Cannabidiol (CBD) is one of over a hundred naturally occurring phytocannabinoids which is increasingly used as a preferred ingredient in dietary supplements due to its ability to alleviate a wide range of health issues including anxiety, pain, inflammation, insomnia, depression, epilepsy, and diabetes.
It is widely accessible and legal in most parts of the world since it can be extracted from industrial hemp and high THC cannabis marijuana strains are not necessary for its production.
While CBD’s counterpart, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), is a cannabinoid compound associated with medicinal effects, its potential psychoactive effects are a cause for concern with some people and legal authorities.
Furthermore, the therapeutic effect and interplay of all the additional phytocannabinoids have not yet been fully elucidated and further research is required. On the other hand, proponents of CBD products look to avoid the notorious “high” and revel in CBD’s body relaxant properties.
Generally speaking, the main goal with cannabinoid intake is to maximize health benefits while minimizing the psychoactive effects associated with THC. Thus, where legally compliant, it does not mean that you should completely avoid formulations with THC as long as the THC dosage is sufficiently low that it provides medicinal benefits without triggering the psychoactive high.
Surprisingly, it is often the case that the therapeutic dose of THC is lower than the dose required for psychotropic effects. High doses of CBD are also not always more effective than lower doses. A therapeutic effect can be achieved with as little as 2.5 mg of CBD combined with a tiny amount of THC. It is typically best practice to start with a low dose and gradually and patiently increase the dosage until the desired effects are achieved.
However, the main focus for the rest of this article is on CBD oil dosage owing to the complexity of the legal matters associated with THC.
Whether you’re an experienced user or trying CBD oil for the first time, it is important to understand how CBD works inside your body depending on the dose utilized. A lot of online resources focus on CBD basics and potential benefits, but few address the issue of dosage in sufficient depth.
So, to begin with – what is the recommended daily intake for CBD?
How Much CBD Should I Take?
Here is where things get even more confusing since the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) agency does not have a Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) for CBD, meaning that an official recommended serving size does not exist at present.
Sounds like a lot of trial and error is required, right? Well, as you will notice throughout this article, trial and error is an inevitable part of CBD consumption!
Unfortunately, this has helped create a marketplace that consists of a lot of quasi-experts and companies that tend to arbitrarily estimate their recommended CBD dosages. A better approach is to precisely control and monitor the amount of CBD that you consume daily through simple and effective methods and calculations.
Our bodies tend to interact with cannabinoids differently and everyone needs to optimize their intake on an individual basis. Neuroscientists have already observed that the receptors in our Endocannabinoid System (ECS) change with our body’s physiology which, in turn, modifies the way our body interacts with CBD and THC. This leads to a potential life-long shifting of our individual CBD dosage requirements.
However, there are some guidelines that can be used in order to estimate the CBD dosage necessary for your particular case depending on the relief you are seeking.
These are only rough estimates and trial and error is essential in order to determine what works for you and what does not. Please remember that what works for you might not work for your best friend with a similar ailment and vice versa!
Every individual is different and countless variables are involved when determining CBD dosage. These variables include but are not limited to body weight, genetics, metabolism, nutrition, medical history, previous cannabis usage, and so on. Thus, it is impossible to prescribe a universal CBD dose since CBD dosage cannot be determined through a mathematically rigorous scientific approach.
This directly leads us to the topic of common mistakes and inaccuracies when estimating your personal CBD dosage requirements. It is crucial that you educate yourself thoroughly and estimate wisely without blindly shooting in the dark.
Common pitfalls when estimating your CBD dosage requirements
While some CBD connoisseurs estimate CBD dosages based on body weight alone, this practice may be misleading and somewhat careless. Our colleagues at CBDOrigin recommend that, as a good rule of thumb, you can determine your proper dosage by taking 1-6 mg of CBD for every 10 lbs of body mass based on an individual’s level of pain.
This might work for some people, but it is a gross oversimplification of the matter. So, let’s break down the correlation between the optimal CBD dosage and body weight in more detail.
Firstly, children and adults metabolize medicines in a different manner and have different body chemistry. This means that toddlers may be able to tolerate higher doses of cannabis oil, including THC-rich formulations. Hence, it is not a wise approach to calculate the CBD oil dosage for adults based on what is effective in children.
For example, let’s say that a child requires a starting dose of 1 mg of CBD per kg of body mass. An adult may naturally weigh 10-15 times more but it is erroneous to assume that the appropriate starting dose of CBD for an adult is thus 10-15 mg/kg.
It is very likely that this would be an excessive starting dose. Even though CBD does not have any significant side effects for large doses (drowsiness is most commonly reported), excessive CBD dosage may reduce its therapeutic efficacy when compared to the efficacy associated with a moderate dose.
Furthermore, animal preclinical studies are awesome and provide us with a lot of insight into the effects of CBD. However, it is a bad idea to estimate your personal CBD dosage requirements based on these studies! Human body chemistry and metabolism differ from that of rodents and care should be taken to avoid trusting the data from animal models.
Last but not least, consult your doctor about CBD dosage when in doubt, especially if you already have an underlying medical condition. Most healthcare professionals are not formally trained with CBD since this is a relatively new and exciting field.
However, they should have a good idea about how your body may react to CBD and they will be able to recommend a starting CBD dose for your particular ailment.
The following section provides essential CBD dosage guidelines and recommendations. I wholeheartedly recommend that you utilize these estimates rather than perform arbitrary calculations based on your body weight or any other single factor.
Preliminary CBD Dosage for Some Diseases
In this section, CBD dosage recommendations are provided for a wide variety of ailments based entirely on scientific research and expert opinion. CBD/THC dosages depend predominantly on the specific ailment with countless other factors playing a role. The same tends to be true when analyzing the timescale required for successful cannabinoid treatments.
A review by Russo in the Therapeutics and Clinical Risk Management journal outlines a potential treatment for chronic pain with daily CBD dosages of 2.5-20 mg taken orally with or without THC (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2503660/).
A systematic review of CBD in humans published in the Pharmaceuticals journal outlines a potentially effective treatment for sleep disorders consisting of a daily CBD dose of 40-160 mg taken orally (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24281562).
Eight epileptic patients and volunteers were administered a daily dose of 200-300 mg of CBD taken orally for four and a half months (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/7413719). All patients and volunteers tolerated CBD very well. Half of them experienced excellent results and remained almost free of convulsive attacks throughout the experiment while three patients witnessed a partial improvement in their clinical condition. CBD treatment was ineffective for one of the patients.
Loss of appetite
Loss of appetite is common among cancer patients, and a study in the Annals of Oncology journal demonstrated that an effective cannabinoid treatment for appetite stimulation consists of a daily dose of 2.5 mg of THC taken orally with an optional 1 mg of CBD for 6 weeks (https://academic.oup.com/annonc/article/22/9/2086/211788).
Movement issues due to Huntington’s disease
A scientific review study published in 2015 in the Movement Disorders journal showed that the appropriate daily CBD dosage for movement issues associated with Huntington’s disease is 10 mg per kg of body mass taken orally for six weeks (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25649017).
A review by Kluger et al. examines the basic science and preclinical and clinical studies on the therapeutic potential of cannabinoids as relating to movement disorders (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25649017). Hereby, multiple sclerosis studies reveal that a potentially effective treatment may utilize a cannabis plant extract containing 2.5-120 mg of a THC/CBD mixture to be taken daily for 2-15 weeks.
Schizophrenia may be treated with a daily CBD dosage of 40-1280 mg taken orally as reviewed by Iffland et al. in the Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research journal (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28861514).
Ocular hypertension or early glaucoma
A study published in the Journal of Glaucoma suggests that a single sublingual CBD dose of 20-40 mg may be an effective treatment for ocular hypertension or early glaucoma (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16988594). However, doses higher than 40 mg may cause adverse effects by actually increasing the eye pressure.
Best Way to Take CBD Oil?
CBD and its variety of products. It can be administered in a seemingly infinite number of ways.
Each solution tends to have its own advantages and drawbacks. You will get different effects if you decide to use a gelcap or vape a CBD-rich cartridge.
Spoiler alert. There is no one single “best way” to take CBD oil, but they’re probably is a product that will best fit your individual needs. In this article, we’re going to help you unpack all the data surrounding “using” of the CBD oil, so you can make an informed decision.
Understanding the best way to take cannabinoids is hardly rocket science but it is complicated by the fact that we all process CBD oil a little differently. We walk you through the basics but you will have to try for yourself.
To get started, we need some key criteria for understanding how CBD oil behaves when taken in its different formats.:
- Speed – The speed you should expect the CBD oil to take effect
- Dosage – The starting dose you should be looking to take
- Impact– How you should expect the CBD oil to affect your body
- Duration – The average length of time the effect should last
Of course, some of these metrics will vary depending on the actual product, it’s quality, etc, but it will definitely give you a ballpark idea of what you should expect.
How to Use CBD Oil
INHALATION: SMOKING AND VAPING
- Speed – You should expect to see the effects in minutes, if not seconds.
- Dose – You can start with a puff or two, you’ll start to feel the effects immediately so it is easy to manage the dosage. Allow yourself a minute or two and adjust as your tolerance builds.
- Impact– Obviously, the lungs get affected immediately, quickly followed by the heart and the brain. From there it starts to take effect over the rest of the body pretty evenly.
- Duration – Again, the more your tolerance builds, the shorter the effect but generally we’re looking at 2-3 hours.
CBD oil behaves like most other drugs when inhaled. The lung gets it first and from there it’s sent via the bloodstream straight to the brain where it takes its effect, which is why inhalation is the fastest method for feeling the effects of CBD oil. From there, it will get metabolized by the liver.
The reason why this is so effective is that the heat from the vape (or smoking) converts some of the acid cannabinoids into its natural form, which makes the effect “stronger”.
The negative impact of having CBD oil absorbed so quickly has the potential for some users to suffer from nausea or acute pain. It can be a problem especially with users new to CBD oils, or when you use a better quality (more powerful) product. That’s why you can get nausea or diarrhea when you use CBD oil for the first time.
It’s not a big issue, any negative side effects are short-lived or can be adjusted by reducing the dose until you become accustomed to taking it.
EDIBLES / CAPSULES
- Speed – It normally takes between 1 and 2 hours to feel the effects of the edibles/capsules
- Dose – Most typically, for new users, you should be taking 3 mg to get a mild psychoactive effect if we are talking THC, CBD oil products should be looking at 5 mg upwards.
- Impact – Edibles and capsules are ingested, which takes place within 30-40 minutes, then they will be modified by the liver before being spread throughout the body via the bloodstream. This results in a fairly even spread throughout the body.
- Duration – For most people, you can expect to feel the effects for a good 6 hours and in some cases that can extend up to 12 hours.
The first interaction an edible or capsule has with the body is in the gut. This means the CBD Oil will have a positive effect on stomach affecting conditions such as IBS or inflammatory bowel disease.
Once it gets to the liver, three enzymes start to modify the THC or CBD. This is more commonly known as “first-pass metabolism”.
For those interested in the nitty-gritty details, if it’s THC, it will predominantly be converted to 11-OH-THC, which delivers a stronger “high” than just standard THC. Read more about what happens to cannabinoids in the stomach.
This is the reason why you need to limit the power of the edible, it’s both a strong “high” that lasts almost half a day. At least until your body becomes more accustomed to the product. On the flipside with CBD, if you are suffering from a chronic condition you will appreciate the fact it’s stronger and more long-lasting.
UNDER THE TONGUE / SUBLINGUAL AND ORAL-MUCOSAL TINCTURES
- Speed – Expect to feel the effects in the first hour, often within 15 minutes.
- Dose – The recommendation for starting dose is between 2.5-5 mg of THC and CBD. If you’re new to taking THC or CBD oils might start with 2.5-3 mg to get a mild psychoactive effect before increasing to 5mg.
- Impact – You’ll get that steady and even effect across the body as the CBD oil s is absorbed into the bloodstream from the mouth.
- Duration – Very similar to edibles, the average duration is between 6-8 hours, but rarely much longer.
Oral-mucosal drugs fall between inhaled forms and ingested forms in terms of absorption speed. They work so quickly because they get absorbed into the surrounding blood vessels of the mouth and tongue. Most find they feel the effects after 30 minutes, with the effects peaking at the 1 and a half-hour point.
There are two forms of mucosal tinctures, the spray for under-the-tongue, which is easiest to use, and the dropper which has volume markers that make it more accurate. It’s always prudent to make sure you read the labels of the CBD oil because the dosage varies from product to product.
Some Other Ways To Use CBD Oil
If your interest in cannabinoid products comes from suffering from skin or joint issue then you have to consider topical or rub products. They don’t get absorbed in the bloodstream so there is no general effect, just local. You need to be careful that you don’t use too much as terpenes in larger concentrations can cause skin irritation.
Similar to topical or rubs, they are applied through the skin but that’s where the similarities stop. You get a transdermal patch, which works similar to a nicotine patch. It’s able to release CBD oil into the bloodstream at a steady rate.
They deliver the same kind of experience you would get from taking CBD orally, but recent clinical trials have suggested they fail to work with epilepsy whereas sublingual administration does work for epilepsy.
A newcomer to the CBD product range, medical research has shown that suppositories of CBD oil, either inserted rectally or vaginally, are able to effectively deliver the benefits of CBD oil whilst reducing psychoactive impact other delivery methods have, as well as the side effects.
Similar to products that are delivered orally, CBD oil suppositories are fast-acting, normally from within 15 minutes (locally) and within an hour as it enters the bloodstream and spreads around the body. It’s also very fast-acting on the organs found nearby in the abdomen, which can be important for some readers.
So what is the best way to take CBD oil?
The short answer is, there is no one way that works best for everyone. It depends on why you are taking CBD oil in the first place.
Edibles last the longest, they seem like a great fit for users who suffer from chronic illnesses and are using CBD oil to manage pain or similar symptoms. Edibles have both the general impact you get when CBD enters the bloodstream, and the local effect of the edible impacting the gut where it is absorbed.
Vaping or smoking has the benefit of delivering a more immediate effect, as do under the tongue / sublingual products, which may better suit your needs.
Topicals have a localized effect, impacting the skin where the cream or gel is absorbed. Once you settle on the best way to take cannabinoids to work for you, then you’ll need to play around with dosages.
How Bioavailability & Way of Intake changes your Dosage
Before learning how you can accurately measure your CBD dosage, it is important to introduce the concept of bioavailability and explore and compare different ways in which CBD can be consumed later in the article. This process will significantly assist you in selecting the optimal choice for your personal circumstances.
Thus far, this article predominantly focused on CBD tincture dosage while bioavailability has not been discussed.
It is important to note that bioavailability also plays a significant role in your CBD intake. To summarize this concept briefly, bioavailability is the degree and the rate at which a substance is absorbed into your bloodstream.
Bioavailability varies wildly for the CBD range of products – 5% for oral capsules and gummies, 20-30% for oils and tinctures (well absorbed sublingually), and 30-40% for vaporization products. Medical studies report bioavailability rates all the way up to 56% for vaporized CBD which provides by far the most effective method for CBD consumption (excluding intravenous) and will generally give you the most bang for your buck.
Ways to consume CBD
Vaporizing CBD may not be the most discreet and socially acceptable method of CBD consumption. For example, if you require a CBD dose during work hours in order to control your back pain, CBD capsules and gummies are your best friend even though they are pricier in the long run due to their low bioavailability!
The same holds true if you are hell-bent on accurately measuring your daily CBD intake –keep in mind that capsules and gummies will facilitate this endeavor but only approximately 5% of the consumed CBD content will ultimately enter your bloodstream.
In the light of the abovementioned socio-economic and biological aspects of CBD consumption, let us summarize the different types of CBD products that are at consumers’ disposal:
- Ingestible CBD products (CBD oil with or without encapsulation, CBD tinctures, CBD drops, CBD paste, CBD rich sprays for sublingual use, bottled water with CBD nanoparticles, CBD-infused chewing gums, dissolvable powders containing CBD, cooking oils with added CBD, CBD-infused capsules, gummies, and similar edibles)
- Vaporized CBD products (crystalline isolates, wax similar to THC-rich marijuana, CBD-rich eLiquids and vape cartridges similar to an e-cigarette)
- Topical CBD products (transdermal patches containing CBD, CBD-infused balms, lotions, shampoos, soaps, and bath bombs)
Selecting the optimal CBD product for your personal circumstances
CBD Oil Tinctures are one of the most popular and convenient ways to consume CBD. When purchasing a CBD oil product, do not forget to perform due diligence and always opt for high-quality CBD products characterized by the following properties:
- No pesticides, herbicides or fungicides used during the cultivation of the industrial hemp or high CBD marijuana
- CBD oil extract should contain no harmful contaminants
- CBD oil should not be derived from biomass that has been previously processed
- Mandatory 3rd party laboratory testing for quality assurance
CBD Tincture Dosage Approximations
So now that you have estimated how much CBD you may need to start off and have selected the optimal CBD product for your personal circumstances, how do you ensure that you are consuming that exact amount?
This matter can be tricky and confusing even though it is based on simple math (unlike rough CBD dosage requirements estimations). Hereby, the different forms of CBD products available on the market will be examined in terms of how you need to go about accurately measuring your CBD dosage.
Firstly, let’s start with CBD oils, tinctures, and drops. Basically, you need to establish how many drops are needed to reach your predetermined target dosage. I recommend that you utilize the following CBD dosage calculator to make your life easier if you are looking to use a CBD oil product sublingually in a standard manner. Essentially, you have to read the product label and calculate the number of milligrams of CBD in each drop and thus the total number of drops required to reach your target dosage.
Secondly, CBD edibles such as oral capsules and gummies allow you to easily keep track of your CBD consumption since you know exactly how many milligrams you are taking. The packaging always includes the number of milligrams of CBD in each edible and the typical range is 10-25 mg of CBD per capsule or gummy.
Finally, vaporized CBD products tend to make it difficult to estimate your exact CBD intake. While sublingual liquids allow you to estimate the dosage through simple mathematical calculations, with vaping it is generally recommended to take one or two inhalations and wait for a few minutes. If you do not obtain any relief whatsoever, repeat the process until you do.
Table of Contents
- 1 How Much CBD Should I Take?
- 2 Preliminary CBD Dosage for Some Diseases
- 3 Best Way to Take CBD Oil?
- 4 How Bioavailability & Way of Intake changes your Dosage
- 5 CBD Tincture Dosage Approximations