Are you curious about CBD products, or have you already decided to add cannabidiol to your wellness routine? You have a lot of decisions to make!
They include choosing full-spectrum CBD, broad-spectrum CBD, or CBD isolate, picking the right product, and deciding what brand to go with. Determining the best dose for your needs may be the most challenging, though!
Our guide to CBD dosing walks you through essential considerations to keep in mind.
Spoiler alert: With a common-sense approach, deciding how much CBD to take isn’t that hard.
What Is CBD?
Cannabidiol (CBD) is the main non-psychoactive compound in Cannabis sativa plants, including marijuana and industrial hemp. It is usually extracted from industrial hemp, a variety naturally low in the psychoactive cannabinoid tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).
CBD products will not get you high, and cannabidiol is not addictive, either. CBD is classed as a novel food product in the UK, which means it’s available over the counter. The CBD products legally-available in Britain have a maximum THC content of 0.02 per cent, and consumers can choose from three broad types:
- Full-spectrum CBD products contain CBD, other minor cannabinoids, terpenes, flavonoids, and essential oils. These products can contain up to 0.02 per cent THC.
- Broad-spectrum CBD also has terpenes, flavonoids, essential oils, and other minor cannabinoids, as well as cannabidiol. However, broad-spectrum CBD products only contain (barely detectable) trace amounts of THC.
- CBD isolate is a pure form of CBD. When added to oil, gummies, or other CBD products, it has other ingredients — but CBD isolate does not contain any THC, terpenes, flavonoids, or other Cannabis sativa extracts.
Research has shown that British CBD consumers opt to take CBD for various reasons, with “general health and wellness” being a top motivation for choosing cannabidiol.
Studies have also investigated CBD’s potential to help with pain relief, anxiety, and other health conditions. However, consumers should keep in mind that more research is needed before definitive claims can be made.
What Do We Know About CBD Dosage So Far?
Cannabidiol remains largely unregulated across the world. While many studies have looked at CBD dosages in the context of clinical trials and observational research, no clear and reputable guidelines currently exist about the appropriate dose to take.
A systematic review published in 2020 reported on clinical trials and observational studies where subjects were given a variety of doses:
- Oral CBD dosages of between 100 and 900 mg per day were reported. Many studies did not use doses higher than 200 or 300 mg.
- Sublingual oil doses of 20 mg were examined, referring to CBD oil used under the tongue.
- Inhaled doses of 16 mg were included in the study — this refers to CBD vape liquids.
The review found that CBD was generally well-tolerated, while some consumers experienced side effects. The most commonly reported side effects include fatigue, diarrhoea, appetite changes, and weight changes.
An older study, dating back to 2017, reported that 1500 mg per day was the highest CBD dose ever administered in clinical settings.
Meanwhile, the Food Standards Agency (which regulates CBD in the UK) warns healthy adult consumers to use no more than 70 mg of cannabidiol a day, regardless of the route of administration (how you take CBD).
CBD Dosage: What’s Missing From This Picture?
Currently available studies indicate that most people tolerate cannabidiol very well and do not experience severe side effects. These studies can be a little helpful for consumers hoping to add CBD to their wellness routines in that they warn you off from taking extremely high doses.
The available studies don’t recommend a minimum dose or an “average” dose, however.
While the systematic review we looked at above did consider the different ways to use CBD, the Food Standards Agency doesn’t currently consider the chosen route of administration when recommending a maximum dose.
Individual factors also impact the dose at which cannabidiol produces the desired effect — they may include weight, age, sex, metabolism, and general health, among others.
CBD Dosage: A Look at Bioavailability
Bioavailability refers to the speed at which a substance reaches your bloodstream, as well as the percentage of the original dose that successfully makes it there.
CBD vape liquid and other inhaled forms of CBD are the most bioavailable forms of cannabidiol — meaning that more of the CBD you take reaches you, and it acts more quickly. When you discard CBD suppositories, which few people probably don’t want to consider, CBD oil held under the tongue (administered sublingually) is the next best thing.
They’re followed by nasal sprays, capsules, CBD creams (which act topically on the skin), and — last but not least — cannabidiol edibles.
CBD edibles have an estimated bioavailability of six per cent because they have to pass through your digestive system and be processed in the liver before reaching the bloodstream.
What does that mean in practice? Good question. CBD consumers who opt for CBD vape liquids, nasal sprays, and sublingual CBD oil can achieve the desired effects at lower doses than people choosing CBD edibles.
Finding Your CBD Sweet Spot: Some Practical Tips
While we hope you learned something interesting already, we also know you’re ultimately after practical tips on determining your ideal CBD dosage. Here they come!
1. Choose Your CBD Formulation
Full-spectrum CBD products may contain up to 0.02 per cent THC. These products contain other cannabinoids, terpenes, flavonoids, and essential oils. Broad-spectrum CBD is very similar, with the difference that it only has trace amounts of THC.
CBD isolate products are pure cannabidiol. They do not contain any other cannabinoids or terpenes.
People opting for full-spectrum CBD may wish to take the fact that the modest THC content could have an impact into account when choosing their dose.
2. Know Your Product
Each CBD product has a different strength, which should clearly be labelled on the package. Consumers are advised to take this into account when deciding on their CBD dosage.
A 10 ml bottle of CBD oil with a strength of 1,000 mg typically yields around 5 mg per drop, depending on the size of the dropper.
CBD gummies often have a dose of 25 mg. This higher dose accounts for the decreased bioavailability associated with oral CBD. If the theory that oral CBD has a bioavailability of six per cent is correct, 1.5 mg would be absorbed by the body.
3. Start Small
While studies offer broad insights into how CBD is absorbed, everybody reacts differently. Starting with the lowest possible dose of CBD is always a good bet!
People who are new to CBD may decide, for example, to use one 5 mg drop of CBD oil or to eat one 25 mg gummy.
If you don’t notice the desired effect at this dosage, don’t immediately take more. Oral CBD may, for example, take around an hour to be absorbed. Sticking to this starting dose and not taking any additional CBD on the same day is a common-sense choice.
Observe the effects you experience, and decide if you might like to taper up gradually.
4. Consult Your GP
Your GP may also have insights into CBD dosing. It’s especially important to seek medical advice if you have health conditions or you’re taking prescription medications, as some medications may interact with cannabidiol.
Stop using CBD and seek medical attention if you notice any side effects, such as diarrhoea or fatigue.
5. Dosage Calculators Exist
Several CBD dosage calculators have appeared on the web. Consumers should note that these calculators may not take all relevant factors into account when calculating your ideal dose. The advice to start with a low dose and to build up gradually (if desired) still stands.
Determining Your CBD Dosage: A Final Word
Future CBD consumers who have trouble determining how much CBD they should take are warmly advised to take things slow. Start with the lowest dose, see how you feel, and keep an eye on any side effects you may experience.
If you’re tolerating CBD well, you may decide to gradually increase your dose until you hit that sweet spot.