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CBD Dosage: How Much Should You Take?

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Table of Contents

  • Determining the Best CBD Dosage for You
  • How to Calculate CBD Dosage
  • How to Take CBD

Cannabidiol (CBD) is growing increasingly popular, thanks to its many purported health benefits and non-intoxicating properties (most CBD products contain less than 0.3% tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC). In fact, 60% of U.S. adults have tried CBD at some point and believe it has medicinal benefits, according to a recent Forbes Health survey of 2,000 U.S. adults conducted by OnePoll. As research evolves and sheds light on CBD’s efficacy, especially for pain relief, more and more people are adding it to their daily wellness regimens.

Consumers can choose from a variety of CBD products, from oils to gummies to vapes to capsules. But figuring out the safe and effective CBD dose for an individual is a complex decision.

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Here’s how to find the right CBD dosage for you and how to consume it safely.

Determining the Best CBD Dosage for You

With the exception of one CBD product, a prescription drug used to treat seizures associated with particular syndromes, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) doesn’t regulate the use of CBD. (In fact, it’s illegal to market CBD as a supplement or add it to food.) Therefore, it’s best to consult a doctor with experience in CBD administration to determine your ideal dosage.

Expressed in milligrams (mg), CBD dosage largely depends on the conditions and symptoms you’re trying to treat and your unique endocannabinoid system, which is associated with motor control, behavior, emotions, the nervous system and homeostasis. CBD dosage remains an area of active research—more large, high-quality studies are needed in different populations to determine appropriate dosing, efficacy and safety guidelines.

“It’s best to start small and gradually increase your dose up to a level that gives you the desired effect,” says Cheryl Bugailiskis, M.D., a cannabis specialist at Heally, a telehealth platform for alternative medicine. Your starting point might look like half a CBD gummy or a drop of oil. Ideally, navigate this process under the guidance of a qualified physician.

If you’re still not sure where to start, mydosage.com offers a questionnaire and CBD calculator to help you based on your specific symptoms and usage goals.

How to Calculate CBD Dosage

When you consume CBD gummies, capsules or softgels, dosage is typically expressed per unit. For example, there may be 50 milligrams of CBD in each individual gummy. These products don’t offer much dosage flexibility since you can’t split up capsules easily. For instance, if one softgel capsule didn’t provide your desired result, you would have to take another full capsule, doubling the total dose.

CBD oil, on the other hand, makes it easier, to begin with a small dose. But calculating CBD oil dosage can be less straightforward. Oils and tinctures tend to come in a dropper bottle and, typically, only the total liquid volume and CBD contents are listed on the label. For example, the label might simply state there’s 1,500 milligrams of CBD in the 30-milliliter bottle.

But what does 1 milliliter look like? Due to the current lack of regulation of CBD, this calculation can be tricky. Start by figuring out the volume of a single drop in your dropper, which is usually 0.05 milliliters, according to Dr. Bugailiskis. If you’re unsure, ask the company.

Here’s where math comes in. Let’s continue with the 30-milliliter bottle with 1,500 milligrams of CBD and 0.05 milliliters in a single drop as our example.

1500mg÷30mL = 50 mg/mL

This bottle contains 50 milligrams of CBD per milliliter. Let’s see how many milligrams are in a drop:

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50mg/mL ×0.05mL/drop = 2.5mg/drop

Each drop contains 2.5 milligrams of CBD.

Next, you can calculate how many drops you need to reach your goal dosage. Let’s say you want to consume 25 milligrams each day.

25mg÷2.5mg/drop = 10 drops
10 drops ×2.5mg = 0.5mL

With this CBD oil dosage calculator as your guide, you would find that you needed to consume 10 drops, or 0.5 milliliters, to reach 25 milligrams. And if you intend to consume 25 milligrams daily, you can expect this particular bottle to serve as a 60-day supply.

Some CBD products do some of this math for you and illustrate how many milligrams are in a milliliter, some even marking these points on the dropper so you know exactly what you’re taking.

CBD Dosage for Different Ailments

Without FDA approval, there is little guidance in the U.S. on how much CBD a person should consume for various conditions.

In many medical studies on CBD, you see administered doses reach hundreds of milligrams a day, which sounds severe compared to our starting dosage example of 25 milligrams. However, Steven Phan, founder of Come Back Daily, a CBD dispensary in New York, points out that patients in these studies are often dealing with serious flare-ups and pain-inducing conditions compared to everyday dispensary customers.

Below are clinically-studied CBD dosages based on different ailments and conditions. Note: Some of the formulations studied contained THC as well—not all available dosage research sticks strictly to CBD.

Condition Dose* Anxiety 300mg–600 milligrams a day [1] Linares, Ila M. et al. Cannabidiol presents an inverted U-shaped dose-response curve in a simulated public speaking test . Brazilian Journal of Psychiatry. 2019;41(1):9-14. [2] Bergamaschi MM, Queiroz RH, Chagas MH, et al. Cannabidiol reduces the anxiety induced by simulated public speaking in treatment-naïve social phobia patients . Neuropsychopharmacology. 2011;36(6):1219-1226. Select forms of epilepsy Starting at 2.5 milligrams per kilogram of the person’s body weight twice daily [3] EPIDIOLEX- cannabidiol solution. DailyMed. Accessed 7/4/2021. Central neuropathic and cancer-related pain A maximum of 30 milligrams a day (or 12 sprays) [4] Sativex Oromucosal Spray – Summary of Product Characteristics (SmPC) – (emc). Datapharm. Accessed 7/4/2021. Opioid addiction 400 or 800 milligrams a day [5] Hurd YL, Spriggs S, Alishayev J, et al. Cannabidiol for the Reduction of Cue-Induced Craving and Anxiety in Drug-Abstinent Individuals With Heroin Use Disorder: A Double-Blind Randomized Placebo-Controlled Trial. American Journal of Psychiatry. 2019;176(11):911-922. Arthritis A maximum of 30 milligrams a day (or 12 sprays), or 250 milligrams applied topically [4] Sativex Oromucosal Spray – Summary of Product Characteristics (SmPC) – (emc). Datapharm. Accessed 7/4/2021.

*Dosages are based solely on small, short-term clinical study results where CBD proved significantly successful over placebo. Much larger studies are needed to further strengthen the evidence.

FDA-approved Epidiolex administers CBD orally as a liquid to treat seizures associated with Lennox-Gastaut syndrome, Dravet syndrome and tuberous sclerosis complex. The dosage of Epidiolex is determined by taking the patient’s weight in kilograms (kg) into account.

Several countries, including Canada and those in the U.K., have approved the use of Sativex, an oral spray with equal amounts of CBD and THC, to treat pain stemming from multiple sclerosis. Canada has also approved it for treatment of cancer pain.

The medical and research community still has a long way to go before figuring out what dose works best for each condition. At an individual level, consumers can experiment with caution until they find what works best for them.

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How to Take CBD

Popular ways to take CBD include:

  • Oils and tinctures (extracts of plant material dissolved in ethanol): A liquid that comes in a bottle with a dropper
  • Gummies: A soft, chewable candy that’s often fruit-flavored
  • Sprays: A liquid that comes in a bottle with a nozzle for spraying into the mouth
  • Capsules: Tablets or softgels that are ingested by mouth
  • Vapes: CBD oil that’s heated without ignition, resulting in an inhalable vapor
  • Flower: Dried hemp plant that’s often ignited and smoked
  • Edibles: Any food that CBD oil has been added to, such as brownies or chips
  • Drinks: Any beverage that’s infused with CBD, often in the form of hemp extract
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Your CBD product of choice will largely depend on your personal preferences, as well as your budget since prices vary depending on the potency of ingredients and manufacturing processes. Different mediums also offer varying levels of bioavailability—or how much of what you take is actually absorbed into your bloodstream to have an effect. For example, if you ingest 10 milligrams of CBD via 1 milliliter of liquid, your body might absorb about 60% of it, or about 6 milligrams.

Cannabinoids generally have a low bioavailability compared to other substances, according to Jordan Tishler, M.D., a physician specializing in cannabis treatment in Massachusetts. However, “products that contain emulsifiers like egg yolk (brownies) or lecithin (some gummies) do better,” he says.

With that said, ingesting CBD via gummies or other edibles may take longer to take effect since the CBD has to travel to your digestive system to be broken down and absorbed.

Can You Take Too Much CBD?

Like with any substance, you can take more CBD than your body can handle. Studies show doses up to 1,500 milligrams a day have been well-tolerated, but every person is different [7] Bergamaschi MM, Costa Queiroz RH, Zuardi AW, Crippa JAS. Safety and side effects of cannabidiol, a Cannabis sativa constituent. Current Drug Safety. 2011;6(4):237-49. . Ingesting too much CBD can cause unpleasant side effects, such as dry mouth, nausea, diarrhea, upset stomach, drowsiness, lightheadedness and general disorientation. While rare, liver damage can also occur.

What’s more, CBD can have serious interactions with certain medications. In evaluating available information on five prescription CBD-based medications, researchers found 139 medications could have a potential drug-drug interaction with CBD [8] Kocis PT, Vrana KE. Delta-9-Tetrahydrocannabinol and Cannabidiol Drug-Drug Interactions. Medical Cannabis and Cannabinoids. 2020;3:61–73. . People who take certain blood thinners, heart rhythm medications, thyroid medications and seizure medications need to be particularly careful.

At the end of the day, not all supplements are created equal, which is why it’s important to work alongside a health care provider when adding CBD to your wellness regimen and research reliable brands. And while emerging research and anecdotal evidence is promising, more large, randomized-controlled trials are needed to further understand the benefits of CBD and its dosing.

CBD DOSING GUIDE – How Much Should I Take? [UPDATED]

UPDATED March 2, 2021 – Ready to reap the benefits of CBD? Awesome. One of the things that is most important to understand how much CBD you should be taking and what a suggested dose is based on. Much of this is dependent on our individual bodies and there is not an official serving size, in this post we cover some dosing guidelines and suggestions to assist you. As you might guess, much of this is a function of our individual weight and metabolism and body chemistry. Dive in and see what is best for you so you can get the most out of your C+L supplements and improve your personal preparation, performance + recovery.

Let’s start by addressing some common misconceptions about CBD. First off: you can’t get “high” using CBD. In order to be legal for sale in the US, CBD can’t contain more than 0.3% concentration of THC, the psychoactive compound responsible for the sensation of “getting high”. In simple terms: virtually no amount of CBD could be consumed to trigger the psychoactive effects commonly associated with THC. Put another way, there’s small amounts of alcohol in toothpaste, but you’re never going to get drunk by swallowing tubes of Colgate. That said, it is important to figure out the right dosage for your needs.

How Much CBD Should I Take?

Dialling in the correct dosage for your body is an important part of getting the most out of your CBD supplements. Once you’ve found the right dosage you’re not only going to get the most benefits from your supplements and feel great, but you’re also going to guard against wasting money by using excess product.

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As a baseline, our suggested dosage is 0.25mg CBD multiplied by your body weight in pounds on a daily basis. Therefore, a 120 pound person should take 30mg CBD daily (0.25 x 120 = 30), and a 200 pound person should take 50mg CBD daily (0.25 x 200 = 50). Ideally, split your doses equally between morning and evening. With this formula you can now easily figure out your suggested dose.

That said, there is no ‘official serving size’ or standard dose’ and it varies from person to person. Your ideal dosage will be based on a variety of factors including your weight, metabolism, the type of product you’re using (tincture, softgel, topical), and body type. For the best potential for success, we recommend some experimentation and consistent usage to determine the right dosage for you. It can take 2-3 weeks to determine the proper dosage, but once you witness CBD’s effects on your body you’ll be in a better position to decide how much to take and when to take it, so be patient and take your time.

CBD Dosage

  1. Tinctures – taking the correct amount of tincture can be confusing, so we are going explain it in detail. This is going to be easy using the information from the formula we introduced above. First, you need to be mindful of which strength of tincture that you purchased, 500 or 1000mg. Remember, our examples are based-on only using tinctures, so adjust accordingly if you are also using softgels, oral spray or topicals.
    1. Now, if you purchased a 500mg Tincture, the full bottle will contain ~600 drops worth of tincture and each drop will contain approximately 0.8mg of CBD. Now, if you recall from reading above, we suggest a dose of 0.25mg multiplied by your bodyweight in pounds. For example, if you are 120 pounds you should be taking 30mg CBD per day for best results. Here is our formula 0.25 x 120 = 30mg, and now to convert that into drops, we take 30mg and divide that by the 0.8mg per drop and you get ~35 drops (experiment with between 30-40 drops and see what works best for you). For a 200 pound person, our formula suggests a does of ~60 drops per day (experiment between 60-70 drops per day and see what is optimal).
    2. Let’s run through this same exercise using our 1000mg tincture bottle which also contains ~600 drops of CBD oil. It is important to note that since this product is 2x the concentration that each drop now contains ~1.6mg of CBD. For the same 120 pound person that we used as an example above, you would now take ~15 drops per day (experiment with between 15-25 drops per day to see what is optima)l. For the 200 pound person, they would take ~30 drops per day (experiment with between 25-35 drops per day and see what works best for your body). Check out our PREPARE Tincture for your morning routine or RECOVER Tincture in the evening or 60 minutes before bed.

    Dosage Tips

    In order to figure out the right dosage for you, here are some basic steps to start with:

    1. Start Small – We recommend starting with smaller doses and gradually increasing as needed. Although too much CBD won’t cause any harm, taking more than you need could waste product unnecessarily. If you’re a tincture user, start with 1/2 of our suggested dose for the first week of your PREPARE Tincture in the morning or one dosage of RECOVER Tincture in the evening 60 minutes prior to bedtime.
    2. Take Daily – Everyone’s body is different when it comes to CBD. Many people need to build up the substance in their system in order to start seeing benefits. If you don’t see results right away, keep up your daily doses for four weeks, paying close attention to the changes you sense in your body.

    Once you’ve figured out your ideal CBD dose you’ll be able to feel confident as you start maximizing the positive benefits of your CBD routine and enjoy the effects it has on your personal preparation, performance and recovery.