CBD & The Human Body
Science & Health
The CBD Dosage Guide
The question of how much CBD to take is a personal one. This is because there is no one-size-fits-all dosage. You need to determine in advance exactly what are your treatment goals. Are you taking it for a specific illness or symptom or more for general wellness? After that is established, carefully track your CBD intake, starting with small amounts and then gradually working your way up to the dosage that helps you achieve your treatment goals.
In this article, we will explain why the amount of CBD you should be taking is not standardized and give you some valuable pointers on how to reach the find the definitive dosage to suit you and your needs.
Why Isn’t Dosage Standardized?
This reason there is not yet a universally agreed upon serving size for various treatment modalities is that there have been no clinical trials that have established dosage parameters for various conditions (except for epilepsy).
As the scientific publication European Journal of Internal Medicine puts it: “Cannabis has been employed medicinally throughout history, but its recent legal prohibition, biochemical complexity and variability, quality control issues, previous dearth of appropriately powered randomized controlled trials, and lack of pertinent education have conspired to leave clinicians in the dark as to how to advise patients pursuing such treatment1.”
So even if someone tells you what the “standard” amount should be, remember that one single dose of CBD impacts different people differently. This is because all individuals have different weights, diets, health conditions, metabolisms, tolerances for CBD and so on.
In plain English, this means some people will need very low doses, some will require high doses and some (probably most) will land somewhere in the middle.
Can I Take too Much CBD?
The short answer strongly appears to be no. As reported in the Current Drug Safety journal, “chronic use and high doses up to 1,500 mg/day of CBD are reportedly well tolerated in humans.2” Also, because CBD is not intoxicating like its sister compound, THC, it will not cause any of the impairments of motor or psychomotor performance that can beset someone who consumes THC3.
That said, it is not generally advised to exceed 200 mg per day. In this chapter, we will give you some guidelines on how to calibrate your CBD dosage to achieve the results you are looking for.
Slow and Steady
CBD users should start with small (if not tiny) doses and slowly ramp up if needed until they achieve the desired outcome. Users must, without fail, consult their physicians if they are on any medications before they begin taking CBD since CBD could have contraindications with some pharmaceuticals. As advised in a publication in the European Journal of Internal Medicine, “Dose initiation should commence at modest levels, and titration of any cannabis preparation should be undertaken slowly over a period of as much as two weeks4.”
Ok, so what does ‘slow’ and ‘steady’ mean in real life when it comes to CBD dosing?
Slow means start with a smaller dose than you think you might need. So for example, try starting with 5 or 10 mg as an initial dose when taking orally. This is to first make sure you don’t have any adverse reactions to the ingredients. (It’s kind of like patch testing a new skin care product to make sure the product agrees with you.)
If you don’t have any negative reactions and you don’t feel any effect or enough of an effect, you can up the dosage to twice the original amount after the first week or two. Be sure not to take the whole dose at once, but break it up to two times a day in the morning and evening and take it at the same time each day.
Continue this methodology until you achieve the desired results and be sure to take your dose at the same time each day to avoid double dosing.
Steady means being consistent around when and how much you take, but also consistently tracking the effects. To do this, you need to determine in advance what condition it is you are treating as well as the desired effect the CBD will have on those ailments. Also, keep in mind that because the rate and amount of CBD absorption of CBD differ depending on the intake method, it is wise to stick with one method throughout your trial period. In other words, if you start with a capsule, stick with capsule form instead of switching before you’ve determined the efficacy and amount that work for you.
While it depends on your weight and condition, here are some general guidelines to start you off. If it’s for general wellness, for example, this will likely be a smaller dose. A rule of thumb could be 0.5-1 mg of CBD for every 10 pounds of body weight for wellness purposes. So for example, if you weigh 100 pounds, start with 5 to 10 mg. This may be quite a bit less than what might be needed for minor anxiety5 or chronic pain or, finally, at the higher end of the spectrum, serious anxiety or sleep disorders. To repeat, these are rough estimates. You should track carefully your dosage, the effects and then make adjustments as needed. Again, as cited earlier, research has shown that chronic use and high doses up to 1,500 mg/day of CBD are reportedly well tolerated in humans6. That being said, it’s always best to use only what you need and not more, which is why thoughtful tracking of quantity and effect is advised.
These are the conditions you need to be laser-focused on when tracking your own personal CBD dosage experiment. Some people like to apply a grade such as 1 through 10 for how their particular ailment is doing before and throughout the dosing period so it can be easily quantified and adjusted.
Low Vs. High Dosages
Not surprisingly, one of the few studies done on CBD dosages suggests it could be done at high amounts (roughly 150–600 mg/d) for serious disorders such as dementia, schizophrenia, social anxiety disorder, and diabetes7.
In the midrange, for issues surrounding chronic pain and sleep disorders, a general range could be 50mg to 150mg per dose or higher based on how much one weighs, and the gravity of the condition.
On the other end of the spectrum, lower doses of about 10 mg to 30 mg a day appear to be more sensible for wellness-related effects and basic health maintenance. So that means lower doses8 for people taking CBD for its anti-oxidative, anti-inflammatory, neuroprotective and skin-benefiting properties9.
Variations on CBD
There are factors external to how your body reacts to CBD that affect the dosage amounts. The first is the “route of administration” or how the CBD ends up in (or on) your bloodstream. In other words, it matters whether CBD is administered topically, orally or inhaled through a vaporizer. A transdermal patch is more direct than a lotion, for example, and a sublingual tincture more direct than a pill or a snack.
CBD in pill format is the most accurate way to ingest CBD because they are pre-measured and there is no room for human error in adding droplets or counting drops. So, if you’ve determined your optimal dosage between 40 to 60 mg a day, you can buy CBD pills that are 50mg and remove any of the guesswork.
The big takeaway here in terms of CBD dosing is: be patient.
Be patient in going slow and methodically tracking the efficacy of different amounts. Be patient in not ramping up too quickly. And on the opposite end of the spectrum, don’t rashly ditch a CBD regimen prematurely because you aren’t seeing results. Give it time.
- MacCallum CA, Russo EB., Eur J Intern Med. 2018 Mar;49:12-19. doi: 10.1016/j.ejim.2018.01.004.
- Bergamaschi MM, Queiroz RH, Zuardi AW, Crippa JA., Curr Drug Saf. 2011 Sep 1;6(4):237-49.
- World Health Organization, CANNABIDIOL (CBD) Pre-Review Report, Expert Committee on Drug Dependence Thirty-ninth Meeting Geneva, 6-10 November 2017.
- MacCallum CA, Ibid.
- Shannon, S., Lewis, N., Lee, H., & Hughes, S. (2019). The Permanente journal, 23, 18–041. doi:10.7812/TPP/18-041
- Bergamaschi MM, Idid.
- Zhornitsky, S., & Potvin, S. (2012). Cannabidiol in humans-the quest for therapeutic targets. Pharmaceuticals (Basel, Switzerland), 5(5), 529–552. doi:10.3390/ph5050529
- Iffland, K., & Grotenhermen, F. (2017). An Update on Safety and Side Effects of Cannabidiol: A Review of Clinical Data and Relevant Animal Studies. Cannabis and cannabinoid research, 2(1), 139–154. doi:10.1089/can.2016.0034
- Nagarkatti, P., Pandey, R., Rieder, S. A., Hegde, V. L., & Nagarkatti, M. (2009). Cannabinoids as novel anti-inflammatory drugs. Future medicinal chemistry, 1(7), 1333–1349. doi:10.4155/fmc.09.93
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