A guide to CBD dosage
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- What to look for in CBD products
- How much CBD oil should I take?
These days CBD can be found nearly anywhere in almost anything. There are CBD lattes at the local café, an ever-growing array of beauty products, and CBD is even stacked on the shelves of pharmacy chains located across the U.S. It’s not hard to find CBD oil and CBD-infused products, but finding the most effective CBD dosage, on the other hand, well, that’s an entirely different story.
CBD is a non-intoxicating cannabinoid from the cannabis plant that offers an extensive number of potential therapeutic benefits, including anti-inflammatory, analgesic, anti-anxiety, and seizure-suppressant properties. Although its popularity had already started simmering, the CBD market shifted into a higher gear once hemp production was legalized with the passage of the 2018 Farm Bill. This measure paved the way for a massive influx of hemp-derived CBD oil and CBD-infused products on the consumer market, but most users are still unaware of how to find the most effective CBD dosage.
Evidence shows that CBD holds promise in treating a wide range of conditions and ailments. Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps
Although more research is needed in order to define the most effective CBD dosage for specific ailments and conditions, evidence shows that CBD holds promise in treating a wide range of conditions and ailments, including epilepsy, chronic pain, inflammation, opioid addiction, and anxiety, among others.
Knowing the way that CBD products work and are marketed can improve one’s ability to accurately administer CBD for specific ailments or conditions.
What to look for in CBD products
While sifting through the vast ocean of CBD oils and infusions now available online and in health and wellness sections across the US, it’s important to know what to look for in order to find the best possible products.
What type of CBD product should you consider?
There are a lot of different CBD products on the market, and each requires different considerations when it comes to the optimal CBD dosage. This diverse array of CBD product types includes:
- CBD oil
- Topicals, such as creams and lotions
- Sublinguals, such as oral sprays and droppers
- Vape pens
- High-CBD flower
Certificate of analysis from third-party testing lab
First and foremost, it’s highly important to find CBD oil or CBD-infused products from a reputable source, preferably one that includes a certificate of analysis from a third-party testing lab. By having third-party product verification, the amount of CBD inside the product, along with other potential ingredients, can be confirmed without solely relying on the manufacturer’s word.
The total amount of CBD and amount per serving size should always be clearly showcased on your product’s label. Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps
Since the legalization of hemp-derived products via the 2018 Farm Bill, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has continued to grapple with how to regulate CBD oil and CBD-infused products. This lack of oversight has led to products that either contain less CBD than advertised or no CBD at all.
For instance, in a November 2017 study, researchers tested 84 CBD products from 31 companies. Only 30.95% of the samples were accurately labeled with the correct amount of CBD.
Read the product label
Aside from proof of third-party testing, there’s additional information that should be listed on the label of the CBD products. By knowing what to look for on CBD product labels, consumers have a better chance of finding high-quality items. The total amount of CBD and amount per serving size should always be clearly showcased on the label. Look for the following details on CBD product labels to ensure that it comes from a reputable source:
- Amount of active CBD per serving
- Supplement Fact Panel, including other ingredients
- Net weight
- Manufacturer/Distributor name
- Suggested Use
- Full-spectrum, broad-spectrum, or isolate
- Batch/date code
- Expiration date
Don’t fall prey to enticing buzzwords such as “organic’ or “all-natural,” as they can be misleading and don’t have a scientific basis. There are also some product labels that claim to contain hemp or hempseed oil, but this is not the same as hemp-derived CBD oil, and frequently contains little to no cannabinoids at all.
Know the CBD-to-THC ratio
It’s also important to know whether the CBD product contains any THC and, if so, what the exact CBD-to-THC ratio is. The way this ratio works is relatively simple. For instance, a CBD oil that claims to offer a 3:1 CBD-to-THC ratio will have around three times more CBD than THC. The higher the amount of CBD, the more the consumer is protected from the undesirable effects of THC, such as anxiety and paranoia.
The CBD-to-THC ratio can vary from product to product, but there are certain ratios that seem to be commonplace among most manufacturers, usually ranging anywhere between 1:1 and 18:1. A product with an 18:1 CBD-to-THC ratio provides the best chance for avoiding any semblance of the high that THC produces. A product with a 1:1 CBD-to-THC ratio is more balanced, better suited for someone who is prepared for the intoxicating effects of THC, even if they are mild. Something in the mid-range, such as a 2:1 or 3:1 CBD-to-THC ratio, will be higher in CBD, but will still slightly maintain the sensory and psychoactive effects of THC. Ultimately, however, a person’s individual level of tolerance to THC’s effects will affect their level of intoxication.
CBD with THC work in tandem to create a more beneficial and therapeutic experience, Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps
Finding the most effective CBD dosage will likely require a bit of experimentation, but knowing how different CBD-to-THC ratios work can help narrow down the search. Start with a CBD product that has high levels of CBD and, if necessary, slowly transition to something that contains more THC. There is also a wide range of hemp-derived CBD on the market, which contains less than 0.3% to no THC.
As for why you might want to combine CBD with THC in the first place, research suggests that the two cannabinoids work in tandem to create a more beneficial and therapeutic experience, often referred to as the entourage effect.
One 2006 literature review published in Medical Hypothesis suggests that CBD can improve the therapeutic benefits and reduce the adverse effects of THC. Other research appears to support the view that CBD and THC have a positive synergistic effect when combined. For instance a 2012 study found that cannabis consumers with a higher intake of CBD had better recall memory. There is also evidence suggesting that CBD can reduce anxiety and paranoia, two side effects commonly associated with THC.
Consider the ailment or condition
The optimal CBD dosage will not only depend on the individual, but also their ailment or condition. Depending on the therapeutic needs, different CBD products may prove more beneficial than others.
For instance, to combat arthritis or chronic pain, a CBD-infused topical applied directly at the site of pain may be more effective than a sublingual oil or tincture. In a 2016 study conducted on lab rats, researchers found that CBD had limited oral bioavailability, leading them to surmise that topical CBD may be more effective when it comes to treating inflammation or pain in a specific area, such as arthritis or muscular pain.
How much CBD oil should I take?
While further research and educational tools are required to pinpoint the optimal CBD dosage for each individual, existing studies can help narrow down the best CBD dosages for certain ailments and medical conditions. For instance, Mayo Clinic, the U.S.-based nonprofit academic medical center, released a review that can be used as a starting point for THC and CBD dosage measurements for various ailments, combining scientific research, publications, and traditional and expert opinions. Based on information in the review, it might be helpful to start with a dose of 2.5 – 10mg of CBD to reduce anxiety or 160mg for inflammation.
Finding the ideal CBD dosage is dependent on several factors, including the individual’s weight, diet, metabolism, other medications, genetics, and medical condition, as well as the formulation and quality of the CBD. Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps
But finding the ideal CBD dosage is dependent on several factors, including the individual’s weight, diet, metabolism, other medications, genetics, and medical condition, as well as the formulation and quality of the CBD. Therefore, it’s not yet possible to develop universal CBD dosage guidelines that work effectively for everyone, but well-educated estimates can still be made using the limited information currently available. Of course, novice users should start with a lower dose and work their way up until the optimal CBD dosage is found.
When administering CBD oil, the corresponding dropper in the bottle can be used to obtain an accurate measurement. The right amount will be subject to the desired CBD dosage and product serving size. For example, one 50-milliliter bottle contains 2,000 milligrams of CBD. Considering a standard dropper typically holds one milliliter of liquid, just divide the milligrams of CBD by the amount of liquid in the bottle. In this case, one full dropper should contain 40 milligrams.
So, to start with a CBD dosage of 20 milligrams, simply fill half of the dropper and administer the oil underneath the tongue. Holding under the tongue is a critical step in tincture consumption because CBD is very poorly absorbed by the gastrointestinal tract (i.e., very little of what is swallowed ends up in the bloodstream). Efforts are underway to develop formulas that increase the oral bioavailability of CBD; these may include consuming it alongside piperine, a molecule found in black pepper, which is commonly used to boost the absorption of turmeric.
Lastly, it’s always worth consulting a physician about using CBD to treat a specific medical condition or ailment. While medical professionals might not yet have clinical expertise regarding CBD, they may still be able to provide guidance on the optimal CBD dosage for each patient.
A guide to CBD dosage Copy article link to clipboard. Link copied to clipboard. Contents What to look for in CBD products How much CBD oil should I take? These days CBD
How to Take Your CBD
Finding Your Optimal Serving Sizes and Formats
So you’ve decided to join the growing revolution of people using cannabidiol (CBD) for relief and support with anxiety, arthritis, pain, menopause symptoms, insomnia and other health issues. Now comes the truly hard decision: tinctures, topicals, vaporizers, edibles… Which is best for you? And how much should you take?
If you’re overwhelmed by the wide variety of CBD products, you are not alone. Each method delivers CBD to your body in a different way, which affects what it can be used for and how often you’ll want to take it. Adding to that confusion is the fact that each of our bodies responds differently to CBD, meaning there is no one-size-fits-all recommendation. That’s why we’ve put together a guide to help you design a cannabinoid treatment plan that fits your individual health goals — whether you’re choosing your first CBD product, or just optimizing your current routine.
Clarify Your Goals
With more than 65 different targets throughout your body, CBD has a staggering variety of therapeutic properties. Focusing on just one or two or those properties will help you find the best product and dosage quicker.
Ask yourself what you want CBD to improve. Do you want emotional support? Do you have a lot of arthritic pain? Are you just curious to see if life is somehow “better” with it?
Many people benefit from tracking their progress. You could use a score to rate your symptoms or try journaling about your current experience. Creating a baseline record will help you judge the effectiveness of your CBD treatment.
Where Does the CBD Need to Reach?
In order for this little molecule to be effective, it must get to where it’s needed. For most health goals, figuring out the location of CBD’s target will be straightforward.
If your target is located anywhere close to your skin or a mucous membrane (ie vagina), you could first try a localized product like a topical or suppository. This delivers the highest concentration of CBD exactly where you want it.
Otherwise, CBD needs to travel through your bloodstream to reach its target — whether that’s to your brain, immune system, or other locations. Vaporizers and oral products are best for this purpose.
What’s Your Time Frame?
How long CBD works in your body is a balance between how you ingest it and how quickly your body eliminates it. Some methods deliver a sharp, quick peak of CBD, while others offer a slow, steadier concentration.
If you’re looking for immediate, short-term relief, then inhaled products like a vaporizer might be ideal. On the other hand, if you want to maintain steady levels of CBD throughout the day, then an oral product would be more appropriate.
Many people benefit from a combination of delivery methods. Here are some examples of how people use CBD products:
1-3X daily oral supplement + vape pen as needed
1-3X daily oral supplement + topical as needed
Oral supplement a few hours before bedtime (lower doses can energize while higher doses encourage sleep)
Topical vulva spray as desired
Vaginal suppository as needed
Everybody’s Different: Finding Your Dose
How well each method works varies from person to person, and is influenced by many factors (covered in more detail below) so dosing is a highly individual process.
It’s always recommended to start with a very low dose to make sure you don’t react poorly to any of the product’s ingredients. Try one or two drops of an oral formulation, or a tiny puff off a vaporizer… this will be well below the recommended serving size listed on the product.
Then, wait until after the CBD has peaked and is leaving your system before trying a slightly higher dose. Wait at least an hour for vaporizers, and 6+ hours for an oral formula. You can take more sooner, but any effects you feel will be the cumulative result of both doses.
Even if you know how much CBD is in each serving, that value only represents the maximum amount that could be entering your body — most of that CBD will never reach your bloodstream or its targets.
But there are tricks that can help increase the amount of CBD your body absorbs.
- Before increasing how much you vape, experiment with different inhalation techniques.
- If you’re taking an oral formulation, try holding it under your tongue or swishing it around your mouth before swallowing.
For more tips and considerations, read about each ingestion method below.
CBD Sources & Quality
Once you find your optimal CBD method and dosage, be aware that it may change if you switch products. Some manufacturers are less trustworthy than others, so different CBD sources may have different effects.
What’s the best type of CBD to use? Scientists recently discovered that broad-spectrum CBD extracts (from cannabis or hemp plants) are much more effective than so-called “pure” CBD isolates. Researchers think broad-spectrum extracts work better because they contain a variety of molecules that are similar in size and shape to CBD — that all work synergistically together.
CBD: Can You Take Too Much?
If you’re worried about taking too much, just know that clinical trials have prescribed CBD doses up to 1,200 mg daily for months without observing any serious side effects . That’s more CBD than an entire bottle of Foria Basics , or 60+ suggested servings per day!
That said, we recommend speaking with a trusted medical professional before embarking on your CBD journey .
Although CBD is generally considered safe, it could lower your blood pressure. CBD can also interfere with your body’s ability to process certain pharmaceutical drugs. Both CBD and grapefruits inhibit cytochrome p450 , so take extra precautions if you are on a medication that comes with a warning not to consume with grapefruit . Topical or inhaled products could help minimize this interaction.
Ways to take CBD
Oral – Swallowed
Pathway to targets: When CBD is ingested, it passes through the digestive tract, where it’s absorbed into the bloodstream and travels throughout your body.
Time-frame: This is the slowest route for CBD to reach its targets, but also the longest period of time that it’s active. Peak bloodstream levels are reported anywhere between 1-6 hours. Best for long-term supplementation.
- Food. Food affects your body’s ability to absorb CBD, and more cannabinoids are absorbed on a full stomach . CBD is fat-soluble, and consuming with a healthy dose of fats can increase the amount of CBD that reaches your bloodstream 3-fold — which is why Foria Basics contains MCT coconut oil.
- Pay attention to THC. Swallowed products are first metabolized by your liver before circulating through your body (first-pass metabolism). If your CBD product contains THC (i.e it’s a “full-spectrum CBD”), it could be converted to 11-hydroxy-THC , which is a strong intoxicant. Many people find that CBD helps counterbalance the “high” associated with THC, but if you are sensitive to THC, look for CBD from a hemp source.
- Prescription drug interactions. As mentioned earlier, CBD could interfere with the processing of certain drugs by cytochrome p450. Because cytochrome p450 is most concentrated in the liver, ingested CBD is more likely than inhaled CBD to cause drug interactions.
- Time in your mouth. Everything above applies to CBD that is swallowed immediately. However, while it sits in your mouth, it can be absorbed directly into your bloodstream. See below.
Oral – Sublingual or “Buccal”
Pathway to targets: CBD can be absorbed directly into your bloodstream from capillary-rich areas underneath the tongue, along the gums and cheek. From here, it avoids first-pass metabolism and is sent throughout your body.
Time-frame: This route gets CBD into your bloodstream faster than swallowing. Under the tongue (sublingual) is generally quicker than against the cheek (buccal). However, because most of the CBD will eventually be swallowed, peak bloodstream levels range from 0.5 – 5 hours.
- Food. When evaluating an oral spray, researchers discovered that the total amount of absorbed CBD increases 5-fold if the person has recently eaten . Chewing helps increase blood flow to your mouth, which could help increase absorption.
- Increase surface contact. It’s often suggested to keep CBD oil in your mouth for 1.5 minutes or more before swallowing. During this time, increase absorption by vigorously swishing the oil around your mouth and even between your teeth — this increases the surface contact between the oil and your capillaries. (If you’ve tried oil-pulling as a tooth-and-gums cleanser, this will be familiar.)
Types: Vape pens, dabs, high-CBD cannabis
Pathway to targets: When CBD is inhaled, it passes to the lungs where it rapidly passes into the bloodstream. Inhalation avoids first-pass metabolism.
Time-frame: This is the quickest way to get CBD circulating through your system, but it also is effective for the shortest period of time. Peak bloodstream levels are within 10 minutes.
- Inhalation technique. Based on studies with THC, inhalation can get anywhere from 2-56% of this molecule into your bloodstream based on your inhalation technique. Try this: use the vaporizer for the first half of your inhalation, then finish your inhalation with a deep breath of fresh air — get those molecules deep in there! (This technique will also minimize irritation if the vapor is a bit too hot, by mixing in cooler air.) On exhale, any vapor that you can see is lost, so instead of exhaling fully, start a partial exhale until you see vapor — then inhale all the way back in and repeat a few times until you see less vapor on the exhale.
- Vapor Pen Hardware. Avoid cheap, disposable vape pens, and watch out for any that list “propylene glycol” in the ingredients. Look for higher-quality vape pens with ceramic heating elements, for a cleaner vapor.
Types: Creams, oils, lotions
Pathway to targets: Topical CBD diffuses across your skin and reaches local targets, like muscles, inflammatory cells, and pain-perceiving nerves. Very little, if any, enters the bloodstream — unless it is designed for transdermal activity.
Time-frame: Varies, depending on the target.
- Often paired. Topicals are great for on-the-spot treatment and arousal. But for long-term health goals, people often get the best results when they pair topicals with oral or inhaled CBD products.
Vaginal & Anal
Types: Suppositories, lubes, creams in applicators
Pathway to targets: CBD applied to the mucosal tissue of the vagina and anus have the strongest effect locally at muscles, inflammatory cells, and pain-perceiving nerves — similar to the way topicals work. However, because these areas are rich in capillaries, some CBD could be absorbed into the bloodstream.
Time-frame: For local targets like sexual pleasure or menstrual cramps, Foria’s Relief Suppositories with CBD and Awaken Arousal Oil with CBD are active within minutes (and possibly up to an hour) after application. Absorption into the bloodstream is highly variable and has only been studied rectally. Any molecules entering the bloodstream through the rectum should peak within 2-8 hours .
- Vaginal differences. Absorption across the vaginal wall will vary with your age, vaginal pH, and where you are on your menstrual cycle.
- Anal placement. Whether or not rectal suppositories deliver CBD into the bloodstream is highly variable between individuals. If the suppository also contains THC in a general cannabinoid formula, placement of the suppository into the lower rectum (closer to the sphincter) can help avoid first-pass metabolism and the risk of a more “stoned” feeling.
Everything we’ve been discussing — the pharmacokinetics of cannabidiol — is a complicated subject that scientists are still actively piecing together. There are no established guidelines for the best way to use CBD to achieve your health goals. Prepare for a truly unique experience that deserves patient and loving experimentation. We wish you success on your journey!
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If you’re overwhelmed by the wide variety of CBD products, you are not alone. Each method delivers CBD to your body in a different way, which affects what it can be used for and how often you’ll want to take it. That’s why we’ve put together a guide to help you design a CBD treatment plan that fits your health goals.