CBD oil strength and potency do not mean the same thing. Find out more about what you need to know when taking a CBD product. High strength, super strength, ultra strength… with so many different types of CBD available, which one is best for your needs? Dr. Sarah Brewer explains. Wondering what is the best strength CBD oil to take? Check out this simple how-to guide that explains serving sizes and dosage formulations.
How Is CBD Oil Strength and Potency Measured?
When considering the potency of a CBD product, most people believe it’s all about the strength of the cannabidiol (CBD) in the product. Certainly, CBD oil strength is a significant factor—if there’s not enough, it won’t absorb in the bloodstream for the sought-after effects.
But when discussing potency, what we’re really talking about is efficacy, aren’t we? And that involves a lot more than this cannabis compound’s strength. Both formulation and delivery are important factors and then, how well the CBD interacts with your endocannabinoid system (ECS).
In this article, we’ll discuss what you need to know about strength, potency, and the factors that contribute to a CBD oil’s efficacy. First, let’s do a quick review of what CBD oil is.
What Is CBD Oil?
CBD oil comes in four types: isolate, distillate, broad-spectrum, and full-spectrum. Each type contains cannabidiol and an oil carrier. The oil carrier is a kind of healthy fat, most commonly cold-pressed hemp seed oil, but some brands may use coconut oil, olive oil, or grapeseed oil.
CBD isolate has only these two ingredients. The kind of oil and amount of CBD can vary, but it’s the purest kind of CBD oil—around 99% CBD crystal suspended in oil.
Distillation is an extraction process that separates and refines cannabinoids at a molecular level. It begins with crude extraction and then refines from there to remove more and more plant compounds until there is roughly 80% CBD. The remaining amount of the extraction will consist of traces of terpenes, minor cannabinoids, and other plant compounds.
Broad-spectrum, however, describes full-spectrum CBD that has had the THC removed. You may also see it expressed as ‘THC Free’ on a label.
Brand extract full-spectrum cannabis oils to preserve the greatest range of beneficial cannabinoids (including THC), terpenes, flavonoids, and other phytonutrients. In the U.S., full-spectrum CBD oil is legal as long as it contains .3% or less THC.
If you’re curious about the efficacy of CBD oil for pain, check out our page here for more information.
How Do You Measure Cannabinoid Strength?
The label may tell you the percentage of CBD in your oil, but that isn’t strength. This reflects more the purity of the CBD in the product. You need to know how much CBD, in milligrams, is in the bottle, so you can divide that by the amount you take to see how much CBD is in your dose.
According to Adie Rae, a cannabis researcher at Legacy Health, for high-potency CBD oil you need at least 35 milligrams per serving. If you are taking an isolate, or pure CBD product, the highest mg/ml amount is going to be the most potent and the most cost-effective.
CBD oil on its own requires higher strength to produce the intended effects and according to Dr. Alex Capano, chief science officer for Ananda Health. “Dosing for CBD is highly individualized and depends on many factors, including personal endocannabinoid tone and why you are using CBD.”
Regarding full or broad-spectrum CBD oil, potency has more to do with a CBD oil’s efficacy than its strength. And all of this has to do with the formulation. Scientists believe full-spectrum CBD oil to be more effective at lower doses than CBD isolate because of what experts call “the entourage effect.”
When you present different cannabinoids like CBD, THC, CBG, CBC, THCV, CBN, and whole-plant players like terpenes and cannaflavins, they work synergistically to optimize relief and well-being.
Initial research strongly suggests that cannabis plant compounds interact synergistically with receptors in the ECS. A 2017 study demonstrated that low doses of THC and CBD have the potential to treat neuropathic pain in mice. Dr. Ethan Russo has conducted studies that suggest both cannabinoid-cannabinoid synergistic interactions and cannabinoid-terpenoid interactions exist.
Delivery Format Can Affect CBD Oil Potency
When swallowed, CBD has poor bioavailability. If your CBD oil does not absorb into your bloodstream very well, its strength will not matter, and potency goes out the window. You can gulp dozens of mg/ml, but it will only absorb up to a certain amount.
The way around this is the delivery format. Tinctures that you take sublingually (under your tongue for 30-60 seconds) will enter your bloodstream through glands in your mouth, bypassing your gut and your liver. And, this is where the majority of CBD oil is obliterated or ushered out like waste.
Liposomal CBD, like Puffin Hemp, is a powerhouse of potency. Liposomes are little healthy fat bubbles that bypass the dangerous environment of the gut and liver. They deliver CBD into the bloodstream at a much higher rate than regular CBD. You can take a lot less liposomal CBD than regular CBD and have much more effective results because companies craft liposomal full-spectrum CBD to be stronger, more efficacious.
If you only need a baseline of CBD (we recommend Ananda Hemp Full Spectrum Softgels) for overall preventative health and wellbeing, swallowing a high-quality CBD oil daily is fine. But if you need potency, you have to think of sublingual tinctures or liposomal CBD oil.
Quality Can Affect Your CBD’s Potency
Whatever a label says, quality matters most — especially in terms of CBD oil strength. There are several things to keep in mind when shopping for a CBD oil.
It’s important to know where a brand sources its hemp from because hemp is a bio-accumulator. This means it cleans out soil by leaching impurities from it. The hemp plant literally has properties to purify the soil, making it a wonderful option not just for consumers, but for the environment, too.
You should always have proof your product was tested. Make sure it has a certificate of analysis (COA, which should be available either with the product or on the manufacturer’s or seller’s website.
Mislabeling can be a problem, which is another reason to confirm there is a COA for your product. In a 2018 study on the effects of artisanal CBD for the treatment of epilepsy, researchers stated that a key concern and challenge to their results was the variability that mislabeled CBD products introduced.
Good brands will make all of this information, their practices, processes and the source of their ingredients available. Their team will have backgrounds in science, hemp experience, and food-manufacturing know-how.
The Takeaway About CBD Oil Potency
Remember to look for a full-spectrum CBD oil in tincture form, which goes under the tongue or a liposomal form that you swallow. Always choose a high-quality product you can verify yourself.
What strength CBD should I take?
High strength, super strength, ultra strength… with so many different types of CBD available, which one is best for your needs? Dr. Sarah Brewer explains.
When you first start taking CBD, you’re usually advised to ‘start low and go slow’. This is because some people appear to metabolise CBD more slowly than others, and need only a low dose to notice an effect.
Gradually increase the dose if you need to; you may want to revisit your dose each week, for example, until you find a level that works best for you. The CBD dose at which you finally arrive will vary depending on the strength of the product, how you respond, and the reason you are taking it.
CBD Support Group
Want to know more about CBD and what it can do for you, from the people who use it?
High strength CBD oil products
Those new to CBD will tend to start with a product that provides less than 10mg per dose. If you prefer to take a capsule, then a typical starting product will provide 6.4mg of a ‘high-strength’ oil in which CBD is blended with olive and hemp oil. If you are taking the product to promote general wellbeing, you may only need to take one of these – for example at night. When necessary, you can increase the dose to two or three capsules, spread at intervals throughout the day.
If you prefer to take drops, then a typical starting product will contain CBD infused into a carrier oil to provide an overall strength of, for example, 2.75%. This means that CBD makes up 2.75% of the total product and the other listed ingredients, such as hemp seed oil, make up the remaining 97.25%. The usual dose ranges from one to eight drops, up to three times daily.
For rapid absorption, hold the drops under your tongue for a couple of minutes before swallowing. If needed, the dose can be increased to the manufacturer’s recommended maximum (e.g. 25 drops daily) taken at regular intervals throughout the day.
If the maximum dose of a high strength product does not meet your needs, you may want to switch to a super strength product.
CBD Oil Drops 260mg
Filter-clear, peppermint-flavoured CBD oil
- 2.75% high-strength CBD oil in easy-to-use drops
- Filter-clear and purified for no yucky taste
- Perfect for newcomers to CBD who dislike swallowing capsules
CBD Oil Capsules 384mg
Perfect for newcomers to CBD
- 6.4mg CBD oil per capsule, 384mg total CBD per pack
- Olive oil carrier aids CBD absorption in the body
- Added vitamin D for muscle health and immunity
Super strength CBD oil products
When it comes to super strength capsules, these usually provide 15mg CBD per capsule, and the recommended dose is one to two capsules taken daily with water. These capsules therefore provide a maximum of 30mg CBD per day.
A bottle of super strength CBD oil drops will typically contain a CBD concentration of around 5%. This means that CBD makes up 5% of the total product and the other listed ingredients, such as hemp seed oil, make up the remaining 95%. Because super strength CBD drops are more concentrated, you get a higher amount per drop.
A typical dose is one to seven drops up to three times daily, which you hold in your mouth for a while before swallowing. Do not exceed the manufacturer’s maximum recommended intake (for example, 21 super strength drops) spread throughout the day.
If you find that you need to take a lot of drops per day, you may prefer to switch to a more concentrated oil. Not only will this reduce the number of drops you need, it will likely save you money.
CBD Oil Drops 520mg
5.5% super-strength CBD oil
- Filter-clear and peppermint-flavoured
- No yucky taste
- Ideal for experienced CBD users who dislike swallowing capsules
CBD Oil Capsules 900mg
Our strongest CBD oil capsules
- 15mg distilled CBD per capsule
- Super strength for experienced users
- Delayed release capsule for improved absorption
Ultra strength CBD oil products
Ultra strength CBD oil drops are usually more than twice as potent as super strength drops and typically have a 10-11% CBD concentration. These are ideal for experienced users who want to increase their dose or take fewer drops or capsules during the day.
The disadvantage of some strong CBD products is that, the more concentrated they get, the stronger and more grassy they taste. You can get around this by choosing a product that is filter-clear: this produces a purified oil with a less strong taste.
Adding a flavour such as peppermint will also help to ensure the CBD oil tastes pleasant. All Healthspan’s CBD drops products are filter-clear and peppermint-flavoured.
See our CBD information page for a comparison of Healthspan’s CBD products.
CBD Oil Drops 1,000mg
Highest strength, best value
- Our strongest CBD oil
- Lowest cost per mg in the Healthspan range
- Peppermint flavour – no yucky taste
Does ultra strength CBD oil get you high?
No, CBD oil does not get you high. CBD (cannabidiol) is extracted from industrial hemp plants that naturally contain only trace amounts of the psychoactive molecule THC, which is responsible for the ‘high’ or ‘stoned’ effects of marijuana.
Good-quality CBD supplements that are made to pharmaceutical standards contain only traces of THC. This will be confirmed by independent laboratory tests for each batch, as well as a certificate of testing provided via a clickable link on the manufacturer’s website.
What is the maximum dose you can take?
In the UK, the FSA recommends that CBD should not be used at doses above 70mg per day. 1
In any case, do not exceed the manufacturer’s recommended dose (such as 30mg per day for Healthspan’s CBD Oil Capsules 900mg) without talking to your doctor.
Always follow the manufacturer’s guidance on the dose and frequency of use of their product, as this guidance is based on the CBD concentration present. Do not exceed the manufacturer’s recommended dose except under medical advice and supervision.
If you have any medical conditions or are taking any prescribed drugs, always speak to your doctor before using CBD and check for interactions with your medication. If you are taking an over-the-counter medicine, ask your pharmacist’s advice. If they are unable to help, there is a useful drugs interaction checker which includes cannabidiol at drugs.com.
If you are subjected to drug testing, for example at work or because you take part in an elite competitive sport, it’s important to know that any CBD product can contain a trace of the cannabinoid THC. The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) has banned all cannabinoids except for cannabidiol (CBD). 2
A potential substitute for those worried about drug testing is the ‘CBD alternative’ PEA: Healthspan sells this under the name of Elite PEA+ Sport (which is also batch-tested for competing athletes).
16x faster-acting than standard CBD
- 10mg fast-acting NovaSOL® CBD per capsule
- Liquid micellar technology wraps CBD oil in water-soluble spheres, to help absorption in the gut
Dr Sarah Brewer is Healthspan’s Medical Director and holds degrees in Natural Sciences, Surgery and Medicine from the University of Cambridge. Having worked as a GP and hospital doctor, Dr Sarah now holds an MSc in Nutritional Medicine from the University of Surrey and specialises in nutrition. She is also an award-winning writer and author.
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How to Determine Which CBD Oil Potency Fits You [BEGINNERS GUIDE]
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Deciding to use CBD oil as a natural therapy is one thing, but figuring out which brand to use, what CBD oil strength or concentration to use, and how much CBD to actually take is another thing altogether. With all of the products out there to choose from and their confusing labels, it can be a nightmare trying to determine which is best for you.
In this article, we go over how to choose the right strength CBD oil, depending on what you’re trying to find relief from. Thousands of people everyday use CBD as a therapy for a range of issues, but it is important to have an idea of the right concentration to use in order to get the best results.
Of course, we always remind readers that most CBD products on the market are not approved by the FDA, and are not recognized as drugs or medicines. The only exception is Epidiolex, which is a prescription cannabidiol drug used to treat two rare forms of epilepsy.
With this in mind, none of the information we provide here in this article should be interpreted as medical advice. If at all possible, arrange an appointment to speak with a healthcare professional about the proper use and dosing of CBD oil.
Different Strengths/Potencies of CBD Oil
There are dozens of CBD manufacturers out there to choose from, and most offer oils in at least two or three different potencies or concentrations. Which concentration you choose should depend on what you’re looking to get out of the product.
CBD hemp oil potencies can range anywhere from 100mg to upwards of 5,000mg for a single 30 mL (1 oz) bottle, which is considered industry standard size. A 300 mg bottle would generally be regarded as a low-potency option. Based on cost alone, this is a popular strength range most people start out on.
It is recommended you start with a low potency product first, at least until you gauge how your body reacts to the CBD. Because everybody’s biochemistry is different, not everyone will react the same or get the same therapeutic effects from CBD oil or other CBD products.
Also, starting with the lowest potency oil lets you adequately gauge how much CBD it takes to garner positive results. If you’re trying to find relief from pain, for example, and you jump right into a high-strength 1,000 mg+ bottle, you’ll have no idea how much it took to provide relief — even if it ends up working well for you.
If you start with a lower-strength option, on the other hand, you can start with a small 1-2 mg dose. Yet, if that doesn’t work, you can increase to a 3, 4, or 5 mg dose and see what that does. If you jump straight into a heavy 50+ mg dose and receive adequate results, you’ll never know if a smaller dose would’ve worked just as well, which would have saved you money.
CBD Oil Strength Explained
Before we discuss dosing, in this section, ‘CBD oil strength explained,’ we will highlight some important things to know about different CBD oil strengths.
The bottle size that the CBD oil comes in has to be taken into account when calculating its potency. Let’s look at a straightforward example first. You have two different 30ml CBD oil bottles; one contains 300mg of CBD and the other 600mg. In this case, the 300mg bottle contains 10mg of CBD per ml, and the 600mg bottle contains 20mg per ml.
Now, here is another example where the bottle size is significant. Suppose there are two bottles of CBD oil; both have 300mg of CBD. However, one bottle contains 15ml of liquid, while the other has 30ml. In this case, the smaller 15ml bottle’s CBD concentration is double that of its 30ml counterpart with 20mg of CBD per ml against 10mg.
So, if you are looking for the strongest CBD oil you can find, bear in mind that the bottle’s size needs to be taken into account. The good news is that many leading CBD brands, such as PureKana and Premium Jane, list the milligram of CBD per serving on their packaging, as well as on the product pages of their respective websites.
CBD oil dosage: 300mg, 600mg, and 1000mg options
Like we said, once you start using CBD oil more frequently and are able to gauge how much you need, you can jump up to the more high-potency products as needed. For reference, doses typically range anywhere from 5 mg to 100+ mg in a single day.
Here is a quick rundown of three common CBD oil potencies, and what the majority of people use them for.
Low-potency CBD oil (300 mg)
This is relatively low-potency oil and is a good option for individuals who are just starting out or who may be sensitive to CBD (and/or cannabis in general). Some people have a more active endocannabinoid system than do others, so they will naturally not require as strong of an oil.
A low-strength 300 mg bottle is a good option to take as a daily supplement. Many people take a single daily dose of it for boosted general health, and also to help lower stress levels.
A single serving of a 300 mg (30 mL) bottle of CBD oil is equivalent to 1 mL (20 drops) of oil. This translates to a 10 mg dose of CBD. Many people won’t use a full dose though, and will instead use as little as 5-7 drops of oil, which translates to about a 5-6 mg dose.
Mid-potency CBD oil (600 mg)
A 600 mg hemp oil is a good “step-up” option for people who find they’re having to take large (and/or multiple) doses of a lower potency. In general, a lot of people use products in this strength range for things like anxiety and day-to-day pain. A single dose would still be defined as 20 drops (1 mL) of oil, but instead of containing 10 mg of CBD, a 600 mg bottle would contain 20 mg per serving.
High-potency CBD oil (1,000 mg)
The 1,000 mg range is on the upper end of the potency scale for most CBD oil companies. Products in this strength range are commonly used for sleep issues, deep muscle soreness, migraines, and day-to-day stress and anxiety.
Just like the 300 and 600 mg products, most 1,000mg hemp oils come in a 30 mL bottle. A single 20-drop serving equates to a CBD dose of approximately 33.3mg. In most instances, users won’t have much use for a higher-strength product than this. Here’s a basic table summarizing which CBD oil strength may be best for you:
CBD OIL DOSAGE TABLE
|POTENCY||BOTTLE SIZE||AMOUNT OF CBD IN A
SINGLE 1 mL (20 drop) DOSE
|WHAT TO USE IT FOR|
|300 mg||30 mL||10 mg||General wellness and day-to-day health|
|600 mg||30 mL||20 mg||Moderate stress, discomfort, inflammation, and mild pain/soreness|
|1,000 mg||30 mL||33.3 mg||Sleep issues, daily stress, anxiety, or depression, day-to-day pain and inflammation|
What CBD Oil Should I Buy?
After reading through the first few sections of this article, you might still be wondering, what CBD oil should I buy? Unfortunately, there’s not one single answer that applies to everybody. Every one of us is different, so we will not all respond in the same way to CBD.
To begin with, ask yourself, why do I want to take CBD? Is it for pain relief, sleep improvement, or to address a mood disorder like anxiety? If it is for any of those reasons, you could discuss this with your doctor to see if CBD is right for you.
Here are a few things to consider when asking yourself, ‘what CBD oil should I buy?’
Body Size Matters for CBD Oil Potency
As mentioned, we recommend starting with a very low dose of CBD to gauge its effects. Of course, not everyone has the same body size and weight. Therefore, a 220lb heavyweight boxer will need a higher dose of CBD than a 126lb jockey.
Still, though, even for people with a higher than average BMI, we recommend starting with a relatively low dose before increasing if necessary.
Earlier, we touched on how CBD oil comes in various bottle sizes containing different concentrations of CBD. The key thing to look out for is the milligram of CBD per serving figure. It will tell you how potent that particular CBD oil is. The CBD oil dosage table above is an excellent guide to figuring out what CBD oil potency you could begin with.
Understanding what you need.…
CBD Results Can Take Time
Do not get discouraged if you do not see immediate results after consuming CBD oil. Bear in mind that it may take some time for you to notice CBD oil’s effects, particularly if you begin with a very low dose.
Be patient, and allow time for the CBD to work. If you are still not seeing satisfactory results, ask yourself if it is time to increase the dose slightly. If in any doubt, consult your physician for dosing-related advice.
How to Choose CBD Oil Strengths
Knowing how to choose a CBD oil that is right for you is not a straightforward process. Hopefully, after reading this article, however, you will have a better understanding of different CBD oil strengths, what potency is most suitable for beginners, and for addressing specific conditions.
If shopping online, be sure to go to the CBD product page of the brand’s website to learn more about the different CBD oils they have on offer.
Final Thoughts on Understanding Which Potency CBD Oil to Take
The main thing to consider when figuring out how to find the right strength CBD oil is to realize that everyone’s internal biochemistry is different. While your friend may be able to ease her stress with just a single 3 mg serving, you may require several times that much in order to obtain the same results. Or, you may not find any relief at all. This is why it’s important to start with the smallest possible dose and work up from there.
Also, make sure you understand that most CBD products on the market are not recognized as medicine. The only FDA-approved clinical use for CBD is in the treatment of Dravet syndrome and Lennox-Gastaut syndrome (two rare forms of pediatric epilepsy).
Because of this, you’ll notice that regardless of strength or potency most all CBD oils on the market put a label on their products that say something like, “this product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.”
Lastly, don’t hesitate to speak with a marijuana doctor or healthcare professional about using CBD oil. It is not our goal for any of the information in this article to be taken as clinical advice, or as a medical recommendation. If you live in a state with legalized medical marijuana, make sure you take full advantage of the resources available to you. Getting a licensed MMJ card is easier than it has ever been before, and it could well be an excellent solution for long-term health.