How to Know if CBD Oil is Working: 8 Surefire Ways

WRITTEN by Caleb

 | Last revised

Nov, 2022

You usually know within the hour if THC-based medical cannabis is working for you. THC binds directly to cannabinoid receptors located throughout the body to produce a range of therapeutic – or recreational – effects.

But what about CBD? This cannabinoid is thought to influence the endocannabinoid system indirectly, which can make the effects harder to gauge.

People report feeling less anxious and depressed. Others say their inflammation has gone down. And we have studies to support this.[1][2]

Perhaps you’re asking why is CBD not working. Does CBD work for everyone? Why doesn’t CBD work for me?

So how can you tell if CBD oil is working?

We’ve compiled eight surefire ways to know if CBD is working for you. And what to do if you find CBD oil not working.

8. Your CBD Isn’t Coming from a Reputable Source

Not every CBD product you find online is created equal.[3] If your asking yourself, “why doesn’t CBD work for me?” the answer may be the brand you’re using.

We suggest you seek a certificate of analysis lab results from reputable third parties. We also recommend checking out customer reviews.

If you’re on a budget, we still advise you purchase from well-established brands.

Cheap CBD oil you find online is likely cheap for a reason. The best-case scenario is that it works, and you receive the benefits.

Worst case, it’s contaminated. Are you wondering why “CBD oil makes me feel worse?” It could be the brand you’re using.

7. You Need To Give it More Time

Does CBD take time to build up in your system? Possibly, which is why you should keep a journal and log your experience.

Keep track of how much CBD you take, what time of day you take it and how you feel before the dose. Then be sure to track how you feel afterwards in regular intervals.

Log any changes or symptoms you notice.

Over time, your CBD journal will paint a picture of how CBD affects you. Your journal will answer the question, does CBD really do anything?

Things to keep in mind are your tolerance and metabolism.

If you’re not seeing any results after a few months, you might try another brand. But without a CBD journal to log your experiences, it’ll be hard to tell why CBD might not be working for you.

6. CBD Bioavailability Matters

You don’t have to smoke anything to receive the benefits of CBD. Likewise, you don’t have to use a dropper that tastes like a kale sandwich.

You can get CBD into your system from food, capsules, topical creams, shampoo, etc.

However, the method you choose matters since the bioavailability will determine how much CBD actually gets into your bloodstream.

For example, eating CBD means the cannabinoid must go through your digestive tract first, slowing down the process considerably.[4]

A faster delivery method involves inhaling CBD smoke in your lungs, which have direct access to your bloodstream.[5]

5. You’re Using CBDA, not CBD

Does CBD need to be activated? Yes and no. But what does that mean?

In its raw form, cannabis or hemp contains CBDA, which stands for cannabidiolic acid.
While cannabinoids tend to bind to our cannabinoid receptors, CBDA interacts with the endocannabinoid system by inhibiting the COX-2 enzyme.[6]

When you “decarb” CBDA, it is activated and turned into CBD. Most brands will specify whether you’re purchasing a product with CBD or CBDA.

If you find yourself asking why CBD is not working, it could be that you perform better with CBDA.

CBDA has 100 times the affinity for our 5-HT receptors compared to CBD. CBDA also has greater bioavailability so that the body can metabolize it faster and with less effort. [7]

If you’re trying CBD to combat anxiety or depression, and it’s not working, you may find CBDA more effective.[8]

Cannabis tinctures on a wood table next to untrimmed cannabis buds

4. You’re Using CBD Incorrectly

If you’ve bought a CBD oil tincture, you’ll have to put the drops under your tongue and wait a minute or two before swallowing.

This sounds like standard practice, but some people find the taste of CBD oil tinctures too repellant. So they may add the drops to their teas or when cooking.

But this isn’t how tinctures are supposed to work.

If you do this, you risk not receiving any benefits at all. By the time the tincture makes it through your digestive tract, the amount in your system may be too low to be effective.[9]

Likewise, if you’re smoking CBD, you need to inhale.

We realize this may be common sense for many of you, but you’d be surprised how many nonsmokers don’t know how to inhale correctly.

3. You’re Using a CBD Isolate Product

CBD isolates are products that have stripped away every cannabinoid, terpene and flavonoid except for CBD.

The problem with these products is that you bypass the entourage effect. Studies indicate that CBD works better when there are other cannabinoids present. [10]

Combining cannabinoids like CBD and THC can often yield superior results.

2. You Need a Larger Dose

How to know if CBD is working for anxiety? As mentioned, we recommend keeping a journal to track how you feel and how much you take.

But if your anxiety hasn’t improved even after a few months, it may be time to increase the dosage.

A double-blind placebo-controlled study on CBD and anxiety found that CBD helped, but the participants took large quantities.[11]

Someone with minor social phobias may only require 30mg a day. But someone with crippling anxiety may need as much as 600mg daily.

1. CBD Doesn’t Work For You

Just as all CBD brands aren’t created equal, neither are human beings.

A study suggested that 20 per cent of Americans have a genetic mutation that causes their bodies to produce above-average cannabinoids.[12]

If you’re one of these people, taking CBD would be like throwing a cup of water into the ocean. It’s not going to make much of a difference.

Your body may prefer natural cannabinoids and reject plant cannabinoids. The only way to know for sure is to give CBD a try.

Where to get CBD in Australia

So you’ve researched all the different brands and got your CBD journal ready to be filled out.

What now?

You have a couple of options.

CBD is available in Australia through the TGA. The most straightforward method is to visit a cannabis clinic, get a prescription, then visit a pharmacy to receive the CBD product.

While this method is the only legal means of acquiring CBD in Australia, it can be costly and time-consuming.

The other option is the “green” or black market, where everyday Australians can find high-quality CBD products.

Whatever you choose, be sure to research the differences between CBD, CBD, full-spectrum products, and third-party lab testing.

If you find CBD isn’t working, it may not be the CBD. It could be you.

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1. Jessica W.Skelley, Crystal M.Deas, Zachary Curren, Jonathan Ennis, "Use of cannabidiol in anxiety and anxiety-related disorders".
2. Sinemyiz Atalay, Iwona Jarocka-Karpowicz, Elzbieta Skrzydlewska, "Antioxidative and Anti-Inflammatory Properties of Cannabidiol".
3. Marcel O. Bonn-Miller, Mallory J. E. Loflin, Brian F. Thomas, et al., "Labeling Accuracy of Cannabidiol Extracts Sold Online".
4. David Julian McClements, "Enhancing Efficacy, Performance, and Reliability of Cannabis Edibles: Insights from Lipid Bioavailability Studies".
5. Priyamvada Sharma, Pratima Murthy, M.M. Srinivas Bharath, "Chemistry, Metabolism, and Toxicology of Cannabis: Clinical Implications".
6. Shuso Takeda, Koichiro Misawa, Ikuo Yamamoto, Kazuhito Watanabe, "Cannabidiolic acid as a selective cyclooxygenase-2 inhibitory component in cannabis".
7. Ethan B. Russo, "Cannabis Therapeutics and the Future of Neurology".
8. D Hen-Shoval, S Amar, L Shbiro, at el., "Acute oral cannabidiolic acid methyl ester reduces depression-like behavior in two genetic animal models of depression".
9. M A Huestis, "Pharmacokinetics and metabolism of the plant cannabinoids, delta9-tetrahydrocannabinol, cannabidiol and cannabinol".
10. Ethan B Russo, "Taming THC: potential cannabis synergy and phytocannabinoid-terpenoid entourage effects".
11. Mateus M Bergamaschi, Regina Helena Costa Queiroz, Marcos Hortes Nisihara Chagas, at el., "Cannabidiol Reduces the Anxiety Induced by Simulated Public Speaking in Treatment-Naïve Social Phobia Patients".
12. Douglas R. Smith, Christine M. Stanley, Richard G. Boles, at el., "Rare genetic variants in the endocannabinoid system genes CNR1 and DAGLA are associated with neurological phenotypes in humans".


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Disclaimer. While we strive to relay the most factual education available, this shouldn’t replace official medical or legal consultation and recommendation. This is for educational and entertainment purposes only. Happy days.

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