How to Dose CBD

These days, CBD, also known as cannabidiol, is everywhere. It seems as if CBD has taken recently taken the health and wellness market by storm. More and more practitioners are prescribing their patients CBD, and more and more people are trying it for themselves to alleviate chronic health problems like anxiety and insomnia, pain and inflammation, seizures, tremors, tics, fatigue and autoimmune disease and plenty more. To make it more interesting, it seems to be working, because nearly half of all people who begin taking CBD products end up getting off of their pharmaceutical drugs. Plus, despite the recent questions and concerns raised in both the New York Times in an op-ed and in the New Yorker (by Malcolm Gladwell no less) about insufficient research on the safety, effectiveness and biomolecular actions, there is currently rather vast amounts of research into the mechanisms and safety for CBD in treating a large variety of disorders. . . and more research continues to be done, growing that treasure trove of knowledge on cannabinoid medicine. If you are curious, just try googling CBD research for all of the disorders that it is being used to treat. More to follow on this soon.

1. Sensitivity

What’s your sensitivity to medication or herbal medicine like?How do you normally react to pharmaceutical medications or herbs? Does a small do it for you or do you need a higher dose? Where do you normally fall on the dosage spectrum?

How you dose on CBD will be similar. For example, if you are sensitive and are usually affected by a low dose, then start at the low end of the dosage spectrum and work your way up slowly. You may even want to start at half the recommended dosage and move from there. If you normally require an average or medium range dosage, then start at the recommended dosage. If you normally require a higher dosage, feel free to start on the upper end of the dosage spectrum and then try backing it down. 

2. Body size

What is your height and weight? 

If you are smaller built person, it’s better to start on the lower spectrum of the dosage range. But, if you happen to 6 ft 5’ and 250 lb.’s, you may need a higher dosage for your body type.

3. Medications

What medications or other herbs are you are currently taking? 

It’s important to note that CBD does interfere with the Cytochrome P450 enzyme in the liver. CBD is actually a strong inhibitor of CYP3A4 and CYP2D6, which are substrates of the Cytochrome P450 enzyme. CYP3A4 is responsible for metabolizing about a quarter of all drugs and CBD may increase serum concentrations of macrolides, calcium channel blockers, benzodiazepines, cyclosporine, sildenafil (and other PDE5 inhibitors), antihistamines, haloperidol, antiretrovirals, and some statins (important to note – atorvastatin and simvastatin, but NOT pravastatin or rosuvastatin). By slowing the metabolism of these drugs in the liver, it could increase the levels of those drugs in the body.

CYP2D6 metabolizes many antidepressants, so CBD could increase serum concentrations of SSRIs, tricyclic antidepressants, antipsychotics, beta blockers and opioids (including codeine and oxycodone). For more info on drug interactions, click here for a list of interactions from the Washington DC, DOH.

If you are taking any of the above drugs and you begin taking CBD, start dosing on the low end of the spectrum. Also, do be in communication with your licensed healthcare practitioner for guidance.

4. What’s your reason for taking CBD

Which ailments are you using CBD to help with? How long have you been suffering from those disharmonies? What is their severity on a scale of 1-10?

Generally speaking from an herbalist’s perspective, the more chronic or severe an illness or malady, the higher the dose, at least in the beginning of treatment. As the body moves more closely toward homeostasis, you can then back off the strength of dosage. Having said that, with CBD, it’s typically better to start at a low or moderate dosage and work your way up to a higher dose, then back it down.

5. Full Spectrum or Single Molecule 

Are you going to be taking full Spectrum or single molecule, i.e. zero THC made from isolate, CBD?

There is a great article originally published by Project CBD about a clinical research study from Israeli scientists that was published in the journal Pharmacology & Pharmacy (Feb. 2015), entitled “Overcoming the Bell‐Shaped Dose‐Response of Cannabidiol by Using Cannabis Extract Enriched in Cannabidiol.” The study concluded that the full spectrum plant extract was observably more effective at treating swelling and pain in mice than the purified single molecule CBD. This evidence proposes that full spectrum hemp extract, complete with the other naturally occurring cannabinoids and terpenes is more effective at a lower dosage than zero THC, single molecule CBD made from isolate. So, if you are taking a zero THC product made from CBD isolate, you may need a higher dosage to achieve a therapeutic benefit, and thus a lower dosage of a full or complete spectrum product. Please note that many products are claiming they are both zero THC and full spectrum. This claim would be false given that full spectrum refers to whole plant extracts containing a full range of cannabinoids and terpenes from a single extraction process, not a product formulated by adding separately extracted terpenes to isolate CBD.

6. Strength

What’s the strength labeled on the bottle? What amount of cannabinoids are in each individual dose?

It is common to find the following strengths in different bottles of CBD hemp oil: 250mg, 500mg, 600mg, 750mg, 1000mg, etc. up to 5000mg. You will typically find these numbers on the front label of your CBD Hemp Extract bottle. This refers to the total amount of cannabinoids in the full bottle. This could mean solely CBD (cannabidiol) if it is made from single molecule isolate or it could mean the total number of cannabinoids present, such as CBD, CBC, THC, CBG, CBDV, or THCV.

In my opinion, 500mg of CBD hemp extract is a fairly safe potency to begin with. To gauge how much CBD is in one dose, locate dosage instructions on the bottle. 1/2 dropper or .5 mL is a standard dosage on most bottles. Some companies will have graduated, or measured droppers to ensure an accurate dose. Make note of how many mL or ounces of liquid are in your bottle. A 1 oz bottle is the most utilized, but it is possible to see a 1/2 oz bottle or a 2 oz bottle. If you are taking a full dropper, or 1mL then just double the number of cannabinoids mg x dosage. Here is a dosage breakdown:

FormulationBottle SizeCannabinoids mg x BottleDosage SizeDoses x BottleCannabinoids mg x Dosage
250 mg Hemp Extract1 oz250.5 mL604.17
500 mg Hemp Extract1 oz500.5 mL608.33
600 mg Hemp Extract1 oz600.5 mL6010.00
750 mg Hemp Extract1 oz750.5 mL6012.50
1000 mg Hemp Extract1 oz1000.5 mL6016.67
1500 mg Hemp Extract1 oz1500.5 mL6025.00
2000 mg Hemp Extract1 oz2000.5 mL6033.33

7. Integrity

Can you trust that a product is what it says it is? 

As a consumer, you want to see a Certificate of Analysis from a trusted 3 party testing facility. There are different types of COA’s you will want to see. I will elaborate on this in another post. For dosing purposes, the COA you will be looking at is Potency. The potency test should include an accurate number of cannabinoids present in your product. The numbers are typically in mg (milligrams) and should add up to what is on the bottle.

8. Other Ingredients

Are there any other herbs, minerals or supplements in your CBD product? 

It is more and more common to see other herbs, minerals, vitamins, and supplements combined with CBD to help its healing effect. For example, melatonin has been added to CBD to promote healthy sleep, or Methylated B vitamins to help with fatigue, or turmeric added to help with inflammation. In the case of Radical Roots products, Chinese Herbal formulas have been combined with Hemp Extract to mutually enhance the therapeutic benefits of each other in a targeted and holistic way. When there are other ingredients such as these, it is common to achieve a higher therapeutic effect at a lower dosage as well.

9. Dosage range and timeline

For most people it’s good to start out in the following dosage range:

  • 5mg-15mg CBD (full spectrum)
  • 15-25mg CBD (isolate, single molecule)

Try that dosage twice per day for 1 week and see what you notice. If you don’t notice much, increase your dosage by 10mg-15mg and try that for a week. You can continue raising the dosage incrementally until you notice there is a plateau, or it starts to have the opposite effect of what you’re looking for. At that point, back off and lower the dosage. Always remember, less can be more.

10. Keep a journal

After starting CBD Hemp Extract, it’s always good to keep a journal documenting what you notice and how you feel. You can give yourself a list of questions that serve as a guideline, such as:

  • What is my baseline on a scale of 1-10 with 1 being least and 10 being most intense?
  • How did I sleep? Did I fall asleep more easily? Did I stay asleep better?
  • How did I feel upon waking? 
  • How is my energy level?
  • What is my stress level? 
  • What is my pain level on a scale 1-10?

These are some basic ones that I typically ask people to reflect on, but feel free to create your own set of questions to serve as markers. Keeping a journal is important because as a practitioner, it’s quite common for a patient to seek treatment for something, for example: pain, anxiety or sleep, etc. and after a couple of treatments, they come in and don’t mention the pain, anxiety, or sleep issues. Upon asking them about it, they say, “What pain? What anxiety? What sleep issues?” They felt so much better that they had completely forgotten about it. So, by keeping a journal, it can help you track your progress as you take CBD Hemp Extract.

11. Work with a practitioner.

If you are not already seeing a medical practitioner that you trust, I recommend you seek one out, whether a Medical Doctor, Naturopathic Doctor, Licensed Acupuncturist and Herbalist, Licensed Chiropractor, or Nutritionist. If one of your goals is to wean off of the pharmaceutical drugs you are taking, it is essential that you are in communication with your doctor. It’s also important to ask them how familiar with CBD Hemp Extract they are, because if they are not minimally knowledgeable of CBD Hemp Extract, then they might not be able to give you accurate medical advice or monitoring. In that case, insist that they learn or find a practitioner that is!

12. Summary

By following the above guidelines, you can ensure a safe and effective dosage of CBD Hemp Extract. Most importantly, remember that less can be more to achieve the ideal dosage for maximum therapeutic benefit. Start small, go from there, and always be in contact with your healthcare practitioner!

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