What Are The Differences In CBD Oil Strengths?
Do you get confused by all the CBD oil strengths labeled on bottles? If so, you’re not alone.
While CBD gummies, pills, capsules, and other edibles come with clear and precise dosage and portions, CBD oils require a bit of calculation to understand how much you need to take and how strong your CBD should be.
Adding to this complication is the fact that no clear or official guidelines exist yet regarding the recommended daily allowance for CBD. Many consumers are perplexed by the necessary calculations and the lack of an official recommendation.
Understanding CBD oil strengths is the first step to grasping how CBD can help with your well-being. It also offers consumers increased awareness of how much CBD they could be taking.
What are the CBD oil strengths?
CBD oil strength refers to the potency of CBD oil in a bottle.
By browsing online for CBD oil products, you will notice several options to choose from: 300 mg, 500 mg, 1000 mg, or even 1500 mg per bottle.
This refers to the total amount of CBD in the bottle. If you were to consume the whole bottle in one go—which, by the way, we strongly advise against—you would be taking that amount of CBD in your body.
Doctors and specialists generally consider a 300 mg CBD oil bottle as low-potency. A 500 mg one is considered medium-potency, while a 1000 mg bottle is considered high-potency.
However, potency is only one of many factors to consider.
Does the bottle size matter?
Since the CBD oil strength refers to the total quantity of CBD oil in the bottle, consumers need to take into account the bottle’s volume—i.e. how big the bottle is—besides the total content of CBD oil. You can find 10 ml, 30 ml, 60 ml, and even 100 ml CBD oil bottles in the market.
Of course, CBD oil contains more than CBD. That’s why a 100 ml bottle may contain less CBD than a 10 ml one.
What else is contained in CBD oil?
CBD oils greatly vary in terms of content. The two main ingredients in any CBD oil is CBD and some fatty carrier oil, such as coconut oil, grape seed oil, olive oil, hemp seed oil, etc.
Carrier oils are necessary because CBD is fat-soluble. Carrier oils work as solvents to dissolve the CBD and all the other compounds in a more easily digestible form.
A CBD oil bottle that has a low strength contains more carrier oils than a higher strength one. This means that a low-potency CBD oil has been more dissolved than a high potency one.
How do I calculate how much CBD there is in one drop?
When buying CBD oil, you need to know two crucial things:
- how big the bottle is;
- how much CBD oil strength it contains in total.
Calculating your CBD oil strength
A few examples will help explain how to calculate your CBD oil strength.
Let’s start with the example of a 30 ml bottle with a CBD content of 300 mg.
It is generally assumed that one drop from the dropper contains 1 ml of liquid.
Therefore, 300 mg ÷ 30 ml = 10 mg. In this case, each drop contains 10 mg of CBD. Our first bottle contains 30 drops of CBD oil.
Let’s look at another example: a bottle of the same size—30 ml—that contains 1500 mg of CBD.
In this case, 1500 mg ÷ 30 ml= 50 mg. So, each drop contains 50 mg of CBD. With this bottle, the consumer is taking five times more CBD with each drop even though the total servings are still 30. What changes is the CBD oil strength of each drop.
Finally, let’s consider a much bigger bottle: a 60 ml bottle containing 1000 mg of CBD.
Now, 1000 mg ÷ 60 ml = 16.6 mg of CBD per drop of CBD oil. At first glance, you might think that this bottle would contain even more potent CBD oil, since it’s twice as big. However, due to the extra volume, the CBD content per drop is much lower than expected. This bottle contains 60 servings but each drop only contains one-third of the CBD compared to the previous example and only slightly more than our first one.
Does bioavailability matter?
When talking about CBD strength, we need to consider CBD bioavailability.
What is bioavailability?
Bioavailability refers to the ultimate amount of any substance that reaches the bloodstream.
When we take medication orally, the medicine travels through our digestive tract and is broken by the stomach and liver enzymes before entering the bloodstream. As a result, much less than the original amount taken reaches the bloodstream. All pharmaceuticals take into account bioavailability when they mention dosage.
The same holds true for CBD. Depending on the method of consumption, CBD bioavailability varies immensely. Vaping CBD offers the highest bioavailability, which can reach up to 50%. This number means that 50% of the original CBD amount reaches the bloodstream.
Bioavailability for oral CBD is around 20%, while it reaches 30% for sublingual use. The bioavailability of topical creams is only around 5%.
How does bioavailability influence strength?
Due to the varying levels of bioavailability, CBD oil strength matters. A potent CBD oil taken sublingually will give the body a stronger immediate effect than a low-potency one. However, a high-strength CBD oil consumed orally may have the same effect as a low-potency one that is vaped, because of the lower bioavailability.
Another factor to consider is the reason why someone is consuming CBD. Consumers looking for immediate relief from pain or insomnia often prefer high-potency CBD because of the higher bioavailability it offers. However, those looking for everyday use to increase their feeling of well-being may buy low-potency CBD because they don’t mind the lower bioavailability.
CBD dosage and purpose
The reason why someone takes CBD also touches upon the appropriate CBD dosage, an issue that has not been clearly defined yet by studies. While there are certain tips to follow when determining the right CBD dosage, consumers have to adjust their dosage on their own.
There is no generally approved CBD dosage; just a 2020 FSA guideline that states that CBD consumption should be under 70 mg per day. CBD dosage depends on several factors, including age, weight, exercise levels, metabolism, and general health.
Generally speaking, heavier people require higher doses. Elder people with slower metabolism should start with lower doses and increase very slowly. People suffering from acute pain could require a higher initial dosage and more potent CBD than people suffering from mild pains. The rule-of-thumb is to “start low, go slow.”
Finally, consumers should take into consideration how long they plan on taking CBD. Will it be a long-term practice or is it for short-term relief? Dosage and CBD strength depend on consumption patterns. Someone planning long-term consumption should start with low-strength CBD taken at a regular frequency. Those who are looking for short-term relief may prefer higher doses of higher strength CBD oil.
CBD is not addictive and is generally well-tolerated. There is no possibility of overdosing with CBD. Still, any side-effects from CBD, such as nausea, dizziness, and dry mouth dissipate, are usually due to high doses. Thankfully, they quickly dissipate when consumers discontinue or limit their CBD consumption.
CBD isolate, full-spectrum, or broad-spectrum?
Most people try CBD because they are looking for a specific effect. Besides the potency of the CBD oil, another factor that plays a big part is the three main types of CBD products: full-spectrum, broad-spectrum, and CBD isolate (or CBD crystals).
Full-spectrum CBD contains CBD, along with all other cannabinoids, terpenes, flavonoids, and fatty acids that are found in the hemp plant. Full-spectrum CBD contains tiny amounts of THC, the psychotropic compound of cannabis that is responsible for a sense of “high.” THC must be under 0.2% for the CBD to be legal.
Broad-spectrum CBD contains the majority of cannabinoids. However, all traces of THC have been removed. Some believe that this diminishes the entourage effect—how cannabis compounds work better together to maximize the effect of CBD.
CBD isolate is 100% pure CBD, without any cannabinoids, terpenes, or flavonoids. Obviously, CBD isolate offers no entourage effect whatsoever.
What is the entourage effect?
Some literature suggests that CBD’s effectiveness is increased when it is consumed along with all the other compounds found in the hemp plant. This is called the entourage effect.
This term implies that taking CBD with other cannabinoids, terpenes, or flavonoids increases each other’s effectiveness and boosts the potential effect. This entourage effect is sometimes described as 1+1=5.
Studies on the entourage effect suggest that full-spectrum CBD and broad-spectrum CBD are more efficient—and, therefore, more potent—than CBD isolate. Assuming this is true, this would mean that full-spectrum, high-strength CBD oil has the greatest effect.
Deciding on CBD oil strength
The CBD market is flooded with products and it is difficult to gauge their true value and trustworthiness. As we saw in this article, CBD oil strength is just one of the many criteria that determine people’s choices.
Calculating CBD strength per drop of CBD oil is fairly easy once you know two things:
- how much CBD the bottle contains;
- the size of the bottle.
Other matters to take into consideration are bioavailability, body weight, metabolism, and severity of the condition you wish to address.
As a reminder, you should consult with your GP before taking CBD. Your GP is the most suitable person to evaluate your condition and guide you about your general health. CBD can interact with medication and may exacerbate certain conditions such as glaucoma.