Dosing CBD for greater health now that I’ve explained the endocannabinoid system and how it operates, and that THC & CBD are phytocannabinoids from the cannabis sativa plant that interact with this system, I will now explain how these plant molecules can get into the body. There’s no ‘right way’ as different modes of administration introduce CBD and cannabinoids into the body in different ways, and each has its rightful place and time.
4 WAYS TO DOSE CBD
There are four main ways to introduce cannabis compounds into the body: sublingually (swish & hold), transdermal absorption (through the skin), inhalation (vape), and oral ingestion (eat). People can mix and match each of these modes because our body has many needs and each route delivers different effects, and levels of absorption. And, it keeps the receptors fresher to use a bit of everything rather than all one route.
Sublingual: Sublingual literally means ‘under the tongue’. Onset of a tincture can be felt within 5-15 minutes, and duration of effects can be felt for 2-6 hours, depending on metabolism and serving size. This route has become very popular and is probably the best way to get cannabinoids like CBD absorbed into the bloodstream with the highest bioavailability. The lining of the mouth is very porous, so by holding liquid CBD oil under the tongue, or between the cheek and gums, the CBD will be absorbed right into the bloodstream without digestion. The best technique is to swish the oil around to coat as much surface area as possible, and then hold it in the mouth for 30-60 seconds. I’ll often tell a client to use some imagery and picture these molecules healing their body for a bit of a mind-body connect.
MANY ARE STARTING TO OPT FOR MORE NATURAL SOLUTIONS TO REPLACE OR DIMINISH THE NEED PRESCRIPTION MEDICATIONS.
Tinctures contain concentrated or extracted CBD oil that is suspended with a carrier oil, usually olive oil, MCT oil, grapeseed or hempseed oil. Potency is calculated by the number of milligrams (mg) in each milliliter (ml) of fluid. For example; 1,000 mgs of CBD in 30 mls of oil means there is 33 mgs/ml. If you want to take 33 mgs per day, you might want to split that up into 2 divided doses of .5 ml or 16 mgs twice a day. Most of my clients take 1-3 doses per day to fine tune their endocannabinoid system, spaced about 6-8 hours apart. For most people CBD is relaxing, but it is biphasic. Small doses might be energizing, while larger doses might be tiring. If you find it energizes you, take your doses in the morning and afternoon, and if it sedates you then switch to afternoon and evening. Experimenting with various times during the day and recording the results in a log is a good way to find the ideal balance for you.
Interactions with other pharmaceuticals can occur as doses or frequencies are increased, so track your servings closely. Other RX effects can be made stronger (potentiated) or weaker (inhibited) by CBD. If you're taking drugs that require blood levels, you will need to monitor those more closely. The key takeaway here is that it is wise to talk to the physician prescribing any pharmaceutical about possible interactions with CBD. I recommend starting with 10-30 mgs per day as a good starting point for high quality CBD oil, and increasing 5-10 mgs per week up to 50-100 mgs per day. Stop increasing when you reach effective levels of symptom reduction, and don’t have any side effects. If you're tired, take less CBD.
Topical: Applying a balm, salve, or cream is a very popular way to use cannabinoids, and CBD is powerful at the skin level. Onset is quick and most people most people feel results within 5 minutes, and duration can last several hours. You have both CB1 and CB2 receptors in your skin, and a good topical or roll on gel is ideal to treat localized pain, soreness, stiffness, swelling, inflammation, or skin conditions. Many people with aches and pains find that applying a topical several times a day can reduce swelling and improve circulation and mobility. A good topical can be ideal to use after a workout, or to rub on during a massage to ease stiffness and promote wellbeing. Cannabinoids penetrate into the skin at the dermis to quiet pain and soothe skin conditions in a localized way, but they do not get into the bloodstream. CBD is said to have better effects than THC topicals as the molecules are smaller and penetrate better.
Topicals can also work on skin issues, with many of my clients using them to reduce psoriasis, itching, eczema, and to speed up healing on superficial burns, scrapes, and cuts. CBD and THC are anti-fungal and (antibacterial), so they may be ideal to help heal from tumbles and road rash. Cannabinoids may help limit bacteria on the skin and be protective to the immune system as a good skin barrier to bugs.
Smoking or vaping CBD products is also popular and a great replacement for those to ween off smoking unhealthy nicotine products.
Inhalation: The most common way people consume cannabis products (generally THC) is through inhalation. Onset is rapid, with most people feeling effects after a puff or two in just a few minutes. Duration is relatively short, with an average of 1-3 hours. If you puff on a CBD vape, you will feel relaxed, but not ‘high’ like you would if you used THC. As a nurse, my preference for clients is to vape instead of smoke, as it limits exposure to carcinogens and toxins. Make sure any CBD cartridges are tested for potency, purity, contaminants, and that there are no fillers such as propylene glycol or Vit E Acetate. The vape crisis exposed bad actors in the illicit markets, but licensed producers should be tested and safe.
Once drawn into the lungs, the bloodstream carries CBD all over the body, activating the many physiologies that help balance and replenish you. The frequency of use will differ from person to person, and day by day. Wellness clients might take a puff prior to exercising so they can push through their fitness with better focus and less pain, while some choose to wait till after their workout to promote faster recovery. Some of my clients can treat their symptoms by vaping CBD throughout the day to provide immediate relief of pain, anxiety, or even tremors. Inhalation provides an average of 1-2 mgs of cannabinoids per puff.
Oral Ingestion: Oral consumption, or eating CBD and cannabinoids have a slower onset but tend to have a greater duration than inhalation. Ingesting CBD through foods, chocolates, or edibles is a popular and pleasurable way to medicate. Onset may take 30-60 minutes to notice and will depend on the amount consumed and the amount of other substances in the stomach. Onset occurs faster on an empty stomach, but you’ll want to eat a snack 15 minutes later to provide a boost of these compounds into the bloodstream. Cannabinoids are lipophilic, which means fat loving. Combining a healthy fat with cannabis products is the best way to fully activate them. Consumed orally, CBD can have a duration of 4-8 hours.
Drug interactions occur more with oral ingestion because the digestive process breaks down and metabolize the ingredients to activate receptors. Consuming 10-20 mgs of CBD may have nice effect without causing the interactions that might be seen in dosing over 50 mgs. Spacing CBD and cannabis products with other pharmaceuticals doses by 1-2 hours ensures clearance of each on its own without interference. Edibles that are made with THC carry a stern warning to ‘start low and go slow’. Doses over 5 mgs can trigger a host of side effects such as anxiety, disorientation, or sedation, and really need to be considered prior to use. CBD edibles are a more predictable choice for well-rounded benefits that won’t surprise you.
1 + 1 + 7. The entourage effect happens with well-made full and broad (THC ND) spectrum oils, where the sum of the parts is greater than the added up individual components. It works that way in products too. Taking a daily tincture for overall wellness or symptom reduction is complemented by using a topical for the localized issues. Tincture dosing at 8a and 4p is your internal systemic reduction to inflammation and applying your topical to painful areas after your shower or before bed is your outside dosing. Addressing both inside + outside tinctures and topicals, you have a better chance at maximum efficacy and results.
Real Change comes with focus and every day consistency.
As you consume these different CBD products, especially well made medicinal tinctures with specific outcomes in mind for your healing, remember to stay patient. It might take several weeks to notice significant symptom reduction, and CBD and cannabinoids are subtle in their healing properties. You might not notice that you feel less stiff or less anxious until you stop taking it. Then you notice how much it was doing for you and you’ll want to resume and stay positive in your expectations and hope. Consuming CBD can promote your health and well-being and mixing up modes of administration will maximize results.