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Secret Shopper: How much hemp CBD do I need to take?

As hemp CBD has become more popular, more customers are looking for answers. Our secret shopper dropped in a wellness center in the Midwest to get some advice.

NFM Staff

January 3, 2020

3 Min Read
retailers need to be careful when talking about CBD to stay compliant with the Food and Drug Administration

Natural Foods Merchandiser: How much hemp CBD do I need to take?

Retailer: What benefit are you looking for?

NFM: Mostly, I’d like to manage stress and stay focused.

Retailer: Great. Well, everyone’s needs are different. Our bodies make their own cannabinoids, which can become depleted, and some people need more cannabidiol (CBD) than others to impact the endocannabinoid receptors. We always recommend starting with a low dose and giving it a few days to see how you feel. Then if you need to, increase it by a few milligrams.

NFM: When I’ve found an effective dose, should I feel a difference?

Retailer: Oh yeah. When I started using CBD, I felt noticeably calmer and better able to focus on the present. But dosing also depends on the product type and concentration. These oils, for example, are very highly concentrated and absorb under the tongue very quickly, so you should be able to consume fewer milligrams of CBD than if you took that amount in a gummy.

How did this retailer do?

Aimée Shunney, ND, of Santa Cruz Integrative Medicine in Santa Cruz, California

Our expert educator: Aimée Shunney, ND, of Santa Cruz Integrative Medicine in Santa Cruz, California, and medical adviser for CV Sciences Inc.

Overall, this retailer did a great job. She provided a lot of great info, mentioned bioavailability and people having different needs, and asked important questions. She also didn’t make any overarching health claims. Instead, she shared her own experience. This is very important because we don’t have reams of double-blind, placebo-controlled trials to point to—just a tremendous amount of anecdotal data—and retailers need to be careful when talking about CBD to stay compliant with the Food and Drug Administration.

Related:7 retailer and brand owner questions answered about hemp CBD

I also think it’s important to ask what the shopper hopes to achieve with CBD, just as this retailer did, especially if it is going to lead to a product or dosing suggestion. Stress versus chronic pain, for instance—those are different animals. When I work with patients who have anxiety, I often see amazing results with just 3 milligrams or 5 milligrams. But for anxiety, I don’t think you need to wait a few days. If taking it sublingually, I’d expect some benefit within 20 minutes. If not, titrate up. If you’re taking CBD for chronic pain, on the other hand, you might start with 35 milligrams or 50 milligrams.

But it also depends on whether it’s CBD in a full-spectrum hemp oil, an isolate or a different form. As a retailer, I’d suggest the product, concentration and potency based on what the person wants to achieve—as long as you also state that they need to start slow and go up from there.

Finally, the retailer is correct in that individual cannabinoid production can sometimes be depleted and CBD can help. But it isn’t only that. It’s also that the endocannabinoid tone—the way different receptors are stimulated—gets out of balance because of daily stressors, too much sugar in the diet, etc., creating a very inflammatory environment in the body. CBD helps balance the overall endocannabinoid system, which is crucial for balancing every system in the body, whether cardiovascular or endocrine.

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