CBD is a safe, plant-based option for supplementing health and well-being. It is an incredibly versatile compound that can create a range effects for each person who takes it.
That means finding out how much CBD is right for you is an important task. There is a list of questions you can ask to find out where you fall on the CBD spectrum. Educating yourself on CBD products and getting to know your own motivations behind taking CBD can guide you in the right direction for finding your perfect dose.
To help you make the best assessment of your needs, we will start with a quick refresher on what CBD is and how it works in the body.
What Is CBD
Cannabidiol, or CBD, is one of many cannabinoids present in cannabis. CBD is notable for its highly therapeutic properties that come with no risk of intoxication.
THC is perhaps the most well-known cannabinoid. But this compound has highly intoxicating properties. This fact makes many consumers uncomfortable with trying it. THC concentrations are high in marijuana but CBD concentrations are low.
CBD develops in higher concentrations in hemp plants with low amounts of THC. Industrial hemp was made legal in 2018, when the Farm Bill and Controlled Substances Act passed. Now, CBD is legal in all 50 states. With just a couple of clicks, pretty much anyone in the United States can have CBD gummies, tinctures, bath bombs, chocolates, or more shipped directly to their door.
CBD is a desirable alternative to other cannabinoids such as THC. It provides the same type of therapeutic benefits but with no intoxicating effects or legal implications.
People take it regularly to find support for sleep issues, stress, or sore muscles. Studies have consistently shown that CBD can help alleviate inflammation, reduce symptoms of anxiety (including PTSD), and has powerful antioxidant properties.
How Does CBD Work?
CBD works in our bodies because of something called the endocannabinoid system (ECS). This is the system in the body responsible for maintaining homeostasis. To do this it regulates a variety of important functions. This includes lots of things like hunger, pain, sleep, mood, and more.
When our ECS gets out of whack, we don’t feel our best. We are still learning about this intricate system to find out how it works. But researchers think taking CBD might be able to help get our ECS back on track so that we can feel better.
Our bodies naturally produce cannabinoids that carry out important functions in the ECS. Known specifically as endocannabinoids, these molecules are produced as needed. Your body only makes what is needed to keep all of your internal functions running smoothly.
These endocannabinoids interact with receptors located throughout the entire body. CB1 and CB2 receptors are spread throughout the brain, body, and skin. Endocannabinoids bind to these receptors to send signals within the system letting your body know what to make. Then enzymes in the body break down endocannabinoids after they have done their job.
Phytocannabinoids are just like endocannabinoids, but they are produced by plants. Because of their similarities, when you take CBD it can work inside the ECS just like endocannabinoids can.
THC binds directly to the enzymes to have intense effects. But CBD does not do this. Researchers think CBD causes its effects by preventing endocannabinoids from breaking down. This allows your naturally produced cannabinoids to have stronger effects on your body. CBD may be able to help the ECS to balance itself out. The way it does this is still being studied, but so far research suggests that it can help with pain, nausea, and many other symptoms associated with a variety of health conditions.
How will I know the CBD is working?
You can be sure your CBD is working in a couple of ways.
Before you make a purchase, check to see if there is a Certificate of Analysis (CoA). This is a lab report that verifies what is in the product.
CoAs that show how many cannabinoids are in a product will let you know the potency of the product. This is important because you don’t want to take something that you think is free of THC when it in fact contains THC. And you don’t want to pay for a product that claims it has 25mg of CBD per serving but doesn’t actually contain CBD at all.
Checking the COA ensures you will get a product that is compliant, safe, and works.
When you first take CBD you may not know what to expect. You may notice feelings of calmness or relaxation. You may also notice the absence of certain feelings like stress. There will be no intoxicating sensations to watch out for.
To learn how to identify the effects of CBD, it may be helpful to track your experience taking it. When you take a new CBD product, it can be helpful to keep a journal to record how it makes you feel. This way you know what may be attributed to the CBD versus what might be a coincidence.
Also, write down things like the time you took your CBD and how much you took. You can also note if you took it on an empty stomach or with a meal. These are some of the main factors that can impact your CBD experience. Keeping track of how you respond will help you learn what products work for you and which ones don’t.
How Much CBD Is Too much?
CBD is well-tolerated. And it has little risk of dependence or abuse. If you take too much, there is a risk of experiencing some side effects but they are ususally pretty mild. They include diarrhea, fatigue, and changes in appetite.
It is important to be aware that there is the potential for CBD to interfere with some medications, like blood thinners. It is always a good practice to talk to your doctor before starting a new supplement. Let them know you would like to try CBD and discuss how you can safely add it to your routine.
Although there is little risk of sickness or overdose, CBD does build up in the body. This is a good thing, as it allows your body to benefit from CBD over longer periods of time.
However, too much of a good thing can turn sour. You can increase your tolerance level to the point that an average dose of CBD does not cause noticeable effects for you anymore.
In this case, you can manage your routine by taking less CBD. After a couple of days of allowing the CBD stored up in your body to dissipate, your tolerance level should naturally decrease. After this short period of adjustment, you can resume a CBD routine with your regular dose.
How Much CBD Should I take?
To find out how much CBD you should take, you might need to go through some trial and error.
Follow the instructions on the product package. Always start with the lowest possible amount and see what kind of effects it produces for you before you titrate your way up. You can always take a bit more, but you can’t take less. Taking more CBD than you need can build up your tolerance and lead to wasting products.
An average dose of CBD is between 15mg to 25mg per serving. This may be enough for you to feel the effects you want to feel. It depends on your situation and why you are taking CBD.
CBD in lower doses is known to cause energy. It can keep you up if you are already experiencing issues with falling asleep. CBD in higher doses is known to be relaxing. It can help people to fall asleep and stay asleep. If you are taking CBD to find help with sleep, you may want to take 25mg to start. Or you can try a CBD oil with added melatonin for extra sleep support.
How Do I Read a CBD Oil Product Label?
Learning to read a CBD product label is crucial to finding the safest and best products. There are three things you need to look for to make sure you are buying a good product. These three things include potency information, the ingredients list, and a link to the COA.
All labels look different. Some don’t seem to have enough information, while others are packed with tiny type that makes it hard to know what’s important. Get familiar with scanning CBD oil product labels to find the potency of the product first. This is usually easy to find as it is on the front of the package. The label should list the total amount of CBD in the oil as well as the number of servings in the bottle, so you can determine how much CBD is in each serving.
Next, read the ingredients list on the CBD oil label. You’ll need to know a bit about CBD oil ingredients so you can differentiate between quality CBD oils and cheap ones. Organic, non-GMO ingredients sourced in the United States are best. Avoid products that have excessive ingredient lists or lots of words you can’t pronounce. Quality CBD oil only needs carrier oil, like MCT oil, and CBD extract. Anything else is optional and should be of the highest quality.
Most CBD products include a QR code that you can scan to view a third-party lab report. This lab report, or CoA, verifies the information on the label is accurate. If there is no report available you may want to consider a different product with more transparency.
What about CBD Capsules & Gummy Labels?
CBD capsules and gummy labels can be read in the same way as CBD oils. You simply need to check for the same three important areas: the potency, the ingredients, and the COA.
It is important to assess the label like this no matter what type of CBD product you are considering. When you do make a purchase, always follow the specific product instruction information for correct usage.
How Long Does CBD Take to Work?
The time it takes for CBD to work will depend on the delivery method among other things, like your weight and biology.
The fastest methods of CBD delivery include inhalation and topical use. But the former comes with health risks associated with inhaling vapor or smoke. And the latter only offers localized support. And the effects of vapes and topicals wear off the fastest. This means you get short-lasting relief or you need to take more CBD frequently.
Oils can be used sublingually. This method of delivery works within about 20 minutes for many people. But it can take over an hour for effects to fully kick in. To use CBD oil sublingually you place a few drops under the tongue and hold it there for at least 30 seconds or more.
The sublingual tissue under the tongue absorbs CBD so that some of it gets directly into the bloodstream and can take effect quickly. Then, the rest of the oil that is swallowed travels through the body like a traditional edible. This way the effects of sublingual CBD oil are long-lasting.
CBD taken in the form of an edible, like a gummy or oil takes the longest to kick in. They have to travel through the entire digestive tract and then the liver before they make it to the bloodstream. After this, they can finally take effect. CBD edibles are known to take anywhere from an hour to two hours to fully kick in.
Because it takes a different amount of time for the effect to take hold for every person it is recommended to wait up to two hours before taking additional doses of CBD.
How Long Do the Effects of CBD Last?
The faster the onset of effects of CBD usually means the faster they wear off. Inhaling CBD has near instant effects. So do CBD topicals. And they usually only last around two hours.
CBD taken sublingually takes a little longer to kick in but it lasts longer too. It lasts on average anywhere from 4 to 6 hours.
Edibles have effects that last the longest. They can take up to 2 hours to fully kick in. But the effects can last 4 hours all the way up to 8 hours.
Find Out How Much CBD Is Right For You
If you are new to CBD, it is only natural to have questions. It is important to find a place you trust as your CBD store, where you can buy safe and effective products without worrying if they will even work. Check out our CBD buyer’s guide to learn more information about finding products that are right for you.