Dosing and Usage Strategies

CBD, or cannabidiol, has a multitude of usages and benefits. A derivative of hemp, CBD, captures some of the benefits of marijuana, but without THC, the chemical that makes marijuana users get high. The anti-high state can make CBD an ideal choice for many who are looking for a marijuana alternative. There are many forms of and ways to use CBD, and knowing about the different CBD options can help you get the most out of your CBD.

CBD Effects

CBD, like marijuana, has a wide array of effects. It can reduce pain, anxiety, depression, and stress. It has the effect of lowering seizures, as well. Its interaction with receptors in the immune system also creates an anti-inflammatory response to inflammation and acne.[1] Unlike marijuana, there is no “high” effect of CBD, which many people prefer. CBD can help you relax with its stress and anxiety-relieving properties.

Uses for CBD

CBD has myriad uses, including:

  1. Pain Relief: In the body’s endocannabinoid system, CBD interacts with neurotransmitters and reduces inflammation and pain. CBD injections are used to relieve nerve pain and inflammation.[2] CBD may significantly help with arthritis because of its inflammation reduction properties.

  2. Anxiety Relief: Multiple studies have shown that CBD reduces anxiety in animals and humans. It can reduce symptoms of social anxiety.

  3. Depression Relief: CBD can react with the serotonin molecules that are in the brain. Because of this, CBD has been seen in studies to mitigate some symptoms and effects of depression.

  4. Stress Reduction: CBD, processed the same way as to how outcomes are achieved for depression and anxiety, can also boost general mood and reduce overall stress.

  5. Antioxidant: CBD has anti-oxidant properties.[3] While it’s unlikely you would take CBD solely for its antioxidant properties, it is a nice bonus if you are using CBD for another purpose.

  6. Medication alternative: CBD cancan be an alternative to some medications, like benzodiazepines. Using CBD instead of commercial drugs is advantageous because benzodiazepines are addictive and frequently abused, while that is not the case with CBD. CBD may be of particular interest to people with substance abuse issues as a medication alternative. It may also be of interest to those taking traditional anti-depressants because many anti-depressants can cause unwanted side effects such as insomnia or drowsiness, agitation, headaches, and sexual dysfunction. If used correctly, CBD does not have these effects.[4]

  7. Reduce Insomnia: CBD can reduce insomnia upon regular use. A study of 75 subjects with sleep insomnia or anxiety saw that 66% of test subjects saw an improvement in their sleep because of reducing their stress.[5]

  8. Improve Sex: Since CBD can reduce anxiety, many find that CBD puts them more at ease during sex. Additionally, there have been promising reports that CBD can help with erectile dysfunction.[6]

  9. Acne control: Since CBD has anti-inflammatory properties and can reduce sebum production, it can be useful in combating acne.

  10. For seizures: Another good use of CBD is to reduce and prevent seizures because of epilepsy conditions. It is also helpful for seizure and spasms control with additional requirements, like Parkinson’s and multiple sclerosis.

  11. Nausea and Vomiting Relief: A study showed that CBD, much like marijuana, can reduce nausea and vomiting.[7]

  12. Cancer treatment: According to the National Cancer Institute, CBD can alleviate cancer symptoms and cancer treatment side effects. There is some promising evidence for its efficacy against cancer itself, too. Since it can reduce inflammation and change how cells reproduce, it could mean that CBD could prevent tumor cells from producing.[8]

Side Effects and Safety

As with any medicinal product you put into your body, it’s always important to know any potential side effects or risks when using CBD. It is possible to feel nauseous, tired, and irritable as a result of CBD use. It is important to note that CBD can interact with certain medications and increase their blood concentrations, so ensure that you talk to your doctor before using CBD. When CBD is over-used, it is possible to feel effects like when marijuana is over-used, such as nausea and vomiting.

It is important to remember that there practically isn’t oversight or regulation of CBD products and supplements. Any guarantees about the products' safety, purity, and ingredients, as the FDA does not regulate them. As far as safety, it is wise to consider only buying CBD products that have the “Good Manufacturing Practices” certification, which means it has been safety tested.[9]

FDA rules and regulations of CBD are going to be coming, however. The FDA has preapproved the popular CBD drug called Epidiolex, a pharmaceutical engineered by GW Pharma, and aimed at seizure prevention. Generally, Epidiolex going ahead could mean that CBD would not be available over the counter per custom. This is an issue because banning over-the-counter CBD would create a large black market for it, which is not in the FDA's interest.[10]

Dosing and Usage

So how much CBD should you use? Well, it takes a little bit of experimentation to come up with the exact right and amount and use for each individual, but there are some general guidelines.


The recommended dose for CBD varies greatly, depending on who you ask. One recommended starting dose for CBD is very small, 1.25-2.5mg. Then it can be increased 1.25-2.5mg daily and then every other day until an optimal amount is reached.[11]  You don’t need to start that small; however, studies start at much higher doses. For example, another recommendation is 500mg for minor pain relief, 1000mg for moderate pain relief, and 1500mg for severe pain relief.[12] However, for anxiety, specifically performance anxiety, one study recommends a 300mg dose.[13] Other research suggests 100mg to 200mg of CBD for relief from chronic migraine pain.[14] For heroin addiction, a study showed that three doses over three days of 400mg or 800mg of CBD created a two to three times reduction in heroin cravings for the study participants.[15] If you give CBD to your pet, the dosage is a range by weight: 1.5mg for under 15 pounds, 3mg for those 15-30 pounds, 5mg for those 30-60 pounds, and 10mg for an animal weighing over 60 pounds.

The bottom line is that you should start with a small dose and gradually increase the amount until you achieve the desired effects.

While it might seem a little daunting to figure out your optimal CBD dosage, some things make it seem a little easier. CBD is non-addictive and non-intoxicating. Therefore, CBD is much safer than many other alternatives.

Forms and Usage

CBD comes in a range of forms, so there is something for everyone’s needs and preferences. For example:

  1. CBD Oil: Usually in a bottle with a dropper, CBD oil should be used sublingually, by putting drops under the tongue, to maximize your usage. CBD oil is made when CBD is extracted from hemp and infused with oil. There are a few ways of extracting CBD. One way is to use a solvent like butane or supercritical CO2 extraction. The latter is safer and thus preferable.[16]

  2. CBD Tincture: Tincture is similar to CBD oil. A CBD tincture is made by combining hemp with alcohol or water and soaking for a few weeks. After it is strained, the tincture is the liquid that remains.[17]

  3. CBD Capsules: CBD capsules are pills that contain CBD that can be preferable if you find that regular use of CBD is beneficial to you.

  4. CBD Gummies: CBD gummies are like regular gummies, except they are infused with CBD. Be careful to keep these away from small children, as CBD's effects on children are unclear.

  5. CBD Coconut oil: Use this in cooking or applied to the skin. When used on the skin, it can provide pain relief from achy joints and muscles. Coconut oil is favored by many. It works well because it has a very high amount of saturated fat, about 80%. This fat is where CBD breaks down and is stored. These fats are then used to bind cannabinoids, thus ensuring an efficient way into the bloodstream when you feel the CBD effects. Other oils include hemp seed oil, grape seed oil, avocado oil, palm oil, and olive oil. [18]

  6. CBD Vape: Vaping CBD is the most direct way to get the effect of CBD. It is absorbed directly into your bloodstream via the lungs. However, there is debate about the safety of vapes, so it may not be the first choice for CBD use, even though it is the most direct route.

  7. CBD Pet Products: It may be hard to believe, but CBD products are for your pet out on the market. CBD pet products can calm your dog and provide it with the same benefits that a person gets from CBD.

These different products can be found online, in stores dedicated to CBD, or in other locations.

As another usage note, CBD oil, used sublingually versus other CBD forms, like capsules or gummies swallowed, takes effect more quickly. For that reason, you could, for example, take a CBD capsule and use CBD oil as well. The oil will begin to take effect while your body is still metabolizing the pill.

Types of CBD

Three types of CBD are incorporated into products: CBD isolate, broad-spectrum, and full-spectrum CBD. CBD isolate is simply CBD extracted from a cannabis plant. It is a white powder while at room temperature. When the other compounds, including CBD, are removed from the hemp in this process, you get full-spectrum CBD. Many people say that CBD benefits are heightened in a full spectrum CBD product because the chemical compounds can react with one another, amplifying the effect. Full-spectrum CBD has a taste that deters some, however.[19] Broad-spectrum is similar to full-spectrum, except the THC molecule has been extracted and removed.


The cost of CBD products widely, but the price does not always correlate with quality. Before purchasing a CBD product, make a careful price comparison, and check reviews for any red flags. If possible, buy a product that has been tested by a third party. CBD oil can cost anywhere from $.05/mg to $.21/mg.


CBD is legal on a federal level and has been since 2018 when the senate signed the Agricultural Improvement Act of 2018 into law. A section in the law removed hemp from the Controlled Substances list and classified cannabis with less than 0.3% of THC as hemp.

State laws, however, vary greatly. CBD is legal in some form in 47 out of 50 states. The exceptions to this are Idaho, Iowa, and South Dakota, where CBD is illegal in every way. Seventeen states prohibit CBD in food and beverages, while 11 states have no restrictions on its sale. Missouri restricts CBD sales to individuals who are 18 and older.[20]

Bottom Line

All in all, CBD has a wide variety of uses and forms. From oil to edible, topical to ingestible, there is no surprise that CBD is popular. It has so many benefits and uses, very few side effects, or potentially none. Used properly, it can be a powerful tool in helping you feel and perform your best. Please make the most of your CBD products by following dosage instructions and trying out various products for all their different uses.

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