CBD oil can be beneficial to your physical and mental health, and it’s commonly available in the form of oil. However, because the Food and Drug Administration doesn’t have regulations about CBD oil, different manufacturers make oils with varying levels of potency. This all leads us to the big question: how much CBD oil do I take?
The short answer is: it depends. There are a variety of factors that go into CBD dosing, including:
- Oil potency
We’re going to get into all of that and more in order for you to find the best dose for your body. We’ll also talk about what to do if you experience side effects.
The Cannabis sativa plant, and hemp in particular, produces the cannabidiol chemical, among other types of naturally-occurring cannabinoid chemicals. Cannabidiol, more commonly referred to as CBD, has been shown to be beneficial for people with certain conditions, including:
- Sleep issues
- Pain and inflammation
- Bowel-related issues
The FDA does not currently regulate CBD, and for that reason (among others) there is no one-size-fits-all dose that you should take.
What is a drop?
When you actually start to look at the labeling on your CBD oil, it can actually get pretty confusing. The bottle tells us how many milligrams of CBD is in the bottle, but you measure by the milliliter, or even further, the drop.
That’s when we have to start getting into some math. A 5 mL bottle of CBD oil may contain 500 mg of CBD. A drop is defined as about 0.05 mL, meaning the bottle has 100 drops of 2.5 mg each. Remember, each bottle is different.
Types of oil applications
Edibles are a common way to take in CBD, but when you’re working directly with oils, there are two main methods of application.
The word sublingual literally means ‘under the tongue’, and in this method, CBD oil drops are placed under the tongue. When oil is applied this way, CBD is absorbed much faster into your system than when consumed or applied topically.
CBD oil can be applied directly to the skin and massaged in. This topical application is common when one is experiencing joint pain, particularly because this method applies a concentrated dose to a particular area.
How much do I take?
That seems like a simple question but doesn’t have a simple answer. In traditional medications, physicians calculate dosage based on the patient’s weight, age, and status of the condition. CBD oil is no different. Let’s look at some of the factors that you should consider when determining the right dosage for you.
Every human is different, and the way we metabolize nutrients and medications will vary based partially on each person’s weight. Quick science lesson—metabolism is simply a chemical reaction that happens at the cellular level that breaks down food into nutrients and chemicals. How fast this happens is as individual as a fingerprint.
What that means is that everybody absorbs medication at a slightly different rate, and weight is an easy foundation to build on.
The more you weigh, the larger the starting dose will be, but this chart is a good starting point. For example, someone who weighs 125 lbs will typically require around 30 percent less CBD per dose than someone who weighs 200 lbs.
Different conditions respond differently to CBD. For example, a joint ache may require a stronger topical dose than anxiety, which could possibly be managed with smaller sublingual doses spread out over a period of time.
Oil by volume doesn’t always carry the same amount of CBD when you’re comparing across brands. Understanding the potency of the oil can help you determine how much to measure out.
Can I take too much?
CBD affects every person differently. Dr. Dustin Sulak, DO, the director of Integr8 Health, states,
“Dosing cannabis is unlike any therapeutic agent to which I was exposed in my medical training. Some patients effectively use tiny amounts of cannabis, while others use incredibly high doses. I’ve seen adult patients achieve therapeutic effects at 1 mg of total cannabinoids daily, while others consume over 2000 mgs daily without adverse effects.”
That being said, depending on your personal comfort, you can possibly take too much. An overdosing of CBD will not kill you, but you may experience extreme sleepiness; in rare cases CBD can cause diarrhea, appetite changes, or fatigue.
Low and slow
When looking at how healthcare professionals prescribe traditional medication, they often take the ‘low and slow’ approach in order to determine the most effective dose for you. This approach is advised with CBD oil.
Start at a lower dose and gradually increase until you notice that your symptoms improve. Make sure if you’re applying it topically to give the oil some time to absorb. Each person is unique, and what works for another person of similar size and condition may be too much or not enough for you.
In short, slowly increase your dose to the point you feel relief. In medical terms this is called ‘titrating up”.
In short, there is no ‘right’ dose that fits every single person, and starting with a lower dose and working up is the smart way to go. Use a dosage calculator or chart based on weight to start. Even though these methods aren’t 100% accurate, it’s better than not measuring at all.