Deciding to use CBD as part of your care regimen is a smart choice; figuring out how much CBD to use and what potency you need might have you second-guessing yourself. Many CBD oils have labels that are confusing for beginners to decode, meaning you might mistakenly pick up something that is much stronger than you really need. What is the difference between 1,000 mg in a 30 mL bottle and only 300 mg? Should you really pick up the one with more CBD?
It shouldn’t be this difficult—and it doesn’t have to be! That is why we have created this quick guide to help you understand the potency of CBD formulas, as well as why knowing about potency is important.
What Is CBD?
Before getting into potency and why it is important, it’s time for a quick review about CBD. Also known by its technical name of cannabidiol, CBD is an organic compound found in the flowers of the cannabis plant. In the UK, CBD is only derived from hemp, which contains no tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) at all. This means that CBD is a completely safe and non-addictive chemical. In fact, it is one of more than a hundred cannabinoids that are present in cannabis and hemp.
Aside from therapeutic benefits, CBD does not have any psychoactive effects, making it different from THC. You will not end up feeling high or intoxicated. That is why CBD is legal in the UK and is being used as a complementary therapy for a number of ailments.
What Is CBD Used For?
CBD is a non-toxic, natural alternative to pharmaceuticals and is usually side-effect free. The compound can be used for a variety of ailments, such as reducing pain and anxiety or promoting general wellness. Obviously, people are going to use CBD differently, meaning that the potency of the CBD you choose might be different from your partner’s or your sibling.
In other words, there are low and high dosages, as well as low and high potency.
Here are some general guidelines for ailments and CBD dosage:
• General health and wellness: 2-20 mg daily
• Chronic pain: 2.5-40 mg daily
• Sleep disturbances and disorders: 20-160 mg daily
• Epilepsy: 200-300 mg daily
• Anxiety: 5-300 mg daily
• Glaucoma: 20-40 mg daily
• Schizophrenia: 40-1,280 mg daily
Now, you will see that dosage can vary greatly depending on what you are trying to treat. Further, your needs might not match up with general guidelines or suggestions for dosage and potency.
That leads us to the next question: How does CBD potency affect the dose and the overall efficiency? It all starts with the concentration.
How Is CBD Measured?
Before getting into the answer to the question above, there are a couple of factors to discuss. First, does the amount of CBD in a product matter? Of course! Depending on the product you choose, you are going to have CBD extract mixed with a carrier oil, since CBD is fat-soluble. This means that the cannabidiol gets infused into a fatty acid, which are present in coconut, olive, or avocado oil. Plus, it is easier to digest CBD when medium- and long-chain triglycerides are present.
But that is not the only thing that can affect how much CBD is present. Depending on the formula, the strength and concentration of the product changes.
This is the strongest form of cannabidiol available. Solvents are used to extract CBD from every usable piece of the hemp plant. This means that isolate is 99 per cent pure. Unlike CBD oils, isolate comes in a crystallized form.
Minimally processed broad spectrum CBD oil is widely available and has an array of phytocannabinoids and nutrients available. This means you are getting more than CBD. The only thing that is missing is THC—and that’s why it’s legal.
There are also full spectrum CBD oils and distillates. However, these items usually contain a very small percentage of THC, and so they are unavailable.
How Is Strength Calculated?
You cannot tell how potent your CBD tincture or salve is going to be just by looking at whether or not it is an isolate or a broad spectrum formula. Theoretically, you could have two oils each with 40 mg of CBD and still have completely different concentrations of phytocannabinoids. The reason for this is a lack of regulation within the hemp industry.
That is why you must find sources that are credible. Manufacturers that list third-party test results and the amount of CBD on their packages are the best. You should see the recommended dosage available, along with the concentration of CBD in mg. This is usually the total CBD in the entire product, not per serving. Therefore, if you have a 30 mL bottle with 600 mg of CBD, it means you get 20 mg per 1 mL drop.
But there is something else you can gather from this information. Realize that the size of the bottle you purchase matters, especially if you are using CBD tinctures.
Here’s why. Let’s say you pick up a 15 mL bottle with 600 mg of CBD inside. Compare that to the 30 mL bottle with the same amount of CBD. Which one do you think is going to be stronger?
If you said the 15 mL bottle, you are correct.
There is a simple calculation to explain this:
[Total CBD in mg] / [Bottle Size in mL] = Potency in mg/mL
So, 600 mg/15 mL = 40mg/mL, while 600 mg/30 mL = 20mg/mL.
This means that the strength, or potency, of a CBD product is generally classified by the following amounts:
• Low potency: 1 to 10 mg/mL
• Medium potency: Between 15 and 30 mg/mL
• High potency: Between 30 and 60 mg/mL
• Concentrate: 60 mg/mL or higher
What Is Considered “High Potency”?
A CBD product that is considered “high potency” usually means that there is 30-60 mg of CBD per millilitre (mL), with 50 mg/mL being the median. As seen above, there is also “ultra-high potency,” also referred to as “concentrate.”
Higher concentration also increases the price of the product, which is why you will find that low potency products usually cost half the price. Keeping that in mind, you should also know that there are variables that impact the potency of CBD, such as the CBD extraction process, the strain of hemp used, and even where the hemp is grown.
So, even if you get something marketed as “high potency,” it still might not be as good as low or medium potency, depending on how it was manufactured.
Is More Potency Better?
So, you might be thinking, “I’ll just aim for the highest potency available!” This isn’t always the best idea. CBD has a bell-shaped response to dosage, meaning that you need to find a sweet spot in the dosage and stay there. Take too much or too little, and you end up receiving little to no effect. In the worse case scenario, you could even get negative side effects.
CBD oil has a biphasic effect, meaning that the amount in your body or the amount consumed alters the influence it has. An example of another biphasic drug is alcohol. At low blood-alcohol content (BAC) levels, alcohol acts as a stimulant. However, the more alcohol consumed, the more of a depressant it becomes. This is why, in CBD, lower doses of cannabidiol will promote wakefulness while higher concentrations have a relaxing effect.
Secondly, even if you take a high potency formula right from the start, you may never know what lower concentrations could do for you. You might end up having a similar effect when taking less, and that would save you money.
Thirdly, even though CBD is non-addictive, you can develop a tolerance to it. If you develop a tolerance to the highest potency available, there is no room for you to experiment with dosages and keep your symptoms under control.
Guide To Common CBD Potency Levels
Since there are hundreds of CBD manufacturers and even more products available, you will probably have seen that most suppliers offer than same product in multiple concentrations or potencies. Choosing the potency that is best for you means considering why you are using CBD in the first place.
Low Potency CBD
Most often, low potency CBD oil is seen as 300 mg per 30 mL bottle, meaning that you are getting around 10mg/mL of CBD (or 10 per cent potency).
For most individuals just starting out with CBD oils, low potency will be ideal. 300 mg is usually strong enough to soothe conditions like mild to moderate anxiety, periodic sleeplessness, stress, headaches, and general body aches and pains.
Low potency is also great for people who don’t know how sensitive they are to CBD. This allows for even those individuals who cannot tolerate higher doses and concentrations of CBD to still get the benefits of cannabidiol.
A single dose of low potency CBD oil per day can improve homeostatic balance, boost immunity, and even protect you from endocrine and nervous conditions.
Mid Potency CBD
Mid potency is anywhere from 15-30 per cent of a 300 mg bottle, or 15-30 mg/mL. Most CBD users will start with low potency and then find themselves reaching for medium potency later on. Mid potency is great for those who no longer benefit from lower doses or those with symptoms from more chronic health conditions.
People who use mid potency CBD often suffer from things like chronic pain and inflammation, arthritis, digestive issues, anxiety, insomnia, and mild headaches and migraines.
High Potency CBD
Running at around 30-60 mg/mL of a 300 mg bottle, high potency technically means that about half the concentration is made up of CBD extract. As prefaced earlier, high potency formulas are not meant for everyone.
In fact, while extremely high doses of CBD (upwards of 1,000 mg a day) have been shown to cause little to no negative side effects, you should always exercise caution before reaching for a high potency CBD product. Discuss you decision with your general practitioner before starting with a high potency formula.
Generally, high potency is known as a “therapeutic grade” of CBD.
Conditions that may benefit from higher concentrations of CBD include:
• Moderate to severe pain, both chronic and acute
• Chronic inflammation
• Severe insomnia
• Multiple sclerosis
• Mental conditions, such as schizophrenia
• Frequent and severe migraines
• Anxiety disorders
Also, if you notice that medium-grade CBD is no longer helping your symptoms, it may be time to upgrade to a stronger formula.
Final Thoughts on CBD Potency
Hopefully, you no longer find yourself asking what the difference is between a bottle of CBD containing 600 mg versus one containing 4,000 mg. Now, you should know that those numbers are referring to the potency, and depending on what you are using CBD for, one is going to help you better than the other. Remember, the main factor in the potency and dosage you select is what you need CBD for. Regardless of your selection, you are bound to find a high-quality CBD product that benefits you. There are dozens of choices out there!
Looking for more information regarding CBD doses and formulas? Check out our other blogs. If you have questions about CBD concentrations or want more information, be sure to fill out the contact form to get news and updates delivered right to your inbox.