The UK CBD market is now larger than the UK Vitamin D and Vitamin C market combined and the popularity of cannabidiol (CBD) products continue to rise. As more CBD products come available, the different strengths and formulations can be overwhelming if you’re first starting out, and it’s easy to be left wondering where to begin and how much CBD to use in order to feel the benefits that you’re looking for.
While the answer is relatively straightforward in that there is no one-size-fits-all dosage when it comes to CBD, it doesn’t always make it the easiest to navigate when starting out. This non-prescriptive dosing format is mainly because CBD interacts with the body’s own endocannabinoid system (our built-in regulatory system that helps maintain equilibrium in your mind and body) in a complex and multi-level manner, making it difficult to develop a definite, universal dosage guideline.
That being said, there are some general rules of thumb you can follow to help determine the ideal CBD dosage for your personal wellness goals. But first, let’s take a look at some of the reported CBD benefits based on various studies.
The Benefits of CBD Products
CBD products have been the topic of much discussion and research in recent years, and the overarching consensus suggests that they offer a range of benefits that can support everyday wellness as well as help provide support for more acute or chronic health concerns including:
- Enhanced sleep quality.
- Reduced stress and anxiety-related disorders.
- Relief of pain and inflammation associated with various acute and chronic conditions.
- Promoting overall balance and wellness.
CBD has the potential to be a natural remedy for so many other common ailments, and research is ongoing, so new therapeutic uses are sure to be discovered.
How To Take CBD
CBD is available in a range of formulations, including vapours, lotions, capsules, edibles, and CBD oils, among others. They’ve all got their own merits and deciding which one you go for will depend on both personal preference and your reasons for taking CBD.
Each format takes a different pathway through the body, which determines how fast and how much CBD your body absorbs, as well as how long the effects may last.
For instance, topical application of CBD cream or CBD balm is a great way of giving your body targeted relief from muscle or joint aches, or to soothe any skin issues, as it provides a more immediate and centralised effect by interacting with the cannabinoid receptors found in the skin.
Orally ingested CBD products enter the bloodstream and interact with the internal endocannabinoid system that helps regulate many functions of the body including the central nervous system, sleep regulation, immunity etc.
The route of administration plays a key role in determining the right CBD dosage. CBD oil drops may require a smaller milligram dose than a CBD capsule as CBD oil has a higher bioavailability and a faster absorption rate when taken sublingually (absorbed through the mucus membranes under the tongue) allowing a higher amount of the active ingredient to reach the bloodstream, whereas CBD capsules (or other CBD ingestibles) enter your body through your digestive system where more of the CBD is lost in the digestive process, so this should be factored in.
Determining The Correct CBD Dosage
Once you’ve decided on the form of CBD, the next step is to determine how much to take.
Research shows that the same dosage of CBD can have significantly different effects on different people. Fortunately, this same research underscores the safety of CBD, which means that a bit of trial and error is totally acceptable.
We are all made differently, and our bodies have their own unique history and chemistry which will affect how we respond to CBD. This is why no two peoples’ experience will be the same and also why, while it’s great to take and share recommendations with friends and family, it’s less helpful to compare experiences. Some people may enjoy success with one certain brand or product while another person may not reach the same goals.
There are a number of variables to take into account when determining the right dosage. Factors such as body weight, age, current health, personal body chemistry and indication for taking CBD will all come into play. Generally speaking though, we always recommend starting low and gradually building on this until you reach the desired effect.
CBD Oil Dosage
We’ll focus on dosage of CBD oil as this is our most popular format at APOTHEM and often the most misunderstood with so many brands labelling CBD strength in different ways.
Our range of CBD oils come in different sizes and are blended with different boosting botanicals, but the CBD strength is at 10% across our main collection of CBD oil drops. This is generally classed as a medium strength, and the ideal CBD dosage for both beginners and intermediate users. We also have a 5% strength DAY Drops, which is an excellent starter dose.
CBD oil dosing is mostly referred to by number of drops or a CBD milligram (mg) recommendation, so it’s helpful to understand both of these and how they correlate. We dive much deeper into this in our blog post on percentages and strengths but to keep the calculations super simple, each 10ml of CBD oil is made up of around 200 drops (literally a droplet of the oil, not to be confused with a “dropper” / full pipette), with each drop containing approximately 5mg of pure CBD.
In a 30ml bottle with 3000mg of total CBD, the total number of drops will be 600, but the mg of CBD per drop is still 5mg as the strength ratio remains the same at 10%. When the strength of the CBD is 5%, the dosage per drop would also halve.
So, let’s get to work on the key question of ‘how much CBD should I take’?
Low and slow is the best way to get a feel for what’s working for you. Our CBD oil bottles come with a suggested dose of 4-5 drops up to 2-3 times daily, but you can even start with a daily CBD dose as low as 4 drops a day, which equates to 20mg when using a 10% strength formula, and work up from there. The most effective way of doing this is sublingually, as this allows the CBD oil to most effectively be absorbed into the body.
To do this, place a few drops under your tongue for at least 60 seconds before swallowing. All of our drops taste good so it’s not a challenge to hold for this time. It’s also perfectly fine to add drops to your food or drink if you prefer – being aware that this sends the CBD through the digestive system and may reduce the level of CBD that your body absorbs so consider adjusting your dose accordingly. Stick with your routine for a while and see how it feels. If you find that you’re not experiencing the desired effects, then gradually increase your dosage.
It is important to note that the speed at which CBD takes effect varies significantly from person to person. For some, the benefits become apparent within hours of taking their first drops, however CBD is generally considered to be cumulative and can take several weeks to build up to the desired effect.
Given this variance in experiences, it’s a good idea to go steady with any adjustments to your CBD dose and allow enough time for the CBD to start working with your body. The key thing is to consume a consistent amount regularly (ideally at the same time each day).
Try to be sensitive to changes in how you feel as you alter the amount you’re taking until you land on the optimal dose for you. To help you keep track, consider writing a note on your phone or in your diary each time you use CBD, monitoring any changes you feel to your energy, sleep, mood, or any other intentions you set when starting CBD. Take note of how you respond to different doses over time and use this to establish any adjustments you need to make; for example, taking one dose a day vs smaller doses periodically throughout the day.
Once you’ve found your optimum CBD dosage, be mindful that it likely won’t stay the same forever. Your body’s endocannabinoid system (which is what interacts with CBD) is complex and changes over time and therefore the CBD dosage that’s right for you will shift too. Continue to use CBD mindfully and re-evaluate your progress every so often.
Safe CBD Dosage Limits and Potential Side Effects
The good news is that CBD has been categorised as both safe and without abuse potential by the World Health Organisation, and the overwhelming majority of scientific research supports this. Additionally, the UK Government’s Food Standard Agency guidance allows an upper limit of 70mg (or 14 drops a day of a 10% CBD oil formula), unless a doctor has agreed higher amounts. This provides room for a significant amount of safe experimentation and removes the worry of taking ‘too much’ CBD when trying to find your own dosage.
It is also important to note that there are certain groups of people who should avoid the use of CBD products due to limited research in that area. This includes pregnant or breastfeeding mothers and children or minors. Furthermore, people on prescription medication should consult with a healthcare professional to determine if CBD is safe for them to use concurrently in case of any interactions.
The observed and reported side effects of CBD use are relatively rare and in the case that they do occur, are generally mild. The possible side effects that have been associated with CBD use include tiredness, decreased appetite, weight changes, and diarrhoea.
Enjoying The Benefits Of CBD
Hopefully this guide gives you a good starting point for determining your CBD dosage, but remember that it’s not an exact science and your measurements don’t have to be super precise. The effects of cannabidiol will always vary from person to person, so be patient and enjoy the process of tuning in and connecting with your body.
Sometimes the hardest part of trying anything new is getting off the starting block, so decide on a dose to start with, stick with it for a period of time, and adjust accordingly from there. You’ll soon find your optimal CBD dosage and enjoy the benefits that CBD will bring to your life.
Low and slow is the best way to get a feel for what’s working for you, this means starting with a low dose and slowly building up to a place you feel works for you.
CBD is generally considered to be cumulative and can take several weeks to build up to the desired effect. Stick with a routine for a while and see how that works for you.
It's a good idea to keep track of how much you take and when with a daily journal so you can reflect on how you’re feeling over time.
We give recommended dosage guidelines for each of our products on our packaging so you won't go wrong. For our 10% DROPS each droplet contains approx. 5mg of CBD, and for our 5% DROPS this is 2.5mg. The FSA guideline is up to 70mg per day.
And remember that while CBD can play an incredible part in your life, it is not a silver bullet, and is best used as part of a healthy lifestyle.
We recommend speaking to a healthcare professional before taking CBD products, particularly if you have other conditions that you take medication for.
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