CBD has exploded in recent years, with now 14 percent of Americans using it on a regular basis. That is mainly due to the many purported benefits CBD offers, without any side effects (including impairment).
There are varying degrees of quality of CBD products and myriad methods for using them. With so many choices out there, it can make getting the correct CBD dose tricky. And doing so is essential to maximizing health benefits and avoiding potential side effects.
The good news is that, once you understand your health goals and the pros and cons of each delivery method, you can decide which is best for you. The information below lays out the different types of CBD products and ways to consume them. It will help you determine the dosage that can meet your health needs and the products that best fit your lifestyle.
What Is CBD?
Cannabidiol, or CBD, is the most prevalent active compound found in hemp, a cousin of the marijuana plant. It contains very little tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the psychoactive component of cannabis.
CBD’s quick growth in popularity is attributable to its many health benefits combined with little or no side effects. It is used to treat anxiety, insomnia, chronic pain, nausea, addiction cravings, and even more serious medical conditions like seizures.
Is CBD Safe?
Yes, CBD is very safe. In several prominent studies, even higher CBD doses (1,500 mg a day) had no negative side effects on human beings.
It is worth noting that there have been studies in mice where extremely high doses resulted in liver damage. If you have an underlying liver condition, you might discuss taking very large doses of CBD with your physician first.
Is CBD Legal?
The reason you may not have heard much about CBD until recently is due to the change in its legal status just a few years ago. The Controlled Substances Act of 1970 banned all forms of cannabis production and possession, including hemp.
The 2018 Farm Bill redefined “hemp” so that it can be cultivated more broadly (other than for research purposes) by regulated growers. It also allows the transfer of hemp-derived products across state lines. The main caveat is that it cannot contain more than 0.3 percent of THC by dry weight.
While there has been some debate about the “gray areas” of federal hemp reform, all 50 states have laws that legalize CBD. Each has varying restrictions on its production and distribution.
Types of CBD Distillates
There are three main forms of CBD: full-spectrum, broad-spectrum, and CBD isolate. Full-spectrum CBD contains all the components of the cannabis plant, including THC. Selling these products is legal, as long as they contain less than 0.3 percent THC.
Broad-spectrum CBD has all the components of the cannabis plant, except for THC. CBD isolate contains no other components of the cannabis plant; it is pure CBD.
You might wonder why, if someone is looking to gain health benefits from CBD, they might take a product that contains anything else, including THC. There is an interesting answer to this question.
Research suggests that consuming the many compounds of the cannabis plant may be more effective than CBD alone. This is what’s called the “entourage effect.”
In short, if you are comfortable consuming small amounts of THC, there may be huge health advantages to full-spectrum CBD. It is important to be aware that mild euphoric effects are possible, albeit very unlikely. It is also worth noting that research suggests that CBD may dissipate some of the negative side effects of THC, such as anxiety, sedation, and hunger.
What Is the Best CBD Dose?
Most research studies suggest a dosage of between 20 and 1,500 milligrams (mg) of CBD a day. That is a very wide range.
The right amount will depend on the individual. A few basic factors include body weight, individual body chemistry, tolerance, and dosing goals (i.e., the condition you are treating).
This final category is important because treating anxiety is different than combating insomnia. The first may require a steady dosage throughout the day, while the latter may warrant a more concentrated dose just before bedtime. There also are some handy online calculators to help you make a more accurate determination based on your health goals.
Since there are so many variables impacting CBD dosage, a good thing to do is to talk to a physician about it. This is especially true if they already understand your history of treatment for a particular issue.
Another safe and easy thing to do is to start small. Experiment with how a very low dose affects you. Then, increase it by small increments until you feel that your symptoms are being adequately treated.
Another good practice is to increase dosage on days when, for instance, you experience more pain, but reduce the CBD dose on days when you feel fine. Especially at first, be sure to keep track of how much CBD you are taking, so that you can monitor the impacts as you move forward.
Types of CBD Products
The type of CBD product you choose also has much to do with your health goals. For instance, to treat localized pain, you might go with a topical.
If you are looking to treat chronic pain, more concentrated doses in oils or tablets may be suitable. And if you are aiming to improve your general mood, then edibles throughout the day might be a good option.
You take CBD oil by placing it under your tongue for a minute or so and then swallowing it. Doses will depend on the product's potency, but the packaging will tell you how much CBD the oil contains.
One challenge is that sometimes bottles will state the total amount of CBD, which can make it hard to determine how much is in each drop. You can do the math by dividing the total volume in milliliters by 0.05, or the amount in a single drop.
For example, a 5-milliliter bottle of CBD oil contains about 100 drops (5 divided by 0.05). If it says the bottle contains 500 mg of CBD, then each drop will have about 5 mg of CBD (500 divided by 100). So, for a 20 mg dose, you would take four drops.
As the name suggests, these are CBD-infused creams, lotions, balms, salves, and tinctures that you can apply to your skin. Topicals are especially useful for targeting particular areas of your body where pain exists.
The obvious downside to topicals is that they do not afford the whole-body benefits of CBD like the other consumable options. It is also important to make sure you are not allergic to other products contained in the lotion.
If you are looking for a precise dose of CBD, tablets are a great option. These are more portable than oils and are easy to take.
The downside is that they make it more difficult to break up the dosage. This can be an impediment if you are gradually trying to add milligrams in small amounts throughout the day.
Whether they are gummies, lozenges, hard candies, or beverages, edible CBD products are becoming popular for many reasons. One is that they combine the ability to divvy them up into smaller doses while being the easiest and most enjoyable to consume.
They also are much more discreet than oils or tinctures. For instance, beverages are becoming a popular mixer for cocktails or an alternative to alcohol altogether at social gatherings.
Differences in Quality
CBD is everywhere now, but not all CBD is created equal. Like anything else, it is worth doing some research on the brand and distributor you choose.
There are many fake CBD products out there, which will fail to produce the positive health outcomes you are looking for. More importantly, while genuine CBD is completely safe, some of these other products could even be dangerous.
CBD is not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration. That means it is entirely up to you to make sure you are buying CBD that is produced using the highest standards from a reputable source. With so many online retailers now, it is easy to get quality products, even if there is not a reliable brick-and-mortar shop where you live.
Be sure to choose a company that uses US-grown hemp and discloses its manufacturing processes. End-products should be third-party tested for impurities, which can be from farming practices (pesticides) or manufacturing ones (heavy metals). A trustworthy retailer will be forthcoming with certification policies and procedures.
Learn More About Quality CBD Products
Now that you have an idea of the many different ways to get the correct CBD dose, you can decide which amount and type of product are right for you. Experiment with different delivery methods to see if one is more effective and conducive to your lifestyle. With a little trial and error, you will have decreased symptoms and increased health in no time.
At Shimmerwood Beverages, we focus on incorporating the most natural ingredients and full-spectrum hemp into a great-tasting, canned CBD seltzer. We work with local hemp farmers to ensure the purest form of CBD possible. And we find that our drinks are a more fun way to take CBD, too! Take a look at our online shop or reach out to us to learn more about our products.
One other thing that probably makes sense to put in this article is a disclaimer stating that “although CBD has been studied by many scientists and many people report positive effects in association with health benefits, it is up to you as an individual to do your own research or speak with your physician to determine if CBD is appropriate for you to incorporate into your lifestyle”, at least in so many words.