Why CBD Might Not Be Working For You and What to Do About It

If you’ve tried CBD products without any results, you’re not the only one — but that doesn’t mean the whole industry is a scam. Since it’s a new supplement to many, there is still a lot of confusion about where to buy, dosage, and how to use. All of which can impact the effectiveness of CBD.

Cannabidiol, or CBD, is a nonpsychoactive component found in the Cannabis plant. It’s being researched for many possible medical benefits, and unlike tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), this active compound doesn’t get you “high.”

You may have heard some folks with chronic conditions raving about good results — and that’s because for them, it’s one of the only few options that works.

That said, there are also some legitimate reasons why CBD might not be working for you.

Let’s take a closer look at some of the reasons CBD actually isn’t for everyone.

Strength & Dosage


In many cases, quite commonly, people don’t start with a reasonable amount to receive any benefits. CBD is very individual, so trial and error will undoubtedly be required. Legally CBD product manufacturers can’t give dosing advice, so that leaves consumers to work it out for themselves.

Some folks find that taking a daily dose can help sustain a level of CBD in your body, which might stimulate your endocannabinoid system (more on what this is, below) to make it react more to cannabinoids like CBD.

And many people use a microdosing technique to find their personal dosage and adjust it as needed over time.

You may find it helpful to use a journal to log your results. Keep track of how much you’ve taken, how you feel before dosing and at several time intervals afterward, and any changes in symptoms that you notice.

There can often be confusion regarding the correct dosage of CBD. Different conditions will require differing amounts of CBD. If you’re unfamiliar with hemp CBD oil, deciding where to start can be difficult. Populum offers concentrations ranging from 250mg to 1000mg. We recommend starting with 8mg CBD per day and adjusting up or down based on the desired effect.

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You Might Not be Using the Right Form of CBD

The nature of CBD’s makeup has allowed us to use it in a variety of ways. There are now literally dozens of different types of CBD applications – from the more conventional CBD oils you take orally to CBD skin creams. Depending on why you’re using CBD, what form of CBD product you use can make a big difference.

Different people may respond better to one form of CBD than others. For instance, if you’re interested in immediate relief, you might prefer a topical, such as our Cold Therapy Hemp Rub, which offers a cooling relief. If you’re looking to experience the long-term benefits of CBD, you should consider a CBD oil tincture or a CBD capsule. With these oral supplements, make sure to establish a routine and be sure to stick to it and take it consistently every day for thirty days. Skipping it for a couple days or taking it randomly can potentially disrupt its effectiveness.

You’re Expecting Too Much From It

Many users of CBD oil believe that it will transform their worlds. If you’ve ever used medical marijuana before, you might expect the same transformative results. However, CBD is not marijuana, and it can do wonderful things, but that doesn’t mean it will offer all the benefits you imagined.

First, let’s look at what CBD is and how it differs from other cannabis products. Cannabidiol is a product of the hemp plant. It’s refined using a special CO2 extraction method that fully removes the THC from the product.

If you use isolate CBD, it takes out all the terpenes and vitamins that come from the hemp plant as well. Broad spectrum leaves those goodies in without traces of THC. Full spectrum has less than 0.3 percent THC, but it’s not noticeable enough to register in your system.

Without THC in your cannabis products, you can’t get high. For many users of medical marijuana, getting high is one of the biggest benefits because it removes the pain and suffering and helps calm your nerves. You won’t get that with CBD sold legally throughout the United States.

Even if you’re fully aware that you’re not going to get high from your CBD dose, you might still be expecting more than the product can give you.

You Have Developed a Tolerance

Frequent marijuana users take a tolerance-break (T-break) when they feel as if the herb isn’t providing them with the same benefits as before. After a short hiatus, they return and discover that Mary Jane is once again playing the sweetest tune. Contrary to what you may have read online, it IS possible to develop a tolerance to CBD. Admittedly, you need to take a significant amount for it to happen, but it is feasible.

In December 2018, Shimrit Uliel-Sibony presented data from a trial of 92 patients with ‘treatment-resistant’ epilepsy. All of them received CBD treatment in extremely high doses. The team discovered that almost one-third of patients developed tolerance.

It isn’t great news if you are using CBD as a long-term treatment for epilepsy. However, the timeframe and dosage were well above what the vast majority of people would use. The mean time until the appearance of tolerance was over seven months. Moreover, the average dose was 12.6mg per kilogram per day. A 154-pound individual would need to use 882mg of CBD each day to have this problem.

Of all the reasons why CBD won’t work for you that are in this list, developing a tolerance is the least likely by far. Even so, if you use 100mg or more a day for several months, and feel as if you are no longer receiving the same benefits as before, consider taking a week or two away from it. Monitor how you feel when you return to CBD.

If CBD suddenly stopped working, try taking a reset break for a few days & return to your regular regimen.

Low-Quality CBD Products

One major issue surrounding CBD is the lack of regulation. As it is not FDA approved, it is not subject to strict marketplace rules. As a consequence, consumers must navigate a minefield of snake-oil salespeople. Ideally, the CBD you use is derived from organic hemp and contains no pesticides, insecticides, or other garbage.

Sadly, not all CBD brands adhere to quality control procedures. Back in 2017, scientists looked into the quality of CBD extracts purchased online. The JAMA published study found only 31% of products contained the CBD outlined on the label within a margin of 10%. One-quarter of the items had less CBD than advertised.

We had hoped the industry was improving, but in 2019, a team from NBC 6 in Miami, Florida, purchased 35 CBD products from seven brands. Of these samples, 20 had less than half of the CBD advertised on the label! Some products had no CBD at all! One egregious example involved gummies labeled as having 15mg of CBD that had just 2.2mg in them!

You Need to Give it More Time

People expect instant results when taking CBD, but each body is different. If you’re using a topical CBD, and you don’t feel a result after 2-5 minutes, reapply more CBD on the same spot. If you’re consuming an ingestible, it may take up to a week or even longer of consistent usage, before feeling a difference. CBD needs time to build up in your system before it can be truly effective. With the right dosages and several days, weeks, or even months of using CBD, you will probably notice a significant difference in your system. Many medications work this way, and you don’t want to give up on CBD too early. Patience is key, and while it can be frustrating to keep trying with no results, you may end up feeling super grateful that you didn’t give up.

Give yourself time, increase doses until you feel the benefit you desire. There are no hard rules. Everyone is unique, as will your daily regimen be.


As popular as CBD is, there is no evidence that it works for everyone. You may be unlucky insofar as your genetic makeup doesn’t allow cannabinoids to have the same positive impact as it does on others.

A study by Smith et al., published in PLoS One in November 2016, looked at rare genetic variants in the core endocannabinoid system (ECS) genes. As it transpires, up to 20% of us potentially possess a genetic mutation that enables us to produce an above-average level of endocannabinoids. Individuals with this mutation tend to feel less anxious, but on the flip side, they may not experience much relief when they use CBD.

Type of CBD – Isolate, Full-Spectrum?

Not all CBD oil gets created equally. Many products are CBD isolate but not clearly labeled. Maybe you’re taking an isolate CBD product, but it’s just not delivering. Numerous research papers are suggesting whole-plant extracted products have far more health benefits and better results.

With whole-plant full-spectrum CBD products containing up to 100+ other cannabinoids in trace amounts, 100s of terpenes, nutrients, minerals, fatty acids, and more, it’s understandable that whole-plant full-spectrum results in more significant relief. All of these compounds, working together synergistically, is referred to as the entourage effect. Maybe try a full-spectrum CBD oil next time.

Try a different product using the verifying tips above. Maybe try a full-spectrum CBD product that’s validated by clear 3rd party lab reports.

You Need a Different Delivery System

It seems like I’m hearing about a new CBD product just about every week. You can find everything from CBD coffee to bath salts and lube.

Common forms of CBD:

  • tinctures
  • topical creams
  • vape oils
  • capsules or suppositories
  • edible treats like gummies and chocolate

So if you’ve been trying one delivery system with no luck, it’s possible that a different form would work better for you.



CBD is just like any other health supplement, it takes time, patience and consistency for your body to respond and see results. There is a reason CBD is growing in popularity – it works for many people! So before you give up on CBD altogether, use the above reasons as a check list to figure out why CBD isn’t working for you.

  • Zenpype.com is an educational website dedicated to shedding the light on many sides of medical and recreational cannabis. Aside from informing people about cannabis, we also provide cannabis seeds and CBD products. Readers who show their support with purchasing, help us keep doing this. Thank you for your support and for helping us improve!

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