The Ultimate Guide to CBD Dosing

Whether you’ve used it or not, you’ve heard of CBD. This beneficial plant-based medicine that was vilified for decades has more recently turned the tide of public opinion, and science overwhelmingly confirms its myriad benefits. You can’t seem to walk into a gas station, supermarket or even a pet store these days without running into a CBD product. But unless you’ve actually done your research, you may not know how to actually purchase and use CBD the right way.

Many swear by CBD’s ability to help with pain, sleep, anxiety, depression, wellbeing and more. There is definitely strong evidence out there to support this, but there’s so much wrong with the CBD market today that finding effective products isn’t easy. With more than three decades of experience working with, cultivating and marketing cannabis and CBD, I can help you sift through all the misinformation and tell you exactly how to find and use the right products. Research shows that THC (psychoactive) and CBD (non-psychoactive) both have medicinal benefits and are a safe and enjoyable alternative to alcohol. If you’ve tried CBD in the past and haven’t had a great experience, there’s good news for you: It’s very likely that you’ve either had the wrong ingredients or it wasn’t administered properly. Thankfully, once you know what to look for and how to use CBD, it’s quite simple to reap huge benefits. 

Cannabis has been used medicinally and recreationally by humans—and most likely other animals—for thousands of years. Cannabis breeders have been branding their genetics and products for generations, and the good ones have known about CBD for a long time. Unfortunately, back when cannabis was severely criminalized, the act of recording anything about your process or products was risky—it could be used as evidence against you. So knowledge stayed unwritten and was shared over campfires deep in the woods of California’s emerald triangle…Until slowly this information started making its way into books and online, spreading knowledge like the mycelium between old redwoods.

Like our food system, some growers treat their farms and plants like kin while others are only interested in the bottom line. The same way that you’ll find the best tasting heirloom tomato at a farmer’s market, you’ll find the best CBD from growers with the best genetics, terroir, and cultivation techniques. In turn, manufacturers that source from these growers employ ethical best practices and have the right recipes and packaging. The best products tell you the source farm, ship to you direct from the manufacturer, and have the right ingredients present.

Because cannabis has what’s called an entourage effect—meaning all compounds are synergistic and must be present for maximum effectiveness—it’s critical that some THC is present alongside CBD. Federal law allows for less than 0.3% of THC and studies suggest this is sufficient for efficacy. While you can certainly buy CBD with higher amounts of THC, it’s better to stay under 0.3%, since you may not always want the psychoactive effects. 
Processing matters, too. There are dozens of extraction methods and some work better than others. “Whole Spectrum” extracts are best because they most closely resemble the whole plant, making it more effective. Avoid products containing “isolate”—that just means it’s been stripped of everything except the CBD, rendering it largely ineffective. If it doesn’t say what it contains, assume that it’s made with isolate and avoid it.
There are a thousand product forms—think gummies, bath bombs, chocolate, etc.—but the most effective and versatile is an oil-based tincture. Tinctures are healthy and clean. They can be used orally or topically, for humans or pets, and can be mixed into food or drinks. They have quick absorption and are strong, inexpensive, long-lasting and safe.

Whatever you do, don’t buy CBD at a gas station, a convenience store, a Big Box or on Amazon. Do your research. You’ll likely get the best deal buying direct from companies online. Determine the type and strength of the product you’re looking at, and calculate the cost of CBD by: dividing the cost by the total milligrams of CBD to get the price per mg. For example: 6,000mg of CBD for $100 is a cost of 1.7 cents per mg. Most companies charge between 5-10 cents per mg, but some charge significantly more.

May I suggest starting with Tonico—a strong and affordable whole-spectrum tincture that people love. It has 6,000mg of CBD in a 2oz bottle, 0.3% THC, and cannabis-derived terpenes, all in an organic coconut MCT oil. A not-so-shameless plug for a high-quality product I can vouch for and am immensely proud of.

For Adults
Orally—As with all drugs, psychoactive or otherwise, start small. Wait. Repeat. Consuming on an empty stomach will increase the effects. 
Add the tincture to anything absorbant, like a baked good, or mix it into yogurt or a smoothie. Most anything makes it tastes better. I avoid adding strong flavored oils to CBD, like mint, because they restrict what the product can be added to.

Start with 25mg. Wait two hours before taking more.
Topically—Rub liberally on your skin, no need to be concerned with the quantity used.

Note: For sleep or energy? Some people are energized by CBD while others are relaxed by it. The same product may work differently on different people. It’ll all depend on your body what time of day is most effective to take CBD.

For Children
Start with 10mg. Wait two hours.

For Pets
Start with recommended dosage. Wait two hours before adding more. Add your tincture to kibble, treats, yogurt, or any food.
Cats don’t have as many cannabinoid receptors as dogs so they need higher doses. Start with 2-4mg per 10lbs of weight.

For dogs, start with 1-2mg per 10lbs of weight.
Always check with experts to ensure CBD is not contraindicated with any current medications you’re taking.

Because of its effect on the liver and liver enzymes, CBD can interfere with medications, either increasing their levels in the blood to potentially toxic levels, or decreasing levels and reducing their effectiveness. Certain seizure medications, antidepressants, muscle relaxers, and drugs that can suppress the central nervous system (such as benzodiazepines, sleeping pills and opioids), among other medications, may have strong interactions. Always research and talk to your doctor or pharmacist before using CBD to avoid contraindications.

Beware of melatonin and CBD together. It’s a synthetic hormone that merits cautious use. For some, even infrequent use causes anxiety and bad dreams. When used regularly more people experience these symptoms.
In fact, it’s best to avoid combining CBD and drugs like melatonin or caffeine because it limits functionality. For example, if your CBD has too melatonin in it, it’s not a great choice for daytime use. If your CBD has too much THC—think less than a 20:1 ratio—you won’t be able to avoid psychoactive effects.

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