Cannabidiol or CBD is one of over 400 cannabinoids found in the Cannabis plant, but it doesn’t have the psychoactive effects for which tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is known. Though the effects of CBD are still being studied, scientific evidence suggests it may be beneficial for a variety of concerns ranging from pain and anxiety to epilepsy.
When it comes to taking CBD, it’s all about finding the right dosage. Dosing CBD can be tricky because each product has its own concentration of CBD. When using CBD, you need to consider both the amount of CBD in the product and your desired dosage to figure out how much to take. Here’s what you need to know.
Why Do We Need to Calculate Doses?
Calculating the proper dosage is important no matter what you’re taking. Whether it’s a pharmaceutical drug or dietary supplement, the dose determines the effect. You want to strike the right balance between finding a dose that is high enough to be therapeutic but not so high it becomes toxic or causes unwanted side effects.
When it comes to CBD, different conditions may require different doses. For example, anxiety disorders may benefit from a low dose of CBD while more serious conditions like epilepsy may need a higher dosage of cannabidiol to achieve the desired effect.
Unfortunately, there is no standard dosage for cannabidiol because research into the benefits of CBD is ongoing. Individual reactions can vary as well, so it’s generally best to begin with a low starting dose and gradually increase the amount of CBD as needed until you see the desired effect. You’ll want to follow your doctor’s medical advice to do this properly.
Why aren’t CBD Oil Dosages Standardized?
To put it simply, CBD oil dosage isn’t standardized because research is still ongoing. There is a lot to be learned about cannabinoids like CBD and THC, especially when it comes to medical applications. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has only approved one cannabis-derived drug: Epidiolex, for the treatment of refractory epilepsy. Until more research is completed to determine therapeutic levels of cannabidiol for different medical conditions, dosing recommendations will remain general.
CBD Dosage: Figuring Out The Right Amount For You
There are a lot of variables that go into determining how much CBD you should take per day. To determine how much CBD to get started with, you need to consider the following factors:
- The person’s weight
- The severity of your condition
- The individual’s body chemistry
- The various methods of consuming CBD
- The potency of the CBD supplement
Remember, the amount of cannabidiol you start with may not be the ideal dosage – you’ll need to go through some trial and error to find what works for you.
The Person’s Weight
Each person responds differently to various substances, but bodyweight is one of the most important determining factors. When it comes to the dosage of CBD, there is no standard so the best way to decide how much to start with is to use your body weight as a guide. Starting with your bodyweight, determine the appropriate dosage of CBD depending on whether you want a low, medium, or high dose. Again, it’s always best to start with a low dose and gradually increase.
Here is a helpful chart to help you determine the best starting dose according to your weight:
|Weight (lbs)||Low Strength||Medium Strength||High Strength|
|100 lbs (45kg)||10 mg||30 mg||60 mg|
|125 lbs (56kg)||13 mg||38 mg||75 mg|
|150 lbs (68kg)||15 mg||45 mg||90 mg|
|175 lbs (79kg)||17 mg||52 mg||105 mg|
|200 lbs (90kg)||20 mg||60 mg||120 mg|
|225 lbs (102kg)||22 mg||67 mg||135 mg|
|250 lbs (113kg)||25 mg||75 mg||150 mg|
In addition to your body weight, you need to consider the medical condition you’re trying to treat along with its severity to determine the best CBD dosage.
The Severity of Your Condition
Sound medical advice suggests you start with a low amount of CBD to see how your body responds and whether the dose is effective. From there, you can make adjustments as needed.
For example, if you want to use CBD for pain management, you might start with a low dose of 10mg per 100 pounds of bodyweight. If you weigh 200 lbs, that’s about 20mg. After a few weeks, you may find that your pain has improved but you still haven’t reached the desired degree of pain relief. From there, you might increase your dose by 5mg per week and reevaluate at 40mg. If you still need more, you might work up to a medium-strength dose of 60mg. Always talk to your doctor before increasing your dosage.
CBD Dosage for Anxiety
Some people take CBD for occasional anxiety and others use it on a daily basis. Your doctor can help you determine whether to use cannabidiol products as a daily supplement or whether it can be added to your existing treatment protocol on days when your symptoms become more severe. The recommended dosage will vary from one person to another, but oral doses up to 1,500mg per day have been well tolerated for the treatment of anxiety.
CBD Dosage for Different Levels of Pain
When taking CBD for pain, the dosage will likely correspond with the severity of your pain. It may also depend on what form of CBD you take. A study of CBD for pain related to rheumatoid arthritis utilized a combination of 2.7mg and 2.5mg CBD in the form of an oral spray called Sativex. The dosage varied from one to six sprays per day and resulted in significant improvements in pain. Numerous studies showed stronger analgesic effects when CBD and THC were used in combination. Some suggest the pain-relieving benefits of CBD are related to its anti-inflammatory properties.
CBD Dosage to Improve Sleep Quality
Different cannabinoids seem to have different impacts on sleep, so the dosage may depend on the type of product you choose. In one study, THC was found to have a short-term sleep benefit but long-term use was associated with a less pronounced circadian rhythm. On its own, CBD administered in a lower dose had a stimulating effect while medium and high doses of cannabidiol increased the total amount of sleep in test subjects.
In a study related to CBD for anxiety and sleep, sleep scores improved in over 66% of patients within the first month of treatment but fluctuated over time.
CBD Dosage for Epilepsy
The benefits of CBD for reducing seizure frequency and severity have been more studied than many of the other potential therapeutic uses. An observational meta-analysis of pure CBD versus cannabinoid-rich extracts as a treatment for epilepsy revealed doses ranging from 1 mg/kg to 50 mg/kg daily. While over two-thirds of patients reported improvements in seizure activity, more people who were receiving the cannabinoid-rich extract experienced improvements than those receiving the purified CBD. Patients taking purified CBD also experienced more and more severe side effects than patients given the CBD-rich extract.
There is no standard dosage for adults taking cannabidiol, so you’ll need to talk to your doctor about how much to use. The type and severity of your condition will come into play along with your weight. Refer to the chart above to determine how much to try when you first get started. If your condition is severe, you may need to increase the dose but do so slowly – about 5mg per week. As you increase your dose, you may need to switch to a different product that contains a higher mg of CBD per serving. Liquid CBD products are available in a wide variety of concentrations and are generally the easiest option for higher doses while CBD edibles work well for doses under 25mg.
Though cannabis products have been tested fairly extensively in adults, testing in children is much more limited. Significant research has been conducted regarding CBD for seizure disorders in children and a few studies of the anxiolytic effects of cannabidiol have involved pediatric patients. Without standardized dosage, however, it’s difficult to say how much CBD should be given to children, especially considering their bodies react differently than an adult’s.
Talk to your pediatrician about using CBD products for children and start with a low amount. To use Epidiolex as an example, the starting dosage is 2.5 mg/kg (about 1.1 mg/lb). Keep in mind, however, that Epidiolex is intended to treat serious seizure disorders – minor conditions like anxiety may not require such a high dosage.
The Individual’s Body Chemistry
Though bodyweight is an important consideration, two people of the same weight could react to cannabidiol in very different ways. Your individual body chemistry plays a role in determining how CBD affects you and how much it takes to achieve the desired effect. Unfortunately, you may not be able to tell much about your individual body chemistry without extensive testing. If you have an existing liver or kidney disorder, however, you might have some clues about how your body tends to react to the medication and supplements.
The Various Methods of Consuming CBD
The Agricultural Improvement Act of 2018 changed the way the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulates cannabis and cannabis-derived products. Hemp-derived CBD products are now legal as long as they contain less than 0.3% THC. Now that CBD products are legal to use and sell, there are a wide variety of options to choose from.
Oral – Swallowed
Type: CBD oil, tonics, edibles, capsules, powder
Pathway to targets: Edible CBD products go through the digestive system before being absorbed into the bloodstream.
Time-frame: Variable. The concentration and form of CBD will impact how long it takes for you to feel the effects. Higher concentrations may be noticed more quickly.
Other considerations: Various oral CBD products contain different amounts of CBD and the form of CBD used in the product matters. Some products use hemp extract while others use water-soluble CBD.
Recommended if you don’t like the taste of CBD oil.
Oral – Sublingual or “Buccal”
Type: CBD oil, tonics
Pathway to targets: CBD oil is absorbed by tiny capillaries under the tongue, so it is absorbed directly into the bloodstream, bypassing the digestive system.
Time-frame: Short. Because the CBD is directly absorbed into the bloodstream, the effects may be noticeable very quickly.
Other considerations: CBD oils come in a wide variety of concentrations, so pay close attention to how much CBD the product contains per ml. A full dropper is usually 1ml.
Recommended if you have stress, anxiety, or chronic pain.
Type: Vape pens, dabs, high-CBD cannabis
Pathway to targets: By inhaling CBD oil, you’re absorbing it directly into the bloodstream through the lungs, bypassing the digestive system.
Time-frame: Short. The CBD is absorbed quickly into the bloodstream through the lungs, so the effects may be noticed very quickly.
Other considerations: Though CBD is generally safe, the effects of vaping are still being studied. Make sure you choose a product that contains pure CBD without any other chemicals or additives.
Recommended if you have stress, anxiety, inflammation, or chronic pain.
Type: Creams, oils, lotions
Pathway to targets: The CBD is absorbed directly into the skin but generally won’t be absorbed into the bloodstream.
Time-frame: Variable. The CBD is directly absorbed into the skin on the area to which it is applied, so the time frame might depend on the potency of the product.
Other considerations: Topical CBD products generally only work for the area to which they are applied. Scientific testing is limited for topical CBD.
Recommended if you have pain, inflammation, or skin problems.
The Potency of The CBD Supplement
The potency of a CBD product refers to the amount of CBD per serving. Liquid cannabidiol products like oils and tinctures tend to be more potent than edibles like gummies. To determine the potency of a CBD oil, divide the total mg in the bottle by the volume of liquid. For example, a 30ml bottle of 300mg CBD oil contains 10 mg per ml of cannabidiol.
Type 1- Titrating THC
When it comes to the use of CBD, every person responds a little differently. If you want to find the right dosage for your specific medical condition, you’ll need to do some experimentation. Talk to your doctor about whether CBD alone is likely to provide the desired effects or whether you might benefit more from a combined CBD and THC product. In either case, you’ll need to go through the process of trial and error to find the right dosage and the right combination of compounds that works for you – this is called titration.
Depending on the condition you’re trying to treat, your doctor might recommend a product that is more THC-dominant or more CBD-dominant. It’s important to go slow and gauge the effects day by day before you start using higher doses.
Note: While CBD is legal as long as it contains less than 0.3% THC by weight, THC is still a controlled substance. If you don’t live in a state where marijuana is legal, you’ll need to obtain a medical marijuana license.
Type 2 – THC and CBD: The Power Couple
Though cannabidiol has the benefit of delivering benefits without the high associated with THC, there is significant evidence to suggest that the combination of these two cannabinoids enhances the effects of both. This is called the entourage effect.
The results of a 2010 study demonstrate the entourage effect. Patients were given either a pure THC extract or an extract containing near-equal levels of THC and CBD. Whereas patients given the THC extract showed similar improvements to the placebo, patients given the THC/CBD combination showed a pain reduction greater than 30%.
The entourage effect is about more than just THC and CBD, however – it also involves other plant compounds like terpenes. In a medical review, neurologist and pharmacologist Dr. Ethan Russo comment that terpenes share a precursor with THC and they offer unique therapeutic benefits that might contribute meaningfully to the entourage effect of THC and CBD.
Type 3 – Full-Spectrum CBD-Rich Extracts
If you want to experience the full benefit phytocannabinoids have to offer, consider a product made using a full-spectrum CBD-rich extract. Full-spectrum CBD products contain not only CBD but other hemp-derived cannabinoids including THC. Extracts from which THC has been removed are called broad-spectrum extracts while CBD products formulated to contain a single compound are called CBD isolates.
Steps to Finding the Perfect Dose of CBD Oil
Step #1: Find Your Optimal CBD Dose
The first step in finding your optimal dose of CBD is to calculate using your weight. Use the formulas below and plug in the desired strength of your dosage based on your doctor’s recommendations and the condition you’re trying to treat.
How To Calculate Dose From Your Weight
[YOUR WEIGHT IN POUNDS] x [DESIRED STRENGTH (0.1, 0.3, or 0.6 mg)]= [YOUR DOSE IN MG CBD]
If you prefer metric, the formula changes only slightly:
[YOUR WEIGHT IN KG] x [DESIRED STRENGTH (0.2, 0.7, 1.3 mg)] = [YOUR DOSE IN MG CBD].
Step #2: Determine the Potency of Your CBD Oil
Next, determine the potency of the CBD product you’ve chosen. We’ll use CBD oil as an example because it is the most straightforward option.
Here’s What You Need to Take Into Account:
- Bottle size (in mL)
- Amount of CBD listed on the bottle (300 mg, 600 mg, 1000 mg, etc.)
Use This Formula to Calculate Potency:
[CBD IN MG] ÷ [BOTTLE SIZE IN ML] = [CBD IN MG/ML]
Reference Chart for CBD Oil Potencies:
|Bottle Size||300mg CBD Oil||600mg CBD Oil||1000mg CBD Oil||1500mg CBD Oil|
|15 mL||20 mg/mL||40 mg/mL||66 mg/mL||100 mg/mL|
|30 mL||10 mg/mL||20 mg/mL||33 mg/mL||50 mg/mL|
|50 mL||6 mg/mL||12 mg/mL||22 mg/mL||30 mg/mL|
Step #3: Convert the Dose into Drops (Optional)
Once you have your desired dosage and you’ve calculated the potency of the product, you might need to convert it into drops. You might only need to do this with lower doses – for larger doses, you might use a full dropper or you can refer to the measurements on the dropper.
Here’s the formula:
[CBD POTENCY PER ML] ÷ [30 DROPS] = [MG/DROP]
Common CBD Oil Doses By Drop (Assuming the Dropper Provides 30 Drops per mL):
|Bottle Size||300mg CBD Oil||600mg CBD Oil||1000mg CBD Oil||1500mg CBD Oil|
|15 mL||0.7 mg/drop||1.3 mg/drop||2.2 mg/drop||3.3 mg/drop|
|30 mL||0.3 mg/drop||0.7 mg/drop||1.1 mg/drop||1.7 mg/drop|
|50 mL||0.3 mg/drop||0.3 mg/drop||0.5 mg/drop||0.8 mg/drop|
How to Find the Number of Drops of CBD Oil You Need Based On Your Target Dose:
[TARGET DOSE OF CBD] ÷ [POTENCY OF CBD OIL PER DROP] = DOSE OF CBD OIL IN DROPS
Quick Reference Chart For Finding The Number of Drops Per Dose For Common CBD Oil Potencies:
|Dose||300 mg||600 mg||1000 mg||1500 mg|
|5 mg||15 Drops||7.5 Drops||4 Drops||2 Drops|
|10 mg||30 Drops||15 Drops||9 Drops||4 Drops|
|15 mg||45 Drops||22 Drops||13 Drops||5 Drops|
|20 mg||60 Drops||30 Drops||18 Drops||7 Drops|
|25 mg||75 Drops||37 Drops||22 Drops||9 Drops|
|30 mg||90 Drops||45 Drops||27 Drops||11 Drops|
|35 mg||105 Drops||52 Drops||31 Drops||13 Drops|
|40 mg||120 Drops||60 Drops||36 Drops||14 Drops|
|45 mg||135 Drops||67 Drops||40 Drops||16 Drops|
|50 mg||150 Drops||75 Drops||45 Drops||18 Drops|
|55 mg||168 Drops||82 Drops||49 Drops||20 Drops|
|60 mg||180 Drops||90 Drops||54 Drops||22 Drops|
|65 mg||195 Drops||97 Drops||58 Drops||23 Drops|
|70 mg||210 Drops||105 Drops||63 Drops||25 Drops|
|75 mg||225 Drops||112 Drops||67 Drops||27 Drops|
|80 mg||240 Drops||120 Drops||72 Drops||29 Drops|
|85 mg||255 Drops||127 Drops||76 Drops||31 Drops|
|90 mg||270 Drops||135 Drops||81 Drops||32 Drops|
|95 mg||385 Drops||142 Drops||85 Drops||34 Drops|
|100 mg||300 Drops||150 Drops||90 Drops||36 Drops|
Step #4: Tweak The Dose To Match Your Body
After calculating your dosage, the final step is to give it a try. Take the time to research your options and choose a CBD product from a trustworthy company. Make sure you choose a product that has been tested by a third party for purity and potency and check to see where the CBD is sourced and the product is manufactured. Refer to the dosing instructions on the package to make sure they line up with your calculations, then get started!
Depending on what dosage you begin with and what you’re trying to treat, you could notice the benefits of the CBD quickly or it might take a few days or weeks to develop. Keep a journal to note your symptoms and track your improvements to determine whether you need to adjust the dosage. Wait a few weeks before you start making changes, and then increase the dosage slowly, only 5mg of 10mg at a time. Once you find the right dosage for your body, you simply want to keep up with it.
Is it Possible to Take Too Much CBD?
In 2018, the World Health Organization reviewed the evidence surrounding CBD and determined that it has a good safety profile and is generally well tolerated. That being said, it’s important to exercise caution with any medication or supplement because individual reactions may vary. Any side effects of cannabidiol use tend to be mild with the most common complaints being drowsiness, diarrhea, and changes in weight or appetite.
Though no standard dosage has been determined, medical research suggests that doses as high as 1,500mg CBD per day are well tolerated. You are unlikely to take too much CBD if you follow the dosing recommendations on a legal CBD product.
Just to be safe, however, it’s wise to talk to your doctor before starting it, especially if you’re taking medication or have an underlying health issue. As a general rule, you may want to avoid taking CBD if you’re taking a medication that has a grapefruit warning. Certain chemicals in grapefruit inhibit enzymes that help the body metabolize medications and the same is true for CBD. The FDA has identified over 85 drugs that interact with grapefruit.
Cannabidiol is not a miracle drug, but it does have the potential to improve certain symptoms. Though many people have experienced positive effects with CBD, individual reactions vary and it can be tricky to find the right dosage. When using CBD, you should get started with a low amount and give your body time to adjust before increasing the dosage. Make adjustments slowly and pay attention to your body to determine the benefit and look for side effects.
It’s important to remember that current scientific research doesn’t support claims that CBD can cure or prevent any disease. Though CBD has shown therapeutic potential for the treatment of common concerns like anxiety, chronic pain, and inflammation, more research is needed to determine the efficacy and to establish standardized doses. For now, it’s best to follow your doctor’s advice and use caution when taking CBD products.
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