How CBD Dosing Works
Chances are that if you’ve read about CBD at all, you’ve learned that it’s a pretty miraculous chemical compound that can treat anything from headaches to cancer symptoms. If you do even more reading, you learn that this enormous range of treatments is achieved by affecting the Endocannabinoid System—a biological system that regulates many of our physiological processes.
But, of course, a natural question that follows from learning all of this is, how does CBD “know” which of these things to do and when to do them? Does CBD do all of these things every time it’s ingested? For everyone? Whenever it’s taken?
And does taking more CBD mean you get more of all of these fantastic effects?
Well, no. On all counts. You actually have the ability to control what sort of effect you’re going to get from your CBD, and it all has to do with dosage.
What are the basics of CBD dosing?
With so many other drugs, compounds and medicines around us, less can be more or…less can be less. What we mean is, some chemicals work cumulatively in our systems while others are actually used in specific quantities to accomplish specific things.
With CBD, less is less and more is more, but in a very particular kind of way. Essentially, CBD treatments operate in what we’ll call the “sweet spot” dosage, commonly referred to as a “Goldilocks zone.” As you can imagine, this suggests that to achieve the effect you’re after, the dose you take can’t be too small or too large—it hast to be “just right.”
What this also means is that all those diverse treatments that you’ve read about are actually achievable through different dosages of CBD. For example, anxiety and pain relief are treated with relatively small doses, but epilepsy and seizures are treated with a much larger dose.
This way of “changing effect” is pretty common with drugs that affect neural receptors, and is often referred to as an “inverted U effect.” The idea is that, for example when treating anxiety, a small dose (at the beginning and bottom of the inverted U) is going to have very little effect. A low-moderate dose is going to have a much bigger effect (further along the inverted U, towards the top). A high-moderate dose will be higher up on the inverted U, right in the sweet spot. And finally, a larger dose will have missed the top of the inverted U and fall towards the bottom again, giving you little or no anxiety relief. CBD exhibits this property on many levels since it has such a wide variety of targeted effects.
Now, as mentioned in other posts, CBD research has only in recent years reemerged so there’s lots we don’t have multiple studies on to reflect how different dosages work for certain targets. One of those “fuzzy pieces” of new study information is an exact science on how much to take for what. We know that different size doses will give you different effects of CBD, but it’s tough to pinpoint how much you need to achieve a specific effect, especially when you take individual body composition into account.
When it comes to CBD dosing…what do we know the most about?
At least in humans, small doses of CBD efficiently treat anxiety and social anxiety disorders. Low-to-moderate doses treat the anxiety that you might get from public speaking, or other common nerve-wracking feats of a specific duration. Higher doses, like we mentioned before, can be effective in treating and protecting against epilepsy and seizures.
These three levels are a perfect illustration of that inverted U shape of CBD dosing. For the anxiety treatment, a little bit goes a long way, but a lot goes nowhere. And once you start taking a lot, you hit the other side of the inverted U, and now your dose starts to protect against seizures. We actually don’t yet know if this high stage of dosage has a ceiling! It might be more of an upward slope than an inverted U, but the point is, at a certain amount of CBD you start to lose efficacy in one treatment and start to gain efficacy in another.
How do different doses of CBD work?
CBD’s effect in low dosages as an anxiety treatment is linked to certain neural transmitters and receptors lighting up in your brain. CBD is known to be able to rewire brain activity when it comes to the receptors that create stress. Basically, anxiety is the feeling you get when your neurons are in overdrive, and this starts sending electric synapses bouncing from neuron to neuron in a way that “blocks up” and creates a traffic jam in your brain. CBD effectively reroutes this traffic so that your neurons can work more efficiently, allowing that traffic to flow freely. This is all by affecting a specific neural receptor in your brain.
When a larger dose is taken, the CBD skips over this receptor entirely and affects a different receptor entirely, triggering the protection against seizures.
In a nutshell, this is how different doses of CBD can have different effects on your mind and body. What’s more, this is why a large dose can trigger such amazing effects while also completely “ignoring” the smaller effects that might be the ones you’re after.
The bottom line is that more is more and less is less, and it all depends on what you need. Knowing the dosage for your desired treatment is crucial to making sure that you’re getting the best possible experience from your CBD product, and especially important to make sure you’re getting the best bang for your buck.
How can we learn more?
Clearly, there’s plenty we know and love about CBD, but there’s also plenty we’re confirming with more aggressive studies than ever.
- We know that different doses achieve different effects…but we don’t have a set scale to tell us exactly how much to take.
- We know there’s typically a “drop off point” where the dosage size stops being effective…but we don’t know if every treatment has this property.
There’s always more to know about what CBD is and how exactly it works. Fortunately, research is progressing fast, products are coming out of the woodworks, and every day new things are discovered about this incredible compound and its effects. Be sure to always stay updated on CBD discoveries—what we learn in a year, a month, or even in just a week can open up worlds of vital information, from new treatments to the exact amount of CBD you need to achieve what you’re after.
Have you found your Goldilocks standard for a particular effect? Share with us in the comments below or on our Facebook!