by Caitlin Reid
CBD capsules are often touted as magic pills, and as we dig in you’ll come to discover they certainly offer plenty of positive effects — including helping reduce feelings of every day stress or tension that can make getting through the end of your day feel like climbing a mountain.
But what’s talked about less is how the superpower capsules actually work and what to expect if you decide to incorporate them into your routine.
Here, we’ll break down the basics for you, covering the questions you’re too embarrassed to ask your cool, CBD-loving friends and just how to choose the right CBD capsule for you.
Does CBD get you high?
Nope! And this lack of a high is precisely what has made CBD products so popular. (Case in point: The Brightfield Group estimates the hemp-CBD market alone could hit $22 billion by 2022.)
The acronym CBD is short for cannabidiol, the non-psychotropic component of cannabis and hemp. Instead of the classic marijuana high that THC, its sister compound, produces, CBD can promote feelings of ease and boosts contentment.
Studies show CBD produces no impairment, even at high doses. “It’s everything people believe to be good about marijuana, without the downside of getting stoned,” Bethany Gomez, director of research for the Brightfield Group, told Rolling Stone.
That said, it’s important to note that many CBD products still contain some level of THC. To ensure you’re getting only the good stuff out of a capsule you plan to take every day, make sure to go for one that contains hemp-derived CBD, which naturally contains less than 0.3% THC — but has no psychoactive effects.
How long do CBD capsules take to work?
Since CBD capsules require digestion, most people will feel the effects (which we’ll dig deeper into in the next section) after about an hour.
These can linger for up to six hours. The effects of CBD capsules peak more gently and taper more slowly than some other CBD products, making them popular for that reason.
That said, CBD doesn’t come in a one-size-fits-all package. The speed at which your CBD capsule kicks in and the ultimate strength of your CBD experience will depend on how much you take, how you take it and even where you get it from. It can even depend on how much (and what!) you’ve eaten that day.
How long do CBD capsules stay in your system?
CBD normally stays in our system for 2 to 5 days, though in some cases, it could remain in the system for weeks. The duration of stay depends on hthe following factors:
- Dosage - the higher the dose, the longer it will take to clear CBD cleared from your system.
- Frequency of use - for those who use CBD occasionally, it will clear your system faster. If used regularly, CBD will build in your system, taking more time to clear up.
- Your body - since everyone’s body is different, substances like CBD affect the individual’s body differently. It depends on several factors like your metabolism, age, and weight.
- Food habits - when you take CBD on an empty stomach, it gets metabolized quickly. Hence, it will also get expelled from your system faster. And just like other foods, CBD digests slower in a full stomach. It will thereby get expelled from the system slowly.
- Last time it was taken - if consumed recently, CBD will take some time before it gets cleared from your body.
What do CBD capsules do?
CBD capsules deliver CBD into your body through the digestive system. CBD oil is mixed with a carrier oil and the tincture is put in capsules. While clinical research is still ongoing, here are some health issues where CBD capsules may be helpful:
- Chronic pain
- Drug use and withdrawal
- High blood pressure
- Muscle spasms
- Brain Disorders
- Poor appetite
Studies reveal that CBD capsules may be effective in reducing chronic pain by targeting endocannabinoids. They interact with neurotransmitters and reduce inflammation in the body.
Do CBD capsules expire?
Usually, the shelf life of a bottle of CBD oil is around 14 to 24 months. In case your CBD capsules are older than this, do not panic. CBD that has reached expiry starts losing its potency.
Although, it will not turn rancid, or make you sick. The CBD capsules start oxidizing and break down, losing their efficiency. This simply means that if you take expired CBD capsules, you will not be able to avail of its therapeutic effects to the fullest.
Do follow the manufacturer’s usage and expiry instructions given on the label. Reputed manufacturers always state-certain precautions that extend the shelf-life of your CBD oil.
Should you take CBD capsules with or without food?
If you feel your CBD capsules have a better impact sometimes than others, it could be your diet to blame. When we consume CBD, we do not absorb it entirely. We absorb it as per the bioavailability of the product.
When we ingest CBD capsules, it first passes through the digestive system and then on to the liver in what is called "first-pass metabolism."
Angela Birnbaum, PhD, a professor in the College of Pharmacy and study co-author, said in a press release that the type of food is a major factor in determining the amount of CBD that gets absorbed into the body. While fatty foods increase the absorption of CBD products, they also increase the variability as the fat content is not the same in all meals.
When you take CBD capsules right after food, it has a greater chance to be absorbed by the liver without losing too much of its efficacy. This is because the liver is already working to digest the food.
Hence, CBD on an empty stomach reduces its potency and is not very effective. A study published in 2013 reviewed the impact of food on the bioavailability of both CBD and THC. Studies inferred that the bioavailability of CBD is four times higher if they were taken after a meal instead of before, or on an empty stomach.
How does CBD make you feel?
Like we just mentioned, it’s important to remember that like most herbs and supplements, CBD affects everyone a little bit differently. So don’t be surprised if your unique experience is different from your work wife’s experiences.
After all, you may drink an espresso and feel buzzed all morning, while she can drink a triple shot before bed and not feel a thing.
With that in mind, there are a few commonly experienced effects of taking a CBD capsule. As Rebecca Flint Marx put it in an article written for the Guardian, “[CBD produced] a noticeable feeling of general wellbeing, a sense that life had somehow become something I didn’t need to worry about very much. … [It] seemed to redirect my mind to a more sunny locale.”
That warm-and-fuzzy feeling likely comes from CBD’s positive interaction with our natural endocannabinoid system, which is in charge of keeping us in a state of stress-free homeostasis. This can result in everything from decreased feelings of soreness and stress, leaving you relaxed and ready to take on the day.
Will CBD make me sleepy?
Preliminary studies have linked CBD to improved sleep quality, likely because of the calming effect it is thought to have on the nervous system.
However, you don’t need to worry about CBD knocking you out in the same way something like melatonin will, as most CBD capsules contain relatively low doses (higher doses have been linked to more sleep-inducing effects, whereas lower doses have been shown to actually boost energy).
How to choose CBD products
Like any supplement, choosing the right CBD capsule for you really comes down to a bit of experimentation. But before you go and clear out the shelves at your local health store, think about what you ultimately hope to get out of your CBD capsule.
If your goal for taking CBD is to enhance your concentration and feelings of vitality, search for a CBD capsule blending CBD with other energy-boosting ingredients like green tea, vitamin B6 and Lion’s Mane, such as FOCL Day.
This type of supplement stack will allow you to combine all of the goodness of CBD with other powerful ingredients also shown to be energizers or cognitive enhancers.
When you take CBD capsules blended with powerful plant-based super ingredients, you’re reaping an impressive mix of well-researched benefits without having to change — or complicate — your routine. If anything, you’re making it even easier and simpler to incorporate more energy, relaxation, mental focus and more into your everyday life.
Caitlin Reid is a writer and health practitioner who has worked with countless health and wellness brands. She has been published in media from Vice to OsteoLife to Global Health & Travel, among others in Australia, New Zealand, Asia and the USA.