If you’re curious about the potential benefits of CBD, you’re not alone. Countless people are discovering how CBD might help with pain, anxiety and depression, and even medical conditions like epilepsy and seizures.
As you begin your own journey with this versatile compound, one of the first questions you’re bound to ask is, “What is the best CBD dosage?” We’ll illuminate some answers to that question below.
What is CBD?
Cannabidiol (CBD) is derived from either marijuana or hemp and acts on the receptors in your Endocannabinoid System . Unlike THC – the psychoactive substance in the cannabis people smoke or ingest – CBD does not have psychoactive effects.
In other words, it won’t get you high.
There’s evidence that it can, however, provide many of the benefits of cannabis, including pain reduction, anxiety reduction, better sleep and relaxation, and more.
CBD is not one-size-fits-all
In short, there is no official dosage of CBD. For one thing, CBD consumption is still partially-restricted by federal law (USA). The FDA has not provided a Recommended Daily Intake (RDI) for most uses of CBD (though it has recently approved the use of a pure CBD product called Epidiolex for epilepsy). Even recommended dosages printed on CBD product labels can vary by company or product.
What’s more, as with any drug, the effects of CBD on any one individual depends on several factors. That means one person’s ideal dosage may not work for someone else. You can’t just rely on your friend’s perfect dosage – instead, you’ll need to go by the Goldilocks rule, carefully experimenting with your chosen product to find a dosage that’s just right for your circumstances.
Factors impacting your optimal CBD dosage include:
- The concentration of CBD in the particular product you’re consuming
- Your body weight and body chemistry
- The type and severity of the condition you’re treating
- Your intake type – for example, whether you’re using a tincture or vape
What does this mean for those who want to try CBD? Don’t worry – there are plenty of safe ways to find your proper dosage of CBD. It just requires some trial and error, patience, and ideally the advice of a CBD-literate physician.
Three rules for estimating your dosage
Since finding your proper CBD dosage will require some experimentation, it helps to be systematic about the process. Follow the rules below for a smooth calibration process:
- Start small and ease up your dosage gradually. This is sound advice for any supplement, and it’s easy to do with CBD. Start with the lowest possible dosage for your weight, condition, and intake type, then bump it up as needed until you find a dosage that’s just right.
- Estimate by body weight. The experts at CBD Origin recommend using your body weight to find your starting dose. Their dosage calculator lets you enter your weight and condition severity. They’ll give you an estimated range, and you can use a dosage at the low end to start before gradually increasing your dosage if necessary. If you’d rather calculate the estimate yourself, CBD Origin suggests taking 1-6 milligrams of CBD per 10 pounds of body weight.
- To start, try it before bed. If you’re not sure how CBD will affect your energy, many recommend trying it before bed in case it makes you feel drowsy (a common side effect of CBD). That way, the worst thing that can happen is you have a great night’s sleep.
When in doubt, always ask a doctor – especially if you are using CBD to treat a severe medical condition like seizures, multiple sclerosis, or arthritis.
What is the best CBD dosage by intake type?
One of the biggest factors in determining your dosage is how you’re administering your CBD. Tinctures, vapes, capsules, and edibles all have different bioavailability (i.e., how the CBD enters your bloodstream), meaning some intake types will hit you more quickly or strongly than others. This means you’ll need to adjust your CBD dosage based on how you’re consuming it.
First, let’s break down the most common ways to take CBD:
- Oils and Tinctures
- Topical creams and ointments
Some intake types are easier to dose than others. For example, many edibles, gummies, and capsules will come with specific information about how many milligrams of CBD are in each unit. Oils and tinctures, on the other hand, may require more estimation on your part, but dosage can actually be more fine-tuned if, say, you want to up your dosage by only a few milligrams. Creams and ointments are probably the least precise, so many experts recommend using them sparingly at first.
Now to find what the best CBD dosage is by type.
How to dose CBD oils and tinctures
CBD oils and tinctures are usually taken sublingually(beneath the tongue). This offers high bioavailability since the CBD gets to bypass your digestive tract, where some of the CBD would otherwise be filtered out. Sublingual tinctures are administered with a dropper.
Okay, bear with us, because this might require a little basic math. But don’t worry – once you’ve done the work of finding your proper dosage, you’re pretty much done… as long as your chosen product doesn’t change its bottle size!
The easiest way to dose sublingual oils and tinctures is to buy a bottle that comes with 1 milligram per drop concentration. That means if you’re aiming to start with 10 milligrams, it’s as easy as taking 10 drops.
If that’s not possible, however – this is where the math comes in – you can figure out how many milligrams of CBD fit into your dropper if you know how many total milligrams of CBD are in your bottle, how many millilitres of oil/tincture is in the bottle, and how many millilitres of oil/tincture fit in your dropper.
Let’s say your bottle contains 50 millilitres of tincture and 1,000 milligrams of CBD. Most droppers can hold 1 millilitre of tincture at a time. So if you can figure out how many milligrams of CBD are in each millilitre of tincture, you know how many milligrams of CBD you’re getting in each dropper-full.
So, 1,000 mg CBD ÷ 50 ML tincture = 20 mg CBD per ML tincture, or 20 mg CBD per dropper
From there, you can easily decrease or increase dosages one drop at a time. If you want to start with only 10 mg, just fill your dropper halfway.
How to dose CBD for vaping
Vaping CBD means inhaling CBD vapour that comes from an oil. That means you could estimate how much CBD is in one “puff” of the vaporizer using a similar process to estimating your dosage for a CBD tincture. If you know the concentration of CBD by milligrams in your oil, how many millilitres of oil fit in your tank, and about how many “puffs” you can get from your tank before refilling, you can gauge about how much CBD you’re taking in per puff.
But that might be a little more math than is reasonable to do.
A simpler method is to start small – say, with one puff – and see how you feel. As with any other method, you can gradually increase to two, three, or however many puffs feel right, reducing as needed if you ever feel you’re plateauing or starting to feel worse. While it may not be the most precise dosing method, especially since your intake is impacted by how deeply you inhale, it does give you a finer grain for adjusting your dosage.
Like sublingual tinctures, vaping offers relatively high bioavailability since the vapour does not go through your digestive system.
How to dose CBD capsules
Capsules are probably the easiest to dose since they usually come in regularly measured units. Check your product labels carefully to see how many milligrams of CBD are in your capsules.
There are two drawbacks to capsules:
- They have lower bioavailability than tinctures or vaping, so you may need higher doses to feel the same effects.
- It can be harder to fine-tune your dosage if you’re trying to make very small adjustments. If each capsule contains 10 milligrams of CBD, it can be difficult to adjust your dosage by anything less than 10 milligrams at a time. You can, however, bypass this by making your own capsules with custom units of CBD.
How to dose CBD edibles and gummies
Like capsules, edibles and gummies are ingested orally, offering similarly reduced bioavailability. They also tend to come in regularly dosed units, which makes it incredibly easy to know how much you’re taking in one piece or individual gummy (if you carefully read your labels).
One advantage is that edibles and gummies may be easier than capsules to break into smaller doses if necessary.
How to dose CBD creams and ointments
Creams and ointments may be the toughest to precisely dose. For one thing, truly topical creams are designed to produce an effect only at skin-level, while CBD typically has its best effects in the bloodstream. Even for a cream intended to penetrate the bloodstream through the skin, it would be tougher to produce the desired effects than through a method with higher bioavailability, like sublingual or even oral consumption.
Your best bet is to use creams sparingly to start and talk to your doctor about your usage.
Always do your research before increasing dosage or trying new intake methods.
Since there are no official CBD dosage regulations, it’s essential to do careful research before adjusting your dosage or switching intake methods. For example, the effects of CBD from edibles usually last longer than the effects of vaping, while you can feel the same effects from lower doses of tincture than of edibles or capsules. Your safest bet is to talk to a physician familiar with CBD products, then estimate dosage by body weight and start with low doses.