Whether it's for its therapeutic benefits or just to have a good time, you've finally decided to try CBD! The thing is, you don't know where to start... Besides, how much should you take? And how often? A question that may seem trivial, but is quite legit: because to find the perfect CBD dose, there are several factors to take into account. Settle down, we'll tell you all about it.
Finding the perfect dose
The first thing to understand is that CBD is like baking - pun intended: to get the perfect recipe, you have to find the right amount of flour.
This was demonstrated by a team of Brazilian scientists in 1990. They administered four different doses of CBD to rats in order to measure their anxiety level according to the ingested quantity. Logic would probably dictate that anxiety would decrease as the amount of CBD increased, or vice versa, but the reality is more subtle. The first dose, which was the lowest, had a slight effect on anxiety. The second, which was a bit higher, produced the best result, while the third, which was even higher, had a more moderate effect, and the fourth, which was the highest dose, had no effect.
This effect has a name: Hormesis. But as it's ugly and not very meaningful, we'll just talk about an inverted U-shaped reaction. Conclusion ? To get the best effects, you have to determine where the curve of this inverted U is.
A different dose for everyone
Not only is there a specific dose, but to make matters worse, that dose is different for everyone! The secret is to find the dose that best suits your needs and desires. Yup, your mother’s not the only one to think that you're unique...
Many factors can influence this famous dose.
First of all, research seems to indicate that CBD would act differently depending on the biological sex. Due to their nutritional intake and metabolism, this cannabinoid would have a more pronounced physiological impact (appetite, sexual desire) for males, while the behavioral effects (anxiety, mood) would be more profound for females.
As explained in our article on CBD benefits, the molecule works by mixing with the receptors of the endocannabinoid system, which regulates many parameters and areas of the body. In the same way that a rocket ship gets rid of certain components as it travels through space, CBD will break down into different parts on the way to its receptor. A process strongly influenced by our metabolism. It is the metabolism that decides what sauce our cannabinoid will be cooked in, and indirectly, the intensity of its effects. However, the metabolism is itself determined by several factors, including age and morphology. For example, age contributes to the slowing down of the metabolism. As such, CBD will generally take longer to kick in an older person’s body.
Turns out whenever the endocannabinoid system gets involved, everything is connected!
Added to this is the body's memory: your experience with CBD. Because you can't predict the effects of a substance until you try it, it's always better to start with lower and more spaced out doses. But it would be a mistake to believe that this parameter disappears once you get used to the substance. The purpose of the endocannabinoid system is to maintain harmony within the body. Therefore, the slightest change in dose can cause significant changes as the body has to find a new balance.
Finally, and this is probably the most obvious aspect, the dosage of the product will depend on the effects you wish to obtain, and therefore on your desires and needs. Just as they will be more or less strong, the effects will also change in nature according to the dosage. The same CBD product can be stimulating or relaxing depending on the way it is used.
A different dose for every form of CBD
And to keep on with the baking metaphor, the dosage of ingredients also depends on the shape of the cake. Depending on how it is consumed, CBD will not affect your body in the same way and at the same speed. Understanding the specifics of each method of consumption can therefore help you find the perfect CBD dose, the one that best suits your needs and desires.
Consumed as oil, vape or food, CBD does not have the same bioavailability. As explained, CBD breaks down into different parts before reaching its receptor. So, only a portion of the amount of ingested CBD will actually reach the bloodstream. And depending on the consumption method, the proportion of CBD to reach the bloodstream is not the same: they therefore have a different bioavailability. Theoretically, the higher the bioavailability of a product, the more pronounced the effect of CBD on the body.
While it has the advantage of being able to be added to almost any food, which offers a practical solution and hundreds of possibilities, CBD consumed in oral form has the lowest bioavailability (4-20%) because CBD must pass through the entire digestive system, which acids and enzymes destroy much of it before being metabolized by the liver. The effects are as for them the strongest between one and three hours after the ingestion.
Oils’ bioavailability is much higher (10-40%) because they do not have to pass through the digestive system. Applied under the tongue, they pass directly through the blood vessels, which also helps them to take effect after only a few minutes.
Bioavailability is the highest (up to more than 50%) when inhaling CBD. Again, the molecule bypasses the digestive system by passing through the alveoli of the lungs, which are directly connected to the vessels. The result? A peak of effects between thirty minutes and one hour after the inhalation, for feelings which can last several hours.
But one often forgets that CBD can also be applied directly to the skin thanks to creams or balms. Though it takes longer to penetrate the bloodstream, CBD produces constant effects and acts directly on the targeted area thanks to a bioavailability of around 45%.
Start low, go slow
As you have seen, the perfect CBD dose depends on a lot of factors. If everyone reacts differently to CBD and there is no universal recommendation, this means that you will have to find the dosage that suits you best.
And for that, you have only one motto to follow: start low, go slow.
By dint of seeing the many benefits of CBD - and we are rather well placed to know them, you could be tempted to quickly increase the doses by seeing the first positive effects, or to be greedy by telling yourself that it couldn’t hurt much anyway.
The glitch is that CBD is a bidirectional treatment. In other words, it can produce opposite effects depending on the dose, and even accentuate symptoms instead of relieving them. For example, CBD can help you fall asleep and relax with a certain dosage, and on the contrary bring energy and concentration with another. The best way to avoid bi-directional effects is to take the time to observe how your body reacts to each dosage variation.
Conclusion? The best way to find the perfect CBD dosage is to consider our body as a safe that you would try to guess the combination: we move the cursor slowly, listening carefully to the slightest movement to watch for the little "click" that will indicate that everything fits together perfectly.
It's nice to say that you should start slowly and listen to yourself, but concretely... where do you start? Don't worry, we're about to give you a few keys so you can find your way around!
The first thing to know is that a dose of CBD is calculated in milligrams (mg), and that the packaging of CBD products always gives you either the exact amount of CBD, or its concentration, thanks to which you can easily deduce the grammage. For example, 1g of flowers with 6% CBD contains 60 mg of CBD.
And as we know that, even if it is up to you to find the CBD dose that suits you best, it always helps to have a starting range, know that it is generally advised to start with 10-20 mg of CBD. Regarding the frequency of intake, it will depend on the time during which the CBD will remain in your body, which differs according to the intake method. But again, if you need a starting indication, it is often recommended one to two intakes per day.
You can also turn to an online or app-based dose calculator, which will recommend a dose based on things like your weight or the severity of your symptoms.
What you should always keep in mind is that CBD is a molecule that seeks harmony. And to help your body reach it will take time. The first effects can therefore keep you waiting at the beginning, while it gets acquainted with your receptors. And with each change of dose, it also needs time to find its marks again. It is therefore advisable to wait a few days between each dosage change, and to vary the quantities in small steps - 5 mg at a time, for example.
And of course, don't hesitate to ask a health professional for advice if you have any doubts or problems.
As you can see, the perfect dose depends on a lot of things, and it takes time to find it... so if you had to remember only one thing from this article, it's to be attentive to your own needs and to be patient with yourself. Because at Cakespace, we are all about fun, chill and above all, good vibes! On our side, we'll see you soon for a new article on the basics of CBD.
In the meantime, feel free to share and comment on this article and join us on social media for more CBD-related content!
Cake it easy,