Research into the medical benefits of cannabis and CBD is steadily increasing. So, we are learning the mechanics behind the therapeutic effects of cannabis. The question is no longer, does cannabis have medical value. But how to best optimize its therapeutic benefits to suit each individual’s needs and lifestyle. So one of the most important and frequently asked question is about CBD dosage and how to determine the most effective dose of CBD.
CBD has proven you don’t need to get high to experience the therapeutic benefits of cannabis. But many people feel it’s more difficult to determine what the right dose of CBD is because they don’t ‘feel’ it working at least not in the same way they would with THC.
So, how do you determine the most effective dose of CBD?
What Research and Doctors are saying
Most doctors haven’t been educated on the therapeutic benefits of cannabis and therefore don’t have an in-depth understanding of effective dosing. That is unless they’ve personally chosen to educate themselves on current research.
The doctors that are talking about medical cannabis use, often see dosing as a moving target due to the fact that there are many factors that contribute to determining an effective dose. Such factors include;
- condition/symptom you’re treating,
- individuals age, and size,
- experience with cannabis consumption.
Another factor that influences finding the most effective dosage is the route of administration. The bioavailability of the cannabinoids in not the same for every method of consumption; therefore, what may be an effective dose for one method may not be easily translated to another. We will address routes of administration later in this article.
Why does the condition or symptoms being treated effect dose?
One of the reasons CBD is effective in treating many different ailments is that it binds to a number of receptors throughout the body. It’s generally accepted that CBD will tend to bind to the receptors it has the most affinity for first or the ones that are most densely expressed. This means, at a low dose it will only bind to these receptors. And at higher doses, CBD will begin to bind to other receptors and you may start to experience other effects.
In some cases, as is with treating anxiety for many people, a mid-range dose is most effective and adverse effects are experienced with higher doses. Though this is not the case for all conditions. So far, studies surrounding the use of CBD for epilepsy have not found individuals to experience any adverse effects even at very high doses.
Learn more about cannabis and our endocannabinoid system.
But, how do we determine what that mid-range dose is for you?
How to Determine the most effective dose of CBD
Unfortunately, as of right now, there’s no accepted effective dosage guide a person can use to easily determine their best dose for them.
The best method is to ‘start low and go slow’- particularly for less experienced users. Physicians Caroline MacCallum and Ethan Russo discuss effective cannabis titration through this method in a January 2018 article in the European Journal of Internal Medicine.
CBD Dosage: The Low and Slow Method
The following dosage recommendations are for individuals who are new users.
With THC, MacCallum and Russo recommend starting with a low dose of 1.25mg- 2.5mg of THC a few hours before bed. If there are no adverse effects, then increase by the same amount the following night. Others suggest starting at or around 5mg for CBD.
What to keep in mind before increasing dose
When inhaling cannabis, ensure to wait for a minimum of 15 minutes before another inhalation. This allows it to take effect and feel the symptom relief.
With oral consumption, oils or edibles, absorption takes longer so it’s important to wait for a minimum of 45 minutes (possibly 60 to 90 minutes) before increasing the dose.
Make sure to record your dosage and time of consumption so you can accurately keep track of increases to determine what works best for you. You may also want to consider writing down the symptoms you’d like to relieve and how they feel at each dose level.
If adverse side effects are experienced, go back to the lower dose that felt effective.
Where it gets a little more complicated is when you start combining THC and CBD.
Combining THC and CBD: How to Dose
THC and CBD interact with different receptors, therefore they can have different impacts on a persons’ body. We see this in the experience of the psychoactive high with THC that we don’t get with CBD. Because of this, it seems that CBD and THC often work better when consumed together.
Preliminary research indicates that CBD and THC work better together for two main reasons:
(2) CBD decreases the psychoactive impacts of THC which makes higher doses more manageable.
What ratio is most effective? And how do you determine the dose?
Many find that a 1:1 THC/CBD ratio is effective, but this may not be the best place to start for new users.
It can be helpful to start with a low dose of CBD that remains consistent and slowly increase the amount of THC. This helps to determine how much THC is effective as well as tolerable. Some believe the goal is to administer this regular dose of CBD with as much THC as a person is comfortable with.
Again, it’s important to accurately record the dose and time of consumption to determine what’s most effective. It can also be helpful to divide your daily dose into multiple doses taken at intervals to reduce the total amount of THC consumed at each interval.
With Miss Envy’s tinctures, you can easily experiment with your dose with the easy to use dropper. There’s also the option to use the pre-dosed CBD capsules and add a THC tincture. It’s always going to be a bit of an experimental process.
What about tolerance?
Once we’ve determined the most effective dose it won’t necessarily always stay the same. This isn’t simply because our tolerance increases.
Over time our physiology changes and so does our endocannabinoid system. This means the distribution and density of the receptors in our bodies change over time; therefore might start to experience different results.
So, as a result, you may have to make small adjustments to your daily cannabis routine over time. This is totally normal.
Route of Administration
The route of administration doesn’t only impact the amount of time it takes for cannabis to be absorbed into the body, it also impacts how much is absorbed. As mentioned previously, the effects of inhaling cannabis are felt sooner than oral methods of consumption. This is why Miss Envy recently introduced our CBD vape pens. This can be a good on-the-go solution to acute flare-ups.
The methods where CBD is more directly absorbed into the bloodstream, like vaping and tinctures (taken sublingually) are more fully absorbed than CBD consumed orally. Therefore, the most effective dose taken orally is generally going to be slightly higher than other methods of consumption. So, keep this in mind when switching between consumption methods.
Note this is why Miss Envy CBD capsules are 20mg CBD each. The entire 20mg is not going to be absorbed, so these can be a good starting point for daily CBD and then add a THC tincture as well.
Since different routes of administration have slightly different impacts on the body, it may be worth experimenting with different routes, particularly if you’re not seeing the results you had hoped for.
Cannabis is a safe and relatively forgiving treatment method. So don’t worry too much about getting the dose exactly right, it’s likely going to take some trial and error. Just make sure to keep an accurate record of your doses and remember to ‘start low and go slow’.
Have you recently started using CBD? How was your experience with finding the best dose for you? Have any tips on how to determine the most effective dose of CBD? We would love to hear your comments below, your experience could help other new users.