How to find the proper CBD dosage for you, according to medical cannabis experts
This article was medically reviewed by Mia Hazle, MD, a psychiatrist in the Division of Addiction Psychiatry at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center.
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How concentrated your CBD oil is will determine how many drops you should take. chonticha wat/Getty Images
- How much CBD you should take depends on your weight, body chemistry, and condition.
- For example, CBD dosages for anxiety range from 400 to 600 mg a day.
- Determining your CBD dosage will take some trial-and-error and you should discuss it with a doctor.
CBD is one of more than 60 active compounds found in the cannabis plant. It’s used to treat childhood epilepsy, but is also being studied as a way to manage and treat conditions including anxiety, schizophrenia, diabetes , Parkinson’s disease, and multiple sclerosis.
However, how much CBD you need for these conditions, or otherwise, is unclear. That’s because CBD is not regulated by the FDA and therefore lacks any official dosing guidelines.
That said, preliminary research provides a basic understanding of how much CBD can be effective for certain conditions and groups of people. Here’s what researchers know so far about CBD’s dosage and effects.
Important: Unlike THC — another common compound in cannabis — CBD is non-intoxicating and won’t make you feel “high.”
How to determine CBD dosage?
How much CBD you should take depends on multiple factors like body weight and genetics. Usually finding the right dose comes down to good, old-fashioned trial and error.
However, before experimenting with different CBD doses, you should talk to your doctor since there are no regulated dosing guidelines. Plus, studies on CBD’s effects include a wide range of doses, from “lower” doses of 10mg to 100 mg to “higher” doses of 100 mg to 1,500 mg, making it even more difficult to determine the proper dose on your own, says Anthony Ferrari, PhD, the Chief Science Officer of Your CBD Store, a nationwide CBD retail and research company.
How much CBD is in a drop of CBD oil? CBD oil typically comes in dropper bottles with a single drop containing about 0.05 ml. A product’s packaging will tell you how much CBD is in the bottle, which can help you determine how much CBD is in a single drop. For example, if a 20 ml bottle containing 2,000 mg of CBD contains 400 drops, then each drop would contain around 5 mg of CBD.
Further muddling the dosing equation is the fact that some CBD products, known as isolates, contain only CBD, while others are “full-spectrum” and contain other cannabinoids, like THC. The additional cannabinoids in full-spectrum formulas might modulate CBD’s effects, thus altering how much you need to take, Ferrari says.
Factors that influence how much CBD you should take include:
- Bodyweight: Studies examining CBD’s effects use different doses depending on their body weight. These doses typically range from 5 to 20 mg per kilogram of body weight.
- The condition being treated: “The clinical trial data as it stands usually suggests a lower dosage for ailments such as anxiety and a higher dosage for ailments such as sleep, chronic pain, and epilepsy,” Ferrari says.
- Your individual body chemistry: Individuals respond differently to varying dosages of CBD due to their individual genetics and brain chemistry, says Jordan Tishler, MD, president of the Association of Cannabis Specialists and CEO of medical cannabis practice inahleMD. For example, a dose that might make one person feel slightly drowsy might cause unmanageable fatigue in another.
CBD dosage based on conditions
Clinical trials on CBD are limited and existing studies use a wide range of doses to treat various conditions. Here’s what we know so far:
Studies examining CBD’s effects on anxiety use varying doses, typically ranging from 400 mg to 600 mg per day. In a small 2017 study, test subjects reported reduced anxiety after taking a 300 mg dose of CBD.
In a couple of small studies, CBD doses ranging from 600 mg to 1500 mg per day were shown to reduce some symptoms of psychosis due to schizophrenia.
Can you take too much CBD?
CBD is generally considered to be safe and well-tolerated in doses up to 1500mg per day. While there’s a real risk of fatal overdose when using drugs like opiates or alcohol, taking too much CBD is more likely to result in sleepiness and perhaps an upset stomach.
Side effects are typically mild and include:
- Dry mouth
In rare instances, CBD could cause liver damage. A 2019 animal study found that liver damage occurred when mice were given high doses of CBD — the human equivalent of 200 mg of CBD per kilogram of body weight. It’s not clear if these findings are applicable to humans.
“If you are pregnant, breastfeeding, or taking any other medications, you should discuss your CBD journey with a primary care physician, Ferrari says. “Everyone experiences the effects of CBD differently and you should always monitor your body’s reactions.”
Warning: Taking CBD in addition to other medications that cause drowsiness — like benzodiazepines, antipsychotics, antidepressants, antihistamines, or alcohol — may lead to increased drowsiness, accidental falls, or accidents while driving.
Emerging research suggests CBD is a promising and low-risk treatment for a number of conditions — but like all medications, you need to be cognizant of dose. Because there are no regulated dosing guidelines, it’s especially important to talk to your doctor before starting a CBD regime.
“Maintaining open communication with your physician is the key to overall success when first incorporating CBD into your routine, especially for those with complicated health issues,” Ferrari says.
Lia Tabackman is a freelance journalist covering health and science topics for Insider.com. She can be found on Twitter @LiaTabackman.
CBD Dosage: How Much Should You Take?
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Table of Contents
- Determining the Best CBD Dosage for You
- How to Calculate CBD Dosage
- How to Take CBD
Cannabidiol (CBD) is growing increasingly popular, thanks to its many purported health benefits and non-intoxicating properties (most CBD products contain less than 0.3% tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC). In fact, 60% of U.S. adults have tried CBD at some point and believe it has medicinal benefits, according to a recent Forbes Health survey of 2,000 U.S. adults conducted by OnePoll. As research evolves and sheds light on CBD’s efficacy, especially for pain relief, more and more people are adding it to their daily wellness regimens.
Consumers can choose from a variety of CBD products, from oils to gummies to vapes to capsules. But figuring out the safe and effective CBD dose for an individual is a complex decision.
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Here’s how to find the right CBD dosage for you and how to consume it safely.
Determining the Best CBD Dosage for You
With the exception of one CBD product, a prescription drug used to treat seizures associated with particular syndromes, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) doesn’t regulate the use of CBD. (In fact, it’s illegal to market CBD as a supplement or add it to food.) Therefore, it’s best to consult a doctor with experience in CBD administration to determine your ideal dosage.
Expressed in milligrams (mg), CBD dosage largely depends on the conditions and symptoms you’re trying to treat and your unique endocannabinoid system, which is associated with motor control, behavior, emotions, the nervous system and homeostasis. CBD dosage remains an area of active research—more large, high-quality studies are needed in different populations to determine appropriate dosing, efficacy and safety guidelines.
“It’s best to start small and gradually increase your dose up to a level that gives you the desired effect,” says Cheryl Bugailiskis, M.D., a cannabis specialist at Heally, a telehealth platform for alternative medicine. Your starting point might look like half a CBD gummy or a drop of oil. Ideally, navigate this process under the guidance of a qualified physician.
If you’re still not sure where to start, mydosage.com offers a questionnaire and CBD calculator to help you based on your specific symptoms and usage goals.
How to Calculate CBD Dosage
When you consume CBD gummies, capsules or softgels, dosage is typically expressed per unit. For example, there may be 50 milligrams of CBD in each individual gummy. These products don’t offer much dosage flexibility since you can’t split up capsules easily. For instance, if one softgel capsule didn’t provide your desired result, you would have to take another full capsule, doubling the total dose.
CBD oil, on the other hand, makes it easier, to begin with a small dose. But calculating CBD oil dosage can be less straightforward. Oils and tinctures tend to come in a dropper bottle and, typically, only the total liquid volume and CBD contents are listed on the label. For example, the label might simply state there’s 1,500 milligrams of CBD in the 30-milliliter bottle.
But what does 1 milliliter look like? Due to the current lack of regulation of CBD, this calculation can be tricky. Start by figuring out the volume of a single drop in your dropper, which is usually 0.05 milliliters, according to Dr. Bugailiskis. If you’re unsure, ask the company.
Here’s where math comes in. Let’s continue with the 30-milliliter bottle with 1,500 milligrams of CBD and 0.05 milliliters in a single drop as our example.
1500mg÷30mL = 50 mg/mL
This bottle contains 50 milligrams of CBD per milliliter. Let’s see how many milligrams are in a drop:
50mg/mL ×0.05mL/drop = 2.5mg/drop
Each drop contains 2.5 milligrams of CBD.
Next, you can calculate how many drops you need to reach your goal dosage. Let’s say you want to consume 25 milligrams each day.
25mg÷2.5mg/drop = 10 drops
10 drops ×2.5mg = 0.5mL
With this CBD oil dosage calculator as your guide, you would find that you needed to consume 10 drops, or 0.5 milliliters, to reach 25 milligrams. And if you intend to consume 25 milligrams daily, you can expect this particular bottle to serve as a 60-day supply.
Some CBD products do some of this math for you and illustrate how many milligrams are in a milliliter, some even marking these points on the dropper so you know exactly what you’re taking.
CBD Dosage for Different Ailments
Without FDA approval, there is little guidance in the U.S. on how much CBD a person should consume for various conditions.
In many medical studies on CBD, you see administered doses reach hundreds of milligrams a day, which sounds severe compared to our starting dosage example of 25 milligrams. However, Steven Phan, founder of Come Back Daily, a CBD dispensary in New York, points out that patients in these studies are often dealing with serious flare-ups and pain-inducing conditions compared to everyday dispensary customers.
Below are clinically-studied CBD dosages based on different ailments and conditions. Note: Some of the formulations studied contained THC as well—not all available dosage research sticks strictly to CBD.
*Dosages are based solely on small, short-term clinical study results where CBD proved significantly successful over placebo. Much larger studies are needed to further strengthen the evidence.
FDA-approved Epidiolex administers CBD orally as a liquid to treat seizures associated with Lennox-Gastaut syndrome, Dravet syndrome and tuberous sclerosis complex. The dosage of Epidiolex is determined by taking the patient’s weight in kilograms (kg) into account.
Several countries, including Canada and those in the U.K., have approved the use of Sativex, an oral spray with equal amounts of CBD and THC, to treat pain stemming from multiple sclerosis. Canada has also approved it for treatment of cancer pain.
The medical and research community still has a long way to go before figuring out what dose works best for each condition. At an individual level, consumers can experiment with caution until they find what works best for them.
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How to Take CBD
Popular ways to take CBD include:
- Oils and tinctures (extracts of plant material dissolved in ethanol): A liquid that comes in a bottle with a dropper
- Gummies: A soft, chewable candy that’s often fruit-flavored
- Sprays: A liquid that comes in a bottle with a nozzle for spraying into the mouth
- Capsules: Tablets or softgels that are ingested by mouth
- Vapes: CBD oil that’s heated without ignition, resulting in an inhalable vapor
- Flower: Dried hemp plant that’s often ignited and smoked
- Edibles: Any food that CBD oil has been added to, such as brownies or chips
- Drinks: Any beverage that’s infused with CBD, often in the form of hemp extract
Your CBD product of choice will largely depend on your personal preferences, as well as your budget since prices vary depending on the potency of ingredients and manufacturing processes. Different mediums also offer varying levels of bioavailability—or how much of what you take is actually absorbed into your bloodstream to have an effect. For example, if you ingest 10 milligrams of CBD via 1 milliliter of liquid, your body might absorb about 60% of it, or about 6 milligrams.
Cannabinoids generally have a low bioavailability compared to other substances, according to Jordan Tishler, M.D., a physician specializing in cannabis treatment in Massachusetts. However, “products that contain emulsifiers like egg yolk (brownies) or lecithin (some gummies) do better,” he says.
With that said, ingesting CBD via gummies or other edibles may take longer to take effect since the CBD has to travel to your digestive system to be broken down and absorbed.
Can You Take Too Much CBD?
Like with any substance, you can take more CBD than your body can handle. Studies show doses up to 1,500 milligrams a day have been well-tolerated, but every person is different  Bergamaschi MM, Costa Queiroz RH, Zuardi AW, Crippa JAS. Safety and side effects of cannabidiol, a Cannabis sativa constituent. Current Drug Safety. 2011;6(4):237-49. . Ingesting too much CBD can cause unpleasant side effects, such as dry mouth, nausea, diarrhea, upset stomach, drowsiness, lightheadedness and general disorientation. While rare, liver damage can also occur.
What’s more, CBD can have serious interactions with certain medications. In evaluating available information on five prescription CBD-based medications, researchers found 139 medications could have a potential drug-drug interaction with CBD  Kocis PT, Vrana KE. Delta-9-Tetrahydrocannabinol and Cannabidiol Drug-Drug Interactions. Medical Cannabis and Cannabinoids. 2020;3:61–73. . People who take certain blood thinners, heart rhythm medications, thyroid medications and seizure medications need to be particularly careful.
At the end of the day, not all supplements are created equal, which is why it’s important to work alongside a health care provider when adding CBD to your wellness regimen and research reliable brands. And while emerging research and anecdotal evidence is promising, more large, randomized-controlled trials are needed to further understand the benefits of CBD and its dosing.