Methods for finding your unique sweet spot dose.
What is CBD? Cannabidiol is one of over a hundred known chemical compounds called cannabinoids found in cannabis plants. Hemp (Cannabis Sativa) contains a combination of cannabinoids. CBD, Cannabidiol, plays the most significant part of medical society and is the most tested. You’ve heard of the oils and the tinctures and the strengths but some may still be wondering what exactly can that mean for you?
There really is no standard dosages when it comes to CBD because the plant extract comes in a variety of forms. From concentrates to tinctures, vape oil, edibles, capsules, topicals, and other methods so each person can find the easiest way to take CBD for them, unique to them.
Each person may require a personalized dose. This dose is determined by a series of factors. Factors such as weight, ailment, method of administration, etc. The FDA has deemed CBD oil from hemp as a dietary supplement but hasn’t confirmed the mode of action of CBD, so there’s no Reference Daily intake proposed by the FDA. Even if the FDA did propose an RDI for daily CBD needs, it wouldn’t define the application-specific dose, which can be found in official studies on CBD. CBD oil manufacturers must not give medical advice on the use of CBD. If they were to give a dosage recommendation for a particular method of administration, it wouldn’t be an individual response to one user, that is only possible for doctors and specialists specializing in cannabinoid treatment.
This chart below is neither individually nor method of administration specifically coordinated and is therefore only to be regarded as orientation. This dosage table comes from years of experience of the general application of CBD from specialists.
There are four primary ways in which CBD can be absorbed into the body. The body can absorb and utilize the consumed CBD differently depending on which method of administration is chosen. This bioavailability differs depending on how CBD is administered to the body. How much CBD the body can actually use from the amount administered depends on the bioavailability of the administration method.
- Sublingual: Administering cannabinoids orally by placing concentrates or tinctures under the tongue. This bypasses the digestive system and the liver. The compounds reach your bloodstream, interacting with the endocannabinoid system in minutes. It has good bioavailability, and duration lasts relatively long.
- Oral/Ingestion: Swallowing the concentrated cannabinoids in CBD capsules or edibles allows it to pass through the digestive system and metabolize in the liver, then the active compounds enter your bloodstream. Same as a daily vitamin would. It is the worst in bioavailability of all methods of administration due to it taking the longest period of time to digest before effects kick in, however the effects last the longest with this method.
- Pulmonary/Inhalation: This method of administration through inhaling CBD into the lungs by way of the vaporizer or smoking flower has the highest bioavailability of the prior named methods of administration, having the fastest onset of action. However, it has the shortest duration. Most people experience sensations of relaxation and general ease when smoking. There isn’t a chance of over-sedation, and since CBD is non-psychoactive you won’t feel “high” during this method.
- Topical Application: Topicals are for localized pain relief generally with the lotions, salves, and roll-ons. With those, the CBD doesn’t enter your bloodstream. However, with patches, such as Citrus CBD patches, they do cross over transdermally into your bloodstream, but it’s a measured dose of 2mg per hour for 36 hours. So we will not go into detail on how to find your correct dosage using this method because it generally is on the label.
Since different amounts of CBD enter the body as a result of the different methods of application, this should be considered when finding your dosage.
You have to find your own unique, individual dose. There is NOT a standard dose that’s a one-size-fits-all. You have to find the one unique to you. The best way is by starting with the lowest dose recommended for your health condition, weight, and age, and gradually adjust your dose until you obtain the best results. You’ll need to stay on that dose for a few days in a row to clearly see the results that dose will give you until you decide to adjust it. When and if you do decide to adjust your dose, it’s best to make very small changes, taking one step at a time toward reaching your unique, individual dose.
In order to find your individual dose, you must first find your dose base at which CBD has a noticeable effect. Since it is due to different bioavailabilities of the different methods of administration and unique individual conditions, the effectiveness, necessary, and received CBD can vary strongly.
Finding Your Base Dose:
- Start slowly and increase your daily dosage gradually
- Start with a small dose of 2-5mg 3 times a day. Keep this dose for 2-3 days.
- Increase the dose to 4-10mg per dose 3 times a day. Keep this dose for 2-3 days.
- Increase the dose to 8-20mg per dose 3 times a day. Keep this dose for 2-3 days.
- Increase the dose to 16-40mg per dose 3 times a day. Keep this dose for 2-3 days.
- Continue this cycle if you have not felt the effect of CBD in any of these dose areas.
For most people, the effects of CBD will be noticeable within these dose cycles. However, you can and absolutely should increase your dose if you don’t experience the effects of CBD in one way or another.
Record your progress by writing down your constitution, pay attention to positive as well as negative things like carelessness, stress, relaxation, improvement in physical symptoms, etc. With this method, you can approach your CBD basic dosage. Make a note of the amount at which you consciously perceive the effects of CBD.
Once you have found your base dose, continue to regulate your dose, depending on the symptoms you want to treat. Increase or decrease your dose by 5-10mg per dose. Keep in mind to continue to use CBD 3 times a day sublingually so it will dispense over the day. Sublingual administration has a duration of about 4-6 hours and 3 doses allow you to cover a day. However, stay with a dose for a week before you continue to increase, if you do not feel well at a certain dose, just take less before the week is up.
Before you purchase a CBD product, it is very important to research what kind you need. This includes whether a Full Spectrum, Broad Spectrum, Isolate or Hemp-Free would be best, and what strength you will need. To determine your base dose, it is recommended at least 500mg CBD so you have enough room to experiment, however, if you are just new to CBD you can start off on a 250mg CBD. Both will allow you to experiment as long as you do not know what exact dose you need. If the CBD product does not contain enough CBD, you may never reach your dosage base so keep in mind you may be better off not going any lower than a 250 mg or if you feel you’ll need more then start with 500mg.
It is very important to pay attention to which products you purchase. A CBD product of poor quality or that doesn’t’ contain any CBD may have no effect, be harmful, and will waste your money. You want to look for quality ingredients, organic farming, clean extraction methods and transparency of ingredients. When purchasing CBD products it is important to note you should have access to third-party lab testing through either a website download or a QR integrated code on the bottle leading you to the Certificate of Analysis.
The CBD content in CBD drops and tinctures is usually given in mg. This value refers to the total contents of the dropper bottle. For example, a 10ml bottle of CBD oil with 500mg CBD. Some manufacturers also specify the CBD content per drop on the bottle in addition to the CBD total content, but not everyone does this. With this method, I’ll explain how to find out how much CBD is in one drop of your tincture so that you can dose yourself correctly.
**A drop from a dropper contains about 0.05ml of liquid. 20 drops equals 1ml.
- If the bottle contains a total quantity of 10ml, this is the equivalent of around 200 drops contained in the bottle.
- If this tincture also contains 500mg CBD in this 10ml total, then each drop from this bottle will contain 2.mg CBD.
- For example, to dose 25mg CBD, you will need 10 drops of this specific product to reach that dose.
This is just one example of how you can properly calibrate the dose with drops and tinctures. You can easily calculate this yourself using the total amount (ml) and the total content of CBD (mg).
- Total fill (ml)/drop of liquid (0.05ml)=Number of Drops
- CBD total content (mg)/number of drops=MG per Drop
This whole thing again in numbers is:
- 10ml/0.05=200 drops
- 1000mg CBD/200 drops=5mg CBD per Drop.
CBD Concentrates are usually filled in syringes and have a viscous consistency. The content is either specified in grams or ml. The CBD content, in turn, is expressed in either % or mg. The good thing about CBD concentrates in syringes in terms of dosage is that on the syringes, units of measure are given in ml, making it possible to dose precisely to approximately .1ml which corresponds to 1gram. How much CBD is in a certain amount (ml or grams) you can find out in the following example:
If the CBD content of the concentrate is given in %, first the total CBD content of this product must be converted to mg.
- 5 grams (5ml) with 20% CBD-5 grams=5000mg
- 20% of 5000mg=1000mg
In this example, the CBD content is 1000mg.
If you dose 0.1ml from the syringe, it has the following CBD content, which we find out from a calculation example:
A dose of 0.1ml of a 20% CBD concentrate with a total of 5 grams (ml) has accordingly a CBD content of 20mg.
Now let’s talk about microdosing. You’ll find Dr. Sulak’s system above. He did a recent Rolling Stone Magazine article on microdosing. Everyone’s talking about it, why don’t we discuss it for a moment.
Microdosing is one of the most common methods for finding your “sweet spot” dose and is a technique that involves taking very small amounts of CBD on a regular schedule.
The microdosing technique is not a way to take CBD every day! It is simply an approach to take for 2-3 days to figure out your optimal dosage level.
Once you find your optimal dosage level using microdosing, most users switch to taking their optimal dose tow to three times a day based on what works best for them.
Here are general tips for beginners:
- Be sure to shake your bottle of CBD oil well before taking it.
- Place the drops under your tongue and hold it there for at least 30-60 seconds so it absorbs sublingually into your bloodstream.
- Be patient. Don’t get discouraged if you don’t get immediate results. It may take a week or longer to get the desired results for your individual needs.
- Keep researching and learning from the experience of yourself and others. There really is no substitute for a commitment to continual learning with CBD as with most things in life.
If you have already been taking a substantial amount of CBD, it might be worth your time to take a 48-hour break to reset your system. If you’ve never tried CBD before, it’s worth your time to give it at least two solid weeks to wake up your endocannabinoid system. You can stop at any time without any adverse side effects, other than those you already had and were trying to treat.
Start with a single drop of sublingual CBD. If you feel no effect after an hour, add a drop to the amount of the previous hour. Still no effect? add another. By the end of the day if you have felt no effects, start the next day with the last amount you dosed plus one drop. Here’s a helpful example, just adjust to fit your dosage or drop amount.
- 8 am: 1 drop (should be less than 3-5mg)
- 9 am: 2 drops
- 10am: 3 drops
- 11 am: 4 drops
So on and so forth until you begin the next day, then add an additional drop to the last amount you dosed on the new day.
You should be keeping a log of your experimentation with finding your sweet spot. Once you feel the desired effect or notice improvement in your log results, stop and add up the last 4 hours in mg amount (because that’s about how long it’s in your system) and that’s your sweet spot, the amount of CBD that gives you the desired results that you are looking for. This sweet spot is going to be different for each individual as each individual is unique and treating unique needs.
Everyone’s endocannabinoid system is as different as everyone is, so expect to do your own research and experimentation to find your optimal sweet spot dose.
For many, less is more. If you’re experiencing headaches, nausea or other ill effects, dial it back some.
Smaller doses can save you money and also be more effective than larger ones. They allow you to slowly build a tolerance and maintain proper balance so that you are at less risk of over-stimulating your cannabinoid receptors.
The use of vaporizers to vape CBD and absorb it by inhaling into the lungs is for many a pleasant and comforting way to consume CBD. To determine a dose is a bit more complex, because not only does the CBD content of a given amount of CBD vape oil have to be determined, but also how much CBD you get from one inhalation. To determine the amount of CBD you put into the vaporizer tank, use the same method as you would determine how much CBD is in a drop of vape oil, then find out the capacity of your tank by calculating the amount of CBD in the tank by filling it up.
For example: If the tank has a capacity of 2ml and your vape oil 1500mg CBD at 10ml, then there would be 300mg CBD in the tank after filling.
- 1500ml/10ml=150ml x 2ml=300ml
So you can at least calculate how much CBD is in your vaporizer when you fill it with a certain amount of CBD Vape Oil.
How much CBD is in one puff is another story. You can find out how much CBD you have consumed by keeping an eye on the tank. If it has reached half, then you know that you (according to our example) have consumed 150mg of CBD. An alternative approach is to use exactly one tank a day, then you know exactly how much you’re vaping a day. Over time, however, you will get a feel for what you’ve already evaporated and can use the fill gauge to get a rough idea of the dosage.
Dosing with CBD capsules is really practical because the capsules come in pre-dosed sizes. Anywhere from 10mg-150mg per capsule is generally what is offered, and the practical advantage is that the dosage is labeled right there on the bottle, making them easier to dose with. They’re generally tasteless and the effect of CBD lasts longer than sublingual or inhalation. However, you can only increase and decrease in the incremented dose of the capsule so you have to know your dose or be willing to double it, and the bioavailability is lower than that of oils, vape oils, or concentrates, which means you’ll need a little more CBD to get the same amount of CBD in the body, therefore many CBD capsules are also offered in relatively high quantities.
Capsules can be isolates, meaning they’re pure CBD extracted from the plant, or they can be decarboxylated herbals, meaning they’ve undergone a heating process to activate other cannabinoids within the hemp plant. They can also be added to other supplements such as turmeric for pain, melatonin for sleep aid, or multi-vitamins for your vitamins of course.
Aahhhh, edibles!! Everyone loves their gummies, chocolates, hard candies, suckers, honey sticks, teas, what have you. Everyone loves edibles!
The great thing about edibles is the taste! With so many different flavors to choose from, any candy lover will find what they’re looking for. There’s even a company that sells hazelnut spread! (WCO!!)
Another great thing about edibles is the low CBD content. Generally, you’ll find edibles anywhere from 10mg-50mg per serving. Like capsules, edibles come pre-dosed, so you know what is in each gummy, chocolate square, sucker, scoop of honey, whatever you’re munching on.
However, like capsules, they digest the same way so the bioavailability is not great so you’ll have to wait a little longer to feel the effects but the effects last a long time once they hit your system.
Our furry friends have an endocannabinoid system, too!
Here is a general guideline for dosing them.
Pets can use CBD in treats, tinctures, salves, oils, soaps, etc. They greatly benefit from CBD!
CBD is non-toxic, even in high doses, studies have shown even at doses of up to 1500mg CBD no toxicity was detected. This means that you have plenty of room to experiment to find your dose. However, be careful to follow a guide because CBD is certainly NOT cheap and you certainly DON’T want to waste any of it!
Please don’t be afraid to see a doctor and talk to them about using CBD. However, most doctors have no idea and cannot give you any recommendations regarding dosage or approval (I’ve encountered this personally!) but there are some out there, specifically in the west coast and legal states where medical cannabis is offered that specialize in cannabis for therapeutic and medicinal purposes. Find a doctor you can trust will assist you with advice and can properly monitor the development of your health.
Don’t forget to record your evaluation. Write down the dose of CBD you took, the time you took it, weight, if/what you ate, how you felt before taking CBD and how you felt after taking CBD. Don’t leave out anything you may consider relevant like lowered blood sugar or stress levels. You should have a log for every single day of your CBD treatment so you can see exactly how you’re doing.
As always, we are here with any further questions and guidance!
– Mary Jane