Millions of Brits use CBD oil every year thanks to its long list of reported health benefits. But can you have too much of a good thing? And how much is too much? While we know that CBD is generally regarded as safe if used as directed, we looked at the evidence to find out whether you can overdose on CBD oil and how much you should be taking.
Before we go into dosage, here’s a quick refresher on what CBD oil is and how it works…
What is CBD oil?
CBD oil is made by extracting oil from the hemp plant.
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Hemp oil contains hundreds of beneficial compounds from the plant. These include over 120 chemicals called cannabinoids, one of which is CBD (short for cannabidiol).
Your body also makes cannabinoids, known as endocannabinoids because they’re made endogenously, or internally. They’re the chemical messengers of an important system called the endocannabinoid system, or ECS, that regulates everything from sleep and mood to pain and immunity.
When you take external cannabinoids like CBD, they act on your ECS in a similar way to your own endocannabinoids. That’s why people find that taking CBD oil makes them feel less anxious, for example, or improves their sleep.
How much CBD oil should you take?
There’s no “one size fits all” dose when it comes to CBD oil, so it can take a bit of trial and error to get the right dosage for you.
If you’re new to CBD oil, we always recommend starting with a low dose of 10-20mg. Observe how you feel over the next few hours. If you don’t feel anything, or you’d like a stronger effect, try increasing your next dose by 10mg.
Stick with the “low and slow” approach and work your way up to a dosage that feels right for you. If you experience any uncomfortable side effects, drop back down to the last dose that you tolerated.
Can you overdose on CBD oil?
Technically, yes. But here’s why a CBD oil overdose is very unlikely…
The Food Standards Agency (FSA) recommends that adults take no more than 70mg of CBD a day. However, the World Health Organization (WHO) has looked at lots of scientific research into the toxicity of CBD and found that it takes extremely high doses to cause any significant ill effects.
The WHO mentioned one particular animal study, where monkeys showed signs of overdose after being given 30mg of CBD per kilo of body weight over 90 days.
PER KILO of body weight! The average man in the UK weighs 83kg, and the average woman weighs in at 70kg. The equivalent dose would be an incredible 2,490mg of CBD for him and 2,100mg for her, every day for three months!
The vast majority of our CBD oils contain 100mg to 1000mg of CBD per bottle, spread across 10-20 doses. Unless you’re drinking several bottles a day, you’re highly unlikely to get even close to a CBD oil overdose.
What happens if you take too much CBD oil?
You’re very unlikely to clinically overdose on CBD oil. However, it is possible to take more than you can comfortably tolerate.
The most common side effects are digestive issues like nausea, stomach ache or diarrhoea. Some people also notice that their appetite changes or they feel more tired than usual. This usually happens when you’re new to CBD oil, especially if you take a stronger dose. That’s why we suggest starting with a low dose and working your way up.
If you do experience these side effects, don’t worry – they usually resolve quickly as your body gets used to CBD, and they won’t cause you any significant or lasting harm. The best thing to do is lower your dosage or even take a break from CBD oil, and then ease yourself back in with a small dose.
Can you mix CBD with medications?
CBD oil is safe for the majority of people, even in high doses. However, if you’re taking prescription drugs, you should be aware that CBD can affect the strength of some medications.
Lots of common prescription drugs are broken down, or metabolised, by a particular family of enzymes in your liver. CBD can affect how some of these enzymes work. It speeds some of them up, causing them to break down your medication faster, and it slows others down, causing them to break down your medication more slowly.
If your medication is metabolised too quickly, the effects might wear off before your next dose. If it’s metabolised too fast, you may still have too much of the drug in your system when you take the next dose.
Your prescription medication dosage is calculated based on these enzymes acting normally. So while you won’t overdose on CBD, you might end up taking too much (or too little) of your medication, even if you’re following doctor’s orders.
That’s not to say you can’t enjoy CBD oil! But if you want to take it alongside medication, you should work closely with your doctor to make sure you’re doing it safely.
Is CBD oil addictive?
If you’re concerned about overdosing on CBD oil, you might also be wondering if it could be addictive. Good news — after analysing all available research, World Health Organization (WHO) believes that CBD carries a very low risk of abuse or dependency.
In fact, CBD may actually help to fight addiction. In a 2019 study, CBD was found to reduce cravings and anxiety in recovered heroin addicts when they were shown triggers relating to drug use.
Buying CBD oil
Even if you can’t overdose on CBD oil, it’s always a good idea to know how much CBD (and other substances) you’re taking. Unfortunately, the industry isn’t very well regulated and there are lots of rogue traders out there.
One report found that when it came to CBD oil, a shocking number of brands were guilty of false advertising. Not only did the majority of brands have far less than the stated CBD, some also contained illegally high levels of THC, another cannabinoid that’s responsible for the high feeling you get when you smoke cannabis. Another brand had enough ethanol to legally be considered an alcoholic drink!
The only way to be certain about what you’re taking is to look at the product’s third-party independent lab report. This will tell you exactly how much CBD, THC and other substances your CBD oil contains, and whether it’s free from heavy metals and contaminants.
No lab report? Don’t risk it! We make sure every CBD oil we stock comes with a third-party lab report so you can see exactly what you’re buying. Check out our store here for high-quality CBD oils you can trust.