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How to Tell if CBD is Working

How to Tell if CBD is Working

CBD products can come in many forms. Topicals, edibles, and smokeables all are processed by the body in different ways. Usually effects begin within 30-60 minutes and can be felt for several hours. The feeling CBD gives is more like the absence of other feelings such as the absence of pain, anxiety, stress, and restlessness.

If you feel as if the CBD product you are taking is not effective, there are several things to consider. Are you buying from a reputable company, are you using the correct application method, do you need to take a higher dose, are you living an otherwise healthy lifestyle? Many new users tend to wonder how to tell if CBD is working. Any questions regarding how and when a product should begin working can be directed to the Contact Us page.

Types of CBD

The term “CBD oil” and “CBD” can refer to a variety of products. CBD stands for cannabidiol and it is one of the active parts of the cannabis plant called cannabinoids. But CBD is not alone. In fact, there are over 113 cannabinoids discovered thus far. CBD products on the market might contain only CBD, but it could contain other cannabinoids as well. Let’s look at the types of CBD.

  1. CBD Isolate

Products with CBD isolate do not contain other cannabinoids. When produced, CBD isolate can be upwards of 99% pure CBD. CBD topical products are commonly made with CBD isolate. Many choose CBD isolate to avoid taking any THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), the cannabinoid that produces the feeling of being “high”. Legally, CBD products need to contain less than 0.3% THC so that there will be no feeling of being “high” and users can pass a drug test

  1. Full Spectrum CBD

Unlike CBD isolate products, full-spectrum CBD products contain all of the cannabinoids from the plant, including trace amounts of THC (less than 0.3%). The reason many enjoy full-spectrum products is because of the Entourage Effect. This states that the benefits gained from using multiple cannabinoids together are more profound than the benefits from a single, isolated cannabinoid.1 Cannabinoids, when used together, seem to boost each other's benefits in a synergistic way. 

  1. Broad Spectrum CBD

Broad spectrum CBD products are similar to full-spectrum. The difference being that broad-spectrum products have the THC removed. Using these products can still give users the benefits of the entourage effect because of the presence of multiple cannabinoids. These products are best for people who wish to experience the entourage effect as well as avoid THC entirely.

  1. Hemp Seed Oil IS NOT CBD

There is a major difference between “Hemp Oil” and “Hemp Seed Oil”. Hemp oil and CBD products come from extracting cannabinoids from the hemp plant. Hemp Seed Oil products come from the hemp seed which contains ZERO CBD or any other cannabinoid.

Expected Benefits of CBD

The top reasons to take CBD products are pain management, anti-inflammation, anxiety relief, and sleep aid. CBD interacts with your body’s Endocannabinoid System (ECS). The ECS is responsible for many of your body’s physiological functions and responses including: inflammation, mood, appetite, sleep, pain, and more.2 By interacting with cannabinoid receptors, cannabinoids can help the body achieve a balanced state of operation called homeostasis

Spotting out the following benefits is a way how to tell if CBD is working...

What Does CBD Feel Like?

This is a very common question many beginning CBD users have. Because CBD does not have psychoactive effects like THC, the feeling that you get from CBD can be a little harder to describe. Maybe the easiest way to describe how to tell if CBD is working is to say it feels like the absence of certain things: the absence of pain , the absence of inflammation, the absence of anxiety, the absence of restlessness.

“Without pain and without stress, your body and mind are now free and open to operate at the highest level. So when someone asks us what "what does CBD feel like?", we tell them it feels like nothing and that’s exactly how we want it.” - Thrive Flower

How Long Until CBD Starts to Work

To answer this question, we need to look at the different application methods for CBD products. Each form has slightly different onset times and that is definitely something to consider when choosing a CBD product that works for you.

CBD Application Methods
CBD Application Methods by Thrive Flower
  1. Ingestion

When taken orally as with a CBD Gummy or other edible products, the cannabinoids go through the digestive system to metabolize. Because of this, the total amount of CBD your body actually receives is less than other consumption methods. Effects can last upwards of about 8 hours. One study described the absorption levels to be “slow, erratic, and variable”. The study also states the peak, or onset of the effects can be anywhere from about 60 - 120 minutes.3 This can vary depending on many factors such as metabolism, when you last ate, weight, age, and experience with CBD edibles. 

2. Sublingual

The term sublingual means “applied under the tongue”, and that is the recommended way to consume CBD Tinctures. Placing a few drops of CBD Oil under your tongue allows the CBD to enter the bloodstream through the mucous membrane located under your tongue. Bypassing the digestive system allows your body to absorb more of the CBD and other cannabinoids.3 This also means effects may take hold a bit quicker, usually within about 30 minutes. 

CBD tinctures can also be used with more versatility. A few drops in your morning coffee or water bottle can be a convenient way to get your CBD on. You can book with it too! The ingredients, unless flavored, are just CBD extract and MCT coconut oil. A few drops on top of dinner or baked into cookies can get the job done.

3. Topical

Topical application can be wonderful for on-the-spot relief. When applied topically, it can be hard for CBD to penetrate the skin and get to the bloodstream. This does not mean topicals have no benefits. CBD can interact with ECS (endocannabinoid system; see above in the Expected Benefits section) receptors found at skin level. Topical CBD application may provide benefits for those with arthritis, general inflammation, and muscle soreness. The onset of the effects is usually within the first 10-20 minutes with peak effects being at about the 60-90 minute mark.

how to tell if CBD is working
CBD Topical Creams from Thrive Flower

4. Inhalation

Inhalation of smokeable products such as CBD Vapor Pens or Hemp Flower is the most efficient method in terms of both absorption and onset time. When inhaled, the CBD will enter the lungs. The lungs have a high surface area by which the CBD can pass directly to the bloodstream. Effects can be very almost immediately with the peak being about 10 minutes after inhalation.3 Effects can last for around 3-5 hours with the effects gradually diminishing. 

When is the Best Time of Day to Take CBD

There is no single correct answer to this question. It depends on several factors like: why am I taking CBD, what application method am I using, and how much CBD am I taking? We just went over how long different application methods usually take for effects to begin. For example, if you are taking CBD for sleep and you enjoy gummies, it would be suggested to take the gummy about 30-60 minutes before settling down for the night.

Many people take CBD multiple times throughout the day and that may be a reason to take smaller doses compared to a single dose in the day. Some just take it as needed, like when they workout or feel stressed. We suggest developing a routine with your CBD to teach your body consistent wellness. Like a daily meditation or a nightly walk or your morning vitamins, consistent CBD use can become a healthy habit for your wellness goals.

How Much CBD Should I Take

Again, this question does not have a single correct answer. Dosing factors include: weight, metabolism, and the benefits you want to gain. Heavier individuals usually require a higher dose to achieve the benefits they want. If you are a person with more severe anxiety than the average CBD user, then you may benefit from a higher dose.

Dosing for CBD is measured in milligrams (mg). The amount of CBD in a product should be easily found on the label. Everyone has their perfect dose, it is just a matter of finding it. We suggest the Low and Slow method. Begin with a low dose, maybe 5-10mg. After about 4-6 hours, if you feel as if you could benefit more from a higher dose, then you can up it a bit. Keeping track of how a particular dose makes you feel on a scale of 1-10 can help guide your dosing decisions.

Why is CBD Not Working for me

Many new users tend to ponder how to tell if CBD is working. They usually do not fully realize the benefits CBD was giving them until they decide to stop using it. Then there is an “ah-ha!” moment when you realize how CBD has been benefiting you. We suggest taking daily notice of how a dose of CBD affects you. Rating things like pain, sleepiness, focus, anxiety, and appetite on scale from 1-10 can help you better understand how CBD affects you. Here are a few other factors to consider if you feel like the CBD you are taking just is not working.

1. Is the Product From a Reputable Source?


Determining if a company can be trusted may have something to do with their customer service responsiveness and ability to answer questions you may have regarding their products. The company should have easy to find lab-tested results for you to view as well. These results should be up-to-date, show that the levels of CBD are what they claim, and that the levels of Δ9-THC are below the legal limit of 0.3%.

2. Try Another Application Method

Sometimes, just changing how you are taking CBD can make a major difference. For example, many people choose topicals for joint pain because you can apply it to the exact spot. As we described above, other application methods have higher absorption rates and may be more effective. 

3. Be Patient

As they say, patience is a virtue. CBD can take several consistent doses for effects to become more prominent. Don’t lose hope if your first CBD experience does not benefit you as much as you would have liked! Many do not realize the benefits they were getting until they stop taking CBD after consistent usage. Keep at it and the benefits will come. 

4. Dosing

This is the most common reason someone may not find CBD to be effective. We mentioned the Low and Slow method above. Begin with a lower dose and gradually build up to where you feel most comfortable. Some users take upwards of 100mg per dose. So do not get discouraged if you find yourself not experiencing the benefits you want as lower doses. If you are someone who uses a higher dose, potent tincture may be for you. The higher potency will make the product last longer and save you money (see Thrive Flower’s 3500mg tincture). 

5. Lifestyle Choices

CBD is not a cure-all by any means. Using CBD in combination with a healthy lifestyle can boost your wellness routine. Exercise, diet, and mental well-being are all important to CBD’s success. Thrive On!

What Does CBD Feel Like?
Why is CBD not working by Thrive Flower

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The statements made regarding these products have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

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