How to get it right and avoiding poor advice
Take a look online and you will see countless infographics doing the rounds, all claiming to explain dosing CBD. Here’s the thing, there is no one size fits all approach. Dr Cunningham explains the individuality of taking CBD, why we need to measure our intake of cannabinoids, and how to do this.
Key points that need to stand out:
Unlike with other supplements, neither the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) or the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have created a Recommended Daily Intake (RDI) for CBD, which means CBD does not have an official serving size.
The market for CBD products is growing at an ever-expanding pace, who can keep up? Whether you are a first-time user, or an experienced CBD fan, it can be confusing as to how these products work and how much of them to take. Has anyone actually sought advice on this?
A frequent question that comes up all the time, from customers in store at CBD First, online, or on forums is: What’s the best CBD dosage? In other words, how much CBD should I take?
Perform one quick web search and you will quickly see that there are many posts and blogs on the potential health benefits of taking CBD and other cannabinoids.
Generally, the information reported in these posts and blogs are based off research and reliable scientific data. However, some are also purely anecdotal from user reports, or even just grandiose claims from sellers trying to bump up their sales.
Much akin to the health claims of CBD found online, there is an abundance of information out there on the dosing of CBD, cherry picked from a sparse number of research publications and limited clinical trials.
Consumers are estimating their CBD dosages based upon the recommendations of manufacturers, the companies that they buy their CBD from. Or even worse… Facebook groups or online forum users who are uncertified and claim to be ‘experts’ simply because they use CBD.
How to Choose Your CBD Dose
Understand the label
First, make sure you understand what is in the product.
When purchasing a CBD product, these will often come labelled as five percent, ten percent, or 5000mg and so on, but what do these values mean?
Check whether the percentage or quantity of CBD stated on the bottle refers to the quantity of actual CBD in the product and not the quantity of CBD hemp concentrate or oil used to make the product.
It can be confusing as some people will be misled into believing their ten percent CBD oil contains ten percent actual CBD but in some cases, this can refer to the content of the hemp oil concentrate added during formulation.
As these CBD pastes and concentrates contain variable concentrations of CBD depending on the level of refinement, your ten percent tincture could contain as little as 100-150mg of actual CBD, which in reality is 1 – 1.5 percent CBD.
Percentage vs milligrams
As there is no actual standardised method of labelling CBD products, you will often see products labelled as a percentage or with a quantity stated in milligrams.
Unlike nicotine containing e–liquids, the mass stated refers to the quantity of CBD in the entire product, and not per millilitre (6mg, 12mg CBD e-liquid etc). As an example, a 1000mg CBD e-liquid that is 10ml in volume would contain 100mg CBD per millilitre, and 33.33mg per millilitre if in a 30ml container.
If the CBD content is stated as a percentage however, a five percent 10ml bottle will contain 500mg of CBD or CBD concentrate, or 50mg per millilitre. A five percent 50ml bottle will contain 2500mg CBD, and still, 50mg CBD per millilitre, the overall CBD content is different depending on the container volume. The concentration of CBD per ml will however, stay the same.
Start low and increase your strengths accordingly
We cannot tell you how much CBD to take as this would be irresponsible of us, as there are no real official values to follow. There have been some studies that have reported figures used in early stage studies, which are being reported as guidelines on different websites and blogs for certain ailments. However, to get reliable, accurate information, much more in-depth clinical studies need performed. This will require time and patience.
Don’t just start taking 60mg of CBD twice a day because one of your friends of similar size says it works for them. You need to consider each person is different and many factors are in play and how the body functions. This may include body weight, metabolism, genetics, and the endocannabinoid system.
What we do suggest is to start off small and to increase your dosages gradually and see how your body reacts. It may be useful to keep a log book of how you feel after each dose until you find the optimum amount for you.
Again, everyone is different. What worked for your friend may not work for you, or you could even need a smaller dosage for a similar condition.
Consult your doctor
When in doubt, consult your GP, especially if you have an existing medical condition. Do not stop taking medication in substitution for CBD without speaking to your general practitioner.
How to accurately measure your CBD dosage and the ways of taking it.
There are several methods to taking CBD, each with their own benefits. Some of these are easier than others to dose, with differing uptake mechanisms.
Using a tincture is one of the easiest ways to take CBD. Simply fill the pipette and drip the oil drops under your tongue and hold there for at least 30 seconds, or as long as you can, before swallowing.
Dropping under the tongue, also known as the sublingual method, is an efficient way for absorbing CBD. Due to the high density of blood capillaries present under the tongue – CBD can be absorbed through the mucosal membranes facilitating direct uptake into the venous blood stream, bypassing first stage metabolism by the liver.
How many drops of CBD oil should I take?
With some simple mathematics, we can easily figure that out.
We just need to know how much CBD is in a pipette, the dropper which comes with the tincture.
As an example, CBD Ultra Oil drops come with a 1ml dropper, so this makes it easy for us to calculate how much CBD there is using the following simple formula.
[Total CBD in Bottle] ÷ [Number of ml per bottle] = mgs of CBD in pipette
If you have a 10ml CBD Ultra tincture that has 500mg of CBD:
500 ÷ 10 = 50mg of CBD per pipette.
If you have decided upon starting with a CBD dosage of 25mg, and a single pipette of that 500mg tincture contains 50mg, you’d simply need to fill to halfway.
Of course, this method isn’t 100 percent accurate, but it is more accurate than not measuring at all. Remember, start with a small dosage and gradually increase until you find what works for you.
Vaping CBD can be done using a CBD e-liquid or CBD pod system. However, there are also devices now that enable you to vaporise CBD isolate and waxes.
You inhale the CBD vapour were it can be absorbed through the dense capillary network of the lungs; this is rapid and efficient.
When using an e-liquid to vape CBD, start by calculating how much CBD is in each millilitre of the liquid. Once you know this, you can work out how much CBD you are putting into a single tank of your device.
If your desired dosage of CBD is 100mg, and you are using a 500mg bottle of CBD e-liquid, a single 2ml tank would contain roughly 100mg of CBD. To properly administer your dosage, you would vape a complete tank over the course of a day.
CBD topicals have many potential usages. The benefits of these are that CBD can be absorbed through the skin to the targeted area. These creams and balms can be applied generously on the skin much like any other regular cream or lotion.
Although more difficult to measure, you can calculate how much CBD there is per millilitre by dividing the CBD concentration by the volume. From this you will have a rough idea of how much you have used and therefore a rough estimate how much CBD you have used. While we await a more accurate system of estimating this, it is better than no measurement at all.
When CBD edibles are ingested, they pass into the digestive system where they are then absorbed into the blood stream. Edibles provide the slowest rate of CBD absorption and can be influenced by other factors, such as whether they are taken with food, wherein fats help aid absorption.
Dosing of CBD edibles is by far the easiest of all methods.
As CBD capsules are filled with an exact amount of CBD, they provide a truly accurate way to dose CBD. If your targeted CBD dosage is 25mg, then simply buy a pack of 25mg capsules and you’re good to go.
Other consumption methods that are just as accurate include, gummies and beverages, although they may not be as convenient as capsules.
Disclaimer: Please be aware the advice contained in this article is not legally binding and may not be accurate to everyone reading. Remember to always consult your doctor.
About the author
Dr Richard Cunningham has a PhD in medicinal chemistry from Queens University Belfast, where he researched and worked as a post-doctoral researcher. He also worked at the Mitchell Cancer Institute in the US, where he was a research Instructor at the University of South Alabama. Richard’s areas of expertise include: organic synthesis, nucleosides, nucleotides, cellular biology, vitamins, aminoglycosides, drug delivery, phosphorous chemistry and chemical analysis.