Written By: Edward Dougherty
How much CBD should I take?
It’s a relatively simple question, but no one has a good answer. Most of what you will read from companies selling CBD says something to the effect of "Try some, then try some more, and find your own perfect dose." Some companies even have a “flight of CBD” so that you can find “your dose.” It’s a bunch of poppycock designed to sell you an ineffective method of determining the appropriate dosage. You may have even seen some pretty vague references to dosage on our website, but as of today, that stops.
There are a couple of reasons folks in the US don’t know how much CBD to take. The first is that CBD is a relatively new (newly legal that is) substance on the market, and enough research has not been done to recommend a suggested daily intake. Secondly, CBD as a molecule is in quite the conundrum. Both State and Federal regulators are trying to determine if the substance is a pharmaceutical or a dietary supplement, and if it's a supplement, how they should go about regulating it. The FDA has approved a pharmaceutical principally made of CBD known as Epidiolex, produced by GW Pharmaceuticals. And a standing FDA regulation states that once a molecule has been approved as a drug, it is necessarily a pharmaceutical. However, CBD is a naturally occurring substance in the Cannabis Sativa plant and can be fairly easily extracted to produce a dietary supplement. Currently, the law and the FDA are at odds (the FDA will lose that battle by the way), and the friction from dueling governing bodies has stymied recommended daily intake research.
It may take years for a regulator to adopt a framework for CBD, and in the meantime, US consumers suffer. The lack of research, lack of potency guidelines, and lack of CBD market transparency (It’s very difficult to compare one CBD product to another.) have discouraged many customers in the market. At Maku, we strive to provide our customers with high-quality CBD at an intake that will provide substantial benefit. You won’t find a tincture on our shelves with less than 500mgs of CBD in it. With that accord, we will be taking the time and resources to develop a dosage calculator to give our customers (and CBD consumers generally) unique insight into the appropriate dosage.
Understanding CBD Dosage
The first step in understanding CBD dosage is to look at the successful pharmaceutical. The second step is to evaluate the requisite dosage variables such as: whether the method of administration is Oral, Sublingual, Inhaled, or Topical, the ailment it is approved to treat, the side effects both positive and negative, and potential drug interactions.
The most recent and most important cannabis-derived pharmaceutical approved by the FDA is Epidiolex. (For those weed snobs reading this who believe the Epidiolex is the first cannabis-derived pharmaceutical, and the world is on the precipice of change, I would encourage you to Google Marinol or Nabilone.) Epidiolex is approved for two severe forms of epilepsy associated with Lennox-Gastaut syndrome and Dravet syndrome, in patients two years of age or older. The ingredients are cannabidiol, dehydrated alcohol, sesame seed oil, strawberry flavor, and sucralose.
For the aforementioned diseases, the following dosage of Epidiolex is suggested:
Starting Dose: 2.5mg/kg twice daily
After the First Week: 5mg/kg twice daily
For cases that require further seizure reduction, and Epidiolex has been well-tolerated, the dosage can be increased to 10mg/kg twice daily.
For example, If I were to have Dravet syndrome (Thankfully, I do not.) The dosage calculation would be as follows:
Weight 235LBS – 106.6kgs
Starting dose: 267 Mgs twice daily – Total Daily Dose: 533mgs
Dose after week one: 533Mgs twice daily – Total Daily Dose: 1,066mgs
Doses for severe case: 1,066 Mgs twice daily – Total Daily Dose: 2,132mgs
From a dietary supplement standpoint, that is an extreme amount of CBD. As mentioned in the disclaimer at the end of this article, please seek advice from a physician before using Maku. However, we can garner two commonsense pieces of information from the exercise above. Firstly, Dosage by weight is important. Secondly, titrate; or take less that you expect you need, and increase the dosage over time until you reach the appropriate intake.
Drug Interactions & Potential Side Effects
Notwithstanding bodyweight and titration, there are other important factors to consider when taking CBD, including drug interactions and side effects. For a list of and analysis of CBD Oil side effects, please this article in our blog, titled “An In-Depth Look At Hemp, CBD, & Potential Side Effects.”
One side effect that was discussed specifically in Epidiolex clinical trials was somnolence or sleepiness. Clearly a negative side effect for people with epilepsy that are trying to lead a normal life, but sleepiness is potentially a positive side effect for folks with insomnia. Time and research will tell.
One area of concern for drugs and supplements are interactions with other drugs, supplements, and foods. While ingesting one helpful substance, we may be unaware that another substance we take may have harmful consequences. Basically, different enzymes in the stomach, gut, and liver, break down food and drugs into their useful parts. If one drug Bogart’s an enzyme that is used to break down one of your other drugs, supplements, or foods, it can create an inappropriate dose that could cause harm. Specifically, Epidiolex is broken down by CYP3A4 and CYP2C19 enzymes, so any ingested substance that increases or decreases those enzymes will have an effect on CBDs dosage and efficacy. Other indicated potential interactions include UGT1A9, UGT2B7, CYP1A2, CYP2B6, CYP2C8, CYP2C9, and CYP2C19. Additionally, specific pharmaceuticals that have significant interaction with Epidiolex were Clobazam and Diazepam. Please consult a physician about the drug, supplement, and food interactions with CBD.
Epidiolex is a one-hit-wonder from a method of administration perspective. It is taken orally. Thankfully, Maku has more fun methods of administration. For the oral administration category, we offer CBD gummies and CBD soft gels. We offer CBD Vape Pens for inhaled CBD Oil, and we offer full spectrum as well as isolate CBD tinctures for sublingual administration. Please see our blog article on our new products here. The above might seem a bit off-topic, but it has a crucial impact on bioavailability or the actual amount of CBD that makes it to your bloodstream.
A CBD Dose That’s Right For You
Now that we have a more technical understanding of dosing for Epidiolex specifically, the $68,000 question is, what other variables that should be taken into account to generate a proper dosage for CBD oil as a supplement?
The first variable I suggest we explore is the condition from which you suffer or the state of mind you are trying to achieve. In an NIH study surveying 2,000 CBD Oil users, scientists found that 45% of CBD oil users were taking the supplement for general well-being, and 55% of users were using the supplement for a medical condition. Of the folks that were using CBD for a medical condition, 1425 responses reported using CBD for chronic, joint, or arthritis pain. Following closely behind with 950 respondents, anxiety or depression were the second most reported medical conditions. General well-being, chronic or joint/arthritis pain, and mental health present significantly different need states and will likely result in the use of different routes of administration, initial intake, and maintenance intake.
Severity Of Symptoms
Recommended daily intake based on the severity of one's symptoms is fairly straightforward. If one is feeling quite ill with a headache, and the doctor prescribes Tylenol, he might prescribe prescription-strength Tylenol, which is the same formula as over the counter Tylenol with a higher concentration of active Ingredient. There is very little research quantifying CBD oil dosage to symptom severity, so this is an action item on Maku’s list to research severity for the forthcoming dosage calculator.
Aside from the severity of need-state, how do your symptoms on-set? In other words, do your symptoms come on suddenly, and dissipate suddenly in an acute fashion, do you have constant-chronic joint pain, or are you simply using CBD for a sense of general wellness? Clearly, in situations where on-set is acute (especially in those cases where symptoms are acute and severe), the quickest method of administration should be used. In situations where your ailments and/or state-of-mind are not volatile, intake at regular intervals and with a maintenance dosage is more appropriate. Simply put, if you are trying to manage your sense of well-being or long-term conditions, make a daily routine of the appropriate dosage.
Methods of Administration & Bioavailability
Two distinctly important variables for determining the correct dosage of CBD are the method of administration and bioavailability. These two variables help determine how much CBD makes it to your bloodstream, and how quickly it gets there.
Taking CBD orally means that you simply swallow the CBD solution. Oral intake is the slowest-acting, longest-lasting method of administration. Effects from CBD oil will begin to take effect as long as two hours after ingestion, and the effects may last as long as 8 hours. Oral administration also delivers the least amount of CBD to the bloodstream, only about 10% of your measured dose, when taken orally, will diffuse into the body. The reason so little of the CBD makes it into your bloodstream is due to the “First Pass Metabolism.” Enzymes in the stomach, gut, and liver breakdown 90% of the CBD into metabolites that don’t bind to your bodies CB1 or CB2 receptors.
The most popular method to take CBD oil is from a tincture bottle. Tincture bottle instructions suggest that you hold the fluid under your tongue for 30 seconds, and then swallow. This method of intake is known as sublingual and is fairly effective at getting CBD into your bloodstream. Your body has a significant amount of vascularity (Veins and Capillaries) under the tongue, and the CBD you place there is absorbed from the carrier oil into your bloodstream, skipping the first-pass metabolism. Then the remaining CBD you swallowed is processed via oral administration. Sublingual application is both faster and more effective than oral administration.
Vaping is the fastest and most efficient way to intake CBD. (Vaping may have other non-CBD related side effects or complications, so please research the vaporizer products you are using. We spent a ton of time researching the best vape products on the market, please read our article on vaping, titled “CBD Vape Oil: 7 things you need to know” Due to the vast surface area of the Alveoli in the lungs, the CBD vape oil that you inhale is almost immediately directed into the bloodstream. It also generates the highest bioavailability, with approximately 45% of the CBD Vape Oil you pull into your lungs making it to the bloodstream.
Given the different bioavailability and time-to-take-effect of each method of administration, it is important to match your needs to the correct method. Also, when you are determining the appropriate dosage, it’s imperative to take into account that a CBD Oil gummy or soft gel might require 4 times your preferred dose with a vape pen.
One lingering question you might be asking is: How does the author of the blog article use CBD? Well, I’m happy to tell you and give you some helpful context. I’m an early 30s healthy male, with an even keel mindset, and a Type A personality. I weigh about 235 pounds. I generally abstain from any supplements or medication unless necessary, excusing lots of whey protein powder when I was a high-school athlete. I used CBD oil for two specific purposes. The first, as an occasional sleep aid. The second application is as an occasional muscle analgesic (pain reliever) and recovery aid after a long bike ride (35+ miles). Thankfully, the latter need-state presents itself significantly more often than the former. In either case, I take 1ml (or full dropper) of Maku’s 5000mg tincture or 168mgs of CBD. I hold the oil under my tongue for 30 seconds, swish it around my mouth for 30 seconds, and then I swallow. That’s .71mgs per pound body weight (.71mg/lb or 1.57mg/kg), and approximately 33mgs of CBD in my bloodstream.
CBD Dosage Calculator: Next Steps
Sprinkled throughout this article are references to a forth-coming dosage calculator. The article above will serve as an outline for the calculator, and we hope you find both the article and forthcoming calculator informative and useful. Maku intends to devote its human capital and money to delivering that dosage calculator, so our customers and CBD consumers, in general, are educated on the appropriate recommended intake of CBD and, consequently, experience its well-known effects.
Disclaimer: The information, including but not limited to, text, graphics, images and other material contained on this website about CBD are for informational purposes only. The purpose of this website is to promote broad consumer understanding and knowledge of various health topics. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment and before undertaking a new health care regimen, and never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.