If you’ve been struggling to find clear information on how to dose CBD products, the tips in this guide will help you find the perfect dose.
We analyzed over 40 scientific articles to look for CBD dosage guidelines. Plus, we reviewed over 50 CBD oils to see what doses and methods worked best for us.
The results we found are a must-read for anyone who wants to find the perfect dose.
By finding the perfect dose, you'll maximize the benefits that CBD oil has to offer, while keeping your cost low.
Table of contents:
How to Determine How Much CBD to Take?
Different methods of CBD consumption come with different absorption-rates. So an effective dosage is also highly dependent on the method of use.
Add to that the fact that there are large differences between individuals in:
- metabolism in general,
- cannabinoid-specific metabolism, and
- other physical characteristics like weight and body mass,
and you’ll understand why it’s difficult to give a general dosage guideline for effective CBD use.
One important piece of advice is to start with a low dose and slowly titrate your dose until you experience desired effects.
An example with CBD oil
Let's say you have the following CBD oil:
This CBD oil has 1700mg inside a 30ml solution. Most droppers take up to 1ml oil. So if you would take one full dropper of this oil, you would take 1/30 of the total. And that would be this much CBD: 1700mg divided by 30 = 57mg CBD.
But you're just starting out. And you want to start with a low dose and slowly increase it until you find your desired effects.
You could start with 20mg CBD per day for three days. 20mg CBD is approximately 1/3rd of a dropper. In case of no effects, you can increase the dose with 10mg for the next three days. So the total dose would be 30mg per day, for the next three days. With this oil, 30mg CBD is approximately 1/2nd of a dropper. In case of no effects, you can increase your next dose with 10mg for the next three days, etc:
40mg isn't the maximum. You can keep increasing in 10mg increments until desired effects are achieved.
You can also split the the total dose in two smaller doses, spread over the day.
And in case you find your effective dose, but you feel the effects wear off too quickly. You can take your effective dose up to three times a day.
If you've found your effective dose is 40mg CBD, but the effects wear off after 6 hours, you can take:
- 1 dose of 40mg CBD in the morning (after breakfast),
- 1 dose of 40mg CBD in the afternoon (after lunch),
- 1 dose of 40mg CBD in the evening (after diner).
If you're taking a full-spectrum oil, you have to be aware of the amount of THC you're ingesting as well.
Because even small amounts of THC can have a big impact on how you feel.
But here's the problem:
Most CBD brands don't disclose how much THC you get per dose.
Most CBD brands will only disclose the THC-percentage.
So in that case, you would have to calculate yourself how much THC you're ingesting.
You can always find the THC-percentage inside the certificate of analysis:
As you can see, this product has a THC-percentage of 0.21%.
Based on this information, how do you calculate how much THC you're ingesting?
You can do this by:
- calculating the CBD: THC ratio (divide the CBD-percentage by the THC-percentage), or,
- by converting the THC-percentage to a mg/ml metric.
The easiest method to calculate how much THC you're ingesting is by calculating the CBD:THC ratio. But for this, we would need the CBD-percentage.
Since the CBD-percentage is missing…
Let's go with the second method: converting the THC-percentage to a mg/ml metric.
The formula for this is as follows:
THC-percentage x density of carrier oil.
Since most CBD oils use MCT oil as a carrier oil, let's stick to MCT oil.
MCT oil has a density of 0.955 g/ml. But we're interested in milligrams per ml (mg/ml).
So we first have to convert grams to milligrams:
1000 x 0.955 g/ml = 955mg/ml.
Then we multiply this density with the THC-percentage.
The THC-percentage is 0.21%. In regular (non-percentage) numbers this equals to 0.0021.
So the formula to calculate the amount THC in mg/ml is:
0.0021 x 955 mg/ml = 2mg/ml THC.
So for every 57mg CBD, you would ingest 2mg THC with this oil.
For most people, 2mg THC isn't enough to really get them high or experience THC side effects like anxiety or paranoia. But for some THC-sensitive people 2mg can be high enough of a dose to get a bit high or experience anxiety.
So when dosing full-spectrum CBD products, always know how much THC you're ingesting. This way, you when you start feeling ‘weird', you know the amount of THC you ingested was too much.
An example with CBD gummies
Let's say you have the following gummies:
The amount of CBD you're ingesting is very easy to understand:
25mg CBD per gummy.
So if you would take two gummies, you would take 50mg CBD, three gummies 75mg CBD, etc.
For general purposes, we recommend the same dosing regimen as with oil:
But with gummies, you don't have to adhere to the exact dose that strictly. Even though the starting recommended dose is 20mg, if your gummy has 25mg, just start with a single gummy. You don't have to avoid taking 1/5th of the gummy to get to your exact starting dose of 20mg. Just dose in approximation.
With gummies as well, it's important to understand how much THC you're ingesting.
Gummies can contain 0.3% THC as well. And since with gummies, the total cannabinoids are spread over much more weight than with oils, you can ingest more THC than you think.
These days, most reputable CBD brands disclose how much THC you ingest per gummy as well. Maybe not on the packaging, but usually in the certificate of analysis (COA):
But if they don't, you have to calculate it yourself similarly, like you would calculate with an oil.
Let's say you have the following COA:
You know there's 25mg CBD inside a single gummy.
With this information, and the information in the COA, you can then calculate how much THC you're ingesting.
The easiest way to calculate this, is to calculate the CBD:THC ratio:
CBD-percentage divided by THC-percentage.
In this instance it would be 0.76 / 0.03 = 25.
So every 25mg CBD, you get 1mg THC. Since one gummy has 25mg CBD, it has 1mg THC.
An example with CBD flower
With CBD flower, you only know percentages.
How much milligrams CBD and THC you're inhaling can be calculated as follows:
Dividing the total amount of grams you smoked or vaped by the CBD and/or THC-percentages.
An example calculation below.
Let's say your CBD flower has the following COA:
The total amount of CBD is simply CBDA + CBD. CBDA is the acidic form of CBD. Once you heat up CBDA (like you would vaping), it turns into CBD.
So the total amount of CBD in this flower is 18.75%.
Let's say you vape one gram of this flower. One gram equals 1000 milligrams.
18.75% of this 1000 milligrams is how much CBD you would ingest.
So by vaping one gram of this flower, you would take 0.1875 x 1000 = 187.5 milligrams CBD.
Now let's look at the THC.
The total amount of THC is THCA-A + Delta-9 THC. THCA is the acidic form of THC. Once you heat up THCA, it turns into THC.
So the total amount of THC in this flower is.
0.67% of 1000 milligrams is how much THC you would ingest.
0.0067 x 1000 = 6.7 milligrams THC.
Keep in mind that this may look like a small amount, but it's enough for some people to feel a buzz.
The Maximum Known Dose of CBD That’s Considered Safe
Currently, it’s unknown whether you can overdose with CBD.
The maximum dose of CBD ever taken in a study, without any serious side effects is 1500mg (1).
A similar, but slightly different guideline is disclosed by the manufacturer of Epidiolex. Epidiolex is an FDA-approved CBD-medicine for treating epilepsy.
The maximum recommended dose for Epidiolex is 20mg/kg/day.
So if you would weigh 70kg, your maximum recommended dose would be 1400mg CBD.
The average dose of over-the-counter CBD products hovers between 20mg and 100mg.
To paint a picture:
Taking 1500mg of CBD usually means clearing a big bottle of CBD oil in a single gulp.
1500mg is a very high dose. Anything above 300mg could be classified as a ‘medical' dose.
Although CBD-use up until 1500mg isn't associated with serious side effects, there are some concerns about elevated liver enzymes when CBD is consumed in these high doses. The chance of elevated liver enzymes increases if you're taking medication that's metabolized by the same liver enzymes as CBD.
If you plan to use to use CBD medically, or are on medication, it's very important to consult with your physician.
Science-Backed CBD Dose for Epilepsy
One study found that 200-300mg CBD taken daily had a positive effect on the occurrence of convulsive crises in 7 of 8 epilepsy patients (2).
One survey-based study that looked at CBD use among epilepsy patients found that 73% of patients, used a daily dose between 10–25 mg/kg. If you weigh 70kg, this amounts to 700-1500mg of CBD. As you can see this is a very high dose. For most people, it’s impossible to finance such large doses of CBD. Especially without their health insurance backing them up.
A recent study(3), found that full-spectrum CBD was more effective in treating epilepsy symptoms than purified CBD.
This study looked at the differences in effects and doses between epilepsy patients that used CBD-rich Cannabis extract vs. purified CBD products (3). It found that CBD-rich Cannabis extract not only was more effective in treating epilepsy symptoms…
But it was more effective with a dose that's 4-times smaller than the average effective dose for purified CBD products.
The average daily dose reported by the patients for purified CBD was 25.3 mg/kg/day. While the average daily dose reported for CBD-rich Cannabis extract was only 6.0 mg/kg/day.
Science-Backed CBD Dose for Psychosis
There haven’t been any large-scale studies that looked at the effects of CBD on psychosis in humans. And the few studies that looked at the effects of CBD on psychosis found limited evidence for its use.
In a case study, a 19-year old woman with schizophrenia got successfully treated with a dose of 1200 mg/day CBD (4).
A different study compared the effects of CBD vs. a traditional antipsychotic named ‘amisulpride’ (5). The study found that a daily dose of 200mg CBD, increased stepwise by 200mg per day to a daily dose of 200 mg four times daily (total 800 mg per day), was as effective as the traditional antipsychotic medicine amisulpride. CBD also had a superior side-effect profile (fewer side-effects).
Science-Backed CBD Dose for Anxiety
A 2015 study reviewed the results of 25+:
- epidemiological, and,
- chronic studies.
The current evidence strongly supports the use of CBD as a treatment for anxiety disorders at oral doses ranging from 300mg to 600mg (6).
There’s especially strong evidence for CBD reducing:
- experimentally-induced anxiety like public speaking tests, and,
- for reducing social anxiety disorder.
Important to note here is that the respondents used a purified form of CBD and not a full-plant extract. No dose recommendations can be given with regards to taking full-spectrum CBD for anxiety.
Keep in mind that full-spectrum CBD also has some THC. Some people are hyper-sensitive to THC. If you have anxiety, and full-spectrum CBD products make you more anxious, avoid them.
Science-Backed CBD Dose for Pain
Most studies that found painkilling effects with cannabinoids used a combination of THC and CBD. The doses used in these studies can't be translated to recommendations for a CBD-only dose.
One recent study found painkilling effects of CBD in kidney transplant patients (7). It started with a dose of 100 mg/day and a progressive increase up to 300 mg/day (spread out over the day in smaller doses).
An interesting note here is that this same study found that more CBD is not always better. One of the patients experienced stronger painkilling effects with lower doses. It’s unclear how much lower than 300 mg/d.
Science-Backed CBD Dose for Sleep
Studies that specifically looked at the effects of CBD on sleep in healthy patients are rare. Most studies that looked at the effects of CBD on sleep had subjects that suffered from conditions like PTSD or Parkinson’s Disease. So the results of these studies bear little relation to the average person who’s looking to use it for sleep.
There’s one 1981 study that looked at the effects of CBD on sleep in otherwise healthy insomniac volunteers (8).
The researchers tested 3 doses with purified crystalline CBD: 40mg, 80mg, and 160mg. Compared to the placebo group, the volunteers reported less dream recall with all 3 doses. This could mean they experienced fewer sleep disruptions. With the dose of 160mg, all volunteers significantly increased the hours slept.
Important to note here is again that the researchers used a purified form of CBD. It’s possible that you’ll get the same effects as 160mg purified CBD when you take fewer mgs of full-spectrum CBD.
Science-Backed CBD Dose for General Health
Studies that look at the effects of CBD always look at the effects on a specific condition. Or the effects on the symptoms of a specific condition.
That said, CBD has strong anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant characteristics. You don’t need a specific condition to reap the benefits of CBD oil. Anyone can benefit from food with strong anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.
Our recommendation for taking CBD for general well-being is a daily dose of 25-50mg full-spectrum CBD.
How Extract-type Impacts CBD Dosages
If you want to take CBD in its most effective form, you should take it together with all other compounds that are naturally present in hemp.
There are two types of CBD products that can be qualified as ‘the most natural form':
Both these products are packed with CBD, plus:
- minor cannabinoids,
- terpenes, and,
But how much more effective is CBD when taken together with all these other hemp compounds?
While some studies only build a theoretical case for combining these compounds (9), others compared dosages between full-spectrum CBD and purified CBD.
One study with epilepsy-patients found full-spectrum CBD can be up to 4-times more effective than purified CBD (3).
And according to other studies, some beneficial effects occur only when cannabinoids taken together (10). This specific effect is called ‘the entourage effect'.
CBD as an isolated compound is greatly beneficial for your health. But to:
- increase its potency, and,
- reduce its side effects,
you should take it together with all cannabis-derived compounds.
How Consumption Method Impacts CBD Dosages
How you take your CBD, also has a large impact on how big of a dose you need.
Because different consumption methods also lead to different absorption-rates.
Taking CBD orally on an empty stomach has an absorption-rate of around 6%. Vaped or smoked CBD has an absorption-rate of at least 31%.
Let's dive a bit deeper into consumption methods.
Taking CBD Sublingually and Orally and the Effects on Dosages
By taking CBD sublingually, you partially avoid the ‘first-pass effect’.
The first-pass effect refers to the metabolization of compounds in the digestive tract and liver. The liver and digestive tract metabolize compounds like CBD before they reach the bloodstream. For example if you ingest 100mg CBD, only 9-30mg will get absorbed into your blood stream.
Theoretically, by taking CBD sublingually, you would need a smaller dose to achieve the same effects, compared to swallowing CBD.
But studies show there's no difference in blood concentrations when taking CBD sublingually compared to immediately swallowing it (11).
There's less variability in blood concentrations when taking CBD sublingually, or in the form of an oromucosal spray.
Less variability in blood concentrations means less variability in effects.
CBD may not be better absorbed when taken sublingually. But you'll get more predictable results when taking it sublingually.
Methods for Increasing CBD's Bioavailability and Reducing Dosage When Taken Orally/Sublingually
When you take CBD orally, there are ways to increase its bioavailability and potentially reduce the dose needed to achieve a desired effect.
With these tips, you'll get stronger effects from the same dose. Or you'll be able to use a smaller dose to achieve your desired effect. In both cases, you'll get more value for your money.
1. Dietary Lipids Increase Bio-Availability of CBD Taken Orally
Most CBD oils have a carrier oil. This helps with the absorption of CBD. But for even better absorption, you should take your CBD oil with even more fats. For example, some nuts or some peanut butter.
Research shows that CBD has a higher absorption-rate when taken together with fats (12).
2. Taking CBD Orally in a Fed-State Increases Bio-availability
One phase 1 clinical trial found that taking CBD orally in a fed state compared to a fasted state increased both (13):
- CBD blood concentrations, and,
- the time CBD stays in the blood.
For best effects, you should take CBD after eating a big meal that contains at least some fat.
3. Unheated CBD Has Better Uptake and Metabolism vs. Heated
One study found that CBD blood concentrations were 4-times higher when CBD was combined with its acidic form, CBDA (14).
The unheated extract contained:
- A much higher concentration of CBDA than the heated extract, and;
- A lower CBD concentration than the heated extract.
In other words the CBDA:CBD ratio was higher in the unheated extract.
CBDA is the precursor of CBD. It's the acidic form. And although CBDA is associated with health benefits as well, 95% of research is about CBD and NOT CBDA. The health benefits associated with CBD don't automatically extend to CBDA.
When talking about CBD oils, unheated extracts are very rare, but cold-ethanol-extracted and subcritical CO2-extracted CBD oils sometimes are sold in their unheated form.
Other names for this type of product are ‘raw CBD oil', ‘raw CBD extract'.
Vaping CBD and the Effects on Dosages
CBD is more readily absorbed through your lungs than through the digestive tract.
You may find that your effective dose with vaped CBD is smaller than with orally ingested CBD.
It's difficult to determine by how much exactly. But if you've found your effective dose of CBD is 100mg when orally ingested, with vaped CBD it could be 10-20% lower. But this only holds true if both products have a similar cannabinoid-profile.
CBD vape juices, for example, usually only contain CBD. And purified CBD products need much larger dose to be effective than full-spectrum products like CBD flower.
So if you found your effective dose with orally ingested full-spectrum CBD is 100mg, you may find that your effective dose with vaped CBD isolate is even larger. Even though vaped CBD, generally is more readily absorbed.
Whether a particular dose of CBD is effective for you is highly dependent on:
- the type of product (full-spectrum vs isolate),
- the consumption method (oral vs vape),
- your individual metabolism,
- why you're using it (medical dosages of CBD are much higher than symptom relief dosages).
Some studies show you may need a smaller dose when you:
- use full-spectrum CBD instead of purified CBD,
- when taking CBD orally, ingest it with fats and on a full stomach, and,
- take CBD daily.
If you're looking for a potent and clean CBD oil, check out the article below:
If you're interested in a more convenient (but less potent) way to use CBD, check out our list of:
If you want to read up on the potential benefits of CBD oil, check out the article below:
If you want to read a full consumer's guide on what CBD oil exactly is and what types are being sold, check out:
If you want to learn more about how CBD could be beneficial for pain or anxiety, check out the articles below:
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