Short answer: there is no ‘correct’ CBD dosage. The optimal dose for a consumer depends on several factors, such as body type, CBD tolerance, and the consumer’s level of pain or discomfort. The type of CBD product and its concentration are other important considerations, since some products interact differently with the body than others.
This guide will look at all of the key considerations to make when determining the proper dosage. We’ll also demonstrate how to measure dosage for different CBD products and discuss some potential health concerns for people who consume large amounts of CBD.
Please note: First-time CBD consumers should consult with their physician before using any products containing CBD.
What is CBD?
Cannabidiol (CBD) is a type of cannabinoid, a natural chemical compound found in cannabis plants that interacts with the endocannabinoid biological system in humans and other mammals. The endocannabinoid system regulates various cognitive and physiological processes – such as mood, sleep, appetite, and pain-sensation – in order to promote homeostasis, or equilibrium in the body. When introduced into the body, CBD and other cannabinoids assist with regulation and homeostasis, which can help alleviate pain, improve sleep quality, increase appetite, and reduce stress.
As a result, CBD may ease symptoms associated with the following conditions:
- Insomnia and other sleep disorders
- Anxiety and stress
- Mood disorders
- Chronic pain
- Conditions affecting the immune system, such as cancer or HIV
A common misconception is that CBD makes people feel ‘high’ because it comes from cannabis plants. This is factually incorrect. Another cannabinoid, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), is responsible for the psychoactive high that occurs when people smoke or consume marijuana. CBD does not produce the same effect.
Additionally, CBD products come from hemp, a type of cannabis plant with relatively low concentrations of THC and higher concentrations of CBD. As a result, most CBD products contain little to no THC. Hemp was decriminalized at the federal level in 2018, and is currently legal to grow, sell, buy, and consume hemp-based CBD products in all 50 states.
It’s also important to note that the long-term effects of CBD have not been extensively studied. Some researchers have pinpointed certain side effects associated with CBD consumption, such as a temporary drop in blood pressure and diarrhea, but most experts agree CBD appears to be reasonably safe. However, everyone should consult with their doctor before trying CBD products for the first time.
Even though CBD products do not produce the same psychoactive high as products with THC, measured doses are recommended. Next we’ll look at some points to consider when choosing the dosage amount.
Important Dosage Considerations
Determining the best CBD dosage generally depends on the following factors.
- Concentration: Concentration, or strength, refers to the total amount of CBD in a given product. Concentration is measured in milligrams (mg). This is different from dosage, which indicates the amount of CBD per serving. For instance, let’s say a bottle of CBD tincture has a concentration of 1500 mg and contains 30 milliliters (mL) of tincture, with 1 mL as the standard serving size. This means each 1-mL serving will contain approximately 50 mg of CBD; the consumer is not ingesting 1500 mg with each dosage.
- Body weight: A person’s weight often plays a role in how much – or how little – CBD affects the body. Generally speaking, heavier people need higher doses to experience the calming effects of CBD; lighter people, on the other hand, may feel the same effects with a lower dose.
- Desired effects: For many, the optimal dose comes down to the level of pain or discomfort they are experiencing. Someone with chronic pain or severe anxiety may need a higher dose to alleviate their symptoms, whereas a person with a milder condition may prefer a lower dose with less pronounced effects.
- Tolerance: CBD consumers may develop a tolerance over time, which can result in reduced effects from the same dosage. Higher subsequent doses may be needed to achieve the desired results.
Oils and Tinctures
These forms of concentrated CBD oil are typically mixed in with food or applied sublingually (beneath the tongue). Oils and tinctures typically come in 15-mL or 30-mL bottles. These products vary significantly in terms of concentration, ranging anywhere from 100 mg to 5000 mg. The key to understanding tincture dosage is serving size, which is usually 1 mL per serving. A 5000 mg-strength tincture in a 30-mL bottle features 30 1-mL servings of roughly 166.7mg of CBD. A 100 mg-strength tincture in the same bottle contains 30 servings of roughly 3.3mg of CBD. These two servings will yield very different effects.
For this reason, we urge first-time CBD tincture consumers to start with lower concentrations and gradually ramp up their dosage. It’s important to note that tinctures do not take effect as quickly as other CBD products (namely vape oils) and consumers may not experience the sensations right away; however, the effects can last for up to three or four hours. Those who take the tincture sublingually should hold the 1-ml serving under their tongue for approximately 60 seconds for best results.