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… a lot of 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, here are 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.
Moral of the story: By promoting activity in the ECS, hemp extract seems to help ease chronic pain in adults 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.
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 receptors (5HT1A), regulating GABA (involved in anxiety) and glutamate (an excitatory neurotransmitter), and more,” Heather Jackson, the CEO of cannabinoid research nonprofit Realm of Caring.
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.