When It Comes To CBD, Is More Better?

When you’re feeling the chill, pain-relieving, borderline-magical effects of CBD, you may be thinking, “should I just keep this going and take more?” (This also begs the age-old question many a philosopher has pondered: how chill is too chill?)

CBD Bell Curve Effect Infographic

As many of us have learned, there can be too much of a good thing with literally everything, and that includes CBD. This is especially true when it comes to CBD isolate.

It turns out that there’s a bell-shaped response curve with CBD isolate. This means the efficacy of dose (how powerful it is, how much it works, how much you feel it) increases for a while before hitting a threshold/maximum and then dropping off (in a bell shape!). So, after a certain amount of milligrams, CBD isolate may become less effective. A 2019 study conducted on humans (!!) published in the Brazilian Journal of Psychiatry showed that there was, in fact, a “bell-shape dose-response curve,” and that “Optimal therapeutic doses of CBD should be rigorously determined so that research findings can be adequately translated into clinical practice.”

A 2015 study published in Pharmacology & Pharmacy suggested that to overcome this threshold, one needs to use full- or broad-spectrum CBD instead of isolate. “The higher efficiency of plant extract might be explained by additive or synergistic interactions between CBD and minor phytocannabinoids or non-cannabinoids presented in the extracts,” the study reported. 

When it came to CBD isolate, “Healing was only observed when CBD was given within a very limited dose range, whereas no beneficial effect was achieved at either lower or higher doses.” THE BELL CURVE!

However, when other cannabinoids came into the mix, like CBG for instance, things looked better, and the bell curve went away. “Other phytocannabinoids, including Tetrahydrocannabivarin, Cannabigerol and Cannabichromene, exert additional effects of therapeutic interest. The therapeutic synergy observed with plant extracts results in the requirement for a lower amount of active components, with consequent reduced adverse effects.” 

Read: the suite of plant compounds work better together, require less dosing, and have fewer side effects than the isolated CBD compound. What does that mean for you? If you’re using higher doses, whole-plant, full-spectrum, and broad-spectrum CBD are going to be superior to CBD isolate.

So, can you take too much broad-spectrum CBD? This is certainly TBD as there aren’t enough conclusive clinical studies just yet to make a call, but one study says probably not. In fact, this 2011 study published in Current Drug Safety showed that you’d have to take roughly 20,000 milligrams of CBD before it becomes toxic to your system. That’s a lot of CBD, pals.

That said, everyone’s body and everyone’s limit is different, so keep to the sage CBD advice of starting low and going slow as you increased the dosage. And as always, work closely with your doctor to make sure your dose of CBD isn’t negatively impacting you or interfering with any medication you may be on.

Written by Dominique Astorino

Wellness Expert and Svn Space Podcast Host and Contributing Editor Dominique holds bylines at POPSUGAR, Brit+Co, SHAPE, Svn Space and Huffington Post Wellness covering everything from health, fitness, and nutrition to crystals and CBD.

1 comment

thanks for writing this article, a good review. I work in the CBD industry and am fascinated by dosage question.

It seems the Bell Shape response curve found 300mg was the sweet spot, a dose that is quite a bit higher than typical serving weights found in consumer productgs. and it should be noted this was a pretty limited trial with 57 men on public speaking as the primary marker (a pretty soft marker).

I agree with this article’s overall thrust, I just think it’s incredibly complicated.

Bruce March 24, 2020

Leave a comment