CBD is a popular wellness supplement taken by many people in the UK and around the world. Listed as a food supplement, it is legal to buy and consume in the UK. CBD is an acronym for cannabidiol and is among many compounds naturally found in cannabis plants. Different from THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) – the compound in medical cannabis that gets users high – CBD is non-psychoactive, meaning it will not make you feel ‘stoned’.
However, not feeling stoned isn’t the only thing some people claim with regular CBD use. In fact, many claim that taking CBD supplements does not affect them whatsoever. So, what do you do when you’ve tried it and CBD doesn’t work for you? The answer is easy: try any of the wellness hacks below to see if you can stimulate your endocannabinoid system to help meet your wellness goals.
How Does CBD Work?
The methods of introducing CBD into the body and interacting with the endocannabinoid system vary and the form of product also affects the amount of time it takes for the system to absorb it.
CBD oil is the most popular type of CBD supplement and typically comes in a bottle with a dropper to place a dose under the tongue. Sublingual application is one of the fastest ways to get CBD into the bloodstream.
CBD products can also be absorbed into the body via the digestive tract by taking capsules or ingesting edibles such as gummies. There are also topical CBD products available in the form of balms, lotions, or creams that can be rubbed into the skin.
Why CBD Doesn’t Work Sometimes
Numerous factors can lead to people feeling like CBD isn’t working for them, including:
- Body weight
- Form of CBD
- Inferior-quality product
- Time of day dosage is being taken
- CBD tolerance
- Other medications being taken
These factors affect how well CBD absorbs into the body, the time it takes to “kick in”, and the best potency or dosage for each individual. By better understanding your body chemistry and trying any of the hacks below, you may find a better product for your overall wellness goals.
8 Things to Try When CBD Doesn’t Work
1. Take a higher dose.
Many CBD products are sold in low-dose formulas with an amount of CBD ranging from 1mg-15mg. These low-dose formulas aren’t ineffective by any means, but if you are a heavier person over 90 kilos or have a high metabolism, you may need a higher dose to see any effects. If you’re not feeling any effects from taking a lower dose of CBD, consider increasing the amount of CBD you take each day by 1-10mg until you find your “sweet spot”.
Be aware that increasing your dose may cause minor, temporary side effects such as dry mouth, upset stomach, or fatigue. These effects typically disappear after a few days or when you lower the dosage.
2. Try a different form of CBD.
If taking edible CBD products, such as CBD gummies, you might find that the digestive absorption method isn’t ideal for you. The digestive system is very good at breaking down food and absorbing nutrients, but it isn’t as efficient when absorbing CBD – especially when CBD products don’t include carrier oils to increase bioavailability.
You may find that sublingual CBD oral drops work better for you since they are absorbed directly into the bloodstream via the mucous membranes in your mouth. This absorption method is more immediate, so you may feel the effects of CBD sooner.
Alternatively, if taking CBD oil drops and not getting the desired results, you could try taking CBD capsules instead. Capsules offer a more controlled dose of CBD since they are pre-measured, meaning you won’t be accidentally shorting your doses when fussing with oil tincture droppers.
3. Switch to a multi-cannabinoid formula.
Some studies have researched a phenomenon known as the “entourage effect”, which posits that certain cannabinoids work together synergistically to increase each other’s wellness effects. This means that taking CBD on its own might not be as effective as taking a formula that includes other related cannabinoids, flavonoids and terpenes.
If the product you are trying is a pure CBD isolate, consider switching to a full or broad-spectrum CBD oil formula that includes other cannabinoids. These products have been minimally processed to preserve as many of the hemp plant’s naturally-occurring phytochemicals as possible, resulting in a more comprehensive product with many cannabinoid compounds for your body to absorb and interact with.
Alternatively, you may find that your multi-cannabinoid formula doesn’t have the high CBD concentration you might require compared to an isolate formula. In that case, you might consider switching from a multi-cannabinoid CBD oil formula to one made with a CBD isolate.
4. Talk to your doctor about other medications.
Some studies show that the efficacy of CBD being absorbed into the body is affected by other medications you are taking. Sometimes these medications affect liver enzyme production needed to break down and absorb CBD.
Examples of common medications that can affect how well your body breaks down and absorbs CBD are:
- Anti-seizure medications
- Blood thinners
- Medications for diabetes
- Some heart medications
If you think your medication might be affecting how well your body is absorbing CBD, talk to your healthcare specialist to see if there are any possible interactions. They may be able to switch you to a different medication that won’t interfere with CBD absorption.
5. Consider other health factors.
Your overall health can play a role in how well your body responds to CBD. If you have any other underlying health conditions, it’s possible that this could be affecting your body’s ability to absorb and utilize CBD.
Conditions that have been shown to potentially affect CBD absorption include:
- Liver disease
- Kidney disease
- Crohn’s disease
- Celiac disease
- Being overweight or obese
If you have any of these conditions, talk to your doctor about how they might be affecting your body’s ability to absorb CBD. With their help, you may be able to find a solution that works better for you.
6. Change the time of day you dose CBD.
CBD can be taken anytime day or night, but to get the most from your CBD supplement routine, it is essential to find the time of day that meets your wellness needs best.
Some people say that they are more relaxed when they take their CBD at night, while others find that they have better focus and concentration during the day when they’ve taken their CBD supplement. Experiment with dosing times to find what works best for you and your needs.
7. Try a different CBD brand.
It may be that the CBD products you have purchased are from vendors who work with low-quality ingredients or have less than stellar manufacturing processes. It is these factors that can lead to inconsistency in dosing and absorption rates. Typically, the high-quality CBD products come from vendors who:
- Use organic, non-GMO hemp plants (no pesticides, herbicides, chemical fertilizers)
- Extract CBD using supercritical CO2 extraction
- Use natural ingredients
- Third-party lab test their products for quality and consistency
- Blend products with a carrier oil (MCT oil, fractionated coconut oil or hemp seed oil)
You should always be able to get detailed lab reports about what’s in the formula and how it’s made. If the CBD brand is using chemical solvent extraction like butane, or artificial sweeteners and flavourings, it will likely not provide the same wellness results as products made with natural ingredients and processes.
8. Check your expectations.
Many consider CBD a powerful supplement, but just like any supplement – it is not a miracle drug. If you are looking for a food supplement that won’t get you high and may support vital systems in your body that regulate homeostasis for a better sense of balance and wellness, then CBD could be a good fit for you.
Remember that CBD is just one piece of the puzzle when it comes to achieving your wellness goals. Be sure to couple your CBD supplement routine with a healthy diet, regular exercise, and other lifestyle habits that support wellness.
Experiment to Find the Right CBD Product That Works
Ultimately, the quest to find a CBD product that does more than just the placebo effect is a personal one. What works for your neighbour or best friend may not work for you, and that’s okay!
When it comes to finding the right CBD product, be patient and be willing to experiment until you find something that feels just right for you. By following these tips, you’ll be on your way to finding the best CBD product for your needs in no time.
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2. Emerging Use of Epidiolex (Cannabidiol) In Epilepsy, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7439947/
3. Dosage, Efficacy and Safety of Cannabidiol Administration in Adults: A Systematic Review of Human Trials, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7092763/