I. How much CBD should I take?
The short answer: it depends. There isn’t a one-size-fits-all CBD dosage.
FDA-approved prescriptions and over-the-counter medications undergo trials to determine the optimal dosage that will produce the desired effects with the fewest side effects.
As CBD is not regulated by the FDA, the responsibility for determining the right dosage is shifted onto the CBD companies and consumers. While individual CBD brands may make dosage recommendations, CBD users typically must figure out the correct CBD dosage themselves, through trial and error.
II. Different factors affect CBD dosage
As with any substance that is meant to alter your physical or mental state, the amount of CBD that you need to take to get the desired effects depends on a few different factors, including:
- The condition being treated and its severity. Just as you might adjust the amount of aspirin you take for a mild headache versus a broken leg, the specific condition, and how severe it is, will help you figure out how much CBD you need. Based on preliminary research, the Mayo Clinic has made dosage recommendations for some conditions, including chronic pain, sleep disorders, and epilepsy. If there are no guidelines for the condition you are treating, it’s best to start by following the brand’s recommendations for the product and adjusting from there.
- Your individual physiology. Everyone’s individual body chemistry is different, and impacts how the things you consume affect you. Factors like weight, metabolism, diet, overall health, environment, and more must all be taken into consideration when figuring out the appropriate CBD dosage.
- The CBD concentration. CBD products come in a variety of different concentrations, or strengths. Part of figuring out the CBD dosage that’s right for you may mean adjusting the concentration of CBD you are using, as well as the amount you’re consuming.
- The CBD consumption method. Different consumption methods deliver CBD to your system at different rates, which can impact the amount you need to consume to get the desired effect. For example, inhalation is the fastest way to get CBD to your brain and body. When vaping CBD, you should begin to feel effects almost immediately, which can make it easier to determine if you need to consume more. Conversely, if you consume CBD in the form of edibles like capsules or CBD-infused gummies, you won’t feel any effects until your body digests and metabolizes the CBD — this can take between 2 to 4 hours. One benefit of edibles is that they come pre-dosed, so it’s easier to keep track of how much you’ve consumed. However, because the effects are delayed, you have to have a bit of patience to determine if the CBD is working or not.
III. Methods for determining CBD dosage
Figuring out the right amount of CBD to take usually requires a bit of trial and error, but there are a few steps you can take to help guide you in the process.
- Talk to your doctor. Before taking any kind of supplements, it’s important to talk to your doctor about possible interactions with other medications you may be taking. Depending on how knowledgeable your doctor is about CBD, they may be able to make some recommendations about how much to use for the symptoms you are trying to treat.
- Only use CBD products from reputable companies. Because of the lack of federal regulations for the CBD industry, the onus is on individual companies to label their products correctly, which doesn’t always happen. Since knowing the concentration of the CBD you’re using is important to getting the dosage right, it’s worth your time to do research and find companies that are consistent and accurate in their labeling.
- Follow the instructions on the package. Many CBD products come with their own recommendations for dosages. While they may not apply to everyone, based on the factors outlined above, this can be a good starting place, with adjustments made as needed.
- Follow research-backed recommendations. As CBD research continues, studies are emerging about possible effective dosages. You can use available studies and guidelines to help inform your own CBD dosages.
- Start with the minimum amount, and increase gradually. Whether you follow recommendations from your doctor, published research, or the brand itself, it’s likely that you will have to make some adjustments to your CBD intake to find the right amount for you. This usually means taking a particular dosage for a few days to a week, and assessing whether you feel the desired effects. If not, you might have to increase your dosage. If the effects are too strong, you may need to scale back. Keep track of how much CBD you are taking, and all positive and negative effects, so you can make an accurate assessment of what works for you.
- Use a dosage calculator. Some CBD brands offer dosage calculators that can help take out some of the guesswork. The calculator may be designed specifically for that brand’s CBD, but you can usually adjust the variables for the specific product you have.
IV. Can you take too much CBD?
The good news is that, even if you miscalculate your CBD dosage and take too much, there is no evidence that you can overdose on CBD. So far, studies have shown that CBD is safe and non-habit-forming.
There are some side effects of CBD, which may be exacerbated by high dosages. These side effects can include:
- Dry mouth
- Reduced appetite
- Changes in mood
If you experience any of these negative side effects, you may consider reducing the amount of CBD you are using, or stop using CBD altogether.