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CBD Dosage: Figuring Out How Much to Take

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You’ve probably heard about the health benefits of CBD, but how much should you take to feel those?

Cannabidiol, or CBD, is one of over 60 active compounds in the cannabis plant. These active compounds, known as cannabinoids, affect your body in many different ways.

CBD isn’t psychoactive — meaning it won’t get you “high.” Instead, research suggests that it may help:

  • reduce anxiety and depression
  • improve sleep
  • reduce seizures in people with epilepsy
  • soothe pain and inflammation
  • improve heart health
  • improve symptoms of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)

No matter what condition you’re trying to treat with CBD, giving yourself an adequate dosage is key — or it might not work for you.

It can be tough to figure out how much CBD you should take, as CBD isn’t currently regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and there are no official recommended dosages.

Here’s what you need to know about figuring out how much CBD to take.

CBD has been the subject of a lot of discussion and research over the past few years.

As this 2017 review shows, a great deal of research has found that it’s a relatively safe treatment. The studies analyzed in that review didn’t show that there’s one universal dosage of CBD that everyone should take. Instead, it underscored the fact that different people (and, in the animal studies, different animals) respond to different dosages of CBD. Most of the human studies use dosages anywhere between 20 and 1,500 milligrams (mg) per day.

It’s worth remembering that there’s still a lot about CBD that we don’t know. As the cannabis industry grows, researchers will likely conduct more studies on cannabis, including marijuana and hemp, and its derivatives.

The amount of CBD you should take depends on a range of factors, including:

  • your body weight
  • the condition you’re treating
  • your individual body chemistry
  • the concentration of CBD in each pill, capsule, drop, or gummy

In other words, there are a lot of variables that go into deciding how much CBD to take. Before trying CBD, be sure to talk to your doctor about an appropriate dosage and any potential risks. If your doctor tells you how much to use, stick to their recommendation. This is especially important if you’re taking a prescription medication that contains CBD, such as Epidiolex, a form of seizure medication.

If your doctor doesn’t provide a recommendation, it’s best to start with a smaller dosage and gradually increase it. This could mean starting with 20 to 40 mg a day. After a week, increase this amount by 5 mg. Continue this until you feel that it’s effectively treating your symptoms.

For example, you might start off with 40 mg to treat severe pain. You can take 40 mg on days when you’re in a lot of pain. After a week, you increase it to 45 mg, and after a second week, you use 50 mg. At this point, you might feel that your pain is bearable.

It might be wise to keep track of how much CBD you’re taking and whether your symptoms are getting better. Write it down on paper or in a notes app on your phone.

Summary

Start with a small dosage of CBD and increase slowly until you reach your desired effect. Your ideal dosage of CBD depends on a lot of factors, like your body weight, body chemistry, the condition you’re treating, and the concentration of CBD in the product you’re using.

How to calculate dosage

Some products, such as CBD gummies, capsules, or pills, tell you how much is in a single serving. For example, the packaging on a bottle of CBD capsules might indicate that there are 5 mg of CBD per capsule.

If you’re using CBD oil, it’ll likely come in a dropper bottle. The packaging might specify how much CBD is in a single drop. From there, you can figure out how many drops you need to use.

Sometimes it’s harder to figure out how much CBD is in one drop because the packaging specifies the total amount of CBD in the entire bottle, but not the amount that will be in a single drop.

One drop is about 0.05 milliliters (mL). That is, not a full dropper — just a single drop.

This means that a 10-mL bottle of CBD oil contains 200 drops. And if the packaging for that 10-mL bottle says that the bottle contains 1,000 mg of CBD, each drop will contain about 5 mg of CBD.

So, to have 20 mg of that type of CBD oil, you should take four drops.

CBD has many health benefits, but it can be hard to figure out how much to take. Get tips on dosage here.

6 Benefits of CBD Oil

CBD oil benefits list

Cannabidiol (CBD) oil is a product that’s derived from cannabis. It’s a type of cannabinoid, which are the chemicals naturally found in marijuana plants. Even though it comes from marijuana plants, CBD doesn’t create a “high” effect or any form of intoxication — that’s caused by another cannabinoid, known as THC.

There’s some controversy around cannabis products like CBD oil because of recreational marijuana use. But there’s growing awareness about the possible health benefits of CBD oil. Here’s what you need to know about six potential medical uses of CBD and where the research stands:

1. Anxiety relief

CBD may be able to help you manage anxiety. Researchers think it may change the way your brain’s receptors respond to serotonin, a chemical linked to mental health. Receptors are tiny proteins attached to your cells that receive chemical messages and help your cells respond to different stimuli.

One study found that a 600mg dose of CBD helped people with social anxiety give a speech. Other early studies done with animals have shown that CBD may help relieve anxiety by:

  • reducing stress
  • decreasing physiological effects of anxiety, such as an increased heart rate
  • improving symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • inducing sleep in cases of insomnia

2. Anti-seizure

CBD has been in the news before, as a possible treatment for epilepsy. Research is still in its early days. Researchers are testing how much CBD is able to reduce the number of seizures in people with epilepsy, as well as how safe it is. The American Epilepsy Society states that cannabidiol research offers hope for seizure disorders, and that research is currently being conducted to better understand safe use.

A study from 2016 worked with 214 people with epilepsy. The study participants added oral doses of 2 to 5mg of CBD per day to their existing anti-epilepsy medications. The study’s researchers monitored the participants for 12 weeks, recording any negative side effects and checking on the frequency of their seizures. Overall, participants had 36.5 percent fewer seizures per month. However, severe adverse effects were recorded in 12 percent of the participants.

3. Neuroprotective

Researchers are looking at a receptor located in the brain to learn about the ways that CBD could help people with neurodegenerative disorders, which are diseases that cause the brain and nerves to deteriorate over time. This receptor is known as CB1.

Researchers are studying the use of CBD oil for treating:

CBD oil may also reduce the inflammation that can make neurodegenerative symptoms worse. More research is needed to fully understand the effects of CBD oil for neurodegenerative diseases.

4. Pain relief

The effects of CBD oil on your brain’s receptors may also help you manage pain. Studies have shown that cannabis can offer some benefits when taken after chemotherapy treatments. Other pre-clinical studies sponsored by the National Institutes of Health are also looking at the role of cannabis in relieving symptoms caused by:

Nabiximols (Sativex), a multiple sclerosis drug made from a combination of TCH and CBD, is approved in the United Kingdom and Canada to treat MS pain. However, researchers think the CBD in the drug may be contributing more with its anti-inflammatory properties than by acting against the pain. Clinical trials of CBD are necessary to determine whether or not it should be used for pain management.

5. Anti-acne

The effects of CBD on receptors in the immune system may help reduce overall inflammation in the body. In turn, CBD oil may offer benefits for acne management. A human study published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation found that the oil prevented activity in sebaceous glands. These glands are responsible for producing sebum, a natural oily substance that hydrates the skin. Too much sebum, however, can lead to acne.

Before you consider CBD oil for acne treatment, it’s worth discussing with your dermatologist. More human studies are needed to evaluate the potential benefits of CBD for acne.

6. Cancer treatment

Some studies have investigated the role of CBD in preventing cancer cell growth, but research is still in its early stages. The National Cancer Institute (NCI) says that CBD may help alleviate cancer symptoms and cancer treatment side effects. However, the NCI doesn’t fully endorse any form of cannabis as a cancer treatment. The action of CBD that’s promising for cancer treatment is its ability to moderate inflammation and change how cell reproduce. CBD has the effect of reducing the ability of some types of tumor cells to reproduce.

CBD is extracted from marijuana plants as either an oil or powder. These can be mixed into creams or gels. They can be put into capsules and taken orally, or rubbed on your skin. The multiple sclerosis drug nabiximols is sprayed as a liquid into your mouth. How CBD should be used depends largely on what it’s being used for. Talk to your doctor before using CBD oil. It hasn’t been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for any medical uses, and it can have side effects.

CBD oil usually doesn’t have any major risks for users. However, side effects are possible. These include:

  • depression
  • dizziness
  • hallucinations
  • low blood pressure
  • withdrawal symptoms, such as irritability and insomnia

More human studies are needed to fully understand the range of risks and side effects that CBD oil may cause. Studies of CBD oil aren’t common. This is partially because Schedule 1 substances like cannabis are highly regulated, causing some obstacles for researchers. With the legalization of marijuana products, more research is possible, and more answers will come.

CBD oil isn’t legal everywhere. In the United States, CBD oil is legal in some states, but not all. Certain states that have legalized CBD for medical use may require users to apply for special licensing. It’s also important to know that the FDA hasn’t approved CBD for any medical conditions.

Is CBD Legal? Hemp-derived CBD products (with less than 0.3 percent THC) are legal on the federal level, but are still illegal under some state laws. Marijuana-derived CBD products are illegal on the federal level, but are legal under some state laws. Check your state’s laws and those of anywhere you travel. Keep in mind that nonprescription CBD products are not FDA-approved, and may be inaccurately labeled.

CBD oil is currently being studied for its health benefits. Here's how researchers think it might be able to help you.