Is there any other CBD-centric topic where it’s so tough to get actual answers?
If you’ve been wondering how much CBD you should take, or even how much CBD to give your child or furry friend, wonder no more.
This Dosing Guide has been updated for 2020 with the latest, greatest, and most science-based info on dosing.
And while it’s true that there aren’t one-size-fits-all solutions when it comes to CBD dosing, there are solutions—they’re just individualized. That’s why we’ll be taking a close look at every factor and variable that could impact how CBD affects you.
There’s a lot to this article, as you can see by its outline, so feel free to jump around as needed:
Table of Contents
How CBD Works
The first part of understanding CBD dosing involves understanding how CBD functions: its strengths, limitations, metabolism, and so forth.
Let’s focus on how CBD oil works for now. As soon as it’s taken, CBD oil begins to absorb through the sensitive membranes in your mouth. The longer you hold the oil under your tongue, the better, as CBD does best when treated as a true sublingual.
Once fully ingested, CBD oil gets processed through the digestive tract and the liver before being released into the bloodstream. Some of the CBD gets absorbed into the gut, and much of it gets absorbed into the liver, courtesy of its cytochrome P450 enzymes. After being worked on by the liver, CBD is finally released into the entire bloodstream, which is where the magic really begins to happen.
This process is called first-pass metabolism, and the way it reduces CBD’s bioavailability is called the first-pass effect. Most CBD oils out there are only 20-30% bioavailable. That means that for every 10 milligrams of typical CBD you take, 7-8 of them are effectively lost.
CBD’s Biphasic Effect
Is there a solution for CBD’s bioavailability problems?
At first, you might think it’d be best to just take more CBD. So, if you wanted to get 10 milligrams of intact CBD into your system, for example, you’d just ingest 40.
But it’s not quite so simple. Why not? Because the nature of CBD’s effects actually change according to the dose you take. Small doses of CBD tend to be invigorating, while large doses tend to be sedating. CBD is biphasic: it works within one of two phases.
CBD dosing may also begin to lose its unit-per-unit efficacy as you reach higher and higher doses—it’s a classic case of diminishing return. Taking 100 mg of CBD, for example, probably won’t be twice as effective as taking 50. Here’s a visual that explains more:
While some of the diminishment can be avoided by opting for full-spectrum CBD extracts instead of isolates . . . not all of it can. At a certain point, it becomes simply impossible to overcome the way CBD is broken down by the body without experiencing the loss of efficacy inherent to a high dose.
Taking several different CBD products at once (like a topical and an oil and an edible) has been one semi-effective workaround, but we’d like to present an even better method.
How Nano CBD Is Different
Most people who take CBD, whether they realize it or not, are hoping it’ll reach the brain’s specialized endocannabinoid receptors intact.∗ It’s within the brain that CBD is able to effectively regulate neurotransmission; the brain, after all, is more-or-less our body’s operating system. When CBD passes through the brain’s blood-brain-barrier, various beneficial effects occur. Research shows that CBD has over 60 molecular targets within the brain alone.
Thankfully, there’s a new type of product that makes getting it there easier than ever before. It’s called nano CBD and by permeating parts of the body normal CBD is simply too big to reach, nano CBD is able to enter the bloodstream almost entirely intact. And that means it’s able to reach the brain as well almost entirely intact.
And that means dosing requirements are reduced. With nano-enhanced CBD you don’t have to fight against your liver or take higher and higher CBD doses; you can work with your body by giving it something that speaks the body’s own language.
All this context to say: the dosing guidelines that follow are based on nano-enhanced CBD and its higher absorption rate. If you’re taking ‘regular’ CBD oil, you’ll likely need to make adjustments.
* Interesting side note: did you know that when CBD was first discovered in the 1940s, it was described as an “inert substance”? And even up until the 1990s, scientists didn’t really understand how CBD worked within the brain.
Fast forward to today and you might read that CBD binds to CB2 receptors located throughout the peripheral body, while only THC binds to receptors within the brain. This, however, is a gross oversimplification. The receptors CBD binds to are found virtually everywhere . . . brain included.
Figuring out CBD Dosage [Dosing Specifics Found Here!]
Got a journal (more on why that’s important later) and a nano CBD product or two?
If so, it’s finally time to figure out your personalized CBD dosage!
This dosage depends on a few things, especially your body weight and current health status. But in the name of simplicity, we’ll focus on bodyweight for now and get a dosing baseline.
The way to calculate the dose you should start off with is simple:
Just divide your bodyweight in pounds by six.
Once this baseline is established you can easily tinker the results. You might choose to divide up your dose into many smaller doses, à la microdosing, or take the majority of it all at once, in order to experience a little more relaxation.
How to Calculate Nano CBD Dosage
Let’s look at some specific examples of how to calculate your ideal dose. Remember, the formulas and values you’ll see here all assume you’re using a nano-enhanced CBD oil that your body can easily absorb.
And one more thing: these dosing guidelines are exactly that—guidelines. They don’t constitute medical advice, and of course you’re free to take however much CBD you want. All that said, let’s get started.
If you weigh 100 pounds, consider starting off with 16 milligrams of nano CBD per day. (100/6=16)
If you weigh 150 pounds, consider starting off with 25 milligrams of nano CBD per day.
If you weigh 200 pounds, consider starting off with 33 milligrams of nano CBD per day.
Easy, right? Regardless of what you weigh, simply divide that number by 6 in order to find your ideal starting dose. And don’t worry about decimals; the closest whole number is enough.
Now comes the tricky part: paying attention to your body. This is where your dosing journal comes in handy. While it’s totally up to you, we’d encourage you to put pen to paper (or text to google doc) and make a quick note of how you’re feeling every day.
Begin with the day before you start taking CBD, and take a mental inventory of your body. Do you have any aches or pains? Sleeping problems? Chronic anxiety? Write these things down. Nano CBD oil can work so subtly that it can be easy to forget exactly how you felt before the improvements began to accumulate.
Continue journaling daily after you’ve started taking your baseline dose. After three days, regroup. How are you feeling now? Many people will have already experienced some improvements; if that’s true of you, just keep on going. If you’re not feeling anything, however, increase your daily dose by 5 mg/day. Were you taking 25 before? Now take 30.
Continue journaling daily and re-evaluating every three days. If improvements are unnoticeable, simply up your dose another 5mgs after each evaluation. Chances are good you’ll experience the breakthrough you’re looking for within 2-3 weeks; it’s rare to require over 50 milligrams of nano CBD per day.
Once things feel good, congrats!—it’s time to level off your daily dose. You may even be able to dial things back over time as your endocannabinoid system gets healthier and healthier.
While all of the above concepts apply to virtually all types of CBD dosing, different types of products have slightly different effects. The upcoming section provides some tips and tricks you can use to dose CBD products as effectively as possible.
There are two things you should know about tincture dosing. One, the longer you hold your CBD tincture/oil under your tongue, the faster (and stronger) it’ll kick in.
The second point is more practical: tinctures and oils might be the best way to microdose CBD there is. While other types of CBD products necessitate taking a certain minimum dosing (i.e., a capsule will contain 25 mg and a gummy, 20 mg), with CBD oil you can take things one milligram at a time. A single drop of our 600mg Nano CBD oil, in fact, contains almost exactly one milligram of CBD.
When it comes to gummies and other edibles, it’s good to be aware of the way they’re metabolized. These products undergo that first-pass liver metabolism we mentioned earlier . . . and that means two things.
One, gummies are less bioavailable per unit of CBD than other products. If you get your entire daily dose of CBD from them, you’ll likely need to double your dosage, perhaps even triple or quadruple it.
The second point is a related one: because gummies take so long to kick in, you can’t dose them by ‘feel,’ at least not on an hourly or daily level.
Topicals are probably the easiest CBD product to dose—simply because precise dosing really isn’t needed! Most CBD topicals are already formulated to just the right concentration. Simply apply a thin layer of your topical to affected areas, and you should be good to go. Topicals can also be dosed by feel. If you’re not feeling relief within 15 minutes of application, you can try to add a little more.
Just be aware that topicals, as great as they are, shouldn’t be counted towards your daily CBD totals. That’s because they don’t absorb into the bloodstream enough to impact endocannabinoid receptors found within the brain or other vital organs. In other words, topicals don’t affect inner equilibrium much, though they do greatly benefit the skin.
Last, but not least, let’s talk about CBD dosing with capsules. Capsules present the best of both worlds from more than one perspective. They’re convenient, quick, and quantized. Our nanoemulsion hydrophilic capsules contain exactly 25 milligrams of CBD each, a perfect starting dose for the average 150-pound adult. (If you’re a little under or over 150, though, don’t worry. CBD dosing is very forgiving.)
Factors that Can Influence Dosage
To put it simply, all sorts of factors can influence CBD dosage. “Dosing cannabis is unlike any therapeutic agent to which I was exposed in my medical training,” Dr. Dustin Sulak, the director of Integr8 Health, explains on his website.
These factors are still being discovered—endocannabinoid levels and genetically-influenced receptor expression are among them—but the real-world implications are clear.
“Some patients effectively use tiny amounts of cannabis, while others use incredibly high doses. I’ve seen adult patients achieve therapeutic effects from 1 mg of total cannabinoids daily, while others consume over 2000 mg per day without adverse effects.”
The verdict? Keep an open mind and listen to your body as you progress from baseline dose to optimal dose. Where you end up might surprise you!
What Dosages Are Safe?
As we said, CBD dosing is very forgiving. The World Health Organization confirms: “CBD is generally well tolerated with a good safety profile.”
How good does good get? For starters, CBD is virtually impossible to overdose on. You’d have to consume liters and liters of CBD oil before reaching the point of danger. For reference, liquids like water become deadly at around the 5-liter mark.
Compared to most of the other substances and supplements you ingest, CBD is incredibly safe. If you start experiencing side effects like dry mouth or nausea, simply back your dose off a little bit.
CBD Dosing for Children
Although we can’t make any recommendations, all you parents out there should know that CBD appears equally safe and well-tolerated in children. Kids can experience many of the same characteristic health benefits you might—reduced anxiety, a balanced mood, and increased focus—by taking even small amounts of CBD.
And even though CBD is popular among all age groups now, it made the leap from the underground to the mainstream as a direct result of its impact on epileptic children.
M.D. Bonnie Goldstein, author of Cannabis Revealed, advocates for a starting dose of 1 milligram of CBD per kilogram of body weight for children with epilepsy. A 50-pound child, for example, weighs about 23 kilograms and would therefore begin taking 23 milligrams of full spectrum CBD oil per day. Doses up to 5 mg/kg (113 milligrams) per day can be slowly built up to, but if and only if such high doses are necessary.
Is your kid already perfectly healthy? Then they’re unlikely to need that much. Consider dividing their body weight in pounds by 6 and starting from there . . .
CBD Dosing for Pets
Dosing for pets is remarkably similar to dosing for humans. Simply take your pet’s weight in pounds, divide by 5 (not 6), and you’ll have the right starting dosage.
Just like you’d do for yourself, it’s important to watch for any changes in your pet’s behavior as they begin to take CBD. Are they calmer? Or maybe a little more mobile? Those are obviously good signs. Many pet owners also report that their animals are just easier to be around when given CBD—maybe that new couch of yours will last a little longer this time around!
If you’re not seeing much of a change, slowly titrate up by about 1 milligram per day until improvements are witnessed.
Summing Things Up . . .
We’ve said this before, but we’ll say it again: your experience with CBD is a journey that’s most effective when enjoyed!
This Guide’s goal is to give you some context; a framework upon which you can discover the benefits of CBD for yourself. So don’t let its suggestions become a substitute for listening to or trusting your own body. Instead, start with the science, make adjustments as needed, and then pay close attention to what happens next . . .
To Your Health,