by Sugar Team August 22, 2022 6 min read
Sales of cannabidiol (CBD) in the United States have exploded over the last few years, and are expected to reach $1.8 billion by the end of 2022. That represents the growing public acceptance of this natural remedy for a wide variety of ailments, even as the science behind it continues to evolve.
But for first-time users, the question remains: how much CBD should I take?
Unfortunately, there is no simple answer. The ideal dosage depends on several factors, including your weight, the condition you’re treating, and any other medications you’re taking.
There is no online guide that will definitively give you the answer, as your situation could vary wildly from someone else's. It is always advised to consult your doctor first, who will be aware of your circumstances.
That said, for those who are interested in CBD, we've compiled some information from trusted sources on common dosages, how to calculate what dosage you are taking, and the different products that are available on the market today.
Before we go anywhere, you should know exactly what CBD is. CBD is a cannabinoid, one of many compounds found in the cannabis plant. It's short for cannabidiol, and it's non-intoxicating, meaning it won't get you high.
CBD is thought to have many potential therapeutic benefits. Early research suggests that it could help relieve pain, anxiety, inflammation, and seizures. Some people even use it to improve sleep or skin conditions like acne.
While CBD is generally considered safe, it can cause side effects like dry mouth, diarrhea, and reduced appetite in some people. It can also interact with certain medications.
It should be noted that there is only one CBD-based product that is approved by the FDA as a treatment for a medical condition: Epidiolex, a medication used to treat seizures associated with two rare and severe forms of epilepsy.
But there is some promising data to support its usage in other cases. Harvard Medical School lists anxiety, insomnia, chronic pain, inflammation, arthritis, and even addiction as potential benefits, based on studies that suggest its effectiveness against these issues.
Some additional research shows that it helps neutralize cravings for cigarettes and heroin under certain conditions, though more work is necessary to understand how this occurs.
With all of these potential benefits, the study of CBD has drastically increased over the last few years. Even the NFL announced in early 2022 that they had awarded $1 million to two teams at the University of California-San Diego and the University of Regina.
The former will investigate the effects of cannabinoids on pain management, while the latter will study the potential for neuroprotection from concussion in elite football players.
These were the very first research proposals awarded by the league’s Joint Pain Management Committee, as it tries to find alternative pain management therapies for its players.
There's no easy answer for how much CBD you should take. It depends on countless different factors and in some cases, what works for one person may harm another.
Cheryl Bugailiskis, a specialist for Heally, told Forbes that it is "best to start small and gradually increase your dose up to a level that gives you the desired effect."
To find the starting point for your dosage, it's recommended that you begin with a very low amount and then increase slowly, with no rush. This process could take days or even weeks, so be patient, even if you are desperate to try and find a solution for your ailment.
It's also worth noting that taking CBD orally, in the form of drops or capsules, will result in a different dosage than smoking it or using it topically.
The reason for this is that when CBD is taken orally, it goes through the digestive system before entering the bloodstream, meaning that a higher percentage is lost along the way. When smoked or used topically, however, it enters the bloodstream directly.
One of the first things you have to learn when trying to determine dosages is that a milliliter of oil does not equal a milligram of CBD. Depending on the product you are using, you may need to do the calculation yourself.
Let’s walk through an example.
You have a bottle of CBD oil that comes with a 0.05 ml dropper. The bottle is labeled, and says that it contains 25ml of oil, and 1000 mg of CBD. You can find out how much CBD is in each drop with the following equation:
In each milliliter of oil, there are 40 milligrams of CBD.
40mg/ml 0.05ml/drop =2mg/drop
You now know that in each drop there are two milligrams of CBD, meaning you won’t need much to start your journey. Once you set a dosage for yourself, you can also calculate how many days until you will run out. If in our example, you were going to take 30 mg a day, you would need fifteen drops.
Since fifteen drops is 0.75ml, your 25ml bottle will last just over 33 days. It is a good idea to have a firm grasp of these numbers before you start taking CBD so that you can inform your doctor of your exact dosages if they ask.
If the bottle or other product does not include dosages, it may not be wise to continue with that method. With the rise of CBD acceptance, the number of different options has also drastically increased, meaning you should be able to find something that fits your needs.
Of course, CBD is not only found in the form of oil. There are several products available, and some might work better for you than others.
CBD capsules and pills are a great option for those who don’t like the taste of CBD oil, or for those who want an easy and convenient way to take their CBD doses. They’re also easy to keep track of, as you can simply take them with water like any other supplement.
They also have the added benefit of an exact dosage. Pills and capsules will be labeled with the CBD content per capsule, so you know exactly how much you’re taking each time. This can be helpful if you need to take a specific amount for medical reasons.
CBD edibles are becoming increasingly popular, as they offer a delicious way to take your dose. Gummies and candy are the most common options, but you can also find CBD-infused honey, coffee, tea, and even baked goods like brownies and cookies.
They can also be a great option for those who want to take their CBD in a fun and easy way. They’re also discrete if you need to take your CBD in public. Just be aware that it can take up to two hours for the effects of edibles to kick in, so don’t overdo it if you’re new to CBD.
Vaping and smoking is one of the fastest-acting methods of taking CBD, as the inhalation process sends it straight to your lungs and then into your bloodstream. This makes it a great option for those who need fast relief from conditions like anxiety or pain.
It’s also worth noting that inhaling CBD is one of the most efficient ways to take it, as you’re able to absorb up to 50-60% of the cannabinoids in each puff. However, it’s important to make sure you’re using a quality CBD product, as some products on the market today are of poor quality and can be harmful to your health.
Also, remember that not every oil is made for inhaling, and some may include additives that are harmful when heated.
CBD topicals are applied directly to the skin and are often used to treat localized pain or inflammation. They can also be used to moisturize and nourish the skin, as well as provide relief from conditions like psoriasis and eczema.
Topicals can come in the form of creams, lotions, balms, or even Bath Bombs. They’re a great option for those who want targeted relief without having to ingest anything.
This is an important question to ask of anything you are ingesting. Talk to your doctor about the potential risks and side effects that can come with CBD, and take their advice to heart.
Healthline links to several studies that have found CBD is tolerated well by humans even in high dosages for a long period. However, the FDA does include some potentially harmful side effects, including liver injury, drowsiness, gastrointestinal distress (diarrhea or decreased appetite), and mood changes.
It is also imperative that you do not ingest CBD if you are taking other medications without first consulting a physician.
To conclude, there is no easy answer to the question of how much CBD you should take. The ideal dosage depends on your weight, the condition you’re treating, and any other medications you’re taking.
However, some general guidelines can help you get started. Start with a low dose and increase gradually until you find the dosage that works for you. Be sure to consult your doctor if you have any questions or concerns, and maintain communication with them throughout your treatment.
If you're looking for pain management, help to quit smoking, or just want to relax, CBD might be an answer. Make sure to buy through a legitimate provider that labels their products thoroughly and provides third-party lab results.
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