.” Journal of controlled release : official journal of the Controlled Release Society vol. 93,3 (2003): 377-87. doi:10.1016/j.jconrel.2003.09.001
  12. Ujváry, István, and Lumír Hanuš. “Human Metabolites of Cannabidiol: A Review on Their Formation, Biological Activity, and Relevance in Therapy.” Cannabis and cannabinoid research vol. 1,1 90-101. 1 Mar. 2016, doi:10.1089/can.2015.0012
  13. Paudel, Kalpana S et al. “Cannabidiol bioavailability after nasal and transdermal application: effect of permeation enhancers.” Drug development and industrial pharmacy vol. 36,9 (2010): 1088-97. doi:10.3109/03639041003657295
  14. “CBD for Arthritis Pain: What You Should Know.” Arthritis Foundation. Retrieved from: https://www.arthritis.org/health-wellness/healthy-living/managing-pain/pain-relief-solutions/cbd-for-arthritis-pain

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Author
Sony Sherpa (MD)
Sony Sherpa is a board-certified clinical doctor and currently, she is working as a medical officer in the emergency department of a renowned hospital. With a medical degree completed at a young age, she writes medical articles with accuracy owing to her medical knowledge and thorough background research.

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