A guide to CBD strength ratings - what do the numbers actually mean?
Updated: Jul 4, 2020
Have you ever bought a CBD product and even after a few weeks of use didn't get any benefit from it? Maybe it wasn't as strong as the label implied!
Users of CBD products, especially new users, sometimes find themselves struggling to figure out how strong a CBD product really is from the information on the label. Sometimes it's not just as straight forward as reading the number of milligrams.
This guide helps provide some insight into what the numbers on the label actually mean.
500mg, 1000mg, 2.5%, 8% - these are all examples of the kind of figures that are given on the labels of CBD products. But what do they mean when you’re trying to determine the strength of a product?
Well the number of mg typically refers to the total absolute amount of cannabinoids in the product (note this isn’t necessarily the same as the total amount of CBD, but we’ll come back to that later).
What often confuses people with this figure is that they assume it is the strength of the product, but it isn’t really, especially if you measure your doses by reference to drops, droppers, or millilitres as opposed to aiming for an exact amount of mg. In our experience most people measure doses in drops so understanding what the true strength of the CBD product you use is really important.
This is because there’s another variable that must be taken into account – namely the volume of the product container.
For example if you have a 10ml bottle of CBD Oil which has 1000mg stated on the label, and a 20ml bottle that is also stated as 1000mg, then those two bottles have different strengths.
Drop for drop and ml for ml, the 20ml bottle is only half as strong as the 10ml bottle. Yes they both contain the same overall amount of cannabinoids, but if you measure your dose in drops or ml’s then you’re getting only half the amount of CBD when using the 20ml product.
Confusing? It certainly is! This is why another metric is also very important and is given by some suppliers, including The Village CBD Company, on the label – a percentage.
The percentage given represents the concentration, i.e. the true measure of the drop-for-drop strength of a product.
To continue the example above, and trying to avoid any overly heavy maths, 1000mg of cannabinoids/CBD in a 10ml bottle is a concentration of 10%.
Therefore, 1000mg in a 20ml bottle is a 5% concentration - drop for drop it's only half as strong as the 10% oil.
So the percentage concentration is actually more important than the total overall mg in assessing the strength of a CBD product. 2000mg sounds like a very strong CBD product right? Well yes it is if it’s in a 10ml bottle, but not so much if it’s in a 100ml bottle! The former is 20% strength and the latter is 2% strength.
Here is our handy conversion table to calculate the percent from the mg of CBD on the label and the bottle size.
As an aside, in our opinion, anything less than 2.5% isn't strong enough for most people, unless you're buying it for pet use.So in summary, if you already measure your doses by calculating the exact milligrams of CBD that you're taking then you don't have to worry about percentages because you’ll already be adjusting your dose with stronger or weaker CBD products by taking a lesser or greater volume of the product respectively.
But most people measure their doses in drops, droppers, or millilitres and if you do that then the percentage concentration is crucial to be aware of, otherwise you might be taking a larger or smaller dose of CBD in milligrams than you intended.
Now earlier in the article I mentioned that the milligram rating of a product is typically the total overall amount of cannabinoids in the product.
In particular, suppliers of full spectrum and broad spectrum CBD products may well be referring to the overall amount of cannabinoids.
So a 1000mg / 10% CBD oil might in fact contain 600mg CBD and 400mg CBDa, rather than 1000mg CBD. This is important to know because some cannabinoids like CBDa have far fewer proven benefits than CBD itself.
Therefore the product in this example may not be giving the benefits someone anticipates if they’re used to a different product that did actually contain 1000mg CBD.
The Village CBD COmpany always list the total amount of CBD itself to avoid any confusion, and so that customers always know how much CBD they’re using - 1000mg is always 1000mg CBD with our products.
Hopefully this guide has helped clear up some of the confusion surrounding the strength of CBD products and proves useful to readers going forward