Does CBD oil work? Here are 9 reasons why it might not.
Unless you’re a hermit, you’ve probably heard of CBD by now. If you haven’t tried it yet, you may be wondering does CBD oil really work? There is plenty of buzz about this amazing natural compound from the hemp plant promising to relieve symptoms of conditions from anxiety to cancer.
Someone who has been suffering from a long term chronic condition and has finally found relief after so many years will consider CBD a miracle. Others are just happy to have found a natural remedy to help with bouts of pain and inflammation, mood swings or insomnia rather than resorting to popping prescription pills.
There is an enormous amount of anecdotal evidence supporting CBD’s value in providing relief from a variety of health issues. There is also a growing pile of scientific evidence showing that CBD oil does indeed work.
Unfortunately, there is also a lot of misinformation out there, often fueled by unscrupulous “snake oil” salesmen touting that CBD is a cure all for everyone with instant results! Many people are confused about CBD oil and whether it works or not. Many have tried taking CBD with disappointing results.
If you’ve tried CBD oil and it didn’t work for you, there may be several factors involved, which we will discuss in this article.
A Quick Refresher On CBD
CBD (short for cannabidiol) is a natural compound found in the cannabis plant. Unlike it’s cousin THC, CBD is non-psychoactive, meaning it doesn’t get you high.
Hemp is a variety of cannabis which has a high concentration of CBD and a lower concentration of THC (0.3% or less). CBD from hemp has been shown to provide a multitude of health benefits for conditions such as anxiety, pain, inflammation, immune disorders and other neurological conditions, with little to no side effects.
How Does CBD Oil work?
CBD works by interacting with our Endocannabinoid System (ECS). The main role of our ECS is to support balance and equilibrium (homeostasis) in our bodies. Our ECS also regulates many of our vital functions such as sleep patterns, pain sensitivity, mood, brain health, gut balance and cognitive and motor abilities.
Here Are 9 Reasons Why CBD Oil May Not Be Working For You…
1. You’re taking the wrong type of CBD oil
It’s important to understand the type of hemp CBD oil you’re consuming. There is a big difference between full spectrum CBD, broad spectrum CBD and a CBD isolate product.
Full spectrum refers to a whole plant extract. Besides CBD, a full spectrum extract contains 100+ other cannabinoids (including trace amounts of THC), as well as terpenes and amino acids that naturally occur in the hemp plant.
CBD isolate includes only the CBD compound that has been separated (isolated) from the hemp plant extract.
Broad spectrum CBD is the best of both worlds. It starts as a full spectrum oil, then the THC is fully removed. Broad spectrum CBD has all the benefits of full spectrum oil, but without any chance of consuming THC.
Research has shown that full spectrum CBD and broad spectrum CBD offers higher levels of relief than CBD isolate due to the Entourage Effect.
2. You’re taking the wrong dosage of CBD
If you’ve tried CBD and it hasn’t helped, you may be taking the wrong dose. This could mean taking too little or too much.
So how much CBD oil should you take? While there is no right dose for everyone, finding the optimal dose is an individual process that each person must undertake. It will require a bit of trial and error to find the right dose of CBD for you.
Furthermore, many factors can influence a person’s optimal dose of CBD including diet, weight, metabolism, sleep patterns, stress levels and genetics. Also some individuals are just more sensitive to the effects of supplements than others.
CBD dosage also depends on your goals. Someone who is seeking relief of chronic pain from a serious condition such as Fibromyalgia will most likely need a higher dose than someone who is trying to curb a headache or minor bouts of insomnia. Some have even suggested that low doses may energize you while higher doses encourage relaxation and improve sleep.
When beginning to introduce CBD for the first time, it’s best to start low and slowly increase over time until you’ve found the most effective dose for you. We suggest starting with 10-20 mg per day and slowly increasing from there.
Most people end up somewhere in the 10-80 mg of CBD range per day, with higher doses for therapeutic effects and “flare ups”.
3. You’re taking the wrong format / or not using it correctly
The way in which you consume CBD is very important for its effectiveness. Each delivery system offers a different amount of bioavailability, which refers to the degree at which a substance is absorbed into the bloodstream.
For example, when you consume edibles, your body processes the CBD through its digestive system, filtering out a significant portion of the CBD. A 2009 study reports that cannabinoids taken orally have a very low bioavailability rate between 4 – 20%.
Tinctures are the most popular way of consuming CBD. With tinctures, the oil is placed under the tongue (sublingually) and the CBD enters the bloodstream directly through the capillaries there. Since the CBD is not metabolized through the liver, this method leads to a higher bioavailability . This means that you can take a lower dose and still get the same results.
Many people use tinctures, but instead of taking the oil sublingually, they add the oil to their food or beverage. While this is perfectly ok to do, you’ll run into the same issue with edibles where the CBD must pass through your digestive system, decreasing some of its efficacy.
Vaping CBD enters the bloodstream directly through the lungs, with decreased breakdown rates and higher bioavailability overall. Vaping CBD offers the fastest absorption time and almost immediate result, but also has the shortest duration.
Topicals are a great way to relive pain to a targeted area in the form of a CBD cream or balm. The important thing to note is that the CBD rubbed onto the skin will not enter the bloodstream and only provides relief to the localized area to which it was applied.
You’ll need to weigh the pros and cons of each delivery system based on your goals and lifestyle.
4. You’re not taking CBD with some healthy fat
Speaking of bioavailability. It’s best to consume CBD with a little food if taken orally. Consuming CBD oil on an empty stomach does not work as well because of our harsh stomach acids. These acids will break down the compound significantly if there is no other substance to slow those acids down.
Aside from having something in your stomach, you should ideally consume CBD along with some healthy fat such as from oils, fish or nuts.. The fat acts as a binding agent and “protects” the CBD as it travels through our digestive system and bypasses a good deal of first pass metabolism.
Research shows that consuming CBD with dietary fat leads to higher bioavailability. For this reason, most CBD products, whether tinctures, capsules or high quality edibles, are contained in a base of coconut oil, olive oil, hemp seed oil or other carrier oils rich in omega-3 fatty acids.
5. You’re not giving CBD enough time
CBD is not a quick fix, and sometimes it needs to build up in your system just like any other medication or supplement. Similar to an antibiotic, you’ll typically need to follow a regimen over a certain amount of days or weeks before experiencing results.
If there is some sort of deficiency in your endocannabinoid system, it most likely took time to develop. In the same sense, it may take some time for your body to heal and bring itself back into balance. And remember, reaching balance (or homeostasis) can be achieved in very different ways for different people.
For some, reaping the benefits of CBD’s anti-anxiety properties may be felt almost immediately with the first dose. For others, it may require daily use over a period of time.
You may want to try using a journal to log your results when taking CBD. Keep track of how much you’ve taken, how you feel before and after, and note any changes in symptoms. Over time, this can help paint a picture of how CBD affects you and what the right dosage is for you.
6. Your genetics
We’re all wired differently and genetics play a big part in how we react to CBD. The reality is that CBD may not be 100% effective for everyone; nothing is. For example, if you’ve been regularly taking 100mg of CBD oil per day for pain and it isn’t working, perhaps CBD is just not for you.
As we’ve stated before, everyone is different and there is no “one size fits all” when it comes to CBD usage or its results. Just like when we join a gym and start working out, we notice that some people are blessed with “good genetics” and can pack on muscle and burn fat much more quickly than others.
Our genetics determine our sensitivity to alcohol and drugs, medications, health related treatments and supplements, which can vary greatly from person to person.
CBD is no different. Some individuals will just be more sensitive and feel the results right away with low doses, yet others will need higher doses to reap any benefits, if at all. Unfortunately, we have no control of our genetics and we get what we get!
7. Your lifestyle
Unlike our genetics, which we have not control over… we most definitely have control of our lifestyle and daily habits. Many people suffer from chronic diseases like diabetes due to poor diets and sedentary lifestyles or the stresses in their life.
For example, if someone drinks excessive amounts of alcohol, constantly eats “junk food” and consumes no fruits and vegetables, they will have difficulty reversing the effects of their habits just by taking some CBD oil.
Besides diet and regular exercise, we believe that whole plant supplements can do wonders for our health and wellness. Heck, even by taking a little fish oil and a high quality daily multivitamin, you’ll be much further ahead than the majority of the population.
8. You’re using low quality products from un-reputable sources
If you’ve tried CBD oil and it didn’t work for you, perhaps it was the product itself. The quality of the CBD products you consume will be one of the biggest factors in producing desired results.
Unfortunately, due to the lack of regulation in the CBD industry, there has been an onslaught of shady companies trying to capitalize on this “hot new trend” and make a quick buck, rather than provide real value to the consumer.
There have been several cases where CBD companies are not genuinely selling what they claim to be selling. Other companies are going even further by selling unsafe products such as synthetic cannabinoids in order to reap a profit, with no regard for the safety of consumers.
The main reasons for this is that the FDA has not yet given their seal of approval to CBD… yet. Also, there is no external body holding CBD companies accountable to make sure that they are backing up their claims.
If you’ve picked up some CBD from a gas station or your local vape/smoke shop, chances are you might not be getting a quality product. You’ll need to do a little more due diligence into the product, how it was made and the company behind it.
When shopping for CBD, you should look for companies that use all natural ingredients, organic hemp farming practices free of pesticides, and high quality extraction methods (Supercritical CO2) with no harsh chemicals or solvents.
Also, look for lab tests that show the potency, quality and safety of the products you are purchasing. CBD is not cheap, and your health is not something to be played with, so you should never buy CBD from a company that does not provide 3rd party lab results.
9. Your expectations vs reality
Lastly, your expectations play a huge part in how CBD works for you.
Because of the relation to the cannabis plant, many people expect to feel some dramatic sense of euphoria when consuming CBD. While CBD may help calm stress and anxious feelings, it will not produce a high like THC will.
In reality, CBD is more about what you don’t feel, rather than what you do feel.
When we have symptoms of pain, anxiety or insomnia, that is our body’s way of telling us that something is off. The goal of consuming CBD is homeostasis, and having homeostasis will bring your internal systems into balance in such a way that allows our body to heal and function optimally.
CBD is not a cure all or a quick fix for all of the underlying ailments we’re suffering from. CBD allows our body’s self-healing mechanism to work properly, as well as providing us with temporary relief from the symptoms that our ailments are causing.
If you’ve tried CBD and were disappointed, perhaps some of the reasons above might have been a factor in your experience. If you’ve never tried CBD before and are interested in learning more, read out Beginners Guide To CBD.
- Understanding of the different variables at play can determine the effectiveness of CBD for each individual.
- The wrong type, dosage and format of CBD can make a huge impact on how it works for you.
- You need to consume CBD correctly, taken with healthy fats and give it enough time to see results.
- Your genetics and lifestyle play a huge part in how CBD works for you.
- Always buy high quality products from a reputable source, do your due diligence!
- Maintain realistic goals and expectations when consuming CBD.