This article was originally published by The Organic Prepper and was republished here with permission.
The popularity of CBD (cannabidiol) is soaring, and for good reason: it is truly a fascinating substance with incredible therapeutic value.
It is a non-intoxicating natural medicine that has been shown to benefit an ever-growing list of health conditions.
While a growing body of research is revealing the abundant health benefits of CBD, there is one question that remains difficult to answer:
How much should you take?
The short answer is that there is no one correct dosage for CBD. In this article, we will explore why dosing is so complicated and how to estimate how much CBD to take.
First, an important note: Nothing in this article should be considered medical advice. This guide is for informational purposes only. CBD is a very safe substance and is generally well tolerated. However, it can interfere with certain medications. Please consult with your healthcare practitioner before taking CBD, especially if you are taking medication or have serious health concerns.
What is CBD and how does it work?
Before we talk about CBD dosage, here’s a brief overview of what the substance is and how it works:
- CBD is a fascinating compound that has tremendous therapeutic value. It is one of over 100 compounds found in cannabis sativa plants that belong to a class of ingredients called cannabinoids.
- Cannabinoids are a diverse set of chemical compounds that bind to special receptors in the human body that make up what is known as the endocannabinoid system.
- The endocannabinoid system is a biological system which plays many important roles in the human body. It is responsible for the physical and psychological effects of cannabis.
How much CBD should I take?
There is no standard dosage for CBD, and it can be effective therapeutically at a wide range of doses. Because CBD binds to so many different receptors, it is difficult to pinpoint an exact dosage for every person and every wellness concern.
Some experimentation will likely be necessary to find your ideal dose.
As you can see, CBD can be effective at a wide range of dosages. That’s why there isn’t a standard dosage for CBD products. What works for you may not work for your sibling or your neighbor, for example. It can take some experimentation with various dosages to find your own “sweet spot.” A popular saying among CBD advocates is “start low, go slow” for this reason.
CBD dosing truly is individual.
Dosage depends on the type of CBD you use.
Full Spectrum CBD contains the entire range of phytocannabinoids derived from cannabis. This includes an insignificant amount of THC (tetrahydrocannabinol or “The High Causer”) that is less than 0.3%. CBD can lessen or neutralize the intoxicating effects of THC, so don’t worry about the negligible amount of THC in full spectrum CBD products. THC has incredible medicinal qualities, by the way – and using a product that contains it can enhance therapeutic effects.
Isolate is nearly pure CBD (cannabidiol) and does not contain any THC or the other compounds found in Full Spectrum products.
Broad Spectrum CBD contains synergistic cannabinoids, terpenes, essential oils, and medicinal compounds — without a trace of THC.
If you use a full spectrum CBD product, you may find you need less, as explained by Project CBD:
Preclinical research indicates that full spectrum CBD-rich cannabis oil is effective at much lower doses and has a wider therapeutic window than a CBD isolate. “The therapeutic synergy observed with plant extracts results in the requirement for a lower amount of active components, with consequent reduced adverse side effects,” a 2015 Israeli study concluded. In animal studies, CBD isolates require very high – and precise – doses to be effective. Problematic drug interactions are also more likely with a high-dose CBD isolate than with whole plant cannabis. (source)
Because CBD is safe, generally well-tolerated, and not psychoactive like THC, high doses are sometimes necessary for best results. There has never been a case of a person overdosing on CBD, by the way. It is so safe that it can be given to your animal companions too (choose a product specifically designed for pets).
More CBD is not always better, and sometimes “less CBD is more.”
While CBD has no known adverse effects at any dose, an excessive amount of CBD may be less effective therapeutically than a moderate dose.
Cannabis compounds have biphasic properties, which means that low and high doses of CBD can produce opposite effects. Small doses of cannabis tend to stimulate, and large doses can have a more sedating effect. If you are taking CBD to improve sleep, keep in mind that lower doses (15 mg, in one study) can increase wakefulness, and higher doses (160 mg or more) have been linked to more time sleeping.
Triphasic or multiphasic, because we see that it can go up and down and up and down. Each direction is a phase, right. So if I start sub-therapeutic and someone gets benefit, that’s one phase. If they go up even higher and they lose benefit, that’s another phase. But then often, when they really crank the dose up high, that benefit will return. Sometimes when it returns, it returns with side effects or the benefits may be a little bit different than they were at the low doses. And there’s probably a phase at ultra-low doses, where people can take such a small amount and get benefit down there as well.
In the article We Asked a Scientist: What’s the Right Dose of CBD?, neuroscientist Dr. Nick Jikomes said, “With substances that bind to a lot of different receptors, like CBD, there’s often a sweet spot around a mid-sized dose. That means you can’t necessarily expect the substance to be twice as strong if you double the dose—in fact, you might see the opposite.” He went on to explain that because CBD binds to so many receptors in the body, different dosages may be needed for different conditions:
At a fairly low dose, it will mainly hit the receptors it has the highest affinity for, or that are the most densely expressed. At higher doses, those receptors can become saturated, so the remainder of the CBD will interact with other receptor systems, and that’s where you may start to see different effects. (source)
Other factors play a role in CBD dosing.
There are countless variables including body weight, diet, metabolism, genetics, environment, and product consistency that make one-size-fits-all CBD dosage recommendations very difficult (if not impossible).
Experts recommend starting with a low dose – 20 to 40 milligrams daily – and slowly increasing dosage over time until you find your “sweet spot.” You can split your daily dose into smaller doses taken through the day as well.
Taking a daily dose can help sustain a level of CBD in your body, which might stimulate your endocannabinoid system to make it react more to cannabinoids like CBD.
It is possible that you will need to change your dosage over time because it is possible to build up a tolerance to CBD. And, as your health status changes, you may find you need less or more CBD to manage conditions. Listen to your body and adjust accordingly.
Keeping a CBD journal to track your dosages and how you feel can help you determine if or when you need to make adjustments.
Remember that the effects of CBD can be subtle for some, so don’t give up if you don’t feel obvious results immediately. For some, it takes time to experience results.
If you can’t stomach the taste of CBD oil, give this a read: How to Use CBD Oil When You Absolutely HATE the Taste.