Does CBD Work? How to Tell if Your CBD Routine is Working
There are no tests available to tell you for sure whether or not your CBD is working. With so many different types and dosages on the market, a new CBD user has to be a bit of an explorer willing to embark on an adventure. Sometimes people try CBD and after a few days or weeks, decide it must not work for them.
And, that may be true – CBD certainly is not for everyone. But with so many different options, a single test is sort of like trying a peanut M&M and deciding chocolate isn’t for you. Maybe you don’t like chocolate, or maybe you’re just not into peanuts. Perhaps you’d rather eat a chocolate bar, or drink a steamy mug of hot cocoa! Experimentation is even part of using pharmaceutical drugs, but people tend to feel much more confident knowing a doctor is guiding their care. With CBD, you’re much more on your own, so looking at trying CBD as an exploration rather than a strict “yes or no” will serve you much better!
What Does it Feel Like When CBD Works?
Because CBD does not make one feel “high,” often you can conclude your CBD has worked when you feel LESS of the yucky stuff. What felt not-so-great now feels fine. It’s not like a trip to Disneyland, but simply feeling better that counts.
Some questions to ask yourself:
- What symptoms did I have before I started CBD, and how do they feel now?
- What were my energy levels like before, and how do I feel after trying CBD?
- How was my mood then, compared to now?
Of course, the questions most important to you depend on why you’ve decided to embark on a CBD journey – these are only suggestions!
What if CBD Makes You Feel Nothing… or Even Worse?
It may be that CBD simply does not mesh well with your body chemistry. Or, it could be that you aren’t using the right product or dosage, or that you haven’t given it enough of a chance. Let’s go into a bit more detail:
– Is it really even CBD? One study found that almost 70% of CBD sold online is mislabeled. Some have even gotten sick from fake CBD. Be careful where you buy your CBD – without regulation, it’s a bit like the “Wild West” out on the internet, which means some companies are amazing and others are basically a scam. Buying from a reputable source that uses third-party testing is a good idea to make sure there’s actually CBD in the products you purchase.
– What’s the right method of administration? CBD comes in many, many forms – oils, capsules, edibles, topical creams, transdermal patches… there are even CBD massages and beauty products on the market! It might be fun to try, but realize not all forms are ideal for all situations. For instance, CBD capsules may be more convenient than oils or vaping, but they have less potency (bioavailability!) because they have to go through the digestive system first. Researching your options can be helpful!
– What’s the right dose? There are so many different options, research is your friend. While American culture sometimes takes a “more is better” approach, that’s not necessarily the case with CBD. For instance, one study gave CBD to people before public speaking – something that makes most people pretty anxious! Participants in different groups received 100mg, 300mg, and 900mg – and only the 300mg reduced anxiety. Researchers call this an “inverted U-shaped curve,” whereby a dosage in the middle is actually ideal, while high or low doses may do nothing or even create negative side effects. Plus, depending on why you are using CBD, studies on rats find that low doses may make them more alert. Whether this applies to humans too, it may be a good thing if you’re taking it with your workout, but not so great for anxiety or sleep. Some even try “microdosing,” adding tiny amounts over the course of a few days to find their body’s ideal level, because every body is different!
– What is the makeup of your CBD product? There are many options on the market – full spectrum includes THC and other cannabinoids, broad-spectrum has no THC and is typically not psychoactive but does contain other cannabinoids, while CBD isolate is exactly what it sounds like – pure CBD, and that’s it. These may each have a different effect on your body. CBD that includes other cannabinoids is often seen as beneficial, via the “entourage effect,” where the varying compounds work synergistically together better than isolating CBD alone. But hey, maybe your body prefers pure CBD – who are we to say?
– How long and how consistent was your self-experiment? Remember, you won’t eat a plate of spinach and feel like Popeye the next day – and the same is likely true for CBD. Sure, some people have an immediate effect like CEO Lisa Buyer, but for many, it has to build up in your system. Plus with all the different options out there, you could easily spend weeks or months “CBD hopping.” Patience is your friend here.
– With all this in mind, if CBD makes you feel significantly worse – stop taking it! You may want to take a break and try again in a few weeks or months, or simply move on. It just may not be a match made in heaven for you and your body.
Suggestions for CBD Experimentation
Always buy high quality, independently tested products. There’s no point in wasting your time and money on a product that claims to be CBD but contains little to none. Remember, on the internet, sometimes a really good deal is simply too good to be true – you might get what you pay for! Make only one change to your wellness routine at a time, so you can do your best to isolate the effect of adding CBD, trying a new form or dosage. When you find a brand and type that works, stick to it! And finally, keep your expectations in check. CBD can do amazing things for some people, but it is not for everyone, nor is it the miracle cure-all you may see claimed. Explore the world of CBD with a good attitude, and whatever your results at least you’ll have an enjoyable time in the process!
Sarah has a Ph.D in Sociology with a minor in Women’s Studies from the University of Arizona. Her current research spans the fields of trauma, psychology, neurobiology and sociology.