Starting your cannabidiol (CBD) journey can raise certain questions. What type of CBD product do I choose? How will it affect me? And how much CBD should I use?
People around the world take CBD to positively impact their lives and health. Products from reputable companies will not get you high and users claim it has a wide range of benefits. It is also available in increasing numbers of products. CBD is being added to products such as tinctures, teas and coffees, cosmetics and skincare.
Products are available in different concentrations of CBD, which is listed in milligrams. You will often see products advertised with 1000 mg of CBD. However, UK law states that a product must have less than 1 mg of THC, the psychoactive cannabinoid. CBD alone will not alter your state of mind.
Why do people use CBD?
People who use CBD regularly claim it can positively affect their health. Anecdotal evidence suggests it can:
- Instil a sense of calm and relaxation
- Improve mood
- Encourage healthy sleep
- Help to soothe aches and pains
- Reduce inflammation and swelling
Where to start?
It is important to buy a product from a trustworthy company selling high-quality goods. The products should be supported by a Certificate of Analysis, or COA. The COA details the levels of all the cannabinoids and ingredients.
Start with either a low dosage product or a small amount of a higher dosage product. Always follow the product guidelines and take the recommended amount. The strength you choose depends on the results you want to achieve.
The body absorbs CBD in different ways. An edible product will take time to travel through the digestive system. Therefore, a product like chocolate or a CBD capsule will take longer to work. However, CBD oil dropped under the tongue will work faster but won’t last as long. You will need to take more drops during the day to maintain the effects.
Research into CBD
You may have heard about medical cannabis for serious conditions like epilepsy. Research in this area has been thorough and supported through medical trials. However, this research was based on CBD at much higher concentrations than in consumer products. CBD at this level and dosage is only available from specialist doctors and limited to certain conditions.
A study has shown that CBD is relatively safe to use. It did not conclude that there was a safe dosage for everyone. However, it did underline that people respond differently to varying dosages. The human studies were testing dosages from 20 mg to 1500 mg per day.
Research into CBD is lacking at the moment. It is also limited by the product’s legal status in many countries. Hopefully, as more products enter the market, further research will reveal the possible benefits and ideal dosage.
What factors can affect the dosage?
The amount of CBD taken to achieve its desired effect can vary according to different factors:
CBD has to travel through the digestive system to enter the body and take effect. The NHS UK says: “Metabolism describes all the chemical processes that go on continuously inside your body to keep you alive and your organs functioning normally, such as breathing, repairing cells and digesting food.”
As we get older, our metabolism slows down. CBD takes longer to travel through the system of an older person than, say, a 20-year-old. You need to take this into account and take your dose of CBD earlier to reap the benefits when needed. However, the 20-year-old’s speedy metabolism will use up the CBD faster and may need to dose more often.
Weight and height
CBD, like other compounds such as alcohol, can impact the body differently according to height and weight. The general rule for CBD is that the more you weigh and the taller you are, the more CBD you will need. Therefore, men are more likely to require a higher dosage.
CBD reacts with the cannabinoid system, a network of receptors. It travels through the body to do this and that process can vary with a person’s metabolism. In turn, the metabolism can work at different speeds in heavier and lighter people.
Male and female reactions
More research is needed regarding the effects of CBD on men and women. The current understanding is that cannabinoids may get a different response from men and women.
CBD may interact with a man’s physiological state to a greater degree. Whereas women appear to have more behavioural responses. This could be due to the different hormones and hormonal levels in men and women.
Men and women tend to differ in height and weight, too. So, the same responses to CBD concerning height and weight could be considered for men and women.
How much should I take?
CBD content can be confusing. Some products will have an amount per item, like 4 mg per tea bag, or 5 mg in a CBD capsule. Whereas a bottle of CBD might be labelled to show the CBD content of the entire bottle.
To calculate the CBD content you have to work out how many drops are in the bottle. Some oils will say how much CBD is in each drop.
A single drop of CBD oil is around 0.05 ml. Therefore, a 10 ml bottle will contain 200 drops. If that 10 ml bottle has 1,000 mg of CBD, you get approximately 5 mg of CBD per drop. Therefore, four drops will provide 20 mg of CBD.
Can I take too much?
Research suggests that CBD is well tolerated, even in a high dose like 1500 mg. But each person responds differently. Animal tests have shown possible liver damage in high doses.
Any supplement can cause a negative side effect, but people say CBD side effects are not a cause for concern. However, consumers have reported occasional side effects including:
- Appetite disruption
- Weight change
Most people using CBD report positive benefits to their health and wellbeing with few side effects. Remember to consult a medical professional before taking any new supplement. Start slowly and increase your dosage, if needed, over time.