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Beginner’s Guide to CBD

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The safety and long-term health effects of using e-cigarettes or other vaping products still aren’t well known. In September 2019, federal and state health authorities began investigating an outbreak of a severe lung disease associated with e-cigarettes and other vaping products . We’re closely monitoring the situation and will update our content as soon as more information is available.

By now, you’ve probably heard someone mention CBD, especially if you live with a chronic condition like pain or anxiety.

As U.S. states begin to legalize both medical and recreational cannabis, the market has enjoyed an influx of readily available CBD. Despite all the publicity, though, many people are unsure of what CBD is, how it can help them, and if it’s even legal.

If you’re looking to try CBD but aren’t sure where to start, we put together this quick, handy guide to answer your questions and help clear up some of the common misconceptions surrounding CBD and its uses.

Cannabidiol (CBD) is one of many active compounds found in the Cannabis plant. Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is another active compound and the most well-known, thanks to its psychoactive properties — it’s the one that gets you “high.”

CBD is nonpsychoactive but has a number of the same medical benefits as THC. This allows you to take advantage of the therapeutic benefits without leaving you with the “stoned” feeling that often goes hand in hand with THC.

That said, marijuana-derived CBD products, or CBD products that contain THC, may be more effective than fiber hemp. But if you live in a state that hasn’t yet legalized medical marijuana or these strains are unavailable, you can still benefit from products containing industrial hemp-derived CBD.

We suggest checking your state’s laws regarding CBD oil.

There’s not a lot of research on CBD, but the results of what has been studied are promising. Some studies have found CBD may be effective in providing relief from various mental health conditions, including:

  • anxiety disorders
  • post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • addiction
  • schizophrenia

It may be effective for physical conditions as well. One study on rats found that CBD oil may treat pain associated with arthritis, while another study on human cells found that CBD cream was an effective anti-inflammatory.

Likewise, CBD has also been proven to help treat childhood epilepsy and other seizure disorders. Some evidence points to CBD’s anticancer properties and benefits in managing the side effects of cancer treatment.

More research is needed to determine the benefits of using CBD as a treatment for mental and physical health conditions.

CBD is available in several different forms. This allows people to tailor their method of use to their specific need. Here are the most common forms of CBD:

Oils and tinctures

These liquids, usually oils, are infused with CBD and placed under the tongue with a dropper. The oral mucosa is full of tiny capillaries that absorb the compounds quickly.

Oils and tinctures are a good choice for anyone who can’t take pills or capsules.

Creams and lotions

CBD-infused topicals are used to treat muscle and joint pain. They can also treat some skin conditions, like eczema and psoriasis.

Capsules and pills

CBD capsules and pills are used for systemic treatment of seizure disorders and digestive issues. The Food and Drug Administration recently approved Epidiolex, the first high-potency CBD drug to treat seizure disorders.

There’s one drawback with capsule forms, though. The time from ingestion to onset of effect can take a while.

Edibles

Gummies are one of the most popular ways to take CBD. They’re affordable, portable, discrete, and tasty. There’s also no guesswork involved: You know exactly what dose you’re taking.

Vaping

Inhaling vaporized CBD oil, like e-cigs for CBD, is the fastest way to experience effects. Compounds are inhaled and absorbed directly from the lungs into the bloodstream.

The jury is still out, though, on whether vaping does damage to delicate lung tissue. Proceed with caution if you choose to vape CBD.

You should generally start with a low dosage and go slow with increasing your dose. There may also be variations in actual CBD content between products. Use caution when starting a new package or switching dose forms.

According to Lindsay Slowiczek, PharmD, “It’s important to start with a low dose until you know how your body will react to CBD. A wide range of CBD dosages has been tested in clinical studies, but more evidence is needed before safe and effective dose recommendations can be made for specific uses.”

“For now, use the product’s recommended dose unless your doctor gives you the go-ahead to take larger doses,” she continued. “People with certain health conditions, such as liver disease, may need lower doses to avoid serious side effects.”

When considering dosage, here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • If you’re using CBD for seizure treatment, talk with your doctor about the best product and dose.
  • Many oils come in 1 milligram per drop concentrations, so increasing dosage is straightforward. But be sure to read product labels closely to ensure you know what amount each drop provides.
  • Gummies can also come in standard doses, often 5 milligrams per gummy. But be sure to clarify this before changing your dose.
  • Vape oil dosing can also be tricky. It depends on exactly how much you inhale and the concentration of the vaping liquid.
  • Use creams and lotions sparingly at first.

Want to learn more about CBD? Click here for more product reviews, recipes, and research-based articles about CBD from Healthline.

Is CBD Legal? Hemp-derived CBD products (with less than 0.3 percent THC) are legal on the federal level, but are still illegal under some state laws. Marijuana-derived CBD products are illegal on the federal level, but are legal under some state laws. Check your state’s laws and those of anywhere you travel. Keep in mind that nonprescription CBD products are not FDA-approved, and may be inaccurately labeled.

Kristi is a freelance writer and mother who spends most of her time caring for people other than herself. She’s frequently exhausted and compensates with an intense caffeine addiction. Find her on Twitter.

If you live with a chronic condition like pain or anxiety, you’ve probably heard about CBD alongside medical marijuana. But what exactly is CBD, anyway? Can it actually help treat chronic conditions? Is it even legal? If you’re looking to try CBD but aren’t sure where to start, here’s the research and answers you need.

CBD Dosage: Figuring Out How Much to Take

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We include products we think are useful for our readers. If you buy through links on this page, we may earn a small commission. Here’s our process.

You’ve probably heard about the health benefits of CBD, but how much should you take to feel those?

Cannabidiol, or CBD, is one of over 60 active compounds in the cannabis plant. These active compounds, known as cannabinoids, affect your body in many different ways.

CBD isn’t psychoactive — meaning it won’t get you “high.” Instead, research suggests that it may help:

  • reduce anxiety and depression
  • improve sleep
  • reduce seizures in people with epilepsy
  • soothe pain and inflammation
  • improve heart health
  • improve symptoms of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)

No matter what condition you’re trying to treat with CBD, giving yourself an adequate dosage is key — or it might not work for you.

It can be tough to figure out how much CBD you should take, as CBD isn’t currently regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and there are no official recommended dosages.

Here’s what you need to know about figuring out how much CBD to take.

CBD has been the subject of a lot of discussion and research over the past few years.

As this 2017 review shows, a great deal of research has found that it’s a relatively safe treatment. The studies analyzed in that review didn’t show that there’s one universal dosage of CBD that everyone should take. Instead, it underscored the fact that different people (and, in the animal studies, different animals) respond to different dosages of CBD. Most of the human studies use dosages anywhere between 20 and 1,500 milligrams (mg) per day.

It’s worth remembering that there’s still a lot about CBD that we don’t know. As the cannabis industry grows, researchers will likely conduct more studies on cannabis, including marijuana and hemp, and its derivatives.

The amount of CBD you should take depends on a range of factors, including:

  • your body weight
  • the condition you’re treating
  • your individual body chemistry
  • the concentration of CBD in each pill, capsule, drop, or gummy

In other words, there are a lot of variables that go into deciding how much CBD to take. Before trying CBD, be sure to talk to your doctor about an appropriate dosage and any potential risks. If your doctor tells you how much to use, stick to their recommendation. This is especially important if you’re taking a prescription medication that contains CBD, such as Epidiolex, a form of seizure medication.

If your doctor doesn’t provide a recommendation, it’s best to start with a smaller dosage and gradually increase it. This could mean starting with 20 to 40 mg a day. After a week, increase this amount by 5 mg. Continue this until you feel that it’s effectively treating your symptoms.

For example, you might start off with 40 mg to treat severe pain. You can take 40 mg on days when you’re in a lot of pain. After a week, you increase it to 45 mg, and after a second week, you use 50 mg. At this point, you might feel that your pain is bearable.

It might be wise to keep track of how much CBD you’re taking and whether your symptoms are getting better. Write it down on paper or in a notes app on your phone.

Summary

Start with a small dosage of CBD and increase slowly until you reach your desired effect. Your ideal dosage of CBD depends on a lot of factors, like your body weight, body chemistry, the condition you’re treating, and the concentration of CBD in the product you’re using.

How to calculate dosage

Some products, such as CBD gummies, capsules, or pills, tell you how much is in a single serving. For example, the packaging on a bottle of CBD capsules might indicate that there are 5 mg of CBD per capsule.

If you’re using CBD oil, it’ll likely come in a dropper bottle. The packaging might specify how much CBD is in a single drop. From there, you can figure out how many drops you need to use.

Sometimes it’s harder to figure out how much CBD is in one drop because the packaging specifies the total amount of CBD in the entire bottle, but not the amount that will be in a single drop.

One drop is about 0.05 milliliters (mL). That is, not a full dropper — just a single drop.

This means that a 10-mL bottle of CBD oil contains 200 drops. And if the packaging for that 10-mL bottle says that the bottle contains 1,000 mg of CBD, each drop will contain about 5 mg of CBD.

So, to have 20 mg of that type of CBD oil, you should take four drops.

A 2011 review on the safety and side effects of CBD found that continuous use of CBD, even in high doses like 1,500 mg a day, is tolerated well by humans.

A 2017 update to this review also confirmed this. However, a 2019 study done on mice did raise some safety concerns about CBD’s potential for liver damage and its interactions with other medications.

If you’re currently taking medication and would like to try CBD, it’s essential to discuss this with your doctor.

There are very few known side effects of CBD. When side effects do occur, however, they may include diarrhea, appetite changes, and fatigue.

Possible side effects

  • fatigue
  • diarrhea
  • changes in appetite
  • changes in weight

If you’re looking for a quick and easy way to buy CBD, you can find many CBD brands online. But make sure you research each brand before purchasing. While pure, genuine CBD is considered safe, fake and low-quality products can be dangerous.

CBD isn’t regulated by the FDA, so it’s up to you to make sure that you’re only using high-quality products. Look for products from a reputable brand with third-party testing, and avoid companies that have a history of inaccurate labeling.

A 2018 report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) noted that 52 Utah residents had bad reactions to certain CBD products. It turned out that most of them used products that included synthetic CBD. Some products contained no information about the manufacturer or its ingredients.

When it comes to working out which dosage of CBD you should use, talking to your doctor is your best bet. While not all doctors will be able to provide information on CBD — depending on the laws in your state — some may be able to help recommend dosages or high-quality brands. Speak with your doctor before trying CBD, especially if you’re currently taking any medications.

Want to learn more about CBD? Click here for more product reviews, recipes, and research-based articles about CBD from Healthline.

Is CBD Legal? Hemp-derived CBD products (with less than 0.3 percent THC) are legal on the federal level, but are still illegal under some state laws. Marijuana-derived CBD products are illegal on the federal level, but are legal under some state laws. Check your state’s laws and those of anywhere you travel. Keep in mind that nonprescription CBD products are not FDA-approved, and may be inaccurately labeled.

Sian Ferguson is a freelance writer and editor based in Cape Town, South Africa. Her writing covers issues relating to social justice, cannabis, and health. You can reach out to her on Twitter.

CBD has many health benefits, but it can be hard to figure out how much to take. Get tips on dosage here.