Food & Nutrition

How long do CBD patches take to work?


CBD continues to be one of the hottest health products around, and this year we've seen CBD products stocked everywhere from Boots to Tesco. But one CBD product we haven't seen on the shelves anywhere is CBD patches, despite the fact that they're getting a lot of good press for being fast-acting and being stocked by a number of CBD brands online. But one question lots of people have is; how long do these CBD patches take to work compared to other CBD products like oil or capsules?

In short, the time it takes CBD patches to work will vary from person to person. Generally, CBD patches work faster than CBD products such as capsules and CBD gummies which have to be ingested through the stomach, but not as fast as products such as CBD oil which can reach the bloodstream quicker if consumed sublingually.

But it's a little more complicated than that, let's get into why:

What type of CBD patch are you using?

One of the main factors which will determine how quickly the CBD patch you're using takes to work is the type of CBD used in the patch and the makeup of the product itself. Most CBD patches currently for sale will be made using isolate CBD, which generally is less nutritious and effective than products made with broad spectrum or full spectrum CBD, and therefore isn't as fast-acting. The design of the patch itself is also crucial - some patches that we've seen online are essentially just CBD smeared onto a plaster, which is going to be very slowly absorbed (if at all) by the skin, whereas some of the more effective and fast-acting CBD patches use ethosomal systems (as shown in this study) which means they use lipid vesicular carriers containing ethanol to help carry the CBD molecules through the skin.

Where are you putting the CBD patch on your body?

One of the other main factors to consider when gauging how quickly a CBD patch will work is where you decide to put it on your body, as ultimately the absorption of the CBD molecules will be highly impacted by the thickness of the skin. Most people will put the patch on their arm where the skin is reasonably thin, but if you put the patch somewhere like on your hand (where the skin is thicker), the CBD will take much longer to penetrate the skin. The thinnest skin on the body is found on the eyelids and under the tongue - obviously, a CBD patch can't really be placed in these areas, but one of the huge advantages of CBD oil over CBD patches is that you can drop CBD oil under your tongue where it can enter the bloodstream very quickly.

Anything else to consider?

Yes, we should mention that you might actually not want your CBD patch to work as quickly as possible, and it could actually be beneficial to opt for a slower release of CBD because faster is not always better. If you want a really fast hit of CBD, you can use something like a vape pen (you can read more about the benefits of vaping CBD here). But generally speaking, a slow release is better, particularly if you're looking for the CBD to take effect throughout the day or night.

So to conclude, CBD patches will work faster than CBD products that need to be absorbed through the stomach, but probably not as fast as a product like an oil which can be absorbed through the very thin skin under the tongue.

Finn is the editor of You Well and has been writing about travel, health, and more for over 10 years.

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