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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.

A bottle of CBD oil and a medicine dropper

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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.

Possible Benefits

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
  • Arthritis
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Diabetes
  • Infection
  • Inflammation
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Nausea
  • Pain
  • Psychosis

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.

Research

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.

CBD Dosages

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.

Side Effects

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
  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea
  • Dizziness
  • 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.  

Safety

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.

CBD Dosage Calculator: How Much CBD Should I Take?

The optimal dose of CBD depends on your weight and the potency of the oil you’re using.

Learn how to find the perfect dose using our CBD dosage calculator.

Article By

Everybody’s been talking about CBD oil and its long list of health benefits. You’ve shopped around and found a high-quality CBD oil to start yourself off with and you’re ready to get started.

How much do I take? Can I take too much?

In this article, we’re going to talk about dosing CBD oil. We’ll cover how dosing can vary depending on factors like weight, age, the condition you’re treating, the potency of the oil you’re using, and more.

You’ll learn how to find the best dose for your body, and what to do if you experience side effects.

To make dosing as easy as possible, you can also use our CBD oil dosage calculator — which estimates your optimal dose based on your weight, desired strength, and potency of the CBD oil you’re using.

MEDICALLY REVIEWED BY

Updated on January 08, 2021

Table of Contents
  • CBD Oil Dosage Calculator
  • What’s the Normal Dose of CBD?
    • CBD Dosage For Anxiety
    • CBD Dosage For Pain
    • CBD Dosage For Sleep
    • CBD Dosage For Depression
  • Calculating the Dose of CBD Based on Your Weight (How This Calculator Works)
    • CBD Dosage Chart by Weight & Strength (in mg)
  • What CBD Strength Should I Use?
    • Recommended Strength by Condition
  • Dosing CBD: 4 Steps to Finding the Perfect Dose of CBD Oil
    • Step #1: Find Your Optimal CBD Dose
      • Here’s the General Rule of Thumb for CBD Dosing According to Weight & Strength:
      • How To Calculate Dose From Your Weight
      • Here’s an example of this in practice:
    • Step #2: Determine the Potency of Your CBD Oil
      • Here’s What You Need to Take Into Account:
      • Use This Formula to Calculate Potency:
      • Reference Chart for CBD Oil Potencies:
    • Step #3: Convert the Dose into Drops (Optional)
      • Common CBD Oil Doses By Drop (Assuming the Dropper Provides 30 Drops per mL):
      • How to Find the Number of Drops of CBD Oil You Need Based On Your Target Dose:
      • Quick Reference Chart For Finding The Number of Drops Per Dose For Common CBD Oil Potencies
    • Step #4: Tweak The Dose To Match Your Body
      • Every time you try a new brand of CBD, the dose can change due to factors such as:
  • Pro Tip: Match the Potency of the Oil With Your Estimated Target Dose
  • Top-Rated Best CBD Oils for 2021
  • Key Takeaways: How Much CBD Should I Use?

CBD Oil Dosage Calculator

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What’s the Normal Dose of CBD?

The most common dose of CBD is 20 – 40 mg per dose. Some people take much less (as low as 1 mg), others take much higher (up to 100 mg).

Depending on the strength of the product you’re using, this could be anywhere from a few drops to several milliliters of oil. It could also involve anywhere from 1 – 5 capsules or gummies per dose.

The truth is that the optimal dose of CBD is different for everybody.

It’s common for two people with identical weight to respond very differently to the same dose of CBD. One person may find the ideal dose for them is 30 mg of CBD, while the other responds better to just 10 mg.

The ideal dose of CBD for you depends on a variety of factors, including:

  1. Your size and weight
  2. The severity of the condition you’re treating
  3. Your tolerance to CBD
  4. Your individual body chemistry
  5. The potency of the CBD oil, capsules, gummies, or other CBD products you’re using

The best way to find the right dose for your body is to start with a very low dose (2 mg, for example) and increasing by 2-5 mg per dose until you find what works best for you.

CBD Dosage For Anxiety

The effective dose of CBD oil for anxiety or chronic stress usually falls on the moderate to heavy range of the spectrum.

However, some people with anxiety disorders find they’re especially sensitive to CBD may only need a small dose.

When using CBD oil to manage anxiety levels, it’s best to start with a mild dose first to see how you respond. If you don’t see any improvement, move up to the moderate dosage next. Most people notice improvement with the moderate or heavy dosage according to their weight.

For best results, take CBD oil first thing in the morning, and repeat around lunch time. Many people will take a mild “booster dose” about 30 to 60 minutes before engaging in activities that trigger their anxiety.

CBD Dosage For Pain

The dose of CBD oil for pain can vary significantly. For mild pain, such as low-grade arthritis, mild PMS pain, or low back pain — a mild or moderate dose of CBD oil will usually do the trick.

For more severe pain, nerve pain, or treatment-resistant multiple sclerosis or cancer pain — you’ll likely need to use a heavy dose of CBD oil.

Some people experience the painkilling benefits of CBD oil immediately, others need to take the oil for a few days or weeks before noticing any improvement.

The time it takes to notice improvement depends on the underlying condition that’s causing the pain.

Inflammatory pain, cancer pain, or pain from endometriosis can take a long time — while arthritis pain, digestive pain, muscle pain, and PMS pain usually improve within a few hours of taking CBD oil.

For arthritis or joint pain, you can get faster effects by using a CBD pain cream alongside your CBD oil.

CBD Dosage For Sleep

CBD oil has been shown to improve both the quality and duration of sleep — but studies have shown the effective dose of CBD oil for sleep is higher than other conditions. Aim for the heavy dose of CBD oil if the goal is to improve your sleep.

Low doses of CBD (less than 10 mg) can have a stimulating effect, while higher doses (20 mg or higher) are generally much more sedative. The more CBD oil you use, the stronger the sedative effect.

Certain types of CBD extracts also tend to have a stronger impact on sleep. For example, CBD oils that contain sleep-supportive terpenes such as linalool, bisabolol, lavandin, or myrcene have the strongest sedative action.

You can also find CBD oils that contain melatonin to make the oil even better for promoting sleep.

CBD Dosage For Depression

CBD oil is useful for managing symptoms of many mood disorders — including depression.

Finding the right dose of CBD oil for depression can take some trial and error. The underlying processes that cause depression don’t happen overnight, and they won’t disappear overnight either. It can take several weeks or months of steady CBD oil supplementation — along with other lifestyle modifications — before you can expect any real improvement.

It’s best to start with a mild or moderate dosage of CBD oil for a few weeks before graduating to the heavy dose once you understand how CBD affects your body individually.

Calculating the Dose of CBD Based on Your Weight (How This Calculator Works)

While the dose of CBD is unique for everybody, there is a general rule of thumb that can be used to determine an estimated dose based on your weight and the strength of effects you’re looking for (low, medium, and high strength).

cbd dosage

Our dosage calculator is based on the calculations listed below. These doses are estimates and should not be used to replace professional medical advice regarding dosage.

I recommend you start with the low-strength dose when using CBD for the first time and increase the dose slowly over time. When you find a dose that works, you’ve found the right dose for your body. If you experience side effects, you’ve found your upper limit. Reduce the dose to the last amount that didn’t produce side effects.

Calculating the Dose of CBD By Weight & Strength:
  • Low strength → 1 mg CBD per 10 pounds (2 mg per 10 kg)
  • Medium strength → 3 mg CBD per 10 pounds (7 mg per 10 kg)
  • High strength → 6 mg CBD per 10 pounds (13 mg per 10 kg)

It’s important to note that this measurement is in pure CBD, not CBD oil.

We’ll go over calculating how much CBD oil this dose works out to later on. Once you know how much CBD you should be using, you can find the equivalent amount of CBD oil depending on the potency of the oil you’re using.

CBD Dosage Chart by Weight & Strength (in mg)

The optimal dose of CBD depends on the combination of your weight and desired dosage.

A smaller, 90 lb woman is going to need a much smaller dose than a large 250 lb football player — for example. And someone looking for mild relief from stress or anxiety isn’t going to need a high dose like someone looking to treat persistent pain.

You can use this CBD dosage chart to visualize how the dose of CBD changes according to your body weight and desired strength of effects.

The optimal dose of CBD depends on your weight and the potency of the oil you're using. Learn how to find the perfect dose with our CBD dosage calculator