What Dosage of CBD Should You Take?
Steven Gans, MD is board-certified in psychiatry and is an active supervisor, teacher, and mentor at Massachusetts General Hospital.
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CBD is available in a number of different formulations including creams, tablets, oils, and gummies. These can vary in terms of their ingredients as well as dosages, and there is not a great deal of research available on what dose might be beneficial or safe to treat certain conditions.
Cannabidiol (CBD) is the second most abundant cannabinoid found in marijuana. Unlike tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), CBD does not have psychoactive effects. Interest in the use of CBD for health purposes has grown tremendously in the last few years.
CBD is believed to have a range of positive physical and mental health effects. Because of this, it has become increasingly popular as a way to alleviate everything from anxiety to sleep disorders.
In order to determine if CBD is right for you, it is important to consider its potential benefits, side effects, and available research on safe dosages.
CBD is just one of hundreds of different compounds found in the cannabis plant. While cannabis has been used in holistic medicine for many years, only recently have researchers begun to explore some of the medicinal purposes for CBD and other cannabinoids.
While further research is still needed, there is some evidence that CBD may have some beneficial mental health effects. These include:
- Alleviating depression: Some research also indicates that CBD may be useful as a treatment for depression. Studies suggest that the cannabinoid might have an influence on how the brain responds to serotonin, a neurotransmitter that plays a key role in mood. People with depression sometimes have a low level of serotonin, so CBD may help the brain use available serotonin more effectively.
- Improving sleep: While the reasons are not entirely understood and require further research, CBD also appears to have potential as a treatment for sleep problems. For example, one study found that people who took CBD also reported improvements in the quality of their sleep.
- Reducing anxiety: Anxiety is one of the most common types of mental health conditions, affecting almost 20% of American adults each year. Research suggests that CBD may help alleviate acute symptoms of a number of anxiety-related conditions including generalized anxiety disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and social anxiety disorder.
In addition to the mental health benefits, CBD may also have therapeutic benefits for a range of other conditions. The World Health Organization suggests that CBD may have beneficial effects in the treatment of:
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Cardiovascular disease
- Multiple sclerosis
It is important to remember that these benefits have not yet been conclusively proven. More research is needed to determine the role that CBD might play in the treatment of different disorders and health conditions.
There have been a number of studies that suggest that CBD may have a number of different physical and mental health uses. However, more research is still needed to better understand the substance’s potential applications and possible long-term side effects.
A 2019 comprehensive review published in The Lancet Psychiatry looked at previously published studies. The review ultimately concluded that there was little evidence to support the use of CBD for mental health purposes and suggested that more research is needed in order to substantiate its use to treat symptoms of conditions such as anxiety, depression, and insomnia.
It is important to remember that this doesn’t mean that CBD isn’t effective. Many of the studies that were included in the review were small, had few participants, and were not randomized controlled trials.
This suggests that more research involving more participants and well-designed studies is needed in order to better understand if, how, and why CBD works.
While its effectiveness is still up for debate, one 2017 review found that it was a relatively safe option. While it is important to remember that there is still a great deal we don’t yet know about CBD and its effects, it is something that you might opt to try to see if you experience any benefits.
How Much Should You Take?
The dosages used in research studies vary and there is no consensus on how much should be used for specific conditions. If you do decide to try CBD, it is also important to note that there is no universally agreed upon dose. Research also suggests that people may respond differently to various dosages, so the amount that is right for your needs might vary.
Some dosages that have been used in research studies for different conditions include:
- Anxiety: 300 to 600 mg
- Bowel disease: 10 mg per day
- Cancer-related pain: 50 to 600 mg per day
- Parkinson’s disease: 75 to 300 mg per day
- Poor sleep: 25 mg per day
- Psychosis: 600 mg per day
One 2020 review of studies found that participants showed improvements in anxiety levels after single doses of CBD ranging from 300 to 600 mg. Such results indicate that the CBD may hold promise as a treatment to alleviate symptoms of acute anxiety.
It is important to remember that you should always talk to your doctor before using CBD if you have symptoms of a serious mental or physical health condition. CBD could potentially worsen symptoms or interact with other medications you are taking.
Looking at the dosage information for the CBD product that has been FDA approved can also be helpful. For Epidiolex, an FDA-approved cannabis-derived medication used to treat seizures in people with certain types of epilepsy, the starting dosage is 5 milligrams per kilogram of body weight. This dose can later be increased to 5 mg per kilogram of body weight twice a day.
Other CBD products are not FDA regulated and do not have officially recommended dosages. This can make it difficult to determine how much you might need, but there are some things you can consider that might help.
- Assess your sensitivity to CBD: Your individual ability to tolerate CBD can also play a role in determining how much you need. If you are very sensitive to the effects of CBD, you should take a small dose. Some people may find that they are not as affected by the substance, so they may need to take a larger dose to notice any beneficial effects.
- Consider individual factors: When you are trying to decide how much CBD to take, there are a number of factors you should consider. These include the formulation and concentration of the capsule, oil drops, or gummies you are taking, the symptoms you are treating, and your age, sex, weight, and overall health. Generally, people with heavier bodies need to take a little more to achieve the same effects. Men may need a larger dose, while older people may need less.
- Consider the symptoms you’re treating: The symptoms you are trying to alleviate can also play a role in the CBD dosage you need to take to see results. In one study, participants who took 25mg of CBD each day had improved sleep quality, although the results were not consistent. However, you might find that you need a lower or higher dose if you are treating another type of condition.
- Try a dosage calculator: Researchers note that while the variety of dosing strategies and formulations make it difficult to determine efficacy, there are a number of online “dose-calculators” available online (such as mydosage.com) that are designed to help people choose the correct dose. The accuracy of such calculators is difficult to assess, but it may be a good place to start.
Before you try CBD, discuss your plan with your doctor. They may be able to recommend a dose and help you better understand any potential risks, complications, side effects, or interactions you might experience.
Start With a Low Dose
Unless your doctor recommends a specific dose, start by taking 10 to 20 mg a day. Take this for a week to ensure that it is well-tolerated and that you don’t experience any unwanted effects or an allergic reaction.
If this dose does not have the desired effect, try increasing in increments of 5mg each week until the desired amount is reached.
In studies, amounts vary from as low as 20 milligrams per day to up to 1,500 milligrams (mg) per day. The World Health Organization reports that dosages in clinical research studies typically range between 100 and 800 milligrams per day.
Is It Possible to Take Too Much?
So what is the maximum amount of CBD you should take? Researchers have found that 600 mg per day appears to be safe, but one study suggested that doses of up to 1,500 mg a day are safe and tolerated well.
However, it’s important to remember that research is still in its infancy and experts do not yet fully understand the potential long-term impacts of CBD usage. For that reason, you should always discuss your CBD use with your doctor.
Starting at a lower dose and working your way up to the amount you need may be the best ways to avoid taking too much.
How to Take CBD
The amount of CBD found in a product may depend on different factors, including the formulation and method of administration. CBD products are available in a number of different forms including oils, capsules, tablets, nasal sprays, and gummies.
One of the most popular ways to take CBD is as an oil. Such products are made by combining CBD with some type of carrier oil, such as coconut oil. Some more recently developed products include dietary supplements, foods, beverages, lotions, salves, and cosmetics.
The type of CBD product you choose may depend on what you are trying to treat. If you are looking for general mood improvements, a dietary supplement might be a good option.
If you are targeting specific symptoms of a condition, taking an oil, capsule, or gummy might be a better way to obtain a higher, more concentrated dose.
Topical applications may produce localized effects, but they are unlike to have any mental health benefits.
What Kind Should You Take?
It’s also important to remember that many products don’t contain just CBD on its own. There are three types of CBD available:
- Isolate contains CBD and only CBD.
- Broad-spectrum contains CBD and other cannabinoids, but not THC.
- Full-spectrum contains CBD, THC, and other cannabinoids.
It may be helpful to take a broad-spectrum product since research suggests that CBD’s effects may be most beneficial when taken in conjunction with other cannabinoids, a phenomenon known as the entourage effect. CBD may also help mitigate some of the effects of THC.
While CBD is generally well-tolerated, this does not mean that you won’t experience any side effects.
Some of the most common side effects that people experience when taking CBD include:
- Appetite changes
- Stomach upset
- Weight changes
Some recent research has generated concerns over the safety and potential long term effects of CBD. One study involved giving mice an equivalent of the maximum dose of the CBD medication Epidiolex, which is used to treat certain forms of epilepsy. The results indicated an increased risk for liver damage as well as concerns over its interaction with other medications.
It is also important to remember that CBD products are not regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Some manufacturers make unproven claims about the uses and efficacy of their products. There is also concern about the quality and safety of the products themselves.
One report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) indicated that a number of people experienced negative unwanted side effects due to CBD products that contained synthetic CBD, although the products were not labeled as containing such ingredients.
Mislabeling appears to be a fairly common problem with CBD products. In one study, 70% of the CBD products that were sold online contained significantly more of the psychoactive ingredient THC than the label indicated.
Federal law prohibits the sale of products that contain more than 0.3% THC. States laws also vary, so you should always check with your state before buying CBD products online.
A Word From Verywell
If you do decide to take CBD to alleviate an acute or chronic condition, remember that the amount that you take will depend on a variety of factors. Finding the right dosage often takes some experimentation and adjustments. Starting with a low dose and then gradually increasing the amount you take until you achieve the desired effects is the best approach.
CBD holds promise as a treatment for a range of conditions, but how much should you take? Learn more about CBD dosages for different purposes.
How Much CBD Should I take?
Not sure how much CBD to take or which concentration to pick? Don’t worry, it’s perfectly normal to be confused by all the different options, and that’s precisely why we’ve put together this step-by-step guide. Keep reading to find out what you need to know about dosing CBD.
Dosing CBD: Where to start?
Although it’s true that how much CBD you should take depends on numerous factors (which we’ll explain shortly), there are two fundamental principles you need to consider first.
A brand you can trust
The first vital consideration is picking a CBD brand you can trust. It’s paramount you know exactly what it is you’re taking, and that the concentration advertised matches what’s in the bottle. Making CBD products is not a simple process, and you need to be confident your CBD oils, capsules, and supplements are free from unwanted additives and chemicals.
Thankfully, at Cibdol, all of our products are subject to rigorous testing, with the results published online and available to the public. Before trying CBD for yourself, you can view a detailed breakdown of the contents in each batch of CBD oil, including the exact concentration of CBD itself.
Start low and go slow
Whether you’re entirely new to CBD or looking to try different products, the second crucial consideration is “start low and go slow”.
The potential of CBD lies in its ability to work in harmony with the body, supporting that all-important state of balance. In this case, balance does not mean flooding the body with CBD, regardless of the compound’s benefits. Instead, the approach is similar to other supplements or vitamins, with a “less is more” attitude.
To truly benefit from CBD, you need to listen to your body and adjust the concentration and/or frequency accordingly.
What factors affect CBD dosage?
With our key watch-outs covered, it’s time to move on to the factors that affect how much CBD you’ll need to take. Remember, though, these factors are important, but they aren’t definitive, so think of them as guidelines rather than rules.
Although research is still in the preliminary stages, early indications suggest there is a potential difference in how CBD and other cannabinoids affect the sexes. It’s believed that hormonal and behavioural differences between men and women could contribute to the overall impact of CBD.
The general summary is that cannabinoids may show a more profound physiological impact in men (food intake and energy balance), and a more profound behavioural impact in women (tension and mood disturbances). These findings are, of course, preliminary, so it’s essential to find what works for you, and not write CBD off if you don’t fall into the categories outlined above.
Height and weight
The simplest way to explain the impact of height and weight on CBD dosing is this—the more you weigh, the more you’ll need to consume to feel the compound’s effect.
CBD works by interacting with a network of receptors (the endocannabinoid system) that extends from head to toe. However, to interact, the compound has to travel around your body first. The rate and efficacy with which CBD is absorbed and ultimately metabolised by the body is thought to differ in heavier individuals versus lighter individuals.
You’ll need to consider the other factors on our list in tandem with this guideline, but, generally speaking, you’ll want to take a higher concentration or dose the greater your height and overall body weight.
For our body to make use of CBD, or any cannabinoid for that matter, we need to break it down into usable parts. Our metabolism plays a crucial role in this process, helping split CBD into smaller pieces that have an easier time travelling around the body.
Although there are many reasons our metabolism slows down, age is a significant factor. When it comes to CBD, you may have to wait longer for the effects to show the older you are, so make sure to give your body the extra time it needs. On the opposite end of the scale, the younger you are, the faster your metabolism, so you may need to consume CBD more often to benefit.
Experience with CBD
The final crucial factor to be aware of when deciding how much CBD to take is your previous experience. If you’ve never tried CBD before, we recommend starting with a low concentration formula, taken once or twice a day.
While the potential side effects of CBD are incredibly mild, everyone reacts to the cannabinoid slightly differently, so it’s important to gauge how you feel before diving headfirst into a bottle of 3000mg or 4000mg CBD oil, for example.
The same rules apply even if you’ve been taking CBD for a while. Always start slow, and build up to your desired dose. Even something as simple as switching from capsules to an isolate powder can dramatically change the impact CBD has on well-being—so take your time.
Choosing the right CBD product
Choosing the right CBD product is less about which one is “best” and more about which product suits your needs. CBD oil and CBD capsules both contain the same full-spectrum extract, but, with a few small changes, the effects of one can last significantly longer than the other.
CBD oils come in a variety of concentrations and carrier oils. For many people, the most noticeable difference in carrier oils is the taste. Olive oil is the closest to an authentic CBD taste, while hemp seed oil is much nuttier, and black cumin seed is somewhere between the two. Picking the flavour you like best will make your wellness journey far more enjoyable.
As for the effect of CBD oil, that depends on how you’re consuming it. CBD oil ingested orally has to contend with the digestive system before it can start circulating your body. It’ll take 30–60 minutes before you feel the effects, but they’ll last much longer as a result.
However, if you drop CBD oil under the tongue, effects are not only more pronounced, but have a quicker onset too. The trade-off is that they don’t last as long, so you’ll need to think about why you’re taking CBD oil, and whether you can keep dosing throughout the day.
CBD Oil 10% (1000mg)
CBD softgel capsules
Softgel capsules are what we mean when we say “the simple approach”—they’re straightforward, easy to consume on the go, and each contain a uniform dose of CBD. Many people add CBD capsules to their supplement routine for ultimate convenience.
Despite the straightforward nature of CBD capsules, it takes a short while for them to take effect. Just like CBD oil taken orally, capsules have to pass through the digestive system before they start working. Fortunately, the effects of CBD capsules last several hours, so it’s easier to fit them in around work or social activities.
CBD Softgels 10% (1000mg)
CBD powder (also called CBD isolate or CBD crystals) is a highly concentrated version of CBD that’s best suited to experienced users. You can add CBD crystals to food or sprinkle them directly under your tongue, but most experienced users prefer infusing them into homemade oils. They’re not the most convenient option for everyday use, but if you’re trying to avoid THC completely, the highly concentrated CBD formula is ideal.
Which CBD strength is best for you?
When we talk about the strength or concentration of CBD, we’re referring to how many milligrams of CBD a given product contains. If we take our 500mg CBD oil (10ml) as an example, it contains 2.5mg per drop, while our 1000mg oil contains 5mg. As the milligrams of CBD increases, so too does the potency.
If you assume an average daily dose of 3–4 drops, three times a day, that equates to approximately 30mg of CBD (based on our 500mg CBD oil). To give you some idea of the limitations, 160mg is seen as a recommended maximum daily amount.
This high tolerance for CBD is why we recommend starting with our 500mg CBD oil, as it represents a middle-ground between the stronger and more mild concentrations. Even at four drops, three times a day, you are still only consuming 30mg of CBD. Don’t underestimate this compound though—in some cases, this may be enough.
It’s important to stress that everyone’s circumstances, and therefore their dosage, will vary. Give yourself several days on a regular dosage to see how you feel before increasing or decreasing accordingly.
To help you calculate the amount (mg) of CBD you’ll be taking, you can use the following as a guide:
• 500mg CBD oil: 2.5mg CBD per drop
• 1000mg CBD oil: 5mg CBD per drop
• 1500mg CBD oil: 7.5mg CBD per drop
• 2000mg CBD oil: 10mg CBD per drop
• 3000mg CBD oil: 15mg CBD per drop
• 4000mg CBD oil: 20mg CBD per drop
• 500mg CBD softgel capsules: 8.3mg CBD per capsule
• 1000mg CBD softgel capsules: 16.6mg CBD per capsule
• 1500mg CBD softgel capsules: 25mg CBD per capsule
• 2000mg CBD softgel capsules: 33.3mg CBD per capsule
• 3000mg CBD softgel capsules: 50mg CBD per capsule
• 4000mg CBD softgel capsules: 66.6mg CBD per capsule
When and how often should you take CBD?
If you’re trying CBD for the first time, it’s a good idea to divide the recommended serving in half, and build your dose slowly over several days. Once you know how your body responds, you can increase or maintain as you wish.
Similar guidelines apply even if you’re an experienced user. Any time you want to change the concentration, consumption method, or product, build the dose slowly and keep track of how much CBD you’re taking using the guidance above.
As for how many times a day you should take CBD, well, that depends on why you’re taking it in the first place, and how easy it is for you to consume. If you’re taking CBD to benefit overall well-being, we recommended splitting your ideal daily dose across three servings. This approach provides a steady input of CBD.
However, there may be situations when you need the impact of CBD at a moment’s notice. In these cases, a few drops of CBD oil taken under the tongue as needed throughout the day could provide support.
Either way, experiment with your dosing and timing until you find a schedule that’s not only easy to stick to, but provides maximum benefit to you.
Comparing Cibdol to other CBD brands
Once you have an idea of the dosage you want to start with, the next most common query is, “How do our recommendations compare to other brands?”.
In truth, it is a nearly impossible question to answer. Not only does the ideal amount of CBD vary from person to person, but you’ll also need to factor in the extraction method a company uses, their production techniques, and the purity of the final product. All of these attributes play a part in the influence of CBD, and directly affect how much you should consume.
Although we cannot answer for other brands, we can highlight what we take into consideration when producing our CBD oil. State-of-the-art equipment and highly specialised CO₂ extraction, alongside an expert team, ensure safe and seamless production from seed to bottle. The result is a range of products containing unadulterated CBD, independently verified by accredited laboratories.
Finding the best daily CBD dose
We’ve covered a lot of ground, and although dosage may seem like a daunting subject, the main takeaway is—listen to your body.
If we had to offer a bonus takeaway, it would be—try our CBD calculator.
Our CBD dosage calculator gives you a recommended daily amount by using details such as height, weight, gender, and your previous experience with CBD. Not only that, but it’ll even recommend a product that matches the details you enter.
You’ll still need to continue fine-tuning your wellness experience on your own, but our guidelines can offer a good starting point whether you’re a beginner, intermediate, or experienced CBD user.
If you’d prefer to first browse all of the CBD oils, capsules, supplements, and creams we have to offer, visit the Cibdol store. Or, if you’re still trying to fine-tune your wellness journey, our CBD Encyclopedia has all the answers to popular queries.
Follow the link to find out how much CBD you should be taking, how Cibdol compares to other CBD brands, and which CBD product is right for you.