The second most frequently asked question – after “what is it?” – is how much CBD should I take? There’s no reason to explain the importance of the question. Unfortunately, there’s just not a simple answer.
CBD is treated as a supplement. Supplements are not regulated like drugs but fall under the general umbrella of foods. The FDA defines a dietary supplement as: “a product taken by mouth that contains a ‘dietary ingredient’ intended to supplement or enhance the diet”. For supplements, there is no fixed guideline as to how much to take.
There is no fixed amount to take for other high-profile supplements. Recommendations for Omega-3 range from 250 mg to 1,000 mg daily. Dosages of 1,500 mg to 2,000 mg of glucosamine are easy to find. The Mayo clinic says the recommended daily dose for B-12 (the leading supplement by sales) is 2.4 mcg (that’s microgram). If you google “buy B-12” the first choice is 500 mcg pills. That’s over 200 times the recommended daily amount!
What about the Recommended Daily Allowance; the designations we see so often on food labels nowadays? Can’t that be a guideline? No, because RDAs exist only for items we need to maintain our health. These are broken down into Vitamins (e.g. C and B12) and Elements (e.g. sodium and iron). That doesn’t include omega-3, glucosamine or CBD.
Obviously, CBD isn’t the only supplement with less than perfect clarity around how much of it you should be taking.
Studies, Or Lack Thereof
Recommendations such as 2.4 migrograms of B12 or 1,500 milligrams of glucosamine are often the result of scientific studies. These studies seek to determine the effectiveness of certain dosages of an item for certain conditions. Since they are being taken for a range of conditions the recommended amount to take varies quite a bit. Perhaps one amount of a supplement showed some promise for one condition while a different amount showed promise for a different condition.
There are, unfortunately, relatively few studies involving CBD. The reason for this is that hemp and marijuana, the two sources for CBD, have both been considered Schedule 1 drugs (along with heroin) by the Federal Government. Schedule 1 designation means a drug has no medical benefits and a high likelihood of abuse. An item that fits that definition really doesn’t need to be studied, and various branches of the Federal Government (FDA, DEA, NIDA) have supported and enforced this absurd regulatory structure.
The relative scarcity of research studies means that there isn’t the science to support a definitive guideline for proper CBD dosage. It’s important to understand that this does NOT mean there aren’t studies bearing out the benefits of CBD. There are! You can check out just some of the best ones at a site called Haleigh’s Hope (not secure so no link!). The point is that in a multi-billion dollar industry like supplements, CBD has relatively fewer studies due primarily to our outdated drug laws.
If you read my last post, you also know that CBD works in our bodies through the action of the Endocannabinoid System (ECS). The ECS has only very recently been “discovered”; another reason for the relative lack of studies. The fact that the ECS is involved in a large and expanding number of homeostatic processes within our bodies adds a level of complexity to studying CBD.
The relative scarcity of studies and the complexity of the ECS mean that if you’re looking for a single number of milligrams which will always result in a specific outcome then you are going to be frustrated.
Methodology and Common Sense
Despite the lack of certainty, you need a starting point. Here’s a chart suggesting amounts based on body weight.
With this in mind, there are several factors you can use to determine how much CBD is right for you. You should address these methodically. I recommend keeping a chart or journal of how much, what type and when you take CBD.
1. Why Are You Taking CBD
Do you have pain due? Do you feel anxious? Are you trying to get better sleep? Whatever the reason, think about exactly how it manifests itself in your life. You shouldn’t take CBD (or anything else) just because it’s suddenly popular. Isolate the issue you are trying to address before you start to take CBD.
There are no cure-alls. Don’t lose sight of that fact as you start taking CBD; it may not work for you.
2. Understand What You’re Taking
There’s a flood of CBD products on the market with new ones coming all the time. As I said in an earlier post, the labels can be confusing due to terms you’re not familiar with. Worse, they can be deceptive. This is true in nearly every area of food labeling, not just CBD. Kellogg is the subject of a class action lawsuit over misleading labels on its RXBars even as I write this.
You should be clear on the amount of CBD and other cannabinoids in the product you use; the method of extraction; the type of CBD (full spectrum or isolate) to name just a few.
3. Start With a Low Amount
It only stands to reason that you should start with a low amount. After all, if a little achieves the desired effect, why take a lot? This is why we offer a 250mg bottle of CBD Oil even as the industry is moving to ever larger amounts.
Using these numbers as a starting point, here is how you can take our CBD Oils. I’ll go through this line by line to make it clear.
ml of total liquid/bottle – this is the total amount of liquid in each bottle. The CBD is suspended in a carrier oil; in this case a common MCT (medium chain triglyceride) of all-natural coconut oil.
mg of CBD/ml of liquid – this is how many milligrams of CBD are in each milliliter of liquid.
ml in average dropper – when you put the empty dropper into the liquid, squeeze the bulb on top and pull liquid into the dropper, you get .75 milliliters of liquid in the dropper. This is based on hundreds of tests we’ve done. Your results may vary somewhat.
mg of CBD/dropper – based on the above calculations, this is how much CBD is in each dropper.
4. How You Take it Matters
There are many ways to get CBD into your body: oils, edibles and vapes to name just a few. The bioavailability (how much gets into circulation) of CBD varies depending on how you take it. The bioavailability is greater when taken under the tongue due to the presence of capillaries there. Bioavailability is less when taken through food because of the digestive system.
5. Side Effects and Overdose
CBD can have a number of side effects including dizziness, drowsiness and dry mouth to name just three. Taking CBD for the first time before you take a long drive probably isn’t a good idea.
Doses as high as 1,500 mg a day have been used in studies and not resulted in an overdose so it’s extremely unlikely that overdose is an issue. And I have seen no reported instances of overdose. However, there have been cases where people overdosed on something they thought was CBD, highlighting the need to be certain of what you’re getting when you buy CBD.
It’s only natural to want a specific answer to the question of how much CBD (or anything else for that matter) you should take. Unfortunately, that magic number just isn’t out there when it comes to CBD.
Be aware of what you’re trying to achieve and exactly what you’re using to achieve it. Monitor your results and adjust your intake as needed. If CBD works for you, that’s great. If it doesn’t, put it down.
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