In today’s legal and medical climates, there’s no shortage of buzz about CBD oil and all of its potential benefits. To many people’s delight, this product was recently legalized in all 50 states. However, knowing how to choose the right dosage and properly use CBD oil is a whole other challenge entirely.
CBD, or cannabidiol, is a naturally occurring chemical compound extracted from the cannabis plant. While CBD comes from the same plant as THC — the chemical in marijuana that produces a psychoactive high — it is not the same. Instead, CBD oil offers countless physical and mental benefits without any of the impairment of THC.
But how does CBD oil work?
Inside the human body is an extremely important system responsible for chemical reactions that dictate how we feel, move, and experience the world around us. This is called the endocannabinoid system, and the chemicals that control it are called cannabinoids.
But the human body isn’t the only thing that creates cannabinoids. In fact, many plants produce their own version of these chemicals, including the cannabis plant. CBD and THC are both cannabinoids, which allows them to interact with our endocannabinoid system.
The most obvious example of this interaction is when the cannabinoid THC enters our brain’s cannabinoid receptors, creating a psychoactive response. But endocannabinoid receptors are located throughout the entire human body, monitoring things like pain, stress, sleep, and hunger.
For some of us, our bodies either fail to create enough natural cannabinoids or our receptors lack the correct uptake sensitivity. This can lead to all types of mental and physical issues. Fortunately, CBD can supplement our natural cannabinoid production, offering relief from pain, anxiety, depression, nausea, insomnia, and much more.
When choosing a CBD oil for personal use, one of the first things you should be looking at is the product’s concentration. For some CBD products, the concentration is listed as a percentage. This represents how much of the entire bottle of tincture or capsules is pure CBD versus other ingredients.
For other products, the concentration is listed as total milligrams (mg). Keep in mind — this is not total mg per serving but per the entire bottle. If you’d like to know how much CBD is in each serving, you’ll need to do a little simple math.
Knowing the concentration of a given CBD product is extremely important for finding the correct dose to achieve your desired effect. Without this information, you have no way of knowing how much CBD you’re actually ingesting at a time.
While the side effects of taking too much CBD are pretty mild — most people just experience slight nausea, upset stomach, or fatigue – doing so is a waste of money and can mean building up an early tolerance to CBD and its benefits.
Another thing to consider is that the FDA has not yet recognized CBD oil as a medication. This means that CBD products are not tested to ensure they actually contain the amount of CBD the manufacturer claims. For this reason, we recommend choosing only well-established, reliable brands when purchasing CBD oil.
- Daily use
- Users with zero tolerance or a sensitive endocannabinoid system
- Mild anxiety, aches, and pains
Low-strength CBD oil (typically ranging from less than 100 mg to around 400 mg) is a great option for users who are particularly sensitive to CBD or other cannabis-derived products. This sensitivity may be a result of never using medical or recreational marijuana products. But many people also have endocannabinoid systems that are naturally more sensitive than others.
If you’ve never used CBD oil before, this is where we recommend starting out. Low-strength CBD oil works well against mild anxiety, pain, and for day-to-day stress reduction. Some people also believe in taking low-strength CBD oil as a daily dietary supplement.
- Users who take multiple doses of lower-strength CBD product per day
- Acute anxiety, digestive discomfort, and mild-to-moderate pain
For some, low-strength CBD oil just doesn’t cut it. For more severe cases of anxiety or pain, as well as digestive issues or loss-of-appetite, we suggest reaching for a mid-strength CBD oil. With around 400 mg to 800 mg of CBD per bottle, these products offer a bit more than their lower-potency counterparts.
If you currently use low-strength CBD oil but find yourself reaching for multiple doses per day, we recommend bumping up to a mid-strength product. This concentration can also be a good starting point for those who have an existing tolerance from medical or recreational marijuana use.
- Users with CBD experience — not for beginners
- Insomnia, depression, severe anxiety, and moderate-to-severe chronic pain
- May be used to aid someone weaning off of alcohol or drugs
High-strength CBD oil can contain anywhere from around 800 mg to 1,200 mg of total CBD extract. This concentration has shown preclinical results in the treatment of chronic insomnia, depression, severe anxiety, and more serious cases of chronic pain.
One of the most impressive benefits of high-strength CBD oil is its ability to help ease the symptoms of alcohol or drug withdrawal. Since CBD targets many of the symptoms of withdrawal, such as nausea, pain, and insomnia, it can help provide much-needed comfort to those going through alcohol or drug withdrawal.
Pain patients who are dependent on, but not addicted to, opiates might also find alternative relief in non-addictive CBD oil. Unfortunately, medical doctors are not able to prescribe CBD products to their patients. Patients must instead seek out CBD oil products on their own. In time, we hope this will change.
- Those who have been using CBD oil for a long time and have built up a tolerance
- Extreme cases of chronic pain, depression, anxiety, and insomnia
- Few users actually require this high of a concentration
In rare cases, users might find themselves needing more than one dose of high-strength CBD oil. If this applies to you, many premium CBD brands offer extra high-strength products — some containing over 4,000 mg of total CBD.
While bigger might seem better, there’s no reason to reach for extra high-strength CBD unless you’re extremely experienced and have already built up a high tolerance. Using this high of a concentration when you don’t really need it is both expensive and wasteful.
Whether introducing CBD oil as a daily supplement or as treatment for acute symptoms, starting slow is key. Even if you’ve used medical or recreational marijuana before, you don’t know how your endocannabinoid system will respond to a higher concentration of CBD. We always recommend starting with a single dose of low- or mid-strength CBD oil.
Some sources suggest starting with 1 to 6 mg of CBD oil for every 10 lbs of body weight. However, we feel that 1 to 2 mg per 10 lbs of body weight is a more appropriate starting point. From there, you can gauge your level of symptom relief and adjust your dosage as needed.
When searching for a CBD product that meets your needs, you should also consider what type of CBD you’re using: isolate, full-spectrum, or broad-spectrum. Here are the differences:
Type of CBD oil
What is it?
What does the research say?
Extract containing ONLY pure CBD
Previously believed to be more effective than other extracts because of its purity, but this has been disproven
Extract containing CBD, terpenes, essential oils, and other natural cannabinoids — contains trace amounts of THC
Studies show that CBD’s therapeutic benefits are increased by the presence of other compounds and cannabinoids
Extract containing CBD, terpenes, essential oils, and other natural cannabinoids — no THC
Studies show that broad-spectrum CBD offers many of the same benefits as full-spectrum, but without the legal concerns of containing THC
Remember, CBD oil should not produce a mental or physical high. While full-spectrum CBD products do contain a small concentration of THC, it is normally such a small amount that it will have no effect. When taking CBD oil, you should be looking for an absence of pain, anxiety, or other discomfort. Not the presence of a high.
When it comes to CBD and other cannabis products, the legal and scientific climate is constantly changing. While CBD (with less than .3% THC) is legal in all 50 states, the sale and possession of full-spectrum CBD and other cannabis products are still up for debate in many. We always recommend checking your local laws before purchasing any of these products.
If you’re ever unsure about using a CBD product, consult with a cannabis-friendly medical professional first to discuss your symptoms. By following this and the other guidelines above, you can safely use CBD oil and experience all of its amazing benefits for yourself.