Cbd oil did nothing for me

I Took CBD Oil Every Day for My Anxiety—Here’s What Went Down

Dana Myers, LCSW is a licensed clinical social worker and life coach based in Philadelphia. She has a special interest in how race, sex, gender, ethnicity, social status and competencies impact those in marginalized communities and aims to help her clients find purpose and peace in life.

Michelle Regalado is a seasoned editor, fact-checker, and content strategist with expertise in women’s lifestyle news.

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When I first learned about CBD oil, I’ll admit I was a bit skeptical. My mind immediately turned to weed and the unnerving experiences I’d had with heightened anxiety in college. For me, a person who’s already predisposed to overthinking, marijuana, no matter what the form, would typically put my mind into overdrive and result in a common yet dreaded side effect: Paranoia. But, let’s back up a bit. What even is CBD?

What is CBD?

A bit of online digging led me to realize that the active ingredient in Charlotte’s Web Everyday Plus Hemp Oil, the product I’d been offered to test, was the chemical compound CBD, which stands for cannabidiol. Unlike THC, the other crucial compound in hemp and marijuana plants, CBD (when derived from the hemp plant) does not produce the psychoactive effects that make you feel “high”; instead, emerging science has hinted that CBD may actually ease anxiety, and therefore, makes you less likely to freak out.  

For example, one study comparing the effects of THC and CBD found that, while THC increased anxiety by activating the neurotransmitters involved in the “fight or flight” response, CBD actually repressed autonomic arousal—or the nervous system response associated with sudden increases in heart rate or respiration.   In other words, CBD may be ideal for people looking to relax and unwind.

While the science behind CBD’s effectiveness for treating anxiety, pain, and insomnia is still in its infancy,   Charlotte Figi’s inspiring story sounds promising. Figi, a 6-year-old girl diagnosed with a rare and resistant form of epilepsy known as Dravet syndrome, was placed on hospice care and given a “do not resuscitate” order when her parents, desperate and frustrated with pharmaceutical medication, considered medical marijuana; specifically, a strain low in THC and high in CBD. Charlotte is now nearly seizure-free since she began supplementing with Charlotte Web’s CBD oil, which the brand named after Figi.

Legal and Safety Things To Know About CBD

The current CBD industry is like the internet’s early years. the Wild West. Legally, speaking, a Harvard Medical School blog post reads, “All 50 states have laws legalizing CBD with varying degrees of restriction, and while the federal government still considers CBD in the same class as marijuana, it doesn’t habitually enforce against it.”   With heightened interest around CBD, it’s important to note that because CBD is currently unregulated, it’s difficult to know what you’re getting (whether that’s a tincture—commonly referred to as CBD oil, which is often combined with a carrier oil like coconut oil—topical products like creams and balms, sprays, or capsules), despite product labels and brand promises, the blog post further reads. It’s also important to note that people experience CBD differently. For the most part, the National Institute of Medicine says that while most people can tolerate CBD, side effects do exist. They might include dry mouth, drowsiness, and reduced appetite, among others.  

That said, those interested in exploring the potential benefits of CBD should consult with their doctor (especially if you are pregnant, nursing, or currently taking medication) and be mindful of your dosage, writes Consumer Reports. And before you buy, Megan Villa, co-founder of the hemp-focused website and shop Svn Space, told Shape magazine to seek out a certificate of analysis. “Ask for a COA for the batch number of the product you have, since these products are made in batches,” she said. “You need to match the batch number to the COA that pertains to it.” Then, scan the report for potency (i.e. does the number of milligrams of CBD that the product label touts match the lab report?), contaminants and pesticides, and mold (which should live under the “Microbiological Testing” part of the report). Go a step further and note whether the testing lab is GMP (Good Manufacturing Principles) certified, and whether the lab is registered with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Shape magazine also suggests purchasing CBD products made from domestically-grown hemp, and reading up on the difference between full- and broad-spectrum and CBD isolate.

With that, I threw caution to the wind and asked for a sample. Here’s what happened—including what it feels like—when I took one full dropper of Charlotte’s Web’s Everyday Plus Hemp Oil in the mint chocolate flavor every morning for seven days.

My First Impression

It was actually a bad bout of jet lag after a trip to California that inspired me to finally test out the CBD oil (I’ll admit that my weed-based reservations kept me from trying it for the first few months). Knowing that the oil had also helped people with sleep issues, I squeezed one full dropper of the Everyday Plus oil onto my tongue, per the instructions, and waited.

Thirty minutes later, I was surprised by how subtle the effect was. While I expected a hazy nodding-off effect similar to melatonin’s, the oil simply relaxed my body ever so slightly—my heart stopped pounding against my chest, my legs stopped kicking beneath my sheets, my mind stopped racing. I wasn’t sure if it was the oil or the late hour, but eventually, physical relaxation gave way to mental relaxation, and I drifted off to sleep.

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Reflecting the next morning, I was most surprised by the fact that I never felt “high” in any way—there was never a moment of It’s kicking in; I can feel it now like with pain medications or even anti-anxiety drugs. Considering it takes time, consistency, and the right dosage to experience the full effect, I continued taking the oil once a day for the next six days. Here’s what went down.

It Made Me Less Anxious and Edgy

Rather than overthinking a sternly worded email or analyzing a social interaction, I found it easier to recognize the irrationality of these thoughts and actually let them go.

While normally I’d be slightly tripped up by little things like an overly crowded subway car or a full inbox at work, the CBD oil seems to have taken the edge off of my anxiety a bit. Rather than overthinking a sternly worded email or analyzing a social interaction, I found it easier to recognize the irrationality of these thoughts and actually let them go. In some ways, I feel more like myself. With that said, I’ve still experienced some social anxiety when meeting new groups of people—I’d be interested to see what taking the full recommended dose would do.

I’m More Focused At Work

I work well under pressure, but being extremely busy at work has almost made me less productive—I’m constantly distracted by email, Slack, and the people around me, to the point where getting my work done becomes difficult. This week, however, I’ve found it easier to put my blinders on, block out all distractions (especially social distractions), and focus on one task at a time. I think this is partly related to the lessened anxiety—I feel more frazzled and off task when my anxiety is running high. It almost feels like a newfound sense of clarity and calm that enables me to focus.

I’m Falling Asleep Faster

I assume this is also a side effect of feeling less anxious, but I seem to fall asleep faster; within the 20-30-minute range rather than my normal 45 minutes to one hour (or longer). Not only do I seem to be skipping or at least shortening the whole tossing-and-turning phase of my sleep cycle, but I’m able to snap out of the overthinking that often keeps me up at night. Of course, there’s no telling whether a big life event would disrupt this newfound bliss, but I’d like to think it’s helped on a day-to-day basis.

My Experience With CBD

Would I say that CBD oil has fundamentally changed my life? No. But per the Charlotte’s Web website, this is the typical first experience. “Anyone who has ever started a new vitamin or supplement routine knows the short answer to how long it takes to kick in is—’it depends.’ For many newcomers, they’re not sure what to imagine, or some anticipate a huge change right away. For most of us, though, dietary supplements take time.”

With that said, I’m definitely intrigued enough by the subtle effects to continue taking the oil and to possibly up the dosage to the recommended two full droppers of the 30mL bottle per day. Plus, I take comfort in knowing that it’s an all-natural product that’s responsibly grown on family farms in Colorado. Something that’s safe, legal, requires no prescription, and makes me less anxious, less scatterbrained, and more focused? I’m definitely on board.

Explore the World of CBD

Looking to learn more about CBD? These are some of my favorite products to help get you started.

For those new to CBD, Charlotte’s Web recommends this hemp oil. Containing 17mg of CBD per 1mL serving, this CBD oil is also U.S. Hemp Authority Certified. Choose from four different flavors including Lemon Twist, Mint Chocolate, Orange Blossom, and Olive Oil.

Go deep on the subject of CBD with this book that includes case studies, interviews with doctors, an overview of the latest cannabis research, and how scientists are exploring cannabis for various medical uses. There is also an explainer about the difference between CBD products made from industrial hemp versus in a lab, and products made from the whole marijuana plant.

Charlotte’s Web inaugural CBD oil product comes in two flavors; Olive Oil and Mint Chocolate. It’s also its most potent. According to its website, its Original Formula Hemp Extract Oil comes with 50mg CBD per mL.

Gretchen Lidicker puts a lifestyle spin on the world of CBD as the author draws on the “knowledge of leaders in the health and wellness world” to explain why CBD has become a top beauty and wellness trend for top athletes and celebrities. The book also includes recipes and recommendations for how to choose a top-quality CBD product.

This travel-friendly roll-on is packed with CBD and fragrant essential oils, including lavender, bergamot, and chamomile, for an easy de-stress quick fix. The result? “That elusive feeling of wakeful calm,” reads the Sagely Naturals website.

With this book, CBD is explained from A to Z and breaks down the good, bad, and ugly of a fledgling industry that is poised for rapid growth. CBD: 101 Things You Need to Know About CBD Oil covers what it is, why people take it, who it’s for (and who it isn’t for), its myriad forms, and more.

Lord Jones’ High CBD Formula Body Oil combines CBD with organic avocado, jojoba and safflower oils for smooth, hydrated skin. Each bottle has 100mg of CBD.

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Charlotte’s Web’s Extra Strength Capsules feature 25 mg of CBD per capsule. The website offers capsules as a convenient and precise way to take CBD—on the go, stash them in your gym bag, pocket, etc.

Byrdie takes every opportunity to use high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial guidelines to learn more about how we keep our content accurate, reliable and trustworthy.

Blessing EM, Steenkamp MM, Manzanares J, Marmar CR. Cannabidiol as a potential treatment for anxiety disorders. Neurotherapeutics. 2015;12(4):825-836. doi:10.1007/s13311-015-0387-1

Shannon S, Lewis N, Lee H, Hughes S. Cannabidiol in anxiety and sleep: A large case series. Perm J. 2019;23:18-041. doi:10.7812/TPP/18-041

CBD Oil Not Working for You? 7 Reasons Why CBD Doesn’t Work for Everyone

If you’re not feeling any difference from CBD, it may have you puzzled, especially when you’ve read dozens of success stories of people living a better life thanks to supplementation with CBD oil.

You may feel scammed and have an impression that you’ve wasted money.

Although it IS possible that CBD oil won’t work for some people, most of the claims about “CBD not working for me” result from buying a poor-quality CBD product, or from unreasonable expectations from the compound.

In this article, we explain why CBD might not work for you, and what to do if you want to maximize your results with CBD oil.

Reasons Your CBD Doesn’t Work

There are almost 900 CBD brands in the American market. With so many products available at hand, there’s a risk you’ll stumble upon a fly-by-night vendor or a mislabeled CBD oil.

CBD has a long list of well-documented health benefits. There have been hundreds of studies conducted on its efficacy in alleviating a wide range of health problems.

People also use CBD as a means of daily supplementation with the purpose to support the endocannabinoid system (ECS) and keep the body in a state of balance (homeostasis).

So, why is CBD oil not working for you?

Here are a few possible explanations.

1. You Have a Low-Quality CBD Product

Unfortunately, poor product quality is more common than not. That’s because the CBD market isn’t regulated and there are no official manufacturing and labeling standards in place. This, in turn, results in lots of fake, under-dosed, contaminated CBD products getting sold.

In some cases, the hemp seed oil is labeled as CBD oil or hemp extract (containing ZERO CBD) as a means to confuse customers.

If you want CBD oil to work, you need to spend your money on the best CBD oils you can afford.

The good news is that poor quality vendors can be avoided with a few simple checks. It’s particularly important to do thorough research and buy CBD from reputable companies that test their products in independent laboratories.

Here are the must-check factors determining the quality of CBD oil:

  • Look for CBD products made from organic hemp. Organic farming results in CBD-rich, clean flowers, which are the best source material for extraction. Poor farming practices may lead to contamination with heavy metals and other toxins from the soil, and if the growers use pesticides on the plants, they will be absorbed too. That’s why you should steer clear of companies using mass-produced hemp for extraction.
  • Look for Certificates of Analysis from third-party labs. Lab testing can reveal the exact potency of CBD oil. The laboratory will also look for contaminants and potentially dangerous additives. The test results should be available for you to see for yourself.
  • Read customer reviews. Check third-party websites like expert blogs and online rankings to see what other users are saying on brand effectiveness, customer service, delivery time, and product quality.

Many CBD users admit they have tried several different brands before sticking to a particular vendor, so keep experimenting if your first try wasn’t a bull’s eye. As they say, sometimes you may have to kiss many frogs until you find your prince.

But that doesn’t mean CBD doesn’t work.

2. You Didn’t Let CBD Build Up in Your System

The first time you try CBD may feel as if you’d wasted your money on some overhyped product. You know, you just put a few drops of CBD oil under your tongue, expecting near-instant relief from your chronic pain, and… NOTHING HAPPENS!

So, does it mean CBD isn’t working?

While some of the effects of CBD oil may be noticeable right away, CBD usually needs some time to let you experience its health benefits. In fact, many people take CBD for at least two weeks before they see a difference.

Exploring the effects of CBD isn’t as simple as getting a couple of pills and calling it a day. Proper supplementation actually requires consistency and a certain level of commitment to uncovering the long-term effects.

If you’re still not able to tell the difference before and after your dose of CBD, it may be time to move on and try a different company.

Keeping a CBD journal can help you keep track of your progress and whether or not CBD oil works for you.

Patience is very important in the process, and while it can be annoying to keep trying with no results, you may end up feeling thankful that you didn’t stop.

3. You need to Find the Right Dosage

Finding an appropriate dose of CBD can be challenging. The right amount varies between individuals, as every person has unique body chemistry that results in a different response.

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So, how do you know what’s right for you?

A general rule of thumb is to start with a low dose — like 5–10 mg twice a day — and slowly increase it over time until you find the dose that provides the desired results.

Some users find that taking CBD in daily doses can help sustain a certain level of CBD in your body, which may support your endocannabinoid system to make it react better to cannabinoids like CBD.

Many people use a micro-dosing method to find their optimal dosage and adjust it as needed over time.

Again, a dosage journal may help you keep track of how much you’ve taken, how you feel before and after dosing, and if the CBD oil is working for you.

4. You Need a Different Consumption Method

Cannabis entrepreneurs can get really creative, and you can tell it by looking at the product selection in most online stores.

CBD is sold in everything from CBD coffee to bath salts and tampons.

The most common forms of CBD include:

  1. CBD oils
  2. CBD capsules
  3. CBD vape oils
  4. CBD topical creams
  5. CBD edibles (e.g. gummies and honey sticks)

If you’ve found that CBD oil isn’t working for you, it’s possible that a different form would solve the problem.

One factor to keep in mind is bioavailability, which essentially refers to the amount of CBD that actually reaches your bloodstream.

For example, products like CBD capsules and gummies have to go through your digestive system before the body can absorb them. The amount that ends up in your system may be relatively low.

Tinctures, on the other hand, offer higher bioavailability due to their route of delivery. Tinctures are absorbed through tiny capillaries under the tongue, so you’re absorbing them directly into your bloodstream. Not only does more CBD get into your body, but it also has a faster onset.

Speaking of which, the fastest delivery method of CBD is through vaping. Vaporized CBD enters the body through the lungs, ensuring that the effects show up within minutes from inhalation.

Other products, such as topicals, engage with the cannabinoid receptors in the skin, so they have virtually “zero bioavailability” but offer potential relief from localized problems.

5. You Take CBD Isolate

CBD isolate is just pure CBD in a crystallized, powdered form. Despite providing the highest concentration of CBD per serving (~990 mg per gram), it is considered less efficient and more difficult to dose than whole-plant extracts.

That’s because products like full-spectrum CBD oil produce the “entourage effect.” This term refers to a synergy achieved by all compounds naturally occurring in cannabis plants. This synergy makes the compounds more effective together than in isolation. Studies suggest that whole-plant extracts allow the user to overcome the bell-shaped dose-response, where the effects of CBD don’t always improve with an increase in the dosage.

If CBD oil isn’t working for you, maybe it’s time to switch from CBD isolate to full-spectrum CBD.

6. Tolerance, Genetics & Metabolism

CBD is a versatile tool for improving one’s quality of life, but it’s not a miracle drug that will fix you overnight. If, after all your efforts, CBD oil isn’t working for you, this means your body has difficulty absorbing it.

The level of absorption and response to CBD depends on several factors, such as:

  • Biochemistry
  • Genetics
  • Metabolism

The endocannabinoid system (ECS) is a complex neurochemical network in your body that interacts with cannabinoids, and each person’s ECS operates a little differently.

According to psychiatrists, 20% of Americans may have a genetic mutation that makes them naturally produce more endocannabinoids — the endogenous analogs of the cannabinoids you ingest when using cannabis.

If you have that mutation, you might be less prone to stress and anxiety, but because you already have enough endocannabinoids, you might not see many improvements when you take CBD.

Checking with your doctor may help you discover other natural options that may work for you.

There’s no such thing as one-size-fits-all treatment, so don’t be afraid to tell your friends to stop bugging you about giving CBD a try.

7. You’re Expecting Miracles from CBD

Some people may feel like they wasted their money on a hyped product simply because the effects of CBD don’t match their expectations. However, this isn’t an argument to support the theory that CBD oil doesn’t work. If you expect CBD oil to cure cancer or mend broken bones, you may have a hard time waiting for such effects, because CBD doesn’t do such things. It’s a very valuable compound with high efficacy and a well-established safety profile, but it does have limitations — something which many people tend to forget.

Bottom Line: Why CBD Doesn’t Work for Some People

CBD isn’t as regulated as many other supplements and pharmaceutical compounds, and people in the industry are still trying to figure out the best practices to maximize its efficacy.

It’s not as simple as taking some standard dosage and feeling immediate effects. Sometimes, CBD takes time, patience, and ongoing research to find the right vendor, dosage, and form of consumption for you.

Buying from several different brands can also get pricey — but many premium companies offer discounts, coupon codes, and reward programs that help you save money on your favorite products or try new forms of CBD for less.

So before you abandon the idea of supplementing CBD altogether, use the above checklist to find out why CBD isn’t working for you.