Cannabidiol (CBD) is still considered to be a new and relatively unresearched substance in the eyes of medical professionals and federal regulators such as the FDA. Only recently have scientists delved deeper into CBD and its properties, including its efficiency in helping to treat certain illnesses and conditions. For this reason, there is no specified CBD dosage that is widely accepted by the medical community. However, there are ways to determine how much you should probably be taking.
- What is CBD?
- How you can Fine-Tune Your CBD Dosage
- A User’s Experience
- How Everyone Is Different
- How Your Physical and Mental Health can Benefit from CBD
- Types of CBD Products
- What Kind of CBD Product Is Best for You?
- FAQs Regarding CBD
What Is CBD?
CBD is one of 100+ cannabinoids that are present in the cannabis plant. It can be extracted and, when consumed, affects the body in a variety of ways. Specifically, it influences the body’s natural endocannabinoid system, which regulates your mood, appetite, hormones, sleep, and immune responses.
Unlike tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which is another cannabinoid, CBD is not psychoactive, meaning it will not make users feel intoxicated or “high” in any way. In fact, CBD possible health benefits include that of addiction treatment. However, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not yet approved hemp-derived CBD as a medication or treatment due to the lack of sufficient clinical research around the cannabinoid. The only exception so far is Epidiolex, a CBD-based drug which provides a treatment method for people over two years old with Dravet syndrome or Lennox-Gastaut syndrome – two severe types of children’s epilepsy.
It should be noted that CBD is considered a dietary supplement and not a medical treatment at the moment.
HOW MUCH CBD SHOULD YOU TAKE? START LOW, GO SLOW
When first starting out with CBD, the rule is to start low, go slow: start with a low dosage initially and slowly build up.
However, even if you have used CBD before but are now trying a new brand, you may still want to follow the same rule in case the new product affects you differently than your previous one. If you start at a low dosage and feel no positive effects, you can then begin to increase it by roughly 25 mg every few weeks until you start to notice a difference. Make sure to decrease your dosage, change brands, or stop altogether if your condition’s symptoms get worse.
Your health condition will also determine what CBD you use and how much. For example, somebody taking CBD for chronic pain would benefit from a product containing a different amount of CBD and THC than somebody with epilepsy. Therefore, you should always consult with a medical professional before starting to take CBD products to manage specific conditions.
HOW YOU CAN FINE-TUNE YOUR CBD DOSAGE
Because CBD is still a relatively new substance and medical research is limited, doctors, scientists, and other medical professionals have not set any official recommended CBD dosages. It is, therefore, important that you calculate your dosage based on your individual needs, as well as physical and genetic traits.
Even after you find the right dosage, doctors and medical professionals are not able to actually verify it or prescribe products or supplements involving CBD. Rather, they may recommend CBD and a suggested dose. This is not only because the compound and almost all of its related products are not yet approved by the FDA, but also because there is no universal recommended daily allowance (RDA) for the supplement.
Furthermore, very few educational establishments include CBD and its possible uses in their medical courses, focusing instead on patented and FDA-approved medications. Because of this, CBD is still a novel and often unknown substance to many medical professionals.
This concept may be worrying, as no one wants to overdose on a new substance accidentally. However, it is practically impossible to overdose on CBD.
Although some people have reported side-effects after using CBD, these are generally only minor – for example, drowsiness or nausea. Medically speaking, CBD is completely safe, even in high doses (of course, even water can be toxic in high enough quantities).
The best CBD dosage to take could range anywhere from 15mg to 600mg. Some studies show that high doses may be helpful for certain symptoms, whereas others suggest taking a moderate daily dose can help in the long run.
For most people, the best approach seems to be a daily dose of around 15-25mg of CBD if you’re looking for the general natural benefits of cannabidiol.
Studies carried out on using CBD for pain, generally found that a daily dose of 15-25mg of CBD can work well. According to clinical trials for Dravet syndrome and Lennox-Gastaut syndrome, subjects responded best to a dose of 20mg of CBD per kg of body weight per day. And a study on using CBD for anxiety and sleep found that 25mg of CBD a day helped reduce symptoms.
REMEMBER: NOT EVERY BRAND HAS THE SAME CBD DOSAGE
Vendors are known to use different materials, sources, and methods of extraction that can all affect the CBD supplements they put out to the public for sale. Hemp is an excellent bioaccumulator – meaning that it will absorb everything from the soil it grows in.
This includes minerals, but also unwanted substances such as chemicals and pesticides if they are present. As a result, the soil, water, and weather – as well as farming practices – can all have different impacts on the cannabis plant that CBD is extracted from.
These variations can sometimes cause vendors to recommend different doses. However, these doses may not always be correct. It is, therefore, important to view third-party lab test results for each product, which will detail the exact content.
A USER’S EXPERIENCE
A user’s experience, as shared on Quora, perfectly illustrates how much of a difference getting the right dosage and product can make.
Here’s what Catherine has to say:
“I have been dealing with chronic pain for a variety of health issues, as well as severe insomnia. But I was leery to try CBD oil. I have never used drugs, I don’t drink, and I try to avoid even over-the-counter and prescription drugs if I can.
My son got me a sample from a friend who purchased ultra-potency medical-grade CBD oil. I started out at 1 drop 2x/day and worked up to 4 drops 2x/day.
By the 3rd day, I was already starting to feel better. By the end of the first week, I knew I had found my answer. I was sleeping at night, and waking feeling refreshed. I felt less anxious and less hungry. My pain was still there, but I could cope better and did not need any meds. I had been taking Tylenol with Codeine.
Once my sample had run out, I asked my son if I could order a full bottle. He stopped at a booth at a local county fair, and bought the brand of CBD oil they were selling.
Well, I tried that bottle for a couple of weeks, hoping to get the same relief. I started at .25mg/2x day, and worked my way up to 2.0mg/2x day – and no improvement. I continued to wake often in the night in pain, and my anxiety increased instead.
I felt like I may as well have been taking water, for all the good it did me!
So I went back to my son, and asked if he could get me a bottle of the original sample?
I have taken that now for just 3 days, and already I am starting to feel the effects – at just 1 drop/2x day!”
To fill in a bit of math, the second product is a 60 mL bottle with 500 mg CBD total. So, the potency of this product is 8.33 mg CBD per mL. The original product is a 30 mL bottle with 2500 mg CBD. That’s five times the CBD in a bottle half the size of the other brand, for a potency of 83.33 mg CBD per mL of product. In other words, the original product was ten times more potent!
So, always buy your CBD from a trusted source. Ask for Certification of Analysis (CoA) and prefer CBD produced locally, from locally grown hemp. Ask to see any tests for purity and potency–ideally, conducted by third-party labs. Reputable companies will share their test results online, so you can see for yourself what kind of CBD you are buying.
HOW EVERYONE IS DIFFERENT
The optimum CBD dosage will vary from person to person. There are recommendations that give a general idea of dosage, but there is also a wide variety of variables that could impact how much CBD you should be taking.
These include your diet, your weight and height, the product you want to use, and the health conditions you’re looking to treat. In addition, static variables, including metabolism and genetics, will have an impact, too. All these factors keep one singular recommended dosage impossible to formulate.
When trying to figure out your correct CBD dosage, a good course of action is trial and error: try various different brands, products, and dosages until you find what works best for you. If you experience difficulty keeping track of all the different options, try keeping a journal to record your experience with each brand and dosage. It’s worth it – finding the most effective brand and dosage can optimize the results you experience. However, it’s crucial to remember to start low and go slow.
HOW YOUR GENETICS IMPACT CBD DOSAGE
Your overall health, weight, height, diet, environment, and more all may end up contributing to the right CBD dosage for your individual needs. However, genetics also play a huge factor in how much you should be taking. Therefore, pinpointing the perfect CBD dosage is easiest when you consider your genes and how they can impact how much of the cannabinoid you require.
For example, some genes have mutations that can lead to an endocannabinoid system that functions poorly. You may recall how CBD binds to CB1 and CB2 receptors. However, a mutated CNR1 gene (which codes the CB1 receptor) can lead to an endocannabinoid system that doesn’t function as it is supposed to. This can impact how much CBD you should be taking.
HOW YOUR LIFESTYLE IMPACTS CBD OIL DOSAGE
- Substance consumption: On a cellular level, substances such as alcohol can have an extreme effect on how your body’s cells take in and use CBD. This may change depending on lifestyle choices such as diet. For example, alcohol and THC can both affect your CB1 receptors. So, if you smoke marijuana (not hemp) or regularly drink alcohol, the CBD effects may be more prevalent. Even if you are simply doing one or the other around the time that you take your dose of CBD, the effects may vary.
- Anandamide levels: Anandamide is a brain lipid which mimics the psychoactive effects of THC and can help activate CB1 receptors. Anandamide levels increase during exercise and when nicotine is consumed. Therefore, while consuming nicotine is not advised, it can increase CBD’s effects, as can exercise.
- Consumption of food: Consuming omega-3 fatty acids such as DHA can activate CB1 receptors and, therefore, increase the effects of CBD. So, if you have a rich diet full of omega-3s (such as fatty fish), you may not need to take as much CBD as someone who doesn’t.
- Medications: these may also affect CB1 receptors – for example, morphine decreases their activity.
- Chronic stress: Stress and anxiety cause the levels of glucocorticoids (which are powerful anti-inflammatory steroid hormones produced by the body) to be elevated for long periods of time. This has been found to decrease the density of CB1 receptors, meaning that people with higher stress levels should possibly be taking higher doses of CBD.
Before you decide for sure on a dosage you think is right for you, it’s wise to consult your doctor or physician. Make sure you ask any questions or raise any concerns you have when it comes to how you should be dosing and using CBD.
HOW YOUR PHYSICAL AND MENTAL HEALTH CAN BENEFIT FROM CBD
In theory, CBD’s properties can be utilized to help treat a huge variety of health conditions because of its anti-inflammatory properties and its impact on the endocannabinoid system. Several studies have suggested that CBD may be able to help improve conditions such as anxiety, depression, insomnia, and chronic pain, among others, and promote your body’s overall health.
YOUR ENDOCANNABINOID SYSTEM
Your endocannabinoid system helps maintain homeostasis (balance) in your body, including your endocrine system, which is a collection of specialized glands in your body. Each gland in the endocrine system regulates your hormones and body temperature. Also, some of these glands control stress and metabolism, as well as your physical growth and reproduction system.
The endocannabinoid system balances out the endocrine system and plays important roles regarding the central nervous system (CNS). CBD helps these processes take place by binding to various receptors throughout the body. Although there are multiple different receptors, CBD mainly binds to CB1 receptors and CB2 receptors.
CBD can have a beneficial effect on your endocannabinoid system, helping restore its balance. This can lead to a number of improvements in your health.
CBD FOR ANXIETY AND INSOMNIA
Studies suggest that using CBD may effectively relieve anxiety, as well as consequent problems such as insomnia and depression. In fact, one study examined a young girl’s experience with CBD. She tried it to improve her PTSD after being sexually assaulted. While she was previously unable to sleep alone throughout the night, after using CBD, her condition improved so much that she was sleeping through almost every night by herself.
USING CBD FOR PAIN RELIEF
Using CBD for pain relief has been an increasingly common topic of study for researchers. CBD has strong anti-inflammatory properties, which have been the main focus of a number of studies. Research suggests that CBD can provide relief from a wide variety of painful conditions, including:
- Cancer-related symptoms and pain from cancer treatments: CBD has been used to treat cancer-related symptoms in several studies. In general, patients who received CBD supplements experienced far less pain than those without. It has also been used to alleviate symptoms from chemotherapy such as nausea and pain. You can read more about CBD and THC cannabinoids and their effect on cancer here.
- Rheumatoid arthritis: Starting with low doses of CBD (then slowly increasing) seems to help patients struggling with pain associated with arthritis. Studies have shown CBD may minimize inflammation and ease pain by working with the nervous system.
- Chronic pain: This type of pain could be caused by a multitude of factors, but in many studies, CBD has provided relief. Neuropathic pain is one type of chronic pain that may be specifically aided by CBD.
- Acne: As minor as this condition may seem to some, acne can cause pain, discomfort, and a decrease in self-esteem. However, research has shown that due to its anti-inflammatory properties, CBD can help improve the appearance of acne as well as relieve the pain and discomfort associated with it.
- Migraines: Not only can CBD help reduce the pain resulting from a migraine, but it may also relieve the nausea which often occurs with it.
CBD ANTIOXIDANT BENEFITS
Antioxidants protect the body from free radicals. The high level of antioxidants in CBD has been shown to aid in the treatment of Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases in particular, as it helps to protect the brain from damaging free radicals.
CBD NEUROPATHIC BENEFITS
As mentioned before, the FDA has already approved one neurological drug containing CBD: Epidiolex. In addition, various studies suggest multiple neurological disorders can be improved by using CBD as treatment, including:
- Multiple sclerosis
- Alzheimer’s disease
Other studies have shown success with CBD against bipolar and anxiety-related disorders as well.
TYPES OF CBD PRODUCTS
There are several forms of CBD. Whether you are using the cannabinoid for anxiety, pain, or another ailment, there is a wide variety of products for each condition. Depending on the product, you may see different concentrations of CBD. Also, they may be mixed in with other ingredients to fit certain needs.
For example, a CBD product aimed toward people who have trouble sleeping may contain specialized sleep formulas that mix CBD with melatonin or other ingredients. This will be a completely different formula to one aimed at increasing your productivity, as the latter may contain energy-boosting ingredients like caffeine. Even though both products contain CBD, they will have the exact opposite effect!
Regardless of the product you choose, you need to ensure the method of consumption fits your lifestyle and specific needs.
WHAT KIND OF CBD PRODUCT IS BEST FOR YOU?
There are many different methods of consuming CBD, whether it is to help relieve pain or another ailment.
INGESTIBLE CBD OPTIONS
Ingestible CBD options can be eaten or drunk on a daily basis without having to make any huge lifestyle changes:
- Free liquids: Consuming liquidized CBD is one possibility. This can be in the form of tinctures or drops that you can either mix in with food or drink, ingest straight out of the bottle, or place under your tongue until the CBD is absorbed into your bloodstream.
- Sprays: CBD liquids sometimes come in bottles with a spray. Usually, people spray the liquid beneath their tongue, but it’s always best to follow the company’s specific instructions.
- Pastes: Sometimes, CBD products come in the form of a paste. These are often thick and concentrated. Some of these can be applied topically, i.e. on your skin.
- CBD-infused water: Tiny CBD particles are sometimes mixed into water, which allows you to take the supplement while staying hydrated.
- CBD Edibles: CBD gummies are a common option, but CBD can also be added to other foods, such as cookies and brownies.
- Encapsulated: CBD capsules provide another common method of CBD consumption. Chewing gum: Some companies offer CBD-infused gum, which is a discreet and portable method of CBD consumption.
- Oils: If you cook with oil regularly, CBD-infused cooking oils may be a great option for you. Coconut oil, avocado oil, and olive oil are all some of the most common cooking oils that CBD can be added to.
- Powders: Several product brands and companies provide powders which dissolve in liquid. Hemp flower for cooking is another powder option.
Topical medications and supplements can be applied to the skin. They often come in the form of foams, gels, lotions, creams, or ointments, but the following are some additional options:
- Patches: Just like with a nicotine patch, you can put a transdermal CBD patch on your skin to absorb and benefit from the cannabinoid.
- Bath bombs: Bath bombs are increasingly popular items that dissolve into bath water, and many companies now sell them infused with CBD.
It is believed that beauty products containing CBD may well be the next big thing in cosmetics.
Using liquids for e-cigarettes or special vape cartridges containing CBD is another popular method of CBD consumption.
HOW TO USE CBD
Some CBD products, such as chewing gum, bath bombs, or capsules, don’t require much instruction, but others can be confusing, such as the following:
- Liquids: It’s often best to consume tinctures and drops sublingually (under the tongue). There are blood vessels in this area that will absorb the CBD, so make sure you hold it for at least one minute before swallowing.
- Vaping: Vaping CBD is one of the best ways to get immediate results. All you have to do is inhale the vaporized CBD and exhale when you’re ready. A lot of pre-filled cartridges are available for purchase, many of which can later be refilled with CBD e-liquid.
If there are instructions on the package on how to use the product (other than dosage amounts), make sure you read and follow them.
FAQs REGARDING CBD
When considering using CBD, some people are concerned about whether it is addictive or if they could overdose on it due to the confusing dosage recommendations.
IS CBD ADDICTIVE?
No! CBD oil is not physically addictive in the same way as nicotine, alcohol, or opiates. This is mostly due to the tiny levels of THC included in CBD products, as well as the general makeup of the compound. CBD on its own is actually unable to cause any withdrawal symptoms to those who use it. In fact, some scientists are looking to CBD as a method of aiding those who are weaning off substances that cause withdrawal symptoms, as studies suggest it may decrease their intensity.
CBD on its own, therefore, cannot cause physical addiction. However, humans have the ability to become mentally addicted to almost anything on this planet. Some become addicted to exercise; others become addicted to certain foods, video games, or coffee. It all depends on your state of mind and personal goals or character – and this applies to CBD, too.
IS IT POSSIBLE TO OVERDOSE ON CBD?
Unless you deliberately consume toxic amounts of CBD, it is impossible to overdose on hemp-based CBD, as there is no set amount of CBD that has been proven to be dangerous. However, it is important to know your dosage because, if you take too little, it won’t do anything for you. If you take too much, on the other hand, you will be wasting a lot of money and may experience a few uncomfortable symptoms, such as nausea or drowsiness.
CBD can have worse side-effects if mixed with certain medications, so make sure you consult with a medical professional before committing to any set dose of CBD.
Also, there are a few possible side-effects which may arise if you take extremely high amounts of CBD over an extended period of time. Some of these include:
- Decreased blood pressure: Mild blood pressure decreases may arise after CBD is consumed in high amounts for a long time. This may lead to slight lightheadedness.
- Decreased activity of p-Glycoprotein: This is the part of the cell membrane that pumps any foreign substances out of a cell. Its activity will be reduced when cells are overwhelmed by excess CBD use.
- A decrease in cellular activity and body functions: T cells and B cells may experience a drop in activity when levels of CBD are very high.
- Dry mouth: Sometimes, CBD can interfere with saliva production and cause your mouth to be drier than usual.
IS CBD LEGAL?
There are strict legal regulations surrounding the compound and its products that one should be aware of before making a purchase. It is essential to note that CBD is only legal when derived from hemp as opposed to marijuana (read more about CBD’s legal status here). This is because of the difference in the levels of THC between these two plants. For a product to be considered hemp-derived, the THC level must be below 0.3%. In addition, it must be extracted from hemp – even if a marijuana extract contains less than 0.3% THC, it is still considered illegal under federal law because it was not derived from hemp.
The 2018 Farm Bill initiated these regulations in December of 2018 by removing industrial hemp from the federal controlled substances list and classifying it instead as an agricultural commodity.
You can read more CBD Facts and FAQs here.
CBD is a novel and relatively unknown to most medical professionals substance. This includes the FDA, which has not approved most CBD products as it states it has not yet been provided with sufficient evidence that hemp-based CBD is reliable. Because of this, it is crucial that you research a CBD company before purchasing its products. Some companies may include ingredients in their products and use processes that are unspecified, but since they are not regulated by the FDA, this may go unnoticed.
When it comes to dosage, consult a medical professional and try to understand how your genes, health condition, and lifestyle may impact how much CBD you need to be taking. Dosage also depends on the quality of the product. That is why it is essential to ask for the manufacturer’s COA (Certificate of Analysis) when buying CBD products. It is even better when such tests are handled by a third-party facility, explicitly certified for THC analysis. Check the manufacturer’s website and see if they post the test results online. Also, it is best to buy CBD oil produced from hemp grown by trusted hemp farmers.
Have you tried CBD for a medical condition? If so, what dosage did you find helpful? Let us know in the comments!