CBD can be consumed in many forms based on users’ level of comfort and the desired effects. Here we cover the basics on most types of CBD products that are currently available for purchase.
CBD PRODUCT TYPES
Liquid CBD tinctures:
CBD is most widely available and most commonly consumed in oil or tincture form. Tinctures come in a wide variety of concentrations, and some brands have added flavors to make them more pleasant to ingest. Many are made by dissolving CBD into an alcohol or into another essential oil. Some say that alcohol helps with absorption, but there are many alcohol-free choices. Some CBD tinctures are made with other nutrient-rich oils, like coconut oil or MCT oil.
Tinctures are simple to use. Just shake up the product before ingesting (some separation of elements in the tincture might occur) and take the recommended dosage, dispensing the drops under your tongue. It’s recommended to hold the tincture there for 30-90 seconds for best absorption. If the taste is too intense, wash it down with something only after you’ve given it at least the minimum sublingual absorption time.
A well-made CBD tincture contains precise dosages of CBD, making it a consistent and effective way to maintain CBD levels in your body once you know how much you need to take. It’s easy to ramp up or dial down your dosage as well. Typical tincture dosages are 100-1000mg per bottle. There’s not much downside to consuming CBD this way, other than that it can get a bit messy if you’re clumsy.
CBD capsules (usually containing oil):
Capsules are a super-convenient way to take CBD as a daily supplement. They are odorless and tasteless and the dosages are consistent—most of them are essentially CBD tinctures/oils in capsule form.
The only drawbacks to CBD capsules are that it’s not so easy to tweak your CBD dosage because adding or subtracting an entire capsule can make for a big jump. If you really prefer capsules and want to mitigate this problem, you can use other CBD products like tinctures in conjunction with the capsules to achieve the perfect dose. It goes without saying, but this isn’t the best mode of CBD consumption for people who have trouble swallowing pills. Capsules also tend to come in smaller doses than some other CBD products, so if you’re looking to maintain a higher level of CBD in your system, you’ll probably have to take a lot of capsules.
Liquid concentrates (e.g., CBD paste):
CBD pastes and solid concentrates (see below) contain the strongest dosages of CBD. They generally come in syringes and are consumed in much the same way as a tincture, accounting for the fact that you’ll need to consume a lot less of the product to get the same dosage of CBD. These products are generally darker, unflavored, resin-like liquids that might put some people off, but they are convenient as well, especially if you require the highest-potency CBD.
Solid concentrates (“shatter,” dabs/waxes, crystals):
The solid CBD concentrates on the market are just like the high-potency liquid CBD pastes out there, but they are further refined into solid form and are generally meant to be smoked by way of a vaporizer or a vape pen, or by “dabbing.” These products are usually dissolved into a an e-liquid for vaping, or used with a dab kit, whereby the solid CBD is “flash vaporized” when it makes contact with a hot surface and then inhaled. Smoking CBD via one of these methods has the advantage of bringing almost instantaneous effects to the body. But there can be quality issues depending on how your CBD concentrate is made, so we recommend making sure the concentrate is as clean and toxin-free as possible if you choose this route. Dab kits also need to be purchased and maintained if you’re planning to consume CBD via this method. These are not terribly discreet.
Vaping CBD is another quick-absorbing method of consumption. There are an increasing number of CBD vape preparations and disposable pens out there, or concentrates can be mixed into e-cigarette preparations. Again, you’ve got to be careful about what’s in your vape juice. Some vapes contain added thinning agents like propylene glycol and polyethylene glycol. Research has shown that when heated to very high temperatures, these agents can be carcinogenic. Keep in mind that you’ll also need a vape kit and cartridges to consume CBD this way.
These are essentially CBD tinctures in a convenient spray form. Some websites claim that sprays come in lower dosages than other CBD products but we have found that this is not true. Sprays are pretty self-explanatory. They are often flavored in some way. They’re great for CBD beginners, but those seeking a more precise dosage are probably better off with the more traditional tinctures available.
Topicals (salves, ointments, etc.):
Those seeking to alleviate local symptoms rather than systemic health issues can benefit greatly from topical CBD preparations. Generally these users fall into two camps—those who want to manage pain, and those who have skin problems. As CBD is known to be an anti-inflammatory and a natural pain reliever, when it’s applied directly to the skin and absorbed, these benefits have a direct effect on the treated area. CBD topicals come in a variety of strengths and styles that are suited to the purpose of each product. As with any other CBD product, seek out the highest quality possible and do your research.
Edibles like candies, gum, etc.:
Many CBD edibles on the market focus around the calming, anti-anxiolytic benefits of CBD. There’s a vast assortment of types and flavors on the market today, with new items coming out all the time. CBD dosages are straightforward with most edibles—it’s 10 mg per piece, for the most part—and they are discreet and simple to consume. Edibles might take a bit longer than other CBD products to take effect (usually between 30 minutes and 2 hours), but because they are released more slowly over a longer period via the process of digestion, they are also said to last longer than other CBD products.
This is by no means an exhaustive list of all the CBD products on the market. There are patches, gel pens, breath sprays and more, and new products hitting the market all the time. We’re just giving you a broad range of the most popular consumables here.
Thousands of studies have been published on the wide array of health benefits that come with regular CBD intake. However, we must stress that because there currently is no government-sanctioned regulation or scientific standardization for CBD products, and all products are not created equal. CBD Movement cannot recommend specific dosages.
Here we offer a few ballpark figures based on current research, but you should seek advice from a medical professional before moving ahead with a particular dosage. Please also remember that factors such as body weight and composition, product type and concentration, and the condition you’re hoping to treat all mean that dosages and effects will vary from one person to the next. The following dosage possibilities are all for CBD consumed by mouth.
- For chronic pain: 2.5-20 mg CBD daily for no more than 25 days
- For epilepsy: 200-300 mg CBD daily for up to 4.5 months
- For movement issues associated with Huntington’s Disease: 10 mg CBD per pound of body weight daily for up to 6 weeks
- For sleep issues/insomnia: 40-160 mg CBD as needed
- For schizophrenia: 40-1,280 mg CBD for up to a month
- For glaucoma: 20-40 mg CBD is said to relieve pressure in the eye; however doses greater than 40 mg can be dangerous because they might increase pressure
- For mild anxiety: 3-30 mg CBD daily
There are of course many other uses for CBD, but these are conditions where we’ve been able to find some consensus on typical dosages. As the world of CBD continues to open up, more regulation—and along with it exact doses and prescriptions—will emerge. But civilizations have managed to successfully use plants as medicine for thousands of years, so a bit of educated guesswork shouldn’t stop you. You can figure out what an ideal CBD dose is for you, and then start with a dosage that is less than that and simply work your way up based on your body’s response and your specific needs. Go slow, and listen to your body.
There are thankfully no recorded cases of CBD overdoses or lethal doses. But again, it’s important to speak to your physician if you are using it to treat illnesses and especially if you are taking other medications. Check out our piece on drug interactions for more specifics on this topic.
One last thing to note: Cannabinoid compounds, CBD included, tend to be biphasic, meaning that low doses and high doses of the same substance can produce opposite effects. Alcohol is another substance that illustrates the biphasic effect—it has a stimulating effect when consumed up to a blood alcohol level (BAC) of 0.05%, but past that level, it has a depressant effect. Drinking more doesn’t stimulate more, it does the opposite. Because CBD behaves in a similar way, excessive amounts might be less effective. CBD has no known adverse side effects at any dose, but this is another reason to adopt the “less is more” approach, especially when you’re first trying to establish your desired dosage.
We are fortunate to live during a time in history when such an abundance of CBD products is available. Obviously, the type and strength of product you choose depends on what purpose it is meant to serve, so we recommend that you get to know your options.