In some respects, figuring out how much CBD you should take is more of an art than a science.
While any CBD product you purchase will come with its own dose guidelines, experiences can vary. The ideal CBD dose for you usually depends primarily on your body weight, but it can also be influenced by other factors, such as your personal body chemistry, your age, and any other health conditions you have.
Unfortunately, because it is not yet regulated by the FDA, no official dosing guidelines for CBD exist. However, there are best practices and general rules of thumb you can follow.
We dig into these below, and share our best advice for finding the best CBD dose for you.
How safe is CBD?
First, let’s ease any concerns you have about CBD. The good news is that CBD has been shown to be safe for humans, even in chronic doses as high as 1,500 mg per day.
Not only is CBD safe, but it produces very few side effects, which is why it’s become so popular. Experiencing any side effects at all with CBD is rare, but if you do, they might include:
- Changes in appetite or weight
- Dry mouth
- Low blood pressure
Of these side effects, tiredness is the most common. As we said, for most people, experiencing side effects with CBD is rare.
However, there are a few groups of people who should avoid using CBD:
- Pregnant or breastfeeding women should avoid CBD. Not enough studies of CBD have been conducted in this group to determine if it’s safe or not for them to use. Until then, it’s best to be safe and avoid using CBD.
- People taking other medication may also want to avoid CBD. They tend to be the people most likely to experience side effects, due to the interaction between the CBD and the drug they’re taking. If you are taking other medications, speak with your doctor first before taking CBD. They can advise you of any adverse reactions you could experience, based on their knowledge of your medical history.
- Finally, as with pregnant women, not enough studies have been performed on the safety of CBD in children. One notable exception here is in cases of pediatric epilepsy. Both the FDA-approved drug Epidiolex (which contains CBD), and other forms of medical CBD have been shown to help treat severe epilepsy. If you want to give CBD to your child, it’s best to speak first with your pediatrician to ensure it will be safe for them to use.
If you’re not in one of these groups, read on to learn how much CBD you should take.
How much CBD should you take?
The right CBD dose for you can depend on a few factors, including your weight, any other health conditions you may have, and medication you’re taking for those conditions. It also depends on your personal body chemistry and sensitivity to CBD.
When determining your ideal CBD dosage, your goal is to find the lowest dose that provides the benefits you need with few or no side effects.
Using the dosage chart below, start with the lowest recommended dose for your body weight, and gradually increase from there until you feel the desired effects. Once you’ve found that dose, you can stick with it. Studies show that people do not develop a tolerance to CBD the way they do with other cannabis products like marijuana.
CBD Dosage Chart
The standard recommendations is to base your CBD dose on your body weight. Take 1 to 6 mg per 10 pounds of body weight. We’ve done the calculations for you, so you can find the lowest starting dose for your body weight in the chart below:
|Low (Starting) Dose
Again, these are just general guidelines. Some people need significantly more, while others need significantly less. For example, if you are living with extreme chronic pain, you will likely require a higher dose on a daily basis than someone who takes CBD occasionally to cope with situational anxiety.
Also, since tiredness is one of the more common effects of CBD, that can affect when you decide to take your dose. You may choose to split your dose up over the course of the day, so it doesn’t affect your alertness, or you may take it in a single dose at night when you’re okay with falling asleep.
It really comes down to the individual, so be patient with yourself as you work out the best dose for you.
How long does it take to feel the effects of CBD oil?
How long you’ll have to wait to feel the CBD, as well as how long it will last, depends on which administration method you choose.
- CBD products taken orally, such as edibles, powders, or capsules, tend to have longer-lasting effects, but onset takes longer, too. Before it can enter your bloodstream, where it begins to interact with your endocannabinoid system, it has to go through your digestive system first (which can take 30 to 90 minutes).
- CBD oil administered sublingually has a much faster onset, because it bypasses the digestive system and enters your bloodstream directly under the tongue. Users start to feel effects within 5 to 20 minutes.
- CBD extracts inhaled with a vape pen provide the quickest effects, making them ideal for acute symptoms. After inhalation, users start to feel the effects within a few minutes. However, effects only last for a few hours.
- CBD oils applied topically, such as lotions or balms, are best for treating targeted areas. The oil can be massaged directly onto the area to relieve pain or inflammation within minutes. Effects can last for several hours.
Not only does the method of administration affect the onset and duration of effects, but it can also affect the size of the dose you need to take. CBD has very low oral bioavailability, so CBD products ingested orally will lose a significant amount of the CBD through the digestive system, leaving only a fraction of it to make it into the bloodstream and exert the desired effects.
When applied topically to the skin, CBD also won’t reach the bloodstream. Instead, it will interact with nearby cannabinoid receptors to treat the pain. Similar to oral ingestion, transdermal application typically requires a higher dose, in order to ensure it permeates the skin deep enough to reach those cannabinoid receptors.
Because the other two methods (sublingual and inhalation) allow the CBD to enter the bloodstream directly, a higher amount of the CBD is absorbed into your system. As a result, you can take a lower dose of CBD when you use sublingual tinctures or vape extracts.
Here’s an overview of the different CBD ingestion methods and how they can affect your system.
|Types of CBD Products
– Food or drink powder
30 to 90 minutes
|5 to 20 minutes
|4 to 6 hours
|1 to 3 minutes
|2 to 3 hours
– Transdermal patches
|1 to 3 minutes
|4 to 6 hours
A note on CBD products with more than 0.3% THC
The guidelines we’ve provided above are for CBD products sourced from hemp, which contain 0.3% THC or less. These are legal at a federal level across the country. Due to their low to nonexistent amount of THC, they will not produce any psychoactive effects or feelings of being stoned or high. These CBD products can be used to treat a variety of conditions, including:
- Anxiety disorders and PTSD
- Seizures and epilepsy
- Arthritis pain
- Chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting
These are just a few of the health benefits of CBD products with 0.3% THC or less. However, some people find that they feel stronger relief when they use a product with a higher THC:CBD ratio. For example, cancer patients suffering from nausea or low appetite as a result of their chemotherapy may prefer products with a higher concentration of THC.
Likewise, some people find that CBD products with more THC provide better anxiety relief. Although, for some, a higher amount of THC can actually increase their anxiety. It depends on the patient.
Before using a product with a more balanced CBD:THC ratio, make sure you review the legality of such CBD products in your state. CBD and industrial hemp products are defined as those with 0.3% THC or less. If the product contains more than 0.3% THC, it’s sourced from marijuana, which is not legal nationwide.
Only ten states and Washington, D.C. have legalized marijuana products for recreational use. While over thirty states have legalized medical marijuana, many of these states require you to get a prescription from a physician to use a CBD product with higher amounts of THC, and it may only be approved for specific conditions (like epilepsy).
The dosage guidelines we’ve provided above are for hemp-sourced CBD products with 0.3% THC or less. If you’re using a product with more THC than that, exercise more caution as you figure out the best dose for you—particularly if you’ve never tried THC or marijuana before. Your tolerance for a CBD:THC product may well be very different than your tolerance for a CBD-only product.
Finding your ideal CBD dose
In review, the best CBD dose for you depends on:
- Your body weight, personal body chemistry and sensitivity to CBD, and other medical conditions
- The condition you want to treat
- Your ingestion method: orally, sublingually, inhalation, topically
- The CBD:THC ratio
Each CBD product will come with its own dosing guidelines, typically indicated as a “serving size,” and the concentration of CBD in the bottle, which will be noted in milligrams. It’s up to you to translate these into the best dose for you.
When you’re just getting started, start with the lowest recommended dose possible, and work your way up from there. You can take the entire dose at once, or you can split up your dose into smaller increments over the course of the day. See what works best for you, and stick with it.