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.
CBD Oil Dosage: General Tips to Assess How Much CBD to Take
Written by Jason Brett — Edited by on March 15, 2021
By and large, the acceptance and use of cannabidiol as a therapeutic, healing substance is in its infancy. Medical professionals and scientists are only now beginning to develop dosing schedules for medical marijuana, medicinal hemp, and their extracts (including CBD).
Even with the current wave of states legalizing medical marijuana, many physicians are hesitant to prescribe cannabinoids like CBD. This is for two reasons:
1 – Doctors cannot prescribe (only recommend) cannabinoids, because there’s no recommended daily allowance (RDA) or universal dose for all people.
2 – Most medical schools never cover CBD/cannabidiol therapy in their pharmacology courses (the drug curriculum revolves primarily around substances that can be patented).
Because there is no recommended dose, the information presented on this page is intended to serve only as an informational guide – a starting point of reference – and should never be considered medical advice.
When it comes to cannabinoids, there is one universal truth to keep in mind:
Everyone Is Different
While we wish we could provide the public with a mathematical CBD dosage calculator, it isn’t quite that simple – very rough estimates are about as good as it gets.
With these facts in mind, most people who are new to cannabidiol begin their journey by starting with the minimal suggested CBD dosage on any product, then gradually increasing the dose until they achieve the desired results.
We at CBD Oil Review (COR) have created an official COR Serving Standard through an extensive analysis of hundreds of CBD products .
The (COR) Serving Standard is 25mg of CBD, taken twice daily.
Additionally, our analysis suggests increasing the amount of CBD you take every 3-4 weeks by 25mg until you attain symptom relief (inversely, decrease by 25mg if symptoms worsen).
Additionally, you might find it useful to record your daily experiences in a notebook so you can accurately narrow in on what works and feels best for you. With that understanding in place, it is now time to learn more about CBD oil and how to find the right CBD oil dosage for you.
How Much CBD Oil Should I Take?
Mayo Clinic suggests CBD dosages based on scientific research, publications, traditional use, and expert opinion. Cannabinoid dosages and duration of treatment depend mainly on the illness (and countless other factors).
The Mayo Clinic provides specific dosage recommendations for various illnesses, including:
- Loss of Appetite in Cancer Patients: 2.5mg of THC (orally), with or without 1mg of CBD for six weeks. [ S ]
- Pain Relief: 100-150mg of CBD, or 25mg when combined with THC.[ S , S , S ]
- Epilepsy: A daily dose of 20 – 25mg of CBD per Kg bodyweight. [ S , S ]
- Movement Problems Due to Huntington’s Disease: 10mg of CBD per kg of body weight daily for six weeks (orally). [ S ]
- Sleep Disorders: 40mg-160mg of CBD (orally). [ S ]
- Multiple Sclerosis (MS) symptoms: Cannabis plant extracts containing 2.5-120 milligrams of a THC/CBD combination daily for 2-15 weeks. Patients typically use eight sprays within any three hours, with a maximum of 48 sprays in any 24-hour period. [ S ]
- Schizophrenia: 40-1,280mg oral CBD daily. [ S ]
Learn the Types of CBD Products
CBD hemp oil comes in seemingly endless forms, each with a different concentration of CBD and other phytocannabinoids. Determining how to use CBD oil first starts with choosing your route of administration – in other words, choosing the best way to take CBD oil for your needs and lifestyle.
- Liquid hemp oil, like CBD tinctures or CBD drops
- CBD concentrated into a thick paste (often referred to as Rick Simpson Oil, or RSO)
- Encapsulated CBD oil
- Phytocannabinoid-rich sprays/spritzers (generally designed for application beneath the tongue)
- Bottled water containing nano-sized CBD particles
- CBD-infused chewing gum
- On-the-go dissolvable powders containing CBD (oftentimes blended with other adaptogenic herbs)
- Cooking oils (such as coconut oil or olive oil) with added cannabinoids
- CBD-infused edibles (i.e., gummies, brownies, cookies, etc.; generally for individuals who are sensitive to smoking/vaping)
- Crystalline isolates
- Wax (similar to THC-containing marijuana concentrates called “shatter”)
- CBD-rich eLiquids and/or vape cartridges (akin to an e-cigarette)
- Transdermal patches with CBD (similar to a nicotine patch)
- Cannabidiol-infused salves,balms, lotions, shampoos, or soaps (for topical use)
- Bath bombs infused with CBD
Decide How to Use CBD Oil
While many options like chewing gum need no instructions, we have compiled these tips on how to take CBD oil:
Liquid CBD Oil/Tinctures/Extracts: Drops or tinctures should have a “suggested serving size” and the total milligrams of CBD listed on their packaging. From there, you can determine the amount of CBD you would like to ingest. Simply place the correct quantity of drops under your tongue using the dropper and hold the CBD oil in place for a minimum of 60 seconds. The 60 second hold allows for absorption via the blood vessels underneath your tongue – efficiently bypassing first-pass metabolism. Once 60 seconds has passed, swallow the CBD oil.
CBD E-Liquid/Vape Cartridges: Vaping is excellent for people looking for an immediate response, as inhalation is the fastest way to deliver CBDs to your brain and body. To use vape simply exhale gently the air from your lungs then inhale through the mouthpiece slowly for 3 seconds. Then fill your lungs the rest of the way with additional breath and hold for a few seconds, exhaling when ready. There are pre-filled, cost-effective vape pens and cartridges available as well as more expensive vaporizers that you can refill with CBD-infused e-liquid.
CBD Edibles: With edibles, the only required steps are open, eat, and enjoy! This method of consumption will result in more drawn-out effects that also take longer to kick in than some of the other options. Edibles are great for those seeking sustained effects, or for those who want to be subtle about their usage of CBDs.
CBD Isolates/Concentrates: Anyone familiar with smoking hash or other cannabis concentrates like wax and BHO will be no stranger to this delivery method. Simply sprinkle some into a vaporizer or water pipe, ignite, inhale, and enjoy! We find that this option is useful for individuals looking to elevate their regular consumption of CBD-rich cannabis flowers or other smokable herbs.
For quick reference, refer to this chart of ingestion methods for the pros and cons of each delivery method so can decide for yourself the best way to take CBD oil:
|Delivery Method||Pros||Cons||Time of Onset||Duration of Effects||Recommended if you…|
|Ingestibles (E.g. edibles; capsules; oil drops; drink powders)||Convenient; Dosage control; Discreet; Familiar; Doesn’t harm the lungs||Slow to take effect||30-60 minutes||Edibles/Capsules:4-6 hours; Tinctures/Drops: 2-4 hours||Consider discretion a top priority and/or want more control over dosage|
|Smokables (E.g. Vapes; flower)||Fast acting; Easy to use; Social; Familiar||Non-discreet; Smoking/Vaping are illegal in many public settings; Can feel harsh on the lungs||Instant||45 minutes-1 hour||Are trying to quit cigarettes or need fast-acting relief|
|Topicals (E.g. Lotions; balms; gels)||Can be applied directly to affected area; Bypasses liver metabolism; Long-lasting; Can be worked into daily hygiene routine||Slow to take effect||Varies widely due to factors like hair growth and amount of fatty tissue||Typically 5+ hours||Experiencing local pain of the skin or joints or into body care in general.|
|Transdermal Patches||Longest lasting effects;Bypasses liver metabolism;Steady release of CBD into the bloodstream||May take hours to feel effects||Varies depending on amount of fatty tissue and hair on the skin||1-2 days||Have chronic pain or will go a long period of time where the other delivery methods aren’t available|
Choose a CBD Brand with a Dosage You Can Trust
Figuring out how much CBD oil to take can feel like trying to navigate through a complicated maze. The sheer volume of CBD brands on the market can create confusion for consumers, and when you take a closer look, it’s not difficult to understand why. Not only do vendors use different source materials (CBD-rich cannabis vs. industrial hemp, different strains, etc.), but they also implement different extraction techniques .
Adding to the confusion, many vendors recommend excessive doses, while others suggest amounts that are a fraction of what experts would consider effective.
As with a fermented food like kombucha, slight natural variations are normal and to be expected in a product such as CBD oil because it is made from living plants. Changes in the weather, soil, and water can all impact the biology of the source material. While we verify Certificates of Analysis (and take many other criteria into consideration during our review process), even the most reputable five-star companies have no way to control for every variable in this organic process.
While perhaps not as ideal as a CBD dosage chart, we at CBD Oil Review (COR) have created an official COR Serving Standard through an extensive analysis of hundreds of products.
The (COR) Serving Standard is 25mg of CBD, taken twice daily.
Additionally, our analysis suggests increasing the amount of CBD you take every 3-4 weeks by 25mg until you attain symptom relief (inversely, decrease by 25mg if symptoms worsen).
Consider Why Your Health Would Benefit from CBD
Cannabinoids such as CBD have a dizzying array of functions in the human body, influencing everything from inflammation to anxiety and depression. You don’t necessarily need to have a serious illness to benefit from CBD; even healthy individuals can experience a remarkable increase in their quality of life with its use.
The following is a chart of illnesses/conditions that whose symptoms may be relieved by CBD:
Keep in mind that this CBD benefits list is in no way complete; we are only beginning to discover how cannabinoids can help.
Know You Cannot Overdose on CBD
There is no established lethal dose of CBD, and chronic use/high doses of up to 1500 mg per day ( 30x MORE than the COR Serving Standard!) have been repeatedly shown to be well tolerated by humans.
As with any natural product, it is important to speak with your physician prior to beginning use. There are some slight risks associated with using CBD in high doses or for extended periods of time, including:
- Mild Low Blood Pressure
- Dry Mouth
- Reduced activity of T and B Cells
- Decreased Fertilization Capacity
- Reduced p-Glycoprotein activity
- Reduced activity of Cytochrome P450 (CYP450) Enzyme
Keep in mind that these side effects illustrate worst-case scenarios with CBD, and are not necessarily typical.
There is one major exception to the “generally harmless” attitude about CBD and that is the negative effect cannabinoids can have on the functioning of the liver’s CYP450 enzyme . Approximately 60% of all pharmaceutical drugs are degraded by this enzyme, and CBD can slow the metabolization of these drugs:
- HMG CoA reductase inhibitors
- Calcium channel blockers
- Immune modulators
- Beta blockers
- Angiotensin II blockers
- Oral hypoglycemic agents
Before you start taking CBD, please read about drug interactions .
It is important to note that even something as benign as grapefruit juice can cause the same CYP450 enzyme inhibitory action as CBD.
The most important things to do before taking CBD (or any other herbal product) are research any possible drug interactions and talk with your physician to address any additional questions regarding CBD drug interactions or overdose concerns. You and your doctor together will always know best!
Understand How Your Genetics Impact CBD Dosing
As if you didn’t have enough factors to consider when deciding your ideal CBD oil dosage, now you have to think about how your own genetics can impact this amount.
Some individuals have been found to have mutations on the CNR1 gene, which is responsible for coding the CB1 receptor (a type of receptor in cells throughout your body that interacts with cannabinoids). Issues with the CNR1 gene can ultimately result in a poorly functioning endocannabinoid system , which is an important variable when figuring out how to use CBD oil.
How lifestyle choices impact the effect of CBD
Various substances can profoundly affect CB1 receptors. Certain lifestyle choices can impact how your body metabolizes CBD.
We are only beginning to understand which factors influence CBD metabolism, and as such it’s a good idea to take anything related to this emerging science with a grain of salt. As with any natural substance, consult with your physician about any questions and/or concerns you may have regarding CBD and how to use CBD oil.
Rest Easy Knowing CBD Oil Is Not Physically Addictive
People often ask us, “ Can I get addicted to CBD oil ?” This is a tricky question, and the answer ultimately depends on your school of thought.
Based strictly on chemistry, the answer is no. Cannabidiol is not physically addictive in the same way substances like heroin, cocaine, alcohol, opiates, benzodiazepines, and related substances can be. Further, CBD cannot produce any physical withdrawal symptoms in and of itself upon cessation of use.
(Interestingly, CBD is currently undergoing study for its ability to minimize withdrawal from drugs with severe cessation symptoms, like opiates.)
However, human beings can get addicted to just about anything that isn’t chemically addicting: exercise, music, sex, and food are great examples.
Those who take CBD daily to relieve symptoms of chronic illness and other severe conditions may find that their unpleasant sensations return shortly after they miss a dose. This is no different than one’s headache returning once the effects of ibuprofen wear off.
However, because CBD can alter the levels of essential liver enzymes , it is crucial to do your research, talk to your physician, and figure out the best way to take CBD oil for your specific situation. Information and education will be your allies in your quest for healing.
Get the Most Bang for Your Buck
If you’ve been using CBD products for some time without verifying the potency through their vendors, it’s highly probable you’ve been using a minimally effective formulation that hasn’t been delivering as much CBD as you thought (or as much as you’ve paid for!).
This is why CBD Oil Review exists, why we’ve created our five-badge rating system, and why we’ve enlisted independent reviewers to verify that CBD companies are being ethical.
Becoming a CBD Oil Review member not only supports our mission, but members also get new deals on five-star brands only , delivered directly to their inbox. If you are looking for which brands to trust or which products to purchase, take a look at our buyers guides here:
Consider a Cannabis Doctor to Answer Your Difficult Questions
Most doctors don’t specialize medicinal cannabis and CBD oil. This means they may not be able to help you as thoroughly as you had hoped and they may be unable to offer guidance when it comes to helping you decide how much CBD oil to take. It is also worth noting that many patients feel uncomfortable talking to their doctor about cannabis and CBD.
If you have detailed questions about how much CBD oil to take, how to take CBD oil, drug interactions, or just want to know what to do next, consult with a cannabis doctor today!
CBD oil dosage depends largely on the disease. Everyones dosage needs are different, it is best to start with a small CBD dose and increase slowly…