How To Choose The Right CBD Dosage For You
With CBD usage and consumption now legal in the United Kingdom, many people are keen to try it out to alleviate various illnesses or pains. However, no official guidelines exist regarding the right dosage. So, how can you choose the right CBD dosage for you?
Largely due to its illegal status, relatively few studies have been conducted on CBD by official medical bodies. While this is changing rapidly, no official protocol exists to determine the required dosage for the diverse ailments CBD is believed to help with.
There is no official recommended dosage nor any Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA), let alone a set of ground rules for each specific illness and disease. It remains up to each doctor to recommend (and not prescribe) a dosage of CBD that they estimate will achieve results.
Nevertheless, the aforementioned studies and reviews have set some general ground rules that can help determine the right dosage for people looking to alleviate their condition.
One crucial detail is that CBD may be biphasic. This means that it can have one effect at a low dose and its opposite at a high one. That is why users report, for example, that it may wake them up at a low dose and make them sleepy at a high one.
Read on for some guidelines to help you pick the right CBD dosage for you!
What is CBD used for?
CBD dosage depends on several factors, among which the condition for which you wish to use it.
People use it to alleviate conditions such as insomnia, arthritis, anxiety and mood disorders, chronic pain, inflammation, skin problems, multiple sclerosis and its symptoms, epilepsy, and irritable bowel syndrome, among others.
CBD is popular because it lacks the hallucinogenic THC, which is the compound responsible for cannabis’ feeling of “high.” This means that CBD is not addictive and safe to use, even in relatively large quantities.
The wide spectrum of conditions it is believed to help with is explained by its twin action. On one hand, it has strong anti-inflammatory qualities. This is particularly helpful with ailments like arthritis, skin problems, etc.
On the other hand, it interacts with the body’s endocannabinoid system. This is a body-wide system which impacts on several body functions.
General CBD dosage rules
Since there is no universal dosage that people can follow, the medical community suggests that you start with a low quantity and increase slowly every couple of weeks, until you reach the required benefits without experiencing any side-effects. The rule-of-thumb, then, is:
“Start low, go slow.”
Studies indicate that, depending on the condition and user, CBD dosage can vary from 20 to 1500 mg per day.
Thankfully, even at the high end of the dosage, side-effects tend to be minor and CBD remains non-addictive and well-tolerated.
CBD dosage depends on the user
One of the factors influencing the required CBD dosage is the user’s sex, with men usually requiring higher doses than women.
Also, age is another determinant, with younger people needing more due to their higher metabolism.
Body weight also matters. Heavier people usually need a higher dose than thinner ones.
Individual body chemistry also plays a role, just like with any other medication. Some people will require more to achieve the benefits of CBD while some others will find their pain soothes with lower quantities.
Finally, genetics also seem to play a part, with otherwise similar people reacting differently to CBD.
Conditions to be treated
Another aspect to take into account is the severity of the condition patients are treating.
Acute bouts of pain or inflammation will need higher doses to alleviate the problem. More chronic ailments can be treated with lower doses.
Again, personal pain tolerance plays a role. Some people might want to just alleviate pain while some others might aim for a pain-free life. Personal preferences in conjunction with the condition to be treated play an important role.
One final, crucial factor is the concentration of CBD, regardless of your preferred form of CBD. Users have reported that CBD from one brand has virtually no effect on them, while another brand, with a different concentration, relieved their symptoms within a day or two. This is largely due to each brand’s CBD concentration.
If you look at the label, you will see that it mentions the concentration of actual CBD in the product. Concentration is usually shown in milligrams (mg).
Manufacturers usually report the CBD concentration of the whole container, which is then divided into servings.
Therefore, you might read that the bottle of CBD oil contains 1500 mg of CBD and has 50 servings. This means that each serving has 30 mg of CBD.
Concentration varies according to the form of the CBD (pills, oils, etc.), the manufacturer, and the production process.
Ways of consuming CBD and their effectiveness
Dosage and effects of CBD vary according to the way in which you will be consuming the compound. The faster and longer the CBD enters and lasts in our body, the less our body requires.
When CBD is taken orally, such as with pills, capsules, gels, oils, or powders, it’s not fast-acting but has longer-lasting effects.
The reason is that they go through the digestive system, which takes time to process the CBD.
An exception to this is CBD oil taken sublingually (under the tongue, where you keep the CBD oil drop for about a minute).
When CBD is taken sublingually, it does not enter the digestive system. Instead, it enters the bloodstream through the membrane under our tongue. As a result, the effects can be felt as soon as 15 minutes later.
Inhaled CBD also reaches our bloodstream fast, as it enters it through the lungs.
However, vaping carries some risks: it is crucial to buy your CBD from a reputed source, as the lungs are not made to expel any pollutants entering them.
Local application is perfect for localised problems (a rash or inflammation, for instance).
However, topical creams take longer to act since they have to bypass the skin barrier and lose some of their power in the process. Also, they tend to have a low CBD concentration.
In regards to the required dosage, CBD taken sublingually will require a lower dose than a CBD cream that is used for an inflamed knee. Similarly, CBD taken orally gets broken down in our digestive tract, therefore losing some of its efficiency. Larger doses may be required to achieve beneficial results. Comparatively, inhaled CBD will require lower doses because it enters our bloodstream almost immediately.
Research is still inconclusive regarding the tolerance our body builds when taking CBD.
Some studies have found that people develop a small tolerance, therefore requiring increasing amounts of CBD to achieve the same health benefits.
Other studies indicate the opposite is true. People taking CBD develop a ‘reverse tolerance,’ which means they need less CBD to achieve the same results.
This may be due to CBD’s possible biphasic nature. While more research is needed, it is generally agreed that developing tolerance to CBD is not a cause for concern nor does it lead to increased necessary doses of CBD.
CBD is usually well-tolerated by patients and the side-effects are minor, especially compared to other medication like anti-inflammatories or anti-depressants.
Patients and users of CBD have observed some side-effects such as fatigue and tiredness, diarrhoea, change in appetite and/or weight, low blood pressure, and dry mouth. These were mainly due to three factors:
- High dosages, especially if repeated over a long period.
- Low-quality CBD. Specifically, CBD made from hemp used to clean up dirty soil from contaminants like pesticides and heavy metals.
- Interaction with medication. CBD can strengthen the action of certain kinds of medication, including their side-effects.
To deal with the first factor, you can lower the amount of CBD taken or change the form you use to consume CBD.
Spacing the CBD taken throughout the day and, therefore, dividing the daily quantity taken into smaller doses can also help. The body is better able to break down CBD in smaller quantities than in bigger ones.
Changing your CBD brand may also help, as different brands offer different concentrations.
To deal with the second kind of side-effect, you also need to change your CBD brand. Make sure you read the label of your CBD product and learn more about the producer, manufacturer, country of origin, and production process.
Ask how the product is tested (third-party lab testing is always preferred).
Quite frequently, people experience side-effects from the by-products of their CBD (such as the carrier oils used) rather than the actual CBD. Different producers will use different carrier oils from hemp seed, coconut, avocado, grape seed, or sunflower. You might experience side-effects from one carrier oil but not another.
Buying your CBD from a reputable producer will ensure you experience as few side-effects as possible. Just as importantly, finding the purest and cleanest CBD will work better for you and your body.
If you are experiencing side-effects (or no effects), you could write down and keep track of the dose, form, and frequency you are taking your CBD, as well as the effect it has on your body.
This way, you will be better able to determine whether you need a smaller dose, a different form of consumption, or a change of brand. Naturally, pencil down whether your regime achieves the required benefits.
CBD’s interaction with other medication
According to the World Health Organization, the main cause of CBD’s side-effects is interaction with other medication.
Generally speaking, CBD interacts with anti-depressants, antibiotics, beta-blockers, anaesthetics, and steroids.
Due to its composition and the way it is broken down in our liver, CBD antagonises some medication and strengthens their effect on your body.
It is always advisable to consult with your doctor before taking CBD to make sure that it will not interact with any medication you might be taking, even if it is simple medication such as anti-histamines or antibiotics.
If you are on any form of medication, your dosage and frequency of consumption should be determined by a doctor who will take into consideration the medication you are already taking.
Taking CBD is believed to alleviate many ailments and conditions. But determining the required dose is not as straightforward as it might seem.
Although CBD is legal, there are no official medical guidelines, nor a Recommended Daily Allowance agreed upon by the medical community.
Criteria such as age, sex, weight, body chemistry, and targeted condition have to be taken into consideration. Additionally, the form, frequency, and concentration of CBD also matter.
It is always best to consult a doctor before taking CBD, especially if you are on any kind of medication. A doctor will be best placed to recommend the daily dose and consider the impact of CBD on their patient.
If you are not on any medication, follow the simple rule, “start low, go slow.” This will let you enjoy any health benefits CBD may offer, without worrying about any adverse side-effects.
You can find out more on CBD dosage in our post, How Many Milligrams Of CBD Should You Take?