Do you ever start using a new product that seems to work so amazingly well that you use it all the time? Whether it’s a new supplement, a new shampoo, or even a great new skin treatment, you feel like you can’t get enough of it.
And then… after a few weeks… it stops working. Why is this? Well, sometimes it’s because you’ve built up a tolerance to the product. This often happens with medications or supplements—and yes, even shampoo! But can you develop a CBD oil tolerance, too?
How CBD affects the body
Cannabidiol (CBD) is one of the main compounds present in the cannabis sativa plant. It’s been shown to help treat a range of health conditions and symptoms including pain, inflammation, anxiety, depression, muscle spasms, and more.
CBD works by interacting with your endocannabinoid system, otherwise known as the ECS. Your ECS plays an important role in regulating many of the processes that keep your body functioning every day: blood pressure, mood, energy production, immune function, glucose metabolism, appetite, pain management, and so on. This is all due to the fact that CBD is made up of more than a hundred phytocannabinoids, which are similar to the cannabinoids your body produces. By mimicking your body’s own cannabinoids, CBD encourages your ECS to provide relief from pain, inflammation, anxiety, stress, insomnia, and even chronic illnesses.
But it’s not just the CBD. The terpenes, flavonoids, amino acids, and over 100 minor cannabinoids in the hemp plant combine with CBD to create the ‘entourage effect,’ which means they work synergistically to boost the healing properties of one another.
Can you build a tolerance to CBD?
When someone becomes tolerant to a drug or other substance, it means they no longer respond to the substance in the way they did at first. As a result, they have to take a higher dose of the substance to achieve the same effect as when they first used it. In the case of some drugs, this can lead to substance use, disordered use, and addiction as people take more and more of a drug to feel good, or to get a ‘high.’
The great news is that most scientific evidence suggests that CBD tolerance is very rare—and perhaps non-existent. Even better, it appears that long-term use may actually result in reverse tolerance. ‘Reverse tolerance’ means that the longer you use a substance, the less you actually need in order to benefit from its effects. Over time, CBD oil users may find relief from their symptoms with lower and lower doses.
This is actually opposite to the effect that can occur THC, the other well-known compound in the cannabis plant. Long-term use of marijuana (which contains THC) can result in a tolerance.
As mentioned above, the phytocannabinoids in hemp interact with your body’s endocannabinoid system by attaching themselves to endocannabinoid receptors. But while THC diminishes the effectiveness of these receptors with repeated use, CBD actually appears to promote increased activity in these receptors. Simply put, CBD users are unlikely to wind up with a tolerance to CBD. Instead of becoming less effective over time, CBD continues to stimulate your body’s ECS and help it produce the therapeutic effects you need.
So, how much CBD should you be taking? It’s estimated that CBD stays in the body for around two to five days. However, this depends on several different factors: the dosage, the frequency of your usage, your unique body chemistry, the food you’ve eaten before and after your dosage, and also the form in which you consume CBD.
The right CBD dose for you
Figuring out how much CBD to take involves a bit of experimentation. Because CBD affects everyone differently, there’s no standard dosage. It’s all a matter of trialing different amounts at different times and observing how your body responds.
With that said, a good way to find the right dose for your body is to start with a very low dose—say, around 2 mg. You can then gradually increase your dose by 2–5 mg per serving until you find the amount that works for you. It may be a good idea to keep notes on the effects you feel as you do this, so you can refer back to them later.
Be sure to check the label on the CBD product you have and determine its potency. In most cases, the concentration of CBD per ml of oil will be written on the bottle.
Can you have too much CBD? Technically yes, but you would have to take a LOT. Research suggests that for CBD to be toxic to your system, you would have to take nearly 20,000 mg in a very short amount of time.
Does this mean that CBD is safe for long-term use? So far, scientific and medical studies have reported promising results in terms of the safety and efficacy of CBD. CBD oil is generally considered to harbor very little risk for addiction or side effects. In fact, the World Health Organization (WHO) has even stated that CBD is generally well tolerated with a good safety profile.
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