Whether you’re a CBD newbie or you’ve been (literally) bathing in it for years, figuring out your ideal dose is incredibly confusing—until now.

By Betty Gold
July 12, 2019
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CBD oil is unquestionably the most buzz-worthy ingredient right now. It's so popular, in fact, that revenue from products made with CBD—the naturally-occurring compound present in the flowers and leaves of cannabis plants (there's no THC, which means it can’t get you high)—are projected to grow to $20 billion by 2024

Why? CBD is compelling to consumers largely because it comes with a laundry list of promising purported health benefits—from reduced anxiety to help with nausea, inflammation, and insomnia. We're still waiting for clearance from the FDA (and more robust research on the the proven perks of the ingredient), but in the meantime, many consumers are eager to test out the positive potential of CBD.

RELATED: What is CBD oil And Why Is Everyone Talking About It?  

If you’re one of these folks wondering whether it’s time to jump on the CBD bandwagon, you’re not alone. But as with any new food, drink, or supplement that promises health benefits, it’s best to start slow—and smart. How’s anyone to know whether one, five, or ten CBD gummy bears is ideal? Should you put that entire vial of CBD oil under your tongue or keep it to one droplet? And what does 5mg even mean?

To help shed some light on nailing the right dosage, we checked in with Alex Capano, the Chief Science Officer for Ananda Hemp. As a Certified Registered Nurse Practitioner with the first doctorate in cannabinoid science in the United States, she’s an expert in the burgeoning field of CBD products.

Whether you’re a CBD newbie or you’ve been (literally) bathing in it for years, figuring out the ideal dose has been incredibly confusing—until now.

Start slow.

“The best practice and the industry standard for dosing is to guide new CBD users to ‘start low and go slow.’ This means starting at a dose of 10mg and slowly titrating up as needed by increasing the dose in 5mg increments every 2 to 3 days,” says Capano.

Ease up your dosage—then stop.

The dose response curve looks like an inverted 'U,' or a bell-shaped curve, so the aim is to identify the peak of the individual's response curve. “More is not always better!” emphasizes Capano. Therefore, you technically have to exceed your maximum dose to identify it. For example, if you felt the same or worse after adding 5mg, then return to the previous dose. This requires some effort and patience from the consumer. Dosing is highly individualized, and scientific evidence does not support weight-based dosing in adult humans at this time. “In my observation, however, most people will achieve their optimal dose between 10mg and 40mg daily with high quality, full-spectrum CBD oil,” she adds.

Here’s an example.

  • Day 1: 10mg
  • Day 2: 10mg
  • Day 3: 10mg
  • Day 4: 15mg (feels better than 10mg)
  • Day 5: 15mg
  • Day 6: 20mg (feels better than 15mg)
  • Day 7: 20mg
  • Day 8: 25 mg (does not feel different than 20mg…OR feels worse)
  • Day 9: Return to 20mg. This is the optimal dose.

Try it before bed.

“I recommend people start using CBD at home, 1-2 hours before bedtime,” Capano says. The most common side effect is drowsiness, so if someone experiences this, then a nighttime dose will not compromise their safety or their productivity. Also, a night time dose will likely result in a good night's sleep.

Tweak your dosage according to the type of CBD you’re using.

Lastly, dosing depends on delivery route. You need less from a tincture that goes under the tongue (sublingual) than you would from an oral product, like a gummy or a capsule. This is because some of the active ingredients are lost to the GI tract by something called first-pass metabolism when taken orally. Tinctures under the tongue bypass this route, and therefore you get more of the active ingredient (greater bioavailability) from sublingual delivery versus oral delivery.

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