October 29, 2020 8 min read

So you've heard about CBD's benefits and decided to try it for yourself. All you need to do is choose the best CBD product for you and you're good to go, right?

Not quite.

Once you have your new CBD product in hand, you may find that you have a few questions about CBD dosing, like "How much CBD should I take?" and "How frequently should I dose?"

And these are incredibly important questions. After all, taking too little CBD can render it ineffective, and taking too much can be wasteful.

Unfortunately, there's no straightforward answer. How much CBD you need depends on several unique factors.

There are, however, some rough guidelines that may come in handy while you're building your CBD dosing routine.

But first, let's discuss why CBD dosage isn't as straightforward as you may have hoped:

Table of Contents
Why CBD Dosage is Tricky
Unique Factors that Affect CBD Dosage
How Much CBD Should I Take?
Does the Types of CBD I Choose Affect the Dosage?
What Happens if I Take Too Much CBD?
How Often Should I Take CBD?
Talk to Your Doctor About Your CBD Dosage
Resources

Key Takeaways

  • CBD dosing is tricky, and the amount of CBD needed for relief will vary for everyone.
  • Research shows that CBD is taken in doses ranging from 20 milligrams to well over 2,000 milligrams per day in various clinical applications. Many people take doses ranging from 15 milligrams to 100 milligrams daily to get relief.
  • Even in studies where large doses are taken, CBD has been found to be non-toxic. This means you can safely explore different CBD doses and dosing routines until you find a regimen that works for you.
  • To find the best dose for you, you should first check with your doctor. If your doctor approves CBD but doesn’t make a dosage recommendation, you may need to do a little experimenting.

Why CBD Dosage is Tricky

The amount of CBD that is effective for you may vary greatly from the next person, and even doctors are often stumped when asked how much CBD to take.

Why? There are two main reasons:

The Endocannabinoid System is Delicately Balanced

A museum exhibit depicts how the Endocannabinoid System functions.

First, it's important to understand that CBD works through interacting with the Endocannabinoid System, an intricate system of checks and balances that plays a role in most regulatory processes, including sleep, appetite, pain signaling, mood, and more.

Each person's Endocannabinoid System is delicately balanced. One popular theory suggests that an Endocannabinoid imbalance, called Clinical Endocannabinoid Deficiency, may be linked to a variety of symptoms and chronic illnesses.

This theory implies that some people have low levels of naturally occurring cannabinoids, called Endocannabinoids, which may lead to the Endocannabinoid System functioning incorrectly or inadequately. It also suggests that CBD may be able to help correct the issue either by taking the place of missing Endocannabinoids or by boosting Endocannabinoid production in the body, though more evidence is needed to confirm this link. 

We still need a lot more research to understand this condition and its many implications, but one thing is clear—

Everyone's Endocannabinoid levels are different, which means a different dosage of CBD may be necessary to establish balance and relief.

The CBD Industry Isn't Well Regulated Yet

Another reason that CBD dosage isn't as simple as we'd like is because of the lack of regulations in the industry. CBD manufacturers are still waiting on the FDA's input on how CBD can be made, marketed, and sold.

In the meantime, there are thousands of different CBD products on the market and no two are exactly alike. Different products are made using different extraction methods and different CBD formulas, like Full Spectrum CBD or CBD Isolate. They may have different ingredients, like various terpenes or flavor additives, or different carrier oils ranging from hemp oil to coconut oil.

All of these factors may affect how CBD is absorbed by the body, CBD's efficacy, and the dosing frequency needed to maintain relief.

Unique Factors that Affect CBD Dosage

A CBD dropper is usually metered to help with CBD dosage

Aside from your Endocannabinoid balance and the type of CBD product you choose, other factors may affect your CBD dosage.

Some affecting factors may include:

  • weight
  • diet
  • lifestyle factors
  • the condition you want to treat
  • other medications taken*

    In other words, there are many factors that determine how much CBD you should take, and CBD dosing is a unique experience for every person.

    (*If you take other medications, you should note that CBD has various drug interactions. Before adding CBD to your wellness routine alongside your regular medications, it is essential that you talk to your doctor.)

    How Much CBD Should I Take?

    Because there are so many factors that determine the effective CBD dosage for every person, there are no hard and fast rules for how much CBD to take. Instead, many people start with a "low and slow" style "guess and check" approach.

    In other words, you may try starting with a low dose and increasing slowly, every few days, until you reach the desired level of relief.

    Still, there is some research out there that may help you gain more perspective on the CBD dosing range and how much CBD other people need to find relief.

    One comprehensive study aimed at evaluating the safety of CBD found that the dosage varies greatly in both animal and human studies. The dosages used in human studies ranged from 20 milligrams to well over 1,000 milligrams a day. Even with these high dosages factored in, the study confirmed CBD’s sound safety profile.

    Another study shows CBD doses ranging from 16 milligrams to 1,000 milligrams per day were effective for a wide range of different symptoms.

    Another comprehensive review evaluated 35 different medical studies to gather information on the different CBD doses used in clinical applications. Out of the 35 studies, 23 reported significant improvements for a wide range of ailments, including anxiety, seizures, and psychotic symptoms.

    Dosage ranged between less than 1 milligram and 50 milligrams per kilogram of body weight per day. On the highest end of this dosing range, that’s over 3,400 milligrams per day for a 150 pound person.

    Of course, most of the research available doesn’t give averages, and many of these dosing ranges show the extreme high and extreme low end of effective doses. When reviewing anecdotal reports, you’ll find that many people take doses ranging from 15 milligrams to 100 milligrams per day with great success.

    Does the Type of CBD I Choose Affect the Dosage?

    There is plenty of speculation surrounding whether different CBD formulas require different dosages. Unfortunately, it’s just another question left unanswered. Well, mostlyunanswered.

    We do know a few things about different CBD formulas that may affect dosages, but more evidence is needed before any clear connections can be made.

    Full spectrum CBD contains multiple cannabinoids and terpenes.

    One animal study shows, however, that CBD isolate has a bell-shaped response curve to increased dosage. In other words, as the dosage of CBD isolate increased, the efficacy increased to a point.Then, the opposite happened. Higher doses of CBD isolate were actually less and less effective. The study found that the opposite was true for full spectrum doses—the efficacy continued to climb with the dosage.

    Some evidence also suggests that full spectrum CBD is likely to be more effective than CBD isolate due to something called the entourage effect. This theory suggests that CBD, THC, terpenes, and all other trace cannabis compounds have synergistic effects that boost each other’s efficacy.

    This theory leads people to believe that full spectrum CBD may be effective in smaller doses than are needed when taking CBD isolate, but again, nothing has been proven.

    What Happens if I Take Too Much CBD?

    If you decide to take the “low and slow” approach to CBD dosing, you may start to wonder “how much is too much?” as you increase your dosage.

    First, you should note that many studies have found CBD to be non-toxic, even at incredibly high doses. But that doesn’t mean that you should overdo it, and there may be certain markers to suggest that you’re taking too much.

    In some cases, people only experience side effects from CBD when they are taking too much. Anecdotal reports suggest that taking too much CBD may result in mild side effects, like nausea or headaches.

    In other words, you should slowly increase your dosage until you reach full relief, but if you start to feel a bit off after an increase, try decreasing your dosage and maintaining that level for a few more days.

    If you still think that your dose is too low, you may try increasing your dose by increasing your dosage frequency. Instead of taking 50 milligrams at once, you may take 25 milligrams in the morning and 25 milligrams in the afternoon.

    How Often Should I Take CBD?

    The amount of CBD you take to get relief is important, but other factors come into play when creating an effective CBD routine. Should CBD be taken every day? Multiple times a day? It all depends on you and your needs.

    A daily CBD dose works well in a cup of coffee or tea.

    There is evidence to suggest that CBD is most effective when taken daily, as opposed to using CBD as a spot treatment when symptoms arise. Remember, the Endocannabinoid System relies on a delicate balance and thrives on consistency.

    As for dosing frequency—it’s also different for everyone. Some people find that a daily dose is plenty, while others need multiple doses throughout the day. While dosing frequency may have a lot to do with your unique endocannabinoid balance, lifestyle, and dosing needs, it also may be greatly affected by the type of CBD product that you choose.

    It’s believed that certain CBD products may have longer lasting effects compared to others. For instance, CBD that is smoked or inhaled (like hemp flower or CBD vaporizers) is thought to have short lived effects.

    Alternatively, CBD edibles are thought to have longer lasting effects because of the way they are slowly metabolized by the body. Some people report experiencing relief for 8 hours or more throughout the day when using oral CBD products.

    To figure this out for yourself, you may need to experiment a little. Try taking CBD once a day and monitor how long the effects last. If you need, add a second dose later in the day to see if you can create a dosing schedule that offers sustained relief.

    Many people who take CBD multiple times throughout the day may choose different products for different times of the day. For instance, a CBD multivitamin makes a great morning dose, while a CBD product designed for night time may help manage symptoms while you sleep.

    Talk to Your Doctor About Your CBD Dosage

    Before you start taking CBD, have a conversation with your doctor. He or she may be able to give you a more accurate dosage recommendation based on your unique biological factors or health conditions. Your doctor will also be able to evaluate whether you are at risk for drug interactions when taking CBD.

    If your doctor’s recommendations vary from the recommendations made in this article, always follow your doctor’s recommendations first. Then, talk to your doctor about potentially increasing your CBD dose as needed. He or she may recommend keeping a journal to monitor effects so that you can further discuss the efficacy of your CBD dose together.

    Resources

    1. “Overcoming the Bell‐Shaped Dose‐Response of Cannabidiol by Using Cannabis Extract Enriched in Cannabidiol” https://file.scirp.org/pdf/PP_2015021016351567.pdf
    2. “An Update on Safety and Side Effects of Cannabidiol: A Review of Clinical Data and Relevant Animal Studies” https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5569602/
    3. “Dosage, Efficacy and Safety of Cannabidiol Administration in Adults: A Systematic Review of Human Trials” https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7092763/
    4. “A systematic review of cannabidiol dosing in clinical populations” https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6710502/

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