CBD (cannabidiol) is a rising star in the supplement world that's touted as a remedy for everything from seizures to migraines to anxiety & insomnia. But along with the many success stories are tales of disappointment--people who tried CBD products & felt no benefits whatsoever. "Why didn't CBD work for me? What am I doing wrong? What should I be feeling?" they ask.
Fortunately there are some things you can do to boost the effectiveness of CBD. Not all forms are created equal. Oral products like candies, capsules & oils are less effective in general for good reason. CBD taken by mouth has to pass through the stomach's acidic environment, the kidneys & liver before getting into the bloodstream, all of which destroy some of its activity. If you want the full effects, choose a sublingual or vaporized/smoked type of CBD. These methods deliver the medicine directly to your bloodstream where it can do its work. If you choose a sublingual product, leave it under your tongue for at least 5 minutes before swallowing it to ensure maximum absorption.
Secondly, many of the products sold as CBD sadly contain little or no actual CBD. It's still an unregulated market with deceptive advertising running rampant. If the label says "hemp oil" or "hempseed oil" with no reference to cannabidiol, that's probably not what you want. Make sure the actual amount of CBD is listed on the label, as that's the active ingredient. Full-spectrum products are fine but CBD content is of foremost importance. A third-party lab report should be a requirement when shopping for CBD since some deadly synthetic "Spice" cannabinoids have been found in a few brands.
The third point to consider is that CBD is most effective when combined with other cannabinoids such as THC, CBG, CBN & terpenes--all of which occur naturally in the cannabis plant. This is known as the "entourage effect". Only trace amounts of these are needed to boost CBD's efficacy. You don't need to get high to experience the benefits of the entourage effect. Look for a full-spectrum product such as hemp buds or CBD shatter with terpenes ("terpsolate"). However, if you suffer from cannabis-induced anxiety, you might want to stick to plain CBD isolate since it's less likely to trigger feelings of paranoia & unease. Some people are extremely sensitive to the effects of THC but in general most folks can handle full-spectrum products.
Finally, CBD works best when taken consistently over a long period of time. It builds up in your system & helps regulate your endocannabinoid system rather than just masking symptoms as they arise. In other words, it's better as a preventative than a rescue med for acute symptoms. In the short term you can expect to feel mild relaxation from CBD, but the real benefits come with long-term consistent use. And the changes can be so subtle you don't even know it's working until you wake up one day & realize you haven't had a migraine/seizure/panic attack/whatever since you started using it.
I've tried numerous methods of ingesting CBD and my personal favorite is vaping isolate or shatter with a vape pen like the Yocan Evolve Plus (shown below). This type of vape has little coils where you put the CBD & they heat up to create vapor that's inhaled. It's a little painful/harsh but has no known health risks since it's just vapor. There are also the small vape pens that use "juice" (liquid), but those are less healthy since they often contain carrier oils that contain lipids, which in theory could cause lipid pneumonia.
If you try all of these things and still aren't getting any relief after 3-6 months, maybe CBD isn't right for you. As with any medication or supplement, everyone is different & responds uniquely to CBD. Maybe your endocannabinoid system is working properly & your problem lies in another area (endorphins, dopamine, hormones, etc). But at least you don't need a prescription and expensive doctor's visit to try CBD and the side effects are minimal compared to other substances. So it was worth a shot.