Since the passage of the 2018 Farm Bill, which federally legalized hemp and hemp-derived products, CBD oil has become one of the biggest trends nationwide. CBD has gained this popularity by reportedly being able to help your body find relief from a variety of common issues like pain, inflammation, anxiety, lack of sleep, and more.
And with how common these problems are in America, it’s no wonder nearly everyone is looking to CBD for something. Because of this, you can find CBD in almost everything nowadays.
From classic CBD oil products like tinctures and gummies, to CBD-infused beauty products, to Ben and Jerry’s CBD ice cream, there’s nothing companies won’t seemingly put CBD in – but is the amount they use even worth the price increase?
One of the largest questions facing the CBD industry today is “what is a recommended starting dose of CBD?” And it’s a question that has as many answers as people who try to answer it because the research into recommended dosages for CBD is still in its infancy.
This factor means that most people who take CBD follow the generally-accepted-yet-overly-vague advice to “start small and keep taking more until you hit your sweet spot.” This approach works fine for plenty of people, but it can be cost-prohibitive for many others.
Everyone should be able to benefit from the natural power of CBD, but when there are no standard doses, some of those using CBD aren’t really getting the most out of it. This lack of public knowledge is a large part of why it’s important to look to the scientific community for guidance.
What’s the deal with CBD dosing?
Even though the scientific community is tirelessly gathering research and attempting to establish more rigid guidelines for dosing CBD, there are still thousands of people out in the real world trying to figure out what they should do.
And when the doses used can range from 2.5 mg in some studies to as high as 1500 mg in others, it can be hard to know just how much CBD is needed to be effective. But rather than see such wide-ranging effective doses for CBD as a problem, it should appear as an asset.
Unlike alternatives that have to be carefully measured and monitored for harsh side effects or even organ damage, even in this study, there were no reported side effects.
This conclusion means that CBD dosing is unique in that it allows individuals to freely adjust how much they take until they achieve the desired results without the fear of an overdose or deadly side effects. However, we still need concrete research to help establish recommended starting doses for some of the most common ailments that CBD is used to help alleviate like chronic pain, lack of sleep, stress, and depression.
But until the FDA finally announces a recommended daily allowance of CBD or other dosing guidelines, the only tool some people have are online dosing guides that are notoriously inaccurate. Like any other health product, how much CBD someone needs is reliant on a vast number of factors. These factors include height, weight, genetics, previous prescription or recreational drug use, race, and gender, among many others.
Because of this laundry list of potential influences, basic online dosage guides won’t be able to deliver a completely accurate recommendation. But in the absence of official information, they may be the best option we have for finding the right ballpark to start in.
Then, once you narrow down a rough idea of where to start, it’s back to the tried-and-true method of trial and error until you find your sweet spot.
Quality over quantity
When it comes down to it, though, it doesn’t matter how much CBD you take if your CBD oil is low quality or simply not what it claims to be.
According to a University of Pennsylvania study, many CBD products contain a different amount of CBD than advertised, with as few as 30 percent of products tested coming within 10 percent of the listed concentration.
That startling statistic, on top of the risk of heavy metal or pesticide consumption from low-grade, foreign hemp sources, makes it crucial for consumers to do their homework before deciding which company they want to buy from eventually.
- USA-grown hemp
You can’t make high-quality CBD oil without high-quality, industrial hemp. And even though not all foreign hemp is bad, it’s always a risk when you don’t know exactly where it’s coming from or what the standards there are.
Because of this uncertainty, it’s best to seek out companies whose product source is from U.S. organically-grown hemp that’s guaranteed to be free of harmful pesticides and GMOs.
Additionally, all hemp crops in America must abide by Farm Bill regulations that only allow for 0.3 percent THC or less. This means that when you buy products made from American hemp, you can be confident that the THC content is well below the federal limit.
- CO2 extraction
You don’t need a chemistry degree to understand that using cheap, chemical solvents to extract CBD is dangerous and irresponsible. But unfortunately, many CBD companies do just that. That’s why it’s important to understand which extraction processes are safe and effective, so you can avoid those products that have been extracted using ethanol or other abrasive chemicals.
The safest and most effective extraction method today is CO2 extraction. This is a fairly expensive process compared to other methods, which is why many companies decide to cut costs and use cheaper forms of extraction. The way CO2 extraction works is by highly pressurizing carbon dioxide until it is in a liquid state. Then, that liquid is useful as the solvent for stripping the different cannabinoids off of the hemp plant.
This procedure allows for a clean extraction that doesn’t leave traces of ethanol, olive oil, or any other heavy or harsh solvents. However, getting the cannabinoids off the plant is only part of the extraction process – for some companies at least.
- Broad spectrum manufacturing
For CBD sellers that offer full-spectrum CBD oil, the process effectively ends with collecting all of the possible cannabinoids (including trace amounts of THC) and creating their oil from that. There are two other popular “styles” of CBD that require a bit more work – isolate and broad spectrum. Isolate is what it sounds like exactly – isolated CBD. This form is done by eliminating the other cannabinoids from the original mixture and just leaving the CBD by itself.
The downside to this is that CBD works better in the presence of other cannabinoids. So what do you do if you want to completely avoid THC while still benefiting from the combined effects of CBD and its cannabinoid cousins?
The answer, of course, is broad spectrum manufactured CBD oil. This type is accomplished by isolating CBD from the original mix of cannabinoids, then eliminating only the THC from that mix before reintroducing it to the CBD isolate. This process, while more costly and time-consuming than other methods, is usually the sign of a company who cares about producing a high-quality, THC-free product.
- Certificate of analysis
As important as it is to find companies who claim to use safe and effective processing, extraction, and production techniques, it’s even more crucial to find companies who back those claims up. This is why the single most important piece of information to find when deciding on a CBD oil company is their Certificate of Analysis (CoA). This document is a certification from a third-party lab that tests for pesticides and heavy metals as well as THC.
It also tells you how much CBD is in the product, so you can know whether or not the product’s listed dosage is accurate. Any transparent and reputable company will have no problem sharing their CoA with you, and many will have a CoA posted on their website.