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CBD Oil Not Working? 5 Potential Reasons Why

Many people expect instant results when they first start taking CBD oil. But that’s more the exception than the rule. The lack of immediate results can lead some to quickly give up and declare that CBD oil doesn’t work for them.

A better approach is to have realistic expectations when starting out. For many, tangible results from CBD aren’t achieved for several weeks. Patience and perseverance are important. So is an understanding of the different variables at play that can determine both short-term and long-term effectiveness for you.

The purpose of this article is to present 5 potential reasons why CBD isn’t working for you, or may have stopped working, and suggest what you can do to increase your chances of achieving your wellness goals.

1. Choose a Brand and Product Wisely

A good first step is to choose high-quality, lab-tested products from reputable CBD brands. There are now an estimated 3,500 brands selling CBD products. And unfortunately, some of them cut corners on product quality. To help ensure that you are getting a quality product, only buy from brands that have a strong track record and positive reviews from other users.

Be aware that it may take some experimenting with different products and brands to find the one that works best for you. A specific product that works great for one person may not work at all for another person even if they are treating a similar condition. This is because everyone has a unique endocannabinoid system that responds differently to particular products.

Be sure you know if the CBD product that you’re been using is full spectrum, broad spectrum or isolate. If it isn’t working for you, then you may want to try a different product type. For example, some users only get results from full spectrum products that have detectable levels of THC. If you’ve been using a broad spectrum or isolate product and haven’t gotten any results, you may want to try a full spectrum product. 

2. Find Your Optimal Dose

Taking too much CBD or too little CBD is the #1 mistake made by beginners. Unlike aspirin where a standard dose of 2 tablets will be effective for the majority of people, the “right” dose of CBD is highly individualized. Type and severity of condition, body weight and body chemistry are just a few of the variables that make the optimal dose different for each person.

Your goal is to find the optimal dose of CBD oil for you specifically. You’ll need to do some experimentation to figure out what’s best for you. But finding your optimal dosage is critically important to achieving success with CBD. Our CBD dosage guide explains the process for finding your optimal dose.

Dosage is something that needs to be evaluated on a continuous basis. You may need to increase your dose if effectiveness declines over time. Or you may need to reduce your dose if you experience unfavorable side effects such as headaches or nausea. 

3. Bioavailability Matters

Bioavailability, or absorption rate, refers to the percentage of CBD that actually enters your bloodstream. Different ways of taking CBD have different absorption rates. For example, when you take CBD oil drops only about 20-30% of the CBD actually enters your blood stream. It’s even less for oral methods like gummies and capsules. 

So depending on how you are taking CBD, you may be getting less CBD into your system than you think. You may need to experiment with how you’re taking CBD to find the delivery method that works best for you. If taking CBD gummies isn’t working for you, you may want to try CBD oil drops or a transdermal product that have higher absorption rates.

4. Genetics May Be to Blame

Approximately 15-20% of people are genetically disposed to their body producing higher levels of natural endocannabinoids. This is generally a good thing for the overall well-being of those people. But the higher level of natural endocannabinoids can mean that they’ll get less benefit from taking CBD oil as a supplement.

5. Building a Tolerance

After you’ve been taking CBD for awhile, it’s natural to expect that a tolerance will build up over time. You may find that you have to take a higher dose to achieve the same results you got from lower doses previously. At some point, you may notice that you are no longer getting results by increasing the dosage.

When that occurs, you may want to consider taking a “tolerance break” from CBD to allow your endocannabinoid receptors to reset. After a couple of weeks, you can resume taking CBD and hopefully you’ll achieve your desired results again at a lower dosage than what you had previously built up to.


CBD is not a quick fix or miracle cure. It has proven to be a useful tool in the wellness toolbox of many users. But it doesn’t work for everyone and it takes longer to work for some than others.

You can improve your chances of success by doing your research, being patient and understanding that some experimentation is needed. If you have any questions, please join us in the CBD Oil Users Group on Facebook where you can ask questions and share experiences with others.

5 Responses

  1. After menopause my sleep cycle was ravished. I would wake every morning at 3 AM, and it was impossible to go back to sleep. I tried everything, but finally bought CBD oil from SunMed. BINGO. I slept like a baby for one year and 3 months at .50 mL per night at bedtime. BTW, at that dosage I never got a high and never wanted one. This March my body shut it all down. The same dosage does not work. I am waking at 3 AM even with the same CBD dosage. Yes, one can build a tolerance to these products. I am going on a CBD holiday and will start taking it again in a month. It is stored in our fat cells, so I read it can take a full 90 days to get it completely out of one’s system. Meanwhile, if you see a sleepless zombie walking around, that would be me. Thank you.

  2. Not mentioned is that there’s a huge varience between vendors and products within each vendor. CBD is a very complex combo of sub-components that vary widely across vendors, strains, even grow seasons. Just like grapes going into wine.

  3. I just started using a CBD cream that a lot of my friends rave about. It doesn’t work for me. Am I the oddball?

  4. I use the hemp cream by Charlotte’s Web. I cannot take it orally because my doctor said it could interfere with my medication. It takes the edge off of all my body pains. I’ve never tried any other brand or type. A tube is supposed to last one month but I need 2 tubs. So I must be using too much. I’d like to find out what brands others have used.

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