How Does CBD Work?

how does cbd work

The endocannabinoid system (ECS) is one of the largest molecular systems in the human body and made up of millions of cannabinoid receptors scattered throughout the central and peripheral nervous systems. It helps promote homeostasis within your body, meaning it helps your body maintain its stable equilibrium to compensate for environmental changes. It’s not just present in humans, either - all vertebrates are equipped with an ECS. 

Phytocannabinoids, or a class of chemical compounds present in plants like cannabis, interact with the endocannabinoid system by directly or indirectly binding to the millions of CB1 and CB2 receptors located throughout your body or by affecting the enzymes or other compounds that do. Some phytocannabinoids, like THC, bind directly to receptors and produce the psychoactive effects associated with marijuana. Other phytocannabinoids, like CBD, serve to basically block the enzymes and prevent the breakdown of the body’s naturally produced cannabinoids (aka “endocannabinoids”) like anandamide.

Related Article: CBD vs THC: What’s the Difference Between These Cannabis Compounds?

The importance of a healthy lifestyle

CBD is a supplement and, as such, it is intended to do what its name implies: supplement, or build on top of, an already healthy diet and lifestyle. 

It’s true that CBD can work wonders for many people, but as we mentioned above, it’s not a “miracle drug.” It can help promote bodily balance, but it can’t make up for a bad diet, no exercise, a lack of sleep, poor emotional hygiene, or disconnection from one’s community and/or social support network. It’s an ally, for sure, but not a panacea. In order to reap the benefits of CBD and achieve true wellness, you have to put together all the puzzle pieces.

Need tips on making some healthy lifestyle changes? Check out some of our recent articles on nutrition, exercise, and maintaining good mental health. 

Why CBD doesn’t always work right away

Based on the types of CBD products and media coverage out there today, there appear to be some common misconceptions about what CBD “feels” like and how long it takes to “feel” something. 

You’ve probably come across restaurants, bars, coffee shops, juice shops, and other food-focused stops touting new beverages or food items with CBD in them, typically under 10 milligrams but somehow warranting a $2 to $3 upcharge. Many customers have purchased these items in the belief that they will feel something right away. Unfortunately, this is simply not the case for most CBD users. It is true that CBD does sometimes produce immediately noticeable effects for some users, likely those with an undernourished ECS. However, for the majority of CBD users, it takes at least two to three weeks of consistent daily use, if not longer, before one notices any significant changes.

The misconception that CBD works right away is a damaging one because many first-timers find themselves disappointed when they don’t experience the effects they’re looking for on the first day or even within the first week. We’ve discussed how CBD impacts every person differently and that the effects are often subtle, based on the state of your endocannabinoid system. Therefore, even if your friend told you they noticed something right away after taking CBD, that doesn’t mean the same will happen to you. Ultimately, patience and awareness are the means of success with CBD.

What to do if CBD isn’t working for you

The best way to achieve the desired effects is to take the same serving size of CBD at approximately the same time every single day. If you’ve only been taking CBD for a week and haven’t yet experienced anything, give it some more time. A helpful tool in monitoring its effects on your body is keeping a daily log. You can do this easily by writing down how much CBD you’re taking and at what times alongside any sensations you notice in your body both before and afterward. This allows you to become more aware of potentially subtle effects that might otherwise be ignored if you’re expecting big changes right off the bat. 

If you’ve been taking CBD for over a month and still haven’t noticed an impact, consider trying a different amount, more concentrated product, or different delivery method. For example, we typically recommend that beginners start with simple blends like our Hemp Classic with 10 mg of CBD per serving; however, many customers have more success with our concentrated blends or alternately prefer our CBD soft gels or lotions. Bluebird Botanicals also offers a 30-day money-back guarantee so that our customers can try CBD risk-free to find out what works best for them. 

Still have questions about CBD? Check out our free guide, Finding Success with CBD, to learn more.

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