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How Much CBD Do I Take? Learn From Our Pharmacist

Posted by Dr. Leslie Mudd, PharmD on May 18th 2020

How Much CBD Do I Take? Learn From Our Pharmacist

Ever wondered what the recommended dose of CBD actually is? We've got you covered.

You might be new to products containing cannabidiol, often abbreviated as CBD.1 But now you want to know: How much CBD do I take? Because cannabidiol is so new, this simple question is more common than many think. Don’t feel ashamed for asking it.

In the cannabidiol market, most companies sell over-the-counter CBD products. The Food and Drug Administration approved at least one drug made from cannabidiol at a much higher dosage than CBD for wellness doses. 2 For our purposes, we will look at over-the-counter CBD products, including CBD topicals. This means cannabidiol oils or capsules purchased on the internet, at the grocery, or at pharmacies and health food stores across America.

The CBD Basics

Cannabidiol is a natural product. It comes from the flowers and leaves of the hemp plant. 3 People use it as a health and food supplement. According to two surveys published in 2019 by Gallup4 and Consumer Reports, the top reasons people take cannabidiol are for aches and pains, mild anxiety, and supporting a healthy sleep cycle.5

How many people turn to cannabidiol as a natural remedy? Gallup reported that 14 percent of all Americans use CBD as of July 2019. 6 When broken down by region, those numbers climb to 21 percent in western states.7

Maybe your neighbor recommended that you take cannabidiol to help with pain. Or maybe you saw it on TV. Perhaps you noticed CBD at the grocery and wondered if it might help you deal with stress. No matter what the reason, once you decide to try cannabidiol, you need to buy it. But then there are thousands of brands available. The differences between brands and products can be very confusing.

There are lots of bad actors and misleading brands out there selling snake oil disguised as legitimate CBD products. But once you do some homework, you can find a full spectrum CBD brand you can trust.

How to Choose the Best CBD for You

Here are some things to be aware of when making a CBD purchase. When looking at a CBD product, find out where the company grows its hemp and where they process it. Hemp sourced from America is the safest option.8

A few years ago, all hemp farmers in America grew pesticide-free hemp. That’s changed now because the EPA approved pesticides for hemp farmers. 9 All of these things matter for your health and safety. Some products may contain heavy metals leached from the soil or solvents used in processing and not properly removed.

Can You Trust a CBD Label?

Is the amount of cannabidiol advertised really in the bottle? To answer this, researchers from UPenn, Johns Hopkins, and others looked at 84 different cannabidiol preparations purchased online and compared their actual CBD concentration to the stated concentration on the label.

They found that 26% contained less cannabidiol than stated 10 and 43% contained more.11 Additionally THC was detected in 21% of the samples in large enough quantities to cause intoxication in a child or a positive drug test.12  That’s why it is so important to only buy CBD from companies that provide you with a certificate of analysis on the CBD product.

How Much CBD Should You Take?

If you’re having trouble finding a comprehensive CBD dosing guide, don’t be worried. Dosing of over-the-counter CBD products has not been well established. To add to the confusion, the dose and concentration varies from product to product.

To make it a little more complex, everybody is different. The correct dose is highly subjective and personal because each of us may respond differently to cannabidiol. This often depends on a person’s body weight, metabolism, genetics, and other factors. 13

Cornbread Hemp offers CBD oils formulated at 25 mg per full dose. This is a good starting dose for many. But it may be necessary to adjust this dosage upward or downward, as your body adjusts to your new levels of cannabinoids.

Remember, cannabidiol does not work like magic overnight. It takes time. It’s something that a consumer must be mindful of. Be patient with your CBD product. Keep a journal of your dosing and symptoms so you can review it after a week or two.

The research suggests that continued regular dosing is better, as opposed to taking a dose in response to a problem. 14 When you take a CBD dose reactively after the problem starts, it can be difficult to “catch up” and overcome the problem. For aches and pains, for instance, the research suggests that it takes a week of regular CBD doses to start to feel an improvement.

How Many Doses Can You Take?

Exact dosing guidelines are not available. Researchers have looked at many doses ranging from 20 mg per day to upwards of 1000 mg per day. They all recommend starting low and slow. 15

Notice that those doses are per day. For best results, it’s good to spread this dosage out along the course of the day. So, if you set your starting dose at 20 mg per day, then take 10 mg twice a day for more efficient absorption.

CBD Consistency is Key

Consider starting with low doses on a regular basis. 16 Use the same brand at the same time of day. After a week of consistent CBD use, think about your symptoms. Once established, you will find your ideal CBD “base dose.” If your symptoms are not controlled at this dose, you may need to increase your dose or how many times a day you take CBD.17

Breakthrough Dosing and CBD

Once you establish what your body can handle as a consistent “base dose,” you can begin to experiment with breakthrough dosing as needed. For instance, your body might respond well to 25 mg per day on most days. But on another day, you might need more.

This is called taking a “breakthrough dose” on top of a consistent “base dose.” For some users of cannabidiol, this will be an effective dosing strategy.

Are There Side Effects to CBD?

Common side effects for cannabidiol include sleepiness, decreased appetite, and stomach ache that could lead to diarrhea. 18 If you have a problem with any of these, decrease the amount of CBD that you are taking and monitor for improvement.

The World Health Organization says that cannabidiol is safe. 19 You cannot overdose on CBD.20 However at larger doses, cannabidiol has the potential to interfere with other medicines that you might be taking.21 Check in with your doctor or pharmacist.

So, How Much CBD Do I Take?

Circling back to our original question, “How much CBD do I take?” The answer: you take an individualized dose specific to you. Monitor your response. You will need to increase or decrease the dose as needed to adjust for symptoms or side effects.

There is no one-size-fits-all approach to cannabidiol wellness. With some time and mindfulness, you will find a correct dose for you. 

References

1.

Peter Grinspoon, M., 2020. Cannabidiol (CBD) — What We Know And What We Don’T - Harvard Health Blog. [online] Harvard Health Blog. Available at: <https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/cannabidiol-cbd-what-we-know-and-what-we-dont-2018082414476> Accessed July 30, 2020. 2nd paragraph, 1st sentence

2.

Commissioner of the. FDA Approves First Drug Comprised of an Active Ingredient Derived from Marijuana to Treat Rare, Severe Forms of Epilepsy. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. https://www.fda.gov/news-events/press-announcements/fda-approves-first-drug-comprised-active-ingredient-derived-marijuana-treat-rare-severe-forms. Accessed July 30, 2020. 1st paragraph, 1st sentence

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Phys.org. 2018. Favoring Female Flowers In Hemp Horticulture. [online] Available at: <https://phys.org/news/2018-12-favoring-female-hemp-horticulture.html> Accessed July 29, 2020. 7th paragraph, 1st sentence

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Brenan M. 14% of Americans Say They Use CBD Products. Gallup.com. https://news.gallup.com/poll/263147/americans-say-cbd-products.aspx. Published August 7, 2019. Accessed July 30, 2020. Refer to ‘why Americans use CBD products’ table

5.

Gill LL. CBD Goes Mainstream. Consumer Reports. https://www.consumerreports.org/cbd/cbd-goes-mainstream/. Accessed July 30, 2020. Refer to ‘what do people use CBD for? Pie chart’

6.

Brenan M. 14% of Americans Say They Use CBD Products. Gallup.com. https://news.gallup.com/poll/263147/americans-say-cbd-products.aspx. Published August 7, 2019. Accessed July 30, 2020. Refer to ‘title’

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Brenan M. 14% of Americans Say They Use CBD Products. Gallup.com. https://news.gallup.com/poll/263147/americans-say-cbd-products.aspx. Published August 7, 2019. Accessed July 30, 2020. Refer to ‘Americans’ use of CBD products’ pie chart’, Region section

8.

Blake DK. Best CBD Oil 2020 - Top 10 Products for Pain Management. American Marijuana. https://americanmarijuana.org/best-cbd-oil/. Published July 30, 2020. Accessed July 30, 2020. Under ‘hemp source’ section, 1st paragraph, 1st and 2nd sentence

9.

Jaeger K. EPA Approves Pesticides For Hemp In Time For 2020 Growing Season. Marijuana Moment. https://www.marijuanamoment.net/epa-approves-pesticides-for-hemp-in-time-for-2020-growing-season/. Published December 19, 2019. Accessed July 30, 2020. 1st paragraph, 1st sentence

10.

Bonn-Miller MO, Loflin MJE, Thomas BF, Marcu JP, Hyke T, Vandrey R. Labeling Accuracy of Cannabidiol Extracts Sold Online. JAMA. 2017;318(17):1708-1709. doi:10.1001/jama.2017.11909. Under ‘discussion, section, 1st paragraph, 2nd sentence

11.

2019 Update on Cannabidiol and Hemp Products. https://www.samhsa.gov/sites/default/files/meeting/documents/cannabidiol-hemp-products-update-06112019.pdf. Accessed July 30, 2020. Under ‘truth in labeling section’, ‘tested for CBD’ subsection, 2nd and 3rd bullet points

12.

Bonn-Miller MO, Loflin MJE, Thomas BF, Marcu JP, Hyke T, Vandrey R. Labeling Accuracy of Cannabidiol Extracts Sold Online. JAMA. 2017;318(17):1708-1709. doi:10.1001/jama.2017.11909. Under ‘results’ section, 1st paragraph, 6th sentence

13.

CBD Oil Review. 2020. CBD Dosage - How Much CBD Oil Should I Take? | CBD Oil Review. [online] Available at: <https://cbdoilreview.org/cbd-cannabidiol/cbd-dosage/> Accessed July 30, 2020. Under ‘everyone Is different’ subtitle, 1st paragraph

14. TK
15.

CBD Dosage Guide: How Much Should You Take? | CBD . https://www.cbdoil.org/cbd-dosage-guide/. Accessed July 30, 2020. Under ‘how much CBD should you take?’ section, 3rd and 4th sentence

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CBD Dosage Guide: How Much Should You Take? | CBD. https://www.cbdoil.org/cbd-dosage-guide/. Accessed July 30, 2020. Under ‘how much CBD should you take?’ section, 3rd and 4th sentence

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CBD Dosage Guide: How Much Should You Take? | CBD . https://www.cbdoil.org/cbd-dosage-guide/. Accessed July 30, 2020. Under ‘how much CBD should you take?’ section, 4th sentence

18.

Best CBD Oils. 2020. Can CBD Cause Diarrhea? - Best CBD Oils. [online] Available at: <https://www.bestcbdoils.org/can-cbd-cause-diarrhea/> Accessed July 30, 2020. 1st paragraph, 3rd sentence.

19.

CANNABIDIOL (CBD). https://www.who.int/medicines/access/controlled-substances/CannabidiolCriticalReview.pdf. Accessed July 30, 2020. Under ‘summary’ section, 5th paragraph, 1st sentence

20.

CBD Dosage - How Much CBD Oil Should I Take? CBD Oil Review. https://cbdoilreview.org/cbd-cannabidiol/cbd-dosage/. Accessed July 30, 2020. Under ‘know you cannot overdose on CBD’ section, 1st paragraph, 1st sentence

21.

Drugs That May Interact with CBD Oil: Learn More. CBD Oil Review. https://cbdoilreview.org/cbd-cannabidiol/cbd-p-450-enzyme/. Accessed July 30, 2020. Under ‘cannabidiol in the cytochrome p-450 system’ section, 1st, 2nd, and 3rd sentence

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