Finding the best dose involves using numero uno as a guinea pig, or an n=1 experiment if you like. This takes you through how you can accurately measure different doses, and how you can track your way to finding your ideal therapeutic window.
Research is useful, but not always relevant
One of the ways we like to deal with health outcomes is to categorise treatments based on which disease someone has. This often leads to the idea that a specific dose applies to managing a particular disease.
Whilst this may seem like a good idea, it fails to account for the fact that a particular disease can occur through a myriad of different perturbations across mechanistic pathways. Basically, even though a diagnosis labels two people with a certain disease, the pathways that are broken could be very different between them.
For this reason, theres no optimal dose for addressing symptoms according to what disease or health condition you have.
In other words, there’s no specific dose for managing chronic pain, anxiety or inflammation across diseases. That dose is completely subjective.
Having said that, the studies that do currently exist are a good rule of thumb to gauge the ballpark figures for:
- A minimum therapeutic effect
- Establishing tolerable upper limits (safe doses)
But, as you’ll soon see, theres much better ways to find your own specific therapeutic window.
Here’s a summary of the existing research on doses within particular sample populations for different conditions:
|Author||Condition||Dose||Type of CBD||Study Duration||Outcome|
|Crippa et al||Anxiety||400mg | 1 x daily||CBD Isolate||2 days||Significantly decreased anxiety, slight mental sedation|
|Zuardi et al||Bi-Polar||600mg – 1200mg||CBD Isolate?||4 weeks||No effect on mania|
|Jadoon et al||Blood Pressure||600mg||CBD Isolate||1 day||Reduced blood pressure|
|Morgan et al||Cannabis Dependence||–||Whole-plant CBD||2 days||High CBD : THC was less addictive than low CBD : THC strains|
|Naftali et al||Crohns Disease||10mg | 2 x daily||CBD Isolate||10 weeks||No beneficial effect compared to placebo|
|Consroe et al||Dystonia||100mg – 600mg | 1 x daily||CBD Isolate?||6 weeks||Dose rated improvements in Dystonia (20-50%)|
|Solowij et al||THC Impairment||100mg | 2 x daily||CBD Isolate||12 weeks||significantly fewer depressive and psychotic-like symptoms|
|Jadoon et al||Diabetes||100mg | 2 x daily||CBD Isolate||13 weeks||No effect on blood sugar, but improved resistin and GIP|
|Cuhna et al||Epilepsy||200mg-300mg | 1 x daily||CBD Isolate||18 weeks||Totally and partially reduced convulsions|
|Hurd et al||Heroin Addiction||400mg – 800mg | 1 x daily||CBD Isolate||7 days||CBD significantly reduced drug cue-induced craving and anxiety|
|Carlini et al||Insomnia||160mg | 1 x before bed||CBD Isolate||4 weeks||Sleep improved significantly|
|Wade et al||MS||120mg | 1 x daily||Whole-plant extract||2 weeks||Signifiant pain relief|
|Zuardi et al||Parkinsons (psychosis)||150mg – 600mg | 1 x daily||CBD Isolate||4 weeks||Psychotic symptoms significantly improved|
|Elms||PTSD||9mg – 100mg||Whole-plant extract||8 weeks||91% patients had a decrease in PTSD symptom severity|
|Leweke et al||Schizophrenia||200mg | 4 x daily||CBD Isolate||4 weeks||Psychotic symptoms significantly improved|
|Bergamaschi et al||Social Anxiety||600mg | 1 x daily||CBD Isolate||1 day||Significantly reduced discomfort, anxiety, cognitive impairment|
|Irving et al||Ulcerative Colitis||250mg | 2 x daily||Whole-plant extract||10 weeks||Improved subjective quality of life|
How To Take CBD
One of the most popular ways to ingest CBD is by using a tincture preparation/oil. These typically come with a glass pipette which administers CBD with a carrier oil in small droplets.
Alternatively, you can get caps which are already pre-dosed so taking fixed doses consistently is easier. Caps tend to come in ranges from 10-50mg, so experimenting with doses is slightly less flexible. It might be easier to play around with tinctures at first as you can increase and decrease the dose with more flexibility, but with a little less precision.
However, if you are using a spray then those doses may be more accurate to clock, so you can have a play around with an accessible form.
You may have noticed that CBD can be referred to as a percentage as well as in milligrams (mg). Confusing, right?
Whilst knowing the percentage is handy to assess the general potency you are getting, measuring doses in mg is more practical. This way you can also go by doses used in research as well, as CBD is mostly referred to in mg.
To most accurately dose CBD, knowing how much CBD in mg/drop or serving can help you find your sweet spot with plenty of room for exploration.
CBD Content of Gaia Guru Products
Oral drops come in a 10ml size and contain ~ 200 drops per bottle:
- Lift CBD drops | 500mg total CBD | 2.5mg / drop
- Relief CBD drops | 500mg total CBD | 2.5mg / drop
- Focus CBD drops | 500mg total CBD | 2.5mg / drop
- Calm CBD drops | 500mg total CBD | 2.5mg / drop
Capsules contain a total of 30 vegan capsules with organic coconut oil.
- Get woke CBD capsules | 300mg total CBD | 10mg / cap
- Nightcap CBD capsules | 600mg total CBD | 20mg / cap
Massage oils come in 100ml sizes and contain 10 – 20 servings.
- Original massage oil | 1000mg total CBD | 50 – 100mg / serving
- Warming massage oil | 1000mg total CBD | 50 – 100mg / serving
Muscle and lip balms:
- CBD lip balm | 15ml | 100mg total CBD
- CBD muscle balm | 30ml | 500mg total CBD | 40 – 80mg / serving
- CBD muscle balm | 60ml | 1000mg total CBD | 40 – 80mg / serving
Going By Body Weight
This seems like a practical method to go by, but in reality its actually pretty flawed.
Its kind of like how using Body Mass Index (BMI) to assess body composition is flawed. It uses measures of weight in relation to height to assess obesity risk, but fails to account for whether the weight is composed of muscle or fat. Its practical, but inaccurate.
Going by body weight alone fails to account for genetic differences in your Endocannabinoid system and metabolism, that influences the effects CBD may have.
Even if you share the same body weight as someone, you could have a totally different effect from CBD.
Your individual response varies because of your unique body composition and:
- Metabolic activity of liver enzymes (CYP) which metabolise cannabinoids
- Nutritional Status (omega 3:6 consumption notably)
- Endocannabinoid tone (synthesis, degradation and signalling of Endocannabinoids)
- Sleep (also impacts EC tone)
- Stress (impacts EC tone)
Finding Your Own Sweet Spot
There’s another way to go if you choose not to go by body weight or doses used in research.
You may have heard the saying start low and go slow. This refers to activating your endocannabinoid system, gently introducing it to CBD.
If you’ve never taken CBD (or cannabis) before, then your endocannabinoid system hasn’t been fully ‘woken up’ yet. So gently wake it up, starting with small doses at first, and gradually increasing them over time.
This helps establish your optimal dose of CBD, so you can find your therapeutic window. Your therapeutic window is the space between the smallest dose which produces a meaningful effect, and the point where your response starts to plateau.
Start with a low dose, say 2-5mg. If this doesn’t provide any meaningful effect for you, increase your dose until you find it does. You’ve now found your minimum viable dose.
You may choose to explore higher doses for greater effects beyond your minimum viable dose. This way you can explore if more is necessarily better for you, or just ends up wasting your oil. This is a valuable experiment you can conduct on yourself to truly understand how your oil is working for you.
What works for you is going to be completely subjective, so start low and increase incrementally to find your personal ‘goldilocks zone’ (thats juuuuust right).
CBD has no official Tolerable Upper Limit (maximum safe dose), but is generally well tolerated. Thats why its a good idea to have some idea from the literature just to be safe.
The Food Standards Agency (FSA) suggests taking a daily dose of 70mg CBD.
Some people may require higher doses based on their individual needs. A CBD containing food supplement for adults was recently recommended at a daily intake of up to 130 mg or 1.86 mg CBD per kg body weight.
Tracking Your Way To Success
Once you have established your relationship with CBD, you can play around with it, and start to track how you respond to different doses, and establish whether its best to:
- Dose in response to symptoms
- Dose periodically throughout the day
- Dose with food
- Dose Morning or Night
Get your free Gaia Guru tracker here.
Dosing with Topicals
Using CBD topically requires a slightly different strategy to when its used orally. When applied through the skin, CBD doesn’t tend to have widespread effects in the body, but acts locally.
It’s still a good idea to bring awareness to how much you are using, and what doses you apply. This way you can see how much product you need to provide you with your desired effects.
Take the Gaia Guru Muscle Balm for example; both the 30ml and the 60ml balms contain 16mg of bioactive CBD per ml of product.
Start off by using ~ 2.5ml, which looks like a small dab on the end of your finger. That amounts to ~ 40mg of CBD. See how that works for your desired outcome, and increase by 0.5ml each time until you experience your desired effects.
Its a similar method with the Gaia Guru Massage Oils. They provide 10mg bioactive CBD / ml of oil. That’s an easy ratio to work with, as you can increase by increments of (1ml) 10mg CBD each time you want to explore higher doses.
We suggest starting with 5ml of oil, which can actually go quite a long way when it’s spread out over a particular body part or area. You can then increase the serving by 1ml each time to see how you respond to higher doses of CBD.