CBD Dosing Guide: How Many Mg Should You Take for Pain and Anxiety?

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CBD dosage is one of the trickiest things to figure out for new consumers.

Let’s say you’ve just bought your first bottle of CBD oil but have absolutely no idea where to start.

All you see is a dark bottle, a dropper with a scale, and lots of viscous dark liquid that you’re supposed to take under your tongue.

This is where lots of questions start to arise.

What’s the best CBD dosage for the first time?

Is one dropper enough to feel the difference?

In this article, we’ll blow the doors wide-open on different CBD dosages and how to find the amount of CBD that will work for you.

You’ll learn everything there is to know about dosing CBD, from measuring out your dose with different products to important differences between dosing CBD oil for different symptoms.

But first, let’s remind ourselves what CBD is and how you can use it to improve your health.

What is CBD?

Macro detail of container with CBD oil inside a glass jar

CBD, or cannabidiol, is one of over 100 active compounds in the cannabis plant known as cannabinoids. These compounds affect your body in many different ways through interaction with its endocannabinoid system (ECS) — the most important regulatory network in humans.

The ECS controls a wide range of essential functions, including emotional stability, memory, mood, reactions to stress and fear, body temperature, fertility, appetite, immune response, cognitive functioning, and more.

CBD helps the ECS maintain biological balance within the body, also known as homeostasis.

By signaling the ECS to produce more of its natural neurotransmitters (endocannabinoids), CBD helps control the aforementioned functions. Due to its adaptogenic properties, this compound works where it’s most needed, without changing the chemistry of our bodies.

Unlike THC, CBD isn’t intoxicating — meaning it won’t get you high. That’s because CBD doesn’t directly bind to the cannabinoid receptors in the brain that are responsible for the feelings of bliss and euphoria.

What Are the Health Benefits of Taking CBD?

As the modulator of the endocannabinoid system, CBD can help the user relieve, or at least ease, a wide range of symptoms. People use CBD to manage many serious help conditions where research points to this compound as a safer alternative to conventional treatments.

Studies suggest that CBD may help:

  • Reduce anxiety and depression
  • Improve response to stress
  • Lower inflammation
  • Alter pain transmission
  • Bring mood stability
  • Alleviate autoimmune disorders
  • Reduce the frequency and severity of seizures
  • Promote healthy sleep cycles

Most CBD products come from hemp, a variety of cannabis with higher concentrations of CBD, and relatively low levels of THC. Hemp-derived products usually contain 0.3% THC or less, so they’re federally legal under the 2018 Farm Bill, which decriminalized hemp.

Long story short, not only does hemp hold many benefits for your health, but it’s also legal to grow, sell, and consume in all 50 states.

What Does the Research Say About the Safety of CBD?

The hype on CBD has made it a subject of global discussion and research over the past few years.

According to this 2017 extensive review, CBD is a relatively safe treatment. The studies examined in that review didn’t show that there’s a one-size-fits-all dosage, underscoring the fact that different people respond to different dosages of CBD. The majority of human studies have used dosages between 20 and 1,500 mg per day — that’s a very wide scope.

However, the long-term effects of CBD haven’t been extensively studied. Some researchers have highlighted certain side effects associated with taking CBD, such as dry mouth, a temporary drop in blood pressure, sedation, or diarrhea, but most experts agree that CBD products are reasonably safe.

If you have any doubts about taking CBD oil, you should consult with a doctor. A qualified physician should be able to determine the dosage range appropriate for your needs and eliminate potential risk factors.

Speaking of the CBD dosage, let’s take a look at important considerations for choosing the right amount of CBD for your routine.

CBD Dosage: How Much CBD Should You Take?

Again, there is no universal CBD dosage that would work for every individual. Everybody reacts differently to CBD because there are many factors that determine whether or not a specific dose will work for you.

Let’s take a closer look at them.

Main Factors Determining Your CBD Dosage

The optimal CBD dosage generally depends on the following aspects:

Potency of CBD

Also known as concentration, or strength, potency refers to the total amount of CBD in a given product. This figure is measured in milligrams and is different from dosage, which provides you with the amount of CBD per serving. For example, let’s say that a bottle has a potency of 2500 mg and contains 30 milliliters of drops, with 1 milliliter as the regular serving size. This means that each milliliter will carry approximately 80 mg of CBD; the consumer is not taking 2500 mg with each application.

Body Weight

A person’s weight is one of the most important factors in determining their CBD dosage. Generally speaking, heavier individuals will need higher doses to experience the same effects of CBD than lighter users.

Desired Effects

Most people use CBD to relieve anxiety, pain, or sleep problems. For many, the optimal dose boils down to the severity of their symptoms. Someone suffering from chronic pain or severe anxiety may need a higher dose to feel the difference, whereas a person with milder symptoms may prefer a lower dose with less potent effects.

How to Calculate CBD Dosage

Scientist wearing purple gloves dosing cbd oil inside a glass tube

As you can see, there are lots of variables you should take into account before deciding how much CBD to take. As mentioned, the easiest way to figure out your optimal dosage is to speak with a doctor that is qualified enough to give advice on using cannabinoids in daily supplementation.

It’s recommended to start at lower doses, preferably with 2–5 mg of CBD per 10 pounds of body weight, and monitor the effects throughout one week. After that period, you can increase the amount by 5 mg if you don’t feel any difference. But if you actually experience relief from your symptoms with the previous dose, you can stick to it because it’s impossible to build a tolerance to CBD over time.

The table below illustrates starting doses based on body weight and expected effects. Keep in mind that these are only general figures and the nature of CBD consumption makes them very subjective. You can use them as a general point of reference:

Weight Group Low Starting Dosage Moderate Starting Dosage Strong Starting Dosage
Light (below 130 lbs.) 10 mg or less 11 mg to 15 mg 16 mg to 20 mg
Medium (130 to 230 lbs) 20 mg or less 21 mg to 24 mg 25 to 30 mg
Heavy (over 230 lbs.) 30 mg or less 31 mg to 35 mg 36 mg to 50 mg

Higher doses than those presented in the table may be more suitable for specific conditions. These include people with intense pain and other debilitating symptoms. CBD is not toxic regardless of the dose, so ramping up your dosage is generally safe. In some cases, it may even be beneficial for consumers.

The form in which you take CBD is another important consideration since each product comes with different concentrations, dosing patterns, and effects. Below we shed more light at CBD oil drops, edibles, topicals, and other formats.

Measuring Dosage for Different Forms of CBD

Consumers can choose from several different types of CBD thanks to a booming market. Here’s how to measure your CBD dosage in the most common products.

CBD Oil Drops

CBD oil is a concentrated liquid that’s typically applied under the tongue or infused into the food. This product comes in 15-mL or 30-mL bottles, varying significantly in terms of potency. CBD oils are available from 100 mg to 5000 mg of total CBD. The key to understanding the dosage when it comes to CBD oil is its serving size.

The serving size of CBD oil is usually 1 mL. A product with 2500 mg CBD in a 30-mL bottle has 30 servings of roughly 83.3 mg of CBD. A 500 mg CBD oil in the same bottle carries 30 servings of about 16.6 mg CBD. These two strengths will yield different effects.

Therefore, we suggest that first-time users start with lower potencies and gradually increase their dosage until they hit the sweet spot. Once you’ve figured out your optimal dosage, you can calculate how many servings per day you’re using with your potency, and switch to a stronger version if you deem it more cost-effective.

Best High-Potency CBD Oils – Our Recommendations

Before we move on to discussing other forms of CBD, we’d like to show you our recommendations for high-potency CBD oil. All products listed below are made with organic hemp, extracted without toxic solvents, and rigorously tested in third-party laboratories for potency and purity.

Royal CBD (Best High Potency Oil)

Royal CBD oil 2500 mg bottle in white background

Royal CBD focuses on making premium CBD products from organic ingredients. The company uses hemp grown in California and Colorado, resulting in clean and potent extracts that contain the full spectrum of cannabinoids, terpenes, and other beneficial compounds naturally occurring in hemp.

Royal CBD offers products with varying strengths, from 250 mg to 2500 mg, catering to different types of CBD users. These oils are suspended in high-grade MCT oil for higher bioavailability and extra health benefits from essential fatty acids. They also taste very neutral for a natural full-spectrum product. But if you dislike the natural hemp flavor, you can choose from one of Royal CBD’s flavored versions: Berry, Mint, and Vanilla.

Royal CBD oil has a great loyalty program for returning customers and an honest 30-day money-back guarantee program for those who aren’t ready to commit on the first date.

Hemp Bombs (Best CBD Isolate)

Hemp bomb cbd oil 125mg in a white background

Hemp Bombs is a textbook example of how a company should combine the premium quality of ingredients with a high diversity of products and smart marketing. This company has been selling high-potency CBD oil from 99% pure CBD isolate for a long time, holding the reputation of one of the most reputable manufacturers in the industry.

The Hemp Bombs CBD oil starts at 100 mg up to a whopping 4000 mg of total CBD. Since this product doesn’t contain any other cannabinoids (it’s THC-free), it doesn’t provide the “entourage effect”, meaning that you may need to use higher doses to achieve relief from your symptoms. However, it has a few benefits that you won’t find in full-spectrum products.

Firstly, this CBD oil is flavorless and odorless, so it’s a great alternative for those who dislike the earthy aftertaste after taking full-spectrum CBD.

Secondly (and more importantly), CBD isolate contains zero THC. This feature is often the wild card for those consumers who need to undergo regular drug testing at work. When used consistently, full-spectrum products may cause you to test false-positive for THC during the screening, which isn’t a problem with CBD isolate.

NuLeaf Naturals (Best Consistent Dosage)

NuLeaf Naturals is a great company if you already know your dosage and want to plan your supplies ahead. This company sells only one form of CBD — traditional drops for humans and pets — but the formula has been mastered to perfection. This oil contains full-spectrum CBD from organic hemp plants, suspended in MCT oil, and bottled into five different concentrations, including:

  • 5ml: one bottle contains 240mg of CBD oil
  • 15ml: 725mg of CBD oil
  • 30ml: 1450mg of CBD oil
  • 50ml: 2425mg of CBD oil
  • 100ml 4850mg of CBD oil

As you can see, the potency of CBD remains the same regardless of the size of the bottle. The largest option offers a few months’ worths of supply, so you can save money on bulk CBD purchases with this company.

Best Low-Potency CBD Oils – Our Top Picks

Are you in the lightweight group?

Worry not, we’ve prepared something for you.

Here are the best low-potency CBD oils that you can find online:

Gold Bee (Best Overall)

Gold Bee CBD oil bottle

Similar to Royal CBD, Gold Bee’s story started in California. The company was launched by a group of food lovers and health-conscious consumers with a mission to provide premium full-spectrum CBD products at affordable prices. The guys at Gold Bee have partnered with local farmers and growers from Colorado, resulting in a blend of CBD-rich strains that come with precise ratios of CBD, CBG, CBC, CBN, and traces of THC as well as the original plant terpenes.

Gold Bee sells its CBD oil in three different strengths, from 300 mg to 1200 mg of total CBD. It’s a great potency range for both beginners and those who benefit from lower doses of CBD. If your daily dose doesn’t exceed 30 mg CBD, then we strongly recommend Gold Bee, especially if you’re into flavored versions of CBD oil. Gold Bee’s products are available in a honey flavor, which is the tastiest CBD oil I’ve tried in my life.

CBDPure (Best Value)

cbd pure oil 300 mg

CBDPure likes to keep it simple. The company offers only full-spectrum CBD oil and high-potency softgel capsules for those who prefer easier dosing and a more convenient form of cannabidiol.

The CBDPure CBD oil comes in four different concentrations, from 100 mg to 1000 mg. All of those products are full-spectrum extracts, so each milliliter delivers not only CBD but also other beneficial cannabinoids, terpenes, and traces of THC (less than 0.3%). CBDPure is the best company when it comes to transparency, going into every detail of its manufacturing process, from cultivating hemp to processing the flowers and testing the oil in third-party laboratories.

These products are priced a bit higher than the competition, but that’s totally understandable considering the quality of ingredients as well as CBDPure’s stellar customer service and its great 90-day return policy.

CBDistillery (Best Price)

CBDistillery CBD oil bottle in a white background

If you’re looking for the most affordable CBD oil in this potency range, then you should definitely check out CBDistillery’s product selection. This company offers high-quality CBD oils in a wide range of concentrations and in two formats: full-spectrum and broad-spectrum.

The broad-spectrum option contains CBD and other cannabinoids from hemp but without any traces of THC. This is a great option for people who would like to experience at least some of the synergy offered by whole-plant extracts without the risk of failing a drug test.

CBDistillery covers the entire potency range for hemp extracts, starting at 250 mg and clocking at 5000 mg of total CBD. The company’s low-potency oils are extremely affordable. For example, the 250 mg bottle costs as little as $20, which is a real bargain considering the quality of these products.

However, there’s little information about the source of hemp this company uses. CBDistillery claims the plants are processed in Colorado, but they don’t share any details as to where exactly they were grown.

CBD Vape Oil

Also known as E-liquid, CBD vape oil is just CBD oil that is formulated with a thinning agent such as propylene glycol or vegetable glycerine (or a mix of both). Vape oil can be consumed using a vape pen. The effects are almost immediate, taking hold within several minutes after inhalation, and producing a soothing sensation for up to an hour. However, the ultimate duration of these effects typically depends on the time the consumer inhales from the device and how long they hold the vapor in the lungs before exhaling. According to some users, vaporizing CBD for up to 3-5 seconds will produce the most potent and longest-lasting effects.

When it comes to their potency, vape oils are similar to regular CBD oil. Most CBD E-liquids come in 30-mL bottles, with between 1 mL – 1.5 mL per serving. The strength of CBD vape oils can vary from 200 mg to 1500 mg, meaning the serving size for most products will range from 5 to 50 mg. Many vape pens are compatible with vape oil cartridges that can usually hold up to 1.5 mL of the liquid.

CBD Edibles

CBD edibles include capsules, gummies, chocolate, energy bars, and other products that can be eaten. Edibles have a longer onset time than vapes and CBD oil because the active ingredient needs to be processed by the liver before it absorbs into the bloodstream. The effects typically appear within one hour after consumption, lasting up to 4–5 hours, depending on the potency.

Calculating dosage is pretty easy with CBD edibles because these products come with a pre-measured dose in each piece. For instance, if you have a 25mg CBD gummy and your daily dose is 50 mg, you just take two gummies and that’s it. For higher-dosage edibles, consumers who benefit from lower doses find that dividing the edible into two or more pieces yields the best results.

CBD Topicals

CBD topicals are creams, lotions, balms, salves, and therapeutic oils that are applied locally to the skin. Topicals offer unique benefits, in that the active ingredients never reach the endocannabinoid system directly. Instead, the cannabinoids in CBD topicals bind to cannabinoid receptors in the epidermis. As a result, the user may experience a soothing sensation that brings relief from localized discomfort. People use CBD topicals to ease muscle or joint pain, relax stiffness, or alleviate stings, burns, and other injuries. Many topicals are also formulated with antioxidants and anti-inflammatory agents that can help with dermatological conditions on top of replenishing the skin.

Calculating dosage for CBD topicals is difficult because the “serving size” is a very vague figure in this context. It depends on how much (or how little) of the cream you apply to the skin. Most CBD topicals are available for sale range in their CBD content from 250 mg to 1500 mg. People with severe pain or discomfort typically find relief in high-potency topicals.

Summary of Typical CBD Dosage Methods for the Above Products

Doctor dosing CBD oil inside a lab

Now that we’ve broken down different CBD consumption methods, it’s time to summarize it in a nutshell. Take a look at the table below to understand typical dosing methods and amounts for the CBD formats we’ve just described.

CBD Product Route of Administration Serving Size Potency Range Dosage per Serving
CBD Oil Under the tongue using a dropper 1 mL 100 mg to 5000 mg 3.3 mg to 166.6 mg
CBD E-liquid Inhaled with a vape pen 1 mL to 1.5 mL 200 mg to 1500 mg 6 mg to 50 mg (depending on how you inhale it)
CBD Edibles Ingested orally 1 edible 5 mg to 100 mg 5 mg to 100 mg
CBD Topicals Applied to the skin Varies by the amount of applied product 250 mg to 1500 mg Varies by the amount of applied product

In the next section, we’re going to answer a question that bugs us all: is there something like too much CBD in your system?

Can You Overdose on CBD?

CBD is a non-toxic compound that produces very few mild side effects. These side effects, when they occur, are typically minor and don’t put your life at risk. According to a recent report issued by the National Cancer Institute, overdosing on CBD is impossible, and that’s the case both for THC and other cannabinoids.

As the report stated, “Because cannabinoid receptors, unlike opioid receptors, are not located in the brainstem areas controlling respiration, lethal overdoses from cannabis and cannabinoids do not occur.”

The report also agrees that cannabinoids are much less addictive than pharmacological substances, including prescription drugs. Furthermore, CBD in itself isn’t addictive and doesn’t cause withdrawal symptoms, which makes it a safe alternative to commonly prescribed treatments.

Nevertheless, CBD products are relatively new to the market and their long-term effects haven’t been extensively studied. It’s also important to underline the importance of quality and third-party testing organizations. CBD products should only be purchased from companies that disclose ingredients and manufacturer information, and test their products in certified laboratories for potency and purity levels.

In a 2018 report, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) noted a sudden increase in adverse reactions from CBD consumers in Utah. The CDC investigated a total of 52 cases. In many of these cases, the adverse reactions occurred due to synthetically produced CBD products and/or products from brands that didn’t test their extracts.

Bottom Line: There is No One-Size-Fits-All CBD Dosage

The universal CBD dosage that would yield the same results for everyone doesn’t exist. The nature of CBD — and the influence of other compounds from hemp — makes it impossible to provide definite guidelines in this subject. There are simply too many factors involved in determining the right dosage.

The amount of CBD that will work for you depends on the potency of the product, its bioavailability (how much CBD enters the bloodstream upon ingestion), your weight, the severity of your condition, and the cannabinoid spectrum.

So, how do you figure out the best dosage for yourself?

It turns out that the best way to find your ideal dosage is to go through the classic trial and error. We recommend starting low and gradually going up with the dosage until you experience the desired effects. The way you react to the effects of CBD can change over time, so you need to carefully observe them throughout your supplementation — and adjust the dosage as needed.

You can also read studies referring to the therapeutic use of CBD in specific conditions to get a better understanding of the dosage patterns from professionals. We also suggest that you talk to a physician who’s experienced in using CBD or hemp extracts with patients to get professional advice.

What’s your optimal CBD dosage? How long did it take for you to determine it? Let us know in the comment section below!

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