CBD Oil Not Working on You? 9 Reasons why that may be

Here’s how we imagine you landed on this page: 

  • You’ve read quite a few reports on CBD’s therapeutic effects [1] on difficult-to-treat ailments, and also heard people speak of how they’ve benefited from it. 
  • So you decided to try it out on yourself or your family members for chronic pain, anxiety issues or insomnia. 
  • But then it didn’t work how you expected it to. 
  • So you went online looking for why that may be the case and found too many people asking the same question. 

Are we right? Ah well, we must be! Or at least, close enough! There’s no reason for someone who has found relief after using CBD to visit this page. 

Cannabidiol (CBD) has already reached quite a large number of American households, most of whom would have had some problematic condition to deal with before they came across CBD. They may have been suffering from chronic pain [2], insomnia [3], inflammation [4], anxiety issues [5], or seizures [6], and heard or read about it from somewhere that CBD can help manage these issues. 

Unlike another cannabis component, Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), CBD doesn’t have any psychoactive effects [7], hence, it causes no hallucination or a “high”. It hardly has any side effects. [8] So people feel more confident about using it over conventional medications. Besides, unlike other pain killers or strong medication, the human body doesn’t develop tolerance towards CBD. As a result, drug dependence or overdosing is almost unheard of. 

However, some people, who have used pure CBD oil, don’t seem to experience any discernible effect even after using the substance for a whole month. Others, who may have used a full-spectrum CBD oil, feel “heady” and not in a good way. It seems to make them sick than give them a pleasant feel. 

So why does this happen? We found that one, two, or sometimes even a combination of several reasons may be behind such experiences. Let us discuss them in detail. 

9 Reasons why CBD may not work for you

#1 Make a well-informed choice of CBD brand, choose a good quality product

With the recent popularity of CBD and cannabis products across the world, a lot of companies have joined the bandwagon. It’s been quite a frenzy, companies trying to cash in on the latest trend while the metaphorical sun shines on the cannabis products. Naturally, not every businessman or seller will be honest. As a consumer, you must have to be cautious and educate yourself on everything you use or consume. Before you buy a CBD product, check for these signs: 

  • Does the brand make its third-party lab test results of its products public? If it doesn’t, beware! It’s best to steer clear of such brands. 
  • Read user reviews before you click order. It’s best to learn from others’ experiences than expose yourself to something absolutely new. When you look for reviews, try to gauge if those are genuine or those manufactured by the brand itself. 
  • Buy from well-established brands that have a large customer base with hundreds of happy customers. 

Find out more on “What to Look for When Buying CBD Oil Online”.

#2 Make sure you’re actually using CBD, not something else

An extension of the previous point, there is something more you need to check before buying CBD oil. Make sure you’re actually purchasing CBD oil and not hemp seed oil. Hemp seed oil, though harmless and is a convenient form of carrying CBD, is itself of not much use. Admittedly it has some good things in it, like Omega fats. However, it doesn’t do what we can expect from CBD oil. On top of that, it is much cheaper than the real CBD. Moreover, make sure you’re not buying THC, instead of CBD. It will do you more harm than good. Talking about THC, make sure its level is well within the permissible limits. There is a reason why the level is restricted by law. Higher levels of THC can have more adverse effects than good ones. Study the product label carefully, besides going through their product description and ingredients on their website. 

#3 CBD is not a magic potion, effects vary among individuals

Effects on people generally vary depending on their weight, age, type of condition, the severity of the condition, and genetic predisposition. We are genetically different from each other, and so is the chemical balance within our individual endocannabinoid system. The way we respond depends on this balance. The first or second dose may not do the trick most of the time. Give it time. Effects vary among the same gender, same age, same weight, and even the same lineage. Heck, even two twin sisters may respond quite differently to CBD. 

#4 You haven’t found the Right Dosage

You may need to increase your dosage. While there are a few ways to ascertain your approximate dosage, as a CBD Calculator, for instance, it is best to start low, but take up the dose slowly, until you find your CBD sweet spot. You shouldn’t increase your dose sharply, as it may either have adverse effects or simply no positive effects. While increasing your dosage, don’t worry about your body developing a tolerance to CBD. It generally does not happen. You won’t overdose on it either. So, gradually, but confidently, hike your dosage. 

#5 You may not be consistent with your doses

You may have lost hope and interest after 5 – 6 doses – or even an entire month of use! Sometimes, it may start working only after a month. With cannabinoids, it is not as simple to determine the time it takes to act as any other pharmaceutical medication. Your body may need more time to adjust or acclimatize to the new substance. Initially, it may have no effect at all for quite some time, until your endocannabinoid system realigns itself to respond to the substance. Alternatively, it may reject the new substance altogether, making you feel worse than better. Give it time – let your body take its own to respond positively to CBD.  

#6 A different strain of cannabis may work better

This may be a bit difficult to do, but a little bit of research and talking to the brands about the strains of cannabis they extract the CBD from may give you an idea which strain isn’t working for you. Just like different kinds of berries have different plant chemicals, so do different strains of cannabis. This also takes into account the type of terpenes found in them. Terpenes have many health benefits too, besides enhancing CBD’s effects in different ways. So ask your CBD brand for their terpene and the cannabinoid profile. 

#7 Find the right delivery system, bioavailability matters

CBD-infused edibles are easy to consume, but their effects are much delayed. If you’re looking for instant impact, opt for tinctures or vape products. They have higher bioavailability. This basically means that they act on your body faster and have more enhanced effects. They reach your bloodstream faster and also undergo far less wastage before they reach the target (affected) area. However, topical application may be a better option if you’re looking for localized impact, like skin irritation or muscle cramps or surface inflammation. 

#8 Change the type of extract, you may need a bit of THC

Depending on their composition (CBD is obviously the main component), CBD oils are of three types – 

  • Isolate: 99% pure CBD. No other component. This is convenient to use for some, safer for those who are worried about failing a drug test, and the best option for those you want to put nothing other than CBD into their body for fear of experiencing any adverse effects. However, this is considered to be the least effective type of extract. The other natural components of cannabis are believed to enhance its effectiveness to a great extent. 
  • Full-Spectrum: The components of full-spectrum CBD oil include everything that is naturally available in cannabis plants – CBD, THC, other cannabinoids, terpenes, flavonoids, fatty acids, chlorophyll, minerals, etc. Hence, this is considered as the most effective kind of CBD oil. Full-spectrum CBD oils with THC levels lower than 0.3% (by weight) is allowed across the US, but any amount higher than that is still illegal. 
  • Broad-Spectrum: The safest best! This kind of extract contains everything that full-spectrum CBD oil does, with the exception of THC. This psychoactive compound is chemically removed from the final product to create this form of CBD oil. It is the best bargain one can hope for best effects, yet completely legal! 

#9 You may be genetically pre-disposed to not react to CBD

If all else fails, you may have to make peace with the fact that you’re simply immune to its effects. Like we mentioned earlier, we are all genetically unique. Besides, your body’s capacity to absorb cannabinoids also depends on its metabolism and biochemistry. Our endocannabinoid system that interacts with cannabinoids is unique to each person, and they behave differently. These factors that determine the time taken to be effective or its effectiveness are the same factors that may make you immune to its effects, altogether! Since research on CBD is still in his nascent stage, no specific reason for these differences can be cited yet. 

Our Takeaway

With cannabinoids, it is always about trial and error, as they don’t quite work the way pharmaceutical medications do. 

Besides, they take a very different route to take effect on your body. A lot depends on the chemical balance within a user’s individual endocannabinoid system. 

No matter what, we have to accept the fact that no human being is made the same way. Just like our personality is unique, so is our genetic code that determines how our cannabinoid receptors would react to cannabinoids, like CBD. 

If CBD doesn’t work on you initially, don’t be disheartened. Check if the above reasons are to blame. If it still doesn’t work, you will finally have to acknowledge the truth – it simply doesn’t work on you. 

While that is not necessarily a bad thing, it’s always best to consult your doctor. He may have a more well-informed insight into why your individual constitution refuses to respond positively to Cannabidiol. 


Research Citations:

  1. Translational Investigation of the Therapeutic Potential of Cannabidiol (CBD): Toward a New Age; Frontiers in Immunology; September 21, 2018; José A Crippa, Francisco S Guimarães, Alline C Campos, and Antonio W Zuardi https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6161644/ 
  2. Cannabinoids and Pain: New Insights From Old Molecules; Frontiers in Pharmacology; November 13, 2018; Sonja Vučković, Dragana Srebro, Katarina Savić Vujović, Čedomir Vučetić, and Milica Prostran; https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6277878/ 
  3. Cannabidiol in Anxiety and Sleep: A Large Case Series; The Permanente Journal; January 7, 2019; Scott Shannon, MD, Nicole Lewis, ND, Heather Lee, PA-C, and Shannon Hughes, PhD; https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6326553/ 
  4. Anti-inflammatory Properties of Cannabidiol, a Nonpsychotropic Cannabinoid, in Experimental Allergic Contact Dermatitis; Journal of Pharmacology & Experimental Therapeutics; April 9, 2018; Petrosino S, Verde R, Vaia M, Allarà M, Iuvone T, Di Marzo V; https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29632236 
  5. Cannabidiol as a Potential Treatment for Anxiety Disorders; Neurotherapeutics; September 4, 2015; Esther M Blessing, Maria M Steenkamp, Jorge Manzanares, and Charles R Marmar; https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4604171/ 
  6. Cannabidiol for Treatment of Childhood Epilepsy–A Cross-Sectional Survey; Frontiers in Neurology; September 7, 2018; Kerstin A Klotz, Andreas Schulze-Bonhage, Victoria San Antonio-Arce, and Julia Jacobs; https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6143823/ 
  7. Quality Traits of “Cannabidiol Oils”: Cannabinoids Content, Terpene Fingerprint and Oxidation Stability of European Commercially Available Preparations; Molecules; May 20, 2018; Radmila Pavlovic, Giorgio Nenna, Lorenzo Calvi, Sara Panseri, Gigliola Borgonovo,5 Luca Giupponi, Giuseppe Cannazza, and Annamaria Giorgi; https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6100014/ 

An Update on Safety and Side Effects of Cannabidiol: A Review of Clinical Data and Relevant Animal Studies; Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research; June 1, 2017; Kerstin Iffland and Franjo Grotenhermen; https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5569602/

Author Details
Senior Editor & Researcher , Greenthevoteok
Matt Hansel is a Medical Practitioner, who has been writing and researching about cannabis since 2014.  His popular quotes which we like are: \"Don\'t use CBD oil for a cure, use it as a precaution\"  \"CBD should be considered as any other vitamin supplement and your body needs it!\"