CBD Dosage — How Much CBD Should You Take?

Sophia Delphi April 18, 2022 - 13 min read
Fact Checked
A man about to take a dose of CBD oil

So, your bottle of CBD oil has just arrived, and you’re sitting here by the table, looking at that dropper filled with golden liquid, wondering, “What am I supposed to do with it? How much CBD oil should I take?”

Some people say one dropper daily is enough to manage symptoms.

Others argue that CBD doesn’t work because they tried a few different doses, and none of them brought satisfying results.

Figuring out the right dosage for CBD oil is one of the most important aspects of effective supplementation.

But it’s also one of the most difficult ones.

Don’t worry; you’ll learn everything from this article.

Here’s what you need to know about choosing the right CBD oil dosage for the first time.

CBD Dosage: How Much CBD Oil Should I Take?

There’s no one-size-fits-all dosage for CBD products. Even the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) doesn’t have a Recommended Daily Intake (RDI) for CBD.

In other words, CBD doesn’t have an established serving size.

CBD has over 60 molecular targets, meaning it uses various mechanisms to interact with the body and brain. It’s difficult to create a definite dosage guideline that would help you regardless of your unique body chemistry.

Some CBD brands provide their own dosage recommendations, but they do so to give beginner users a general point of reference. It’s virtually impossible to determine whether a specific dosage is right for you without going through some trial and error.

That’s because finding the best CBD dosage relies on a range of individual factors, which I’m going to cover in the next section.

Factors Affecting CBD Dosage

Here’s what you need to take into account when assessing the optimal dosage for your CBD oil supplementation:

  • Your weight
  • Your metabolism
  • The potency of your product
  • The bioavailability of the chosen CBD format
  • Your unique biochemistry
  • Previous experience with cannabis
  • The severity of your symptoms
  • Other medications you’re currently taking

See? Whenever somebody tells you that you need to take a certain number of drops to become symptom-free, they’re just trying to make a quick buck on an uninformed customer.

Don’t be one of them.

According to Nick Jikomes, a neuroscientist and cannabis expert:

“As our body undergoes physiological changes, so do cannabinoid receptors in the endocannabinoid system, which are directly linked to the effects of CBD.”

To put it simply, your optimal CBD dosage can change throughout your life, so there will never be a static dose that works for you.

How to Calculate the Best CBD Dosage for Your Health Needs

There are a few steps you can follow to find the best CBD dosage for your current situation. Let’s cover this process from top to bottom.

1. Choose the Right form of CBD

CBD oil drops are the most popular way to deliver CBD to your system. They offer relatively high bioavailability, are easy to use, and allow you to absorb the active compounds directly into the bloodstream, unlike capsules and edibles.

However, full-spectrum CBD oils have a distinct botanical taste — often leaving a harsh, earthy sensation on the palate. For some people, this may be off-putting, so they choose capsules, gummies, or vape oil.

Capsules and gummies offer longer-lasting effects, but since they’re metabolized in the liver first, they have a slower onset than oil drops.

Vaping is the fastest way to experience relief from anxiety, stress, pain, and inflammation. That’s because vaporization delivers CBD through the lungs, bypassing the liver.

Last but not least, there are topical CBD products that you can use to address localized discomfort. These include creams, balms, roll-on sticks, and skincare products like bath bombs and lotions.

2. Check the Bioavailability of Your Product

Bioavailability is measured by calculating the amount of ingested CBD that your body absorbs after processing it through different routes.

The following list illustrates the bioavailability of 4 popular CBD formats:

  • CBD topicals: <1% (they don’t penetrate into the bloodstream)
  • CBD capsules and edibles: 5–20%
  • CBD oil drops: 25–35%
  • CBD vapes: 56–60%

Let’s say you take 15 mg of CBD in oil drops. In the end, you’ll have 4–6 times the amount of CBD in your bloodstream than you would with a capsule of the same strength.

The bioavailability of CBD is difficult to measure because topicals interact with cannabinoid receptors that are located in different layers of the skin. None of their contents enter the bloodstream unless you’re using a transdermal CBD patch.

3. Talk to a Doctor

A consultation with a qualified physician will help you establish the right routine and find the best dosage — not to mention avoiding potential interference with other medications that you may be taking. Just make sure to visit a doctor who is knowledgeable about cannabis and CBD; the endocannabinoid system is still a mystery for many medical professionals.

4. Start with a Low Dose

This one may sound like a truism, but everybody is different; we have a different history with the use of substances in supplements and medications. And since our chemistry differs too, what may work for you, might not work for another person — and the other way round.

The best way to find your optimal CBD dosage is to use your weight. Start with 1–5 mg of CBD per pound and see how your body responds to such doses.

From there, we can move to the next tip.

5. Gradually Increase the Amount of CBD Until You Feel the Difference

It’s best to gradually increase the amount of CBD oil until you feel the dose brings you the desired results.

I recommend starting at the lower end because if you go overboard, you may experience dry mouth, dizziness, fatigue, fluctuation of appetite, lightheadedness, or diarrhea. Side effects indicate that you should cut down on your dosage.

On the other hand, if you continue to use too low a dose, you may not feel anything at all, so it’s best to observe your reaction to CBD and even keep a journal where you’ll be writing down how you feel after each dose.

How to Measure Your CBD Oil Dosage

CBD oil comes in glass bottles that have a dropper attached to them. The dropper allows you to measure a precise serving of CBD according to your dosage.

All you need to do is squeeze the dropper while it sits inside the bottle and draws the extract from it. From there, you can transfer the oil to the area under your tongue; this way, CBD will get absorbed into your system through sublingual capillaries.

But how do you know how much CBD oil you should take?

To figure this out, you’ll need to know how much CBD you can squeeze into a dropper. Usually, droppers can hold 1 ml of liquid. If you know the total size of your CBD oil, you can use simple math to calculate your CBD dosage with the following equation:

[Total CBD Strength per Boottle] ÷ [Number of milliliters in the CBD oil] = mg of CBD per dropper.

So, when you have a 30 ml CBD oil that has 1500 mg of CBD, the formula will look like this:

1500 ÷ 30 = 50 mg of CBD per ml (dropper)

How to Measure CBD Dosage in a Vape Pen

For CBD vape pens, you’ll need to know how much CBD is in your cartridge. As you vape your CBD throughout the day, watch the tank and see how long it can last without refilling.

The effects of vaporized CBD kick in faster than with other formats, so you should be able to tell the difference after about 5 minutes between taking another dose.

Once you start experiencing the desired relief, this is your dose.

On the other hand, if the dose is too high, you may feel the same side effects as when you take too much CBD oil.

Best CBD Dosage for Anxiety, Pain, and Sleep

As mentioned, you can use your manufacturer’s dosage guidelines to get a general starting point, but finding the best CBD dosage for a specific condition calls for doing more research. After studying CBD for several years, scientists have finally come up with some suggested dosages for the most common conditions treated with CBD oil: anxiety, pain, and sleep.

Let’s take a look at how much CBD oil you should take for each of these conditions.

Best CBD Dosage for Anxiety

Most studies on CBD and anxiety have been centered on the social anxiety disorder. One of the first research papers on this subject, which was mentioned many times since the publication, suggests a dose of 40 mg of sublingual CBD as a treatment for social anxiety. However, more severe cases may call for higher dosages — up to 300 mg of CBD.

Best CBD Dosage for Pain

The best CBD dosage for people with chronic pain ranges between 2.5 mg and 100 mg of CBD when taken orally, with or without THC. The more THC in the formula, the more effective, the lower doses become. Certain individuals may require larger amounts to relieve chronic pain, especially people with a greater body weight.

Best CBD Dosage for Sleep

CBD can reduce stress and alleviate pain and inflammation — all of these qualities make it a potential sleep aid.

Aside from that, CBD can influence our circadian rhythm. For example, lower doses have a wake-inducing effect, while higher doses may lower blood pressure and make us feel sleepy.

Depending on your overall health, you may need 25–175 mg of CBD daily to combat sleep difficulties.

CBD Dosage FAQ

1. Is CBD safe?

Yes, CBD has a very good safety profile, both for humans and animals. Humans can tolerate doses as high as 1,500 mg daily for six weeks without experiencing any dangerous side effects.

2. Will CBD get me high?

No, CBD doesn’t activate the cannabinoid receptors in your brain, so they won’t get you high. This is the role of THC, the other major cannabinoid.

3. Can you overdose on CBD?

A fatal overdose on CBD and other cannabinoids is impossible because they don’t interfere with the brain stem area that controls respiration. However, overdosing — as in taking too much CBD and experiencing side effects — is totally doable.

4. Does CBD oil have any side effects?

CBD has a relatively humble list of side effects, most of which are mild and doesn’t pose a threat to your life. However, in large doses, CBD may cause a range of adverse reactions, such as:

  • Dry mouth
  • Dizziness
  • Lowered blood pressure
  • Fatigue
  • Changes in appetite

Still, it’s not a big price to pay compared to the long list of side effects caused by widely accepted and promoted pharmaceutical medications.

5. What’s the best way to consume CBD?

If we measure the efficacy of CBD by its bioavailability, then vape pens and oil drops are your best options. That’s because they offer higher bioavailability and a faster onset of effects than capsules and edibles.

6. Which is better: full-spectrum CBD vs Isolate

If you don’t have to take regular drug tests at work, I would recommend going with a full-spectrum CBD oil because it leverages the entourage effect. This biological phenomenon describes the synergistic effects of all cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids from the cannabis plant; these compounds work together to amplify their positive effects and increase the therapeutic potential of the end product. They’re also believed to require lower doses than pure CBD (isolate) to produce similar results.

7. Can dogs and cats take CBD?

This may sound surprising to you — especially that pets and cannabis usually don’t go well together in one sentence — but every mammal on this planet has an endocannabinoid system. Therefore, they can reap similar health benefits to humans from taking CBD products.

People give CBD oil or treats to dogs and cats for a wide range of health concerns, including separation anxiety, joint pain, mobility issues, short attention span, seizures, inflammation, and more.

Finding the Best CBD Dosage: Bottom Line

The universal CBD dosage that would work for every individual is a utopian concept. CBD is a very complex compound — and so is the endocannabinoid system makes it difficult to tell right away how much CBD oil you should take for the first time.

The best CBD dosage for your situation will depend on your product’s bioavailability, your age, weight, metabolism, the severity of symptoms, the type of CBD you’re using, and potential interactions with other medications that you may be taking.

You can follow the dosing instructions on the bottle of your CBD oil. However, you should always treat it as a starting point — not THE only way to dose CBD.

So, what’s the best way to find your optimal CBD dosage?

Start with a small amount and gradually work your way up to the point where you feel the desired effects without experiencing any adverse reactions. The way your body responds to CBD can change over time, so observe the effects and adjust the dose if necessary.

A consultation with a doctor experienced in CBD and cannabis should help you in this endeavor.

What doses of CBD work best for you? How long did it take you until you managed to figure it out? Share your stories in the comment section.


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