If you’re one of the estimated 64 million Americans who have tried CBD oil, you’re not alone if you’re wondering if this mega-popular ingredient truly works. You know for sure Mary Jane (and Bob Marley tunes) will keep you high and feeling alive, but will its sister substance deliver on its promises?
CBD stands for cannabidiol, which is a phytocannabinoid—a chemical compound—found in the cannabis plant. You might be familiar with another phytocannabinoid in cannabis called tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), but THC is different from CBD—THC is psychoactive and gets users that aforementioned high while CBD does not.
CBD has been advertised for helping everything from seizures to anxiety, but if yours isn’t working for you, you might be wondering what’s up.
First, the Potential Benefits of CBD
With all the potential (science-backed) benefits of CBD, it’s no wonder everyone’s trying it.
CBD has been shown to help people who suffer from anxiety disorders. Other research shows CBD oil can relieve both anxiety and insomnia from posttraumatic stress in children.
CBD also has potential benefits for pain relief. The oil has been shown to help improve arthritis pain and even provided pain relief in cancer patients whose pain was not fully relieved by opioids.
Additional benefits include improving acne, lowering blood pressure and even reducing psychotic symptoms such as those found in schizophrenia.
But Why Might Your CBD Not Be Working?
What happens when your CBD isn’t working? What could be wrong? Here are a few reasons why your CBD oil may not be delivering on the benefits you expected!
You Need a Different Delivery System
There are many ways to introducing CBD oil into the body, including vaping products, tinctures and even gummies and capsules.
While vaping can allow the CBD to take effect faster, the effects also wear off faster. Vaping products also contain dangerous chemicals such as heavy metals and formaldehyde and haven’t been proven to be safe (just in case your vaping friends didn’t know).
Tinctures last longer while gummies need to go through your digestive system, making the amount of CBD actually absorbed by the body after digestion questionable.
With tinctures, especially when taking sublingually (under the tongue), they can be absorbed directly into the bloodstream, allowing CBD by bypass the digestive system and take effect more quickly and reliably.
You’re Not Taking the Right Dosage
Taking the right dosage of CBD can be challenging. Just like your Starbucks order, it won’t be the same as everyone else’s. Experts suggest starting with a low dose and increasing slowly until you reach the desired effects.
You’re Not Getting the Synergy Effect
If the CBD oil you’re taking isn’t full-spectrum, you could be missing out.
It might sound like a good thing if a product is pure CBD—also called CBD isolate—when in fact the opposite is true. Full-spectrum CBD oil includes other beneficial cannabinoids for what’s called an entourage, or synergy, effect.
What this means is that CBD oil works with other compounds that exist with it in nature to provide you with an enhanced effect. Some people find that they need a much lower dose of full-spectrum CBD oil as opposed to more of the CBD isolate for the same effect.
Your CBD Oil Isn’t High-Quality
With so many different CBD brands on the market, it’s hard to know what’s legit and what’s not. But you can start by reading the label.
Most importantly, find a CBD brand that’s been third-party tested—meaning they have outside proof their product is for real. Research on 84 different CBD brands showed that 26 percent contained lower doses of CBD than advertised. Getting a brand that’s been verified by a third party can help you from getting duped.
You Gave Up Too Soon
Depending on your delivery route, CBD could take anywhere from 10 minutes to five hours to work. In fact, some people need several weeks or several months to notice a difference (yes, really!).
You need to be committed to the process and give your CBD oil at least four to six weeks to work. If you’re still not seeing results, it might be time to try a different brand or product.
What Makes a Quality CBD Oil
Since CBD oil isn’t regulated by the FDA, you need to do your own research to locate a quality product—don’t worry, doing your homework will pay off!
You can go with reputable brands such as Charlotte’s Web CBD oil that have established themselves as superior-quality sources of CBD. There are also other things to look for besides reputable brands and third-party testing:
- How it’s processed. There are different ways of extracting and processing CBD oil from hemp plants. Some methods require toxic diluters such as butane (which is also present in lighter fluid, yuck!).
Other methods, including using grain alcohol and supercritical carbon dioxide extraction, remove impurities while retaining the maximum amount of cannabinoids and are considered to be safer and superior.
- Where it’s grown. Did you know that hemp plants easily absorb components in soil, classifying them as what’s called hyperaccumulators? What this means is that heavy metals, pesticides and other toxins are easily absorbed by the plant, but if the hemp is grown in rich, organic soil, it can make for a higher-quality CBD. Look for hemp grown in the United States, where stricter regulations for growing hemp exist.
- What parts of the plant are used. Remember, you ideally want full-spectrum CBD oil, which means the whole hemp plant is used instead of isolates. While full-spectrum CBD oil can be more expensive, it’ll also be more effective, giving you a range of beneficial compounds that work in synergy with CBD.
How to Find Your Perfect Fit
Finding the CBD oil brand that works best for you is all about finding a quality product, taking the right dose and being committed to giving CBD a try for the next few weeks. With the right attitude and some full-spectrum CBD oil, you might just see the benefits you’ve been waiting for!