CBD Oil Dosage 101
May 20, 2020
You’ve probably noticed that CBD dosage instructions vary from product to product, and it can be challenging to figure out how much CBD oil is right for you. To help clear the air, our founder Harvey Craig has broken down a few key elements essential to navigating CBD dosage.
Oils, Salves, Gummy Bears…Oh my!
For hemp products, the industry standard “dose” is 10mg of CBD. CBD stands for cannabidiol, which is a naturally occurring compound found on the resinous flower of the hemp or cannabis plant. I have found that the oil quality and content of this hemp flower oil varies rather drastically from one product to the next, creating much confusion when determining what is and what is not actually in a 10mg dose of CBD. This confusion mainly applies to sublingual products (elixirs or tinctures) that are taken under the tongue via a dropper or other means. Other ingested or sublingual products such as gel caps, gummies, snacks, foods, drinks, etc. are more straight forward because each “serving” will usually state the specific dose; however, the excessive processing of these “serving-size” products (and the way they are ingested) can degrade the CBD quality and the way the body accepts them. Topicals (salves and creams) are also more straight forward in that an actual “dosage” amount is not necessarily the concern – you simply apply where needed. All this being said, let’s focus on sublingual products that are applied with a dropper.
What’s Most Important?
First, I would like to clarify a few key things:
- The definition of a “tincture” is a medicine made by dissolving a drug in alcohol. Often, the alcohol remains in the tincture formula. There is no alcohol in Harvey’s All Naturals products, so we call our formulated oil an “elixir” – defined as a magical or medicinal potion – as a nod to our pure end product.
- CBD is short for cannabidiol. There is no CBD on the actual hemp plant; instead, there are more complex cannabidiols on the plant such as CBDA, CBC, CBG, CBN, etc. These are the highest quality cannabidiols. The complex full spectrum cannabidiol and terpene profile of these oils is transformed and somewhat degraded to CBD through a heat processes called decarboxylation. Decarboxylation can also be used to further process the oil into broad spectrum oils, isolate powders, etc.
- Hemp oil in its purest state (or “full spectrum oil”) is extremely thick – similar to molasses – and usually contains about 70% + of the cannabidiol profile along with other goodness of the plant such as terpenes, chlorophyll, lipids (fats), other organic material and a tiny amount of THC that is allowed in hemp. Through further processing, a thinner oil – similar to honey – is created. And finally, a true isolate is a water soluble white powder containing over 98% CBD. Further, it can be difficult for the body to accept these oils and powders, so companies often mix in other ingredients or carrier agents to help the body absorb the products more optimally.
- If you’re looking to use a CBD product for long term medicinal value, it is very important to use a quality, full spectrum hemp flower oil with the natural terpenes (essence oils) of the plant. This especially applies to those who wish to use these products on a daily basis, because over time, the body can build up a tolerance to the more highly processed CBD (particularly isolates).
- Hemp seed oil is another product of hemp. It has great complex B vitamins and is great for cooking, though it has no CBD value.
Do Your Research
When shopping for a CBD product, I’ll see labels stating: 1,000mg CBD, 2,000mg Hemp Extract, 250mg Pure Hemp; etc, etc, etc. But what does all this mean? Is it full spectrum or isolate? Does it have the natural terpenes or were terpenes added? Are there any terpenes at all? Is it hemp flower oil or hemp seed oil? How was the hemp grown? What genetics were used? Were harsh fertilizers and pesticides used? The list of questions goes on unless the details are clearly stated. In truth, it’s hard to get all that information on a little bottle and most products in this saturated market don’t want you to know the answer to these questions.
All this being said, here is what I have found and suggest.
Long Term Medicinal Benefits
If using a hemp product to help with any long term issue such as arthritis, anxiety, sleep deprivation, so on and so forth, it is very important to use a quality full spectrum product with the natural terpenes. Going to a website can sometimes help decipher if a company sources good hemp and if they use proper processing techniques (as compared to a company with a large marketing budget that uses highly processed wholesale market hemp oils to pump out product). In general, hemp sourced from small farms will be of much higher quality than that of large scale industrial grows. CBDA is also a good thing to look for, as it gets lost through processing. Be weary of terms like “hemp extract” or “pure hemp” and be sure the mg amount of CBD being claimed is from hemp flower oil (not hemp seed oil).
When using a product for the occasional sports injury or some type of quick fix, most products will work fine. But in general, the higher the oil quality, the better the benefits. When it comes to an actual dosing for long term medicinal reasons, 8-20mg per day is usually adequate. The key is in consistency since it takes time to build up in your system. I suggest taking it in the evening an hour or two before bed since it does have relaxing benefits. If it is desired take more due to severe symptoms, I have found it better to spread it out and take an additional 8-20mg dose in the morning or afternoon, instead of taking more at once. And remember, you can’t truly judge your oil’s effectiveness until you have taken it daily for at least two weeks. The effectiveness of the salves and creams, on the other hand, are rather quick when applied to an area of discomfort – usually helping with relief for a few hours.
How Does Harvey’s Compare?
In Harvey’s All Naturals’ 500mg CBD Elixir, one drop (not dropper-full) has about 2mg of hemp flower oil, and we suggest a dose to be 4-8 drops. I have found taking more than that at one time isn’t necessarily useful, since the body only seems take in so much effectively at one time. It’s not as though taking more will have an altering effect, it just seems to get wasted. For some, administering only 4-8 drops under the tongue can be challenging. We’ve found standing in front of a mirror can help. I suggest using the dropper and squeezing oil back into the bottle to see for yourself what a small amount 4-8 drops is – only about a quarter-inch of oil in the bottom of the dropper is all it takes. That being said, I would be weary of products claiming a dose to be one or two droppers full.
Quality Over Quantity
In all, I feel oil quality is the most important thing. I would rather have 1mg of quality oil than 2000mg of the highly processed oil used in most products on the market. At a conference I attended earlier this year, a market survey group from New York stated over 80% of the products on the market were of very low quality and effectiveness. I strongly believe that number is closer to 90%. Bottom line: read the ingredients, do your research and make sure you’re ingesting quality full spectrum hemp flower oil with the natural terpenes for optimal long term medicinal benefits. Just a few drops, not dropper-fulls, once a day for at least 2 weeks should start to render the desired benefits.