📖 CBD Dosage Guide: How Much CBD Should I Take?

Use our helpful CBD dosage guide to learn how much CBD to take, what lifestyle factors affect CBD dosage, and how to choose the right CBD product for you.

🌿 What is CBD?

Cannabidiol (CBD) is a natural compound found in the cannabis plant that many people trust for its potential health benefits. Some studies show medical cannabis supports healthy inflammation, chronic pain, anxiety disorders, managing stress, and much more.

But taking the right dosage of CBD is key to achieving maximum benefits while reducing the risks of adverse effects.

In this article, we'll explore why proper CBD dosage is so important and how to navigate finding your ideal CBD oil dosage.

💚 What's Considered "A Normal CBD Oil Dosage"?

How much CBD one should take depends on several factors, including body weight, metabolism, desired effects, type of CBD product used, and more.

With that said, the most common CBD dosage range falls between 20–50 milligrams per dose.

However, some people who require higher doses of CBD to manage pain may use upwards of 100 mg of CBD, while those new and sensitive to CBD may start with 5–10 mg.

But even with that blanket recommendation, there are several factors to consider when looking for your ideal CBD dosage.

💭Factors To Consider When Determining CBD Dosage

It's important to underscore that given the fact that hemp has only become federally legal in 2018, the research on CBD specifically is still quite limited, and there isn't a strict recommended dosing outline on CBD products.

However, with the current scientific evidence as well as anecdotal reports available, we know that certain factors can contribute to finding the right CBD dosage for individuals.

It's worth underscoring that what might work for one person may not work for you due to various factors in lifestyle, individual body chemistry, and health goals.

To help you fine-tune the best CBD dosage to start with, let's go over the most common factors that may play into how CBD may affect you.

1. Body Weight

Body weight is often one of the first considerations when dosing any active compound. This is becasue individuals with a higher body weight have a larger volume of distribution, which means that the CBD is less concentrated in the bloodstream.

On the other end, those with a lower body weight may require a much lower CBD dosage to feel the same level of effects because of a smaller volume of distribution.

2. Tolerance Level

CBD tolerance refers to the body's decreasing response to your CBD dosage over time with repeated use.

Essentially, the longer and more frequently you use CBD, the higher the dose you'll need to reach the same levels of effects as your body becomes adjusted to its exposure.

Those new to CBD don't have to worry about tolerance, but it is something that creeps up over time and something you may want to consider as you continue on your CBD journey.

The good news is that CBD is non-toxic, even at high doses, and it's not physically addictive. However, reaching higher doses of CBD can put you at greater risk of experiencing adverse effects.

If you find yourself reaching for higher and higher CBD doses, a tolerance break, taking 7–14 days off, can help you reset your baseline tolerance.

3. Desired Effects Of CBD

The most exciting thing about CBD is that it has many potential therapeutic benefits.

Some people use CBD products for relief from chronic pain, to manage their anxiety, to support their mood and energy levels, and even to help with sleep.

The CBD dosage required to achieve certain health benefits can vary. The same dose someone might use to support their mood and energy levels during the day is not going to be the same for supporting sleep.

At higher doses, CBD has been found to have intense relaxation effects that may not be suitable for daytime use. But even with that being said, the CBD oil dosages required to achieve the same effect can vary even among individuals.

4. CBD Extract Type

When the option is available, get a full spectrum or THC-free broad spectrum extract to get the holistic benefits of the hemp plant’s entourage effect.

With full spectrum CBD oil (FS), you get hemp in its most natural phytochemical form, which includes a wide range of terpenes and minor cannabinoids, including up to 0.3% THC.

While broad spectrum CBD oil (BS) is the next best thing, going through the extra processing step to remove all traces of THC.

CBD isolate are products made with pure CBD crystals, which requires a large amount of processing.

While there's nothing inherently wrong with this product, you may find that you'll need higher CBD dosages with isolate to achieve the same level of effects as FS or BS CBD products.

5. Mode Of Administration

The mode of administration basically refers to the type of CBD product you're using, which can affect the onset duration and intensity of CBD's effects.

The most common forms of CBD are edible/ oral consumption, sublingual (under the tongue), inhalation, and topical application.

Each product type has its pros and cons and may require different CBD dosages to reach your desired effects.

For example, eating CBD products like gummies or mints may take longer to feel its effects compared to smoking them.

This is because when you eat CBD, it must pass through the digestive system before entering the bloodstream, which can take some time. By the time the cannabinoids reach your bloodstream, the digestive system can break down more than half the initial cannabinoids consumed, meaning it's a much weaker dose.

Meanwhile, smoking CBD doesn't offer much filtration, and you're hit with the effects of CBD almost instantaneously as the CBD enters the bloodstream through the oxygen exchange in the lungs.

It's important that you consider the mode of administration when finding your own ideal dosage of CBD dosage to understand how it might affect you.

6 Other Medications

You should approach CBD products with caution if you're on any prescribed medication becasue CBD can interact with other drugs by inhibiting the activity of the liver enzymes that are responsible for metabolizing drugs in the body.

This can result in having higher concentrations of medications in the bloodstream and lead to a host of undesirable side effects.

At the same time, some medications could affect the enzymes that break down CBD, which can affect how potent the CBD dosage feels.

Before adding CBD products to your health regimen, it's important that you speak with a trusted healthcare professional for advice.

🧪 How To Calculate CBD Dosage Based On Your Body Weight & Desired Strength

We've pointed out that many factors go into finding the right CBD dose, but if you're still having a hard time wrapping your mind around a starting dosage, hopefully, this can give you some clarity.

The most straightforward way to find one's CBD dosage with nonprescription CBD products is to go off of your body weight and the desired strengths of effects you're looking for.

Let's break this down.

But before we do that, please keep in mind that the suggested dosage of CBD outlined in this article should not replace the advice of your healthcare professional.

To calculate the appropriate CBD dosage based on your body weight and desired strength of effects, the following guidelines can be used:

  • Low strength: start with 1 mg of CBD per 10 lbs of body weight
  • Medium strength: start with 3 mg of CBD per 10 lbs of body weight
  • High strength: start with 6 mg of CBD per 10 lbs of body weight

These measurements are based on the CBD content listed in mg on your edible CBD product—and not the total volume of the CBD oil you may be using.

When experimenting with CBD for the first time, we suggest starting with a low-strength dose and gradually increasing the dosage until the desired effect is achieved. Once you've found a dosage that works, try to stick with it.

If you experience any side effects (drowsiness, upset stomach, headaches, nausea, fatigue, etc.), this is your body telling you that you have reached your limit, and you should adjust your CBD dosage back down to the previous amount that didn't cause any side effects.

✋ How Much CBD is Too Much?

The threshold for too much CBD will look different from person to person. Fortunately, CBD is non-toxic, and taking too much CBD usually results in minor and temporary side effects.

What does too much CBD look like?

You'll know you've taken your CBD dosage too far if you start to feel uncomfortable moments after taking the initial dose.

The symptoms one may experience with too much CBD include dry mouth, vomiting, decreased appetite, low blood pressure, lightheadedness, and diarrhea.

To avoid this unpleasant experience, remember to start low and go slow with CBD dosage, especially as a first-time CBD user.

Practice patience and give the CBD oil dosage time to build in your system to allow it to exert its maximal effects.

🤔 Things To Consider For Different CBD Products

Remember how we said that different CBD products might affect the desired outcome of your CBD experience?

We'll briefly outline the main categories of CBD products, the expected onset time of effects, and the duration of effects.

1. CBD Capsules & Edibles

One of the most popular CBD product categories out there are CBD edibles. However, while convenient, CBD gummies, capsules, and other edibles have the lowest average absorption rates of CBD in humans, ranging from 13-19% [1].

This means that nearly 87% of the CBD dosage consumed doesn't make it into the endocannabinoid system.

This is often why the recommended CBD dosages of these products are much higher compared to CBD oils or smokable products.

Given that the cannabinoids have to go through the gut and then undergo the first-pass metabolism by the liver, you should start to feel the effects of your gummies, mints, and capsules anywhere from 30–90 minutes after consuming them.

Depending on how much CBD you've taken and your individual body chemistry, the effects of edible CBD can last anywhere from 4–7 hours.

2. CBD Oils/Tincture

While we're still in the realm of oral CBD supplementation, we have CBD oils, sometimes called a tincture.

CBD oil combines hemp extract mixed in with a carrier oil to make dosing CBD much easier.

The best practice for CBD oils is the sublingual application, which involves placing the CBD oil dosage under the tongue for a higher bioavailability and, therefore, quicker onset of action compared to edible CBD by up to 35% [1].

3. CBD Vapes & Smokeables

As we've mentioned earlier, smoking CBD has the fastest onset of effects and will deliver the highest concentration of cannabinoids as it passes the digestive system.

While smoking CBD is the most efficient and quickest method, results can be felt in as short as 2 minutes, it's not suitable for everyone because of the potential lung irritation smoke and even vapor products can produce.

Compared to the other methods, smokable CBD doesn't last as long either, with effects wearing off in three hours.

4. CBD Lotions & Balms

Applying CBD topically is another way to bypass the digestive system and is a minimally invasive and less irritating method.

However, human skin has low permeability as its primary function is to protect us from the environment.

CBD topicals such as CBD lotion and CBD balm are designed for localized benefits and aren't productive at producing whole-body systemic effects such as mood elevation or sleep support.

This is becasue CBD applied to the skin doesn't enter the bloodstream. Instead, the cannabinoids bind to endocannabinoid system receptors found in the skin to support the skin organ's function to maintain homeostasis.

The effects of applying CBD to the skin are fast acting, depending on the CBD topical concentration (30–90 minutes), and can last up to 6 hours.

There isn't an ideal CBD dosage for topical CBD products, but we find the higher the CBD concentration, the better, as it delivers more of the active ingredients through the epidermis.

Product Types Bioavailability Onset Duration
CBD Capsules & Edibles Low 30-90 Mins 7 Hours
CBD Tinctures & Sprays Low-Mid 20-40 Mins 6 Hours
CBD Vapes & Smokables Mid-High 2-5 Mins 3 Hours
CBD Lotions & Balms Low 60-90 Mins 6 Hours

💡The Takeaway: How To Find The Right CBD Dosage

There's no one right way to take CBD, as we've learned that the dosage of CBD oil can depend on a wide range of factors that you're well aware of now.

In general, the best practice is to start your CBD journey with low doses and increase them slowly until you reach the desired outcome with your CBD product.

Check that the product you're using is made from premium quality, organic hemp crops and that it has been third-party lab tested for quality and safety.

If these things are not clear, it may be time to get a new product.

Lastly, listen to your body and how it responds to each product, and you’ll know when you’ve found the right dose.

Resources:

Millar, S. A., Stone, N. L., Yates, A. S., & O'Sullivan, S. E. (2018). A systematic review on the pharmacokinetics of cannabidiol in humans. Frontiers in pharmacology, 9, 1365.

General Questions About CBD Dosage

Factors that Affect CBD Dosage

1. Lifestyle
Every individual will respond differently to CBD due to lifestyle factors including: health status, stress level, diet, genetics, diseases, and more.

2. Tolerance
First time users are recommended a lower starting dosage of around 1-3mg. Does can be increased slightly every day, but should stop when significant benefits are noticed to avoid overloading the body’s cannabinoid receptors.

3. Sensitivity
It's important to always listen to your body to determine how much CBD you should take, pause, take note of how you feel before taking your product and then make a note to tune back in half an hour later.

4. Extracts
When the option is available, get a Full Spectrum or THC-Free Broad Spectrum extract to get the full benefits of the hemp plant’s entourage effect. Full spectrum CBD features hemp in its purest form with 0.3% THC, while THC- free Board Spectrum CBD features hemp in its purest form with the THC removed. CBD Isolate contains isolated CBD and is often synthetic or overly- processed. do your best to avoid this extract.

Which Type of CBD Should I Choose?

CBD Capsules & Edibles
When cannabinoids are digested through the gut, they undergo a chemical change that alters their structure as the cannabinoids. This alters their chemical structure resulting in benefits within 30-90 minutes and long-lasting up to 7 hours.

CBD Oils & Sprays
A traditional CBD oil-based tincture or spray is meant to be taken sublingually (under the tongue), as the rich veins on the bottom of your tongue absorb the CBD directly into the bloodstream. This allows the CBD to travel throughout the body and work its magic before returning to the liver to be metabolized, providing effects within 20-40 mins and lasting 6 hours.

CBD Vapes & Smokeables
Smokable CBD extracts are the fastest-acting dosage method. You may feel effects within a few seconds after inhaling, with peak effects occurring after just a few minutes, and lasting up to 3 hours. This is a great product for those who enjoy the process of smoking cannabis and need quick relief.

CBD Lotions & Balms
CBD topical come in a variety of forms to meet your needs.CBD balm, CBD lotion, CBD massage oil, and more. Effects may be felt within 30-90 minutes, with a lasting duration of up to 6 hours. This is the ideal product for those primarily concerned with using CBD for physical discomfort.

How Much CBD is Too Much?

Always remember to start low and go slow with CBD dosage, especially as a first- time user. Practice patience and give the CBD time to build in your system in order to allow it to exert its maximal effects. If one is already taking a larger dose and feeling comfortable, they should not be at risk for an overdose.

With that being said, there are certain signs and symptoms that some might consider symptomatic of an overdose, or better yet an adverse reaction to CBD. This is most commonly seen in individuals who aren’t familiar with nutrient dense foods, herbal medicine, or new to CBD.

The symptoms one may experience with too much CBD include dry mouth, vomiting, decreased appetite, low blood pressure, lightheadedness, and diarrhea. Some of these symptoms can be considered very common to cannabis as a whole and may be experienced at a vary low dose for some individuals or at a very high dose for others.

Recommended CBD Dosage: In Conclusion

Starting with a general CBD oil or CBD capsules at a small dose is the easiest and quickest way to begin experiencing the benefits of CBD.

Remember! Check the product you’re using for the type of extract it utilizes and proper dosage instructions. If these things are not clear, it may be time to Get a new product. If ypu’re not currently experiencing any benefit from your product at a normal or high dose, take a break and try a different dosing method that may be more suited to your body. Lastly, listen to your body and how it responds to each product and you’ll know when you’ve found the right dose.

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