The amount of CBD that you should take to achieve the best results varies by individual. This fact is strongly supported by feedback from users and the limited clinical research on CBD dosage. Each person’s optimal dosage is based on a variety of factors, including body chemistry, genetics, weight, and physical condition.
The purpose of our CBD dosage guide is to give you tips on where to start and how to go about finding your optimal or “sweet spot” dosage. The CBD dosage calculator on this page is also a useful tool for converting dosage levels, which are commonly expressed in milligrams of CBD, into milliliters of liquid or the number of CBD oil drops.
The 3 Basic Principles of CBD Dosing
Before you get started, it’s important to understand the 3 basic principles of CBD dosing.
Rule #1: There is no “one-size-fits-all” when it comes to the amount of CBD that you should take. Some users get their desired results from as little as 1 milligram of CBD daily, whereas others find that they need over 100 milligrams per day. Finding your personal “sweet spot” dosage will involve some experimentation and adjustments over time.
Rule #2: Getting the dosage right is critically important to achieving success with CBD. Its importance is often overlooked or understated. Many new users don’t take the time to find their optimal dose and just declare that CBD doesn’t work for them. In reality, it may have worked if they had followed the process to find their optimal dose.
Rule #3: It is typically best to start low and gradually increase the dosage over time until you find your optimal dose where you get the desired results. Less is often more when it comes to CBD dosing. Patience is also essential during the process. While some people get results immediately, it’s more common for it to take several days or even weeks.
The Importance of Finding Your Optimal Dose
Taking either too low or too high of a dose is the #1 mistake made by new users. If your dose is too low, you may not feel any effects at all. And if your dose is too high, you may experience undesirable side effects such as headaches, nausea or a general worsening of symptoms.
The bell curve graph below is a visual representation of CBD dosage levels and expected benefits. The obvious goal is to find your optimal CBD dose that gives you the highest benefit. The green vertical line expresses this point in the center of the graph.
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Process for Finding Your Optimal CBD Dosage
1. Start Low
The first step is choosing a starting dose or serving size in milligrams of CBD. The key here is to start with a low amount, especially if you are just starting to take CBD. Based on input from users, a general guideline is to start out by taking 5-10 milligrams of CBD twice per day. Ideally, once in the morning and once in the evening.
Starting with a low amount is recommended because it often takes several days for your body to adjust to taking CBD. It also helps you avoid the mild side effects (such as a headache or nausea) that may occur from taking too much. The concept of starting with very small amounts and increasing slowly over time is known as microdosing. This technique is explained in more detail later in this article.
There is some debate about whether starting doses should be based on weight. Generally, we’ve learned that other factors such as individual body chemistry are more important. So following the “start low and increase slow” method is the best approach to finding your personal optimal dose.
For more experienced users, the CBD dosage chart below gives guidance on what others have found to be their optimal dose based on body weight and severity of health concern.
CBD Dosage Chart
Once you decide on a starting dose, you can use the CBD dosage calculator in the next section to convert the dose in milligrams to milliliters or drops of CBD oil.
2. Increase Slowly as Needed
Take your starting daily dose once or twice per day for at least one week. If you are not getting the desired results after a week, then increase the amount slightly.
Keep slowly increasing the dosage every 3-4 days until you get the results that you’re looking for. At that point, you’ve found your optimal dosage level and you can continue taking that amount going forward.
Our CBD oil dosing log can be a useful resource to help you track your doses and progress towards finding your optimal dose.
If at any time you experience adverse side effects such as headaches or nausea, it’s recommended that you lower the dosage since those are signs that you are taking too much.
3. Make Adjustments Over Time
You can expect that you’ll need to do some experimentation and make adjustments to your dosage over time. This includes experimenting with how many times a day and what time of day you take it. It’s also common for your optimal dosage level to change and some users have reported developing a tolerance to CBD products over time.
CBD Dosage Calculator
Our interactive CBD dosage calculator converts your desired dose in milligrams of CBD to milliliters or drops of CBD oil.
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How to Calculate the Potency of CBD Oil Drops
The potency or strength of CBD oil drops (tinctures) varies widely across different brands and products. Potency is commonly expressed in terms of milligrams (mg) of CBD per milliliter (ml). In most cases, one milliliter is approximately one dropperful.
Generally, a product with less than 15 mg/ml is considered low-potency. A product with between 15-49 mg/ml is regarded as standard potency. A product with 50 mg/ml or more is considered high-potency. You’ll need to take more of a low-potency product compared to a high-potency one to achieve the same dosage level.
To calculate the potency of your product, just divide the total number of milligrams of CBD in the bottle by the total amount of liquid in milliliters. Both of these numbers can be commonly found on the product label or the company’s website. You can use this handy CBD potency calculator to do the calculation for you.
CBD Potency Calculator
What is CBD Microdosing?
One of the most popular methods for finding your “sweet spot” dosage is called microdosing. CBD microdosing is a technique that involves taking very small amounts of CBD on a regular schedule. It’s not a way to take CBD every day, but rather an approach to take for 2-3 days to figure out your optimal dosage level. Once the “sweet spot” dosage is found using microdosing, most users switch to taking this amount two or three times per day based on what works best for them.
How to Microdose CBD Oil
Here are some specific instructions for CBD microdosing to find your “sweet spot” dose. These instructions are based on a system described by Dr. Dustin Sulak in a 2017 article in Rolling Stone magazine.
- Consume 1 drop of CBD oil (not a dropperful) placed under your tongue. Before taking it, ask yourself 3 questions and answer on a scale of 1 to 10: How easy is it to breathe, how comfortable and calm does your body feel and how easy is it for you to smile authentically, to feel content and grateful. After writing down your scores, take the CBD oil, wait 45 minutes and ask yourself the questions again. If there’s been no change in your scores and you’ve felt no effect, increase the dose by one drop.
- Repeat the process over the next few days, increasing the dose by small increments. When you reach a point where you feel a difference after consuming, you’ve found your minimal effective dosage.
- At this point, continue raising the dose by tiny amounts. At some point, there will be no further benefit from a higher dose. You’ve established your therapeutic range, and can take the minimum dose. Continue to experiment with the timing of consumption to find what works best for you.
How To Measure CBD Oil Drops
We recommend that users measure their dose by milliliter instead of by drops. This is because dosing by milliliter is generally both easier and more accurate than counting individual drops. The CBD dosage calculator above converts your desired dose into both milliliters or drops.
It’s commonly said that 20 drops of CBD oil are equal to 1 milliliter, but that’s not always the case. You can test this yourself by taking a variety of droppers and counting out the drops. We have found that the number of drops per milliliter can vary anywhere from 20 drops all the way up to 55 drops. Even when a company explicitly states how many drops are in their droppers, there can be discrepancies. One bottle may be 25 drops per dropperful while another may be 30 drops in a full dropper.
CBD oil drops can have concentrations as high as 5 milligrams of CBD per drop. So discrepancies in drop counts can cause someone to take considerably more or less than they intended. While some users are not concerned about exact dosing, many are.
The CBD tinctures of some brands include graduated droppers with markings to help you measure milliliters. If your product has a graduated dropper, then you should be able to trust those measurements. Graduated droppers and calibrated oral syringes can often by found at your local pharmacy. Some pharmacies will even give them to you for free. You can also find them for purchase on Amazon and other online marketplaces.
How Many CBD Gummies or Capsules Should I Take?
The bioavailability, or amount of CBD that your body absorbs, is lower for gummies and capsules than it is for sublingual drops. That’s because the CBD goes through your digestive system when you swallow it. But on the bright side, figuring out the amount of CBD that you’re taking is more straightforward. With gummies and capsules, you know exactly how many milligrams you’re taking because the packaging will tell you how many milligrams of CBD are in each gummy or capsule. The typical range is between 10 and 25 milligrams of CBD per capsule or gummy.
It’s generally recommended that you start slow with no more than one capsule or gummy. They can take anywhere from 30 minutes to well over an hour to “kick in” since they go through your digestive system. It is recommended that you not take more than your initial dose until at least 2 hours later given the delayed effect.
How Much CBD Should I Vape?
Getting the right dose when vaping CBD is more difficult than sublingual oils. With the sublingual oils, you can do a calculation of how many drops are needed to achieve a desired dosage. But vaping is much different since you have to fill a vape pen or tank with e-liquid and then take “hits” from it.
When vaping CBD, it’s generally recommended that you take one or two “hits” and then wait a few minutes. If you haven’t gotten any relief, then you can take another one or two “hits” and repeat the process until you do.
Does Weight Matter When It Comes to CBD Dosage?
Body weight does play a role in determining your optimal dosage, but there are many other factors that come into play as well. The type and severity of your conditions, your body chemistry, how you’re taking CBD and the type of CBD product that you’ll be using are also important factors.
So while body weight can be used as a factor in establishing a starting point, you should still go through the process of finding your optimal dosage rather than relying on dosage recommendations that are solely based on weight.
Other Dosage Tips for Beginners
- Be sure to shake your bottle of CBD oil well before taking it.
- Place the drops under your tongue and hold it there for at least 30-60 seconds. You want the oil to absorb sublingually into your bloodstream for the highest bioavailability so don’t just swallow them.
- Be patient and don’t get discouraged if you don’t get the immediate results that you were hoping for. Many people don’t get measurable results for a couple of weeks.
- We recommend that you talk to your doctor before starting CBD oil, especially if you are taking prescription medications. Your doctor can advise you on potential interactions and also may be able to make dosage recommendations for you.
Still Have Questions About CBD Dosing?
Questions about dosage and using the CBD dosage calculator and CBD potency calculator are very common, especially from new users. Our CBD Oil Users Group on Facebook is an online community where you can ask questions and share experiences with others.