By now you’ve probably heard quite a bit about CBD; perhaps you’ve even tried out a product containing this hemp compound for yourself. And though those three letters have gone pretty mainstream throughout the last few years, you’re not alone if you’re still unsure how CBD can support your health—and how long it takes to feel the benefits. We’re here to help!
A Quick CBD Recap
CBD (short for cannabidiol) is just one of more than 100 cannabinoid compounds found in hemp, a variety of the cannabis plant. Though the word “cannabinoid” might sound a bit intimidating, our body actually produces its own cannabinoids—called endocannabinoids—and has its own endocannabinoid system, which helps the body maintain homeostasis in response to stress.
“CBD works on the endocannabinoid system by interacting with cannabinoid receptors in the brain, nerves, organs, and immune system,” explains Maryland-based internist Matthew Mintz, M.D. “Whereas another cannabinoid compound called THC makes you sleepy or gives you that ‘high’ sensation, CBD has no psychoactive effects.” It can, however, have a soothing, balancing effect on your system, and be supportive of the body amidst stress, low mood, and more.
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Though helping to ease stress might seem like a straightforward accomplishment, CBD impacts health and wellbeing in many ways. “Stress causes a waterfall effect; it interferes with sleep, dampens a healthy immune response, and leads to fatigue and possible alterations in mood,” explains Jen Palmer, N.D., naturopath and Director of Education for Charlotte’s Web. So, by promoting your body’s ability to maintain balance in the face of stress, CBD works some far-reaching magic.
How Long It Takes To Experience CBD’s Benefits
Since different people respond differently to CBD, figuring out the ideal amount for you—and how long you’ll need to incorporate it in order to notice a difference—is often the biggest challenge, according to naturopath Zora DeGrandpre, N.D., of East County Natural Medicine in Vancouver.
After identifying the wellness goal you want CBD to support, she recommends starting with a small amount of the compound and increasing it each day, as needed, for about a week. “This process of trial and error can be prolonged further, as there is a wide variation in individual biochemistry and overall health,” she explains.
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The good news: Once you get through that week-or-so experimentation process, you may start experiencing the benefits pretty quickly. “Some people notice a benefit immediately, whereas others need to use CBD consistently for several weeks before they realize the effects,” says Palmer.
One tip to consider as you start your new CBD routine: “Journal about how you feel as you progress because it’s easy to forget how you felt before you started taking it,” Palmer says. “Writing it down makes it easier to look back and notice the progress that you’ve made.”
The Bottom Line
CBD isn’t one size fits all. That said, it takes most people about a week or so to figure out the right amount for their individual needs and goals. From there, you may start to notice the benefits right away or may need to continue taking it consistently for a few more weeks to experience what it has to offer.