CBD and its effects have been described in a variety of ways. Whether you’re reading about the calming effects it has from a company’s website or talking to your friend who can’t stop going on about the relief they’ve found from previous soreness and fatigue by using it, you’re probably getting a lot of good news.
How CBD makes you feel and its general effects on your body will be different depending on a variety of factors. While the claims are nice to know about, it’s also important to know more about how CBD functions in your system, the various kinds of CBD products that exist and the ways you can use CBD products.
In this article, we’re going to first explain why CBD is able to make you feel something in the first place. Then, we’ll take a quick look at some of the existing and ongoing research surrounding CBD from our friends in the medical sciences. And then, we’ll end things with a deep dive into the different types of CBD products available and how you can use them. We’ll finish by touching on a few individual considerations that may affect how CBD works for you and makes you feel.
Why Does CBD Make You Feel Anything at All?
In order to understand what CBD makes you feel, it’s important to get a handle on why it’s able to make you feel anything at all.
Cannabidiol, which we’ve been calling CBD up until this point, is a cannabinoid. Cannabinoids are natural compounds found in hemp. Researchers have discovered over a hundred of these so far and they vary in amount by percentage when extracted from hemp.
Cannabinoids are interesting because of the way they interact with our bodies.
A recent discovery in medical science was the endocannabinoid system (ECS). This is a complex cell signaling system that researchers have found may influence a variety of processes, including mood, digestion, pain perception, sleep and more. That’s because of how it interconnects with your nervous system and organ systems.
The ECS is made up of a few key parts.
The first is endocannabinoids, which are our body’s version of cannabinoids that it produces naturally. These bind to special receptors in the ECS called CB1 and CB2 receptors, which are the next important part to know about.
Different endocannabinoids (and also cannabinoids) will bind to one or both of these receptors. It is this binding that can produce different effects in the body.
The last part of the ECS that we need to be aware of are special enzymes. Their job is to break down endocannabinoids after they’ve done their job so that the body can dispose of them properly. And they’ll do the same thing to cannabinoids as well.
Due to the complexity of the ECS and its recent discovery, researchers are continuing to explore it excitedly. In the next section we’ll cover some of this research and relate it back to how CBD may make you feel.
What the Research Says About How CBD Makes People Feel and Its Effects
The recent opening of the proverbial CBD floodgates means that there are a lot of claims being made about its effects and how it can benefit individuals. With this in mind, it’s important to turn to the professionals who are on the frontline of the research being conducted into CBD and to see what their findings are.
The following are notes on how CBD is being researched and what folks in the field of science and medicine have discovered so far. We’re giving you this information to help you make personal choices relating to your own self-care and use of CBD products.
CBD and Inflammation/Pain – In an article published in the scientific journal, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, researchers discussed CBD’s ability to decrease inflammation by interacting with important signaling networks in our bodies. This research was supported in 2020 by another study that reported the beneficial antioxidative and anti-inflammatory properties of CBD. The reduction of inflammation is important for reducing pains and aches related to lingering conditions and the overall promotion of homeostasis.
CBD and Relaxation/Better Sleep – A 2019 retrospective case series at a psychiatric clinic that examined clinical applications of CBD for anxiety and CBD for sleep reported favorable results. What researchers found was that 79.2 percent of patients reported decreased anxiety scores in just one month and that 66.7 percent of patients had improved sleep scores.
CBD and Epilepsy – Researchers have performed clinical trials that produced favorable results indicating CBD's potential efficacy as an adjunctive therapy for epileptic patients with specific forms of epilepsy. In this way, CBD may help bring seizure relief to these patients.
Individual Considerations on the Effects of CBD and How It Makes You Feel
There are some individual considerations when it comes to the effects of CBD and how it makes you feel. We’ve grouped these into two parts. The first is going to relate to the kind of CBD you’re taking. And the second is the way you’re taking your CBD.
Let’s have a closer look.
What Kind of CBD Are You Using?
Generally speaking, CBD products can be separated into three different categories and we’ve discussed these in depth before. Essentially, it’s all about how CBD is extracted from the hemp plant and what comes along with it during that extraction process. Each type of CBD has the potential to have different effects on your body and they’re worth knowing about.
Full Spectrum CBD – This refers to CBD that is extracted along with all the other cannabinoids, terpenes and flavonoids present in the hemp plant. Of note, it may contain tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), but legally never more than 0.3 percent. This should not have any intoxicating effects. Full spectrum CBD may have increased efficacy due to the entourage effect which is when the various compounds work synergistically to produce better results. Additionally, those other cannabinoids may have their own beneficial properties – for example, like the anti-inflammatory properties of cannabinol (CBN).
CBD Isolate – At the opposite end of the spectrum, you will find CBD isolate. You can think about this as a pure form of CBD, where everything else has been stripped out of it including the THC and all other cannabinoids, terpenes and flavonoids. It’s great for folks looking to avoid the THC found in full spectrum products but who still want the benefits of CBD. It is also the type more commonly found in products like CBD gummies and CBD topical creams. The effects of CBD isolate may be milder due to the lack of the entourage effect, so the amount you take or use could need adjusting.
Broad Spectrum CBD – Think of this as the middle ground between the full spectrum and isolate options. Broad spectrum will keep some of the additional cannabinoids, terpenes and flavonoids present in the hemp plant, but entirely remove THC. This makes it a great option for those concerned about THC content, but who want to still benefit from the entourage effect.
To protect yourself and ensure that you’re in fact getting the kind of CBD you want, especially if THC-free CBD is important to you, you’re going to want to only buy from companies that make their third-party lab reports available for public viewing. By reading these, you’ll be able to see the concentration of various cannabinoids, like CBD and THC, as well as other compounds in your product. Equally important will be ensuring that the products are free of any harmful contaminants that would pose a danger to your body and health.
American-grown organic hemp that is third-party tested will be a safe bet if it is batch-level tested with the findings published openly. If you can’t easily find this information, it may be best to find a new company to purchase from.
How Are You Taking Your CBD?
There are a variety of effective CBD delivery methods. The way you take CBD will have an impact on its effects and how it makes you feel. Let’s review some popular ways folks make use of CBD products.
CBD Oil and CBD Tinctures – There are some differences between CBD oils and CBD tinctures that mainly relate to how they’re made, but of importance for us here is how they’re taken. Usually, oils and tinctures will be taken sublingually, which means under the tongue. This is a great delivery system for CBD because that squishy surface under your tongue allows for quick entry into your system. You’ll be able to feel the effects more rapidly this way compared to other methods. As well, CBD oil and CBD tinctures generally come in varying concentrations, allowing for more potent serving sizes in less volume. Always read the bottles carefully to know how much you’re getting.
CBD Gummies and Other Edibles – Ingesting CBD products is another way to introduce CBD into your daily routine. Since the product has to make its way through your digestive system before it is absorbed, the effects won’t be felt quite as quickly as with the sublingual method. CBD gummies tend to be popular because you can bring them with you on the go and they’re very discreet. Taking one or two after a tough gym session to help with recovery time, for example, is simple when all you have to do is pop them in your mouth and chew. Another way to eat CBD is by cooking with CBD oil, which is becoming increasingly popular these days.
CBD Topicals – CBD topical creams are a great way for folks to get the targeted, localized benefits of CBD without having to take a product internally. If you’re a bit nervous about ingesting CBD products, but still want some of the pain reduction benefits associated with CBD that we highlighted earlier, regular use of CBD topical creams is a great option. Absorption will be slower than the sublingual or ingesting methods, but that’s okay. Good things come to those who wait, right?
CBD for Pets – No, we’re not recommending that you use the CBD pet products for yourself! But how good do you feel when you can provide your fur kid with a better quality of life? CBD products designed for pets can do just that. And that’s because your dog or cat also has an endocannabinoid system. They can positively benefit from the use of CBD products just the same as you, from calming anxiety to joint relief. Just remember: It’s always a good idea to consult a trusted vet before starting your pets on any kind of new supplement to ensure it's appropriate for them and their needs.
What Are Some Other Variables to Consider?
We’re not quite done yet. There are a few final things you should consider when it comes to CBD’s effects and how it makes you feel.
Body Weight/Metabolism – Body weight and metabolism are both going to play a role in how CBD makes you feel and its overall effects. Generally speaking, higher mass often means we need more of a product to gain its benefits. Our body’s fat percentage will impact how much CBD might be needed to feel the effects to begin with. The more voluptuous you are, the more CBD you might need. But also, be aware that it has the potential to stay in your system longer. As well, a faster metabolism will see the enzymes in your ECS breaking down CBD more quickly. In this case, how frequently you’re taking it will determine if you continue to feel its effects regularly.
Final Thoughts on CBD’s Effects
If you’ve been following along, you can see that there are a lot of variables when it comes to CBD’s potential effects and how it can make you feel.
By starting out slowly and gradually increasing the amount that you’re taking or the frequency at which you’re using your CBD products, you’ll be able to track the results. You can do this with a daily journal check-in. You may find taking CBD at different times of the day affects you differently. And what you feel may be different than what your friend who takes the same amount feels due to your physiological differences.
CBD will be a different experience for each person who uses it, and the benefits are yours to unlock. Enjoy!