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Hearing someone describe what CBD feels like can be a bit like hearing someone try to describe the characteristics of empty space, or explain Wittgenstein’s Tractatus. “It’s about the absence of feeling.” “It’s a wave of relief, but you don’t actually feel anything.”

Don’t be upset if you come away confused, or downright skeptical (how does one obtain relief from something that you can’t feel?).

One of the biggest things stopping people from trying CBD is uncertainty about what it feels like and what the experience is. And CBD’s close relationship to marijuana sparks a lot of confusion about whether CBD gets you high or not (it doesn’t).

This article is for the CBD-curious who want to triangulate exactly what CBD feels like before trying it. We give you the hard science and also relate people’s experiences, so you’ll know what to expect when you give it a go.

What Does CBD Feel Like?

CBD users describe the feeling of CBD as a mild wave of relief felt throughout the body and mind. CBD doesn’t “kick in” at a certain point, but aches, pains, and anxiety fade away slowly.

Think of it this way: you take a Tylenol when you have a toothache, and boom, the toothache goes away. It doesn’t have to get you high to do it. Except CBD is sort of like Tylenol for the soul: you don’t feel a sensation, but negative sensations and feelings go away, along with aches and pains.

People describe their experience with CBD as:

  • Calming
  • Relieving
  • Normalizing
  • Relaxing

Does CBD Make You Sleepy?

No, sleepiness is not frequently reported by CBD users. In fact, in small-to-moderate doses of CBD are reported to have a mild stimulating effect. However, there IS some evidence that CBD can improve the quality of your sleep by regulating sleep cycles.

Does CBD Give You a Body High?

No. Though CBD does provide pain relief throughout the body, there’s no couch-lock and the experience is NOT a high.

What Does CBD Do? 4 Positive Mental and Physical Effects

What makes CBD the Tylenol for the soul? It serves as a general tonic for the endocannabinoid system the same system that regulates critical functions like pain-sensation, mood, appetite, and more. That’s why CBD users report a range of experiences and positive benefits (we listed a few for you here).

1. Anxiety relief.

Anxiety relief is one of the most common uses for CBD, and there’s a large body of scientific evidence to back it up. I (Remedy Journey here) personally use CBD for anxiety. My anxiety feels like a churning or a ball of tension in my stomach, and when I consume 25mg or so of CBD the tension dissipates and I can breathe easier and focus better.

2. Mood improvement.

There is some evidence indicating that CBD has antidepressant capabilities. However, the bulk of the evidence supporting CBD as an antidepressant is from animal studies, so further human testing is necessary before we can be certain.

But there are other indications that CBD has the ability to improve mood. Low serotonin levels are strongly linked to depression, and CBD can increase the body’s natural production of serotonin. Depression and anxiety are closely linked, so it makes sense that if it works for one then it would work for the other.

3. Pain relief.

CBD is perhaps best known as a natural pain-reliever. High-performance athletes commonly use CBD to relieve pain from training-related injuries. Some athletes have even founded advocacy groups promoting CBD for other athletes.

There is perhaps no benefit of CBD with stronger evidence to back it up than pain relief. Multiple studies in both humans and animals have demonstrated its function as a painkiller, especially in joint pain and arthritis.

4. Nausea relief.

Endocannabinoid receptors influence sensations like nausea, and CBD helps calm these receptors by stimulating the body to produce natural endocannabinoids. There are some studies to back this up, though they tend to study CBD and THC combined, rather than CBD alone. Marijuana strains high in CBD are typically associated with nausea relief (along with pain relief).

Side-effects of CBD

One of CBD’s most positive attributes is that it’s a natural, plant-based supplement with no psychoactive effects, so people rarely experience side-effects. However, there are a few minor side-effects reported by a small percentage of users, including:

  • Dry mouth
  • Small drops in blood pressure
  • Lightheadedness
  • Drowsiness

These side-effects are typically only experienced in high doses, and you cannot overdose on CBD.

What Common Users Say about CBD

Instead of speaking in hypotheticals, we asked common users (and our own crew) to describe what CBD feels like:

Nolan Stevens, California

“CBD soothes the physical symptoms (stomach churning; jittery, nervous energy) at the root of my anxiety, which then improves my overall mood and focus. It’s like the moment of calm you feel after taking a deep breath of fresh air.”

Kevin Jones, Texas

“I work in a high pressure workplace. Using CBD is a great way to relax and focus on what needs to be done.”

Kaila Pambid, California

“CBD kinda feels like a strong relaxing sensation that rolls over your body as well as your mind. I could almost say that it’s a mood lifter, acting like a barrier against negative thoughts.”

Anna Madsen, Arizona

“I use topical CBD for pain and joint stiffness in my hands. It works better than any other topical treatment I’ve tried. My joints feel kind of like creaky gears sometimes, and CBD lotion is like lubricant for the gears.


Now you know what to expect: no giggly buzz, no sensation, high, or feeling, no visitation from interdimensional aliens, just a subtle relief that gives you a mini-mental and physical reset. So don’t sit staring at your watch for an hour after taking it! You’ll find that CBD slides easily into the background of your day and helps you stay active and focused. Try a test-run at 10mg of CBD and move up to 20mg or 30mg from there until you experience relief.