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CBD Not Working? 7 Things to Try for a Better Experience

Anyone in the “wellness space” has probably heard of CBD by now. Cannabidiol has become increasingly popular in recent years, and many people become curious about CBD products after a friend, neighbour, colleague, or magazine raves about this wellness supplement. 

Not everyone knows what to expect before trying CBD, and some try it with high hopes only to notice… nothing. If that’s you, here are seven things you can try before you say goodbye. 

What Is CBD? How Does It Work?

Cannabis sativa plants hide over 100 different cannabinoids — compounds that act on the endocannabinoid system in the human body. Cannabidiol (CBD) is one of them. 

In contrast to the other famous cannabinoid, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), CBD won’t get you high. It’s not addictive, either. In fact, CBD is typically extracted from Cannabis sativa plants classed as industrial hemp. Unlike marijuana plants, industrial hemp has a maximum THC content of 0.02 per cent in the UK. 

So, what does CBD do if it doesn’t make you feel high? We have to take a closer look at the endocannabinoid system to understand that. Here’s a quick summary for informed CBD consumers who aren’t necessarily familiar with scientific language:

  • The endocannabinoid system is a vast network with two main receptors — CB1 and CBD2. These receptors are located all over the body, especially in the brain, spinal cord, and nerve endings. 
  • Cannabinoids activate the endocannabinoid system, which plays a vital role in reducing inflammation, responding to pain stimuli, regulating memory and mood, and regulating appetite.
  • Cannabinoids can be endogenous or exogenous. Your body makes its own endogenous cannabinoids, and exogenous cannabinoids come from other sources — like industrial hemp.
  • CBD is one of many cannabinoids. It doesn’t directly bind to CB1 and CB2 receptors and instead works by partially blocking the action of an enzyme called fatty acid amide hydrolase. This enzyme breaks down the endogenous cannabinoid anandamide. Taking CBD may, therefore, make more anandamide available to your endocannabinoid system.

Research has begun to explore the potential therapeutic applications of CBD, including as an anti-seizure medication, to combat inflammation and pain, and as an anxiety treatment. However, CBD consumers should note that CBD is classed as a novel food in the UK. It’s available without a prescription but should not be used to prevent, treat, or cure a particular medical condition. 

Even so, CBD consumers may be disappointed if CBD makes them feel no different than before or if they do not notice the desired effect. Here’s what you can do if that happens to you.

1. Give It Time

People new to CBD products may not notice any effects immediately. Research has shown that CBD’s half-life — how long after use it stays in your system — increases with regular use. 

CBD oil stays in your system for 1.4 to 10.9 hours after sublingual administration (under the tongue), for example, but this can increase to two to five days when you use CBD every day. 

If you only take cannabidiol very occasionally or you have just started, you may simply need to be patient before you experience the desired effect.

2. Buy CBD Products From a Reputable Manufacturer

CBD products are now widely available. It’s not hard to find cannabidiol, whether you’re shopping on your local high street or you prefer to get your CBD from the internet. Unfortunately, not all CBD products have the same quality.

Savvy shoppers who only want the best CBD products can:

  • Look for CBD manufacturers who have applied for authorisation with the Food Standards Agency. 
  • Commit to only buying CBD products that have been subjected to third-party lab testing. A certificate of analysis (CoA) from a reputable lab shows you how much CBD your products truly contain. 
  • Look at customer reviews before buying CBD products. Reviews aren’t everything, but they can offer important insights.

3. Explore Different CBD Products

Some CBD products are more bioavailable than others. CBD products with high bioavailability are absorbed more efficiently and quickly. 

CBD vape liquids (inhaled CBD) are the most bioavailable, followed by sublingual CBD products like CBD oil or tinctures, which are held under the tongue for 60 to 90 seconds. CBD capsules and edibles take longer to take effect, while CBD creams and lotions (applied to the skin) act locally.

If you are disappointed with CBD so far, you might like to explore different forms of cannabidiol.

4. Up Your CBD Dose (Gradually)

It can be hard to determine what dose of CBD is right for you. Responsible manufacturers and stockists always advise consumers to begin with the lowest possible dose, to take note of how they feel, and to watch out for possible side effects (which include diarrhoea, vomiting, appetite and mood changes, and drowsiness). 

Some CBD consumers may take this advice to extremes. Nibbling on a tiny corner of a 25 mg CBD gummy won’t do much, for example, because oral CBD is the least bioavailable form.

Consumers who don’t experience the desired effect after using CBD may simply be taking too little. In this case, increasing your dose very gradually may be the right approach.

5. Switch to Full-Spectrum or Broad-Spectrum CBD

You can choose from numerous different CBD products, like CBD oil, gummies, pastries, tea, capsules, creams, balms, shampoos, vape liquids, and energy drinks. All fall into one of three broad categories. 

Full-spectrum CBD products contain terpenes, flavonoids, essential oils, and other minor cannabinoids. They have a maximum THC content of 0.02 per cent in the UK. Broad-spectrum CBD is the same, except it only contains trace amounts of THC. CBD isolate products are pure CBD. 

Some people believe that all the compounds in full-spectrum and broad-spectrum CBD work synergistically to create the desired effect. This hypothesis is known as the entourage effect. While it remains no more than a theory, people who have been using CBD isolate products may want to switch to full-spectrum or broad-spectrum CBD to see if it makes a difference.

6. Take CBD at a Different Time of Day

Some people take CBD when they wake up, as part of a morning routine. Others take CBD to work or the gym, while some consumers prefer to use CBD when they wind down after a busy day. 

If CBD isn’t sliding into your wellness routine the way you hoped, you may want to experiment with your timing.

7. Talk to Your Doctor

Not everyone responds to CBD (or any other substance) the same way. The way your chosen dose of CBD impacts you can depend on a variety of factors, including your age, weight, sex, and any health conditions you may live with. CBD can also potentially interact with over-the-counter or prescription medications you take. 

Consulting your GP about your concerns is always a good idea. Your GP is a reliable partner whenever you have health concerns or plan to make major dietary changes, and addressing your questions about cannabidiol with your doctor may give you the answers you’re looking for. 

How to Enjoy a Better CBD Experience: A Final Word

You may have tried CBD with certain expectations, only to find that cannabidiol isn’t doing what you’d hoped. There can be many reasons for that. CBD may simply not be your “thing”, but if you’re still excited about including cannabidiol in your wellness routine, you can take a few proactive steps:

  • Be patient. CBD may build up in your body over time. 
  • Choose quality CBD products from a reputable manufacturer.
  • Try different CBD products. CBD oil, gummies, capsules, creams, and vape liquids are among the most common choices.
  • Gradually increase your dose.
  • Try full-spectrum or broad-spectrum CBD if you are currently taking CBD isolate.
  • See if taking CBD at a different time of the day makes a difference.
  • Ask your GP why CBD isn’t working for you.

CBD isn’t for everyone, but simple changes in your wellness routine can sometimes make a big difference. Consumers who would like to continue using cannabidiol can do a lot to make it work for them!



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