CBD oil dosage can be confusing because most bottles are labeled with the total milligrams of CBD, and lack proper dosage instruction. This article will help clear up that confusion by answering a commonly asked question, “what is the best CBD oil dosage?”
If you see a CBD product lacking this type of information, we highly recommend you do not buy it. The company behind the product is required by the FDA to present specific information on its label, including the amount per serving.
We have created two solutions for you to solve this puzzle. You may use our CBD dosage calculator, and you may also digest the information in our highly detailed ultimate guide to CBD dosage below.
Some products will indicate the milligrams of CBD per dropper as well, but many are left wondering what the best CBD oil dosage is for their particular symptoms. Different conditions and symptoms will benefit from different dosages, and some delivery methods can reduce or improve the CBD oil dosage potency.
Information on dosing reflects reports from peer-reviewed journal articles and common online recommendations. This information should, in no way, be perceived as a recommendation made by a licensed doctor. Non-prescription cannabis-derived products have not been evaluated for safety by the FDA and have not undergone clinical trials. Always consult a doctor for their guidance on cannabis-based products.
How to Find Best CBD Oil Dosage
It is not possible to set universal dosing limits for cannabinoid products due to a large number of products and the highly variable formulations. People considering using a cannabinoid product such as a CBD oil tincture or CBD vape should consult their physician for recommendations.
A 1991 study reported that average daily doses of 10mg CBD per kilogram of body weight per day are safe. For a 150lb person, this would be equal to 680mg CBD per day. Further research has shown that humans can tolerate doses up to 1500mg well.
CBD Dosing And Delivery Methods
Dosing cannabis can be tricky because there are so many variables to consider. Cannabis is personalized medicine that does not come with a standard set of instructions and doses. Despite that, individuals can discover what works for them through titration and experimentation. Journals are an excellent way to track people’s experiences through their documentation of what has worked well.
“Cannabis product” is a loose term and can mean any combination of cannabinoids and plant compounds derived from the cannabis plant. Dried herbal cannabis, or marijuana, is what people typically think of when they hear the phrase.
While marijuana can be used to make natural health products, they can have intoxicating effects that may be undesirable. CBD products without THC or with minimal THC may have the ability to work just as well for some health goals. Many of these products come from the hemp variety of cannabis.
Used at high doses, CBD may work for the treatment of a variety of conditions. However, low doses of CBD are sometimes sufficient as well. Even at lower doses, CBD has effects that promote and maintain health. Some CBD benefits include the following:
- Neuroprotection effects.
High doses of CBD are not always needed to be effective.
Variables in Dosing Cannabis
- Type of cannabinoids and other compounds present in the product
- THC, CBD, Terpenes
- Full-spectrum vs. isolated cannabinoid – (the entourage effect)
- Individual body chemistry
- Children and the elderly can tolerate higher doses of THC
- Bodyweight and metabolism
- EC system deficiency/activity level
- Delivery method
Titrating Cannabis Products
- Vape and Joint Titration
- Tincture Titration
- Edible Titration
- Topical Titration
Finding the optimal dose allows a person to meet their goals for cannabis use without experiencing disruptive side effects and will help save money. The way to do this is through titration.
What Is Titration?
Titration means to start small and gradually increase the amount of a substance. Normally doctors titrate doses for patients and use products with a defined dose range. Because of the legal status of cannabis and its wide range of dose efficacy, there is no set dose range.
Dosing and Titration with Vapes or Joints
Vaping CBD oil results in the highest CBD bioavailability because it will be processed directly through the bloodstream. By vaping CBD, it will not lose potency as it would have had it moved through the digestive system. Vaping does irritate airways like traditional smoking. Those looking to vape CBD oil should be aware of the thinning agent used in the vape juice. Polyethylene glycol (PEG) can be very toxic. Propylene glycol (PG) and vegetable glycerine (VG) are more commonly used to thin vape juice to a desirable consistency for wicking and heating.
Dry herb vapes exist for smoking botanical marijuana. Another option is to use liquid vapes with cartridges (or refillable tanks) that contain various types of CBD oil. These include CBD isolate, full-spectrum CBD oil, broad-spectrum CBD oil, and psychoactive oil containing both CBD and THC. Calculate the amount of CBD in the vape liquid against the desired dose to determine how much to take.
Knowing how to use a CBD vape pen, correctly inhale, and use a CBD oil dosage calculator are barriers new users face. Some vapes work by depressing a button for a few seconds while the user inhales the smoke into their lungs. Other vapes may be buttonless and activate when the user inhales from the mouthpiece.
How to Titrate CBD Oil Vapes
To titrate, start inhaling cannabis products with just one puff, draw in the smoke for about three seconds and then exhale. Wait for about 15 minutes and note how you feel. If you need more, take one more puff and note how you feel. Once you’ve met your goal of how you want to feel, try repeating the same dosage after one to three hours when the effects begin to wear off. Keep track of how much CBD you used and how the amount of time that passes between doses. CBD oil vapes should be titrated the same way as a vape with THC.
For vaporizers, the temperature can also be modified to elicit different effects. Activation of different cannabinoids and terpenes occur at different temperatures. Low to moderate temperatures can be an excellent place to start, and can activate more plant compounds than high temperatures which can burn off many beneficial molecules.
Calculating Dose for Refillable Vape Tanks
Some vapes have refillable tanks. We suggest using our CBD dosage calculator to determine the amount of CBD that is hitting your bloodstream when taking CBD vape juice. If a CBD vape liquid contains 1000mg of CBD per 100ml bottle, there would be 10mg CBD per 1ml. Next, determine the size of the vape tank and multiply it by the amount of CBD in 1ml. A 2ml vape tank would contain 20mg CBD, so a patient looking for a dose of 40mg CBD would need to smoke two tanks of CBD vape juice.
Dosing and Titration with Tinctures
CBD oil tinctures are a great way to take CBD because they have excellent bioavailability and can be easily measured. Many people are looking for a convenient way to take high doses of CBD. They will find the best way to take CBD oil to be sublingual via tinctures, which come in both low and high concentrations. CBD oil tinctures may also be flavored with mint to make the taste more enjoyable.
Learning how to use a CBD oil tincture is very easy. The consumer draws the tincture into the dropper, empties it under their tongue, then hold it under their tongue for at least ten seconds before swallowing. Many products advise consumers to use one to three droppers one to three times a day, but titrating the tincture dose is a better method to prevent over-consumption.
To titrate a tincture, start with just half a dropper of tincture and dispense it under the tongue. Hold it there for about 10 seconds before swallowing. After 15-20 minutes, note the effects and, if needed, take another half dropper. Do this until you meet your goal without troubling side effects. Tinctures will need to be taken every few hours, as they tend to wear off between two to four hours on average.
Repeating a dose will not always need after the effects wear off. Cannabinoids have a period called a “half-life” where the acute effects aren’t felt, but might still be active. If a consumer does not feel like another dose is needed, they should wait before taking another dose.
How to Calculate CBD Oil Dosage for Tinctures
Since it is important to track how much CBD you take, doing some math may be necessary. Knowing how to calculate CBD oil dosage is as simple as figuring how many milligrams are in a drop of CBD oil and dividing that into the bottle. For a 50ml bottle of 600mg CBD oil tincture, the total milligrams of CBD in the bottle divides into the volume of CBD oil in the tincture. The result is the milligrams of CBD in a single dropper.
[Total CBD in the bottle] ÷ [Number of milliliters in the bottle] = mg of CBD in a dropper
600mg CBD ÷ 50ml bottle size = 12mg CBD per dropper
Each dropper has a volume of approximately one milliliter, and one drop is about 0.05ml. If one milliliter is divided by 20 to get one drop, the milligrams per dropper can be divided by 20 to determine how many mg in a drop of CBD oil.
[Total mg CBD per dropper] ÷ 20 = mg of CBD per drop
12mg CBD oil per dropper ÷ 20 = 0.6mg CBD per drop
If you desire a total of about 25mg CBD, it will take about two droppers of 600mg CBD oil tincture to reach that dose. If you desire a total daily dose of 50mg CBD, two droppers of CBD oil tincture should be taken twice per day.
Dosing and Titration with Capsules and Edibles
CBD oils can be taken directly as a liquid oil or capsule. You can add CBD oil to food and beverages for an edible preparation. Pre-made edibles like CBD gummies are also available. CBD oil is less bioavailable when ingested, so higher doses may be needed. Taking CBD oil on an empty stomach will produce results faster than on a full stomach. Read the manufacturer’s directions on how to take CBD. Instructions for use can vary widely depending on the product. The manufacturer’s instructions will help you use the correct amount at the right times. Titration can further assist help in finding the lowest dose needed.
Edible products purchased from a dispensary may or may not contain psychoactive levels of THC. If you live in a state with medical marijuana, you should be careful and make sure to examine any edible CBD products before taking them.
When titrating edibles, use more caution too. Be sure to try psychoactive edibles in a safe environment – it can take up to 8 hours to wear off. Edibles are suitable for those who may need high doses of cannabis because they can be made very potent. It can take 30 minutes to an hour to feel the effects of digesting an edible. Before taking more of an edible, there should be a one to two hour wait period. Starting with just a quarter of a brownie or cookie is a good idea.
First Pass Metabolism
You may feel different effects when digesting cannabis vs. inhaling or taking it sublingually. These effects have to do with how the gastrointestinal tract and liver process the cannabis. For products like CBD capsules, the GI system can deactivate a lot of the CBD. For THC, like in a pot brownie, the liver can modify the molecule and make it more potent. These “first-pass effects” will be a little different, depending on the type of cannabinoid present and an individual’s metabolism.
Dosing CBD Creams for Pain and Inflammation
Topicals and transdermal creams with CBD oil in them are now commonly found in stores. Topicals are absorbed by the cells under the skin and produce localized effects. They are ideal for people interested in the anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties of CBD and want to apply CBD to a specific area of the body. Topical CBD products are absorbed in 20-30 minutes through the skin and last for a long time. The CBD inside of topicals doesn’t rapidly degrade like other delivery methods.
Transdermal patches are also becoming a popular delivery method. These differ from creams and balms because they aim to deliver cannabinoids to the blood in a way similar to a nicotine or birth control patch. This technology could allow for cannabinoids to have fast absorption into the body and extended effects over time.
Titrating CBD vs. THC
Both THC and CBD can work fast to help manage symptoms. THC and CBD can also work differently at low doses than at high doses. Initial thoughts of using CBD for epilepsy were that the most potent doses were of CBD were needed to control seizures. However, recent studies have found that sometimes small doses are just as efficient. That is one reason why consumers are always advised to start at the lowest doses possible.
In milligrams, a low dose of THC will still be significantly more than a high dose of CBD. In herbal cannabis, a high CBD strain might have just 2% CBD and 11% THC. Hemp is the primary type of cannabis that has more CBD and less than 0.3% THC. The amount of CBD in hemp is still low, so it takes a lot of plants to make CBD extracts that are non-psychoactive. Most herbal cannabis will have psychoactive levels of THC.
Microdosing is a method of taking THC products to feel less psychoactive effects. The goal of microdosing is to avoid intoxication while reaping the benefits of THC like pain reduction. A low dose of THC is thought to be around five milligrams. A microdose would be about half of that. Microdosing may be calculated more accurately by taking extracts like tinctures because they are easier to measure than a “puff” of inhaled cannabis.
Cannabinoids and terpenes also work together. A tincture that contains a full spectrum of terpenes and cannabinoids can take more advantage of the more than 60 different biological pathways that cannabis. This “entourage effect” means that products containing more diverse cannabis compounds may have more effect at lower doses than an isolated extraction of CBD or THC only.
Adjusting Cannabis Doses
Once a first general dose is found, day to day adjustments may be needed based on the given symptom intensity. Just like with ibuprofen, some days, you will get a headache that goes away after taking a single dose. Other days you may need to take multiple doses to achieve the same level of symptom relief. Cannabis is much the same, where there will be days when slightly more or slightly less is needed.
One method used to reach health goals is to use cannabis products as a prophylactic.
Prophylactics are preventative preparations. A consumer may take CBD gummies as a daily supplement, and then keep a CBD vape on hand in case they need to address acute symptoms like a rise in anxiety.
Anxiety makes an excellent example of this: If you rate an average level of stress at a four, a prophylactic supplement might bring that down to two or three. If there is then an acute rise in symptoms, like a panic attack, you may be able to quickly control it with a few puffs off a vape pen.
It is essential to understand that while it may be impossible to eliminate symptoms, they may be less intense and more manageable. Some people may experience symptom elimination, and that is good too. It all depends on that person’s usage goals. With the right product, proper dosage, and most effective delivery method, you may find maximum symptom relief.
In states with cannabis doctors, patients have an opportunity to be guided on these goals with professional advice. In states without medicinal cannabis, doctors should still be consulted regarding usage, symptoms, and dosage. Many will be able to advise a patient on using legal CBD oil products (see “Is CBD Oil Legal?“). Doctors are becoming more and more open to cannabis as medicine. Patients should not be afraid to consult with a doctor, even if they are using illicit marijuana for medical reasons.
Can You Overdose on Cannabis?
The short answer is no. Cannabinoid receptors are not present in the brainstem like receptors for alcohol or opioids. If you take too much alcohol or opiate, you can die. If you take too much cannabis, you’ll experience strong side effects like intense anxiety or paranoia. Instead of dying, consuming too much cannabis may also cause you to fall asleep. No one has ever died from over-consuming cannabis, and there is usually no need to go to the emergency room.
If a person has taken too much cannabis, there are a few things they can do to help relieve the side effects. The first is to sleep it off or go to a place where they feel safe and comfortable and can relax until the symptoms dissipate. The best CBD oil can reduce the psychoactivity from consuming too much of a THC product. The “overdose” effects from over-consumption of cannabis will wear off after a few hours depending on the delivery method. For inhaled cannabis, this is about 1-3 hours. Edibles can take up to 8 hours to wear off, so many people prefer to eat them in the evening before bed.
Just like with many prescription medicines, a person can become tolerant of cannabis. Some degree of tolerance is good and will reduce disruptive effects like sedation from THC. Sometimes tolerance will build and require more cannabis consumption to reach the usage goal. When this level starts to get very high, resetting can help bring the dosage back down.
Resetting is merely abstaining from cannabis use for 48 hours, then beginning the titration process again. Some cannabis users alternate different strains to prevent building a tolerance. Alternating strains like this allows them to take smaller doses of cannabis while meeting their usage goals.
Cannabis is a Personalized Health Experience
Find the correct dosage for you may seem like a lot of work. However, it allows you to take control of your symptoms in a way that pharmaceuticals don’t. Pharmaceutical products are documented to have many side effects and interactions. Many of these require a doctor to monitor patients carefully to ensure that the patients don’t overdose. Since there is much less risk of harmful side effects with cannabis, patients can experiment more safely. The side effects of cannabis may be annoying, but they do not pose great physical harm.
Possible CBD Side Effects
- Difficulty focusing
- Disrupted movement
A person with severe symptoms will often be able to tolerate potent doses that might elicit side effects. Such side effects may include feeling sleepy. The right dose of cannabis will be the dose that requires the least amount of it.
How Long Does it Take to Feel CDB and How Long do the Effects Last?
The timing and effects of taking CBD can vary widely. How long CBD takes to work and how long it lasts depends on the type of CBD product chosen and how you decide to take it. Differences in the kind of CBD (full spectrum vs. isolate) and it’s delivery method (orally, topically, or inhaled) are the primary concerns. The amount of a substance that enters the circulatory system after consumption has a particular term assigned to it. This term is known as “bioavailability.” Delivery methods that have a high bioavailability for CBD, like vaping, can have a faster onset, but the downside is that they may wear off faster.
The strongest and fastest-acting effects of CBD will come through administering in ways that move the compound directly to the circulatory system. These methods include inhalation, oral sprays, tinctures, IV, and suppositories. Just 25mg of CBD oil tincture will deliver up to six times the amount to the circulatory system compared to a 25mg CBD oil capsule.
The time it takes to feel the effects of consuming an edible CBD product typically occurs within an hour of administration. On the other hand, inhaling CBD through a vape can produce results after just minutes. For hemp-derived CBD products, users may not feel a tangible effect but can begin to notice symptom relief.
|Cannabis Active Form||Onset||Duration||Administration|
|Inhaled Smoke or Vape||1-3 minutes||1-3 hours||Take a puff or two, waiting 15 minutes. If needed, repeat.|
|Oral Spray or Tincture||10-20 minutes||2-4 hours||Release a half or full dropper under tongue and wait 15 minutes. If needed, repeat.|
|Edible or Capsule||30-90 minutes||6-8 hours||Consume a small amount and wait at least an hour before consuming more.|
|Transdermal Patch||10-20 minutes||6-8 hours||Apply patch near a joint. Remove if the effects are too intense. Patches can be cut in half to lower the dose.|
|Skin Balm||20-30 minutes||2-4 hours||Apply to the affected area, reapply after 30 minutes if needed.|
The Immune System and CBD
The ability of CBD to modulate the immune system allows it to have broad benefits on them. These include autoimmune disorders, such as multiple sclerosis, arthritis, and diabetes. Overall, CBD has significant anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Much of this research is in the early stages, but mouse models have historically been a good indicator that similar effects will occur in future human studies. CBD is surprisingly more effective than vitamin C and E as a neuroprotective antioxidant and can improve skin conditions like acne.
CBD Dosage for Alzheimer’s Disease
A mouse study of the effects of CBD on Alzheimer’s Disease used a CBD oil dosage of 20mg per kg body weight for eight months. The study found that CBD improved learning abilities by reducing neuroinflammation. CBD prevented the loss of ability to recognize individuals socially when used before Alzheimer’s Disease had the chance to develop fully. CBD also has neuroprotective properties that could help prevent the development and slow advancement of Alzheimer’s Disease. THC has been shown to reduce the agitation that is common in patients with severe Alzheimer’s Disease.
CBD Dosage for Arthritis
Researchers observed symptom relief in Arthritis symptoms just four days after applying CBD transdermal gel to affected joints in a mouse study. Studies also showed reduced joint swelling and reduced inflammation, along with less pain, from the use of CBD gel. Higher concentrations of CBD in the gel showed the most substantial effects, with the highest studied dose being 62.3mg of CBD per day.
CBD Dosage for Graft Versus Host Disease
Organ transplant patients must have their natural immune system suppressed after receiving a transplant. The reason for this suppression is because the operation can cause their body to identify the donor organ as foreign, which can lead to the body rejecting it. Rejection is the basis for Graft Versus Host Disease (GVHD). While they can be expensive, stem cell therapies appear to be promising in the prevention of GVHD. A substantial CBD oil dosage of 300mg/kg orally has been shown to help prevent GVHD and could be useful in diseases like leukemia that act through similar mechanisms. Patients in the trial of CBD for GVHD did not experience significant side effects.
CBD Dosage for Multiple Sclerosis
Multiple sclerosis (MS) is an autoimmune disease that leads to muscle spasticity and neuropathic pain. There is good news regarding CBD for multiple sclerosis, however! Combining anti-inflammatory, oligo-protective, and neuroprotective compounds may offer symptomatic and therapeutic treatment of MS.
CBD Dosage for Chronic Pain
The optimal CBD oil dosage for chronic pain can range between 2.5-20mg when administered orally, with or without THC. The analgesic properties of cannabinoids occur from their activity with the human endocannabinoid system. CBD has analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties that inhibit the transport of the biological chemical adenosine.
CBD Dosage for Cancer
Cancer is an uncontrolled division of cells and their ability to spread to multiple parts of the body uncontrollably. When treated with cannabis, studies had observed inhibition of tumor growth and induced cancer cell death (apoptosis) in patients. Many compounds in the plant promote healthy cellular activity destruction of tumor cells. Cannabis is also used to support patients undergoing chemotherapy. Medical marijuana has been shown to help alleviate effects like pain and appetite loss associated with chemotherapy treatments. Patients who struggle with nausea or the lack of appetite have found relief from a 2.5mg CBD oil dosage for cancer combined with 2.5mg of THC. CBD alone has been seen to alleviate nausea and suppressed hunger, but the synergy of taking both cannabinoids can maximize the effectiveness of CBD products for some conditions. A study of cancer patients receiving a CBD oil dosage from 100-600mg per day demonstrated reductions in tumor size of 20-50%.
Neuroprotective Properties of CBD
CBD’s neuroprotective properties in the immune system include:
CBD can exert a neuroprotective effect through the endocannabinoid system and promote well being through the nervous system.
“…lack of psychotropic effects and low toxicity, supports the notion that CBD may be considered a potentially useful therapeutic agent for the treatment of a number of neurological disorders.”
The nervous system runs through the entire human body. It is like an electrical version of the circulatory system that transports a large variety of signals that produce particular reactions.
CBD Oil Dosage for Anxiety and Depression
Taking CBD oil for anxiety has quickly become a common practice. The neuroprotective activity of CBD can combat the physiological processes of psychiatric conditions like post-traumatic stress (PTSD), anxiety, and depression. It has also been able to support recovery from concussions and short-term brain damage. CBD can exert anxiolytic effects via serotonin receptors and help reduce the recollection of memories that trigger symptoms of anxiety and panic.
A CBD oil dosage for anxiety of 600mg could lead to reduced symptoms, but starting much lower and gradually increasing has been recommended. Another study on social anxiety found that a dosage of 40mg of sublingual CBD oil tincture was able to reduce social anxiety symptoms. Studies on the effect of CBD oil dosage on PTSD are few and far between at this time. However, beginning at a low dose of 25mg per day and gradually increasing should help those with PTSD to find the best CBD oil dosage for them. With about 14 days of regular use, CBD may provide a reduction of anxiety.
Studies have explored giving a high daily CBD oil dosage of 800mg to 1500mg to alleviate symptoms of bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. More research is needed, but preliminary data show that CBD could be an effective treatment option with less problematic side effects than antipsychotic drugs. People with psychotic symptoms should speak to a doctor before trying cannabinoid products, especially THC containing products. THC can aggravate schizophrenia, so much caution is needed.
CBD is known to reduce stress and anxiety while easing pain and inflammation at the same time. Sleep disorders stemming from these factors have been known to improve with CBD doses between 40-160mg daily.
CBD Dosage for Parkinson’s Disease
Parkinson’s disease symptoms come from nerve cell damage in the brain, which leads to hand tremor, slow movement, stiffness, and loss of balance. Patients with Parkinson’s have been shown in studies to experience symptom relief from a 300mg daily CBD oil dosage with no significant side effects.
CBD Dosage for Epilepsy
Epilepsy treatments have used cannabis since 1800 BC. Scientific reports from neurologists in 1881 reported dramatic success in treating epilepsy with Indian hemp. Cannabis fell out of use for epilepsy treatment after the introduction of the pharmaceuticals phenobarbital and phenytoin and the passage of laws prohibiting marijuana use in the U.S.
CBD produces anti-epileptiform and anticonvulsant effects. Overall, CBD appears to reduce neuronal hyperactivity in epilepsy. Epilepsy patients have tolerated a dosage of 200-300mg CBD well. Patients with therapy-resistant epilepsy like Dravet syndrome have administered doses of up to 25mg per kilogram of bodyweight.
At high doses, patients may experience side effects like changes in appetite and tiredness but have significantly fewer seizures. In addition to CBD oils, the FDA approved drug Epidiolex is used to treat severe epilepsy in children and young adults.
CBD Dosage for Diabetes and Obesity
Multiple factors influence weight and appetite, like diet and genetics. Resistin is a hormone associated with obesity and diabetes with insulin resistance. An oral CBD oil dosage for diabetes of 100mg CBD, twice daily for 13 weeks, showed a reduction in resistin levels.
Studies of the effect of CBD in diabetic predisposed mice showed that interactions with the anti-inflammatory immune cytokine interleukin 10 (IL-10) also played a role in reducing the development of diabetes in non-obese mice. An oral CBD oil dosage for diabetes prevention of 5mg/kg CBD, five days a week for four weeks prevented the onset of diabetes.
CBD can have mixed effects on appetite. For symptoms of anorexia in AIDs patients, a preparation that contains both CBD and THC has been shown to stimulate the appetite.
CBD Dosage for Addiction
Studies have shown the ability of CBD and medical marijuana to reduce addictive behavior in heroin, opioid, and cigarette addiction. However, there needs to be much more research done in this area. Studies have used doses of different preparations ranging from 5mg/kg and 300mg to 800mg daily. There is good evidence emerging that CBD can help support addiction recovery.
CBD Oil vs. Medical Marijuana
Cannabidiol (CBD) is one of the many natural cannabinoids found in cannabis plants. CBD is non-psychoactive and has shown evidence of neuroprotective, analgesic, antiemetic, antispasmodic, anti-inflammatory, and sedative properties.
THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol) is a famous cannabinoid that also has medical benefits, but THC also makes people feel high. Some products contain both CBD and THC. When taken together, CBD and THC have different effects because CBD can alter the effects of THC. Herbal cannabis and products with both THC and CBD can be useful in smaller doses. One significant difference is that CBD reduces the psychoactive effects of THC.
People looking to use medical marijuana often look at different types of strains. Different strains work better for various conditions and also react differently depending on an individual’s body chemistry. Most of the “sativa” and “indica” offered by dispensaries are hybrids of some kind with either a dominant genetic makeup or a balanced genetic makeup.
In general, sativa dominant hybrids will be less psychoactive, less tired, and more uplifting. Indica dominant hybrids can be potent and sedative. Patients may find it easier to take a sativa dominant cannabis. Patients may prefer this because sativa is less intoxicating and has fewer side effects that indica hybrids with high levels of THC
Medical Marijuana Case Study
A study with patients experiencing chronic pain, headache, migraine, arthritis, and mental health issues looked at five different general types of medical marijuana products and their popularity with patients.
Types of Medical Marijuana (Herbal and Extract)
- Cannabis sativa
- Cannabis indica
- Hybrids of indica and sativa
- Extracts with a 3:1 ratio of CBD to THC
- Extracts with a 1:1 ratio of CBD to THC
Cannabis hybrids and indica were popular choices, but many people also found relief from sativas for the same conditions. THC is abundant in indica dominant hybrids. Since it is 20 times more anti-inflammatory than aspirin, twice as an anti-inflammatory as hydrocortisone, it is no surprise that patients found indica to be very effective. Sativas also possess significant anti-inflammatory action, and can most certainly be useful as well.
Patients in the study preferred vaporizers, joints, and edible or oral preparations overusing glassware for smoking, making a tea or juice, or using a topical. For patients using oils or capsules, most preferred a 3:1 CBD to THC preparation, except for the chronic pain group which preferred 1:1 CBD to THC preparations.
|Condition||Strain Preference||Qualities of Strain|
|Indica dominant hybrids;
|Indica dominant hybrid
|Indica dominant hybrids;
|Indica dominant hybrid
|Chronic Pain||Sativa and balanced hybrids;
CBD House Blend
|Higher CBD, quality varies per dispensary|
|Sativa and balanced hybrids;
Island Sweet Skunk
|Sativa dominant hybrid
|Arthritis||Indica dominant hybrids; Cannatonic||Nearly 1 to 1 ratio THC:CBD THC 10.5-16.5%
|Sativa dominant hybrids;
|Sativa dominant hybrid
|Mental Health||Sativa dominant hybrids;
THC 12.50/21.50% 0.30/1.56% CBD
|Insomnia||Sativa dominant hybrids;
Lemon Sour Diesel
|Sativa dominant hybrid
|Insomnia||Indica dominant hybrids;
|Indica dominant hybrid
THC 16.83-21.5% CBD 0.80-2.56%
|GI/Crohn’s||Indica and balanced hybrids
|CBD-heavy Indica hybrid
Other Cannabis Plant Compounds
In addition to CBD and THC, there are more than 80 cannabinoids with therapeutic potential. Other beneficial plant compounds also exist like omega-3 PUFAs (polyunsaturated fatty acids), linoleic acid, myrcene, caryophyllene, and sitosterol. People looking for the benefits of terpenes should look for “full-spectrum” CO2 extracted CBD oil tinctures.
Terpenoid compounds are present in extracts of both hemp and marijuana types of cannabis. Terpenes are as valuable as CBD. Some dominant terpenes from cannabis have anti-inflammatory, anti-allergenic, and cell-protective properties. Since using terpenes can activate additional pathways, full-spectrum extracts containing them can act more effectively, allowing lower doses.
Omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids are the same valuable fats associated with the benefits of olive oil and fish oil. Hemp seeds are especially rich in these and can be used to produce a good cooking oil with no fishy taste.
Benefits of Cannabis Plant Compounds
- Omega-3 PUFAs can inhibit cancer and tumor growth
- Omega-3 PUFAs can lower blood pressure and cholesterol
- beta-sitosterol has anti-inflammatory action and can lower cholesterol
- beta-tocopherol has antioxidant activity
- Terpene beta-caryophyllene protects cell integrity and has anti-inflammatory activity
- Terpene myrcene has anti-inflammatory, analgesic, and cellular protection activity
- Terpene myrcene has sedative and antibiotic properties
- Linoleic acid helps build muscle mass and promotes fat loss
Safety of CBD vs. THC
A 2016 CBD safety review reported that CBD is very safe for human use at a wide variety of doses. The most common side effects of CBD are tiredness, dizziness, lowered blood pressure, diarrhea, and changes in appetite/weight.
When it comes to the safety profile of CBD vs. THC, most agree that CBD has a better safety profile. The report elaborated that up to 1500mg/day CBD can be well tolerated in animals and humans, and the best CBD dosage could very well be above this.
THC can alter heart rate, blood pressure, and body temperature. CBD, by comparison, will not influence these features, will not alter motor functions or psychological functions, and won’t induce catalepsy. High concentrations of THC are associated with side effects of feelings of intoxication, psychosis, dysphoria, and anxiety.
Is CBD Toxic for Humans or Pets?
There has not yet been an oral toxicity limit determined for cannabidiol. A primate study concluded that CBD administered through IV could reach toxic levels at 212mg per kg of body weight. Researchers believe that, for CBD to be toxic, it would require orally taking 40 to 50 times that toxic IV dose.
“…no direct fatalities or overdoses have been attributed to marijuana, even in recreational users of increasingly potent marijuana…”
According to reports, CBD for pets is not considered to be toxic as an isolate. CBD products made from hemp can be used to support health and alleviate symptoms in dogs, cats, and horses.
CBD Drug Interactions
Cytochrome P450-complex enzymes metabolize compounds like CBD. Drugs such as itraconazole, ritonavir, and clarithromycin inhibit these enzymes and can slow down the CBD breakdown in the body. The slow down means that higher doses of CBD need to be taken to see the same effects as without the other drugs in the body’s system.
Some other drugs like phenobarbital, rifampicin, carbamazepine, and phenytoin act on cytochrome P450-complex enzymes and reduce the bioavailability of CBD. Other drugs like ketoconazole can improve CBD bioavailability through the same mechanism.
CBD itself interacts with the cytochrome P450-complex enzymes as well and can temporarily deactivate them. People interested in trying CBD products should be careful because CBD can interfere with other medications they are taking. The blood thinner warfarin in one common drug that can have reduced activity when coadministered with CBD.
- Atakan, Z. (2012). Cannabis, a complex plant: Different compounds and different effects on individuals. Ther Adv Psychopharmacol. 2(6):241-54. Retrieved from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3736954/
- Chandra, S, Lata, H, Techen, N, Khan, IA, & ElSohly, MA. (2011). Biotechnology of Cannabis sativa L. Planta Medica, 77(05), 6. Retrieved from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19950050
- Huestis, M. (2007). Human cannabinoid pharmacokinetics. Chemistry & biodiversity, 4(8), 1770-804. Retrieved from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2689518/
- Iffland, K., & Grotenhermen, F. (2017). An Update on Safety and Side Effects of Cannabidiol: A Review of Clinical Data and Relevant Animal Studies. Cannabis and cannabinoid research, 2(1), 139-154. doi:10.1089/can.2016.0034. Retrieved from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5569602/
- Kusminski, C. M., Mcternan, P. G., & Kumar, S. (2005). Role of resistin in obesity, insulin resistance and Type II diabetes. Clinical science, 109(3), 243-256. Retrieved from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16104844
- Leizer, C., Ribnicky, D., Poulev, A., Dushenkov, S., & Raskin, I. (2000). The composition of hemp seed oil and its potential as an important source of nutrition. Journal of Nutraceuticals, functional & medical foods, 2(4), 35-53. Retrieved from: https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1300/J133v02n04_04
- Liu, FH, Hu, HR, Du, GH, Deng, G, & Yang, Y. (2017). Ethnobotanical research on origin, cultivation, distribution and utilization of hemp (Cannabis sativa L.) in China. Indian Journal of Traditional Knowledge 16(2), 235-242. DOI: 10.1111/gcbb.12451. Retrieved from: https://medium.com/@sabinedowner/ethnobotanical-research-on-origin-cultivation-distribution-and-utilization-of-hemp-cannabis-935d8f5f386f
- Maroon, J., & Bost, J. (2018). Review of the neurological benefits of phytocannabinoids. Surgical neurology international, 9, 91. doi:10.4103/sni.sni_45_18. Retrieved from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5938896/
- Mattes, R. D., Shaw, L. M., Edling-Owens, J., Engelman, K., & Elsohly, M. A. (1993). Bypassing the first-pass effect for the therapeutic use of cannabinoids. Pharmacology Biochemistry and Behavior, 44(3), 745-747. Retrieved from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8383856
- Millar, SA, Stone, NL, Yates, AS, & O’Sullivan, SE. (2018). A Systematic Review on the Pharmacokinetics of Cannabidiol in Humans. Frontiers in Pharmacology, 9, 1365. Retrieved from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6275223/
- Russo, EB. (2007). History of cannabis and its preparations in saga, science, and sobriquet. Chemistry & biodiversity, 4(8), 1614-1648. Retrieved from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17712811
- Scuderi, C., Filippis, D. D., Iuvone, T., Blasio, A., Steardo, A., & Esposito, G. (2009). Cannabidiol in medicine: a review of its therapeutic potential in CNS disorders. Phytotherapy Research: An International Journal Devoted to Pharmacological and Toxicological Evaluation of Natural Product Derivatives, 23(5), 597-602. The first-pass effect. From Fetal and Neonatal Physiology (Fifth Edition), 2017. Science Direct, Elsevier B.V. Retrieved from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18844286