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.
Iryna Veklich / Getty Images
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.
6 of the Strongest CBD Oils You Can Buy Online 2021
If you’re after the strongest CBD oil on the market, you’ve come to the right place. Cannabidiol, better known as CBD, is extremely popular for its therapeutic potential that may help soothe a variety of ailments, including chronic pain, seizures, anxiety, and more. For those who are looking for serious relief, the highest-concentration oil drops may be what it takes to get the job done—particularly if they haven’t noticed any reprieve with lower-strength oils.
Our picks for strongest CBD oils at a glance:
- Best Full Spectrum:Spruce Max Potency Lab Grade CBD Oil
- Best Variety: CBDistillery
- Best THC Free: Medterra Isolate CBD Oil
- Best Organic:NuLeaf Naturals
- Best for Nighttime:Cornbread Hemp Whole Flower CBD Oil
- Best Taste: FAB CBD
We’ve got you covered with the top six strongest CBD products that we’ve determined—through extensive research, testing, and experimentation—are the highest-quality products available on the market.
Below, read more about strong CBD oils, including what determines their strength, how much to take, and more details on the oils we recommend.
Top 6 strongest CBD oils available online
Best Full Spectrum: Spruce Max Potency Lab Grade CBD Oil
Strength: 2,400 mg per 30 mL bottle (80 mg CBD per 1 mL dropper)
Type: Full Spectrum
Spruce is a family-owned business focused on making small, high-quality batches of high-potency CBD products via moonshine extraction techniques. This is a beautiful, straightforward oil with no added flavors or preservatives, just two all-natural ingredients: organic hemp oil and full-spectrum CBD oil. Spruce CBD oil is on the pricier end, but you get a pristine product—in this case, a high-strength formula with a full range of cannabinoids and terpenes in every bottle.
Best Variety: High Potency CBDistillery CBD Oils
Strength: 2,500 mg or 5,000 mg per 30 mL bottle (83 mg per dropperful and 167 mg per dropperful, respectively)
Type: CBD isolate, broad-spectrum, and full-spectrum options available
By far the strongest CBD oil on our list is CBDistellery’s 5,000 mg CBD oil. It’s an excellent choice if your chronic pain requires higher doses—and the price is friendly, too. This seriously potent product is available in full-spectrum, broad-spectrum, and isolate, so you can enjoy your preference. CBDistillery also offers a very strong 2,500 mg CBD oil if 5,000 mg is too much.
Best THC Free: Medterra Isolate CBD Oil
Strength: 3,000 mg per 30 mL bottle (100 mg CBD per 1 mL dropper)
Type: CBD isolate
If you’re after a pure CBD isolate, you can’t go wrong with Medterra’s high-quality—but still affordable—CBD oil. Its CO2 extraction process removes 100% of THC, leaving just absolute, high-strength CBD infused in organic MCT oil. Medterra also offers a high-potency broad-spectrum CBD oil that contains 2,000 milligrams of CBD and runs at $100 per bottle. With various flavors to choose from, such as citrus and strawberry mint, this is a tasty alternative to the unflavored isolate.
Best Organic: NuLeaf Naturals
Strength: 1,800 mg per 30 mL bottle (60 mg per 1 mL dropper)
Type: Full Spectrum
If organic is important to you, NuLeaf’s high-strength CBD oil tincture—while not quite as potent as other options listed here—is a fantastic choice. NuLeaf grows all of its own hemp plants in Colorado and ensures healthy and organic cultivation practices. From these plants, it utilizes a CO2 extraction method to produce a potent, full-spectrum oil that’s suspended in hemp seed oil for additional health benefits. Do note that while there are a range of bottle sizes (you’ll also see 3,000 and 6,000 milliliters), the actual potency of all these bottles is the same.
Best for Nighttime: Cornbread Hemp Whole Flower CBD Oil
Strength: 1,500 mg per 30 mL bottle (50 mg CBD per 1 mL dropper)
Type: Full Spectrum
Cornbread Hemp Extra Strength Whole Flower CBD Oil contains up to 50 mg of CBD per serving, as well as a range of naturally-occurring terpenes, flavonoids, fatty acids, and cannabinoids. It’s USDA organic, vegan, gluten-free, non-GMO, third-party lab tested for purity, and gives you access to as many beneficial plant compounds found in the hemp plant as possible. This formula is a great choice for nighttime use as it can help you relax and get restful sleep.
Best Taste: FAB CBD
Strength: 2,400 mg per 30 mL bottle (80 mg per dropperful)
Type: Full spectrum
Don’t like the earthy hemp taste of CBD oil? FAB CBD offers high-potency CBD oils in a range of yummy flavors, including citrus, mint, berry, and vanilla (there’s also “natural,” for people who like to keep it simple). Depending on the flavor you choose, the CBD will be blended in fractionated coconut oil or a coconut oil/sunflower oil combination with stevia. All taste good and still provide the full spectrum support you need in a vegan, non-GMO oil. If you’re not into it, FAB CBD offers a 30-day money-back guarantee.
Why CBD Potency Matters
CBD has an incredible array of health benefits. Studies indicate that CBD may provide pain relief, reduce inflammation, and even ease anxiety, depression, and psychosis. Some of these conditions, though may require a strong dose of CBD in order for a person to experience relief, and this is where high-potency CBD oil comes in. You should never start out taking an extra-strong CBD oil if this is your first time trying CBD—start with an average-strength CBD oil (something between 500 and 750 milligrams per 30 milliliter bottle) and play around with the dosage to see what works best for you.
How Do I Determine CBD Oil Strength?
CBD oil products typically vary in strength from mild to extra-strong. When shopping around for the right oil for you, consider the following:
- An average-strength oil will contain a range of 500 to 750 milligrams of CBD per 30 milliliter bottle
- A strong CBD oil will typically contain between 1,000 and 1,500 milligrams per 30 milliliter bottle
- An extra-strength potency would be in the 2,000+ milligrams range of CBD per 30 milliliter bottle
But it’s not just the CBD concentration that makes a tincture strong; there are other factors that you’ll want to keep in mind as well. For instance, the type of hemp extract used to create the product (i.e. full spectrum, broad spectrum, or isolate) may also play a factor in its overall strength.
Full Spectrum vs. Broad Spectrum vs. Isolate
Let’s start with full spectrum CBD oil. This is made with whole plant extract with nothing removed or added, so it’s totally natural. The least manipulated of the CBD oil options, full spectrum maintains a full range of cannabinoids and terpenes, resulting in the desirable entourage effect, in which all of the compounds work together to provide the greatest benefits a CBD oil can provide.
However, full spectrum can have a notable THC content. While full spectrum CBD products will not get you “high” because they contain only trace amounts of the primary psychoactive ingredient within the cannabis plant (less than 0.3%, according to federal regulations), some consumers prefer to eschew the compound altogether.
Broad spectrum implies a greater level of control over the final outcome of the CBD tincture than full spectrum options. While some compounds have been removed, including traceable amounts of THC, broad spectrum products still maintain a broad range of cannabinoids and terpenes to enhance the formula and ensure you receive its benefits.
CBD isolate is what we call pure CBD. That means that solely CBD has been extracted from the plant and no other plant constituents are in the product. The benefit of an isolate is that it contains absolutely zero THC, which is a great option for anyone concerned with passing a drug test. On the other hand, isolate oils may need more overall CBD content to be considered as effective as the whole plant medicine within full and broad spectrum CBD oils.
How Much CBD Oil Is Too Much?
The amount of CBD oil a person needs will depend entirely on the individual, as everyone responds differently. Factors like body weight, metabolism, body chemistry, and the target symptoms will all play a role in the effects felt from CBD.
The best way to determine the right dosage for you is to start small and add more incrementally. Stop at the dosage that gives you relief and makes you feel better. If you experience uncomfortable side effects, lower the dose.
This process is crucial in finding the right CBD oil (and the right potency) for you, and it can help prevent unwanted side effects like nausea, fatigue, and irritability. These adverse reactions are not common, but some people do experience this type of discomfort if they take too much CBD.
If you’re an experienced CBD consumer, you may be comfortable experimenting with high-strength CBD oils. Just keep in mind that CBD may affect certain medications, such as the blood thinner coumadin, so you’ll want to be extra cautious of your CBD dosage if you are on prescription medications. If this is the case, check with your physician before incorporating a strong CBD oil into your daily regimen.
What’s the Best CBD Oil for You?
When choosing the best CBD oil for you, there will likely be some trial and error. Just as it takes some experimentation to discover the perfect dose for your body and symptoms, it can take patience finding the best product for you as well.
There are an overwhelming number of companies within the CBD industry, and while you’re wading through the options, the main thing you want to look for is transparency—specifically in the following categories:
- Third-Party Lab Test Results: To ensure you’re getting a high-quality CBD product, check out the certificate of analysis (CoA). This is a record of independent, third-party testing for each batch of product made. The lab results will indicate the exact cannabinoid composition and the potency of the product, and it will confirm that the oil is free of any unwanted contaminants, like heavy metals or pesticides. The results should also match the information provided by the brand for the particular product, and if a CBD company doesn’t readily publish its CoAs, shop elsewhere.
- Hemp Sourcing: Is the CBD extract being sourced from small family farms or large industrial farms? Brands should be transparent about their plant source, whatever it is. Also keep in mind that American-grown hemp is regulated by domestic laws and will be more dependable than international hemp.
It’s also important to note that while the FDA has not evaluated these CBD products, most studies conclude that CBD is generally safe to consume. Still, it’s always a good idea to check with your physician if you have a serious medical condition or take prescription medications before experimenting with a strong CBD oil.
Maggie Rossell is a certified herbalist, world traveler, and devoted writer. She loves to explore plants and the human experience—and how the two interweave both physiologically and culturally. Her mission is to spark curiosity and inspiration in readers.
Sign up for our Health Shopping newsletter to get your daily dose of retail therapy with great deals handpicked by our editors — straight to your inbox.
Are you on the hunt for the strongest CBD oil? Discover what makes a CBD oil strong and where you can buy quality CBD oils with the highest potency. Shop CBD oils from CBDistillery, Spruce, FAB CBD, Medterra, and NuLeaf Naturals.