CBD Dosage Guide: How Much Should You Take?



Updated: September 27, 2019

Correct CBD Dosage

There isn't one dosage that will work for everyone, but there are general guidelines. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration doesn't have recommendations on how much to take, but experts generally recommend 1-6 mg per every 10 lbs of body weight. If you weigh 100 lbs, you could then take 10-60 mg daily. The chart below will give you a quick reference for how much you might start with.  

 

weight & dosage 100 lbs 150 lbs 200 lbs 250 lbs 300 lbs
1 mg 10 mg 15 mg 20 mg 25 mg 30 mg
2 mg 20 mg 30 mg 40 mg 50 mg 60 mg
3 mg 30 mg 45 mg 60 mg 75 mg 90 mg
4 mg 40 mg 60 mg 80 mg 100 mg 120 mg
5 mg 50 mg 75 mg 100 mg 125 mg 150 mg
6 mg 60 mg 90 mg 120 mg 150 mg 180 mg

CBD products are available in varying doses and sizes. A large size doesn't necessarily mean a large dose of CBD, you have to look at how many milligrams are in each serving.

How much you should take will depend on lots of factors, including your age, sex, the reason you're taking it, your metabolic rate (how quickly you metabolize compounds), and the quality of the product. If you're taking CBD for a serious case of insomnia, or some other condition such as anxiety or depression, you may need to be in the higher range of recommended use. Speak to your doctor about how much you can start with, especially if you have any medical condition. CBD may interact with other drugs that you're taking, so talk to your doctor to make sure there aren't any drug interactions.

How to Calculate Dosage If Not Labeled

Capsules and gummies will tell you exactly how many milligrams of CBD are in each serving. With oils or sprays, it may or may not tell you how much CBD is in each drop or spray. If it doesn't, then you have to do a little math.

Each drop is .05 mL, and if you have a 10 mL bottle, the bottle will contain 200 drops. If the bottle contains 500 mg of CBD, then divide the size of the bottle by the number of drops, which will give you 2.5 mg of CBD/drop (500 mg divided by 200 drops). If you want to take 25 mg of CBD, you would take 10 drops.

Increasing Your CBD Dosage

It's a good idea to start slow. You can start on the lower end of dosage to make sure that you don't have any kind of negative reactions. CBD has been found to generally be safe, and occasionally users report changes in appetite, fatigue, and diarrhea.

Keeping a record of how much you take and how you felt can also be helpful. If after a few days you aren't feeling much effect, you can slowly up your dosage. If you're taking CBD to improve your sleep, track the following things:

  • how long it took you to fall asleep
  • how many times you woke up during the night
  • how long you slept
  • how you felt when you woke up

One of the best ways to track your sleep is with a sleep app. I've tested out several and my favorite is Sleep Cycle. Besides tracking a lot of basic information on your sleep, it has a great feature where you can add what are called "sleep notes," such as "30 mg CBD," "40 mg CBD," etc. Every night you can check off whatever sleep note to mark what you did that day and it will track how well you're sleeping with each of the different notes. For example, I can see that when I eat a lot of sugar during the day, I have a decreased sleep quality of 15%. When I take 120 mg of CBD, I have an increased sleep quality of 20%. When I take 50 mg of CBD, my sleep quality increased by 10%.

Sleep Cycle App Notes - CBD Dosage for sleep

It also takes people different amounts of time for people to experience the effects.  There are many reported benefits of CBD, such as pain relief, stress relief, being able to fall asleep faster and sleep deeper, but one of the common effects of CBD is a sense of calm. Some may feel it within an hour, for some it may take a few days or even a few weeks. If you don't notice anything after a week, increase your dose. If you are pretty sensitive to supplements, you may increase the dose every few days until you start noticing benefits. There are no guarantees that you will feel anything different, but you have to give it time.

Another factor is how many times you take CBD. Instead of one dose, you can experiment with your daily intake by dividing it in two and taking it twice per day to see if you feel the benefits more. As CBD stays in your system for 4-6 hours, you may find it helpful to take it 2 or more times per day.

What Are the Best Ways to Take CBD?

There are a lot of ways to take CBD, including in capsules, in a tincture or spray, added to a drink, in creams and lotions, candy, in a vape, and others.

If you want to know exactly how many milligrams of CBD you're taking, the best way is the capsule (or a gummy) as the bottle will tell you exactly how much is in each capsule. If you're using a tincture, it would be difficult to get the exact dose you're looking for. Another benefit of capsules is that there's no taste. With tinctures, there's going to be a taste, and tinctures don't always taste great. 

The fastest way to feel the effect is to use a tincture or spray and place the CBD under your tongue and letting it be absorbed by the mucous membranes in your mouth for 60 to 90 seconds. Many people will feel the effect in around 20 minutes. If you take it in a capsule, or if you swallow a CBD liquid, it has to pass through your digestive system and be metabolized by your liver, so it could take an hour or two hours. Using CBD topically is better for dealing with chronic pain in a specific area.

Speed isn't necessarily the most important factor in choosing how to take CBD. For some people adding it to their drink or smoothie is the most convenient, and for others a capsule is best. No matter which way you choose, it's a good idea to time it for the best effect. If you're taking it to sleep better, you may want to take a capsule a couple of hours before bed, or a tincture 20 minutes before going to sleep.

Quality

Make sure that you're taking a high-quality CBD product. If you're not it will reduce the chances of you experiencing the benefits, and in rare cases, could cause you harm. Hemp is a bioremediator, meaning that it can extract toxins out of the soil. It was used by farmers in Chernobyl after the nuclear accident to help clean the soil.

High-quality will source their brands will include a certificate of analysis (COA) that will show all of the third-party testing that has been done on the product to make sure that it's free of toxins and other contaminants.

Can CBD Help You Sleep Better?

There's a lot of research being done right now on insomnia and CBD, but the research that has been done so far is positive. Research published in the National Institutes of Health found that administering 160 mg of CBD to subjects reported sleeping significantly more than those who took a placebo. Another study in the Journal of Pharmacology found that CBD increased sleep time in rats. Yet CBD administered during increased the amount of time to fall asleep, suggesting that CBD can make you more awake during the day.

It's no surprise that CBD can help you get to sleep faster, stay asleep, and get more restful sleep as there are many conditions that CBD is reported to benefit: anxiety, depression, joint pain, COPD, diabetes, heart disease, and substance abuse. Many researchers believe that there's a connection between CBD's benefit for anxiety and sleep.

There's a lot of research being done on CBD as it's becoming very popular and since the Farm Bill has passed. In 2018 the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the first CBD-based treatment to help control epileptic seizures in Lennox-Gastaut syndrome and Dravet syndrome. There may be more CBD-based products approved by the FDA in the future.

Does CBD Make You High?

THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) is the compound in marijuana that makes people high. Though CBD and THC come from the same plant, CBD doesn't cause a person to get high. Some CBD products have trace amounts of THC (3% or less), but research from the Netherlands state that CBD can counteract some of the effects of THC. Some marijuana growers have even developed strains that higher levels of CBD that make for a much milder high.

Will You Fail a Drug Test?

As CBD won't make you high, it won't make you fail a drug test. THC can affect a person's mood, coordination, time perception, concentration, and memory, and even cause hallucinations. Occasionally THC can cause negative side effects including anxiety, rapid heart rate, and short-term memory recall issues. CBD doesn't have the compounds that cause these effects.

If someone was taking a large amount of CBD, over 1,000 milligrams per day, they could trigger a false positive on a drug test. Most people take between 100 mg and 200 mg per day.

Side Effects

There are little known side effects of taking CBD. Those who do experience negative effects will have changes in appetite, fatigue, or diarrhea.

CBD can interact with other pharmaceuticals, so if you plan on using it, speak to your doctor. CBD can interact with any drug metabolized by cytochrome P450 enzymes, which can include:

  • steroids
  • immune modulators
  • benzodiazepines
  • antiarrythmics
  • antibiotics
  • angiotension II blockers
  • oral hypoglycemic agents
  • sulfonylureas
  • anesthetics
  • antipsychotics
  • HMG CoA reductase inhibitors
  • calcium channel blockers
  • antihistamines
  • prokinetics
  • HIV antivirals
  • antidepressants
  • antiepileptics
  • beta blockers
  • PPIs
  • NSAIDs

Is CBD Addictive?

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, CBD isn't addictive, and when someone stops using it, there are no withdrawal symptoms.

How CBD Works

CBD prevents the stress response that starts in the brain by activating the adenosine receptor in our endocannabinoid system, which controls the physiological response to stress called the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis (HPA). This process starts when the brain perceives something that it believes could cause harm. The first part of the chain is the amygdala, which contributes to emotional processing. The amygdala signals the hypothalamus which then signals the adrenals and the rest of the body. The adrenal glands send adrenaline into the body to make the heart beat faster, the muscles and organs receive more blood and oxygen, the brain receives more oxygen, and glucose and fat is released into the bloodstream. The person is now able to run faster or fight harder as they have more energy and more aware.

When someone has chronic, low-level stress, they're unable to sleep because this stress response is preparing them to run and/or fight, not sleep. Researches believe that this may be the main way that CBD helps insomniacs get to sleep, by reducing or shutting off the HPA stress response.

How to Store CBD

Like many other oils, CBD can break down when exposed to heat, oxygen, or light, hence many CBD products are in dark brown or colored containers. The best place to store your CBD products is in a cool and dark place (the refrigerator is a good option). If you don't expose your CBD products to heat, oxygen, or light, most products will last up to a year.

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