CBD Relaxation Guide: Finding Your Ideal Serving Size
Civilizations have embraced the many positive attributes of cannabis throughout recorded history. Although historians tend to highlight the significance of hemp's protein-rich seeds and durable fiber, documented evidence of its use for more than 100 health and wellness concerns dates back to 2737 BCE.6 After centuries of observation and speculation, advances in research technology eventually revealed how a single plant element could have a positive impact on so many seemingly unrelated concerns. It's all about balance, equilibrium.
Of the many reasons to embrace the health and wellness potential of hemp-derived CBD products, relaxation could be one of the most impactful. Relaxing your body helps calm your mind. Calming your mind helps relax your body.8 Restoring balance helps mitigate the potentially detrimental effects of unresolved stress. If you've got a few minutes to spare, there could be no better time to discover how CBD works, how long it could take your system to respond, and how to find your ideal serving size.
What CBD Is & How It Works in Your Body
CBD is the commonly used abbreviation for cannabidiol, one of more than 113 cannabinoids in cannabis plants. It's the dominant cannabinoid in hemp flower and produced in much smaller amounts in marijuana. Once hemp plants have matured, the cannabinoid-rich oil is extracted, distilled, and used as an ingredient in numerous products with considerable health and wellness potential. Researchers credit CBD's many potential benefits to its interaction with a regulatory system identified in the early 1990s, the endocannabinoid system (ECS).5
As the largest regulatory system in your body, ECS signaling impacts nearly every crucial function, from your moods, emotional equilibrium, and stress responses to sleep cycle regulation, metabolism, and muscle movement. The cannabinoids produced in your body (endocannabinoids) function as ECS messengers. Cannabis researchers believe CBD helps support ECS function in a way that promotes homeostasis.7 When internal or external influences threaten essential balance, the processes of homeostasis restore equilibrium.3
CBD & Relaxation: What the Research Shows
It's difficult to relax when you're feeling overworked, overburdened, or overwhelmed. When your stress levels rise, an instantaneous release of cortisol and adrenalin initiated by your autonomic nervous system flips your switch to survival mode. Your heart rate increases, breathing patterns change, and muscles tense to prepare your body to fight or flee. Your system remains in a state of high alert until receiving signals that the threat has passed.4
While there isn't much research delving into CBD's impact on relaxation specifically, numerous publications suggest favorable results for stress-related (temporary) anxiety. During a small-scale study in 2011, for example, research participants given CBD before a simulated public speaking event reported less physical discomfort, less stress-induced cognitive impairment, and lower anxiety levels than control groups receiving a placebo.1 During a 2019 study involving 103 participants, CBD's "calming" effect was credited for an overall improvement in sleep scores.9
CBD Delivery Methods: Selecting the Product That's Right for You
The purity and potency of your CBD can have a significant impact on your experience. As you're comparing brands, look for a Certificate of Analysis (COA), the document that confirms your purchase is as potent as the manufacturer claims and tested for impurities by an unbiased third-party lab. Once you've verified that any claims of third-party testing are backed by a COA, you can narrow the field by extract type. There are three: full spectrum, broad spectrum, and CBD isolate.
Full spectrum CBD products give you all the additional cannabinoids, terpenes, and other phytonutrients produced in the plant. It's the only type with a small amount of THC (0.3%). Broad spectrum CBD has additional cannabinoids and terpenes, but the THC is reduced to non-detectable levels. CBD isolate is flavorless, odorless, and has 0%THC. While there's no product type that appeals to everyone, the following descriptions could help nudge you in the right direction.
CBD Oil Tinctures
CBD oil tinctures are made with a blend of hemp extract and a carrier oil. The oil helps maximize the absorption of fat-soluble cannabinoids. If you add your tincture to foods and drinks, it can take up to an hour (or more) for the cannabinoids to enter your bloodstream. Many CBD users find that holding the oil beneath their tongues for 45-60 seconds before swallowing can deliver an effect in as little as 20 minutes. The bulbed dropper makes it easy to adjust serving sizes.
CBD Gummies & Softgels
Gummies and CBD softgels deliver a precise, pre-measured amount of CBD in every serving. They're convenient, easy to use, and portable. They're great for travel because you won't have to worry about measuring serving sizes or carrying a glass bottle. When you're trying to find your ideal serving size, CBD gummies are the better choice. You can cut them into smaller portions. Like any other product that processes through your digestive system, it can take an hour (or more) for their effects to peak.
Ingestible CBD products have a system-wide effect. If your inability to relax leaves you with muscle tension in your neck and shoulders after a hectic day, you might prefer a CBD topical. They're fast-acting, long lasting, and make it easy to target a specific area of your body. Many CBD users report relief in as little as 10 minutes. Topicals can be used on their own or to complement the effects of your favorite consumables. For best results, apply liberally to clean, dry skin.
Guidelines for Finding Your Ideal Serving Size
Nearly every CBD product has a serving size suggestion printed on the label. But an amount of CBD that works for someone else could be significantly more or considerably less than the amount that's best for you. Using more CBD than you need is not harmful, but there's no additional benefit. You'll just be increasing the cost of daily use unnecessarily.
It's also important to understand that you may not achieve the results you're hoping for right away. Every CBD user is different. You may need to be patient for a few days or even several weeks because there are multiple variables that factor into the equation, including your age, body composition, metabolism, and tolerance levels. The following suggestion will help you determine the smallest amount of CBD you need to get the best results.
Start With a Partial Serving
We suggest starting low and going slow. The total number of milligrams in your serving is up to you. You might want to start with half or a quarter of a gummy, a partial dropper of a CBD oil tincture, or even just a few drops. If you don't get the results you're looking for, increase the amount you're using gradually in small increments. Some people adjust with every serving, while others stick with the same amount for several days to give their system time to respond.
Listen to Your Body
Your body knows best. Although CBD and other hemp-derived cannabinoids are generally well tolerated and safe for most people, side effects are possible. Some people experience fatigue, dry mouth, nausea, diarrhea, or changes in appetite.2 Experiencing side effects after an incremental change could be a sign that you've increased your serving sizes too quickly or by too much.
Document Your Results
When you first start using CBD, consider making a chart to document your serving sizes. Write down any changes in the way you feel throughout the day. Your notes can be as brief or as detailed as you choose. Not only can documenting your experience help you dial back if you develop unpleasant symptoms, you'll gain valuable insight about serving size variations if you're using CBD for more than one purpose.
Consult Your Healthcare Provider
CBD is generally well-tolerated and safe for most adults. In a 2020 report by the World Health Organization, the agency found "no evidence of public health-related problems.".10 But CBD is not right for everyone. The cannabinoid can interact with medications and is not advisable for people with certain health conditions. Consult your healthcare provider if you have questions or concerns.
Why Choose CBDistillery® CBD Products for Relaxation
A quick internet search will direct you to numerous CBD brands. But they're not all the same. The purity, potency, and overall quality can vary from one company to the next. When you choose CBDistillery® products, you can shop with confidence. Our CBD oil tinctures, topicals, softgels, gummies, isolates, and pet products are manufactured in a cGMP-registered facility, rigorously tested, quality assured, and backed by a 60-day satisfaction guarantee.
Based on a 2019 CBDistillery® survey of 1,900 customers, most respondents reported a positive impact using our hemp-derived CBD products for relaxation, better sleep, mild or temporary anxiety, and discomfort after physical activity. According to our data, most also reported achieving their best results within 7-14 days of consistent use. If you're impressed with what you've learned so far but not quite sure where to begin, consider taking our 3-minute CBD Product Quiz or scheduling a personal consultation.
Bergamaschi M, Queiroz R, et al. (2011) Cannabidiol Reduces the Anxiety Induced by Simulated Public Speaking in Treatment-Naïve Social Phobia Patients. 36(6) Neuropsychopharmacology 1219-26. https://doi.org/10.1038/npp.2011.6
Bergamaschi M, Mateus R, et al. (2011) Safety and Side Effect of Cannabidiol, a Cannabis Sativa Constituent. 6(4) Curr Drug Saf 237-49. https://doi.org/10.2174/157488611798280924
Bergland C. (2023) What Is Homeostasis? VeryWell Health.
Chu B, Marwaha K, et al. (2022) Physiology, Stress Reaction. StatPearls https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK541120/
Crocq M. (2022) History of Cannabis and the Endocannabinoid System. 22(3) Dialogues Clin Neurosci 223-28. doi: 10.31887/DCNS.2020.22.3/mcrocq. PMID: 33162765; PMCID: PMC7605027.
Lennon A. (2020) How the Ancients Used Cannabis – 8000 Years Ago. Labroots.
Sallaberry C, Astern L. (2018) The Endocannabinoid System, Our Universal Regulator. 34(6) JYI 48-55. https://www.jyi.org/2018-june/2018/6/1/the-endocannabinoid-system-our-universal-regulator
Scott E, Ph.D. (2022) How to Relax Your Body and Mind. Very Well Mind.
Shannon S, Lewis N, et al. (2019) Cannabidiol in Anxiety and Sleep: A Large Case Series. 23, Perm J 18-41. https://doi.org/10.7812/TPP/18-041
World Health Organization. (2020) Cannabidiol (CBD) Critical Review Report. PDF https://www.who.int/docs/default-source/controlled-substances/whocbdreportmay2018-2.pdf?sfvrsn=f78db177_2