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How Does CBD Make You Feel?

Have you been wondering: how does CBD make you feel? 

CBD is a relatively new food supplement and topical ointment that has a loyal fanbase. However, sometimes it seems like there are more questions than answers about it.

We’ll explain how CBD feels and more, in this detailed guide.

Medically reviewed by: Dr. Vance Green, PharmD.
Updated on Oct 31, 2021

What Does CBD Feel Like?

So, how does CBD feel? 

A lot of natural remedies don’t have any obvious effect or proponents claim they build up in your system. CBD is very different because it does have an effect that you can feel, usually within 10 to 30 minutes. 

It’s not like THC, a different hemp derivative that causes a completely different pharmacological response in the body. That’s why it’s legal. A lot of people who enjoy using CBD talk about its benefits, including having a calming, relaxing, and anti-inflammatory effect. 

In some cases, using it regularly can have an accumulative effect but not because it builds up in your system. Much like regular therapeutic massages can lead to a more relaxed body, regular use of CBD can result in a calmer mind and more relaxed body, but it’s not because of a pharmacological ‘building up’ effect at all. 

Building Up Tolerance 

Over time, CBD use can create a bit of a tolerance, meaning your body gets used to it and you don’t feel as relaxed anymore. It’s not a reflection of the CBD product or the dose, but just how the human body works. 

Taking a break from the CBD for a week and then returning to it at the same dose makes the most sense because CBD is quite interesting in that it works on a curve. Too little CBD has little effect, the right amount has a potent effect and too much has little effect. We’ll talk about that slightly unusual fact a bit more later in this guide. 

Adaptogens Are Amazing

Have you heard of adaptogens? 

An adaptogen is a plant or a plant derivative that can be used as a supplement or medicine and enables the body to adapt better to stress. Technically, the whole Cannabis Sativa plant is an adaptogen but CBD is just one part of the plant, isolated from the rest of it and therefore separated from some other substances with different mechanisms. 

The special thing about adaptogens is that they adapt to the optimal needs of the body at different times of day and in different situations. So, perhaps during the day you need to be focused on work and an adaptogen can help with that, but at night you need to be calm and sleep and an adaptogen helps with that optimal process instead. 

In each case, the mechanism is simply to help you adapt to, or deal with, the stress your body is experiencing. 

Is CBD an Anti-Stress Supplement?

Are you thinking this could easily lead to CBD getting a reputation as an anti-stress supplement? 

You might be right. So much so, that pet owners have been posting pictures of their blissed-out cats and dogs on Instagram following a visit to the pet groomer. Increasingly, pet groomers are using CBD to help kittens or pooches stay calm during a shampoo! It works on pets too. 

Because it’s an adaptogen, it can also affect a user’s appetite differently. In studies, it has been noted that it can either increase a person’s appetite or decrease it, for example. 

This makes sense because some people eat less when they’re stressed out and others eat more. Chances are if you’re someone who eats while stressed out, you will feel calmer and therefore less likely to snack if you take CBD. 

What Is the Endocannabinoid System and What Role Does CBD Play?

The Endocannabinoid System is something that is naturally present in everyone (and also their pet dog or cat apparently!) It’s a channel of receptors within the human central nervous system. It’s located in the brain, the spinal cord, the central nervous system (including the endocrine system), and the organs. 

Cannabinoids are a range of different chemicals derived from Cannabis Sativa and they all correlate to different mechanisms and responses within the central nervous system. For example, CB1 and CB2 receptors inside the human body might not be affected by some cannabinoids at all. 

A normal, healthy state of being that scientists call homeostasis is what the body craves and some cannabinoids act as a little helper to nerve endings so they can restore homeostasis more easily. 

That means CBD results aren’t always instant but gradually as the body adapts to reverting to homeostasis more quickly from a stressed status, over time, users begin to see positive results.

What Are the Benefits of CBD?

CBD has a range of reported benefits including a sense of renewed calm and relaxation. It has been known to support healthy sleep cycles and also aid recovery from exercise-induced inflammation. Because it’s not classified as a drug that has led to it being very popular with athletes and sportspeople.

What Does CBD Feel Like?

So, how does CBD oil make you feel? We’ll explore the physical feelings and the more mental or emotional feelings that people report when they use CBD. 

Physical Feelings

CBD has been touted as a helpful supplement for people who want to reduce pain and inflammation. Because pain relief or the alleviation of muscle tension is a popular use for CBD it has become popular with athletes, sportspeople, gym lovers, and other health fanatics. 

It’s also become popular with people who want to remain calm and centered despite having physically demanding jobs.

When users take CBD supplements they report better sleep at night

Mental Feelings

Users report a sense of peace that comes from taking CBD or a feeling of a weight being lifted off their shoulders. This is likely due to the adaptogenic properties of CBD that promote a restored emotional equilibrium due to decreasing stress. 

Reduced emotional stress leads to less tension in muscles and more muscular relaxation too, so a feeling of calmness has a physical feedback loop. More focus is another reported feeling because when someone feels calm, they feel less distracted. That can make it easier to get work done without trying to multitask or succumbing to distractions.

Can You Feel CBD?

Yes, you can.

CBD promotes a very mild relaxing feeling, so if you’re already very relaxed you might not notice the feeling as much as if you’re just starting to settle down in the evening after a stressful day.

In addition to taking CBD as a food supplement, you can also apply it to your skin topically as an ointment or use it in a vape device. CBD oil is very effective applied topically because it is absorbed by the skin and goes into the tiny veins that serve oxygen, water, and nutrients to the skin. 

There’s some user anecdotal evidence that ingesting CBD or using it sublingually by dropping it on your tongue results in a full-body effect but that applying it topically results in more localized relaxation and effects.

So, you may be wondering ‘what does CBD oil feel like?’ The short answer might be like a relief of stress or tension because it works to restore your general equilibrium and calm you.

Different Methods of Using CBD 

There are several different ways to use CBD. One of the fastest ways to get a result is to vape CBD. It typically takes effect within 15 minutes. That’s because after inhaling, just as oxygen goes into your bloodstream, the CBD does too. 

There are some special products for vaping and you can not just vape regular sublingual CBD oil. That would potentially pose a fire risk! Equally, you can’t use vape products as topical or sublingual tinctures. 

You could get injured quite seriously or even die if you tried. So, make sure you’re buying the right product for the right use. They are always clearly marked in the store, on the website you buy them from, or on the package so read it carefully. 

Sublingual (Under The Tongue) Tinctures

Sublingual drops are also a fast way to feel the effects of CBD. That’s because they pass through the skin inside the mouth and into the vein under the tongue. Surprisingly holding CBD oil in your mouth under your tongue is a faster and more effective way to use it than to eat it as an edible.

That’s because it takes longer to digest it and get it into your bloodstream that way than it does to travel through the skin in your mouth straight into your bloodstream through the sublingual (under the tongue) vein.

How Does CBD Make You Feel If You Take High Doses?

You wouldn’t be the first person to assume that a higher dose means a stronger result to CBD but sadly, you would be mistaken. That’s because CBD is adaptogenic. It’s not a narcotic. What that means is, instead of operating on a ‘more is more’, or ‘less is more’ principle, it operates on the ‘precise is right’ principle.

CBD affects human biology on a bell curve or u-shape schema. And, there are scientific studies to prove it. 

It’s biphasic which means as the dose increases effectiveness decreases. The exact dose that’s right for you is the effective one. That means start with a very low amount of CBD and increase it until you find what’s right for you and then stick with that amount. 

Adding more could actually lead to diminishing results and be a waste of both money and CBD. Too much CBD is just as weak and ineffective as too little. Another reason not to take higher doses is that it can increase the chances of you becoming tolerant.

Tolerance would mean you would need to stop taking it for long enough for you to become sensitive to it again. 

CBD does have some mild side effects which at higher doses are quite undesirable such as a dry mouth and prolonged sleepiness.

Does CBD Oil Give You A Buzz or High?

No. CBD oil does not give anyone a high or a buzz. The other extracted chemical that’s famously taken from Cannabis Sativa THC does that. THC isn’t in CBD products or at least not in amounts that can have any noticeable effect. 

CBD doesn’t bind to CB1 or CB2 receptors. So, it cannot directly affect brains the way that THC and some other cannabinoids do. CBD can block the effects of THC or diminish them. For example, it can shorten the duration of THC intoxication in users. 

So, the answer to the question of whether or not CBD oil can give you a buzz or get you high will always be a loud, no. It’s a product that is sold legally in the USA as a food supplement. It certainly wouldn’t be if it could get you high or had any similar effects.

In the USA a product that is sold as CBD can only have, at most 0.3% tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). The reason for that is CBD is non-intoxicating and healthy. 

What Consumers Say About How Taking CBD Feels

When it comes to anecdotal evidence about CBD there’s no shortage of reviews on the internet because it has become such a popular health supplement. A lot of the time there’s a specific therapeutic reason that a person has decided to use CBD.

In some cases though, people just want the sense of calm and feeling of wellness that they get from using this herbal supplement. The Food and Drug Administration hasn’t evaluated any of the claims that get published as reviews online. So, it’s worth taking them with a pinch of salt. 

Athletes Love Our CBD

However, we do have some testimonials on our website that you can check out, including this one by the athlete Timothy Lewis: 

“As a professional mixed martial arts competitor, the number one thing that has separated me from the competition is the work I put in, in the gym. Surpassing the competition does not happen overnight, but comes with repetition over time. Recovery is crucial for any athlete, but especially in MMA training where you are continually redlining your body and pushing limits.”

He adds: “Absolute Nature CBD has been a game-changer in my recovery. Yes, it definitely assists in the healing process when you break down your muscles during training or sustain injuries, by reducing the inflammation which allows me to start my next workout fresh and recover to maximize every training session and surpass my competition.”

So, there are some strong anecdotal testimonials online (and on our website) from people who love CBD. 

Another athlete, Frank Wells, said: “I was having bad pain from inflammation around my meniscus for a few weeks where there would be points that I could barely put pressure on my leg at all.”

He explained: “Once I got my Absolute Nature CBD cream & tincture, I used the recommended dose for the tincture and super thin layer of the cream, and within two to three days I had zero pain and hadn’t felt it again in the four weeks since I’ve started using it.”

THC vs. CBD Feeling

THC and CBD both come from the same plant but when it comes to the way they affect the human body they couldn’t be more different. 

While CBD affects the body by providing relief and a calming balance that is mild and not narcotic, THC has intoxicating properties. 

There are a lot of drawbacks when it comes to THC, not least of which is the effect it has on your brain. While it can induce euphoria, it can also induce dizziness, drowsiness, mental impairment, racing abstract thoughts, and paranoia. 

None of those effects, with the potential exception of drowsiness (which can aid restful sleep), are associated with CBD. 

Because it’s an adaptogen, it can also affect a user’s appetite differently. In studies, it has been noted that it can either increase a person’s appetite or decrease it, for example.

How Long Does It Take To Feel the Effects of CBD? 

CBD usually starts working within ten to thirty minutes but it does depend on the potency of the CBD and how you use it. Remember, there’s CBD oil, topical products, vaping and even CBD chapstick, bath salts, and toothpaste!

Do Different Products Feel Different?

CBD comes in a range of different formats which is great because it means it can suit different lifestyles. CBD Oils

CBD oils are one of the most popular types of CBD products because they are very versatile. You can use a little dropper to put the oil under your tongue (sublingual application), or add them to your tea, food, drinks and apply them to your skin. Usually, these can take as little as 10 minutes to work. 

CBD Edibles, Gummies, and CBD Softgels

CBD edibles like gummies take a bit longer to work because they are digested and then the CBD makes its way into the bloodstream along with the nutrients from the food. However, what makes these so delightful is that the effects do last longer and they are a fun (often delicious) way to enjoy CBD. 

CBD Beverages

A popular new category, CBD beverages has sprung up as an alternative to caffeine-laced energy drinks. Caffeine increases focus but also often increases stress. CBD beverages such as canned products and CBD coffee (which is caffeinated) are different because they increase focus but also relax the drinker. CBD oil added to chamomile tea is also a popular option. These types of drinks typically take 15+ minutes to have an effect. 

Smoking High CBD Hemp

In the USA where hemp is sometimes legally available for smoking, high CBD (low THC) varieties of hemp are becoming popular. 

Vaping CBD Feeling

Vaping CBD specialist liquids and waxes can help speed up results because the CBD goes straight from the lungs into the bloodstream. This is one of the fastest ways to feel the effects of CBD and can take just a few minutes for results. 

CBD Topicals

CBD topicals can take anywhere from ten minutes to an hour to have an effect and users report being surprised how little product they needed to use for them to be effective. 

Salves, Creams & Roll-Ons

Salves, creams, and roll-ons are the same as CBD topicals. You simply apply them to your skin wherever you are feeling an ache or want to relax. Creams and salves are great for massage and post work out muscle soreness.

Do Full Spectrum, Broad Spectrum, and Isolate Feel Different?

The main question we get asked is what’s the difference between full-spectrum, broad-spectrum, and CBD isolate? Luckily the answer is pretty simple and universal across CBD brands. Here’s a quick guide.

Full Spectrum

Full-spectrum CBD is so-called because it contains the full spectrum of cannabinoids, terpenes, and not more than 0.3 percent THC. Although this is a negligible amount of THC that cannot affect you it’s still technically some THC. Other types of CBD products contain zero. 

Wondering why manufacturers would choose to include any THC at all? It’s because of something referred to as the ‘entourage effect’. The basic definition of the ‘entourage effect’ is that researchers have hypothesized that CBD is even more effective when it comes to all the other minerals, micronutrients, and complimentary chemicals present in the plant. 

So, including them all, even in negligible amounts can support or boost the effect of CBD. Although that’s just a theory right now, so don’t go thinking it’s a fact. It remains to be proven.

Broad Spectrum

Because there are plenty of cynics among us, some people prefer no THC in their CBD oil at all. That’s where Broad Spectrum products steal the show. They contain all the terpenes, flavonoids, and other useful entourage elements but have zero THC.

CBD Isolate

If you’ve heard of whey protein isolate in those protein shakes bodybuilders like to drink, you can probably guess what CBD isolate is. It’s the same as CBD oil but it has been refined into a powder that is easy to mix into other products for example breakfast bars or smoothies.

CBD isolate is slowly becoming more popular. It’s especially popular with athletes who want to make sure zero THC will show up in a drug test, such as athletes, but still want to benefit from the relaxing non-narcotic properties of the food supplement.

How Much CBD Should You Take to Feel a Difference?

The short answer to the question: what does CBD feel like? And, how much should I take? 

Is, unfortunately, the right amount for you. We recommend starting with a small amount, between five and 25 mg. Then, increase it a bit at a time until you hit what might be considered the ‘precise is right’ amount. 

More than that and as we’ve explained already you will diminish results and waste the CBD as it’s not really possible to overdose, just stop the effects.

Can CBD Make You Feel Bad?

Although CBD is well tolerated in most people and there are few side effects. CBD has been associated with some mild side effects including loose bowel movements, dry mouth, decreased or increased appetite, and sleepiness.

How Do I Know If I Have Taken Too Much CBD?

Because of the bell curve we’ve previously explained, you can’t really take too much CBD, the effects wear off if you take too much of it. So, the fact you don’t feel relaxed or any of the benefits of taking it is a good indicator you’ve taken too much.

As it becomes less effective at higher doses, you’ll then need to take a break from it and come back to it at lower doses to learn exactly what’s right for you. Taking too much CBD will just mean you’re effectively wasting it.

What Are the Side Effects of CBD?

Only mild side effects like dry mouth and loss of appetite are widely reported. Drowsiness is also a side effect, depending on how you look at it, but as a lot of people use CBD for relaxation and to help them sleep at night it may be considered more of a benefit than a side effect. 

It is important to note however that any herb on earth or derivative of a herb can cause an allergic reaction. For example, basil or cilantro are common ingredients in recipes but they can disagree with some people. 

So, when introducing absolutely anything new to your diet you should be a little cautious and pay attention to how you feel. 

Is CBD Safe?

Yes. The CBD feeling of calmness and relaxation is a safe feeling and CBD is not regulated as a drug but as a food supplement. It hasn’t been fully evaluated but it’s legal because it’s deemed safe to use.

CBD is completely legal thanks to the 2018 Farm Bill that has removed restrictions on hemp plants that contain less than 0.3 percent THC. Before that bill being passed, there was no legal distinction between hemp cannabis and marijuana cannabis plants which is why it took so long for CBD to enter the supplement market. 

When the farm bill passed the law differentiated between the types of plants and enabled manufacturers to make CBD oil legally and provide it to users globally. Now, CBD oil is legal and becoming popular in a lot of countries including the USA, the UK, and Japan.

How Does CBD Make You Feel?

So, to summarize, how does CBD make you feel?

CBD makes most people feel relaxed, calm and focused with a sense of general wellbeing. However, it’s a very mild feeling and not at all like a buzz or a high because there’s no THC (or insufficient THC) present.

This could lead to some people who are already in a mild and relaxed mood saying they can’t feel anything when they use CBD. It could also lead to people taking too much CBD, however, when you take too much CBD its effectiveness declines because it works on a bell curve. 

We hope you enjoyed our guide. To learn more, sign up for our educational mailing list or shop now

Common FAQ’s for CBD

What Does CBD Feel Like?

A lot of natural remedies don’t have any obvious effect or proponents claim they build up in your system. CBD is very different because it does have an effect that you can feel, usually within 10 to 30 minutes. 

It’s not like THC, a different hemp derivative that causes a completely different pharmacological response in the body. That’s why it’s legal. A lot of people who enjoy using CBD talk about its benefits, including having a calming, relaxing, and anti-inflammatory effect.

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