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CBD Dosage: Figuring Out How Much to Take

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You’ve probably heard about the health benefits of CBD, but how much should you take to feel those?

Cannabidiol, or CBD, is one of over 60 active compounds in the cannabis plant. These active compounds, known as cannabinoids, affect your body in many different ways.

CBD isn’t psychoactive — meaning it won’t get you “high.” Instead, research suggests that it may help:

  • reduce anxiety and depression
  • improve sleep
  • reduce seizures in people with epilepsy
  • soothe pain and inflammation
  • improve heart health
  • improve symptoms of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)

No matter what condition you’re trying to treat with CBD, giving yourself an adequate dosage is key — or it might not work for you.

It can be tough to figure out how much CBD you should take, as CBD isn’t currently regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and there are no official recommended dosages.

Here’s what you need to know about figuring out how much CBD to take.

CBD has been the subject of a lot of discussion and research over the past few years.

As this 2017 review shows, a great deal of research has found that it’s a relatively safe treatment. The studies analyzed in that review didn’t show that there’s one universal dosage of CBD that everyone should take. Instead, it underscored the fact that different people (and, in the animal studies, different animals) respond to different dosages of CBD. Most of the human studies use dosages anywhere between 20 and 1,500 milligrams (mg) per day.

It’s worth remembering that there’s still a lot about CBD that we don’t know. As the cannabis industry grows, researchers will likely conduct more studies on cannabis, including marijuana and hemp, and its derivatives.

The amount of CBD you should take depends on a range of factors, including:

  • your body weight
  • the condition you’re treating
  • your individual body chemistry
  • the concentration of CBD in each pill, capsule, drop, or gummy

In other words, there are a lot of variables that go into deciding how much CBD to take. Before trying CBD, be sure to talk to your doctor about an appropriate dosage and any potential risks. If your doctor tells you how much to use, stick to their recommendation. This is especially important if you’re taking a prescription medication that contains CBD, such as Epidiolex, a form of seizure medication.

If your doctor doesn’t provide a recommendation, it’s best to start with a smaller dosage and gradually increase it. This could mean starting with 20 to 40 mg a day. After a week, increase this amount by 5 mg. Continue this until you feel that it’s effectively treating your symptoms.

For example, you might start off with 40 mg to treat severe pain. You can take 40 mg on days when you’re in a lot of pain. After a week, you increase it to 45 mg, and after a second week, you use 50 mg. At this point, you might feel that your pain is bearable.

It might be wise to keep track of how much CBD you’re taking and whether your symptoms are getting better. Write it down on paper or in a notes app on your phone.

Summary

Start with a small dosage of CBD and increase slowly until you reach your desired effect. Your ideal dosage of CBD depends on a lot of factors, like your body weight, body chemistry, the condition you’re treating, and the concentration of CBD in the product you’re using.

How to calculate dosage

Some products, such as CBD gummies, capsules, or pills, tell you how much is in a single serving. For example, the packaging on a bottle of CBD capsules might indicate that there are 5 mg of CBD per capsule.

If you’re using CBD oil, it’ll likely come in a dropper bottle. The packaging might specify how much CBD is in a single drop. From there, you can figure out how many drops you need to use.

Sometimes it’s harder to figure out how much CBD is in one drop because the packaging specifies the total amount of CBD in the entire bottle, but not the amount that will be in a single drop.

One drop is about 0.05 milliliters (mL). That is, not a full dropper — just a single drop.

This means that a 10-mL bottle of CBD oil contains 200 drops. And if the packaging for that 10-mL bottle says that the bottle contains 1,000 mg of CBD, each drop will contain about 5 mg of CBD.

So, to have 20 mg of that type of CBD oil, you should take four drops.

A 2011 review on the safety and side effects of CBD found that continuous use of CBD, even in high doses like 1,500 mg a day, is tolerated well by humans.

A 2017 update to this review also confirmed this. However, a 2019 study done on mice did raise some safety concerns about CBD’s potential for liver damage and its interactions with other medications.

If you’re currently taking medication and would like to try CBD, it’s essential to discuss this with your doctor.

There are very few known side effects of CBD. When side effects do occur, however, they may include diarrhea, appetite changes, and fatigue.

Possible side effects

  • fatigue
  • diarrhea
  • changes in appetite
  • changes in weight

If you’re looking for a quick and easy way to buy CBD, you can find many CBD brands online. But make sure you research each brand before purchasing. While pure, genuine CBD is considered safe, fake and low-quality products can be dangerous.

CBD isn’t regulated by the FDA, so it’s up to you to make sure that you’re only using high-quality products. Look for products from a reputable brand with third-party testing, and avoid companies that have a history of inaccurate labeling.

A 2018 report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) noted that 52 Utah residents had bad reactions to certain CBD products. It turned out that most of them used products that included synthetic CBD. Some products contained no information about the manufacturer or its ingredients.

When it comes to working out which dosage of CBD you should use, talking to your doctor is your best bet. While not all doctors will be able to provide information on CBD — depending on the laws in your state — some may be able to help recommend dosages or high-quality brands. Speak with your doctor before trying CBD, especially if you’re currently taking any medications.

Want to learn more about CBD? Click here for more product reviews, recipes, and research-based articles about CBD from Healthline.

Is CBD Legal? Hemp-derived CBD products (with less than 0.3 percent THC) are legal on the federal level, but are still illegal under some state laws. Marijuana-derived CBD products are illegal on the federal level, but are legal under some state laws. Check your state’s laws and those of anywhere you travel. Keep in mind that nonprescription CBD products are not FDA-approved, and may be inaccurately labeled.

Sian Ferguson is a freelance writer and editor based in Cape Town, South Africa. Her writing covers issues relating to social justice, cannabis, and health. You can reach out to her on Twitter.

CBD has many health benefits, but it can be hard to figure out how much to take. Get tips on dosage here.

How Much CBD Should I Take the First Time?

The safety and long-term health effects of using e-cigarettes or other vaping products still aren’t well known. In September 2019, federal and state health authorities began investigating an outbreak of a severe lung disease associated with e-cigarettes and other vaping products . We’re closely monitoring the situation and will update our content as soon as more information is available.

Figuring out how much CBD, or cannabidiol, to take is more complex than it sounds. While cannabis has been around for forever, CBD products are relatively new. As a result, there aren’t any evidence-based dosing guidelines yet.

Most experts agree that if it’s your first time using CBD, starting with the lowest dose and gradually working your way up is the best way to go.

Here’s a look at what you should know before trying CBD for the first time.

For starters, your body weight and individual body chemistry affect how you tolerate CBD.

Here are some other factors that play into how much CBD you should use.

How you take it

There are a few different ways to use CBD. The form matters when it comes to how much you should take, how it’s absorbed by your body, and how quickly it takes effect.

The different forms include:

  • oils and tinctures
  • edibles
  • pills and capsules
  • creams and lotions
  • vaping

Doses vary among forms. For instance, a standard dose in CBD gummies is around 5 milligrams (mg) per gummy, while tinctures and oils contain about 1 mg per drop.

Capsules and edibles can also take longer to kick in than a spray or tincture.

What you’re using it for

People use CBD to treat everything from nausea to arthritis pain. What you’re using it for matters when deciding how much you should take.

For instance, the Arthritis Foundation recommends starting slow with just a few milligrams of a sublingual form of CBD twice a day and increasing the dose by the same amount after a week if you don’t get enough pain relief.

That recommendation may not be the same if you’re using CBD for another condition.

Other medications

If you’re on any other medications, it’s important to know exactly how much, if any, CBD you should take.

CBD is usually well tolerated, but there’s still limited data on drug interactions. CBD could change the way a drug is metabolized, and there’s some evidence that it may interact with blood thinners, immune suppressant drugs, and antidepressants.

If you’re taking any other medications, speak to your doctor before using CBD.

It depends on how you take it.

Edibles, such as gummies, have to go through your digestive tract before they’re absorbed. By the time this happens, the actual amount of CBD that ends up in your system could be fairly low.

Another form, such as a tincture that you take sublingually, gets absorbed directly into your bloodstream, meaning it kicks in faster.

CBD onset time

Here’s a look at how long it generally takes to feel the effects of different forms of CBD:

  • Edibles: up to 2 hours
  • Tinctures sublingual sprays: 15 to 45 minutes
  • Topicals: 45 to 60 minutes
  • Vape products: 15 to 30 minutes

Re-dosing is one of the most common reasons why people end up taking too much of anything. If you take more too soon, you could end up with unwanted effects.

Again, CBD is generally well tolerated, even at high doses, but that doesn’t mean it’s harmless.

Taking too much could result in:

A recent animal study also showed that high doses of CBD may cause liver damage.

Start low and slow, and make sure you give the CBD ample time to work before taking more. The general rule of thumb seems to be sticking with a low dose for about a week before increasing it.

In general, the effects of CBD last from 2 to 6 hours, depending on how you use it, how much you use, and your tolerance.

To better understand how your body reacts to it, take some general notes when using CBD, including:

  • the amount you took and how you took it
  • when you started feeling the effects
  • how strong the effects were
  • how long the effects lasted

This information can help you decide how much to take next time, as well as when to take it.

Ready to dip a toe into the world of CBD? These tips will help to unsure your experience is as comfortable, safe, and effective as possible:

  • Shop smart. CBD products are largely unregulated in the United States. Mislabeling and poor quality control, including significant discrepancies in strength and undeclared THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol, are an issue. Only shop from trusted, licensed dispensaries.
  • Ask a professional. A healthcare provider who knows your medical history is the best person to go to for advice about how much CBD you take. As knowledgeable as sales staff may be when it comes to CBD products, they aren’t healthcare providers. Your best bet is to consult both.
  • Use it before bedtime.Drowsiness is one of the most common side effects of CBD. Unless your healthcare provider advises otherwise, using CBD at bedtime — or when you have time to chill if you need to — is a good idea, at least until you know how your body responds to it.
  • Avoid vaping. Vaping has been linked to serious lung infections and even death, though it’s not exactly clear how or why. While the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are investigating the risks of vaping, most government health agencies recommend avoiding vaping until we know more.

CBD is typically safe and well tolerated, but it’s not a one-size-fits-all solution. There are several factors that play into how much and how often you should use it.

Until experts come up with clinical guidelines, your best bet is to talk to your healthcare provider, especially if you’re using CBD to manage a specific condition or regularly take a medication for a specific condition.

Is CBD Legal? Hemp-derived CBD products (with less than 0.3 percent THC) are legal on the federal level, but are still illegal under some state laws. Marijuana-derived CBD products are illegal on the federal level, but are legal under some state laws. Check your state’s laws and those of anywhere you travel. Keep in mind that nonprescription CBD products are not FDA-approved, and may be inaccurately labeled.

Adrienne Santos-Longhurst is a freelance writer and author who has written extensively on all things health and lifestyle for more than a decade. When she’s not holed-up in her writing shed researching an article or off interviewing health professionals, she can be found frolicking around her beach town with husband and dogs in tow or splashing about the lake trying to master the stand-up paddle board.

New to CBD? Figuring out your most effective dose usually takes some trial and error. We’ll break down the process and everything else you need to know before your first time.