Oversimplifying Cannabinoids, an exploration of Cannabidiol (CBD).
Updated: Feb 22
Unlike most over the counter drugs, such as paracetamol or ibuprofen, people are often unsure as to how much CBD they should be taking.
This Last Year CBD (Cannabidiol) became international craze, with thousands deriving tremendous benefits, whilst others are left puzzled or dissatisfied. Though currently described as a novel food supplement by the European Food Safety Association (EFSA), CBD is a non-essential molecule in the human body that possesses a range of medical benefits when implemented strategically. This classification is a temporary move and has been utilised as a means of enabling access to CBD but with the strict governance of the FSA.
CBD, is a molecule found in varying proportions in hemp and cannabis which when purified takes on a crystal form. Not to be confused with hemp oil, CBD is a molecule has been subject to much controversy suffering from a great deal of misrepresentation due to delays in developing proper standardisation. Unlike most over the counter drugs, such as paracetamol or ibuprofen, people are often unsure as to how much CBD they should be taking. The answer to this question will vary depending on your aims and product choice and so I shall address this question this question several ways.
Separating fact from fiction.
“Like paracetamol and ibuprofen, CBD is a drug and so should be avoided, unless there is a legitimate need or use for implementing CBD.”
In short, unless you are seeking CBD for its therapeutic benefits, you should refrain from unnecessary consumption. Like paracetamol and ibuprofen, CBD is a drug and so should be avoided, unless there is a legitimate need or use for implementing CBD. Despite the common misconception, CBD is mildly psychoactive such as caffeine and nicotine meaning it provokes alterations in perception, mood, cognition and behaviour.
Effects are dose dependent
CBD has a range of benefits and these benefits highly depend on the quantity being consumed and the regularity with which it is used. A recent study published by my research colleagues at the University Nottingham analysed the current medical evidence exploring the dosages and quantities of CBD that achieve therapeutic effects. The quantity of drug required to produce a therapeutic effect is referred to as a therapeutic dose. Of the 1038 articles retrieved by their search, 35 matched the criteria for the statistical analysis. Typically, the higher the dose used, the more significant the improvement. Significant improvement was seen in 23 studies at doses ranging from <1-50mg/kg/day. In an 80 kilogram person this would translate to roughly 80mg of CBD per day (80 x 1mg/kg of bodyweight/ day). CBD was well tolerated at these concentrations exhibiting few side effects and results varying depending on the strength of the dose administered and the severity of the symptoms.
Everyone is different
“Significant improvement was seen in 23 studies at doses ranging from <1-50mg/kg/day”
CBD oils are currently the most commonly sold product on the market, which are typically contain 1000mg of CBD in a 10mL tincture bottle. Sometimes, this ratio is quoted as a percentage, but it would equate to 100mg of CBD in every 1mL of oil. If you were looking to achieve a therapeutic dose with your CBD products you can begin to see that this can become quite expensive and impractical. It is anecdotally known that patients will self-administer quantities in excess of 1000mg daily which is of course not recommend but this gives you some insight into the ranges of doses that can be tolerated.
As a general rule of thumb, in medicine it is best to use the minimum concentration necessary that achieves the desired effect. Approach your doses conservatively and increase the dose as you see fit with the knowledge that the affects you will receive are dose dependent. CBD, as with any medicine, should be used sparingly and in accordance with the severity and strength of symptoms.
As it currently stands, the UK government has not implemented a standardised and regulated quality controlling procedure for CBD products, and so some companies do unfortunately take advantage of this window and mislabel, contaminate, or exaggerate the benefits of CBD. Some products may not even contain CBD! Other products have been shown contain the Illegal THC or are contaminated with heavy metals and pesticides.
Millar, S. A. et al.(2019) ‘A systematic review of cannabidiol dosing in clinical populations’, British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology. John Wiley & Sons, Ltd (10.1111). doi: 10.1111/bcp.14038.