How much CBD should I take? It’s a question we hear a lot. There’s also not a clear answer. We even asked a couple experts if they’d help us with dosing guidelines, and they said there wasn’t enough concrete information to inform a definitive article. So, what follows are a few suggestions and warnings to help you work toward the right CBD dose.
Keep in mind that your number depends on several factors and may require trial and error. This means it’s important to start low and increase slowly.
Here’s what we know about CBD.
Cannabidiol (CBD) comes from cannabis. It’s found in marijuana and hemp. We focus on hemp-derived therapies at Remedy Review.
CBD is different from THC, another well know cannabinoid, in that CBD will not get you high. It interacts with your body in a more indirect way than THC.
The FDA has approved only one CBD medicine called Epidiolex for the treatment of two specific and rare forms of epilepsy—Lennox-Gastaut syndrome and Dravet syndrome. Epidiolex is only available via a doctor’s prescription. But hemp-based CBD oils, salves, lotions, and tinctures are sold throughout the country and online. These products are not FDA-approved nor regulated as dietary supplements. They are sold in a space full of exaggerated claims and limited research. Therefore, you should be careful and stick to reputable brands who are transparent about the source of their hemp and the testing protocols they use to ensure their products contain listed amounts of CBD and THC. You should also have honest conservations with your doctor about alternative therapies you are considering.
CBD has been shown to help relieve anxiety, pain, and improve sleep. There is some clinical research to support these claims. (Like a study about CBD relieving general and social anxiety and a review of CBD’s potential as an anti-inflammatory.) But a lot of the information you’ll find online is anecdotal.
Two things to know about CBD products to help you pick the right dose.
First, products are labeled with a concentration. This number is the amount of CBD in the bottle, usually noted in milligrams.
Second, products are labeled with a serving size. A brand will tell you the milligrams of CBD in a serving size, or you will have to do some math to get the milligrams in a single serving knowing the total servings in the bottle. Some brands give you an exact break down of mg of CBD in portions of their dropper. Rosebud CBD (a staff favorite) comes with handy serving cards in each order.
A popular online post suggests you find your dose of CBD by taking “1–6MG of CBD for every 10 pounds of body weight based on the individual’s level of pain.” The table below shows how this translates to a dose.
But this is a suggestion for pain. If you’re taking CBD for sleep or anxiety your dose may be different.
A possible side effect of CBD is drowsiness. This drowsiness may increase with higher doses of CBD. So, as a sleep aid, you may want to take a single, more substantial dose than a smaller dose you might take for an ache. Similarly, you’ll dose differently to manage anxiety, especially if you need to be alert during the day. A CBD dose for anxiety may need to be smaller and taken at intervals.
You can see how, once you find how a certain milligram dosage of CBD makes you feel, you can work your way to a dose that is right for different situations and use cases.
Think about caffeine for a minute. There are people who drink a cup of coffee and bounce off the wall immediately. Others have a cup and seem steady as a pole, yet lay awake all night as their bodies slowly process the upper. Everyone’s metabolism is different. This holds true for CBD. If you’re taking a CBD product, you’re at the mercy of your body. You may feel a dose right away or it may take a couple hours. Give it time. Don’t take something, feel nothing, then take a bunch more. That’s not smart.
Finding a CBD dosage that works for you is more art than science, and the caffeine analogy is more sentiment than science. If you want to find an exact dosage, there are doctors who have experience with cannabis derivatives. A professional could help you zero in on the correct dosage more quickly than you could on your own. Professional help is also safer if you’re treating a serious condition.
For some context, I’m a bigger guy (215 lbs (+/- 5 lbs depending on lunch) and my metabolism is slow. It takes a while for me to feel a dose of CBD. Maybe 1-2 hours for optimal effect with an oil. This is even longer if I were to eat a gummy. A dose around 10-20mg will ease my nerves. I feel a 35mg dose. Higher than that and I’m tired.
Risks increase when you opt for cheap, synthetic, or unproven products that have not been tested. Read reviews and shop brands with an established reputation. Consumer advocates suggest buying from brands in states where marijuana is more broadly legal because those states have personnel and procedures in place to better track the industry. Also consider your states laws before having products shipped to your home.
Again, these are not FDA-approved medicines or dietary supplements. In some instances, you’re relying on word of mouth and posted test results on brand sites. We’ve heard of state labs that have trouble keeping up with the industry and outsource testing. We’ve heard that various labs can test samples differently and all be, in some ways, right. This is not a well-defined space. So, do research. If you’re trying to find a dose of CBD to make you relax or go to sleep, trial and error may be the correct course. If you’re interested in treating a serious medical condition with an alternative therapy, please seek out professional medical advice. The information here is intended to help steer you in a safe direction. We exist to provide a measured, accessible resource. The information above is not medical advice.