The list of health benefits associated with cannabidiol (CBD) use continues to grow, but knowing exactly how much to take for specific ailments can be a challenge.
In many cases, we end up relying on the advice of a friend or even just our own best guess when in fact we may be taking far too much or far too little CBD.
To complicate matters even further, CBD does not have a recommended daily intake from the FDA unlike other supplements out there, so appropriate dosages can be difficult to determine.
While ongoing research aims to shed more light on the benefits and optimal doses of CBD, there is currently no hard and fast rule to determine how much CBD is right for you. However, there are several pieces of information that can help you make an educated decision about your dose.
Important CBD Dosage Considerations
Each person’s appropriate CBD dose will be different based on their specific body weight, genetics, the severity and type of symptoms, and the specific product they’re using.
As a result, it’s difficult to suggest an amount that will work for everyone and there are no official, clinician-backed CBD dosage recommendations at this time.
Here’s a closer look at the factors that can affect CBD dosage.
Bodyweight can have a significant effect on the optimal dosage for many medications, ¹ and CBD is no different. Generally speaking, people who weigh more will need to take more CBD to feel the same effects as someone of a lower weight.
For an average dose of CBD, the general rule of thumb is to add 3mg of CBD for every 10 pounds you weigh (or 1mg for every kilogram). Here’s a table showing the average CBD doses that can be taken by people of specific body weight. Keep in mind these are just general recommendations.
|General CBD Doses by Body Weight
|Body Weight (lbs)
||Average CBD dose (mg)
Your specific body chemistry plays a big role in how you respond to CBD and other cannabinoids.
One helpful comparison is to think of caffeine. Some people can drink coffee regularly and have few side effects. Others will get anxious and jittery from a single cup.
Similarly, your unique genetics can make you either more or less responsive to the effects of CBD.
The key genetic factor in how your body responds to CBD is your unique set of genes that give rise to your endocannabinoid system (ECS). This includes the genes behind your cannabinoid receptors, endocannabinoids, and special enzymes involved in the ECS.
For example, research shows that some people have a genetic variation that leads to suppressed activity of FAAH, which is the enzyme that breaks down the endocannabinoid anandamide. ² As a result, they tend to have higher anandamide levels than people without that specific gene variant.
As it happens, CBD also reduces the activity of the FAAH enzyme and increases anandamide levels. ³ This means that individuals with this specific genetic variation may be less responsive to the effects of CBD and require larger doses to notice any effects beyond those attributed to their naturally higher anandamide levels. On the flip side, if research determines that the effects of CBD are additive, it could mean the opposite, where those individuals may be more sensitive to CBD since their already higher levels of anandamide may be exacerbated with CBD use.
But that’s far from the only possible genetic difference. The gene for FAAH alone can have 30 variations. ⁴
Meanwhile, the genes that control your two cannabinoid receptors — CB1 and CB2 — can also come in dozens of variations. These differences can also affect how your body responds to CBD.
In short, many genetic factors can influence your sensitivity to CBD. As a result, a dose that works for one person could be insufficient for someone else.
Your Symptoms and Their Severity
Another major determining factor for CBD dosage is the medical condition or symptoms for which you’re trying to find relief.
For starters, clinical trials and treatment plans for certain serious conditions such as Parkinson’s disease, Huntington’s disease, schizophrenia, and some cancers, are using much higher doses compared to general-use doses. ⁵ ⁶ ¹⁷
On the other hand, a healthy individual taking CBD to support their overall health and wellness will generally require smaller doses.
The severity of your symptoms plays a role as well. For instance, someone experiencing mild, occasional anxiety, may require lower CBD doses than a person with a diagnosed anxiety condition such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Similarly, a person suffering from severe chronic pain from fibromyalgia or another serious condition will likely need to consult a doctor for an appropriate treatment plan. That plan may then be complemented by CBD use with a “start low and go slow” approach to increasing the dose. Whereas the dose and approach to relieving exercise-induced muscle pain and soreness may different.
The bottom line is that the severity and type of issue you hope to relieve will have an impact on the correct dosing for you.
Type of CBD Product
Even after we account for all of the above factors, the concentration, formulation, and way you take a CBD product will also affect how much you should take.
Concentration refers to the amount of CBD (in milligrams) present in one ml of CBD oil, one capsule, one gummy, or another type of product. Also known as potency, concentration is a major factor in determining your ideal CBD dosage.
For example, let’s take two 30 ml bottles of CBD oil: one contains 600 mg of CBD, while the other has 1200 mg. Taking one ml (one full dropper) of the second oil will produce much stronger effects because its concentration is twice as high — 40 mg of CBD per one ml versus only 20 mg.
This means you’ll need to take smaller amounts of it to achieve the same results. Similarly, a gummy containing 20 mg of CBD is much stronger than one with only 5 mg.
The amount of CBD within a product will usually be listed on the label. But if it’s not, simply divide the total amount of CBD by the volume.
Many CBD brands also label their products as having low, medium, or high strength. Although it’s always best to check (or calculate) the exact CBD concentration yourself, this information can also help you figure out the ideal dosage and product for yourself.
CBD Extract Type
Another crucial factor in determining dosage is the type of CBD extract in your product. There are three main kinds of CBD: isolate, full-spectrum, and broad-spectrum.
CBD isolate is pure CBD, whereas full-spectrum preparations provide the full range of cannabinoids, terpenes, and other active hemp compounds found in the plant. Broad-spectrum CBD is similar to full-spectrum, except for completely removing THC.
Preliminary research on CBD use for treating seizures in certain epileptic populations suggests that CBD-rich Cannabis extracts are more potent and have a better safety profile (but not higher efficacy) than products with purified CBD. Researchers speculate that this may be attributed to the synergy between the plant’s many components— the so-called “entourage effect.” ⁷ ¹⁸
This means you may need to take higher doses of CBD isolate to experience the same effects as an equal dose of a full-spectrum product.
On top of that, research suggests that taking more than a certain amount of CBD isolate will result in reduced effects, whereas full-spectrum CBD was shown to provide stronger effects even at higher dosages. ⁸
CBD Delivery Method
Last but not least, you have to consider how you’re taking CBD. There are four main ways: sublingual (under the tongue), inhalation, ingestion (oral), and topical.
Each of these methods varies in absorption, which not only affects the dosage but also the duration and onset of the effects.
Of these options, inhaling CBD through vaping or smoking tends to have the highest bioavailability, which is a measure of the portion of CBD you take that actually reaches your bloodstream. ⁹ The effects of vaping CBD are also instantaneous and last for only about one hour.
The sublingual method used by CBD oil tinctures, where the oil is held under the tongue and allowed to absorb directly into the blood vessels, also allows for efficient absorption. However, it takes about 10-30 minutes to kick in and the effects can last for about four hours.
Meanwhile, ingested (oral) CBD products such as capsules, gummies, and other edibles tend to have the lowest absorption because they have to get through the digestive tract and liver before the CBD is distributed into the blood, a phenomenon known as the first-pass metabolism. ¹⁰ Estimates of their bioavailability range from 13% to 19%. ¹¹ Ingested CBD also takes the longest time to be felt — anywhere from 30 minutes to over an hour — depending on when and how much you ate. However, the effects can last upwards of six hours.
Finally, topical CBD products applied to the skin, such as creams and balms, vary in their absorption and effects. Except for transdermal patches, topical products have fairly low absorption and their effects can last for many hours. Topicals are great for those who struggle with muscle and joint pain or related conditions, such as arthritis.
General CBD Dosing Guidelines
As we can see, there are many factors to consider when figuring out the optimal CBD dosage.
That’s why the best option is to consult your doctor before using CBD for the first time. It’s also helpful to know that most people take 20–50 mg doses of CBD one or two times daily.
Aside from that, the most popular and safe method of figuring out the best CBD dosage for yourself is to start with a small dose (10–15 mg) and see how you feel.
If that’s not enough, you can either take a bigger dose a few hours later or experiment with taking the same dose for a few days before increasing it.
Use this method to gradually increase the CBD dosage until you find the amount that provides you with relief. Keep in mind that the effects of CBD are not always apparent right away; it may take you a few days or even weeks of taking it to notice an effect.
Suggested CBD Product Doses
Another helpful recommendation to be aware of is the dosage suggested by your particular CBD product.
Virtually any reputable CBD company will provide a serving size on their product labels. For CBD oil tinctures, this will usually be equivalent to one half or a full dropper. Some products may also have a “suggested use” or a similar section with further instructions.
These suggestions can help you figure out your CBD dosage. For example, you can use the serving size and its associated amount of CBD as the starting point for the “start small” method described above.
However, you should also keep in mind the concentration of the product. For example, one full dropper of a high-concentration tincture will provide a much higher dose of CBD than a low-strength product.
CBD Dosages for Specific Health Conditions
Although more research is needed to figure out the optimal CBD dosage for specific symptoms and conditions, there are some early indications.
For example, here are the oral dosages used by successful research studies of certain conditions: ¹²
- Schizophrenia: 200–1500 mg of CBD daily
- Certain types of epilepsy and seizures: 5–25 mg/kg body weight daily
- Dystonia: 100–600 mg daily
- Social anxiety disorder and insomnia: 150–600 mg daily ¹³
Most of the current high-quality research is restricted to difficult-to-treat conditions such as rare types of epilepsy, which is why there isn’t much evidence for issues such as pain or general anxiety.
We can also see that these dosage ranges are not only very broad but also extremely high. This is largely because researchers are using pure CBD and administering it orally (typically as capsules), which isn’t always the best representation of real-world CBD use.
The bottom line is that these numbers should only be used to help you gain a better understanding of the kind of CBD doses used for severe symptoms.
Can You Take Too Much CBD?
CBD is a remarkably safe substance and it’s difficult to use too much of it. Scientific studies have shown that even daily doses as high as 1,500mg of CBD were well-tolerated by humans. ¹⁴
Studies using high CBD dosages (300 mg and above) have reported only mild side effects, including: ¹⁵
- Low blood pressure
- Dry Mouth
- Changes in weight or appetite
- Reduced activity of CYP450 enzymes
Perhaps the most notable of these is the reduction of CYP450 activity. These enzymes metabolize the majority (79%) of drugs people consume, ¹⁶ including caffeine, NSAIDs (like ibuprofen), antidepressants, and much more.
Alterations in CYP450 activity can drastically affect the amount of these substances in your bloodstream, possibly producing unwanted effects.
However, keep in mind that these effects have only been reported at high CBD doses.
Besides, grapefruit juice and some other substances, such as St. John’s Wort, have equally potent effects on the CYP450 enzyme system, so it’s not anything unheard of or unnatural.
As one final tip, be sure to consult your healthcare provider before embarking on any natural products regimen, and take care!
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