Dosing CBD to Relax – is more really better?
With the pressures of modern living, it’s no wonder more of us are feeling the weight of life, turning to everything from meditation and diet, to supplements that can help take the edge off, aid with managing stress, and improve our quality of life.
Sound familiar? You’re not alone. Turns out, almost half (48%) of all Americans reported that their levels of stress have gone up in the last few years (American Psychological Association, APA).
Similarly, the Anxiety and Depression Institute of America, roughly 18% of adults suffer from some type of anxiety disorder. That’s an astounding 40 million people!
In other words, we’re all a bit (or a lot) stressed out, leading to untold health consequences ranging from an increased risk of developing heart disease, to reduced productivity at work and social challenges.
For many years, options for dealing with stress were fairly limited.
You could succumb to anti-anxiety medications, which, while beneficial to some, also pose a risk of addiction or abuse, not to mention a long list of adverse side effects.
Or you could seek out a more natural approach by utilizing meditation, mindfulness, or visiting a psychologist.
While these options are enough for some, many of us just don’t have the time and dedication required for frequent meditation, or the financial means for therapy.
While certainly not a replacement for any of the above, CBD offers new hope for those seeking out an all-natural alternative to help them relax and deal with the stresses of daily life.
But How Much CBD Is Needed to Feel Relaxed?
One of the most common questions from people interested in trying CBD for relaxation is how to properly manage the dosage.
The science behind this particular question gets a little complicated, so we’ve put together a bit of research in order to help you start your journey toward a life free from the grip of stress and an improved relaxed state of being.
Understanding how CBD Affects the Brain
As the potential wellness benefits of CBD oil continue to be supported by clinical research, the scientific community is taking note. In recent years, studies on CBD’s potential have been taking the medical and scientific community by storm. In fact, in 2015 the National Institute of Health allocated $21.2 million to research on the potential medicinal benefits of cannabinoids.
The primary objective of this research has been to gain a deeper understanding of how to optimize the body’s endocannabinoid system by using phytocannabinoids derived from the cannabis plant.
The two most widely researched cannabinoids so far have been THC and CBD (or cannabidiol). THC is the psychoactive compound found in cannabis known for producing a “stoned” feeling. While THC has a variety of medical applications, it also has unpleasant side effects for some, including feelings of increased anxiety, paranoia and panic. CBD, on the other hand, is non-psychoactive, safe to use at work or when handling ‘adult’ responsibilities, and largely side-effect free.
For a while now we’ve known that CBD and other cannabinoids work by interacting with our body’s endocannabinoid system. For relaxation, the particular part of the endocannabinoid system that we’re targeting is the 5-HT1 receptor. Your 5-HT1 receptors are what regulate your body’s serotonin, which is the chemical our bodies naturally produce to help keep our mood regulated.
Dosing CBD for Relaxation: Finding the ‘Goldilocks Zone’
Research is Still Ongoing
While there have been some promising studies on the effects of CBD for relaxation, the vast majority of CBD research has been devoted to the study of epilepsy. In fact, CBD has shown such great success at treating epilepsy that the FDA has approved the first-ever CBD-based drug for its treatment.
Clinical Doses for Other Conditions Tend to Be High
But the dosage of CBD for epilepsy is incredibly high, often ranging between 200-300 mg per day. There have also been few reported negative side effects to taking high dosage CBD. Given this information, it can be a common misconception that higher doses of CBD would be best for managing other challenges such as stress and relaxation. However, this may not be the case.
More is Not (Usually) Better with CBD When Wanting to Relax
Oddly enough, research has shown that at high doses, CBD’s effects on relaxation and reducing stress begin to wane. While this may seem counterintuitive, if we go back into the science, it starts to make more sense.
We already mentioned that CBD affects feelings of stress by interacting with the 5-HT1 receptors. For epilepsy, CBD targets different receptors in the endocannabinoid system, namely GPR55. When high doses of CBD are consumed, they effectively pass over the 5-HT1 receptors and head straight for the GPR55 receptors. By contrast, low to moderate doses of CBD, have a greater affinity for serotonin regulators, helping balance your mood and well-being, leading to a more relaxed state of mind.
Finding the lowest effective dose capable of achieving your goals is commonly referred to as the Goldilocks zone, and for most of us, it will take a bit of experimentation to find the perfect dosage.
Where to Start with Dosage to Relax
CBD interacts with your Endocannabinoid System through 60 separate chemical pathways, a clear representation of the complicated relationship it has within the body. This, among other factors, makes it tough to come up with a precise dosage recommendation that would benefit everyone, independent of their physiology.
What the Studies Say About a CBD Dose to Relax
Several studies have looked at social anxiety and other anxiety-related conditions. Although not directly looking at ‘relaxing’, many therapeutic options that reduce anxiety also tend to help people relax. From meditation and diet, to supplements and medications, those that help with anxiety generally also induce a state of relaxation.
Keeping that in mind, we may be able to deduce what types of doses of CBD could potentially help you relax.
One such study demonstrated that a dose of 40mg sublingually (under the tongue) was successful at treating social anxiety. However, other studies have shown that severe cases of some psychological disorders required doses as high as 300mg.
- Additional Reference: Shannon, S., Lewis, N., Lee, H., & Hughes, S. (). Cannabidiol in Anxiety and Sleep: A Large Case Series. The Permanente Journal, 23, 18–041.
Another study looked at sleep quality and CBD doses. Many individuals report using CBD to relax before bedtime or when they want to drift off into a relaxed state curled up on the couch with their favorite Netflix series. If that sounds like you, then this study may be of interest.
Published in the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and other clinical journals, one study found that a CBD dose of 160mg resulted in participants reporting significantly improved sleep.
An Inverse Relationship Between Dose and Effects
With CBD, researchers have found that its effects exist on a bell curve, meaning they have a “sweet spot” somewhere in the middle. So, if you take twice what you think you should, hoping it will work twice as well, you may find that it actually does the opposite. This is partly due to the number of receptors for CBD in the body.
Start Slow and Work your Way Up
In order to find your Goldilocks zone, it’s best to start on the low end and gradually build your way up until you start noticing a positive effect.
There is no one size fits all number when it comes to CBD dosage for achieving a relaxed state, with several factors coming into play, including weight, age, metabolism, mode of consumption, quality and purity of product, and more.
The quantities used in research range from as little as 20 milligrams (mg) per day to as much as 1,500 milligrams (mg) per day, According to the World Health Organization, with clinical study dosages typically vary between 100 and 800 mg per day.
That said, unless otherwise directed by your doctor, starting with the suggested dose provided by the manufacturer is always a good bet. This often ranges between 10-30mg per day, and can be slowly increased until you find out what helps you relax the best.
Factors to Consider When Dosing CBD to Relax
Consider the Bioavailability of the Type of CBD You’re Using
- Vaping – 56% bioavailability
- Topicals – Less than 1% bioavailability
- Edibles and/or Capsules – 5-15% bioavailability
- CBD Oil Tincture (sublingual) – 20-30% bioavailability
Product types with a lower bioavailability may require a higher dose to achieve the desired effect.
Quality of the Product
Not all CBD is created equal. With the industry boom, came a tidal wave of companies looking to cash in, sometimes cutting corners in favor of increased profits.
Among other negative consequences, an inferior product may mean you’re getting less CBD than is listed on the bottle, or an inferior or impure product that requires more to achieve any result at all.
Always purchase from an industry-leading brand such as Palm Organix. Palm Organix products are always third-party tested by an independent lab for consumer safety as well as ensuring quality, potency and purity with COAs available on their website. Hemp used is grown organically, free from pesticides and other harmful chemicals, with CBD extracted using a superior CO2 extraction process in a GMP certified facility.