In the past few years CBD has risen into the health and wellness world’s spotlight. And now, in 2020, it’s pretty clear that CBD is here to stay.
When it comes to how CBD works, we’ve figured a lot out. Certain products are best for certain demographics, certain types of CBD may work best for different people, et cetera…
…but CBD still has some mysteries up its sleeve. The most intriguing one of them all? CBD dosing.
In this article, we’ll be diving deep into the ins and outs of CBD dosing, trying as much as possible to figure out a CBD oil dosage calculator based on the latest body of research. It can be a surprisingly complex topic! Just take a look at this outline:
- Back to the Basics: What is CBD?
- The Problem With One Sized Fits All Dosing
- A CBD Oil Dosage Calculator?
- Selecting the Right CBD Product for You
- Wrapping Things Up…
Why so complicated? Because CBD works via a physiological system that’s individualized and varies from person to person, not a constant.
Before going any further, though, let’s make sure we’re all starting from the same place with a back-to-the-basics look at CBD.
Back to the Basics: What is CBD?
CBD is a plant compound native to the cannabis plant family. It’s short for cannabidiol — but for obvious reasons the acronym is more popular. CBD is most concentrated within hemp, a subspecies of cannabis marked by its low THC levels and high CBD levels.
Why is CBD so beloved? Put simply, because it works, mostly through its ability to promote health and homeostasis. CBD is generally recognized as one of the best natural anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, anti-proliferative compounds out there. It’s basically the supplement we didn’t know we needed!
The only thing is, the amount of CBD needed to reach homeostasis varies from person to person…
The Problem With One Sized Fits All Dosing
“The 21st century is a golden age of personalization.”
– Secretary of Health and Human Services, Alex Azar
The time for one-sized fits all paradigms and universal cures is passing away. So it’s only fitting that CBD, the supplement of the year, would also demand an individualized approach.
It’s true: CBD is different from pharmaceuticals. It doesn’t act in predictable isolation on one or two molecular targets. And it’s also different from how we’ve come to understand medicine or healthcare or supplements.
So, how does CBD work? It seems to be dependent on one’s internal cannabinoid levels. If a person is low in endocannabinoids (hint: it’s often reflected by sickness and disease!), they’ll need more CBD. And if one is high in endocannabinoids, they’ll likely need less CBD…to get the very same effect.
A CBD Oil Dosage Calculator?
CBD dosing is tricky enough that many people have resorted to using early-stage “CBD oil dosage calculators.”
That’s understandable — but only partially justified. CBD dosing dose depends on factors like age, bodyweight, health status, etc. But upstream of it all is endocannabinoid levels.
And since you can’t measure those from the comfort of your own home yet (maybe someday!), the best we can do is approximate. There’s no such thing as a perfect CBD dosage calculator.
With all that said…here are some good guidelines.
CBD Dosing for Anxiety | CBD is a frequent favorite of those with anxiety, and here’s why: the plant compound may quickly and powerfully rebalance wonky serotonin levels. And that means even a single dose of CBD can see anxiety tangibly reduced.
CBD dosing for anxiety is also pretty straightforward. It doesn’t take much to move the needle — usually, just 5-10 milligrams of CBD per day is enough to make an impact. Some anxiety-prone users have even adopted the concept of microdosing. Finally, those with anxiety may benefit from a dual approach incorporating consistent CBD oil use and CBD vape use as needed.
What about OCD? In the psychological world, OCD and anxiety are viewed as closely related, and CBD dosing for OCD will be similar.
CBD Dosing for Depression | Much like anxiety, depression is marked by skewed serotonin:dopamine levels and connected to past traumatic experiences. Thankfully, CBD’s been shown to foster hope and feelings of wellbeing in users. Not all that quantifiable, we know — but it’s still true.
CBD may even help ‘rewire the brain’ to a brighter, more forward-looking state. That’s no exaggeration! This 2017 study explains in more science-ey terms: “CBD also stimulated neurogenesis and promoted dendritic restructuring […] Collectively, the present results demonstrate that short-term CBD treatment results in global functional recovery […]”
When it comes to CBD dosing for depression, consistency is key! Users can begin dosing at 5-10 milligrams of CBD per day and then up their daily dose every 3-4 days until improvements are noted. Those with depression may also want to adopt a microdosing strategy.
CBD Dosing for IBS | CBD seems to be good for gut health. It’s anti-bacterial and anti-fungal, after all! And
some of the terpenes in CBD oil may even be anti-parasitic. Overall, supplementing with CBD may ensure your digestive tract stays healthy and irritability-free.
So, how much CBD to take? Several studies from the illustrious Hebrew University of Jerusalem gives us some clues. Patients who took ~100 mg of cannabinoids per day experienced improvements in their IBS symptoms — more than 60% of them did at least. In the pharmaceutical world, that’s an outstanding efficacy rate.
There may even be some carryover between taking CBD for IBS and for other health benefits. Another study noted that “patients with IBD tended to score higher on the Median Depression Score” than those who do not. Coincidence? Given that the gut is virtually the second brain…probably not.
If you have IBS/IBD, consider taking 10-20 milligrams of CBD oil per day, then raising your dose by 10-20 mg each week until improvements are made. It may take up to three weeks to notice anything at all, but keep with it! Taking CBD edibles alongside your CBD oil is also a good idea, as the edibles will tend to deliver CBD more directly into the gut lining.
CBD Dosing for Pain | Here’s the good news: CBD may be great for alleviating many different kinds of pain. It appears to address both pain-causing inflammation and pain itself. Even mainstream sources like healthline attest: “CBD oil may reduce pain, inflammation, and overall discomfort related to a variety of health conditions.”
Now, for the downside: experiencing relief could take a while. Those with pain may need to take a relatively high dose of CBD (20-30+ milligrams) everyday to get the relief they need. CBD oil use can (and probably should!) happen in conjunction with CBD-rich topicals, which are great for targeting problematic areas.
CBD Dosing for Autoimmune Conditions | CBD is a powerful, natural immunomodulator. What does that mean? Basically, the compound may be great for balancing and quieting down an overactive immune system — which is exactly what those with autoimmune diseases are experiencing. Experimental models show CBD may improve MS symptoms by helping the body rebuild the nervous system’s myelin sheaths.
The best way to experience these benefits? One again, consistency! Also once again, a high dose may be needed. The mice in the above study were given 20 milligrams of CBD per kilogram of body weight! We’d recommend starting out at 20-30+ milligrams daily and building from there. And don’t worry too much about pricing; CBD continues to get more affordable.
CBD Dosing for Sleep | Is there anything as important as sleep? Besides oxygen and water…probably not. Once again, CBD comes to the rescue. High bedtime doses of CBD may be great for sleep!
Why? CBD seems to promote the body’s natural circadian rhythm, making you feel sleepier at night and more awake during the day. Project CBD’s survey of 1,521 people taking CBD for sleep confirms this effect: “…CBD helped [users] get to sleep more quickly, reducing the average time from about an hour to 20 minutes.”
It gets better. “Participants reported waking up less often when using CBD for sleep (about a third as many times).” Finally, those who took CBD also felt better in the morning. If your struggle to sleep has you struggling to wake up, CBD could be the right supplement for you.
For dosing, a single moderate-high dose (10-30+ milligrams) taken 1-2 hours before bed seems just right. We’d encourage you to begin nearer to 10 mg’s before ramping things up from there.
Selecting the Right CBD Product for You
Enough dosing advice. Let’s talk about CBD products!
In general, the most effective type of CBD product is the full spectrum cbd oil/tincture. This product has high bioavailability and a pretty fast onset time. Plus CBD oil is easy to dose! If you could only take one type of CBD product, let it be this one.
But since we have other options, a more diversified CBD intake doesn’t hurt either. Here’s a shortlist of some potential combos:
CBD for Anxiety | CBD oil + vaporizer
CBD for Depression | CBD oil + vaporizer
CBD for IBS | CBD oil + CBD edible and/or capsule
CBD for Pain | CBD oil + CBD topical
CBD for Autoimmune Conditions | CBD oil + CBD topical and/or vaporizer
CBD for Sleep | CBD oil
Wrapping Things Up…
Overall, the journey to optimal CBD dosing is one that’s meant to be enjoyed! Along the way you’ll get to know your body better and grow to appreciate hemp more. And who knows? CBD might just be the catalyst needed to help you begin living your very best life. If you have decided to move forward and test CBD for the first time, don’t forget to read our guide on how to choose high quality CBD oil!