Why Does CBD Not Work for Me: A List Of Possible Causes

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Added 06 February 2023

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After legalization in various parts of the world, more and more people are getting accustomed to the idea of using cannabis apart from getting high. And the praise largely goes to CBD — the cannabinoid that offers a ton of health and lifestyle benefits. 

Many people have started using CBD for such benefits to get relief from conditions like chronic pain, anxiety and depression, PTSD, diabetic complications, neurological disorders, and a lot more. And many others are using CBD to improve their lifestyle, study or focus better, and keep their physical health on track.

However, with an overwhelming number of users consuming CBD, some users have also felt the results underwhelming. And in rare cases, they have even found CBD to be completely ineffective. This is due to various reasons, like not using the right CBD products or not being consistent with dosing. 

If you are facing a similar problem where CBD is not working for you, read on to know more about how CBD works, why it may not be working for you, and what you can do to make CBD more effective for you. 

How Does CBD Work?

How Does CBD Work?

Before understanding why CBD may not work for you, let’s understand how CBD works in our system. 

Cannabis contains over 100 phytocannabinoids, two of which are found in most abundance — THC and CBD. Of the two, CBD or cannabidiol is the non-psychoactive one, i.e., it creates no effects of high. But it does affect your neuron system and body in other ways, leading to countless benefits. 

CBD, being a phytocannabinoid, resembles the molecular structure of your endocannabinoids — molecules that your body already produces that bridge the gap between receptors to transfer certain messages across your body. 

When you consume CBD, the molecules of these phytocannabinoids travel through your bloodstream and reach the CB1 and CB2 receptors (endocannabinoid receptors) and start working their magic.

However, experts believe that CBD does not directly latch onto either receptor, unlike THC. Instead, this cannabinoid slows down the breakdown of endocannabinoids that preexist on the receptors. 

Due to CBD, the endocannabinoids that overlook various functions of your body last longer and your body can utilize them more efficiently. And CBD not only impacts CB receptors, but it also impacts dopamine, opioid, and serotonin receptors in your body much the same way.

Note that this theory is largely accepted by the experts in the community, but more research is required to understand exactly how CBD works.

Ultimately, CBD impacts or regulates over 15 of your bodily functions, including metabolism, bone growth, appetite, chronic pain, motor control, mood, skin, liver, brain, and a lot more — the reason why the benefits of CBD seem so endless. 

Why CBD May Not Work for You? 

Why CBD May Not Work for You? 

Every individual’s body processes CBD in a unique way. At the same time, various other factors come into play that can affect how CBD metabolizes in your body. Here are some common reasons that may lead to CBD not being too effective for you:

1. You are Using Low-Quality CBD Products

While most CBD products are what they appear to be — high quality and potent — there are still major gaps in the market where low-quality or subpar CBD products exist. And this usually happens due to two reasons.

One, the manufacturer just does not add enough CBD to their products as their advertisements claim. And this was shown by a team of researchers that studied 84 CBD products. Only 31% of the products contained as much CBD as the packaging claimed. 

Two, most CBD products are non-prescription, so they’re not regulated by organizations like the FDA. This gives brands a lot of leeway to produce subpar products while their marketing teams focus on hyping the products. 

So, there is a high chance that the CBD product that you’ve tried is just not of high quality. This is why it is crucial to choose CBD products from reputable suppliers. More on this later.

2. Your Delivery Method May Not be so Effective

You can consume CBD in various ways, from vapes to topicals, but these methods don’t work in the same way. Just like edibles and joints, some methods lead to a more potent effect while others produce the effects a lot quicker. 

But if you have only tried a couple of delivery methods, it is possible that they may not be working for you. Here, you need to consider the bioavailability of CBD as a major factor — how much of the CBD you consume actually ends up in your bloodstream. 

For example, CBD gummies may not produce potent effects since the cannabinoid has to travel through your digestive tract to get metabolized, before ending up in your bloodstream. This is a long process and a lot of the cannabinoids may be lost in the process. 

On the other hand, sublingual delivery is a lot faster, where the cannabinoid is available to you within methods of consumption. 

Also, the delivery method that is most effective for you may also depend on what you are trying to treat with CBD. For example, if you are trying to treat localized pain, consuming edibles may not be the best option. Instead, topicals would be much more effective. 

3. You Have High Tolerance

You probably have that one friend that shouldn’t drink more than two pints of beer and another that can chug beers without being affected — a similar thing can happen with CBD too. One of the common reasons why CBD may not be working for you is that you have a high tolerance. 

Since there is no ideal dose that works for everyone due to different genetics and metabolism, there is a probability that you are not using enough CBD. For example, for most new users, a good starting point is 10 mg per day, but it may be too low for you.

Consider taking a little higher dose to see if you feel any improvements. If you do feel something, you probably have a high tolerance and were using the wrong dose of CBD. 

4. You Aren’t Giving CBD Enough Time to Work

CBD is different from other pharmaceutical drugs you get for various conditions — the latter is designed to work instantly but CBD does not. Sometimes, you need to give it more time, ranging from a few days to even a few months.

CBD works similarly to antidepressants that also require a longer time to show effects. 

In most cases, you cannot expect immediate results from CBD as you need to give it more time to work and you need to be consistent with your usage in a lot of cases. That is, you need to consume it consistently for a longer period of time to see the results. 

If you fail to see the difference after some time, you may be taking the wrong CBD product, to begin with. 

5. There is no Entourage Effect

The entourage effect can be defined as the effect produced by the interaction of various cannabinoids and terpenes of cannabis, which is quite different from the effect produced by individual cannabinoids. 

So, if you are consuming CBD isolates, the lack of this effect may be what’s stopping you from feeling the benefits of CBD. Instead, you should try to consume full-spectrum CBD or products that contain CBD and THC. 

6. Other Factors Could Be Hampering CBD’s Effects

Apart from your metabolism and the type of products you use, even your lifestyle may dictate how CBD functions in your body. For example, consuming certain foods, use of other drugs and alcohol, stress, frequent intense exercise, etc. can hamper how CBD affects you. 

Also, if you are already healthy, mentally and physically, you may not feel the effects of CBD much. Individuals with an underperforming endocannabinoid system will be able to feel its effects more comparatively. 

How to Make CBD Work Better for You?

How to Make CBD Work Better for You?

Fortunately, there are many things you can do to ensure CBD works for you. Some of the methods are already discussed above, but in this section, we will delve deeper into these solutions. 

Here are some tips and techniques to make CBD work for you more efficiently.

1. Use High-Quality CBD Products from Reputable Companies

As mentioned earlier, there is a high chance that the CBD product you have been using may not contain enough CBD at all. So, it is crucial that you invest in the right CBD product sold by reputable companies that contains exactly the amount of CBD the packaging claims.

There are a few ways you can do this. First, always choose products that are third-party tested. Third-party labs have no bias and show an accurate concentration of CBD and other compounds in a product, and are generally more reliable than in-house testing. 

A high-quality product will have all the information listed on the website and packaging, along with proof of third-party testing, which will include crucial information like the exact amount of CBD you can expect from the product. 

Second, when ordering online, use websites that are already established and have a large customer base. These websites generally sell high-quality products and also feature review sections, where you can learn from other customers regarding their experience. 

Third, choose reputable brands. Given that CBD is the new craze, it is easy to find trendy startups selling all kinds of CBD products — most of which are homegrown or outsourced. Avoid such brands and pick brands that are well-established and have a consistent track record. You won’t have to rely on guesswork.

You can also check out online forums to know more about specific products and how well they work for people across the board. Forums often offer a much wider range of experiences than product reviews on supplier websites. 

And it is recommended that you try multiple brands first to see which one works best for you. Each brand develops products in its own way, and sometimes, some products may work better for you than others.

2. Take the Right Dose and Be Consistent

Obviously, it is always a good idea to start with a smaller dose, but if you have a high tolerance, build your way up the dosage scale until you find the perfect balance. Once you reach this sweet spot, you need to be consistent. 

Do note that dosage varies from person to person. For many people, microdosing CBD is more than enough to get them through the day comfortably and experience relief. However, some users may need a couple of joints in a day to find relief. 

We recommend using a journal to track your CBD dosage and results — how much you are consuming, how it affects you, how long does the effect last, et al. This journal will help you understand how your body reacts to CBD in a much better way. 

3. Experiment with the Delivery Methods

As mentioned earlier, you may not be using the right delivery method. So, try out different types of CBD products and delivery methods. Here are the most common types of delivery methods you should start with:

  • CBD oil — CBD oil is the easiest way to consume CBD, and most times, the cheapest option, too. It is fast-acting, depending on how you consume it — sublingually or via food. 
  • CBD balm — A balm is another easy way to consume CBD if you are looking for relief in a localized area on your body, like your knee or skin.
  • CBD beauty products — Similar to balms, these beauty products come in a variety, like moisturizers, serums, and oils, that allow the CBD to get absorbed by the skin.
  • CBD capsules — If you want a bare basics way of consuming CBD, you can use CBD capsules or pills. 
  • CBD gummies — On the other hand, CBD gummies are a fun way of consuming CBD, especially if you have a sweet tooth.
  • CBD beverages — If you like drinking coffee or soft drinks, you can even get CBD drinks that work similarly to CBD edibles but are usually more fun.
  • CBD vapes — And if you don’t smoke, you can vape CBD using a vape pen, too. This is also one of the quicker ways of consuming CBD. 
  • CBD buds — For users that enjoy cannabis’ flavor and experience, you can smoke CBD-dominant buds via a joint or bong to not only reap the benefits but also to get the good ol’ cannabis experience.

A lot of these methods can be narrowed down into a few categories — you can smoke CBD, consume it sublingually by placing it under the tongue, eat it with other foods, or apply it directly to the skin. Find the one that works best for you and narrow it down further with specific types of products as mentioned above. 

4. Try to Use Full-Spectrum CBD products

If you have been using CBD isolates and they don’t seem to be so effective, give full-spectrum CBD products a shot. These products contain other cannabinoids like CBN, THC, and CBG, along with various terpenes, that work together to produce the entourage effect. 

Just avoid any full-spectrum product that contains THC if you won’t want to get high. THC is a psychoactive cannabinoid that produces cannabis high, which may not be suitable for everyone, especially if you are only using CBD for medicinal purposes. 

5. Consume CBD with Fatty Snacks

CBD is fat soluble, and biologically, smaller molecules get better absorbed by the body. Putting two and two together, you should try to consume CBD with meals that are high in fats or fatty oils

Some of the fatty foods that you can combine CBD with include the following:

  • Dark chocolate — Dark chocolates are made of 65% fat, along with various other antioxidants and anandamide (for extra benefits), allowing more CBD to be absorbed by your body.
  • Cheese — Another fun snack that you can pair CBD with is cheese, which is also high in fatty acids.
  • Eggs — You can also consume CBD with eggs as they are rich in fats along with vitamins and proteins that further increase the bioavailability of CBD in your body.
  • Fatty fish — if you are a fan of seafood, you can try consuming CBD with trout, mackerel, or salmon, which contain high levels of Omega-3 fatty acids.
  • Nuts — For something that can be consumed on the go, you can’t go wrong with nuts like almonds and walnuts, which are fatty in nature.

6. Or You can Supplement CBD with Herbs

Like the various snacks mentioned earlier, you can also use various herbs to increase the bioavailability of CBD in your body. Some of the best herbs you can supplement CBD with are as follows:

  • Black pepper — Pepper is rich in piperine, an alkaloid compound that inhibits the metabolic effects of the liver on CBD, significantly improving the cannabinoid’s bioavailability in your body.
  • Turmeric — This herb is rich in piperine and also in curcumin, which tends to improve the bioavailability of CBD and piperine. So, consuming turmeric leads to a much higher absorption rate of CBD.
  • Oregano, celery, and parsley — These herbs are rich in apigenin, which binds to various enzymes in your ECS, preventing CBD from breaking down faster. 
  • Spicy, hot peppers — These peppers contain capsaicin, which has a molecular structure similar to CBD, and various studies have shown that it can enhance the effect of CBD along with other cannabinoids like THC and CBG in your body. 

7. Have Realistic Expectations

You should also have realistic expectations with your CBD consumption. For example, if you are suffering from chronic pain, don’t expect the pain to go away after consuming one CBD gummy.

As mentioned above, you need to give CBD time to build up in your body and you have to be consistent with your consumption. The effects are likely not going to show up overnight, and in most cases, take multiple days to show up, depending on your tolerance and metabolism. 

So, when you start consuming CBD, keep in mind that you are likely not going to feel the benefits of it in the first hour or even the day, and it may take longer. 

8. Talk to Your Doctor

Lastly, if none of the techniques mentioned above seem to work and CBD still does not work for you, it may be a good idea to discuss this with your doctor. There are multiple reasons why this may be happening — your body may not be responding to CBD at all or you may be using CBD for a condition that generally does not respond to CBD.

A healthcare professional can guide you a lot better and can you figure out a more effective approach so that you can find relief faster and better. 

This advice is especially crucial if you are consuming CBD for medicinal purposes, but works well for lifestyle purposes, too.

Summary: Why Does CBD Not Work for Me: A List Of Possible Causes

CBD is a cannabinoid that can transform lives, but if it is not used properly or if other factors compromise its benefit, it can be quite counterproductive. But it is easy to figure out why CBD may not be working for you. 

The common reasons why CBD does not work for many users are:

  • Low-quality CBD products
  • Wrong delivery method
  • Higher tolerance than expected 
  • CBD isolates may not work as well as full-spectrum CBD for some users
  • A lifestyle that may be hampering its effects

And solving these problems is quite easy. Remember to always purchase high-quality CBD products from reputable suppliers, find the right dose and be consistent with it, and use the right delivery method. In some cases, you may also have to try full-spectrum products or supplement CBD with other foods.

As mentioned earlier, it is always a good idea to discuss your CBD consumption with your doctor. They can guide you by offering tailored advice that fit your health, lifestyle, and condition. 



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