“How much CBD should I take?” This is often one of the first questions among new CBD users.
The topic of CBD dosing is complicated by the fact that everyone responds differently to CBD. In other words, you and your friend with a similar condition might take the same CBD dose from the same source, and yet experience very different reactions.
So, how do we explain this?
From what we know so far about the endocannabinoid system (ECS), factors such as weight, metabolism, our genes, age, gender, and the “tone” of our ECS, all affect a person’s reaction to a particular dose of CBD.
In short, it isn’t possible to determine one dosage that fits everyone equally.
In this article, which draws from published research and the observations of experienced cannabis practitioners, we’d like to present some CBD dosing guidelines that we’ve found useful.
Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. This is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.
Dosing Rules of Thumb
- You will have to experiment to find the dosage and the delivery method that works best for you. Your goal is to establish the lowest possible effective dose for what ails you. According to Drs. E. Russo and C. MacCallum, the best approach when it comes to correct cannabis dosing is, “start low, go slow”. Begin with a small dose the first week, and increase the amount weekly. More on this below.
- CBD from full- or broad-spectrum extracts are most effective. Preclinical research indicates that full-spectrum CBD-rich oil is effective at much lower doses than a CBD isolate.
- For those who are comfortable with the psychoactive effects of THC, CBD taken in combination with THC can be extremely useful, according to Dr. Dustin Sulak. If you want to explore the THC/CBD connection further, abundant research references can be found online.
The most common way to take CBD is through oral ingestion. There are several options, including capsules, tinctures, oil, edibles, drinks, and more. However, most people getting started tend to use drops (infused oils or alcohol-based tinctures). People typically schedule their CBD dosage either once or twice per day or else every few hours.
Some of these products are faster acting for quick relief, while others are more suited to address chronic conditions. If you take drops under the tongue, for instance, the majority of the CBD bypasses the digestive system and enters your bloodstream more rapidly. We discussed this by comparing a full range of CBD products in last week’s post on bioavailability.
CBD extracts are potent, and taken under the tongue the onset of action is anywhere from 20-60 minutes. While there is no official serving size or FDA Recommended Daily Intake (RDI) for CBD, a good starting point to find your effective dose is between 1-6 milligrams of CBD per 10 pounds of body weight. You also want to take into account the severity of your pain or other ailments.
Example: a 160-pound person might start at a dosage of 16 milligrams but could need 96 milligrams.
Yes, that’s a big range. Remember, everyone is unique, so start with a low measurement and gradually increase as needed.
Ok, but how many milligrams (mg) of CBD are in my dropper?
A standard dropper when full holds about 1 milliliter (ml) or 20 drops (~0.05ml ea.). Dosing is easier and more accurate when the dropper supplied with the CBD oil is calibrated, showing you the increments at .25ml, .50ml, .75ml and 1.0ml. (If your CBD oil doesn’t come with a calibrated dropper, you can get one from your local herbalist or online).
If we take a 15ml bottle with 100mg of CBD as an example, then 20 drops of oil would give you a 7mg dose of CBD using this simple formula:
[Total mg of CBD in Bottle] ÷ [Total ml in Bottle] = Approx. mg of CBD in a full dropper
Here’s a specific example of how to measure your dose in a dropper:
Say you have a 30ml bottle of CBD oil (or tincture) that has 1500mg of CBD:
1500 ÷ 30 = 50mg of CBD per dropper-full, or to “1.0ml” on the calibrated dropper.
So, if your dosage of CBD is 25mg, and a single dropper of that 1500mg tincture contains 50mg of CBD, you’d fill the dropper halfway or to “.50ml” on the calibrated dropper.
If it turns out, you have a dropper with more than 20 drops, or you want to experiment, try this CBD DOSAGE CALCULATOR
Micro-dosing with CBD
One method for finding your “sweet spot” dose is called micro-dosing. CBD micro-dosing is a technique popularized by Dr. Sulak and involves taking minimal amounts of CBD on a regular schedule. Once you find your optimal dosage level using micro-dosing, most users switch to taking their optimal dose two or three times per day based on what works best for them.
There are several steps to this practice, and the summary based on Dr. Sulak’s technique can be found here.
Some practitioners recommended that after trying what you think is a reasonable starting dose (based on your weight and severity of symptoms), try increasing dosage every week or two by 25mg until symptoms are relieved. It is also important to decrease the amount of CBD if you experience any worsening of symptoms or adverse effects.
And finally, here’s an example of a daily CBD dosing log you might find useful.
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