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5 Signs That Your CBD Product Is Working

Emma Loewe
Emma Loewe
mbg Sustainability + Health Director
By Emma Loewe
mbg Sustainability + Health Director
Emma Loewe is the Senior Sustainability Editor at mindbodygreen and the author of "Return to Nature: The New Science of How Natural Landscapes Restore Us."
5 Ways To Quickly Gauge If Your CBD Product Is Working
Image by GUILLE FAINGOLD / Stocksy

One common misconception about cannabidiol (CBD) is that it causes a similar high to smoking weed. In reality, to lead to any mind-altering effects, a CBD product needs to contain THC.

On their own, CBD and the other plant compounds found in hemp extracts are nonpsychoactive—good news for anyone who's ever been burned by the paranoid, out-of-body feeling that THC can deliver. But their more mellow uptake also means that it's a lot harder to tell if they're actually doing anything.

While everyone will react to the plant compound differently, we rounded up five telltale signs that your hemp extract is, in fact, working:

1. You feel physically comfortable and relaxed.*

CBD is one of over 100 cannabinoids present in a hemp extract. Once consumed, these cannabinoids interact mainly with the body's endocannabinoid system (ECS). Essentially, they help this system do its job of maintaining balance throughout the body.*

Also known as our master regulatory system, the ECS has a hand in a number of processes—including the inflammation response.* There's also some research to show that similar cannabinoids to those found in hemp are released during exercise, explaining that calm, content "runner's high" feeling throughout the body.* (Indeed, some people have noticed that taking a hemp extract makes them feel like they just went on a jog.)

Moral of the story: By promoting activity in the ECS, hemp extract seems to help ease chronic pain in adults1 and contribute to an all-around relaxed sensation throughout the body.*

2. You're less phased by things that used to stress you out.*

Thanks to the way it interacts with the ECS, CBD can also help people more calmly react to external stressors.*

mbg's client experience director Samantha Schwartz recalls that the first time she tried hemp multi+, mbg's organic hemp extract, an important call that would have usually stressed her out suddenly felt much more manageable.* "My heart wasn't banging, and overall I felt totally calm," she writes. Since starting to take the product regularly, she's noticed that "the big difference is that now my anxious thoughts, while still lingering, don't cause me to have a physical or mental response."

This tracks with what early clinical research on CBD is finding. In one small trial2, brain scans of 10 healthy males found that CBD decreased subjective anxiety and increased mental sedation compared to a placebo.* In another, the cannabinoid had an immediate therapeutic effect3 on people with social anxiety disorder who were about to perform a public speaking test.*

3. You feel less anxious about the future.*

There's some evidence that CBD can ease anxious thoughts—again, thanks to the way it interacts with the ECS and the various neurotransmitters it regulates.* "Although CBD is not intoxicating, it can positively affect mood by acting on serotonin receptors4 (5HT1A), regulating GABA5 (involved in anxiety) and glutamate6 (an excitatory neurotransmitter), and more," Heather Jackson, the CEO of cannabinoid research nonprofit Realm of Caring, previously told mbg.*

4. You're more productive.*

Anecdotally, some people report feeling like they're more focused and productive after taking a CBD product during the day.* This is likely due to the fact that cannabinoids can ease stressful, anxious thoughts and make it easier to concentrate on the task at hand.

5. You fall asleep faster.*

Conversely, if you take CBD at night, you may notice that it helps you fall asleep faster. While CBD isn't a sedative and there's no evidence it directly improves sleep, its relaxing effects can help you de-stress before bed.* Since stress and anxiety are major drivers of insomnia, managing them can help reduce sleep latency, the time it takes you to fall asleep once you get in bed, by extension.

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Emma Loewe author page.
Emma Loewe
mbg Sustainability + Health Director

Emma Loewe is the Sustainability and Health Director at mindbodygreen and the author of Return to Nature: The New Science of How Natural Landscapes Restore Us. She is also the co-author of The Spirit Almanac: A Modern Guide To Ancient Self Care, which she wrote alongside Lindsay Kellner.

Emma received her B.A. in Environmental Science & Policy with a specialty in environmental communications from Duke University. In addition to penning over 1,000 mbg articles on topics from the water crisis in California to the rise of urban beekeeping, her work has appeared on Grist, Bloomberg News, Bustle, and Forbes. She's spoken about the intersection of self-care and sustainability on podcasts and live events alongside environmental thought leaders like Marci Zaroff, Gay Browne, and Summer Rayne Oakes.