Disclaimer: CBD is only FDA-approved as a treatment for epilepsy. There is no clinical proof that CBD has additional curative value. This article does not recommend CBD as a replacement for any medication you are currently taking. Before adding CBD to your diet, consider talking to your doctor.
Since blazing onto shelves just a few years ago, CBD has been one of the most popular wellness supplements around. This hemp-derived compound is widely available, safe to ingest, and holds vast therapeutic potential. Despite CBD's widespread acceptance, however, research shows most consumers don't know how much to take. The confusion over CBD dosing is unfortunate. But it makes sense when you consider that science doesn't have all the answers yet.
So, what dosage of CBD should you take to promote optimal health? Let's explore the latest research.
But first, what is CBD used for?
CBD purportedly contains healing effects through its interaction with receptors in your body, known as CB1 and CB2. Based on this mechanism of action, research suggests CBD may be beneficial for:
- Pain management
- Arthritis & multiple sclerosis
What does the research say about CBD dosing requirements?
Thousands of preliminary studies provide evidence of CBD's potential to heal. But few human studies provide definitive dosing information. To investigate the issue further, researchers at the University of Nottingham conducted a systematic review of CBD dosing in clinically relevant populations. Their research revealed:
- CBD can be effective at a range of 1 to 50 mg/kg/d per day, depending on the person and the ailment.
- However, higher dosages tend to be more effective compared to lower dosages overall.
- Most of the available CBD dosing research focuses on anxiety and seizures.
CBD dosing for anxiety
Researchers at the University of Nottingham discovered a double-blind, randomized clinical trial that showed dosages of 10 mg/kg helped alleviate anxiety. In another study, CBD dosages as low as 6.7 mg/kg made a difference for those who suffer.
CBD dosing for seizures
Due to CBD's approved use as a seizure medication, most clinical research revolves around this therapeutic modality. Clinical results showed that patients who supplemented their current medication with 15 mg/kg of CBD per day experienced fewer seizures.
CBD dosing for pain
Researchers could not find human clinical studies to prove CBD as an effective pain management therapy. However, those studies involved very low dosages of about 2.4 mg/kg.
However, a review of animal studies shows CBD can effectively target chronic neuropathic pain caused by issues such as chemotherapy, diabetes, multiple sclerosis, and thyroid irregularities. In 2015, the European Journal of Pain published animal research showing topical CBD salves can effectively reduce pain and inflammation due to arthritis.
CBD dosing for sleep
You may have heard CBD works well as a sleep aid. However, the CBD-for-sleep claim is mostly exaggerated. In fact, lower dosages can increase your energy levels.
According to Dr. Ethan Russo, a famed cannabis researcher, even a large dose of 600 mg of oral CBD per day has no proven sedative effects. In an interview with CBD Health and Wellness Magazine, Russo clarified that isolated CBD does not work the way you think for sleep. However, when combined with calming terpenes such as linalool, full-spectrum CBD oils may exhibit sedative effects.
How can I find the best CBD dosage for me?
Most experts recommend starting "slow and small" because your weight, genetics, diet, and health conditions all play a role in how CBD can affect your body. You may notice a positive difference by taking 5 mg per day. Or you may not feel anything until reaching 50 mg per day. That's why it's best to start with a micro-dose and work your way up.
You may feel effects immediately, or you may wait several weeks before noticing a difference. Be patient, stay consistent, and keep a daily journal to record the changes you may be experiencing. After a month, consider increasing the dosage if needed.
How does the CBD delivery method affect dosing requirements?
Smokable CBD and CBD suppositories tend to work fast and readily absorb into your body. However, inhaling pre-rolled CBD joints or vapes may not be right for you, especially if you have breathing issues. And let's be real, suppositories don't sound very fun.
CBD skin salves and sublingual oils do not absorb as readily as inhalable products. But they are by far the most popular delivery methods. Topical CBD ointments are most commonly used for skin inflammation and muscle pain due to the abundance of CBD receptors located below the skin.
CBD oils are popular as a daily wellness supplement. Oils do not absorb as easily into your bloodstream, so you may need to increase your dosage or frequency. However, you can improve CBD oils' absorption rate by releasing the droplets under your tongue and holding the solution for at least 30 seconds before swallowing. This dwell time allows your mucous membranes to absorb the CBD before it enters your digestive tract–allowing the CBD to impact your body quicker and more effectively.
Are there any downsides to taking CBD?
CBD is remarkably free of undesirable side effects. However, it's always best to be safe. If you are currently taking prescribed medications, talk to your doctor to ensure no known adverse interactions.
What's the bottom line on CBD dosing?
We need more human clinical trials to shine a light on precise CBD dosing requirements and medicinal uses. Until then, you are your own best advocate. Remember:
- CBD is not FDA-approved to treat diseases other than certain forms of epilepsy.
- Higher CBD doses generally work better than micro-doses.
- But you should still start slow and small when experimenting at first.
- Take notes on your experience every day.
- Be patient, and know you may wait a few months to get your CBD dosage right