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How Much CBD should I take?

CBD oils come in different strengths and serving sizes. For many, this has caused confusion and hindered results. Understanding what is in the container is a key to getting the best value and consuming the right amount to reach your goals. Before we crunch numbers, lets confront some problems.

THE GOOD, THE BAD, AND THE UGLY

In the past few years, CBD oils for ingestion have sprung into the market space with very little regulation. This has caused an avalanche of new brands trying to capture their share of profits.

Most brands are simply buying “private labeled” oils; that is, they find a big brand and purchase large quantities of bottles at a discount having the manufacturer apply their “private label”. Others are buying large canisters of the precious oil and simply re-bottling it in smaller bottles that they apply their own label to. Some will change it a bit by adding things such as flavors.

The good news is that all of this competition is helping to control the price. But the rat race is causing some problems:

  • Most new consumers don’t actually know what they are buying
  • Many brands don’t actually know what they are selling
  • The primary confusion is between concentration and serving size

My Experience With CBD and CBD Sales People

I frequently attend health product trade shows and other health related expos. I’ve noticed a dramatic increase in the number of vendors selling ingestible CBD products. This has given me the opportunity to try many different brands and experience first hand the confusion that even those selling it have when it comes to milligrams as it is listed on the bottle.

I understand where the confusion comes from. For example, if you were shopping for an OTC pain reliever, you might buy “Ibuprofen 200 mg”… that is, 200 mg of NSAID (non-steroidal anti inflammatory drug). But that means there is 200 mg in each tablet or capsule. So if there are 100 tablets, you have 20,000 mg in the bottle!

In the case of CBD, the mg on the front of the bottle is how much is in the whole bottle!

For instance, you might buy a 1 oz. bottle (30 mL) of 100 mg CBD oil with a serving size of “1 dropper full” (about 30 drops) and assume you were getting 100 mg. Getting 100 mg. in a serving is not so far-fetched since a 1 oz. bottle (30 mL) of 3000 mg CBD does contain 100 mg per mL.

I was once given half a dropper full from a 1 oz. bottle of 100 mg and told I was getting 50 mg. which would have been a hefty dose. But the reality is that I was actually given about 1.5 mg. of CBD. I should not expect to see any difference from such a small amount, and, indeed, I did not. At the time, I was recovering from a surgically re-attached muscle. My pain level did not change a bit.

How Much CBD Is In The Bottle?

What is really in the bottle is a discussion for another time. Suffice it to say that the brand you use should show you independent lab reports that validate the manufacturers claims as to the spectrum and concentration of CBD. There are plenty of uninformed and even deceitful businesses out there.

But lets assume you are getting a high quality Full Spectrum CBD product where the mg displayed on the bottle is accurate. Knowing that the mg listed is for the entire bottle, and there are 30 servings per bottle, simply divide the mg by 30 servings to see how much CBD is in each serving. The “Supplement Facts” panel will likely verify your answer.

If you have a potent CBD oil (such as 1000 or more mg. per ounce) you might not need a full serving. You might get sufficient benefits from a half serving. So now your 30 serving bottle just became 60 servings… and you can divide the 1000 by 60 to get your new mg. per serving (~16.7).

You will notice that the higher mg. bottles are the better value. Lets take a hypothetical example. Imagine you wanted the best price for a 50 mg. serving. The chart below shows how getting a more expensive CBD costs less per serving 50 mg serving.

mgPRICESERVINGSmg / SERVING50 mg SERVING COST
100$26.99303.3$13.50
250$39.99308.3$8.00
500$69.993016.6$6.99
1000$109.993033.3$5.50
1500 $149.993050$5.00

Notice that each mg is the most expensive when you buy the cheapest (and weakest) bottle.

How Many Milligrams of CBD Should I take?

So now that we understand what is in the bottle, how much CBD should you take? CBD oil is NOT a drug and should not be thought of as dosing. This does not mean that it won’t have an effect. Like many “Superfoods”, the right amount can have a therapeutic effect. But everyone is different. Your therapeutic benefit may require more or less than someone else seeking the same benefit.

But we can recognize factors to help determine where to start. For instance, a larger person will likely require a larger serving size.

So if we wanted to consider a moderately aggressive approach to serving size, we might say “5 mg per serving for every 25 pounds of body weight”. So a 150 lb. person might consume 30 mg per serving. That is a solid serving. By “solid”, I don’t mean that it is too much… but there may be a “point of diminishing returns”. By that I mean at some point taking more is just costing more without giving you additional benefits. We’ll discuss the “why” another time.

So let’s say you were starting with 2 servings per day and within a couple days you got your desired benefit. You might wonder if you would get the same benefit with only one serving per day… or two smaller servings. Eventually you will figure out how much CBD, if any, is right for you.

I’d love to know your thoughts or answer questions you might have. Feel free to use the comments to continue the discussion.

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