The Farm Act of 2018 legalized industrial hemp production in America, and in the following years the country saw CBD go mainstream and beyond, with people from all walks of life finding a CBD treatment or product that works for them. You can go to the store and get a snack with CBD in it. You can buy CBD oil for your pets. Your morning coffee can have CBD added to it. As the country learns more about CBD and its benefits, it’s also important to learn more about CBD dosing in order to achieve maximum benefits.
With so many people new to the world of CBD, many may be asking themselves “what is the correct CBD dosage” and whether it’s possible to overdose on CBD.
The Basics of CBD
Cannabidiol (CBD) is a popular and naturally-occuring cannabinoid found in cannabis plants like hemp and marijuana. While hemp and marijunana are both in the cannabis family, they are different plants. Visually they look almost identical, with only a few physical differences in size and growth patterns, however the biggest difference comes from within the plants. Specifically the compounds and cannabinoids found within each. Marijunana contains both CBD and THC, with THC being the cannabinoid responsible for the intoxicating effects most people associate with marijuana products.
Hemp, on the other hand, contains only CBD with only small trace amounts of THC. Legally the amount of THC in hemp cannot exceed 0.3%, well below what it would take a human to feel intoxicated. Because of this, and because its production is now legal federally, most CBD products will come from hemp plants. It is possible for THC to be removed from marijuana extracts, leaving only the CBD for consumption, but most manufacturers would rather not add extra steps to their process and instead choose to use hemp to extract CBD.
The Endocannabinoid System
The Endocannabinoid System (ECS) provides an essential component to human physiology. It helps regulate and maintain homeostasis within the body and affects a wide range of mental and physical functions, like pain, memory, mood, appetite, stress, sleep, metabolism, immunity, and even the reproductive system .
There are three primary elements that make up the endocannabinoid system:
- Endocannabinoids: These are compounds that are naturally produced by the body, but are very similar to the chemical compounds in cannabis, like CBD.
- Cannabinoid Receptors: These receptors are found on the surface of cells throughout the body. The endocannabinoids the body produces, and any cannabinoids ingested will bind to these receptors. The action of binding allows them to communicate with different systems in the body.
- Enzymes: After the endocannabinoids attach themselves to the cannabinoid receptors and the ECS has achieved stabilization in the body, enzymes start breaking down the endocannabinoids.
Because CBD is able to attach itself to the ECS receptors, it also has the ability to either stabilize or alter some functions of the systems maintained by the ECS. This means that all of the mental and physical functions mentioned above have the potential to be assisted by the addition of CBD.
Worst Case Scenario
Since hemp and CBD contain only trace amounts of THC, it doesn’t hold the same risk of intoxication from the psychoactive properties as would a cannabis product that contains THC. The only time this might pose a risk after consumption of CBD is if the user has accidentally consumed a CBD product that does contain THC, which would most likely come from a marijuana plant instead of a hemp plant. As long as you are checking packaging carefully and keeping yourself informed on what products you’re ingesting, this should not be an issue.
The World Health Organization has declared CBD non-toxic and concluded that CBD does not directly interact with receptors responsible for respiratory and cardiac functions, meaning that the risk of adverse effects of overdose are essentially non-existent. In their report, they stated that CBD is “generally well-tolerated with a good safety profile,” and added “in humans, CBD exhibits no effects indicative of any abuse or dependence potential.” 
Possible Side Effects of High Dosage
It’s nearly impossible to take enough CBD that negative consequences will follow, but in the unlikely event that it does happen there are some side effects that can be felt. They include:
- Changes in appetite
- Dry mouth
- Abnormal liver function
These side effects are not life threatening, but will make for an uncomfortable 4-8 hours, so care should be taken to ensure the proper dosage of CBD is consumed . If you do find yourself in a situation with these side effects after an abnormally large dose of CBD, the best treatment is to stay calm. Try not to become too anxious and instead concentrate on drinking plenty of fluids, and if your appetite allows, eat something wholesome. Physically there is very little danger from over-consumption of CBD, so your main objective is to keep your mental state balanced. Going for a walk, watching a movie on the sofa, or even just going to sleep will help get you through those uneasy hours.
How to Pick a Product
Picking the correct product with the correct dosage of CBD is a process that requires not only attention to details on the product label, but also a discussion with your doctor about what a proper dosage would be. If you have any questions about how to read CBD labels, we have an in-depth article [here] all about what to look for when making a purchase. In more general terms, here are some important items to look for to ensure you’re getting the right product and dosage of a CBD product:
- 3rd party lab tests
- Amount of active CBD per serving
- List of ingredients
- Net weight
- Manufacturer name
- Suggested use
- Type of CBD (full spectrum, broad spectrum, isolate)
- Date code
Since legal cannabis of any form is such a relatively new concept in modern society, research on the topic of dosage is still fairly limited. Early studies have shown that a dosage of around 200mg of CBD per kilogram of body weight is optimal , but there have been more recent studies that conclude it can be up to 10,000mg per kilogram of body weight . What these very different numbers prove is that not only is CBD research ever evolving, CBD itself is not dangerous, even in extremely large quantities.
However, you’ll likely never see a product with a 10,000mg dosage because it is an unnecessarily high number that doesn’t change the therapeutic benefits at all. CBD has a bioavailability (how much of the product actually enters the bloodstream) that averages between 6-35%, so taking more than the body can handle would simply mean the excess will pass through the body without serious ill effect.
The popularity of CBD is on the rise and we’re seeing the very beginning of a long-lasting and important change in the cannabis and therapeutic industries. However with the surge of new products and treatments, comes a lot of questions about safety and correct usage of these new products. CBD is extremely safe and almost impossible to harm yourself using, but it is still important to know the proper way to take it and the correct CBD product and dosage for what you want to treat. Taking the time to educate yourself and talk to your doctor about dosage options can make all the difference. While it’s difficult to harm yourself using CBD, it also benefits you to take the correct dosage from the start to make sure you’re achieving maximum results and benefits from the treatment plan.