CBD Dosage: Finding the Right Strength for You

A user drops her dose of Social CBD tincture into a coffee mug while seated at a dark wood table

Whether you’re cannabidiol connoisseur or just starting out, finding the right CBD dosage is key. The total amount of CBD you take will have a dramatic effect on your treatment’s effects — and if you don’t find what’s right for you, CBD may not work as you hope.

In this article we’ll be covering existing research on CBD dosage and effects for a variety of medical conditions and treatment needs. With this information in hand, you’ll be better equipped to find your ideal CBD dosage, interpret various CBD products, and determine the proper dosage schedule for your physiology and symptoms!

Personal Factors Affect Ideal CBD Dosage

Based on users’ physiology and the severity of their symptoms, the ideal CBD dosage can vary widely. Like any botanical or pharmaceutical, CBD will react differently to each individual’s biochemistry, and the perfect dose for one might do very little for another.

It’s also worth keeping in mind that the body absorbs different types of CBD products at different rates. Generally, CBD vapes are absorbed the most efficiently, while CBD edibles tend to be least efficient. Depending on the product you use, different CBD dosages may be necessary.

The most important personal factors that affect CBD dosage are as follows:

  • Your height
  • Your weight
  • Your experience with and tolerance for CBD
  • The medical conditions you’re trying to treat
  • The severity of your symptoms

Other physiological factors may also come into play, but the above factors are by far the most common. In general, larger people, people with severe symptoms, and people with heightened tolerance will likely need a higher CBD dosage.

What the Research Says About Proper CBD Dosage

Following the passage of the 2018 Farm Bill, clinical research in CBD has boomed. More and more studies on the effects of different CBD dosage have emerged, but the community has yet to come to a consensus on the ideal serving sizes for most conditions.

NOTE that the research and reviews covered here are for informational purposes only, and they should not be interpreted as a “be-all-end-all” recommendation for proper dosage. More research is necessary before concrete conclusions can be drawn, but existing studies do offer some insight.

Most studies find that a daily CBD dosage of at least 25mg is necessary for noticeable benefits. However, a comprehensive 2017 review of existing research shows that, again, there is no academic consensus as to the ideal dosage for most conditions.

However, that same review found low dosages (20mg-40mg daily) were found most appropriate for “promot[ing] and maintain[ing] health, including antioxidative, anti-inflammatory, and neuroprotection effects[, . . .] as a neuroprotective antioxidant and can ameliorate skin conditions such as acne.” At high doses (ranging up to 1,500mg in some of the reviewed studies), it found potential for treating a “variety of conditions ranging in psychiatric disorders such as schizophrenia and dementia, as well as diabetes and nausea.”

Notably, Epidiolex is the first ever FDA-approved, CBD-based drug. It is used for treating several rare forms of epilepsy, and its dosage guidelines are very well established.

  • Starting dosage for Epidiolex is 2.5 milligrams per kilogram of body weight taken twice daily, for a total CBD dosage of 5 mg/kg each day.
  • Following a week at this initial dose, patients may increase dosage to 5 mg/kg twice daily, for a total of 10 mg/kg per day.

It’s important to note that these guidelines are for treating a very specific set of conditions, and are likely not ideal for most users’ treatment needs.

Nonetheless, we can extract a few insights. Most notably:

  • Start small, testing the effects of your initial dose for at least a full week before incrementally increasing your CBD dosage.
  • CBD is most effective when your total daily dose is spread out throughout the day.
    • Many users take two daily doses (for instance, mid-morning and early evening).
    • Many other users find it useful to “microdose” CBD throughout the day. This involves taking very small CBD doses at regular intervals. While microdosing is quite possible with CBD tinctures, many such users find it more convenient to use CBD vaporizers or edibles.

Very High CBD Dosage: Can You Take Too Much?

For patients with severe symptoms and medical conditions, low-to-moderate CBD dosage may not be of significant benefit. Is a significantly higher total amount of CBD safe?

As with all things cannabis research, more studies are necessary before a final claim can be made. However, existing research is generally positive.

A 2011 clinical review and its 2017 follow-up studied the side-effects and safety of CBD over extended periods. Both reviews found that CBD was generally safe for continuous use, even at a daily total amount of CBD as high as 1,500mg.

Some (typically mild) side effects are possible:

  • Fatigue
  • Diarrhea
  • Changes in weight and appetite

However, one 2019 study on CBD in mice did suggest the potential for liver damage following long periods of high CBD dosage.

Additionally, CBD is known to interfere with certain medications in a manner identical to grapefruit.

If you are considering a high daily CBD dosage or are already taking medication for your medical conditions, it is important to speak with your doctor about CBD.

Finding the Dosage of Your CBD Products

Even once you know your ideal CBD dosage, that information is of little use if you can’t properly interpret common CBD product packaging. The industry is becoming more standardized in this regard. Unfortunately, however, there are still significant variations in the ways that manufacturers advertise their dosage.

NOTE: To avoid confusion on this topic, CBD Choice always lists not only the total amount of CBD for our products, but also their recommended serving sizes, CBD dosage per serving, and many other useful product details. CBD can be confusing for new users, so we take the time to make everything as transparent as possible.

But with other vendors, it’s not always so clear. For an example of how to interpret CBD dosage and content, let’s take a look at CBD oil tinctures:

More and more manufacturers are providing both total CBD concentration and CBD dosage for a single serving. Green Roads and Bluebird Botanicals are two prime examples. Manufacturers such as these make their products easy to interpret by giving users all they need, right there on the packaging, without any need for calculation.

Many manufacturers advertise based on the total amount of CBD contained in their tincture. If you look at the packaging for a PureKana tincture, you’ll see the total concentration of CBD, and not the CBD dosage for a single serving.

If you’re shopping for a tincture advertising total CBD content, interpret dosage as follows:

  • Identify the total CBD content, recommended serving size, and total number of servings that the tincture contains
    • For example, the tincture may contain 1000mg, have a serving size of 1ml, and a total volume of 30ml. In that case, the tincture would contain 30 servings,
  • Divide the total CBD content by the number of servings. This gives the CBD dosage per serving.
    • In the above example, 1000mg/30servings = 33.33mg CBD per serving.

Some manufacturers advertise based on the amount of CBD per serving. CBDistillery is a prime example; each of their tinctures lists the CBD per serving as well as the total number of servings the tincture contains.

For products like these, you have everything you need to determine a single serving’s CBD potency. However, you might still want to know the total CBD content. The math is quite simple: just multiply the CBD per serving by the total number of servings contained and voila!

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