Why CBD Oil Won’t Work for Everyone [Answered]

Explaining in detail


CBD sales are escalating rapidly, to the point where they are expected to reach approximately $20 billion globally by 2024. It is one of many interesting CBD statistics:

  • There are almost 900 CBD brands in the American market.
  • An estimated 40% of Americans have expressed an interest in using cannabidiol.
  • Up to 75% of CBD brand founders or general managers are female.
  • It is legal in 47 states at the time of writing; 48 if you include Idaho which has stringent laws regarding CBD.
  • 90% of hemp-derived CBD consumers in the United States believe weed has medical benefits.

Here is a quick look at just how quickly CBD sales have grown in the United States, plus a projection of the next three years:

YearCBD Sales
2014$108.1m
2015$172.9m
2016$262.2m
2017$358.4m
2018$512.7m
2019$813.2m
2020$1153m
2021$1546m
2022$1812m

Potential CBD Benefits

The list of purported benefits varies from a reduction in seizures in people living with epilepsy to relief from anxiety and stress.

BenefitExplanation
Alleviation of cancer-related symptomsMay reduce symptoms related to chemotherapy such as pain, vomiting, and nausea
Anti-inflammatoryImpacts endocannabinoid receptor activity, thus reducing inflammation and treating pain related to conditions such as arthritis, multiple sclerosis, and fibromyalgia
Anxiety & DepressionPotentially helps you to relax, feel calmer, and may also boost mood
Reduces AcneCBD could minimize sebum production, the primary cause of acne
Neuroprotective propertiesPossibly reduces muscle spasticity and seizures
Cardiovascular healthCBD is linked with the ability to lower high blood pressure and reduce oxidative stress

However, CBD does not work for everyone. Therefore, we advise you to steer clear of any website, organization, or CBD seller that claims the cannabinoid is a panacea. Research into CBD is ongoing, and while it has uncovered plenty of exciting things, scientists are, at present, unable to conclude the exact efficacy of cannabidiol.

If you have tried CBD and it did not have the effect you desired, there are several reasons. In this guide, we provide explanations for six of the most common.

1 – 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.

Worryingly, 21% of products contained THC; a big issue if you take a drug screening!

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!

Therefore, if CBD is doing nothing for you, it might be a case of the product not containing much cannabidiol to begin with! Begin your CBD search by looking for reputable brands like PureKana, Premium Jane, Green Roads, Elixinol, and Provacan if you are a UK customer.

Incidentally, Green Roads was one of the brands tested by NBC 6. It was one of the few companies that made the grade. The company’s founder, Laura Baldwin Fuentes, said she spends over $1 million each year to perform three levels of testing. Remember, CBD companies are not legally required to test their products. Only buy from brands that have third-party lab reports backing up their claims.

2 – Dosage & Potency

One thing we DO know about CBD is that it affects everyone differently. Factors such as your age, weight, gender, lifestyle, general health, and the condition you aim to treat, all play a role in how it affects you. As a consequence, your best bet is to begin with a low dose to see how CBD affects you. If you are not satisfied with the results, up the dosage accordingly until you reach the minimum recommended dose.

This is the lowest dosage you take that provides a noticeable medical benefit. It is entirely possible that 10mg of CBD per day does nothing, but 20mg a day has an effect. As a general rule of thumb, begin with 1-6mg per 10 pounds of bodyweight depending on your pain level. For example, you will take far more if you have severe pain when compared to mild discomfort.

Here is a quick table outlining rough estimates based on pain level and how much you weigh.

WeightMild PainMedium PainSevere Pain
0-49 pounds1-6mg3-9mg6-12mg
50-99 pounds5-20mg12-49mg30-60mg
100-149 pounds10-30mg21-74mg50-90mg
150-200 pounds15-40mg31-99mg75-120mg
201-250 pounds20-50mg41-124mg105-150mg
251-300 pounds25-60mg51-149mg125-180mg

As you can see, the range is vast. Begin at the lower end and work your way up.

Understanding the potency of the CBD product in question is imperative if you aim to determine your daily dosage. For instance, a bottle that contains 30ml of liquid and 1,200mg of CBD contains 40mg of CBD per ml. Most CBD tincture bottles contain a 1ml or 2ml dropper. Read the label carefully to see how many drops the dropper holds.

It is all too easy to miscalculate your dosage and use too little, or too much, CBD.

3 – You Have Inadvertently 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.

4 – Genetics

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.

5 – Physical & Psychological Health

Also, there are biological factors at play. Initial research suggests that women are more sensitive to the cannabinoids in weed and hemp than men. As a result, they are more likely to experience pain relief than their male counterparts. It is also worth noting that men are larger than women on average. Since a person’s size dictates the effect of CBD, it stands to reason that men need more CBD to treat conditions such as chronic pain.

Interestingly, the menstrual cycle plays a role in how cannabinoids impact women. Studies going back to the early 1980s show THC works closely with the hormone, estrogen. As a result, marijuana is at its most potent when a woman’s estrogen levels are at their highest. It is less clear whether CBD has the same impact.

If you don’t believe that cannabinoids impact each person differently, consider alcohol consumption, and tolerance. You may feel okay after four glasses of wine, while your buddy may be losing his balance and slurring his speech after consuming the same amount. Once again, this is due to our old friend, the ECS. Factors such as diet, lifestyle, stress, and genetics determine the impact of CBD.

If you want CBD to work more efficiently, take a look at your fatty acid intake. A study by Kim, Li, and Watkins, published in Nutrition in June 2011, stated that a diet high in Omega-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids would result in increased ECS activation. Increased Omega-3 intake helps modulate the activation of target receptors in the ECS.

Feel Good Already? CBD May Not Help

Oddly enough, if you are in excellent physical and psychological shape, CBD may not provide much assistance. From what we know about the cannabinoid, it works best in individuals with endocannabinoid ‘gaps.’ Do you take aspirin when you don’t have a headache or ibuprofen when you don’t have inflammation?

If you have a condition such as fibromyalgia, for example, you are in dire need of cannabinoids. As such, using CBD should help alleviate at least some of the pain. When you use CBD medicinally, it results in numerous chemical reactions within the body that help restore a state of balance or homeostasis. If your body is already in this state, it stands to reason that CBD won’t give you much of a boost.

It is the same scenario when it comes to mental health. Individuals with depression, PTSD, anxiety, or a similar issue possess a chemical imbalance in the brain. When you use CBD, it potentially restores the chemical balance and improves how you feel. Once again, would you use anti-depressants if you already felt good and did NOT suffer from depression?

5 – You Are Not Using a Full-Spectrum Product

There are plenty of cannabidiol sellers offering CBD isolate. While there is nothing inherently wrong with these products, science suggests they are not as effective as full-spectrum products. This type of item contains dozens of cannabinoids aside from CBD, including CBG, CBC, and CBN; not to mention scores of terpenes.

Research shows that cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids work better together in a process known as the entourage effect. You can even combine CBD with THC if you don’t mind feeling a little stoned (CBD helps counteract the psychoactive effects of THC somewhat) and live in a legal state.

6 – You Are Not Patient! – Unrealistic Expectations

Once again, the lack of regulation in the CBD industry is a problem here. Too many users believe the hype and think cannabidiol will provide a ‘cure’ for their medical complaint. It is best if you alter your expectations. If you have suffered from crippling pain for years, don’t be disappointed if CBD doesn’t eliminate it completely. It is far more likely that the cannabinoid will reduce the severity of the pain to a point where life is less miserable.

If you expect a 90-100% reduction in pain and ‘only’ get a 50% reduction, you will ‘feel’ cheated. In reality, you are much better off than you were before!

Also, don’t expect a situation where you use CBD and feel ‘better’ within five minutes! Many of the possible effects, such as anti-inflammatory properties, take weeks of daily use to notice. Remember, the CBD interacts with the cannabinoid receptors of your immune system and ECS to trigger a response from the cells.

‘Balance’ in the body is not something that happens overnight. Be patient and wait until you finish a full CBD oil bottle, or use a CBD product daily for a month, before judging its efficacy.

A chart highlighting and summarizing each pitfall

Possible ReasonExplanation
Low Quality CBD Products●        Lack of regulation

●        Not lab tested

●        Contains minimal CBD

Dosage & Potency●        You are not taking enough CBD each day

●        The CBD product is weak

●        You fail to find your minimum useful dose

Tolerance●        Potential to develop a tolerance when taking a lot of CBD for a long time

●        Most likely to affect patients with epilepsy

●        The least likely reason

Physical & Psychological health●        Healthy individuals may not benefit as much for CBD

●        A genetic mutation could result in increased endocannabinoid production thus reducing the impact of CBD

●        Women may experience more significant pain relief from CBD than men

Full-Spectrum Products●        CBD isolate is likely not as effective as full-spectrum products

●        Try a product that contains numerous cannabinoids and terpenes

●        The entourage effect suggests that cannabinoids work better together

Patience●        CBD does not work overnight

●        You may not feel the effects for weeks

●        Don’t harbor unrealistic expectations

 Final Thoughts on CBD Oil’s Efficacy

If you have used CBD and are disappointed in the perceived lack of effects, look through this article to see if any of the points apply to you. It might be something as simple as not using a high-quality product, or else you don’t use enough CBD each day. Alternatively, you may be unlucky, and your genetic makeup means cannabinoids don’t impact you in a similar way to others.

On the plus side, it may not work because you are in excellent health. That’s hardly the worst thing in the world.