If you’re new to CBD or trying out a new product for a specific use, you may be wondering, “How much CBD should I take?” This is a very common question and it’s important to recognize that there is no universal CBD dosage. There are many variables to consider when determining the right amount for you, including:
1) The type of CBD product you’re taking
2) Your delivery method of choice
3) The condition you’re addressing
4) Your desired level of effects
5) Your body weight
IMPORTANT STEPS FOR FIRST TIME USERS
First time CBD users should start with a small dosage. If you aren’t able to perceive your desired effect, it’s safe to slowly increase the milligram amount per serving for the subsequent dosing opportunities. It may be helpful to track your experience per dosage amount, type of product, and method, noting any changes as you adjust the variables. You can use a personal journal, an organized symptom tracking log, or even explore the option of an app that helps you track your experience directly on your phone for extra convenience. Every person’s body and endocannabinoid system is unique, so “start low and go slow” is a good adage to be mindful of as you begin.
If you are currently taking any pharmaceuticals or over-the-counter medications and you’re considering trying CBD for the first time, talking to your doctor first is an important step to confirm that it won’t cause any drug interactions, unintended interferences, and that it can safely metabolize in your body.
There is a significant body of research indicating that CBD has a favorable safety profile and has very few, if any, minor side effects. A study that evaluated the safety profile of CBD as treatment for patients with epilepsy and mental health disorders found that “in comparison with other drugs, used for the treatment of these medical conditions, CBD has a better side effect profile.” It is important for consumers however, to choose trusted and verified CBD products with readily available lab results.
HOW TO IDENTIFY THE RIGHT DELIVERY METHOD OF CBD
Determining the right method and type of CBD product depends on what you’re wanting to address. A HelloMD Brightfield Group study found the most common reasons people use CBD are for depression, anxiety, insomnia, and joint pain. Localized issues, like joint pain, sore muscles, inflammation, migraines, or a sports injury may benefit more from one type of method, while addressing a condition that requires the CBD to bind to cannabinoid receptors in the brain or central nervous system (such as depression, anxiety, PTSD, or insomnia) would need a type of product that allows the CBD to travel through your bloodstream.
For targeting a specific localized issue on the body, applying a CBD topical, such as a balm, massage oil, salve, spray, cream, or lotion, would be best suited. The skin’s surface absorbs the CBD, which interacts with cannabinoid receptors in the epidermis and subdermal areas, and may be a safer option for those who take certain prescription medications. Topical methods do not allow the CBD to reach your bloodstream, unless it’s a transdermal product . Transdermal products, often patches, employ technology for deeper sustained penetration that reaches the bloodstream.
A topical product can be complemented with other botanical extracts and essential oils to enhance the efficacy and may benefit you beyond the localized issue. The addition of essential oils like frankincense and lavender have been shown to have calming properties. Not only does inhaling these complementary essential oils transport relaxing messages to the brain, but these oils contain sesquiterpene compounds, which allow them to cross through the blood brain barrier and penetrate the limbic system and other glands within the brain. On the other side of the spectrum, the addition of essential oil sourced from citrus fruit rinds will offer uplifting and anti-anxiety properties due to its high levels of the monoterpene, d-limonene. Known for its bright, citrusy notes, d-limonene has shown promising results for easing depression and increases serotonin and dopamine levels within specific regions in the brain associated with anxiety.
The popular category of products known as CBD tinctures offer a sublingual delivery method. Drops of CBD-rich hemp extract are placed under your tongue and held there for at least 10 seconds, and up to 60 seconds, before swallowing. This delivery method is an efficient one, as some of the compounds in the CBD hemp extract will be directly and rapidly absorbed into the mucous membranes in the mouth, allowing it to reach the bloodstream without being broken down by first pass metabolism. The remaining compounds are swallowed and will pass through the digestive tract on its way to the bloodstream. CBD tinctures also offer the user versatility, as they can also be used to infuse CBD into your meals, beverages, or desserts, depending on the endless flavor options available.
CBD VAPING & SMOKING
For an immediate, short-term effect on the body and mind, some users that are comfortable with inhalants and have determined a trusted source may choose between a CBD vape pen, an inhaler, or smoking a hemp flower pre-roll. These inhaling methods bypass the liver and digestive tract, allowing the CBD to be absorbed through the thin membranes that line the air sacs of the lungs, called alveoli, and then directly into the bloodstream.
Ingesting CBD by eating or drinking a CBD product, such as a CBD chocolate bar, beverage, or capsule will take about 30 minutes for it to take effect, since the CBD must first pass through your digestive system in order to be absorbed into the bloodstream. Your experience with this method will depend on the type of edible, the product’s potency, and your digestive state. CBD is fat-soluble, so an edible with a natural fat content, like a CBD chocolate bar or a dessert infused with drops of an MCT oil-based CBD tincture, will increase the absorption rate in the body and offer more consistency in your dosing experience. You can also opt to take your CBD with a high fat food or meal, but this can increase the variability since different meals will contain varying levels of fat. A University of Minnesota study, published in Epilepsia, found that “when compared to fasting, taking CBD with food increased the amount of CBD in the body by four-times and the maximum amount recorded in the participants’ blood by 14-times.” If you’re taking a CBD capsule, which won’t offer any substantial fat content on its own, it’s best not to take it on an empty stomach. Try pairing it with a healthy high-fat food or beverage like slices of an avocado, a bowl of coconut chia pudding, or an evening Golden Milk Latte.
Dark chocolate infused with CBD-rich hemp extract has increased efficacy as a CBD edible since it’s the most anandamide-rich plant food in the world. Known as the “bliss molecule”, anandamide is a neurotransmitter that’s naturally produced in the brain. Scientific findings indicate that anandamide exerts positive effects on brain function, mood, memory, and pain sensation. A deficiency in anandamide has been linked to stress-induced anxiety and depression. This neurotransmitter is normally rapidly broken down by an enzyme in the body called Fatty Acid Amide Hydrolase (FAAH), but CBD inhibits this enzyme’s activity, prolonging the blissful effects of anandamide in your system. It’s no wonder why eating CBD chocolate feels so good!
FINDING THE PERFECT DOSE
To identify the perfect CBD dose for you, first consider your desired level of effect and current body weight. The dosing guide below offers a suggested CBD milligram range based on your body weight, within three levels of desired effects: mild, moderate, and strong.
WHICH LEVEL OF EFFECT IS RIGHT FOR ME?
The mild level is a great starting point for new users or those who like to take a daily maintenance dose for a balanced endocannabinoid system.
The moderate level is best suited for addressing chronic issues or a specific acute or situational issue. This is also a great range if you want to enhance your daily maintenance dose.
The strong level is an appropriate range to consider if you’re dealing with a severe condition that interferes with your daily life. It can also be a helpful range for an acute issue that needs more attention. Those who suffer from sleep disorders like insomnia or have issues with interrupted sleep cycles may benefit from this suggested higher milligram range as research has found that stronger doses can reduce the amount of time it takes to get to sleep, as well as the number of times a user wakes up in the night.
In a sea of overwhelming and sometimes misleading or false information around CBD usage, our goal is to help you feel more clear and empowered as an informed CBD user with this dosing guidance. To learn more about identifying clean, certified products or deepen your understanding of how to read the labels of CBD products, we suggested the following articles: