How Much CBD Should I Take?
The CBD market is on the rise. Everyone from your grandma to your boss may benefit from CBD products. It’s non-intoxicating and can offer relief. It is a low risk, relatively harmless substance that can, when used appropriately, have incredible benefits.
However, there is a lot of misinformation out there about CBD medicine and its products. Let’s backtrack a bit to uncover what CBD is, what to look for when sourcing products and how to effectively manage dose.
What is CBD?
CBD stands for cannabidiol. It is the second most prominent compound in the cannabis matrix. CBD is psychoactive, but it’s not an intoxicant. It won’t get you high in the same way that THC will. It can promote a healthy anti-inflammatory response and encourage homeostasis —meaning it can help bring systems of the body back into balance.
When looking to buy a CBD product, it’s important to consider the source. Both the hemp and cannabis plant have measurable concentrations of CBD. Hemp is often thought of as a subspecies of cannabis, but many people are confused as to the actual differences between the hemp and cannabis plant. Hemp and the modern day “drug-cultivar” cannabis took two very different breeding pathways. Hemp plants are thought to belong to the Cannabis sativa species, bred specifically for their primary compounds, like proteins and fibers. Whereas the “drug-cultivar” cannabis refers to any cannabis plant that has been bred for its secondary compounds, specifically an elevated THC concentration.
Because hemp plants have remained legal in the eyes of the government, they have been bred for their fibers and proteins not for elevated THC/CBD concentration. However, the CBD molecule, when extracted, is the same compound in both the hemp and cannabis plant. The main legal distinction is that cannabis has more than 0.3% THC and hemp has less than 0.3% THC.
Shop with Reputable CBD Companies
People turn to hemp-derived CBD products since hemp is federally legal and therefore more easily accessible. Just make sure you research where these products are coming from and how they’re made.
Oftentimes, business owners looking to capitalize on the growing CBD market will sell hempseed oil on Amazon and lie about CBD potency. Unfortunately, this product will not be effective. Please do not trust elixirs sold on Amazon.
Additionally, hemp is often grown with pesticides and when the plant material is concentrated it can result in dangerously high levels of pesticides. Inquire about whether the product has been tested for both pesticides and potency. Hemp-derived CBD products can and do work, you just need to make sure the product is coming from a reputable source. Reputable companies partner with third-party labs to test their products and will publish these test results on their website for your reference.
How to Dose CBD
Once you have investigated CBD companies to determine their practices and purchased a product that aligns with the experience you’d like to have, it’s time to figure out when and how much to consume. If you are new to CBD, make sure to start consuming your product in the evening. Carve out some time after all of your obligations are met to consume your product. This way, if you experience any negative side effects to the CBD product you will be able to ride it out in the comfort of your own home. However, CBD should not produce any negative side effects, especially if taken at the right dose.
The right dose is different for everyone. Dose is dependent on the desired experience you want to achieve as well as your specific physiological constitution. Many different factors contribute to the experience and affect how much is required to achieve relief. These include, but are not limited to method of consumption, recent meals and other physiological circumstances such as stress.
This 2018 study in the European Journal of Internal Medicine offers some expert guidance: “Absorption, distribution, and metabolism determine the onset and duration of action of each dosage form. Absorption has the most variability, and is affected by product lipophilicity, bioavailability as well as the inherent organ tissue differences (i.e., alveolar, dermal vs. gastric). Cannabinoids are lipophilic and have low water solubility. Therefore, for topical or oral routes, they are best absorbed in the presence of fat, oils or polar solvents, such as ethanol...Factors such as recent meals, depth of inhalation, duration of breath holding, temperature of vaporizer all affect cannabis absorption, which can vary from 20%–30% orally, up to 10–60% for inhalation.”
Consider Microdosing CBD to Start
There is a lot of variability in cannabis medicine and dosing, however we recommend following some general dosing guidelines to find out what works best for you. For CBD products, employ a practice called microdosing. Microdosing encourages novice consumers to start with a very small dose, keeping track of their experience at that dose, and then slowly increasing dose if need be.
Because CBD is not associated with many negative side effects it is difficult to define dose. The 2018 study echoes this sentiment: “CBD-predominant chemovars produce fewer adverse events, but there are no established dosing guidelines or maximum doses established except in psychosis (800 mg) and seizure disorders (2500 mg or 25–50 mg/kg). For other indications, many patients obtain benefits with much lower doses, starting with 5–20 mg per day of oral preparations…”
If you are new to CBD and looking to achieve some general symptom relief, start by orally ingesting 5mg in the evening, such as with a tincture. Assess how you feel at the dose, recording any side effects in a journal that you may be experiencing. If at that 5mg dose you feel nothing, increase dose at next time of use by 2.5mg. Continue increasing dose in this way until you achieve desired symptom relief. If you overshoot your dose then decrease by a 1mg increment at the next time of consumption.
Before deciding to integrate CBD into your wellness regimen, talk to your doctor. Depending on the desired effects, you may need to start with a much higher dose of CBD. Luckily, CBD does not really have any negative side effects even when consumed at high doses. You may experience heaviness or drowsiness, so if you are new to CBD medicine make sure to consume in the evening, in a safe space with people you are comfortable with. And when in doubt, start slow with a small dose and work your way up from there.