The world is being bombarded with all kinds of CBD (aka cannabidiol) products. With the various brands, various concentrations and doses, and various forms – how can you tell which CBD oil dosage is right for you?
You likely already know what CBD is and what it is used for since you are wondering about the correct CBD oil dosage, but a little reminder never hurts.
What is CBD Oil?
CBD is the abbreviation for cannabidiol, which is a phytocannabinoid. Phytocannabinoids are cannabinoids, a type of chemical compound, that comes from plants. Specifically, they come from the Cannabis sativa variation of plants – hence the name “cannabinoids”. This means it can come from either marijuana plants or hemp plants.
With the passing of the 2018 Farm Bill in December 2018, many are turning to hemp as a source for their CBD products. This is because the Farm Bill (also referred to as the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018) allowed for the legalization of industrial hemp plants in all fifty states. Because the legal restrictions have been loosened, and because industrial hemp plants have naturally higher concentrations of CBD than marijuana plants, many CBD companies prefer to make their products from hemp.
CBD has made its way into many households because it is not like its cousin, another cannabinoid known as THC. THC is a compound we are all familiar with because it is the one that is associated with marijuana and causes the euphoric or “high” feeling. CBD, however, does not share this same psychoactive property. Therefore, many consumers feel comfortable using it because it will not have an impact on their daily activities.
CBD oil is available in many diverse formulations, such as oils or tinctures, gel capsules, vape products, gummies or chews, and topically applied products such as salves, creams, or lotions.
What Is It Used For?
It seems like CBD has been reported to help with any problem you can think of. This is a list of some possible health benefits of CBD:
- Pain and Inflammation
- Anxiety and Stress
- Epilepsy and Seizures
- There is actually an FDA approved medication, Epidiolex, for certain rare epilepsy conditions in children.
- Mental Health
- Some specific conditions include schizophrenia and depression.
- Addiction and Substance Abuse
- Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia
- Sleep and Insomnia
- Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)
- Anecdotal evidence has shown a possibility of fighting cancer in certain kinds of cancer. It also shows it may help with common side effects associated with chemotherapy – such as nausea and vomiting and pain. However, it is important to keep in mind that CBD should not be used as a replacement for chemotherapy. Always consult with your healthcare providers before starting or stopping any medications or supplements.
- Bone Health and Osteoporosis
- Headaches and Migraines
- Acne and Other Skin Conditions
- Weight and Obesity
- This topic is still being debated as many claim it helps with weight loss, but some evidence shows it might cause slight weight gain as well.
- Heart Disease
- Preventative Health (Antioxidant Benefits)
- Autoimmune Disorders such as Multiple Sclerosis
- There is actually a medication approved in Europe (and in the process of getting approved in the United States) to help with spasticity associated with multiple sclerosis. However, this medication is a combination of both CBD and THC.
- Parkinson’s Disease
Of course, with the exception of epilepsy and multiple sclerosis, there have not been clinical trials to support these claims. As of right now, there is only anecdotal evidence for these health benefits.
Is CBD Oil Safe?
Sounds great, right? But is it safe to use?
Yes, CBD oil has been determined to be safe for use. After doing a review of various studies about CBD oil, the World Health Organization (WHO) put out a statement in 2018 saying that CBD oil has a good safety profile and is mostly well tolerated. Additionally, CBD oil has not been considered as an addictive substance, due to its various proposed mechanisms of actions.
Of note, CBD oil is currently not recommended for use in pregnancy or nursing due to the lack of current existing evidence.
What about side effects?
CBD Oil Side Effects
It turns out CBD oil does not have many side effects that are considered to be major, especially when you compare it to some common prescription or over the counter medications. The National Institute of Health (NIH) also released a report after reviewing several studies with CBD oil that mentioned side effects. From their review, the most common side effects from CBD oil included changes in appetite (aka nausea), tiredness or drowsiness, and stomach upset (such as diarrhea).
Any other safety concerns with CBD oil?
CBD Oil Allergies
As with everything we consume or put on our skin, we must consider if we have any allergies to it. So, if you have any sensitivities or allergies to cannabinoids, hemp, or marijuana – you must be cautious when using any CBD oil products. Additionally, you might be allergic or sensitive to the carrier oil in tincture products or any other ingredients used in topical CBD oil products. If you are, it would be best to try out another CBD oil product with different carrier oils or ingredients, so you do not chance having any allergic reaction.
CBD Oil Drug Interactions
Although this is still being investigated to get more definitive restrictions, there are some possible drug interactions that can take place. Therefore, there may be some safety concerns that come up when you are taking other medications with your CBD oil.
Generally speaking, many recommend that if you have been counseled to avoid eating grapefruit or drinking grapefruit juice when taking your prescription medications, then you should also avoid taking your CBD oil with those medications. Although, there are other possible drug interactions in addition to this (some say certain blood thinners or seizure medications may be impacted by taking CBD oil). Therefore, as stated above, please talk with a healthcare professional before starting to take any CBD oil products. They will help you determine any interactions that exist with your current medications and let you know if you need to separate the times you take them, use a lower CBD oil dosage, or just avoid taking CBD oil at all.
Now that we have had a nice recap, let’s get into what CBD oil dosage is right for you.
What Is the Best CBD Oil Dosage?
However, what we can do is summarize the information that is out there and give some general advice.
The Dose Response Curve – What Is It?
The dose response curve is a graph that represents the response effects that a dosage will give. In general, people think of it being a line pointing upwards, meaning that the higher dose you take – the more of a response or effect you will get. So, larger doses equal stronger effects.
Therefore, the best way is to try to figure out the CBD oil dosage at the ideal spot in the middle of the curve (the top of the “inverted U” or the apex) that works the best for you. Additionally, the correct dose for you depends on exactly what issue you are using the CBD oil to help with. For example, it is reported that lower CBD oil dosages make you feel more awake and alert, whereas high doses make you feel more tired or drowsy.
Therefore, the combination of the “inverted U” dose response curve and different CBD oil dosages leading to different effects can make figure all this out a little complicated.
As mentioned above, one of the greatest things about CBD and why it has become immensely popular, is that there are numerous health issues that CBD is thought to assist with. Many health professionals say that we do not have all the information needed to support these uses. They say we need more specific clinical trials centered around specific outcomes and using specific CBD oil dosages (and preferably more clinical trials with larger time frames) in order for us to understand the full picture of CBD oil. This means that the exact CBD oil dosage that is needed, and which doses are considered acceptable for everyday use are not fully established yet in the medical community.
Considering all of this information, what does this mean you are supposed to do to figure out your CBD oil dosage?
Time to Get Out the Computer and Do Research
The best advice is to educate yourself – do some research by searching online.
Start with looking up what people are saying about the specific health issue you are trying to assist with. Discover the typical CBD oil dosage recommendation from several different resources to give you an idea of the dosage you should be aiming for.
As an example, you might be searching for dose recommendations for something like anxiety. Some places say that low doses are better – with several recommending a dosage around 5 mg, and to take that dose twice a day for best results. Others suggest that taking a low dose everyday (such as 2.5 mg) may help with managing chronic health conditions or with preventative health. Some places suggest taking somewhere around 20 mg daily to help with chronic pain. And again, others recommend starting at a dose of 25 mg per day and increase this dose every 3 to 4 weeks to help with any health issue.
As you can see, there is a wide array of CBD oil dosage suggestions that exist online. Additionally, CBD manufacturers usually recommend a dosage for their specific products as well (regardless of what condition you are using it for). However, after putting in some time you will start to get a general idea of what the majority of CBD consumers suggest for your specific health needs.
Does Your CBD Oil Dosage Depend on How You Are Taking It?
An important consideration when determining your dose for CBD oil is to think about which form you are taking. There are so many different ways to take CBD oil now, but the main forms include CBD oil tinctures, gel capsules, vaping, gummies or chews, and topicals. Each of these forms have different options for CBD oil dosages. This is something to keep in mind when completing your CBD oil dosage search online.
CBD Oil Tinctures
The most popular choice is a tincture. CBD oil tinctures are CBD extracts that are put in a carrier oil and placed into a bottle that comes with a dropper. The idea is to use the dropper to place the drops under your tongue for some time (around 30 to 60 seconds) and allow the CBD to quickly absorb into your blood stream through the blood vessels under the tongue. This is one of the methods that has a higher bioavailability, which is just the amount of the dosage that actually gets absorbed into your body.
The other forms of CBD have pros and cons.
CBD Oil Vaping
Vaping is another option with high bioavailability. This is because the lungs have a greater surface area for absorption. People who regularly smoke or vape, may prefer the CBD vaping options, however non smokers may not like this option. The reason for this is that vaping products can sometimes carry the possibility of lung infections due to contamination risks. Also, although this method has quick entry of CBD into the blood stream, it does make it more difficult to control the amounts you take (especially if you are trying to take low doses).
CBD Capsules and Chews
The capsule and chew forms are convenient for consumers to use. But, with these options the CBD ends up being delivered to an acidic environment (in the stomach and intestines) which can alter the CBD’s chemical properties and even degrade the CBD. This makes these options have a lower bioavailability than the others. It is also hard to take less than 1 capsule or chew because you can’t really cut a capsule in half, and if you cut a chew you don’t know if the dosage of CBD is the same throughout the chew. This is why adjusting the dose of these forms are harder than with tinctures.
CBD Topical Products
Typically, topical products have a low bioavailability as well because they have to absorb through the skin’s barrier. Therefore, the actual dosage you get into the blood stream from topical products is pretty low. But this makes sense because you want these products to work on your skin.
Where Do I Start with My CBD Oil Dosage?
Now that you’ve done your research, where do you start?
Think About You
Your CBD oil dosage can depend on a variety of things such as body weight, height, genetics, additional medications you are taking, and other factors. The dosage is personalized to you.
Body Weight and Dosage
The majority of drugs and supplements have a dosage that is based on body weight. Usually, these are dosed in terms of milligrams per kilogram (mg/kg). This is also the case when it comes to your CBD oil dosage, which means that your dosage depends on your weight.
CBD Allergies and Dosage
You should also take into consideration your medical background. As mentioned above, remember to consider your allergies or sensitivities. This seriously impacts the CBD oil dosage you should take. If you have any allergies or sensitivities, you might want to start with the lowest dose possible – if you want to take any at all – depending on how severe your allergies are.
Other Drugs and Dosage
Additionally, other medications or supplements that you take may impact your dosage. CBD goes through liver and its enzyme system the same way that other medications do, which means that they can impact each other and interact. Therefore, you should be aware that drug interactions are a possibility and know that you might need to make adjustments.
Think About CBD
There is not a simple way to explain how CBD works on the endocannabinoid system (aka the ECS). The original proposed mechanism of action of the major cannabinoids was that THC reacted with the cannabinoid receptor CB1, and CBD reacted with the cannabinoid receptor CB2. However, recently the research is showing that CBD can interact with numerous receptors outside the ECS and may not even bind directly to CB2. Studies show that it reacts with vanilloid receptors, serotonin receptors, and others. Other suggestions are that CBD and other cannabinoids help the body make more of its cannabinoids it naturally produces (called endocannabinoids) to help get the results you want.
When thinking about the health condition you are wanting CBD to help with, think about which system it might be trying to work through. This may help you determine which CBD oil dosage is ideal. Some of these receptors do not take small amounts to have an effect, while others may take a large amount.
Remember to Be Patient
The general advice when it comes to CBD oil dosing is the popular – “start low and go slow”. It is best to start with a dose that is the lowest in the dosage range you are targeting. Then, you can increase or decrease this dose after a week or so based on the effects it gave you. If you didn’t have an effect, you could gradually increase it or if you felt too much of an effect you could decrease it back down.
Keep in mind the dosage curve we talked about earlier. If you start increasing the dose, eventually you will hit the center of the “inverted U” that is the ideal dose. Once you increase the dose after that, you will not get as much of an effect. Once this happens, you will finally have found the perfect CBD oil dosage for you.
Unfortunately, this takes a lot of trial and error. You will have to be patient with the process and stick with it before you can experience the full benefits of CBD oil.
Take Away Points
Finding the right CBD oil dosage for you will take some time and effort.
Always be sure to do your research and find a range to target. Talk with healthcare professionals before starting any new CBD products as they can help guide you to a right dosage as well.
Start low and go slow. Be patient with the trial and error process and you will be happy with the results.