What strength CBD should I take?
High strength, super strength, ultra strength… with so many different types of CBD available, which one is best for your needs? Dr. Sarah Brewer explains.
When you first start taking CBD, you’re usually advised to ‘start low and go slow’. This is because some people appear to metabolise CBD more slowly than others, and need only a low dose to notice an effect.
Gradually increase the dose if you need to; you may want to revisit your dose each week, for example, until you find a level that works best for you. The CBD dose at which you finally arrive will vary depending on the strength of the product, how you respond, and the reason you are taking it.
High strength CBD oil products
Those new to CBD will tend to start with a product that provides less than 10mg per dose. If you prefer to take a capsule, then a typical starting product will provide 6.4mg of a ‘high-strength’ oil in which CBD is blended with olive and hemp oil. If you are taking the product to promote general wellbeing, you may only need to take one of these – for example at night. When necessary, you can increase the dose to two or three capsules, spread at intervals throughout the day.
If you prefer to take drops, then a typical starting product will contain CBD infused into a carrier oil to provide an overall strength of, for example, 2.75%. This means that CBD makes up 2.75% of the total product and the other listed ingredients, such as hemp seed oil, make up the remaining 97.25%. The usual dose ranges from one to eight drops, up to three times daily.
For rapid absorption, hold the drops under your tongue for a couple of minutes before swallowing. If needed, the dose can be increased to the manufacturer’s recommended maximum (e.g. 25 drops daily) taken at regular intervals throughout the day.
If the maximum dose of a high strength product does not meet your needs, you may want to switch to a super strength product.
16x faster-acting than standard CBD
- 10mg fast-acting NovaSOL® CBD per capsule
- Liquid micellar technology wraps CBD oil in water-soluble spheres, to help absorption in the gut
Super strength CBD oil products
When it comes to super strength capsules, these usually provide 15mg CBD per capsule, and the recommended dose is one to two capsules taken daily with water. These capsules therefore provide a maximum of 30mg CBD per day.
A bottle of super strength CBD oil drops will typically contain a CBD concentration of around 5%. This means that CBD makes up 5% of the total product and the other listed ingredients, such as hemp seed oil, make up the remaining 95%. Because super strength CBD drops are more concentrated, you get a higher amount per drop.
A typical dose is one to seven drops up to three times daily, which you hold in your mouth for a while before swallowing. Do not exceed the manufacturer’s maximum recommended intake (for example, 21 super strength drops) spread throughout the day.
If you find that you need to take a lot of drops per day, you may prefer to switch to a more concentrated oil. Not only will this reduce the number of drops you need, it will likely save you money.
CBD Support Group
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Ultra strength CBD oil products
Ultra strength CBD oil drops are usually more than twice as potent as super strength drops and typically have a 10-11% CBD concentration. These are ideal for experienced users who want to increase their dose or take fewer drops or capsules during the day.
The disadvantage of some strong CBD products is that, the more concentrated they get, the stronger and more grassy they taste. You can get around this by choosing a product that is filter-clear: this produces a purified oil with a less strong taste.
Adding a flavour such as peppermint will also help to ensure the CBD oil tastes pleasant. All Healthspan’s CBD drops products are filter-clear and peppermint-flavoured.
See our CBD information page for a comparison of Healthspan’s CBD products.
CBD Oil Drops 1,000mg
Highest strength, best value
- Our strongest CBD oil
- Lowest cost per mg in the Healthspan range
- Peppermint flavour – no yucky taste
Does ultra strength CBD oil get you high?
No, CBD oil does not get you high. CBD (cannabidiol) is extracted from industrial hemp plants that naturally contain only trace amounts of the psychoactive molecule THC, which is responsible for the ‘high’ or ‘stoned’ effects of marijuana.
Good-quality CBD supplements that are made to pharmaceutical standards contain only traces of THC. This will be confirmed by independent laboratory tests for each batch, as well as a certificate of testing provided via a clickable link on the manufacturer’s website.
What is the maximum dose you can take?
In the UK, the FSA recommends that CBD should not be used at doses above 70mg per day. 1
In any case, do not exceed the manufacturer’s recommended dose (such as 30mg per day for Healthspan’s CBD Oil Capsules 450mg to 900mg) without talking to your doctor.
Always follow the manufacturer’s guidance on the dose and frequency of use of their product, as this guidance is based on the CBD concentration present. Do not exceed the manufacturer’s recommended dose except under medical advice and supervision.
If you have any medical conditions or are taking any prescribed drugs, always speak to your doctor before using CBD and check for interactions with your medication. If you are taking an over-the-counter medicine, ask your pharmacist’s advice. If they are unable to help, there is a useful drugs interaction checker which includes cannabidiol at drugs.com.
If you are subjected to drug testing, for example at work or because you take part in an elite competitive sport, it’s important to know that any CBD product can contain a trace of the cannabinoid THC. The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) has banned all cannabinoids except for cannabidiol (CBD). 2
A potential substitute for those worried about drug testing is the ‘CBD alternative’ PEA: Healthspan sells this under the name of Elite PEA+ Sport (which is also batch-tested for competing athletes).
Dr Sarah Brewer is Healthspan’s Medical Director and holds degrees in Natural Sciences, Surgery and Medicine from the University of Cambridge. Having worked as a GP and hospital doctor, Dr Sarah now holds an MSc in Nutritional Medicine from the University of Surrey and specialises in nutrition. She is also an award-winning writer and author.
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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.