Dr. Sarah Brewer May 20, 2020

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.

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. If 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.

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 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.

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 table comparing Healthspan's CBD products.

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 Cannabis Trades Association recommends that, as a food supplement, CBD should not be used at doses above 200mg per day until there is clarification from the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).1

The European Industrial Hemp Association has proposed a lower cut-off for food supplements, so that members should not recommend to their customers more than a maximum daily intake of 160mg CBD for the average adult.2

As a doctor, I feel more comfortable suggesting that you should not take more than 100mg CBD per day, in total. In any case, do not exceed the manufacturer's recommended dose (such as 30mg per day for Healthspan's Super Strength CBD) without talking to your doctor.

Watch points

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).3

A potential substitute for those worried about drug testing is the 'CBD alternative' PEA: Healthspan sells these under the names Alt-CBD and Elite Levagen+ Sport (batch-tested for competing athletes).

Nothing beats a healthy, balanced diet to provide all the nutrients we need. But when this isn't possible, supplements can help. This article isn't intended to replace medical advice. Please consult your healthcare professional before trying supplements or herbal medicines.

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