So you’ve found a brand that you love, with high quality oil that you can trust, now the question remains, how much of it do you take?
Understanding CBD and how it works can be confusing, especially as the industry is so new. The FDA has not yet released an official recommendation for how much CBD healthy individuals should take.
The plant-based compound appears to be relatively safe for healthy individuals, with the latest research showing that it is difficult to overdose. A 2011 review on its safety and side effects found that even high doses such as 1500mg a day, are generally well tolerated by humans.
However there are a few factors to consider when it comes to metabolism and efficacy.
Factors to Factor In
The general advice is to start low and increase incrementally over time. However it’s useful to note:
- The concentration of CBD
- Your weight
- Body chemistry and fat %
- Symptoms you’d like to alleviate, if any
As a health supplement, CBD works on the Endocannabinoid system (ECS), an extensive network of receptors that has been shown to be affected by things like chronic stress. However many anecdotal reports lay claim to CBD’s popularity for symptoms such as pain relief or insomnia.
A 2017 review showed that there is no “one size fits all” dosage, instead it underscored the fact that different people and animals respond to different dosages of CBD. Most of the human studies used dosages anywhere between 20 and 1500mg per day.
Neuroscientist Nick Jikomes from Leafly explains that optimal CBD dosages shift throughout an individual’s lifetime. As our body’s physiology changes, so too do the receptors in our ECS.
It’s worth remembering that there’s still a lot about CBD that we don’t know, and as the cannabis industry grows, researchers will likely conduct more studies on both marijuana and hemp, along with its derivatives.
To keep it simple, here are our top 3 simple tips when it comes to dose.
- Dosage based on body weight
As with most substances, if you have a higher body mass, you are likely to require a higher dose. It is said that a good rule of thumb is to take 1-6mg CBD for every 10 pounds of body weight, this is anecdotally reported to be an especially good measure as a form of natural pain relief.
You can also find online calculators such as Honest Marijuanas Simple Dosage Calculator.
- Start small and increase gradually
Even if you have a friend of a similar weight to you, taking the same dose that works for them is not always the best route forward.
Not only do we each have a unique genetic makeup, we have different lifestyles, medical histories, and medication or supplement regimes. We each have a unique body chemistry, which affects how we interact with compounds like CBD.
Therefore the best means of self-experimentation is to start low and gauge your body’s reaction to that dose, by keeping a symptom journal, before increasing over time. This will more accurately allow you to feel for the optimum dose for you.
This could mean starting with 20-40mg a day, and increasing the amount by 5mg after a week. You could continue to do this until you think you have found the optimal dosage for you.
- Consult a physician
Whilst the system is a little behind the times (the ECS still isn’t even taught in medical schools), many progressive physicians are taking an interest in the promising potential of cannabis. When in doubt, it is always best to find a qualified health professional that you can consult.
This is especially important if you are on any pre-existing medication, as there may be interactions or contraindications. And any liver conditions should also be taken into consideration, as even though a 2017 study confirmed few adverse side effects, a 2019 study in mice raised some possible concerns about potential for liver damage and interactions with medications utilising specific liver enzymes.
A 2018 report from the centres for disease control and prevention noted that 52 US residents had bad reactions to certain CBD products, however it turned out that most of them used products that contained synthetic CBD and some contained little information about the manufacturer or its ingredients.
MEASURING CBD OILS
When purchasing CBD products, knowing how much is in the bottle, and knowing how much is in a dose are two different things.
Using a CBD tincture / oil is one of the easiest means of measuring dosage. A standard pipette will usually contain about 1ml of product. Therefore you can use the below formula to calculate the amount in a single dropper:
[Total CBD in Bottle] ÷ [Number of ML in Bottle]
= MGs of CBD in a Dropper
For example say you have a 30ml solution of 300mg CBD, this will give you 10mg per 1ml dropper. If you are aiming to take say 25mg a day, you would take 2 and a half pipette-fulls. Of course this method is difficult to get 100% accuracy but it is better than not measuring at all.
A single drop (not a full dropper / pipette) is about 0.05ml, this means a 10ml bottle contains around 200 drops, and if the strength is 1000mg then each drop will contain 5mg. Therefore 20mg a day will mean 4 drops a day.
The mode of application is just as important to consider. If you’re using oils and tinctures, they are best absorbed in a vascular area such as under the tongue, they should also be in a solution mixed with a healthy fat like MCT to encourage maximum absorption.
Products such as vapes and herbal smokes work faster as they reach the lungs directly, however the effects are usually over quicker and smoking is not seen as the healthiest option. Many people do however report feeling a very distinct ‘body high’, especially through the use of herbal joins and hemp cigarettes.
If you do prefer to smoke, there are ways to make it healthier - such as removing the tobacco and nicotine and only rolling buds and / or herbal mixes such as spearmint and cornsilk. Drugscience.org.uk actually states that for a moderate user, removing the tobacco actually lowers the risk of lung cancer to almost the same as a non-smoker. However the particles can still be irritating, which is why only moderate use via this method is encouraged.
When using an e-liquid for vapes you would start by measuring the amount in a single dropper, so you can work out the amount in each tank. If you are aiming for a dose of 25mg, and using a 1000mg bottle of e-liquid, a single tank would contain approximately 33.33mg of CBD. You should note how often you need to refill the tank during the day.
However vapes may not come recommended, as some people have found that the oil droplets can be irritating to the lung lining.
These are the easiest means of measuring set dosages as the capsules are already filled. However it should be noted that they don’t always offer the best means of absorption, as the oil cannot be placed under the tongue and CBD is not hugely bioavailable via the stomach.
Therefore although your capsule contains the correct amount, this isn’t always what will be metabolised into your system. The same can be said of edibles, gummies and drinks, especially those that do not mix the CBD with a healthy fat to increase the absorption and benefits.
There is no one-size fits all approach to health. Where a compound such as CBD is generally considered safe, with a large therapeutic window, it’s important to get to know your body, to experiment via some trial and error, and to be the scientist in your life.