Updated: Mar 21, 2021
If you suffer insomnia, feel anxious, have chronic pain or have been diagnosed with any of a host of other ailments, you may have heard that “CBD is good for that.” You did some research and bought a CBD product, but how do you know exactly what dogse you should use?
Cannabidiol (CBD) is an extract from hemp flowers that is taking the health and beauty world by storm. Preliminary research suggests that because of its antiinflammatory and neuroprotective effects it may support those suffering from addictions, Alzheimers, concussion, fibromyalgia, diabetes, multiple sclerosis, sleep disorders and many other conditions. But this potentially useful supplement does not come with one-size-fits-all dosing recommendations. In fact, you will have to use a little trial and error to find your right dose. These guidelines will help you do just that.
Start low and go slow
This will be your motto as you find your optimal CBD dose. As you begin, you should make sure you tolerate it well before working your way up to a dose that relieves your unique symptoms. This process is called microdosing or self-titration, both of which mean you are in charge of finding the lowest effective dose for you.
Registered nurse and medical cannabis expert Eileen Konieczny, in her book, Healing with CBD, recommends starting with a microdose of 10 mg, or even dividing that into two or three doses in the course of a day. After a few days or a week at this level, she says, you can gradually increase the dose by five to 10 milligrams at a time.
Konieczny and others recommend this process of slowly raising the dose while keeping notes on your symptoms in a journal so that you can monitor the extract’s effectiveness. Apps such as Strainprint and Releaf can help with symptom tracking.
Know your product
One of the challenges of finding the right dose for you is knowing exactly how much CBD is in the product you bought, and how much is in each dose of that product. Tinctures are perfect for microdosing because they allow you to slowly increase your dose in a way that edibles and capsules do not. Starting with a tincture, especially taking it sublingually (under the tongue), is a good way to understand how CBD affects you and what a good dose will be for you.
Look on the product label for the total milligrams (mg) CBD in the container and per dose in the supplement facts table. Make sure you don’t get your units confused here: milliliters (ml) measure the volume of a liquid while milligrams tell you the weight of the extract that was dissolved into the liquid of the tincture. If you have purchased a tincture and feel like you’ve taken on the world’s worst math problem, this may help.
● Most (though not all) tincture bottles are one ounce, or 30 milliliters (ml)
● The standard dropper size is 1 ml
● If your bottle contains 500 mg CBD, each dropper contains just under 17 mg extract
● To start at 10 mg, you will need about 12 drops from that dropper
You can increase by as little as one drop at a time as you self-titrate to find the “sweet spot” for you.
The sweet spot
The right dose gives you the effect you want using the lowest possible amount. At this dose you will start feeling the benefit from what you are taking, but are unlikely to experience any side effects (CBD has almost no reported adverse effects, however your results may vary). Taking the time to find this minimum effective dose, even with all the math and symptom tracking involved, also saves you money as you take only as much as you need.
Once you find a dose that feels like it’s working, bear in mind that your body is a dynamic system and changes in sensitivity may occur. Ongoing daily or intermittent symptom tracking will help you know when to adjust your dose.
Lastly, don’t hesitate to take a low dose of CBD for maintenance purposes. Integrative medicine practitioner and medical cannabis expert Dr. Dustin Sulak says doing this can be an effective long-term approach to healing. “Over time,” he says, “I began to notice that most patients using small amounts of cannabis were getting better and more sustainable results than their high-dosage counterparts with similar conditions.”
By choosing a high-quality, clearly labeled product and using the microdosing approach experts recommend, you are giving yourself the best odds of experiencing a higher level of wellbeing with the support of CBD.