When it comes to cannabidiol, or CBD, it’s a bit more complicated than it seems to determine the appropriate dosage. While it’s true that cannabis has been around for centuries and has been used to treat a variety of medical conditions, CBD products are actually fairly new. Therefore, there are not really any evidence-based dosing guidelines at this time.
Most experts will agree that if you’re just getting started with CBD, it’s best to start low and gradually work your way up as needed. After all, though CBD has been deemed safe, it’s better to be cautious when trying anything new.
In this article, we are going to explore what you need to know before you try CBD for the first time.
Types of CBD
First of all, before we get into how much CBD you should be taking, it’s important to note that there are three main types of CBD:
- Full Spectrum
- Broad Spectrum
We’ll explore each of these a little closer below:
Full Spectrum CBD
A CBD product labeled as “full-spectrum” has all extracts of the cannabis plant, including:
- Other cannabinoids, such as CBN, CBC, and CBG
Legally, a full-spectrum CBD product may contain up to 0.3% THC. If there is more, it is a cannabis product, which is not the same as CBD. While there may be trace amounts of THC in a CBD product, it is not enough to create the psychoactive effect associated with THC use.
Broad Spectrum CBD
A broad spectrum CBD product contains the same extracts of the cannabis plant that are found in full spectrum products- except THC. this is because it goes through additional processing to remove the THC. Most broad spectrum products are 100% THC-free, though some may contain up to 0.1% THC.
The third type of CBD is known as CBD isolate. This is “pure” because it is sourced from the plant through a process that leaves behind all other components of the plant. Since it is pure CBD, you can be sure that it is 0% THC.
How Much to Take? It depends
First of all, it’s important to note that your body weight and body chemistry will affect the way you tolerate CBD. Below, we’ll explore some of the things that play a role in determining your ideal dosage of CBD.
What form of CBD you are using
There are several different ways that you can use CBD. When it comes to determining how much you should take, the form you are using matters because it affects how your body absorbs it as well as how quickly it takes effect.
The various forms of CBD include:
It’s important to note that doses vary among the different forms. For example, the average dose in CBD gummies is approximately 5 milligrams per gummy. On the other hand, oils/tinctures contain approximately 1 milligram per drop. Also, keep in mind that capsules and edibles take longer to kick in because they have to travel through your digestive system and be broken down before the CBD can get into your bloodstream.
Your reason for using CBD
There are a variety of reasons that people use CBD. People use it to deal with the pain associated with arthritis, for nausea, and a variety of other health issues. Therefore, your reason for using CBD also helps determine your dosage.
For example, according to the Arthritis Foundation, if you are using it for pain relief, start with just a few milligrams of a sublingual form of CBD twice daily, doubling the dosage if you are not feeling enough pain relief within a week.
If you are using CBD to treat a different condition, the recommendation may not be the same.
Are you taking other medications?
The third very important factor you must take into consideration when determining how much CBD- if any- you should take is what other medications you are taking.
Generally, CBD is well-tolerated. However, there is not a lot of data regarding drug interactions. CBD could affect the way your body metabolizes certain medications and the limited data that is available indicates that it may interact with antidepressants, immunosuppressant medications, and blood thinners.
Therefore, it’s important to consult with your physician before you start using CBD- especially if you are taking other medications.
When Should CBD Start Working?
The next concern that people often bring up is when should CBD start working and- once again, the answer is it depends. The method of administration determines how long it takes for the CBD to get into your system and take effect.
For example, edibles- such as gummies- must travel through your digestive system before being absorbed into your bloodstream. By the time this occurs, the amount of CBD that ends up in your bloodstream is likely to be low.
On the other hand, if you use a tincture sublingually, it will be absorbed directly into your bloodstream, which means it kicks in much faster.
Onset time for CBD products
Below you will find how long it typically takes to feel the effects of the various forms of CBD:
- Edibles: may take up to 2 hours
- Tinctures/sprays: 15 to 45 minutes
- Topicals: 45 minutes to 1 hour
- Vapes: 15 to 30 minutes
Should you take more if you don’t feel any effects?
If you’re not feeling anything within the timeframes outlined above, does that mean you should take more? Not exactly.
Re-dosing is one of the reasons that people end up taking too much. While CBD is generally safe and most people don’t experience side effects with a standard dose, taking too much could result in unwanted side effects. While CBD is well-tolerated even in high doses, it doesn’t mean that nothing will happen.
If you take too much CBD, you could end up with side effects including:
- Changes in appetite
- Changes in weight
Recently, an animal study indicated that high doses of CBD could result in liver damage.
Therefore, if you decide to start taking CBD, it’s important that you start with a low dosage and make sure that you give it plenty of time to work before you take more. As a general rule, it is recommended that you stick with a low dose for about a week before increasing it. Of course, if the low dose is working just fine for you, there’s no need to adjust it because most people do not build up a tolerance to it.
How long will CBD last?
As a general rule, CBD effects will last anywhere from 2 to 6 hours, depending on the form of CBD you used, how much you used, and your tolerance. In order to get a better understanding of how your body reacts to CBD, take notes on the following general information about CBD:
- The form of CBD you used
- How much you used
- When the effects kicked in
- How strongly it affected you
- How long the effects lasted
Once you have an understanding of how CBD works with your body, it will help you determine how much your next dose should be as well as when you should take it.
Tips for CBD Newbies
If you are a newbie to the world of CBD and ready to get started on your CBD journey, the following tips will help make sure that your experience is safe, comfortable, and effective.
Be smart when you’re shopping
First of all, it’s important to remember that, in the United States, CBD products are generally unregulated. They are considered a dietary supplement, which means the FDA regards them as food, not drugs. This means that mislabeling and/or low quality control may be an issue. This includes discrepancies in strength and even undeclared THC. Therefore, make sure that you are only shopping from dispensaries that are licensed and trustworthy.
Consult a professional
When trying to determine the type of CBD and the appropriate dosage of CBD for you, it’s best to consult a healthcare provider that is aware of your medical history. Of course, you’ll also want to consult with the sales staff about the various products. Though the sales staff does know a lot about the CBD products they sell, they don’t know you- so, it’s best to consult with both in order to make an informed decision.
Use before bedtime
One of the most common side effects associated with CBD is drowsiness. Therefore, unless your healthcare provider recommends something different, it’s best to use CBD before going to bed or when you have the time to just sit back and relax. This way, drowsiness will not be an issue. Once you know how your body responds to it, you can make adjustments if you wish- but it’s best to start out with low doses at night.
Don’t vape it
One of the popular types of CBD is vaping. However, it’s best to avoid using this form because vaping has been linked to lung infections and potentially death. However, at this time, it’s not clear how or why. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, or CDC, are currently exploring the risks of vaping- but at this time, most health agencies agree that you should avoid vaping until we have learned more.
Research shows that CBD is generally safe and well-tolerated by most people. However, it is definitely not a “one-size-fits-all” solution. There are several considerations that determine how much and how often you should be using it. The best thing to do at this time is consult with your physician until experts can come up with some clinical guidelines. This is especially true if you are using CBD to manage certain conditions, such as chronic pain or anxiety or if you are regularly taking a prescription medication to treat a certain condition.
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