We’re going to guide you through the possible causes, impart some fundamental advice and ways to turn your CBD experience around. Some people claim CBD oil isn’t working for them. The question is: does it mean CBD oil doesn’t work in general? Or is it caused by a sub-par product? This article explains why your CBD oil might not work for you. Learn about reasons CBD may not be effective for your arthritis symptoms and what you can do to find a CBD product and dose that’s better for you.
CBD Not Working for You? Here Are 6 Possible Reasons Why & Tips to try.
Find out the reasons why CBD may not be working for you?
You don’t feel any different, you seem to be a dead end with what to try. If this sounds like you, read on, we have you covered.
I don’t feel anything from my CBD; why isn’t CBD working for me?
My CBD is not working for me; why?
The main reasons CBD may not be working for you are:
- Poor product quality
- Strength & Dosage
- Type of CBD
- Length of Time
- Tolerance, Genetics & Metabolism
- or you’re expecting something that isn’t going to happen.
- Delivery Method & absorption?
“I think CBD is snake oil & a scam!”
“I feel normal, but do not feel the effect of CBD?”
“My CBD lotion is not working?”
You are not feeling any difference from CBD, and it has you puzzled? You’re thinking, “I got scammed, I’ve wasted my money, and now I don’t know what to do?” Sounds familiar, right?
Medically reviewed by: Dr. Vance Green, PharmD.
Updated on July 9, 2021
Well, although the above statements could, and in many instances, are accurate. It’s not all bad; although your initial CBD experience got tarnished, there are some simple reasons why. We’re going to guide you through the possible causes, impart some fundamental advice and ways to turn your CBD experience around. So you, too, can benefit from the life-changing effects that CBD has brought to many people just like you.
The main reasons CBD may not be working for you and the mistakes you’re probably making (Without Even Knowing It)
- Poor product quality
- Strength & Dosage
- Type of CBD
- Length of Time
- Tolerance, Genetics & Metabolism
- or you’re expecting something that isn’t going to happen.
- Delivery Method & absorption.
There’s no doubt about it: CBD is everywhere. Unfortunately, for consumers, this means many labels to read and understand, claims to wade through, and endless options for you to choose from.
And unfortunately, not all bets are safe bets.
To ensure you’re receiving the full benefits of the hemp plant, you need to take the right kind of CBD in the right way from the right brand. Brands going above and beyond in quality, safety, and transparency. The fact is: Not all CBD is created equal.
There’s nothing worse than wasted time, money, and effort – especially when you’re taking steps to improve your health. So how do you know if you’re doing CBD the right way? And what are the most common mistakes? Here are some signs you’ve veered off the path on your CBD journey—and exactly how to get back on the straight and narrow.
Are you expecting to feel a “Buzz”?
Let us clear up the last reason CBD is not “working” first.
You’re expecting, or you were misinformed, you’ll feel a buzz similar to a THC high.
This expectation isn’t going to happen 99% of the time; CBD and its companion cannabinoids don’t affect us in that way. They’re non-intoxicating. They could, in some cases, give a sense of calm, relaxation, or what’s known as a “body high.” But, you’re not going to get “stoned” unless you take high doses containing THC.
Many people report CBD doesn’t make you feel something; it’s more what you don’t feel. But, it takes away feelings of discomfort or anxiety. Leaving you with less pain & tension, resulting in a sense of wellness and relaxation. It can be subtle but profoundly powerful.
Poor product quality.
Poor product quality, unfortunately, is more common than not. With a considerable portion of the market flooded with fakes, under-dosed, low potency, un-tested CBD products getting sold.
In some cases, simply hemp-seed oil (Sativa Cannabis seed oil) getting sold has hemp extract (containing absolutely no CBD) as a means to confuse consumers into parting with their money. But, of course, you want to be spending your money on the best CBD oils you can afford.
The good news is you can avoid most of these products with a few simple checks.
First, it’s vitally important to do some digging and buy CBD from reputable companies with transparent reporting on their CBD products. If you can’t, find lab reports, or the company isn’t willing to show you lab reports. Then, just say no and move on.
Second, avoid Amazon, eBay, and similar platforms. You cannot buy legitimate CBD on those platforms as they prohibit CBD sales.
Finally, stick to domestic companies with business registration and easy-to-find reviews and information. If you purchase CBD through social media via direct messaging, you’ll likely get scammed.
Buying CBD extracted by butane or hexane
Before you jump ahead and purchase your full- or broad-spectrum CBD oil, it’s time to do a little research on extraction methods, which are not all equal in extraction quality or preservation of compounds.
To get the best CBD for your money, look for a product extracted using CO2. Extraction using the Co2 method is where the raw plant material gets exposed to high-pressure, low-temperature CO2 gas.
Co2 extraction isolates the cannabinoids, terpenes & other compounds and preserves them in the oil. However, Co2 extraction takes longer and requires expensive machinery, which some businesses are unwilling to utilize.
On the flip side, seeing this method is a good hint that the people extracting your CBD have a legitimate operation going. If the brand can educate you regarding the ins and outs of its process. This information should be on their website or given over the phone. It’s a clear sign they’re going above and beyond in terms of quality and transparency.
CO2 extraction remains the gold standard in the industry. But with high production costs come higher price tags. Consumers looking for a quality product should be willing to invest, though. Because other extraction methods, including butane or hexane, do a good job extracting cannabinoids from hemp but they can leave a residue behind that’s not healthy to ingest.
And unless the product is being third-party tested (more on that to follow), you don’t know how much of that solvent residue is ending up in your oil that you might later consume.
Buying CBD from conventionally grown industrial hemp farms.
Speaking of unwanted ingredients in your CBD oil, pesticides are another big concern. Hemp is a bioaccumulator, meaning it absorbs chemical waste and heavy metals, also known as Phytoremediation. It does this with such vengeance that hemp often gets planted to detox land after contamination.
According to a paper published in Epilepsy & Behavior in 2017, “if large quantities of hemp get cultivated to produce CBD, it is critically important that the quality of the soil is closely monitored and regulated.”
The good news is, buying CBD products extracted from organically grown (Preferably USDA Certified Organic CBD Products) hemp can lower your risk of pesticide exposure and support the environment at the same time.
Ready for a little bad news?
The keyword in the sentence above is “lower.” Buying CBD extracted from organic hemp is a good start—but it’s not guaranteed that the product is contaminant-free and up to safety standards. The only way to truly protect yourself is to make certain your CBD oil has been 3rd party lab-tested, which brings us to the following common mistake.
Buying CBD without a batch lab test
As we just learned, pesticides are a significant factor to consider when buying hemp-based products and an excellent reason to go organic. But, unfortunately, that’s not where the contamination conversation ends. It surprises many, but other unsafe & unhealthy compounds, including heavy metals, fragrances, preservatives, solvent residues, mold, mineral oil, and microbes, can also find their way into your product. (Yikes, right?)
The above is why lab testing is. Absolutely. Imperative. It’s the only way to really guarantee that you’re not ingesting harmful chemicals along with your CBD. We deem this as a minimum barrier of entry that all companies should be held to.
Independent Lab testing is important for another reason as well: to make sure there’s actually CBD in the product you’ve purchased.
Independent Lab testing is essential for another reason as well: to make sure there’s actually CBD in the product you’ve purchased.
Now, this might seem silly, but when the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) lab-tested CBD products in 2015, many of them contained significantly lower levels of CBD than stated on the bottle—and some didn’t contain any CBD at all.
A great CBD company will be open and transparent about its lab testing procedures on its website and product label.
What is independent Third-party lab testing? Third-party lab testing means the testing has been carried out by an independent company with no affiliation with the brand. It’s also vitally important that there’s an exact batch number on your product with a corresponding lab report. This means the company is testing every batch of the product instead of just every so often.
CHECKLIST: Avoid Amazon, eBay & similar platforms.
- Avoid buying via social media pages, private messages, and unknown individuals. Always use a credible, registered company with an online business presence.
- Google the brand to see if they have a legitimate website and reviews
- Always check for lab reports that include batch number, contaminant tests as well as cannabinoid tests.
- Contact the company to ask questions.
- If you’re unsure or something doesn’t feel right. Move on.
Strength & Dosage
If you frequent social media groups, you’ll often hear, start low. In many cases, people don’t start with a reasonable amount to receive any benefits. CBD is very individual, so it will undoubtedly require trial and error. Legally CBD product manufacturers can’t give dosing advice, so that leaves consumers to work it out for themselves.
However, many sources and consumers report that a reasonable starting dose would be between 10-50mg per day, while others state upwards of 100mg a day. So, again this would be for you to trial and adjust accordingly, which brings up the question of bottle potency. Many products contain less than 5mg per dose / per ml, so trial and error with these products would be challenging, somewhat expensive, and likely ineffective overall.
Working out the products’ possible dosing amount is fairly simple. Take the full CBD value and divide it by the milliliter value of the bottle. You’ll quickly be able to work out how many doses you have to play with while you learn your requirements. Our 1000mg CBD oil comes in a 30ml bottle. 100 / 30 = 33mg per ml. Approx 20 drop per ml of oil = 1.65mg per drop.
Many CBD users have reported trying several different brands before settling on one that works for them, so keep searching if your first try doesn’t produce the results you’re looking to achieve.
Remember, what works for one person may not work for you. Biology, metabolism, diet, exercise will affect each person’s response to CBD.
Medical News Today has an in-depth dosing article here that you may find helpful.
TIP: Try spreading your intake out multiple times a day. Gradually Increase your dose each day until you feel comfortable. You may need less; you may need more. Adjust as you see fit.
Our endocannabinoid system is active even if we do not use cannabis. This is because our bodies produce endocannabinoids naturally, which are similar, but different from phytocannabinoids found in cannabis.
Length of Time
While some consumers report they receive almost immediate benefits from CBD, many people say it can take a few weeks to start to feel the benefits. Why?
CBD interacts with your endocannabinoid system. Your body is filled with neurotransmitters & receptors (CB1 CB2), mostly primed to interact with cannabinoids. However, due to varying reasons, some people have deficient ECS that take time to “active” to a level where cannabinoids and the ECS interact at a level high enough to create change within.
Your endocannabinoid system is active even if you do not use cannabis. This is because your body produces endocannabinoids naturally, which are different from cannabinoids found in cannabis.
The two main identified endocannabinoids are,
- anandamide (AEA)
- 2-arachidonoylglyerol (2-AG)
Scientists around the world are still trying to understand the ECS fully. Nevertheless, studies report our ECS is responsible or partially responsible for vital human functions and processes such as:
- Your cardiovascular system
- Neuroprotection and muscle movement
- Stress Responses and sleep regulation
- Reproductive systems
- Mood, memory, and social behavior
- Digestive processes
- Inflammation and pain perception
Give yourself time, adjust your doses up, and keep a journal of your daily doses and any changes. You’ll soon find your sweet spot once your ECS is in balance. But, again, it’s very personal; one size doesn’t fit all.
One important note to mention. Is CBD lotions, CBD creams, CBD salves may not be working due to the lack of activity from your ECS.
To get the best results from CBD creams, lotions & Salves, supplement your daily use with CBD oil. Taking a CBD oil will activate your endocannabinoid system from the inside out, increasing the topical benefits.
TIP: Give yourself time, increase doses until you feel the benefit you desire. There are no hard rules. Everyone is unique, as will your daily regimen be.
High-quality full-spectrum CBD products are typically created from extracting all of the beneficial compounds from the whole-plant, which includes the hemp flowers — Sometimes referred to as whole-plant, full-plant, or aerial parts. These types of CBD products often produce the best results as they contain all the beneficial components and multiple cannabinoids.
Tolerance, Genetics & Metabolism
As with Strength, dosage, and timescales, you may find you have a high tolerance naturally, which could be genetic driven or metabolism controlled. If this is true, you’ll likely want to increase your dose and take a little more time. Only you can work that out. Stick with it, make sure you have a quality tested product, and you’ll soon enough find the relief you’re seeking.
If you’ve been taking CBD for some time and it’s suddenly stopped working. You may have reached your tolerance level. You can fix this by taking a reset break for a few days and going back to your regular dosing regimen. Reset breaks have been reported as a helpful strategy with CBD consumers.
TIP: If CBD suddenly stopped working, try taking a reset break for a few days & return to your regular regimen.
Type of CBD – Isolate, Full-Spectrum?
Not all CBD oil gets created equally. Many products are CBD isolate but not clearly labeled. Maybe you’re taking an isolated CBD product, but it’s just not delivering? Numerous research papers are suggesting whole-plant extracted products have far more health benefits and better results.
As we’ve mentioned previously, CBD Isolate has its place; however, it’s not the most beneficial when it comes to health. Therefore, when you decide to purchase CBD, we recommend you look for products that say “full-spectrum” instead of CBD isolate, ideally, whole-plant full-spectrum.
A CBD isolate product contains only the CBD compound. That means it was separated from the other cannabinoids and compounds that occur naturally in the hemp plant. In contrast, “full-spectrum” means the product includes not just CBD but other naturally occurring cannabinoids (like CBG – Cannabigerol and small amounts of THC), terpenes, fatty acids, minerals, and essential oils.
On top of the health benefits these additional compounds bring, this makes for a richer taste and smell.
You might also see products labeled broad-spectrum; this means the THC has been removed entirely, unfortunately, along with most other beneficial compounds. Other cannabinoids do remain. Remember to check the lab reports!
When you buy CBD oil, always choose full- or broad-spectrum CBD oil over a CBD isolate. The medicinal & therapeutic impact of the whole-hemp-plant is greater than the sum of its parts. And research suggests when you isolate CBD, it becomes less effective, more unpredictable, and tricker to dose. In other words, you get less bang for your buck.
In fact, studies suggest that CBD isolates require much higher doses to be effective and are more likely to interact with medications and cause adverse side effects.
Full-spectrum CBD oils have a better safety profile and a wider therapeutic window (meaning they work well at a broader range of doses). This is because cannabinoids work synergistic-ally—a phenomenon coined the “entourage effect“—which get bolstered by the terpenes and essential oils. Terpenes ( known for their anti-inflammatory properties), are of particular interest to researchers.
In fact, some experts think terpenes are even more interesting than cannabinoids. One article written by Ethan Russo, Ph.D., a pioneer in cannabinoid science, concluded that “Terpenes display unique therapeutic benefits that may contribute meaningfully to the entourage effects of cannabis-based medicinal extracts.” The take-home? You want more than just CBD in your CBD oil.
Advice: Stick to the more user-friendly full-spectrum or broad-spectrum CBD oils for everyday use.
With whole-plant full-spectrum CBD products containing up to 100+ other cannabinoids in trace amounts, 100s of terpenes, nutrients, minerals, fatty acids, and more, it’s understandable that whole-plant full-spectrum results in more significant relief. All of these compounds, working together synergistic-ally, is referred to as the entourage effect. Maybe try a full-spectrum CBD oil next time.
TIP: Try a different product using the verifying tips above. Maybe try a full-spectrum CBD product that’s validated by clear 3rd party lab reports.
Does CBD Delivery Method Matter? How does it affect absorption?
As with all other aspects of CBD we’ve covered so far, the delivery method is vitally important too. The delivery methods and application methods are varied as much as the reason for use. Each ailment and person is different, as are the results.
Sublingual CBD Oils
With this delivery method, the compounds absorb via the mucous membranes in your mouth. Just drop one serving under your tongue, swish it around for about 30 seconds, and then swallow the excess. You might feel the benefits in as little as 5 minutes but give it at least 20 to reach full effect. The sublingual oil is mess-free, refreshingly simple, and you can control your dose more easily than you can with other delivery methods.
Another highly absorbable way to take CBD is through inhalation. The lungs provide a direct line to the bloodstream, and you can feel the effects almost immediately. At first glance, smoking CBD might seem extreme or dangerous.
“But, doesn’t smoking increase your risk for lung cancer?”
According to a 2017 report by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine on The Health Effects of Cannabis and Cannabinoids, this is a widespread misconception.
The report, written by leading doctors and researchers in the U.S., concluded that “There is moderate evidence of no statistical association between cannabis use and incidence of lung cancer.” So while smoking tobacco is still an extremely dangerous and detrimental practice, you can’t lump all “smoking” into one category.
Topical products are also great for taking advantage of CBD; just keep in mind they have the added hurdle of making their way through the skin to get to work in your body. So unless you’re using CBD for a topical issue or localized issue—like an inflammatory skin condition or knee pain, for example—it’s best to stick with another delivery method to make sure the CBD is making it all the way to your bloodstream.
Edible CBD products are a fun and delicious way to get your daily dose of CBD but pay close attention to the dosages. Many edibles only contain 5 or 10 mg of CBD, which is less than the average oil and not enough CBD for many people to feel the benefits. Like topicals, they also have a challenge before them—making their way through your G.I. tract to absorb into your bloodstream via the intestines. Because of this, they might require a higher dose, and they will take longer, up to two hours, to take effect.
There’s a lot to consider as a CBD consumer, and it can be overwhelming to think that despite your best efforts, you might be “doing CBD wrong.” But if you follow these five rules of thumb, you’ll be well on your way to finding a CBD oil that is safe and effective. Hopefully, in the future, there will be more laws and regulations in place to make sure consumers are connecting with brands that really have their health in mind.
When looking at CBD Gummies, CBG Gummies it’s important to pick products with 25mg and up!
Until then, all we can do is keep reading up on CBD, learning from our mistakes, and making sure we ask the right questions from the brands were considering. Cheers to using CBD the right way!
TIP: Try a different product using the verifying tips above. Maybe try a full-spectrum CBD product that’s validated by clear 3rd party lab reports.
When all of these individual components of whole-plant full-spectrum hemp/cannabis work in harmony, they are responsible for a synergistic process, scientists have named the entourage effect.
CBD Oil Not Working for You? 7 Reasons Why CBD Doesn’t Work for Everyone
If you’re not feeling any difference from CBD, it may have you puzzled, especially when you’ve read dozens of success stories of people living a better life thanks to supplementation with CBD oil.
You may feel scammed and have an impression that you’ve wasted money.
Although it IS possible that CBD oil won’t work for some people, most of the claims about “CBD not working for me” result from buying a poor-quality CBD product, or from unreasonable expectations from the compound.
In this article, we explain why CBD might not work for you, and what to do if you want to maximize your results with CBD oil.
Reasons Your CBD Doesn’t Work
There are almost 900 CBD brands in the American market. With so many products available at hand, there’s a risk you’ll stumble upon a fly-by-night vendor or a mislabeled CBD oil.
CBD has a long list of well-documented health benefits. There have been hundreds of studies conducted on its efficacy in alleviating a wide range of health problems.
People also use CBD as a means of daily supplementation with the purpose to support the endocannabinoid system (ECS) and keep the body in a state of balance (homeostasis).
So, why is CBD oil not working for you?
Here are a few possible explanations.
1. You Have a Low-Quality CBD Product
Unfortunately, poor product quality is more common than not. That’s because the CBD market isn’t regulated and there are no official manufacturing and labeling standards in place. This, in turn, results in lots of fake, under-dosed, contaminated CBD products getting sold.
In some cases, the hemp seed oil is labeled as CBD oil or hemp extract (containing ZERO CBD) as a means to confuse customers.
If you want CBD oil to work, you need to spend your money on the best CBD oils you can afford.
The good news is that poor quality vendors can be avoided with a few simple checks. It’s particularly important to do thorough research and buy CBD from reputable companies that test their products in independent laboratories.
Here are the must-check factors determining the quality of CBD oil:
- Look for CBD products made from organic hemp. Organic farming results in CBD-rich, clean flowers, which are the best source material for extraction. Poor farming practices may lead to contamination with heavy metals and other toxins from the soil, and if the growers use pesticides on the plants, they will be absorbed too. That’s why you should steer clear of companies using mass-produced hemp for extraction.
- Look for Certificates of Analysis from third-party labs. Lab testing can reveal the exact potency of CBD oil. The laboratory will also look for contaminants and potentially dangerous additives. The test results should be available for you to see for yourself.
- Read customer reviews. Check third-party websites like expert blogs and online rankings to see what other users are saying on brand effectiveness, customer service, delivery time, and product quality.
Many CBD users admit they have tried several different brands before sticking to a particular vendor, so keep experimenting if your first try wasn’t a bull’s eye. As they say, sometimes you may have to kiss many frogs until you find your prince.
But that doesn’t mean CBD doesn’t work.
2. You Didn’t Let CBD Build Up in Your System
The first time you try CBD may feel as if you’d wasted your money on some overhyped product. You know, you just put a few drops of CBD oil under your tongue, expecting near-instant relief from your chronic pain, and… NOTHING HAPPENS!
So, does it mean CBD isn’t working?
While some of the effects of CBD oil may be noticeable right away, CBD usually needs some time to let you experience its health benefits. In fact, many people take CBD for at least two weeks before they see a difference.
Exploring the effects of CBD isn’t as simple as getting a couple of pills and calling it a day. Proper supplementation actually requires consistency and a certain level of commitment to uncovering the long-term effects.
If you’re still not able to tell the difference before and after your dose of CBD, it may be time to move on and try a different company.
Keeping a CBD journal can help you keep track of your progress and whether or not CBD oil works for you.
Patience is very important in the process, and while it can be annoying to keep trying with no results, you may end up feeling thankful that you didn’t stop.
3. You need to Find the Right Dosage
Finding an appropriate dose of CBD can be challenging. The right amount varies between individuals, as every person has unique body chemistry that results in a different response.
So, how do you know what’s right for you?
A general rule of thumb is to start with a low dose — like 5–10 mg twice a day — and slowly increase it over time until you find the dose that provides the desired results.
Some users find that taking CBD in daily doses can help sustain a certain level of CBD in your body, which may support your endocannabinoid system to make it react better to cannabinoids like CBD.
Many people use a micro-dosing method to find their optimal dosage and adjust it as needed over time.
Again, a dosage journal may help you keep track of how much you’ve taken, how you feel before and after dosing, and if the CBD oil is working for you.
4. You Need a Different Consumption Method
Cannabis entrepreneurs can get really creative, and you can tell it by looking at the product selection in most online stores.
CBD is sold in everything from CBD coffee to bath salts and tampons.
The most common forms of CBD include:
- CBD oils
- CBD capsules
- CBD vape oils
- CBD topical creams
- CBD edibles (e.g. gummies and honey sticks)
If you’ve found that CBD oil isn’t working for you, it’s possible that a different form would solve the problem.
One factor to keep in mind is bioavailability, which essentially refers to the amount of CBD that actually reaches your bloodstream.
For example, products like CBD capsules and gummies have to go through your digestive system before the body can absorb them. The amount that ends up in your system may be relatively low.
Tinctures, on the other hand, offer higher bioavailability due to their route of delivery. Tinctures are absorbed through tiny capillaries under the tongue, so you’re absorbing them directly into your bloodstream. Not only does more CBD get into your body, but it also has a faster onset.
Speaking of which, the fastest delivery method of CBD is through vaping. Vaporized CBD enters the body through the lungs, ensuring that the effects show up within minutes from inhalation.
Other products, such as topicals, engage with the cannabinoid receptors in the skin, so they have virtually “zero bioavailability” but offer potential relief from localized problems.
5. You Take CBD Isolate
CBD isolate is just pure CBD in a crystallized, powdered form. Despite providing the highest concentration of CBD per serving (~990 mg per gram), it is considered less efficient and more difficult to dose than whole-plant extracts.
That’s because products like full-spectrum CBD oil produce the “entourage effect.” This term refers to a synergy achieved by all compounds naturally occurring in cannabis plants. This synergy makes the compounds more effective together than in isolation. Studies suggest that whole-plant extracts allow the user to overcome the bell-shaped dose-response, where the effects of CBD don’t always improve with an increase in the dosage.
If CBD oil isn’t working for you, maybe it’s time to switch from CBD isolate to full-spectrum CBD.
6. Tolerance, Genetics & Metabolism
CBD is a versatile tool for improving one’s quality of life, but it’s not a miracle drug that will fix you overnight. If, after all your efforts, CBD oil isn’t working for you, this means your body has difficulty absorbing it.
The level of absorption and response to CBD depends on several factors, such as:
The endocannabinoid system (ECS) is a complex neurochemical network in your body that interacts with cannabinoids, and each person’s ECS operates a little differently.
According to psychiatrists, 20% of Americans may have a genetic mutation that makes them naturally produce more endocannabinoids — the endogenous analogs of the cannabinoids you ingest when using cannabis.
If you have that mutation, you might be less prone to stress and anxiety, but because you already have enough endocannabinoids, you might not see many improvements when you take CBD.
Checking with your doctor may help you discover other natural options that may work for you.
There’s no such thing as one-size-fits-all treatment, so don’t be afraid to tell your friends to stop bugging you about giving CBD a try.
7. You’re Expecting Miracles from CBD
Some people may feel like they wasted their money on a hyped product simply because the effects of CBD don’t match their expectations. However, this isn’t an argument to support the theory that CBD oil doesn’t work. If you expect CBD oil to cure cancer or mend broken bones, you may have a hard time waiting for such effects, because CBD doesn’t do such things. It’s a very valuable compound with high efficacy and a well-established safety profile, but it does have limitations — something which many people tend to forget.
Bottom Line: Why CBD Doesn’t Work for Some People
CBD isn’t as regulated as many other supplements and pharmaceutical compounds, and people in the industry are still trying to figure out the best practices to maximize its efficacy.
It’s not as simple as taking some standard dosage and feeling immediate effects. Sometimes, CBD takes time, patience, and ongoing research to find the right vendor, dosage, and form of consumption for you.
Buying from several different brands can also get pricey — but many premium companies offer discounts, coupon codes, and reward programs that help you save money on your favorite products or try new forms of CBD for less.
So before you abandon the idea of supplementing CBD altogether, use the above checklist to find out why CBD isn’t working for you.
8 Reasons CBD Might Not Be Working for Your Arthritis (and What to Do About It)
Cannabidiol, known as CBD, is a type of chemical called a cannabinoid that is found in the cannabis plant. It’s not intoxicating like THC, a different kind of cannabinoid that causes the “high” you get from using pot. Chances are you’ve heard of CBD. It’s one of the fastest-growing supplements in the U.S. and has become a popular topic among arthritis patients, from online support groups to clinical conversations in doctors’ offices.
Unlike many alternative arthritis treatments that get touted online, CBD does appear to have some positive effects, says Elyse Rubenstein, MD, a rheumatologist at Providence Saint John’s Health Center in Santa Monica, California. “There really aren’t yet any good studies to show that it works for arthritis but I’ve had patients who have found using CBD very helpful,” she says. “I haven’t seen any harm from it so it may be worth trying.”
However, for every CBD success story there are plenty of people who see little or no effects from using CBD. The first time Chris G., 37, of Denver, Colorado, tried a CBD oil tincture she felt nothing. “I might as well have been drinking straight coconut oil,” she says. Her friend had given her a bottle to help with rheumatoid arthritis pain and told her to just try it. Using CBD didn’t help the second time either. Or the third. Or the fourth. “I finished the whole bottle and never saw any difference,” she says. “I hear others talking about it and wonder why it didn’t work for me.”
Then there are the people who feel an effect — but not a good one. “It was like being drunk, but not in a fun way,” says Jason J., 46, of Minneapolis, Minnesota. The father of two tried it to treat his chronic pain from reactive arthritis as well as anxiety. He started with pure CBD oil and felt nothing so then he moved up to a CBD oil with a small amount of THC. The results were not great. While it did lessen his pain, he says it also made him feel nauseous and dizzy. He tried it a second time, this time spacing the doses further apart, but had similar results. He didn’t like the feeling and as a father was hesitant to do anything that might make him impaired while caring for his kids. “I wish it worked for me, but it did more harm than good,” he says.
If either of these experiences sound familiar, don’t give up yet. There may be good reasons CBD has not helped you — yet — and ways to make using CBD more effective for you.
1. Your CBD isn’t actually CBD
Just because cannabis products are becoming legal in certain parts of the U.S. doesn’t mean they are regulated. CBD is the wild west these days: There are a lot of “CBD” products with little or no actual cannabidiol in them, says McKenzie Mann, product development manager for Blue Forest Farms, a farm that grows high-CBD hemp and sells CBD products. The FDA doesn’t regulate CBD products and there aren’t universal quality standards, so unless you have a basement lab and chemistry degree, it’s near impossible to know exactly what you’re getting.
The fix: Look for brands that have their products independently tested (they should be able to provide you with test results), shop only at places you trust (preferably in person, not online), and when you find a brand that works for you, stick with it, says April Olshavsky, founder of Herbal Risings, a company that educates people on the proper use of CBD products.
2. You may benefit from a different strain
Not all cannabis plants are the same, which means the chemical makeup of your CBD product can differ widely. For one thing, CBD is one of many dozens of types of cannabinoids found in cannabis plants. Just as when you eat different berries (blueberries versus raspberries versus strawberries) you’re exposed to different antioxidants and plant chemicals, different cannabis plants have various amounts and types of cannabinoids and other compounds such as terpenes, which also have anti-inflammatory properties independent of the CBD.
The fix: Unfortunately, there’s no such thing as a specific strain being good for a specific disease or symptoms, says Bridget Seritt, co-founder of the Canna-Patient Resource Connection, a Colorado-based organization that is working to protect patient rights and end stigma against those who choose cannabis as medicine. A good CBD supplier should be able to show you third-party tests that include both the terpene and the cannabinoid profile. “There are hundreds of products with different formulations of each component, so knowing what goes into your products is essential. Keep a journal so you know which products worked and which did not. You can use the profile information to find similar products,” Seritt advises.
3. You need a different type of extract
There are different types of CBD extracts, and it’s important — from both a health and legal perspective — to understand their differences:
Full spectrum: This oil is how it comes raw from the plant and contains a full spectrum of compounds, including CBD, THC, terpenes, chlorophyll, minerals, and other parts of the hemp plant. “This is usually the best for most people and what we recommend — it’s the ‘entourage effect.’ All the compounds in the plant work best when they are together,” Mann explains. “Like most plants, it’s healthier to use it whole.”
Broad spectrum: This oil is similar to a full-spectrum product but with THC removed. In states where CBD is legal, laws can vary as to how much THC is permissible in CBD products in order for them to be legally sold. Many states in which certain CBD products are legal require them to contain less than 0.3 percent THC. A higher amount of THC in the product may make it more effective for certain conditions, Mann says, but this is a good option for people who live in states with THC restrictions.
CBD isolate: This oil is 99 percent straight CBD. While this might look like what you want — especially as it’s often labeled “pure CBD” — it’s the least effective form, Mann says.
The fix: Opt for a full-spectrum product if it’s legal to use where you live.
4. You didn’t wait long enough to see results
Many people do not see a difference after one or two doses of CBD. “CBD works on the endocannabinoid system in the brain and everyone’s is a little bit different,” Mann says. “One person may feel a difference within 20 minutes but others it may take several days to build up enough to where you feel it.” It can take up to eight weeks of regular use to feel an impact, says Seritt.
The fix: Give your CBD time to take effect. Try a product for at least two weeks before deciding that it’s not working for you.
5. You’re not consistent
“The biggest mistake people make with CBD is failing to follow a regular routine. You need to have patience to see the full effects,” Olshavsky says. This is especially true for people dealing with chronic pain from arthritis and other illnesses, she adds.
The fix: Do at least one dose once a day for at least two weeks to give the product time to build up in your system, Mann says.
6. You need a different method of delivery
Oral tinctures — drops that you place under your tongue — are the most popular way to use CBD but there are plenty of other options. You can also inhale it with vape pens, rub it on topically with a lotion, take it orally with capsules, or eat CBD-infused foods. Different delivery methods may be better for certain health conditions or personal preference.
For those using CBD primarily for targeted joint pain, a CBD lotion may be the best option. If you need CBD to take effect quickly for intense pain, vaping will work the fastest. Worried about prying questions? Capsules are simple and discreet to use. And for people who don’t like pills, edibles such as candy, gum, or other CBD foods are a fun way to ingest it. (However, Mann cautions that some of the potency is lost when CBD goes through your digestive tract, so capsules and edibles aren’t his top choice for efficacy.)
The fix: Talk to a reputable company about which form of CBD will work best for your specific needs.
7. You need a higher dose of CBD
People are often hesitant to take CBD because they equate it with recreational marijuana, which can lead them to under-dose, Olshavsky says. Or your dose may be sufficient but you’re not taking it often enough. What works for your friend may not be the right amount for you.
The fix: Between dosages, routine, and application method, it can take some trial and error to find the right product and regimen for you, Olshavsky says. “The best thing you can do is to keep a journal and record your symptoms and results.”
8. You may benefit from some THC
For many people, CBD works better with some THC in it. The compounds work together, with THC providing pain relief and the CBD helping to manage any negative side effects of THC, Mann explains. Many people who complain about their CBD not working are often using one of the types that has no THC in it, he adds. Even a CBD oil with just 0.3 percent THC may be more effective for you than one without any.
The fix: Consider trying something other than the “pure” isolate version of CBD (though you need to research whether or not these products are legal where you live). If you live in a place where marijuana is legal, consider a CBD oil with a ratio of 3:1 or even 5:1 of CBD to THC, Mann says.