How long does CBD cream take to work?

How does CBD make you feel?

When shopping for CBD products like creams, gels, and balms, you’ll often find they claim to offer “fast relief.” But how fast can they really work? Is their effect as instant as it claims to be? And how does CBD make you feel when you apply it to your skin? Here’s a little guide to what you can expect to feel when using CBD cream, and the factors that could affect it.

CBD products that contain trace amounts of THC (less than 0.3%) are now legal on a federal level in the United States. However, they are not FDA-approved, and may still be illegal in certain states. Check your local laws before making a purchase. 

How fast does CBD cream take to work?

In general, CBD cream takes between 10 to 20 minutes to work. Some lucky people feel its effects after just two or three minutes, while for others, it takes a bit longer. But overall, taking in CBD through the skin is one of the fastest methods of delivery.

Compared to eating CBD or even placing CBD oil drops under your tongue, topical methods of application are a clear winner. 

What factors affect the time that CBD takes to act?

To determine how long exactly CBD cream will take to work on you, there are a couple of factors to take into consideration. 

How strong it is

Weak CBD acts just as fast as strong CBD. But whereas you can usually feel the effects of strong CBD almost immediately, it may take longer to really feel the effects of weak CBD because they are much more subtle.

In other words, if you want to feel the effects of CBD fast, it may be worth increasing the dose. 

Your gender and body type

Studies have found that women are more receptive to topical products than men. When they apply CBD to their skin, they could experience faster relief from pain, inflammation and itching. This may have to do with their body type. As a general rule, women carry more fat than men. And since CBD binds with fat in order to be absorbed into our system, this might make women more receptive to it.

As a general rule, CBD might work better on you if you have a higher percentage of body fat. 

How long you take to massage it in

In order for CBD to take effect, it has to reach your endocannabinoid system first. This means that CBD molecules must bind with endocannabinoid receptors, which are found under the first layer of skin. As a result, the time you take to massage in the CBD cream could make a big difference.

If you just slab on some CBD cream without massaging it in at all, it could take a lot longer to take effect. On the other hand, if you really take the time to make sure it penetrates and doesn’t stay on the surface of your skin, you can save yourself a few minutes of waiting. 

The kind of topical product you use

Different forms of CBD cream have different acting times. For example, thin, gel-like products tend to penetrate your skin much faster. On the other hand, balms that are formulated with thickeners like beeswax can take a lot longer to be absorbed because they’re so dense. 

If fast relief is your number one priority, we would recommend going for a thinner texture. But if you want slower, more steady relief over the course of a few hours, a thicker balm will work best for you.

How does CBD make you feel when you apply it to your skin?

How does CBD make you feel when you apply it to your skin?

We’ve established that CBD cream takes less than 20 minutes to take effect, and can be particularly fast-acting if a couple of important factors are there. But how does CBD make you feel when you put it on your skin?

A lot of this will depend on the state of your skin. If your skin is dry, itchy, irritated, flaking, or in pain—expect to feel a lot better straight away! It’s always a lot easier to feel the positive effects of CBD when you’re trying to relieve pain or inflammation.

Some of its other effects are more subtle. But in general, you can expect to feel your muscles relax deeply. The physical relaxation also combines with mental relaxation because CBD can relieve your stress and anxiety. This is not something you’ll necessarily notice straight away. But a few hours after applying CBD cream, you may catch yourself thinking “I’m very relaxed today” or “I’m not nearly as worried about this thing as I was yesterday.”

Finally, in the long term, you’ll notice your skin getting a lot softer and more supple. As time goes on, CBD changes the inner structure of your skin to make it more elastic and better hydrated. For some, this will just be a side effect of CBD, but it’s appreciable nonetheless!


To cut a long story short, CBD can take from five to 20 minutes to work, and generally somewhere around 10 or 15. Topical CBD is one of the fastest ways for your body to absorb the molecule, and it’s definitely a good option for those who need near-instant relief, especially in targeted areas of the body.

CBD Calming Balm by CBDfx


  • CBD potency: 750mg broad spectrum hemp extract
  • Size: 2oz
  • Scent:
  • Price: $60
  • Price per milligram of CBD: $0.08/mg

This gentle balm by CBDfx contains all-natural ingredients and 750mg of CBD per tub. With its simple formulation, it’s suitable to use on both your face and body. It’s made with a broad spectrum CBD extract, shea butter, coconut oil, avocado oil, and vitamin E.

The real highlight of this product is its delicate smell. Made with lavender, chamomile, and tea tree oil, it has a soft, herbal scent that we love. These ingredients also add to its anti inflammatory, calming properties. It’s a great product for people with joint pain and skin conditions like eczema or rosacea.

  • Gentle and natural ingredients
  • Pleasant lavender and chamomile scent
  • Contains soothing calendula oil
  • Great value for money
  • Not unscented
  • Large size jar which could be bulky to carry around
Use Code for 20% Off: SALETCM​
Hemp Salve 750 mg by Endoca
  • CBD potency: 750mg broad spectrum hemp extract
  • Size: 1oz
  • Scent: Lemon and vanilla
  • Price: $64
  • Price per milligram of CBD: $0.08/mg

This highly-concentrated balm by Endoca contains 750mg of CBD in a 30mL tub. For just $64, it’s a product that offers very good value for money and is sure to last you a long time. It contains broad-spectrum hemp extract, coconut oil, hemp oil, and vitamin E. It’s also enriched with vanilla and lemon essential oils which give it a fresh, slightly sweet smell. 

Like all Endoca products, this one is organic, GMO-free, and cruelty-free. It’s a product we recommend to people with targeted areas of pain, migraines, or painful skin rashes.

  • Very high potency
  • All-natural ingredients
  • Fresh lemon and vanilla scent
  • Sustainable brand
  • Dark glass container
  • Not the easiest texture to spread
  • No low or medium potency options available
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CBD Salve 500 mg by Joy Organics
  • CBD potency: 1000mg broad spectrum hemp extract
  • Size: 2 oz
  • Scent: Lavender Eucalyptus
  • Price: $
  • Price per milligram of CBD: $/mg

Joy Organics’ simple CBD salve contains just MCT oil, beeswax, CBD extract, and essential oils. It has a texture that is halfway between creamy and dense, and which shows best results on the face or on small areas of skin. With its lavender and eucalyptus essential oils, it’s ideal for people with inflammatory conditions like arthritis or psoriasis.

A jar of product contains 500mg of CBD in a 1 oz jar. This makes it a strong product that you won’t need to use a lot of to feel an effect. And like all Joy Organics products, it’s 100% organic, GMO-free, and third-party tested.

  • Simple and natural list of ingredients
  • Organic product
  • Guaranteed THC-free
  • Dark lgass container
  • Eucalyptus scent may be too strong for some people
  • No international shipping
Use Code for 15% Off: SALETCM​
CBD Salve 500 mg by Joy Organics
  • CBD potency: 250mg full spectrum hemp extract
  • Size: 2 oz
  • Scent: 
  • Price: $9.99
  • Price per milligram of CBD: $0.04/mg

This Elixinol product is a little different in that it contains a full-spectrum hemp extract. This makes it ideal for people with conditions like anxiety, or with pain conditions like neuropathic pain. It contains a wide range of high-quality botanical ingredients, including copaiba oil, calendula flower extract, and rosemary leaf extract. As well as giving this product a pleasant, natural smell, they also add to its pain-relieving properties.

One of the great things about this product is that it comes in three different strengths: 50, 250, or 500mg of CBD. So no matter the level of relief you need, you’re sure to find an option that suits you perfectly.

  • Full spectrum CBD extract
  • Contains soothing calendula flower extract
  • Contains hydrating ucuuba butter
  • Refreshing scent
  • Comes in different potency options
  • Strong eucalyptus scent
  • Elixinol may have longer than average shipping times
Use Code for 15% Off: SALETCM​
Charlotte’s Web Active Sport Pain Relief Ointment
  • CBD potency: 200mg full spectrum hemp extract
  • Size: 1.4 oz
  • Scent: 
  • Price: $29.99
  • Price per milligram of CBD: $0.15/mg

This Charlotte’s Web cream was created with athletes in mind. It contains menthol and camphor, both of which have great pain-fighting properties. They also give the product a numbing, tingling feeling which can be great to relieve sore muscles and muscle cramps. The product also contains myrrh and frankincense essential oils, giving it a slightly spicy, earthy scent. 

With 200mg of broad-spectrum CBD extract in a 40mg tub, this is a medium-strength product that is well-suited for everyday use. We recommend it to athletes with sore muscles, people who experience muscle cramps, and those with conditions like tendonitis or plantar fasciitis.

  • Broad spectrum CBD extract
  • Great potency for everyday use
  • Cooling and numbing effect thanks to menthol
  • Dark glass container
  • Not the strongest product out there
  • Above average price per milligram of CBD
Use Code for 15% Off: SALETCM​
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