The CBD industry is in its infancy. Scientists are only beginning to discover the therapeutic benefits of cannabidiol which is why many physicians are hesitant to prescribe it to their patients.
CBD dosing can be a challenge for two reasons:
- Doctors cannot prescribe cannabidiol (CBD)
because there is no recommended dietary allowance (RDA) for cannabinoids.
- Most medical schools do not cover CBD therapy in their pharmacology curriculum.
Cannabis is not regulated by the FDA so there is no clinical data for exact CBD dosage.
There are so many people asking about how much CBD to take and we want to help. Do note however that without an approved RDA, our recommendations should be taken as an informational guide and not medical advice.
How much CBD should I take?
This is a very common question among beginners. Unfortunately, there is no straightforward answer to how much CBD you should take. The FDA has not created a Reference Daily Intake (RDI) for CBD so there is no official serving size.
The best person to ask about CBD dosage is a cannabis doctor. Unfortunately, only a lucky few have access to physicians who are comfortable talking about medical marijuana. If you are taking prescription medication, it is imperative that you consult your doctor first as CBD is known to interact negatively with certain pharmaceutical therapies.
If you are relatively healthy and do not have access to a cannabis doctor, we can help.
When it comes to CBD and other cannabinoids, there is one universal truth: everyone is different. Each individual has a unique set of variables including genetics, age, sex, weight, metabolism, diet, medical condition, and environment which makes it impossible to create a universal dosage.
While we wish that we could tell you exactly how much CBD you should take for your symptoms, there is no mathematical cannabidiol calculator for dosage. What we can do is present rough estimates and help you figure out what works for your situation.
Many CBD products offer a recommended dosage on their labels. You probably have friends who take cannabinoids and try to offer "expert" advice based on their experience. While this may work for others, it does not mean that it will work for you.
There are four important factors that affect CBD dosage:
- The concentration of CBD in a product
- The current weight of the individual taking CBD
- Individual body chemistry
- The severity of the symptoms
According to neuroscientist Nick Jikomes, the receptors in our endocannabinoid system adapt to physiological changes in our body. Therefore, optimal CBD ratios and doses might also shift over the lifetime of an individual.
While there is no one-size-fits-all dosage, there is a common range of CBD doses that most people take. It is safe to start within this range even without a doctor’s prescription because:
- CBD has minimal side effects
- There have been no known hospitalizations due to contraindications from CBD
- There has never been a case of CBD overdose
Most negative reactions to CBD are minor – dry mouth and nausea are common but go away over time as the body gets used to the CBD oil. According to research, you would need to take a massive amount of CBD quickly to have severe consequences.
If you are not sure how much CBD to take, here are some common CBD doses that seem to work for people who rely on CBD for relief from a variety of ailments.
The most popular form of CBD is oil. CBD from hemp is processed through supercritical CO2 extraction and suspended in MCT oil or coconut oil to make it palatable. CBD tinctures are a preferred choice for their versatility – put the oil directly under the tongue, apply to the skin, or mix with food.
The most effective way of administering CBD is sublingually, either from a bottle dropper or spray. When CBD is placed under the tongue, it is absorbed directly by the capillaries and pushed into the bloodstream – completely bypassing the digestive tract. This has two advantages:
- Fast acting relief
- High bioavailability so your body absorbs plenty of CBD
To take CBD sublingually, place a few drops of CBD oil under your tongue and hold it for 60 to 90 seconds before swallowing.
How many drops of CBD oil should I take?
If you have access to a physician, pharmacist, healthcare professional, or cannabis dispensary, do not be afraid to ask this question. They are the best resource persons for CBD dosage.
We can provide you with a starting point if you are still confused with how much CBD oil to take. But bear in mind that the following general guidelines are not medical recommendations.
How to choose your CBD dosage
We strongly recommend that you start with the minimum effective dose and work your way up until you achieve relief for your symptoms. Most people take 1mg of CBD for reducing symptoms of anxiety and depression. Those who are taking CBD for pain often start at 5mg.
- Check your body weight
The more body mass you have, the more CBD is needed to feel its effects. In general, you need 1mg to 6mg of CBD for every 10 pounds of body weight.
If you weigh 200 pounds, 20mg to 33mg of CBD would be a good starting dosage. If you weigh 150 pounds, start within a range of 15mg to 25mg.
Maybe you have a friend who takes 50mg of CBD and claims to enjoy all kinds of benefits. He recommends the same for you since you are approximately the same weight. This is not the best way to choose your CBD dosage.
As earlier mentioned, no two individuals are exactly the same. Each one of us has a unique body chemistry and medical history that could affect how our body reacts to CBD. What works for others may not work for you – even if you are the same size, age, sex or race.
- Start small and increase slowly
Once you determine your initial dosage based on your weight, monitor how your body reacts to the CBD. If you do not feel any effect, increase your dosage gradually. Continue observing your body reaction and adjust accordingly until you find the dosage that works for you.
- Consult your doctor
If you have an existing medical condition and are taking prescription drugs for it, make sure that you consult your doctor first before taking CBD. They can estimate how your body will react to CBD and provide a professional dosage recommendation for your situation.
In general, people enjoy effective relief for a variety of ailments from a dosage range of 10mg to 20mg of CBD taken daily. For psychological disorders, smaller doses of 5mg will do. Patients who are taking CBD for epilepsy often require up to 300mg per day, depending on the severity of the seizures.
Most patients break the dose into two – one in the morning and another in the evening.
If you are just starting, try a small dose first. An initial dose of 5mg can be effective for pain relief. For anxiety or depression, 1mg is a decent jump off point.
If you are taking 5mg of CBD and notice little to no effects, you may increase the dosage to 8mg or 10mg.
Monitor how long the effects last. If a single daily dose is enough to provide relief, then you do not need to take another dose in the evening.
Taking the minimum effective dosage not only saves you money but reduces the possibility of your body building up a tolerance to CBD.
How much CBD is in a single drop?
CBD tinctures are sold in small medicine bottles. How do you accurately measure your CBD dosage in one dropper?
No matter which brand you end up buying, the CBD oil bottle should clearly indicate how many milligrams (mg) of CBD are in a single drop and how many milliliters (ml) of liquid are in the bottle.
If you are purchasing a spray bottle, the label should also say how many milligrams are in each shot.
CBD tinctures come in different concentrations and quantities. One 15ml bottle might contain 500mg of CBD while another 15ml bottle contains 100mg of CBD.
Generally, one drop is equal to 0.05ml and a full standard-sized dropper contains 20 drops or 1ml of liquid.
Here is a formula for calculating how much CBD you are actually getting from a single dropper:
[Total CBD mg in a bottle] ÷ [Total liquid ml in a bottle] = Total CBD mg in a dropper
If you have a 30ml tincture that contains 1500mg of CBD:
1500 ÷ 30 = 50mg of CBD per dropper
If you have a 15ml bottle with 100mg of CBD:
100 ÷ 15 = 7mg of CBD
If you have a 15ml tincture with 1500mg of CBD:
1500 ÷ 15 = 100mg of CBD
How many drops of CBD oil should you take?
CBD dosage is generally based on body weight, type of ailment, and severity of symptoms. Below is a recommended table for daily CBD oil dosing.
Under 25 lbs: 2 mg
25-50 lbs: 4 mg
51-100 lbs: 6-8 mg
101-150 lbs: 8-12 mg
151-230 lbs: 12-15 mg
Over 230 lbs: 15-30 mg
Under 25 lbs: 4 mg
25-50 lbs: 8 mg
51-100 lbs: 9-12 mg
101-150 lbs: 13-15 mg
151-230 lbs: 16-30 mg
Over 230 lbs: 31-50 mg
Under 25 lbs: 6 mg
25-50 lbs: 12 mg
51-100 lbs: 12-15 mg
101-150 lbs: 16-30 mg
151-230 lbs: 31-50 mg
Over 230 lbs: 50+ mg
Under 25 lbs: 0.5 mg
25-50 lbs: 1 mg
51-100 lbs: 2-4 mg
101-150 lbs: 3-5 mg
151-230 lbs: 6-8 mg
Over 230 lbs: up to 10 mg
Under 25 lbs: 2 mg
25-50 lbs: 4 mg
51-100 lbs: 5 mg
101-150 lbs: 6-8 mg
151-230 lbs: 9-12 mg
Over 230 lbs: up to 15 mg
Under 25 lbs: 4 mg
25-50 lbs: 5 mg
51-100 lbs: 6-7 mg
101-150 lbs: 8-10 mg
151-230 lbs: 12-15 mg
Over 230 lbs: 15 mg+
Note that the above information should only serve as guide and not be taken as medical advice.
You can apply the same guidelines when choosing the right CBD dosage for other medical conditions. If you want to take CBD for depression, check the dosing chart for anxiety.
CBD dosage for other ailments
The Mayo Clinic has released a chart with specific CBD dosage recommendations for various illnesses, based on scientific research, publications, and expert opinion.
Loss of appetite in cancer patients: 2.5mg of THC orally, with or without 1mg of CBD for six weeks. [R]
Chronic pain: 2.5-20mg of CBD orally, with or without THC, for 25 days. [R]
Epilepsy: 200-300mg of CBD orally for up to 4.5 months. [R]
Movement issues related to Huntington’s disease: 10mg of CBD per kilo of body weight for six weeks. [R]
Insomnia and sleep disorders: 40-160mg of CBD. [R]
Multiple Sclerosis (MS): 2.5-120mg of an oral THC/CBD extract daily for 2-15 weeks, or a mouth spray with 2.7mg THC and 2.5mg CBD at doses of 2.5-120mg in eight sprays within three hours, with a maximum of 48 sprays in any 24-hour period, for up to eight weeks. [R]
Schizophrenia: 40-1280mg oral CBD for up to four weeks. [R]
Glaucoma: 20-40mg single CBD dose (do not go beyond 40mg as it may increase eye pressure). [R]
If you are suffering from these symptoms, we strongly recommend that you speak with your doctor about CBD.
Important notes on CBD dosing:
- Patients who are suffering from any form of mental illness often require lower doses compared to other ailments.
- The ideal dosage for chronic pain is usually between 10mg and 20mg taken in multiple doses throughout the day.
- The best time to take your CBD dose is one hour before or one hour after a meal to allow the cannabinoid to work without interfering with liver functions.
The trial period
We must reiterate the importance of reading the dosage instructions on the label. Do not simply copy how much CBD other people are taking even if you have similar body profiles. Specific CBD dosages may affect you differently.
If you have a family doctor, ask for a recommendation on CBD dosing for your particular medical condition.
Once you have determined a starting dose, you may proceed with the trial period.
Try taking one drop on the first day. Observe how your body reacts to the CBD. Although most people are fine with introducing CBD to their system, it sometimes causes irritation on the first dosage.
If you feel fine after the first day, you may increase the dosage to 2 drops daily. If you feel something is wrong, stop taking CBD and find out what caused the side effect.
The first two weeks is the trial period. During this time you should be able to notice if the CBD is helping relieve your symptoms.
After the two-week test run, you may split your dosage throughout the day. Perhaps take half your daily dose in the morning and the other half in the evening.
If you do not feel anything after two weeks, continue to gradually increase your dosage while constantly monitoring its effects. The aim is to find the right dosage that effectively reduces your symptoms without producing negative side effects.
PrismCBD offers flexible CBD tinctures for easy dosage. We recommend that you place the drops under your tongue and let the oil stay there for at least 10 seconds. You may increase dosage every two to four weeks until you feel relief. Reduce your dosage if symptoms seem to get worse.
What doctors are saying about CBD dosage
Dr. Peter Grinspoon of Harvard Medical School recently wrote an article about the potential therapeutic benefits of cannabidiol. In his paper for Harvard Health Publishing, Dr. Grinspoon said that, "one of the most difficult challenges in CBD dosing is that the substance is not currently recognized as medicine". This has forced vendors to market their CBD products as supplements which the FDA does not regulate.
As supplements, CBD products might not be accurately labeled. There is no way to know for sure what active ingredients are in the CBD tincture and how much CBD you are getting from each dose.
In the case of CBD vaping liquids, there is concern that the product may contain unknown elements in order to make CBD inhalable.
For these reasons, it is impossible to come up with exact therapeutic doses of CBD for specific medical conditions.
CBD is only approved by the FDA for treating intractable epilepsy, particularly two rare forms of the disease – Dravet’s syndrome and Lennox-Gastaut syndrome.
CBD is the most active ingredient in Epidiolex. With the FDA granting approval to Epidiolex back in June 2018, the pharmaceutical label comes with specific dosing recommendations for physicians through an official Prescribing Information document.
There are clinical trials currently ongoing but it could take years before CBD is finally recognized as a therapeutic agent. Until then, CBD products will continue to be sold as supplements with no RDI. This means patients are left to self-medicate and figure out the right dosage for their specific condition and lifestyle.
Can I overdose on CBD?
No, you cannot overdose on CBD. There is no established lethal dose of CBD and there has never been a reported case of CBD overdose. Even chronic high doses are well tolerated by humans.
There are, however, slight risks associated with taking CBD doses of around 1500mg per day for extended periods of time. These include:
- Dry mouth
- Mild low blood pressure
- Reduced activity of T and B cells
- Decreased fertilization
- Reduced p-Glycoprotein activity
- Reduced activity of Cytochrome P450 (CYP450) enzyme
These side effects are worst-case scenarios and are not typical with taking standard doses of CBD.
The most significant side effect of CBD is its interference with the CYP450 enzyme in the liver. This enzyme is responsible for breaking down approximately 60% of all pharmaceutical drugs, including:
- HMG CoA reductase inhibitors
- Calcium channel blockers
- Immune modulators
- Beta blockers
- Angiotensin II blockers
- Oral hypoglycemic agents
Even something as benign as grapefruit can inhibit the functions of the CYP450 enzyme. If you are taking any of the medications listed above, it is crucial to talk to your doctor and research any possible drug interactions with CBD.
So how much CBD should I take?
While it is impossible to come up with an exact answer, you can estimate how much CBD you should take based on the guidelines above. Consider specific factors such as your weight, age, health status, and the CBD concentration of your tincture.
Always start at the lowest dosage and listen to your body. We recommend that you keep a diary or journal to keep track of your dosage adjustments as well as possible side effects. Write down how much CBD you took, what time you took it, how long the effects became noticeable, and how long the effects lasted. Try taking your daily dose all in one go or break it down in multiple doses at different times of the day.
Many people take more than 30mg of CBD per day without any adverse side effects. But as we always say, each individual is different. Monitor how your body reacts to the CBD and implement a systematic dosing pattern during the trial period in order to find the most effective dosage for your symptoms.
Please note that the information in this article should NOT be taken as medical advice. These are simply recommendations for those who are still confused with CBD dosing.
If your doctor is comfortable talking about medical cannabis, do not hesitate to ask questions about cannabidiol (CBD). If you do not have access to such doctors, these guidelines can help you stay safe as you begin your CBD journey.
If you have more questions about CBD dosing, reach out to us through the comments section below.