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What Dosage of CBD Should You Take?

Kendra Cherry, MS, is an author and educational consultant focused on helping students learn about psychology.

Verywell Mind articles are reviewed by board-certified physicians and mental healthcare professionals. Medical Reviewers confirm the content is thorough and accurate, reflecting the latest evidence-based research. Content is reviewed before publication and upon substantial updates. Learn more.

John C. Umhau, MD, MPH, CPE is board-certified in addiction medicine and preventative medicine. He is the medical director at Alcohol Recovery Medicine. For over 20 years Dr. Umhau was a senior clinical investigator at the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism of the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

Verywell / Madelyn Goodnight

CBD is available in a number of different formulations including creams, tablets, oils, and gummies. These can vary in terms of their ingredients as well as dosages, and there is not a great deal of research available on what dose might be beneficial or safe to treat certain conditions.

Cannabidiol (CBD) is the second most abundant cannabinoid found in marijuana. Unlike tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), CBD does not have psychoactive effects. Interest in the use of CBD for health purposes has grown tremendously in the last few years.

CBD is believed to have a range of positive physical and mental health effects. Because of this, it has become increasingly popular as a way to alleviate everything from anxiety to sleep disorders.

In order to determine if CBD is right for you, it is important to consider its potential benefits, side effects, and available research on safe dosages.

Possible Benefits

CBD is just one of hundreds of different compounds found in the cannabis plant. While cannabis has been used in holistic medicine for many years, only recently have researchers begun to explore some of the medicinal purposes for CBD and other cannabinoids.

While further research is still needed, there is some evidence that CBD may have some beneficial mental health effects. These include:

  • Alleviating depression: Some research also indicates that CBD may be useful as a treatment for depression. Studies suggest that the cannabinoid might have an influence on how the brain responds to serotonin, a neurotransmitter that plays a key role in mood. People with depression sometimes have a low level of serotonin, so CBD may help the brain use available serotonin more effectively.
  • Improving sleep: While the reasons are not entirely understood and require further research, CBD also appears to have potential as a treatment for sleep problems. For example, one study found that people who took CBD also reported improvements in the quality of their sleep.
  • Reducing anxiety: Anxiety is one of the most common types of mental health conditions, affecting almost 20% of American adults each year. Research suggests that CBD may help alleviate acute symptoms of a number of anxiety-related conditions including generalized anxiety disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and social anxiety disorder.

In addition to the mental health benefits, CBD may also have therapeutic benefits for a range of other conditions. The World Health Organization suggests that CBD may have beneficial effects in the treatment of:

  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Arthritis
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Diabetes
  • Infection
  • Inflammation
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Nausea
  • Pain
  • Psychosis

It is important to remember that these benefits have not yet been conclusively proven. More research is needed to determine the role that CBD might play in the treatment of different disorders and health conditions.

Research

There have been a number of studies that suggest that CBD may have a number of different physical and mental health uses. However, more research is still needed to better understand the substance’s potential applications and possible long-term side effects.

A 2019 comprehensive review published in The Lancet Psychiatry looked at previously published studies. The review ultimately concluded that there was little evidence to support the use of CBD for mental health purposes and suggested that more research is needed in order to substantiate its use to treat symptoms of conditions such as anxiety, depression, and insomnia.

It is important to remember that this doesn’t mean that CBD isn’t effective. Many of the studies that were included in the review were small, had few participants, and were not randomized controlled trials.

This suggests that more research involving more participants and well-designed studies is needed in order to better understand if, how, and why CBD works.

While its effectiveness is still up for debate, one 2017 review found that it was a relatively safe option.   While it is important to remember that there is still a great deal we don’t yet know about CBD and its effects, it is something that you might opt to try to see if you experience any benefits.

How Much Should You Take?

The dosages used in research studies vary and there is no consensus on how much should be used for specific conditions. If you do decide to try CBD, it is also important to note that there is no universally agreed upon dose. Research also suggests that people may respond differently to various dosages, so the amount that is right for your needs might vary.

CBD Dosages

Some dosages that have been used in research studies for different conditions include:

  • Anxiety: 300 to 600 mg
  • Bowel disease: 10 mg per day
  • Cancer-related pain: 50 to 600 mg per day
  • Parkinson’s disease: 75 to 300 mg per day
  • Poor sleep: 25 mg per day
  • Psychosis: 600 mg per day
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One 2020 review of studies found that participants showed improvements in anxiety levels after single doses of CBD ranging from 300 to 600 mg.   Such results indicate that the CBD may hold promise as a treatment to alleviate symptoms of acute anxiety.

It is important to remember that you should always talk to your doctor before using CBD if you have symptoms of a serious mental or physical health condition. CBD could potentially worsen symptoms or interact with other medications you are taking.

Looking at the dosage information for the CBD product that has been FDA approved can also be helpful. For Epidiolex, an FDA-approved cannabis-derived medication used to treat seizures in people with certain types of epilepsy, the starting dosage is 5 milligrams per kilogram of body weight. This dose can later be increased to 5 mg per kilogram of body weight twice a day.

Other CBD products are not FDA regulated and do not have officially recommended dosages. This can make it difficult to determine how much you might need, but there are some things you can consider that might help.

  • Assess your sensitivity to CBD: Your individual ability to tolerate CBD can also play a role in determining how much you need. If you are very sensitive to the effects of CBD, you should take a small dose. Some people may find that they are not as affected by the substance, so they may need to take a larger dose to notice any beneficial effects.
  • Consider individual factors: When you are trying to decide how much CBD to take, there are a number of factors you should consider. These include the formulation and concentration of the capsule, oil drops, or gummies you are taking, the symptoms you are treating, and your age, sex, weight, and overall health. Generally, people with heavier bodies need to take a little more to achieve the same effects. Men may need a larger dose, while older people may need less.
  • Consider the symptoms you’re treating: The symptoms you are trying to alleviate can also play a role in the CBD dosage you need to take to see results. In one study, participants who took 25mg of CBD each day had improved sleep quality, although the results were not consistent.   However, you might find that you need a lower or higher dose if you are treating another type of condition.
  • Try a dosage calculator: Researchers note that while the variety of dosing strategies and formulations make it difficult to determine efficacy, there are a number of online “dose-calculators” available online (such as mydosage.com) that are designed to help people choose the correct dose.   The accuracy of such calculators is difficult to assess, but it may be a good place to start.

Before you try CBD, discuss your plan with your doctor. They may be able to recommend a dose and help you better understand any potential risks, complications, side effects, or interactions you might experience.

Start With a Low Dose

Unless your doctor recommends a specific dose, start by taking 10 to 20 mg a day. Take this for a week to ensure that it is well-tolerated and that you don’t experience any unwanted effects or an allergic reaction.

If this dose does not have the desired effect, try increasing in increments of 5mg each week until the desired amount is reached.

In studies, amounts vary from as low as 20 milligrams per day to up to 1,500 milligrams (mg) per day. The World Health Organization reports that dosages in clinical research studies typically range between 100 and 800 milligrams per day.  

Is It Possible to Take Too Much?

So what is the maximum amount of CBD you should take? Researchers have found that 600 mg per day appears to be safe, but one study suggested that doses of up to 1,500 mg a day are safe and tolerated well.

However, it’s important to remember that research is still in its infancy and experts do not yet fully understand the potential long-term impacts of CBD usage. For that reason, you should always discuss your CBD use with your doctor.

Starting at a lower dose and working your way up to the amount you need may be the best ways to avoid taking too much.

How to Take CBD

The amount of CBD found in a product may depend on different factors, including the formulation and method of administration. CBD products are available in a number of different forms including oils, capsules, tablets, nasal sprays, and gummies.

One of the most popular ways to take CBD is as an oil. Such products are made by combining CBD with some type of carrier oil, such as coconut oil. Some more recently developed products include dietary supplements, foods, beverages, lotions, salves, and cosmetics.

The type of CBD product you choose may depend on what you are trying to treat. If you are looking for general mood improvements, a dietary supplement might be a good option.

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If you are targeting specific symptoms of a condition, taking an oil, capsule, or gummy might be a better way to obtain a higher, more concentrated dose.

Topical applications may produce localized effects, but they are unlike to have any mental health benefits.

What Kind Should You Take?

It’s also important to remember that many products don’t contain just CBD on its own. There are three types of CBD available:

  • Isolate contains CBD and only CBD.
  • Broad-spectrum contains CBD and other cannabinoids, but not THC.
  • Full-spectrum contains CBD, THC, and other cannabinoids.

It may be helpful to take a broad-spectrum product since research suggests that CBD’s effects may be most beneficial when taken in conjunction with other cannabinoids, a phenomenon known as the entourage effect. CBD may also help mitigate some of the effects of THC.

Side Effects

While CBD is generally well-tolerated, this does not mean that you won’t experience any side effects.

Some of the most common side effects that people experience when taking CBD include:

  • Appetite changes
  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea
  • Dizziness
  • Stomach upset
  • Weight changes

Some recent research has generated concerns over the safety and potential long term effects of CBD. One study involved giving mice an equivalent of the maximum dose of the CBD medication Epidiolex, which is used to treat certain forms of epilepsy. The results indicated an increased risk for liver damage as well as concerns over its interaction with other medications.  

Safety

It is also important to remember that CBD products are not regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Some manufacturers make unproven claims about the uses and efficacy of their products. There is also concern about the quality and safety of the products themselves.

One report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) indicated that a number of people experienced negative unwanted side effects due to CBD products that contained synthetic CBD, although the products were not labeled as containing such ingredients.

Mislabeling appears to be a fairly common problem with CBD products. In one study, 70% of the CBD products that were sold online contained significantly more of the psychoactive ingredient THC than the label indicated.

Federal law prohibits the sale of products that contain more than 0.3% THC. States laws also vary, so you should always check with your state before buying CBD products online.

A Word From Verywell

If you do decide to take CBD to alleviate an acute or chronic condition, remember that the amount that you take will depend on a variety of factors. Finding the right dosage often takes some experimentation and adjustments. Starting with a low dose and then gradually increasing the amount you take until you achieve the desired effects is the best approach.

What strength CBD should I take?

High strength, super strength, ultra strength… with so many different types of CBD available, which one is best for your needs? Dr. Sarah Brewer explains.

When you first start taking CBD, you’re usually advised to ‘start low and go slow’. This is because some people appear to metabolise CBD more slowly than others, and need only a low dose to notice an effect.

Gradually increase the dose if you need to; you may want to revisit your dose each week, for example, until you find a level that works best for you. The CBD dose at which you finally arrive will vary depending on the strength of the product, how you respond, and the reason you are taking it.

High strength CBD oil products

Those new to CBD will tend to start with a product that provides less than 10mg per dose. If you prefer to take a capsule, then a typical starting product will provide 6.4mg of a ‘high-strength’ oil in which CBD is blended with olive and hemp oil. If you are taking the product to promote general wellbeing, you may only need to take one of these – for example at night. When necessary, you can increase the dose to two or three capsules, spread at intervals throughout the day.

If you prefer to take drops, then a typical starting product will contain CBD infused into a carrier oil to provide an overall strength of, for example, 2.75%. This means that CBD makes up 2.75% of the total product and the other listed ingredients, such as hemp seed oil, make up the remaining 97.25%. The usual dose ranges from one to eight drops, up to three times daily.

For rapid absorption, hold the drops under your tongue for a couple of minutes before swallowing. If needed, the dose can be increased to the manufacturer’s recommended maximum (e.g. 25 drops daily) taken at regular intervals throughout the day.

If the maximum dose of a high strength product does not meet your needs, you may want to switch to a super strength product.

Opti-CBD

16x faster-acting than standard CBD

  • 10mg fast-acting NovaSOL® CBD per capsule
  • Liquid micellar technology wraps CBD oil in water-soluble spheres, to help absorption in the gut

Super strength CBD oil products

When it comes to super strength capsules, these usually provide 15mg CBD per capsule, and the recommended dose is one to two capsules taken daily with water. These capsules therefore provide a maximum of 30mg CBD per day.

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A bottle of super strength CBD oil drops will typically contain a CBD concentration of around 5%. This means that CBD makes up 5% of the total product and the other listed ingredients, such as hemp seed oil, make up the remaining 95%. Because super strength CBD drops are more concentrated, you get a higher amount per drop.

A typical dose is one to seven drops up to three times daily, which you hold in your mouth for a while before swallowing. Do not exceed the manufacturer’s maximum recommended intake (for example, 21 super strength drops) spread throughout the day.

If you find that you need to take a lot of drops per day, you may prefer to switch to a more concentrated oil. Not only will this reduce the number of drops you need, it will likely save you money.

CBD Support Group

Want to know more about CBD and what it can do for you, from the people who use it?

Ultra strength CBD oil products

Ultra strength CBD oil drops are usually more than twice as potent as super strength drops and typically have a 10-11% CBD concentration. These are ideal for experienced users who want to increase their dose or take fewer drops or capsules during the day.

The disadvantage of some strong CBD products is that, the more concentrated they get, the stronger and more grassy they taste. You can get around this by choosing a product that is filter-clear: this produces a purified oil with a less strong taste.

Adding a flavour such as peppermint will also help to ensure the CBD oil tastes pleasant. All Healthspan’s CBD drops products are filter-clear and peppermint-flavoured.

See our CBD information page for a comparison of Healthspan’s CBD products.

CBD Oil Drops 1,000mg

Highest strength, best value

  • Our strongest CBD oil
  • Lowest cost per mg in the Healthspan range
  • Peppermint flavour – no yucky taste

Does ultra strength CBD oil get you high?

No, CBD oil does not get you high. CBD (cannabidiol) is extracted from industrial hemp plants that naturally contain only trace amounts of the psychoactive molecule THC, which is responsible for the ‘high’ or ‘stoned’ effects of marijuana.

Good-quality CBD supplements that are made to pharmaceutical standards contain only traces of THC. This will be confirmed by independent laboratory tests for each batch, as well as a certificate of testing provided via a clickable link on the manufacturer’s website.

What is the maximum dose you can take?

In the UK, the FSA recommends that CBD should not be used at doses above 70mg per day. 1

In any case, do not exceed the manufacturer’s recommended dose (such as 30mg per day for Healthspan’s CBD Oil Capsules 450mg to 900mg) without talking to your doctor.

Watch points

Always follow the manufacturer’s guidance on the dose and frequency of use of their product, as this guidance is based on the CBD concentration present. Do not exceed the manufacturer’s recommended dose except under medical advice and supervision.

If you have any medical conditions or are taking any prescribed drugs, always speak to your doctor before using CBD and check for interactions with your medication. If you are taking an over-the-counter medicine, ask your pharmacist’s advice. If they are unable to help, there is a useful drugs interaction checker which includes cannabidiol at drugs.com.

If you are subjected to drug testing, for example at work or because you take part in an elite competitive sport, it’s important to know that any CBD product can contain a trace of the cannabinoid THC. The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) has banned all cannabinoids except for cannabidiol (CBD). 2

A potential substitute for those worried about drug testing is the ‘CBD alternative’ PEA: Healthspan sells this under the name of Elite PEA+ Sport (which is also batch-tested for competing athletes).

Dr Sarah Brewer is Healthspan’s Medical Director and holds degrees in Natural Sciences, Surgery and Medicine from the University of Cambridge. Having worked as a GP and hospital doctor, Dr Sarah now holds an MSc in Nutritional Medicine from the University of Surrey and specialises in nutrition. She is also an award-winning writer and author.

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