CBD is the natural health and wellness supplement that everyone is talking about, and millions across the UK are using. But, unfortunately, as the popularity of CBD has grown, so too has the number of poor-quality products because the industry is largely unregulated. Rather than seeing this as a problem, though, it can be an opportunity to do your own homework and give yourself the best chance of experiencing the benefits of CBD.
Before you get started with CBD, it’s important to take a step back and do some research to find out how CBD works, what conditions it can help with, how to get your dosage right and which factors will impact the effectiveness of your dose.
Let’s start with looking at your body’s endocannabinoid system:
What is the ECS?
It was originally discovered in the early 1990s when researchers were investigating the cannabinoid THC. The endocannabinoid system helps to regulate a number of processes in the body including sleep, mood, memory, appetite and fertility.
Made up of a complex network of receptors, enzymes and endocannabinoids (cannabinoids that occur naturally within the body), the endocannabinoid system’s primary role is to maintain homeostasis in the body.
These are cannabinoids produced by your body, the two most important of which are anandamide (AEA) and 2-arachidonoylglyerol (2-AG).
Found throughout the body, endocannabinoids bind to receptors. The two main types are CB1 receptors (found predominantly in the central nervous system) and CB2 receptors (found in the peripheral nervous system).
Endocannabinoids can bind to either type of receptor to produce a result that is dependent on the location of the receptor and the type of endocannabinoid.
Enzymes break down the endocannabinoids once they have fulfilled their function. The fatty acid amide hydrolase enzyme breaks down AEA, while the monoacylglycerol acid lipase enzyme breaks down 2-AG.
Based on the available research, the ECS contributes to homeostasis because it is linked to appetite and digestion, metabolism, pain and inflammation, mood, sleep, motor control, cardiovascular health, muscle formation, learning and memory, bone health, liver function, reproductive health, stress and skin function.
How does CBD interact with the endocannabinoid system?
CBD is different to THC as it doesn’t bind to CB1 or CB2 receptors in the same way. CBD may inhibit the work of the enzymes that break down naturally occurring cannabinoids (endocannabinoids), and it may support the health and function of receptors throughout the endocannabinoid system. In both instances, the work of endocannabinoids is enhanced, and they can have more of an effect on regulating your body.
What is the best way to get the right dosage?
The first month of your CBD journey is vital. Getting the right dosage can be confusing because almost every company has different recommendations. At Purity Hemp Co we take a science-backed approach to dosage, to help you get it right up front. CBD can be taken in many different forms, the most popular of which are CBD oil and CBD gummies, and for many people, it comes down to personal preference.
If you’re new to CBD, start small. Place two to three drops of CBD under your tongue, hold for between thirty seconds and a minute, and swallow. You should then wait for at least half an hour to assess your body’s reaction to CBD. The effects are usually felt within 5 to 20 minutes.
Like with CBD oil, we recommend starting small with one to two gummies, then waiting 30 minutes to feel the effects of the CBD before consuming more. At Purity Hemp Co, one CBD bear is the equivalent of 5mg of CBD, while each dome is the equivalent of 10mg of CBD. The effects are felt within 30 to 90 minutes.
Tips for CBD Oil and CBD Gummy Dosage
- Aim for consistency in timing and frequency, set calendar reminders so you can consume the same amount of CBD at the same time each day to help your body get into a natural rhythm.
- Avoid taking CBD near bedtime, some people may find that a low dose of CBD boosts alertness, and a larger dose may be more calming or sedating.
- Listen to your body, note how your body feels to get an idea of how your body is responding to the dose.
- Follow the UK government recommendations, which are set at a maximum of 70 milligrams of CBD oil per day.
Everyone is different and getting the dosage right over the first few weeks is key as it will impact on the benefits that you experience and your longer-term use of CBD.
What are the benefits of CBD?
CBD is linked to a large number of wellness-supporting benefits. While there is still more research needed, initial studies show promising results, and anecdotal evidence points towards the benefit of using CBD to improve your physical and mental health.
CBD may impact the way receptors in your brain respond to serotonin and may help those with social anxiety and PTSD. Animal studies have linked CBD to lowering anxiety by reducing stress, regulating heart rate, helping with PTSD and improving sleep quality.
Pain relief is one of the primary reasons people turn to CBD. Pain conditions include muscle pain, joint pain (such as arthritis), and nerve pain.
There is ongoing research into the ability of CBD to help with neurodegenerative disorders including Alzheimer’s, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s and strokes. CBD is linked to reducing free radical damage and inflammation to protect brain cells and help grow new ones (neurogenesis).
According to the American Society for Clinical Investigation, CBD may help to lower high blood pressure by regulating anxiety, as well as providing anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits.
In addition, CBD may help with treating acne by reducing the production of sebum which can lead to acne. It may also play a supporting role in cancer treatment as it can alleviate symptoms and reduce the side effects of treatment.
What can impact the efficacy of the dose?
Because everyone is different, CBD has a slightly different effect on different people and so finding the right dose might take some time and experimentation. But there are some other factors to consider:
You won’t get the benefits of CBD if you aren’t using high-quality CBD from a reputable brand. Many people, especially if you are using CBD for the first time, assume that a higher-priced product means that you’re getting a good quality product. Unfortunately, many companies are selling low-quality products that contain little to no CBD (and may even contain harmful ingredients) at a high price point. There are several studies that have investigated these discrepancies with one from Penn State University finding that close to 70% of cannabidiol extracts are mislabeled. More recently, a California company found incredibly high levels of dangerous chemicals and misleading labels, and forensic toxicologists from Virginia Commonwealth University identified the addictive compound dextromethorphan and Spice (a potentially dangerous synthetic cannabinoid) in several of the ‘pure’ CBD extracts that they tested.
In addition to the many different types of CBD products available on the market, there is also the added confusion of different CBD concentrations. It’s important to take into account the concentration of the CBD that you are using to ensure that you take the right amount. The more concentrated the CBD, the less you need to take.
The effect of CBD will also be impacted by your individual body chemistry, your metabolism, sensitivity to CBD, other medical conditions and your body weight.
The type of CBD you choose will have an impact on the benefits you experience because dosage is not the same as intake. Bioavailability is the degree and rate at which CBD is absorbed into the bloodstream and determines how much of the dose is absorbed and able to have an effect. The bioavailability of your CBD depends on the concentration of the CBD and the consumption method used.
CBD oil has sublingual bioavailability of 13% – 19% (possibly even up to 35%). This is significantly higher than other methods as the CBD is held beneath your tongue for at least 30 seconds. It can then be absorbed by the sublingual gland and into the bloodstream. This method is more direct and therefore impacts the body quicker and offers higher availability.
CBD gummies, in comparison, are subject to the body’s digestive and metabolic systems which break down and filter out some of the CBD, reducing its bioavailability. Research shows that the bioavailability of oral consumption methods is somewhere between 4% and 20%.
Many people feel the benefits of CBD the very first time they try it. But if you don’t, the good news is that it’s a learning process. Every person is different and finding the right dose might be a process of trial and error. It’s best to start small and increase the dosage incrementally until you find the right level, taking into account the type and concentration of the CBD you are using. Keep in mind though, that if you’re not using a high-quality product, you won’t experience the benefits of CBD at all, which might lead you to conclude, incorrectly, that CBD itself is not effective.