How does CBD make you feel? A guide for new users
Learn how CBD works in the body and what effects it produces.
When hearing about a new supplement or substance, people ask one question before the rest: how does it make you feel when you take it? Experiencing noticeable effects is how we know something is working as it should and that we’re getting our money’s worth from a particular product.
When using CBD oils, edibles like CBD gummies, and other products, it’s difficult to summarize the feeling it produces because so many factors are at play. It depends on variables like your serving size, method of delivery, the formulation of the CBD product, and other biological and environmental factors.*
In other words, everyone has a unique experience with CBD, and trying it for yourself is the best way to discover what it does for you.*
But in the meantime, this article is meant to outline the active mechanisms of CBD and explain which effects and benefits you might notice from taking it. We’ll also discuss the main forms of CBD and the optimal starting amount to begin your journey safely.
How does CBD work?
Cannabidiol (CBD) is a naturally-occurring compound known as a cannabinoid, found in abundance in the cannabis plant. Hemp-derived CBD is federally legal, and hemp plants are cannabis plants with less than 0.3 percent THC by dry weight.
Unlike its psychoactive sibling THC, CBD has different effects on the human body and does not significantly alter your perception or cause a “high”. It also doesn’t cause THC-related side effects like dry mouth and drowsiness.*
CBD has benefits you will notice with proper amounts and the right approach. This is because CBD interacts directly with the endocannabinoid system (ECS), which is a large network of receptors found throughout the body and brain.*
By interacting with CB1 receptors and CB2 receptors in the ECS, CBD can have health benefits for our emotional state, physical comfort, and overall well-being.*
CBD also rarely works alone, especially in well-researched products that use plant-rich hemp extract formulations from the whole plant. CBD is often combined with other cannabinoids like CBG, CBN, and trace amounts of THC to fuel the entourage effect, impacting the ECS more completely for greater results.*
We’ll touch more on the potential benefits of CBD next, but for now, keep in mind the role of the ECS and the ability of CBD (especially combined with other cannabinoids) to affect transmitters in nearly every area of the body.
What are the possible benefits of CBD?
If you want to know how CBD makes you feel, there’s no better place to start than with the benefits widely reported by users and backed up by studies conducted in recent decades.
Because the ECS is so vast and CBD comes in many formats, you can expect a different set of benefits based on your current state of health and other factors such as metabolic function and other ingredients.*
As you read through these benefits, consider how your specific symptoms may be expressed and how CBD might help balance your daily experience.*
May help support emotional wellness*
Emotional wellness covers a lot of ground, ranging from how we process difficult feelings to how we express ourselves around others. A strong sense of emotional wellness isn’t just important for navigating life in a practical sense (work, relationships, daily tasks), but it is also key to a balanced and healthy inner life.
With CBD, emotional wellness is one of the top benefits identified by studies and user reports. This might mean feeling resilient in the face of emotional challenges or keeping a positive outlook despite going through the ups and downs of life.*
Many users report that CBD makes them feel more grounded and centered, while others say it helps keep them emotionally balanced in situations that would previously cause distress or worry.*
This is due to the role of the ECS in supporting things like mood, motivation, memory, and even the physical response of the heart and lungs when confronted with emotional difficulties. CBD may offer the support you need to stay ahead of those tough emotions and do what you need to do.*
May help ease feelings of discomfort*
Comfort goes hand in hand with emotional balance, but in this case, negative symptoms can feel more severe or acute. Discomfort can limit you physically, prevent you from engaging socially, or hold you back from your professional aspirations.
CBD can ease feelings of discomfort by interacting with the central nervous system, as well organs, muscle tissue, skin cells, and even bones.* Reduced discomfort is one of the most commonly reported benefits of CBD, and this can mean something different for each person who takes it.*
In some cases, discomfort can emerge as nervous energy or apprehension in social situations. In other settings, discomfort might be a physical phenomenon where your body seems imbalanced or out of sorts. CBD works to address these uncomfortable feelings and may offer the natural support you’ve been looking for.
May help soothe feelings of tension*
So many of us carry a ton of extra tension without even realizing it. You might have tight muscles in the neck or shoulders from working a desk job, or maybe you’re dealing with tension in moments when you’re simply trying to relax.
This tension usually starts small, but can start to worsen over time or flare up when the stress begins to pile on. In these cases, a serving of CBD can help soothe those tense feelings and bring you back into balance to move forward in a measured, balanced manner.*
The best part is that CBD allows you to stay in full control of your emotional states and physical capabilities, which isn’t always the case with THC or other substances that aim to ease tension. This is ideal for busy professionals or active parents who are juggling ten things at once during the day and need a break from the tension of the body or mind.*
May help support sleep*
The role of sleep in overall wellness is critical, and even a few lost hours of sleep per week can degrade our quality of life. If you’re feeling out of balance or not quite yourself, it’s likely your sleep routine that needs fixing, and CBD can help bring your routine back into order as well.
Numerous studies have already linked the ECS to the sympathetic nervous system and other biological processes that regulate our sleep processes. A serving of CBD as part of your evening routine—with a formulation featuring CBN—be the missing element that helps you fall asleep and achieve sustained rest throughout the night.*
This is a safer, more sustainable way to approach sleep and bring your rhythm back into balance after weeks or months of sleep deprivation. Combined with good sleep hygiene habits and a healthy lifestyle, CBD can help you get the sleep your body and mind need more than anything.*
What types of CBD products are available?
The benefits of CBD are broad, and we’ve only touched on a few of the main findings from recent studies and user anecdotes. Additionally, there are many types of CBD to choose from, each emphasizing different cannabinoids and use cases for certain situations or times of the day.
You’ll find no shortage of CBD products for morning use, afternoon focus, or evening relaxation, and these formulations can be further enhanced with proven ingredients like plant extracts and oils.
For now, however, let’s look at the three main types of CBD available on the market and see how they differ on a chemical level.
CBD isolate is one of the less popular CBD products you’ll encounter, but it’s also the purest form of CBD available. It is produced by extracting the CBD compound from plant matter and removing all other traces of cannabinoids, including CBG, CBN, THC, and other terpenes.
The result is a CBD-only product that offers the key CBD benefits we discussed, but leaves you without the entourage effect. The entourage effect is popular theory in the cannabis world that describes the combined effect of all plant compounds, cannabinoids, and terpenes. Basically, the more plant-rich the CBD supplement, for more likely you will experience noticeable effects.*
CBD isolate might be a good entry point for brand-new CBD users, but the full benefits will go untapped.
Broad spectrum CBD
A step up from CBD isolate is broad spectrum CBD, containing a sufficient set of cannabinoids and terpenes, flavonoids, and other natural compounds. This formulation provides more of an entourage effect, and you’ll find nearly every CBD delivery method available in broad spectrum form.
However, broad spectrum CBD products feature virtually zero THC, meaning the entourage effect may fall a little bit short of its full potential.
Still, this may be the best way for new users to get comfortable with a more potent CBD product while keeping THC out of the equation. Broad spectrum products are also great for those looking to switch from THC consumption and enjoy the other benefits of natural cannabis compounds.
Full spectrum CBD
Featuring the complete set of cannabinoids, including trace amounts of THC, broad spectrum CBD is widely considered the most effective type of CBD available. These products include oils, tinctures, gummies, baked goods, and more.
Ingestible versions will provide the fastest noticeable effects, while topicals and creams are better for a targeted, soothing sensation on the muscles or joints.
With the inclusion of THC in full spectrum CBD products, users get the entourage effect in full force, though THC concentrations are limited to 0.3% by volume. Even this tiny presence can enhance the overall effects of CBD, providing more acute benefits.
What is a typical starting amount of CBD?
Getting the most from the CBD lifestyle means starting small, ideally with a serving between 10 to 20 mg for your first time. We recommend beginning with a water soluble CBD product, like our broad spectrum wellness water soluble. All water soluble products absorb more quickly, and in turn, typically provided the quickest onset compared to a gummy, tincture, or capsule.
Your first serving might not have noticeable effects, but you shouldn’t take more for at least four hours after initial consumption. Try sticking with the same starter serving for a few days or a week before increasing the amount or upping the serving frequency.
Remember that CBD’s effects are subtle, especially compared to THC-focused products. Observe all effects closely and remember that CBD becomes more effective as it builds up in your system.
The bottom line
There is a lot to learn about CBD from a scientific standpoint, but in terms of practical effects, it’s all about your experience and approach. Refresh yourself on the potential benefits of CBD and consider how it might be used to improve your quality of life and well-being.
Sunmed is here to help you ease into the CBD lifestyle safely with the products and resources you need to get started.
CBD as a Sleep Aid | Sleep Foundation
Clinicians' Guide to Cannabidiol and Hemp Oils | NIH
Enhancing Endocannabinoid Control of Stress with Cannabidiol | PMC
CBD Oil, Are the Benefits Claimed Too Good To Be True? | Cleveland Clinic
The Impact of Cannabidiol on Human Brain Function: A Systematic Review | PMC
Cannabidiol (CBD) - StatPearls | NCBI Bookshelf
The endocannabinoid system: Essential and mysterious | Harvard Health