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. What do CBD to THC ratios mean and what can they really do? What Does 5 CBD Oil Mean Every product at The Novel Tree Medical will be labeled with a breakdown the CBD:THC ratio. How to Read Ratios and Doses Anytime you see a product that features a
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.
Understanding the confusing world of CBD and THC ratios
This post is part of our High-tech High series, which explores weed innovations, and our cultural relationship with cannabis, as legalization in several U.S. states, Canada, and Uruguay moves the market further out of the shadows.
There’s a flurry of new numbers on marijuana product labels, and the ratios can feel like a confusing math problem.
But there’s a method to the madness — one based more on anecdotes than broadly recognized scientific research.
A variety of vape oils, tinctures, salves, and edibles with numbers like 18:1, 4:1, and 1:1 — noting the amount of CBD to THC — have been showing up at dispensaries in recent years in both medical and recreational states. THC will make you high, while its sister compound CBD generally won’t — and has therapeutic potential. Most marijuana strains have around 18 percent THC with less than 1 percent CBD (with THC sometimes being pushed beyond 20 percent).
The cannabis companies behind the trend aren’t chucking THC; they’re just flipping the ratios. For decades, growers have focused on breeding weed with increased amounts of THC. That’s still the case to a large degree, but a sliver of the market sees big things for CBD-rich marijuana products.
“They kept getting bred to go higher and higher in THC, so most strains have very low CBD,” said Dennis Hunter, cofounder of Cannacraft, a Santa Rosa cannabis producer with a line of CBD-rich products under the brand name Care by Design. “Now they’re starting to breed those to be higher and higher in CBD.”
Care by Design, and other companies like Pure Ratios in San Diego, use previous customers’ experiences to guide new users toward their preferred ratio.
But with scant evidence-backed scientific research regarding the impact of each ratio, consumers resort to trial and error to see what works for them.
CBD-rich products are marketed toward those seeking relief from anxiety, arthritis, seizures, stress, inflammation, and overall wellness, not necessarily a high. They’re also being used to ease those once spooked off by a bad marijuana experience back in. Baby boomers are Care by Design’s biggest growing customer base.
There are plenty of anecdotes from customers reporting life-changing relief with unregulated CBD-rich products, but it’s still a gamble and you’re the guinea pig. And these products aren’t cheap. Care by Design’s cartridges are $50 and its droppers are $40. Pure Ratios’ droppers are around $30. CBD oil made from hemp, which has less than 0.3 percent THC, from Bloom Farms, for example, ranges from $60 to $90.
Cinnamon Bidwell, a neurobiologist at the University of Colorado Boulder’s Institute of Cognitive Science, cautions not to get swept up in the testimonials promoted by cannabis manufacturers.
“The marketing and the consumer lure is far ahead of what the research can really support,” said Bidwell. That seems to be the case for marijuana in general since its classification as a so-called Schedule 1 drug — which means the federal government believes it has “no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse” — makes it difficult to study. Bidwell’s lab, which is in a state that has legalized recreational marijuana, is conducting a 5-year study comparing the cannabinoids subjects ingest to what shows up in their bloodstreams in relation to clinical outcomes.
What’s more, all the ratios can be hard to understand. Care by Design offers five (18:1, 8:1, 4:1, 2:1, and 1:1), while Pure Ratios cut down to three (18:1, 4:1, and 1:1) because customers were confused by the variety, said CEO Chad Conner.
Here’s a rule of thumb: The higher the CBD, the less of a high you’ll get from the THC, both because there’s less of it and CBD generally combats THC’s psychoactive effects, depending on the amount of THC you’ve consumed, according to cannabis researchers and producers.
When you’re deciding which ratio is right for you, it’ll take some experimenting. Both Hunter and Conner suggest starting with a high-level of CBD and working your way down to a more balanced product. You’ll have to play around with the amount, too, but take it slow.
Care by Design sells a sampler pack to help in the guessing game. The ends of the spectrum, 18:1 or 1:1, are its best sellers; either consumers don’t want to feel psychoactive effects or they do, it seems.
The trial and error, Bidwell said, is what happens when cannabis products rush into the market before there’s sufficient research.
There is, however, a prescription 1:1 CBD to THC mouth spray called Sativex made in the UK and available in several countries including Spain, Germany, Canada, and Brazil that’s meant to treat spasms in MS patients. It’s undergoing clinical trials in the U.S. Epidiolex, the first FDA-approved cannabis-derived drug in the states, is high in CBD with trace amounts of THC (not enough to have any pharmacological effect). It’s used to treat seizures.
“We’re starting to understand what CBD does, but even that is very minimal. And in terms of these different ratios, there’s an idea or a hypothesis that there’s something there in terms of THC facilitating CBD’s action in a different way, if not more in different amounts. But in terms of the science being able to contribute to that in any kind of clear way, we’re not there yet,” Bidwell said.
Elliot Altman, biology director of the Tennessee Center for Botanical Medicine Research, disagrees with that assessment when it comes to CBD’s therapeutic benefits. His lab at Middle Tennessee State University studies CBD and hemp. Marijuana isn’t legal in Tennessee, but hemp is. Most CBD products are made from hemp extract, while the ratio products tend to include a variety of cannabis strains to get the right proportion.
It’s clear to Altman, who does not study THC, that CBD provides relief for those with inflammatory or autoimmune conditions, but if you’re looking for pain relief, that’s going to come from THC. Altman’s lab works with private groups looking to sell CBD from hemp as a nutritional supplement.
“THC is for pain, and CBD is for when your immune system is compromised,” Altman said. His take on these emerging products is pretty simple: “If what you’re really after is CBD, but you’re in a marijuana state, take a little THC to take the edge off, don’t take excessive THC.”
The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine put out a 2017 report surveying the scientific research done so far on the health impacts of cannabis. There is conclusive or substantial evidence that cannabis is effective in treating cancer patients with nausea, adults with chronic pain, and MS patients with spasms, according to the report. But, there’s limited evidence that CBD can lessen anxiety and “no accepted standards exist to help guide individuals as they make choices regarding if, when, where, and how to use cannabis safely and, in regard to therapeutic uses, effectively.”
In addition to CBD:THC ratios, the U.S. cannabis community sees a bright future for hemp-only products. The 2018 Farm Bill, which passed Wednesday, will legalize industrial hemp on the federal level once signed by the president. There are many hemp products already being sold promising calm and pain relief.
“The CBD hemp business is gonna grow way bigger. Then marijuana will take over when it’s federally legal,” Conner, of Pure Ratios, predicted.
And the future may have even more numbers in store.
Cannabis sellers forecast other lesser-known cannabis compounds like THCV, a possible appetite suppressant, may one day be included in ratios on packaging.
Hunter also sees powder packs of these products coming up the line — imagine Emergen-C, but with CBD. Care by Design’s working on it. Coca Cola is also exploring the CBD beverage market.
“Seems like every day or week we keep finding out more and more interesting information,” Hunter said.
What Does 5 CBD Oil Mean
Every product at The Novel Tree Medical will be labeled with a breakdown the CBD:THC ratio.
How to Read Ratios and Doses
Anytime you see a product that features a ratio, the first number will reflect the amount of CBD in a product. The second number featured shows the amount of THC in the same product. For example, a 10:1 Ratio tincture has 10x the amount of CBD as THC. It is important to know that CBD comes first, as you may come across ratios that have more THC than CBD. Each ratio has its own range of effects, so it’s best to talk with a medical consultant to find the ratio that best suits your needs.
Let’s Explore a 5:1 Ratio Cannabis Product
The Potency on the far left-hand column shows the amount of THC and CBD in the packaging. The suggested serving of 0.6ml will contain 11mg CBD and 2.4mg of THC in a 5:1 ratio.
The potency in the 5:1 is a total (TTL) of 200mg, however you can see that there is approximately five times the amount of CBD in relation to the amount of THC. Many guests will start with .3 ml (1/2 of a standard serving). Because all producers are required to list the potency, tinctures and edibles make it easy to control your serving.
While it can be difficult to gauge an exact serving from flower or a vaporizer, knowing the potency of your product in advance can help you anticipate the effects to come. Fairwinds lists the average potency as well as the terpenes featured in their products. A terpene profile can provide additional insight to the experience you can expect from said product.
1:1 Ratio – Having equal parts CBD and THC seems to be the most effective in tackling pain management. The goal of utilizing a 1:1 product is to induce a gentle buzz while allowing the consumer to function and focus throughout the day. While CBD affects inflammation throughout the body, THC regulates neurotransmitters and how the brain perceives pain. The 1:1 ratio provides both mental and physical relief from pain. While this ratio is not considered “recreational”, 1:1 products can be easily found at most dispensaries. 2
2:1 Ratio – Having twice the amount of CBD as THC can still provide a slight buzz, but it should be minimal compared to 1:1 strains and recreational products. This ratio might be ideal for those looking to combat autoimmune disorders, anxiety, depression, or general aches and pains.
5:1 Ratio – This ratio is an excellent place to start for those who are new to cannabis, or experienced consumers who are looking for products that will allow them to function without intoxication. Fairwinds 5:1 Ratio Tincture offers an invigorating blend of terpenes to accentuate the therapeutic benefits of the CBD. 3
1:2 Ratio – This ratio allows you to enjoy the psychoactive effects of THC, with an enhanced body high from the CBD. Often recommended as a sleep aid, this ratio can be more sedative depending on the terpene profile of the product. 4
We’re Here to Answer Your Questions About CBD and THC
It can be a challenge navigating the available products on the market, especially when you’re seeking relief. If you have any questions about what ratio may best suit your needs, we encourage you to reach out or stop in for a visit with our consultants. We are happy to take the time with you to make sure you’re comfortable and confident with the products you choose to take home.