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effective dose cbd

What is the correct dosage of CBD?

Cannabidiol (CBD) is available in many forms, including oils, tablets, and creams. The ideal dosages vary depending on both its form and usage. There is little research, though, so doctors are not yet able to confirm the safe, beneficial dosages for each use.

CBD is an active ingredient in the cannabis plant. Products that contain CBD may provide some health benefits, but they can also pose risks.

The CBD market is growing at a fast rate, and the body of research is expanding. However, there is still confusion about the laws, how to use CBD, and its safety and effectiveness.

CBD products are legal, though their legal status varies among states. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) do not control most CBD products. As a result, the quality, amount of CBD per dose, and safety of the products can vary dramatically, and it is difficult to calculate an optimal dosage.

This article looks at the dosages of CBD, including the research into which dosages are safe and effective, as well as the possible risks of using CBD products.

Is CBD legal? Hemp-derived CBD products with less than 0.3% THC are legal federally but still illegal under some state laws. Cannabis-derived CBD products, on the other hand, are illegal federally but legal under some state laws. Check local legislation, especially when traveling. Also, keep in mind that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have not approved nonprescription CBD products, which may be inaccurately labeled.

a person holding a bottle containing a dosage of CBD

Share on Pinterest There are many forms of CBD available, including oils.

To date, the FDA have only approved one cannabis-derived product, which is called Epidiolex, and it is only available by prescription. This approval covers the treatment of seizures in people with severe types of epilepsy called Lennox-Gastaut syndrome and Dravet syndrome.

The dosage for Epidiolex, a form of CBD oil, is as follows:

  • The starting dosage is 2.5 milligrams per kilogram of body weight (mg/kg) twice daily, making a total dosage of 5 mg/kg each day.
  • After 1 week, people may increase the dosage to 5 mg/kg twice daily, which is a total of 10 mg/kg per day.

All other products that contain CBD fall outside FDA regulations, so there are no official guidelines for their dosage. Some manufacturers are advertising CBD products with unproven medical claims, and the quality and safety of these products can vary.

Before using any other CBD products, a person should speak to their doctor about appropriate dosages.

The dosage that a person takes will depend on the method of administration that they are using and the specific product. Methods of administration include:

  • CBD oil solutions
  • CBD capsules
  • tablets that a person places under the tongue (sublingual)
  • nasal sprays

Recently, a wider range of products containing CBD has become available. These items include food products, dietary supplements, cosmetics, and animal health products.

Research into CBD therapy is still in its early days, and scientists need to conduct many more research studies to determine the benefits and risks of CBD products. Importantly, researchers need to work out the ideal CBD dosages that are both safe and effective for each condition.

As a therapy, CBD oil has gained a high level of research interest. At Medical News Today, we have covered what the research to date has shown about the role of CBD in the following conditions:

According to a World Health Organization (WHO) report, research has suggested that CBD oil may also have therapeutic benefits for the following conditions:

  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • multiple sclerosis
  • Huntington’s disease
  • hypoxia-ischemia injury
  • pain
  • psychosis
  • nausea
  • inflammatory diseases
  • rheumatoid arthritis
  • infection
  • inflammatory bowel disease
  • cardiovascular disease
  • diabetic complications

For more information and resources on CBD and CBD products, please visit our dedicated hub.

As the FDA have only approved the use of CBD for specific forms of epilepsy, doctors know little about what dosage people should take when they use it for other reasons. As with any drug, the appropriate dosage is one that provides a therapeutic effect and is well-tolerated.

In clinical studies, researchers have used various oral dosages of CBD, ranging from 100–800 mg per day.

Some studies use even higher dosages. According to a review, an individual reported an improvement in psychosis after taking 1,200 mg per day for a few weeks. In another study, people with schizophrenia reported benefits after taking increasing dosages of 40–1,280 mg per day for 4 weeks.

In a study into the effects of CBD in people with Parkinson’s disease and psychosis, six participants showed significant improvement in symptoms with a dosage of 150 mg per day of CBD.

The following table lists the method of administration and dosage of CBD that researchers have used to study its therapeutic effects on different medical conditions.

Medical condition Dose of CBD Form
anxiety 300–600 mg oral
bowel disease 5 mg twice daily sublingual (olive oil drops)
type 2 diabetes 100 mg twice daily oral
pain due to cancer 50–600 mg per day oral
Parkinson’s disease 75–300 mg per day oral
Huntington’s disease Up to 12 sprays per day Sativex nasal spray (contains CBD and THC in 1:1 concentration)

To find out whether a CBD product is safe and to determine the effective dosage, people should consult a doctor.

Several factors may influence the dosage that people can take. Depending on the medical condition or the reason why a person is taking CBD, they will need a different dosage.

Some people need high dosages to control epilepsy, whereas smaller dosages may be effective for anxiety.

Another factor that people should consider before using CBD is their weight. In many clinical trials and when using Epidiolex, doctors calculate a dose per kg of body weight. People who weigh less should, therefore, take lower dosages than people who weigh more.

Alcohol and other central nervous system depressants may increase the sedation effect of CBD. People who use other medications that can cause drowsiness should avoid or lower their dosage of CBD. Before mixing alcohol and other medications with CBD, a person should ask their doctor whether it is safe.

People must also consider the dosage in each form of CBD. A capsule of CBD has a specific dosage, but the dosage of oral solutions depends on the volume. For example, a CBD solution containing 25 mg per milliliter (ml) can provide 125 mg if a person takes a full teaspoon, which equates to 5 ml.

Although data in humans remain limited regarding the effects of taking pure CBD, researchers suggest that it has relatively low toxicity.

In monkeys, CBD does not affect bodily functions or behavior unless the animals receive dosages higher than 30 mg/kg orally each day for 90 days or 150 mg/kg intravenously .

In a human physical dependence study, researchers gave people 1,500 mg per day of CBD for 4 weeks. The study participants did not go through withdrawal after the 28 day trial. Another study found that doses up to 1,500 mg per day were well-tolerated.

The World Health Organization (WHO) also report that people usually tolerate CBD well. CBD does not cause a “high,” and it does not have the same potential for abuse as cannabis.

The data on the safety of CBD are limited. The data that are available point to possible risks that people must consider before taking CBD for any reason.

Some side effects of CBD are noticeable, including:

  • drowsiness or other changes in alertness
  • digestive issues, such as diarrhea and decreased appetite
  • changes in mood, such as irritability and agitation

Other side effects can happen without people being aware of the cause, such as:

  • liver failure
  • interactions with other medications
  • injuries that result from mixing alcohol or other depressants and CBD

Several factors determine what CBD dosage a person can take, including the intended use and the person’s weight. Although evidence is still lacking, researchers have identified some drugs that interact with CBD, which may also affect the dosage that a person can tolerate.

The FDA have only approved one CBD product. Research on the possible uses, dosages, benefits, and safety of CBD is ongoing.

Last medically reviewed on January 17, 2020

Cannabidiol (CBD) is available in many different forms, including oils, tablets, and creams. The ideal dosages of CBD vary depending on its form and usage. Learn more here.

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

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.

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.