Can You Overdose on CBD Oil?
How much CBD is too much CBD? Hemp-derived cannabidiol -- the ubiquitous CBD for short -- has made it on to everyone’s radar. With an exploding market, myriad health claims, and some actual potential benefits, many people seem to think there can never be enough of the stuff.
Considering the almost overwhelming variety of CBD products, we’ll be taking a look at potency, serving size, and any risks, of course. To address the main concern -- can you overdose on CBD oil? -- the answer is no. CBD does not have any known toxicity threshold, but there are some recommended guidelines for consumers.
A Brief Rundown on CBD
- CBD refers to a type of plant-based compound -- a cannabinoid -- found in all species of the cannabis plant. Almost all commercial CBD is derived from hemp cannabis -- federally legalized in early 2019 by agricultural legislation called the Farm Bill -- and not recreational or medical marijuana.
- CBD extract is commonly diluted with a carrier oil to create CBD oil, which is consumable in itself but can also be infused into edibles and topical products. Edibles are pre-divided into a single serving, making them a good starter choice.
- CBD extracts cannot have more than a negligible amount of the psychoactive compound THC, 0.3% or less. Can you take too much CBD and get a buzz? Nope, it will never get you high at any amount.
Different Divisions of CBD Oil
There are 3 types of CBD you can purchase: full-spectrum, broad-spectrum, and isolate. These are all slightly different, so it’s useful to know what they mean and how it could affect your serving!
- Full-spectrum CBD formulas also include all the other natural compounds found in the cannabis plant, like terpenes and other types of cannabinoids, and take advantage of the 0.3% allowed THC. Research suggests CBD may provide better support in conjunction with its plant brethren, so you might get away with a lower strength if the CBD is full-spectrum.
- Broad-spectrum CBD oil is THC-free. These formulas, like the one we use here at Oliver’s Harvest, remove all the THC but keep some terpenes and/or other cannabinoids. This still allows for a little entourage effect while ensuring you can stay completely clean and worry-free.
- CBD isolate is purely hemp-extracted CBD all by itself. Since the potential benefits of the entourage effect have been lost, an appropriate CBD isolate serving size may be greater than its full or broad spectrum counterpart. That would become relevant if you were making a switch between CBD types.
So How Much CBD?
There are two parts to this question. Firstly, how much CBD is the right amount for individuals? Secondly, how the heck do you figure out tincture potency using strength and serving size?
The Right Amount Per Individual Serving
It’s advised you start with the lowest amount of CBD that could have a positive effect. This is based on weight group -- for metabolization reasons -- and personal needs, taking into account the level of discomfort being combated and your tolerance for CBD. You can work your way up from there.
The sleep health website Tuck has a handy little chart outlining appropriate starting strengths. Why a sleep health website? Among its other potential benefits, CBD may support healthy sleep patterns, especially combined with melatonin like in these Oliver’s Harvest tablets.
If you want a second, third, or fourth opinion, there are many tincture strength calculators available online to recommend your best CBD serving size. Our product pages include basic guidelines as well.
Although the answer is no to “can you OD on CBD,” overkill is never wise. And similarly to acetaminophen, CBD is metabolized by enzymes in the liver, so you’ll want to be cognizant of your intake with alcohol and other medications.
Understanding Product Potency
OK, so, how strong is a 200mg edible? Is it basically the same as a 250mg tincture? Not quite. Almost every CBD product lists its strength in terms of the entire contents.
So if a 200mg edible package contains 2 edibles, each is 100mg; if it contains 20, they’re only 10mg each. When milligrams increase but portions remain the same, it does indicate an overall more potent product, whether edible or tincture.
For tinctures, the bottle’s entire CBD contents will be loudly announced, and then it will quietly denote the size of the bottle in ml, and finally the mg/ml concentration (it’s easy to do the division yourself if they don’t spell it out). 250mg strength CBD oil in a 30ml bottle would have less than 10mg per 1ml serving, resulting in a pretty mild potency.
But since you completely control the portions with a tincture of CBD oil, you’re free to measure out more or less than a milliliter as your serving, depending on the day’s needs or a doctor’s instructions.
What Happens If You Do Take Too Much CBD?
Let’s revisit the question: Can you take too much CBD oil, really?
Studies have looked at servings up to 1500mg and found them to be “well-tolerated” overall, if inadvisable. Now consider that the most potent CBD tincture on the market clocks in at 5000mg in a 30ml bottle -- that’s 165mg per 1ml serving.
Sure, that’s a high strength, but you’d have to consume 9 of those bad boys before even hitting the artificial threshold. That’s just not a realistic concern. Most people would begin to feel funny well before then because you can take too much CBD oil in the context of your own body.
At some point, you’ll find diminishing returns even if CBD itself sits well with you. If you have a low tolerance and high sensitivity, simply your starting potency could be too much to handle. Either scenario could bring about side effects.
What can you expect when worst comes to worst? The potential side effects of CBD are actually rather mild. They include:
- Drowsiness and fatigue
- Headache, stomach ache
- Gastrointestinal distress, like diarrhea, vomiting, nausea
- Loss of appetite
- And as with anything, common allergic reactions are possible as well, but they are not usual side effects associated with CBD
Unpleasant surely, but nothing out of the ordinary when you compare it against common drugs like NSAIDs or acetaminophen. That’s a good benchmark for timing your servings as well, to avoid taking “too much.” Ibuprofen, for example, lasts four to six hours in the body, so it shouldn’t be taken more often than that, nor exceed 6 tablets in a 24-hour period.
How long do CBD effects last? Also, around six hours for moderate amounts, but less for smaller amounts. You should feel those effects in as little as 15 minutes or up to an hour and a half later (sublingual tinctures are absorbed faster than ingested edibles). But if you don’t feel anything, taking another low-strength gummy or a few more drops of CBD oil won’t hurt.
Wait for a full metabolization cycle after that just as you would with OTC drugs; don’t exceed the extreme amount of 1500mg a day, and take just enough CBD as meets your needs. Follow those guidelines, and you should never have to worry about having consumed too much CBD oil.
To effectively support your wellness routine, the best time of day to take CBD oil is around the same time, every day, whether morning, night or afternoon. It isn’t quite like an Advil. If you need quick, on-the-spot soothing, consider a topical instead of reaching for the sublingual oil tincture.
But don’t worry. You could slather yourself in CBD topical cream, eat a handful of CBD gummies, take your daily CBD oil, and still be entirely unharmed. CBD doesn’t have a toxicity threshold, so you cannot overdose, and increased amounts don’t necessitate severe side effects.
Simply use the information gathered here and stay attuned to your own body’s particulars in relation to CBD -- you won’t go wrong.