What Does CBD Feel Like?

What Does CBD Feel Like?

What Does CBD Feel Like?

by Deb Powers

How does CBD make you feel? It’s one of the first questions most people have when they realize that CBD—cannabidiol—is derived from a variety of the plant that gets you high. With cannabis, it can be easy to tell that it’s “working”—there are specific physical and psychological sensations that tell you it’s affecting your body. Since CBD oil is a component of the plant that doesn’t have those psychotropic effects, it’s reasonable to wonder how you’ll know that CBD is actually working. Here’s a look at how you feel with CBD and some tips to help you evaluate whether it’s working, how well it’s working, and how to adjust the dose to get the optimal effect from CBD.

CBD Will Not Get You High

First things first. CBD will not get you high. You won’t have any psychedelic revelations, nor will you feel that weird time-stretchy effect that’s so common with marijuana. Unlike THC, the psychotropic component of cannabis, cannabidiol has no psychotropic effects. It does work in your brain—and in nearly every other part of your body—but it doesn’t have any of the effects that people think of with “mind-altering” substances. In fact, CBD may actively combat the intoxicating effect you get with THC, though the jury is still out on exactly how and why.

How CBD Makes You Feel

So, if CBD doesn’t get you high, what exactly does it make you feel? One way to look at it is that you’ll know CBD is working more because of what you don’t feel than because of what you do. When you take CBD, you’ll feel less anxiety, less pain, and less stress.

CBD and Pain Relief

Numerous studies have found that CBD can reduce chronic pain, particularly neuropathic pain—the kind you feel with diabetes or fibromyalgia—as well as pain from osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. One study found that topical CBD oil applied as a salve or cream reduces pain and inflammation due to arthritis, without the side effects, such as nausea, that some people experience with oral doses of CBD.

CBD Reduces Anxiety

One of the most popular reasons for using CBD is to reduce anxiety, and there’s a considerable amount of evidence to back that up. In fact, cannabidiol is largely recognized as effective against a wide range of anxiety disorders. In one earlier study (2011), researchers measured the effects of CBD under a very common anxiety-inducing experience—public speaking. The results showed that people who used CBD before having to speak in public showed much less stress and anxiety than those who took a placebo. That was true both for people who were and weren’t diagnosed with anxiety disorders.

CBD Modulates the Stress Response

Scientists believe that chronic stress is a major factor in many psychological disorders, including PTSD, major depressive disorder, schizophrenia, and other anxiety-related disorders. Scientists have recently found that exposure to chronic stress actually changes your brain physically, making it harder for your body to manage its stress response. They speculate that treatment with cannabinoids, including CBD, may help prevent these stress-related changes and increase the neuroplasticity of your brain cells, making you more able to cope with stress. The bottom line—CBD may help reduce your body’s overreaction to stress and help it recover from stress more quickly.

If I Don’t Feel Anything, How Will I Know It’s Working?

It’s a bit of a misnomer to say you won’t feel anything when you use CBD. While you won’t get a body buzz, you will definitely feel different—and the difference is usually just...better. You’ll feel less stressed, less anxious, less worried, but you won’t feel sedated or sleepy, even though CBD can help you fall asleep if you suffer from insomnia. According to many people who have tried it, you won’t have a sudden “Aha! It’s working” moment. Nearly everyone who has written a “I used CBD for a week” article notes that the effects were subtle, whether they were using it to relieve sore muscles, help them sleep or reduce anxiety. Instead, they say, you’ll just feel healthier, calmer, more able to handle what life throws at you—and you’ll sleep better.

How Much Should I Take and How Long Should I Wait?

When you come right down to it, this is the real reason you want to know whether CBD is working for you, and just how well it’s working. Knowing this would help you adjust when and how you use CBD oil for optimum benefits. Unfortunately, there aren’t simple answers to those questions. As Aaron Cardena, founder of the CBD Origin newsletter notes, there are a lot of variables at play here. He does offer a simple chart to help you evaluate how soon you can expect to feel the effects of CBD based on the method you use.

As a general guideline, the quicker the cannabidiol gets into your system, the sooner you’ll start feeling the effects. Thus, injection—which most people won’t ever want to use—gets you there the fastest, while topical application could take up to 45 minutes. Here’s the basic info in the chart:






10 to 15 minutes

Sublingual—CBD drops under the tongue

15 to 25 minutes

Edibles—gummies, candy, drinks

20 to 30 minutes


25 to 45 minutes

As for how much you should take, that’s also variable and up in the air. The best advice is to start with a low dose and give it time to work before using more. How long should you wait? Again, that depends. In some cases, experts recommend using the same dose for several days before increasing the dosage. The best advice, though, is to talk to your own medical specialist—or find one who uses CBD in their practice—to help you figure out the best methods and dosages for your needs.

As A Precaution

Currently, most oral CBD products are considered dietary supplements and regulated very lightly. Other CBD products may not be regulated at all. There are few guidelines for standardized dosages, let alone regulation of what else may be in the products you buy. That means it’s up to you to be a careful buyer—do your homework and always buy from trusted sources that are transparent about all of their ingredients.

Deb Powers is a freelance writer living and working in Massachusetts. She writes frequently about health, wellness and lifestyle topics.