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Discover the Best Time to Take CBD—and Why

By Michelle Lievense

Whether you are taking cannabinoids daily or on an as-needed basis, knowing the best time to take CBD and other cannabinoids isn’t always as easy as checking the directions on the label. The reason one might choose cannabinoid products varies greatly, which can affect the optimal dosage. 

Plus, cannabinoids interact with and modulate the endocannabinoid system. Keeping a balance with this regulatory network and vital biological functions means timing, dose, quality, and delivery method have an impact on the experience and outcomes. 

Factors to Consider That Impact Optimal Timing

The reasons people choose cannabinoids are wide-ranging, which means optimal timing also varies. Whether taken for occasional stress,  sleep, achy muscles or even as an addition to your wellness repertoire — timing plays a crucial role. 

Purpose

The versatility of cannabinoids means the recipient needs to consider their ideal outcomes. If taking cannabinoids to add to your general wellness regimen, then the morning is often recommended, preferably with a meal, to optimize absorption and how the cannabinioid is metabolized. Taking it to help with restful sleep means working the dose into an evening sleep hygiene routine. 

Others who take it on an as-needed basis for acute ailments, will need to practice mindfulness to detect when they might need to take their cannabinoid remedy.

It may sound obvious, but not everyone gives the purpose of their cannabinoids the consideration it needs to optimize timing.  

Dosage

Acquiring a CBD or another cannabinoid product with a reliable dosage can be challenging for a few reasons. It can take some experimentation because cannabinoids interact differently with different people based on the delivery method, their metabolism, body weight, and the intended purpose of the cannabinoid. 

Those with a larger build may require a higher dose than others. Bodyweight, fat percentage, and an individual’s unique genetics can play a role in how fast their CBD product is absorbed, as well as how long it remains in circulation. An athlete may find they metabolize their CBD much faster than someone who is less active.

Even if you don’t know your body’s specific metabolic genetics, this serves to illustrate the need for a little experimentation to better understand whether someone requires a larger dose, two smaller doses, or some other combination.

Delivery Method

Delivery method is one of the most significant factors when deciding dosage and the best time to take cannabinoids. Choosing an edible, for example, means cannabinoids are passing through the digestive system, which has a large impact on absorption. A method such as smoking or vaping bypasses the digestive system but often makes cannabinoids less bioavailable than other methods. 

Dosage reliability, absorption, and bioavailability matter when utilizing cannabinoids to improve your wellness routine. They significantly impact the consistency of the cannabinoid experience and affect the ability of the recipient to gauge the dosage and helpfulness of their cannabinoid product. 

For these reasons, sublingual sprays and strips are considered the highest integrity delivery method. They deliver cannabinoids directly under the tongue, bypassing the digestive system and gaining fast absorption to the bloodstream. Similarly, high-quality cannabinoid creams can be highly effective because they also absorb quickly, using the endocannabinoid receptors in the skin, and directly interacting with the endocannabinoid system. 

Before or After a Meal

Most people make the decision to take something with or without a meal based on how they feel. However, taking CBD before or after eating does matter. The general rule of thumb is to take CBD after eating a meal because of the effect on absorption. However, the meal itself has an impact. 

Eating foods that contain medium- and long-chain fatty acids assist first-pass metabolism and increase bioavailability. Milk fat, coconut oil, and vegetable oils, such as macadamia nut and olive oil, are examples of quality fatty acids that will bind to cannabinoids and assist them through the liver. 

Of course, if the delivery method, such as a tincture, skips the first-pass digestive tract and liver, taking CBD without a meal can be an option, as it experiences absorption without the first-pass metabolic processes. 

Personal Responsiveness

While cannabinoid therapeutics may be beneficial for a variety of ailments in study after study, people do absorb and react differently to various dosages, depending on the purpose and delivery methods. This is why it’s so important to consider a personalized and scientific approach to plant-based alternatives. Experimenting with dosage, high-integrity delivery methods, and paying attention to the speed of absorption and the time it takes to feel the effects are all ways to dial in a cannabinoid routine. 

Timing Considerations: Day versus Night 

Concerns, such as dosage, play into the best times to take cannabinoids. For example, we discussed whether one would need one dose or two split doses to help determine the best time to take their CBD and optimize their experience. Most of the time, the best time to take CBD and other cannabinoids is broken down into daytime versus nighttime intake. 

Daytime 

When thinking about daytime versus nighttime cannabinoids and optimizing effectiveness, it’s useful to think about the desired outcome. For example, if the immediate desired result is a boost to your productivity, mood, or a more effective workout, daytime intake makes sense. 

Reasons like coping with stress and enhancing focus mean not only taking cannabinoids during the day but probably taking it in the morning with breakfast. If there are specific timing concerns, such as applying CBD for more clarity and focus, consider taking CBD 30 minutes before the task or tasks that require your attention. 

Of course, the delivery method does have an impact, so if you choose high-integrity methods, such as sublinguals, less than 30 minutes may prove useful. If you choose edibles, remember these can take an hour or more for full impact, so planning ahead is crucial. 

Nighttime 

Taking cannabinoids like CBD to calm the mind and body is often useful during the day when coping with stress. However, if the purpose is to relax the body, calm an overactive mind, and regulate stress hormones, one might choose to take cannabinoids like CBN before bed. 

CBD and CBN may also promote better sleep hygiene for a more restful night, making evening and nighttime doses highly advisable. If the purpose is to reduce discomforts that keep you awake or prevent quality sleep, dosing at bedtime, and maybe even taking a small dose when you wake up in the middle of the night and have trouble getting back to sleep, can help to support healthy sleep habits. 

Final Thoughts about the Best Times to Take Cannabinoids

While there is no one-size-fits-all method when it comes to the best time of day to take cannabinoids, there are a few rules of thumb and important factors that will influence timing. The purpose for taking the cannabinoid product, dosage, meals, daytime versus nighttime, and delivery methods are vital to take into account. 

Above all, approaching cannabinoids as a bit of an experiment while one patiently discovers the impact of these factors and their interplay with the body is the best mindset. 

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