This consumer guide tells you all you need to know about buying and taking CBD, from finding brands you can trust to getting the right dosage for your needs. Reading a CBD product label can sometimes feel like reading a maths paper. With percentages, milligrams and millilitres in play, CBD strength is easily misunderstood. We break down the numbers so you can better understand what’s in each CBD product and how to make an informed choice. When we talk about strength of a CB
A Consumer’s Guide To CBD
CBD is becoming more and more ubiquitous, you’re probably even seeing it on the shelves of your local pharmacy, health shop or supermarket. Many people claim CBD aids with their general well-being. They say they gain therapeutic relief from CBD for a multitude of conditions including anxiety, sleep disorders and pain relief.
If you are interested in trying CBD for yourself, there are lots of products available, with each one offering a range of reported benefits. We want to help you explore the world of CBD, so you can find a product that works for you. Whether you are a new or experienced CBD user, you’ve likely asked one or several of the questions listed below. This guide will help you better understand the benefits of CBD and ensure you make a sound choice, whether you’re about to make your first purchase or you’ve decided to switch brands.
What is CBD?
CBD stands for cannabidiol. Cannabidiol is what is known as a cannabinoid. A cannabinoid is a substance that is found within hemp and medicinal cannabis. CBD is often compared to THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), which is the main psychoactive component in the cannabis plant. However, CBD has no psychoactive properties, so users can benefit from its effects without feeling “high”.
Hemp has been cultivated for thousands of years and produces strong rope, cloth and paper. Until the craze for CBD products came about, the flowers of industrial hemp were destroyed by farmers. Now it’s the most valuable part of the crop.
People who try CBD are adamant that it has many therapeutic properties which is why it is proving to be so popular. CBD products come in many forms including oils, tablets, drops or balms.
What are the different types of CBD?
By understanding the different types of CBD, you are more likely to find a high-quality product. Here are the 3 main examples of the varying types of CBD available:
Full-spectrum CBD contains most of the compounds found in the hemp plant, including THC. Since THC is not legal in the UK, you won’t be able to find any products with full-spectrum CBD on the UK market.
Broad-spectrum is essentially the same as full-spectrum, minus the THC. While they are the most commonly recognised cannabinoids, CBD and THC are not the only active ingredients in hemp. Having multiple cannabinoids helps support what is known as the ‘entourage effect’ which describes how compounds in the hemp plant can be more effective when working together than when they are isolated from each other.
Isolate is the purest form of CBD out there, with no other active compounds than CBD. While for some people, isolate is the ‘least efficient’ type of CBD, it’s often regarded as the purest and ‘cleanest’. CBD isolate is usually tasteless and odourless and is therefore perfect to use in skincare products.
While these three types of CBD all offer similar desired effects, your experience may be different depending on which exact type of CBD you decide to take. For example, if you switch to CBD isolate having previously taken broad-spectrum, it may seem like the effects are different, almost weaker.
What are the main benefits of CBD?
CBD can be an amazing ingredient to incorporate into your daily routine to help you feel calmer and more balanced.
CBD also has anti-inflammatory properties which can help with different areas of health, such as body aches, skin flare-ups or even gut inflammation. It’s not a miracle ingredient but it can be a serious game changer if you feel like you need a little push to feel more balanced or your ‘full self’ daily.
Will CBD help me sleep?
Absolutely! CBD is an amazing natural sleep aid . Unlike other sleep aids, CBD is not going to help you fall asleep, make you feel drowsy or tired but it will help you get into a deeper and more restorative sleep. While you won’t feel a difference when you take it at night, you’ll wake up feeling recharged and ready for the day ahead.
Is CBD good for stress and anxiety?
Stress and anxiety are the main reasons why people turn to CBD, it has amazing calming properties that will help you feel so much more at peace. A few drops of CBD in the morning can help you take on the day stress-free. You may end up wondering why it took you so long to start taking CBD.
Is CBD good for the skin?
Redness, flare-ups, occasional acne… if you’ve tried skincare products that haven’t delivered results, you might want to try and use a CBD skincare product. If your skin issues have persisted for a long time, it might be time for you to consult a dermatologist who will help you figure out what might be wrong with your skin.
If the issues are less chronic and more occasional, try adding a CBD skincare product to your routine. Now, make sure it says CBD on the product and not just hemp or hemp oil, otherwise, you will not see many results.
Are there any other potential benefits of CBD?
CBD is still a fairly new ingredient and supplement that’s still being researched. We’re discovering new potential benefits and effects all the time. And the thing with CBD is that we all have an endocannabinoid system (ECS) that responds differently to CBD, mostly based on what our body needs.
If CBD comes from cannabis is it legal?
Growing hemp is legal in Europe, providing you have a license from your government. As hemp plants only contain very low levels of THC, you shouldn’t have any issues buying CBD products.
Will I get high or feel strange when I take CBD?
No, you cannot get high from consuming CBD as it is not “psychoactive”, which as previously mentioned is a term used to describe intoxicating or addictive substances.
Instead, CBD promotes feelings of well-being. Most people who take CBD report feelings of focus, calm and relaxation. As CBD will not get you high, it means it is perfectly safe (and legal) to drive or go about your daily business after consuming a CBD product.
What CBD products are there?
CBD oils : While there are other types of CBD products, CBD oils and tinctures are the most popular and most consumed types of CBD products. It’s a fast-acting and highly absorbing way to take CBD. And bonus, it’s also the most versatile type of CBD product out there. You can take it as a sublingual, drop it in your drinks and even apply it topically.
CBD gummies are meant for those who would rather microdose on their CBD and only take a small amount each time. It’s also a simple and fun way to take CBD. If you’re a CBD beginner, we’d recommend going for gummies, they’re fruity, sweet and pretty low-strength.
Similar to CBD gummies, CBD capsules are also easy to take because the amount of CBD is already pre-measured for you. Most capsules are soft gel capsules, which means that they are filled with CBD oil with everything already pre-measured for you. Capsules are a good option if you’re used to taking supplements and essentially want to make CBD part of your supplement routine.
CBD balms and body oils can serve two different purposes: you can either use them as a skincare product or to help soothe daily pains and aches. Applying CBD topically will help target the area directly and act fast. It’s an amazing product to use after a workout if you’re feeling sore, or even to relax your body at night before going to sleep.
These are the main types of CBD products you can find on the market for now, but just like any other innovative product, we haven’t seen the end of it yet. Right now, we’re starting to see CBD clothing (yes, you read that right) being promoted. Activewear would help reduce inflammation while you are working out. Let’s wait a few years to see the innovations of other types of CBD products that will come out and which ones will stick around!
What CBD product is best for me?
I recommend first buying CBD oil to discover if CBD is right for you. CBD oil is usually sold in a small glass bottle with a dropper. The most cost-effective way to see if CBD oil is right for you is to purchase a 10ml bottle to experiment with.
The percentage of the CBD found within the bottle is marked on the label. Most often CBD oil is 5% or 10% CBD. A 5% oil has half the amount of CBD per drop as a 10% CBD oil so it is cheaper. It’s also worth noting that with a 10% CBD oil you would need to take fewer drops to get the same desired effect as a 5% CBD oil. I advise that you start with a 5% CBD oil and see how your body reacts, before then deciding whether or not to increase your dosage.
How should I take CBD oil?
You consume CBD oil orally. The best way to do this is to put a few drops under your tongue. Don’t swallow right away or drop it on your tongue. You should keep it under your tongue for as long as you can so as much CBD is absorbed into your bloodstream as possible. Start by putting two drops of CBD under your tongue, and keep it there for 5 minutes. You’ll find that it has been absorbed before that time arrives.
How much CBD should I take?
Figuring how much CBD is right for you can be difficult for some. When you buy CBD oil, brands will make it easy for you with as many indications as possible. Most CBD oils have measurements on the dropper to help you have the most precise dosage.
Is it possible to take too much CBD?
As we’ve said earlier, we’re still figuring the ins and outs of CBD and it seems like there are limits to how much CBD some people can take without any side effects. Again, this is not universal as some people can take high amounts and not feel the desired effects. But in the UK, it is recommended to take up to 70mg a day.
Will CBD interact with other medications I’m taking?
Any supplement, CBD included, is meant to help elevate your daily wellbeing and make you feel your best. But it’s recommended to consult a doctor before taking CBD, especially if you’re on a particular course of treatment. We never know if there is going to be an interaction between the different products you take.
Many medications rely on your liver to be processed. As any CBD oil you swallow will also pass through the liver it could potentially alter the effectiveness of your medication. If you are taking medication to reduce your blood pressure or other vital drugs it is essential that you let your doctor know your plans to try CBD.
How many different strengths of CBD are there?
CBD products come in many different forms and strengths. To start feeling effects from a CBD product, a standard dose would be about 20 mg. This could help you feel a little less stressed, more balanced or ease some mild pains and aches.
If you’re looking to buy CBD, minimum strengths tend to range between 300-500mg. You will usually be recommended to take a full dropper to get the standard dosage.
If you’ve never taken CBD before, we’d recommend going for a 500mg CBD oil to start with, or 25mg capsules if this is your preferred method for taking CBD.
How do I find my correct dosage?
The best way to find the dosage that works for you is to start low, monitor the effects and gradually increase until you find a therapeutic benefit. At this point, you will have found the right dosage for you. Keep consuming that dosage until it is time to buy a new bottle.
For example, on day 1 take 2 drops. Continue with this dosage for 2 days and see how you feel. On day 3 increase by a further 2 drops, if you feel you need it. Continue like this until you feel a therapeutic benefit. Congratulations, you have found the best dose for you! The FSA recommends a maximum daily dose of 70mg of CBD per day. LXR 10% CBD oils contain around 4mg of CBD per drop. So this represents a maximum daily dose of 17 drops per day. If you are taking any medication the Foods Standards Agency (FSA) recommend not consuming CBD, especially if you haven’t consulted with a doctor or healthcare professional.
Your dose could vary depending on your weight, sex, genetics or even if you exercised or ate before consuming. Some people are sensitive to CBD whilst others need to consume a lot to feel a benefit. If you experience any adverse effects such as feeling dizzy or lightheaded, stop immediately and talk to your doctor about CBD.
It’s not possible to ‘overdose’ on CBD but there is a point where consuming any more will add no further benefit. Again it is best to start with a low dose and work your way up to avoid consuming more than you need.
Some bottles indicate how many milligrams (mg) of CBD are in the whole bottle whilst others indicate the percentage, I’m confused!
In the UK the recommended maximum dose for CBD is 70mg per day.
The percentage of CBD in an oil can be established by the quantity of the product (for example 10ml) divided by the quantity of CBD (for example 1000mg). 1000mg of CBD is equal to 1ml. So a 10ml bottle of CBD containing 1000mg of CBD is 10% CBD (1ml being 10% of 10ml).
Ideally, the product will be marked with both the percentage and the quantity of CBD in mg to save you having to do the maths. In the example above, a 10ml bottle will hold around 240 drops. This equates to roughly 4mg of CBD per drop (if the product is 10%). That means you’d have to take 17 drops to reach the maximum recommended dose of CBD.
As a guide, 5% CBD is considered low, 10% medium strength and 20%+ a high dose. CBD products are priced accordingly. When comparing prices of CBD products always ensure that you take note of how much CBD is actually in it. A product is often on the cheaper side because it actually contains little CBD.
How do I find a brand that I can trust?
With so many CBD products on the market, it’s important to find brands that you can trust to offer the best quality product. Back in May 2019, The Times newspaper tested 29 CBD oils available in the high street and online. They found that only 38% of them contained the level of CBD that was stated on the label. Consumers deserve to know exactly what is in their CBD, and trustworthy brands will endeavour to be as transparent about the type, strength and quality of their products as possible. There is research you can do to check if what you are buying is worthy of your trust and hard-earned cash. Every time a batch of CBD oil is made it should have a batch number. Each of these batches should be tested by a third-party laboratory. Good manufacturers will display these test results for each batch on their website.
It is illegal for a CBD manufacturer to state any medicinal claims for their product. Therefore, consumers should be wary of any brands that claim that CBD is a ‘wonder cure’ for any manner of illnesses or medical conditions.
Some CBD companies seem to think that as long as the THC content is under 0.2% it is ok. It is not! THC is a controlled substance and it is not legal in any amount without a special license from the Home Office. If a product says it contains “less than 0.2% THC” this is a red flag as it shows not only does the company not understand the law they are actually admitting to breaking it!
There exists an association for the CBD industry called ACI , (Association for the Cannabinoid Industry) which ensures CBD companies are legally compliant and socially responsible. A good sign that a company can be trusted is that they are an ACI member.
About the author
Bill Griffin has been writing about CBD and medicinal cannabis for a decade after he had a medical need for CBD. He is on the Patient Advisory Board of CPASS, who provide support, advocacy and education to patients and healthcare professionals considering medicinal cannabis treatments. Much of Bill’s writing relates to how consumers are being exploited by bad actors in this emerging industry.
He is Managing Director of the CBD company LXR. LXR was created because Bill and co-founders Dr Parveen Bhatarah and Marc Burbidge were fed up of seeing consumers being ripped off. LXR is a member of the ACI and makes 100% natural, high quality CBD products which it sells at an affordable price.
HOW TO UNDERSTAND CBD STRENGTH AND PRICE
Reading a CBD product label can sometimes feel like reading a maths paper. With percentages, milligrams and millilitres in play, CBD strength is easily misunderstood. We break down the numbers so you can better understand what’s in each CBD product and how to make an informed choice.
When we talk about strength of a CBD product, it’s about understanding how much Cannabidiol is included per volume. Determining strength can be a bit tricky and some product labels don’t make it easy to know exactly how strong a product is, or how potent a dose it provides.
When the CBD category first launched, CBD concentration was often shown in percentages, however the number of milligrams (mg) is the more important metric and typically refers to the total amount of cannabinoids in the product.
While there are many things to consider when purchasing CBD oil, understanding the strength of a product is important to be able to properly consider the price of a product as well as its efficacy, as you explore a CBD regime that works for you and your body.
CBD STRENGTH DECODED
Let’s say you’re looking at two bottles of CBD oil oral drops. One is a 10ml bottle which has 1000mg of CBD stated on the label, and the other is a 20ml bottle that is also stated as 1000mg.
Whilst both bottles contain the same overall amount of cannabinoids (1000mg), the bottles are two different strengths. In percentage terms, the 10ml bottle of CBD oil is 10% CBD and the 20ml bottle is 5% CBD, meaning that it will have half the amount of CBD per drop.
Understanding the strength per drop is helpful as this is how you will measure your dose:
- A 10ml bottle is equal to 200 drops so to calculate the mg per drop you divide the total CBD mg by number of drops.
- 1000mg / 200 drops (10ml) = 5mg CBD per drop.
- For the 20ml bottle you have 400 drops which means that each drop is equal to 2.5mg of CBD (the same amount of CBD has been diluted into a larger volume of carrier oil, so each drop contains less).
- The 10ml bottle is twice as strong, so you would need double the number of drops of the 20ml product to achieve the same dose.
We’ll chat CBD drops dosage in a separate story but recommendations on how many drops to take are included on each of our product pages and the FSA recently issued guidance of 70mg CBD max per day (approx. 28 drops of 5% CBD).
THE VALUE EQUATION
When comparing the price of products, you essentially want to know the price you are paying for each milligram of CBD, not the price per overall liquid amount. You should always follow a simple calculation when comparing different CBD products to get a true reflection of what you’re paying for. To get the ‘price per milligram of CBD’, simply divide the price by the amount of CBD mg:
DIVIDED BY CBD MG
= PRICE PER MG OF CBD
30ml CBD oil drops with 3000mg of CBD @ £140
0.05p per mg of CBD
30ml CBD oil drops with 600mg of CBD @£80
0.13p per mg of CBD
Bottle 1 may look more expensive to buy, but as the potency is higher, you have more CBD per drop and therefore a higher efficacy so you can use less drops of CBD oil for the same effect. With bottle 2 you’re actually paying double the price, even though it looks the opposite at first glance.
WHERE TO GET THE BEST QUALITY CBD
It can be confusing to know what CBD is good quality and what the strength of each bottle is. We recommend judging the strength of the CBD in mg and not percentage (%) – this is because when you purchase CBD, you are purchasing the amount of mg in a bottle. The difference with percentage is that you can have two 500mg bottles, for example, one in 30ml and one in 10ml – the amount of CBD in 10ml is the same as the 30ml but the 10ml has a 3x higher percentage. Yet, you are still only buying 500mg.
We have made it very easy to know the strength of the CBD you are purchasing by clearly displaying the number of mg in a bottle, not only that but our DAY DROPS are some of the strongest CBD oil drops in the UK.
DAY DROPS (500-6000mg)
From 0.05p per mg
Always read the ingredients label on CBD drops to check how the CBD is listed. Sometimes the % or mg of CBD listed within a product isn’t the pure CBD amount – it can refer to what is called a ‘CBD ingredient’ which itself could be a blend of CBD with another carrier i.e., a diluted down concentration of CBD.
Finding the right CBD products for you can feel overwhelming but don’t let the numbers deter you from jumping in and experiencing the restorative power of CBD oil. At APOTHEM we try and keep it as simple as possible. We only use 100% CBD isolate – the purest form of CBD available – stated in milligrams. We independently triple test each batch to ensure that the amount of CBD is accurate and that each batch of raw ingredient is 100% pure CBD isolate. This means, we can trust exactly what goes into each product, and so can you.
If you’re ever unsure and need a little help or personal recommendation, drop us a line at [email protected]
Explore our CBD for SLEEP , CBD for CALM , and CBD for RECOVERY collections now. First-time purchasers can save 15% with code WELCOME15 or shop our biggest sale ever now.