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CBD Dosage Guide: How Much Should I Take?

Full spectrum tincture with graduated dropper

Dialing in your dose is an essential part of finding success with CBD. With the right dose, you'll have the best chance to experience optimal therapeutic effectiveness.

Unfortunately, there are no universal recommendations on how much CBD to take. The variance between product contents, biological makeup, and use cases varies widely across the industry.

What this means is that finding the right dose isn't about adhering to specific, universal recommendations, instead, it's about finding what works for YOU. Continue reading as we help you uncover your optimal dosage based on the type of product you consume, your personal situation, and your desired results.

First, consider these factors

Before we get started, you should consider these things before starting your CBD regimen:

Full Spectrum CBD Oil Header

What's inside the CBD product?

It is a common misconception that one product labeled 'CBD' is the same as the next, but it's not that simple. There are two primary factors at play here: quality & spectrum.

Finding a quality product starts with finding a reputable company. This isn't a difficult task if you gift yourself with a small amount of education. We've compiled a guide to finding a reputable CBD company and outline here why Amazon and other sellers are not the place to buy these products.

Having identified a reputable source for CBD, you then need to understand the product spectrum. You'll find three: full-spectrum, broad-spectrum, and CBD isolate. A quick overview goes like this:

  • Full and broad-spectrum are referred to as whole-plant as they contain a wide range of cannabinoids and terpenes. They generally require lower, less precise dosages than an isolate. Full-spectrum contains trace amounts of THC, broad-spectrum contains everything in a full spectrum product except the THC.
  • CBD Isolate is the single-molecule isolation of cannabidiol. These products generally require higher, more precise dosages than their whole-plant counterparts we discussed above. Isolate does not contain THC.

We always recommend either full or broad-spectrum. These two spectrums do the trick in almost all cases and you should ditch the isolate. For an in-depth look at these three types, find more in our spectrums guide.

How you take the product

The type of product and how it's administered can have a big impact on the dosage requirements. It all comes down to one concept: bioavailability. This is simply the measure of how much of a consumed dose becomes active in the body.

High bioavailability means a higher percentage is utilized, and less of the product is wasted. This is ideal as it requires a smaller and thus more cost-effective dose for similar relative results.

Use the following chart as a quick reference for how bioavailable a given product type, how quickly it comes on, and how long the effects last. Generally, this means more bioavailable options (like water-soluble CBD) will require smaller doses. So scale up or down based on your needs.

You may scroll this table left and right to view the data.

Route of AdministrationBioavailabilityOnsetDuration
Oil-Based Oral (Capsules, Edibles)Low60-90 MinutesUp to 8 Hours
Oil-Based Sublingual (Tinctures, Sprays)Mid15-60 MinutesUp to 8 Hours
Water Soluble Oral (Capsules, Edibles)High15-45 MinutesUp to 5 Hours
Inhalation (Vape, Smoke)High2-5 MinutesUp to 3 Hours
Topical (Lotions, Balms, Patches)Mod60-90 MinutesUp to 6 Hours
SuppositoriesHigh10-15 MinutesUp to 8 Hours

Your personal makeup and reason for using

Last, and perhaps most important is your personal chemistry and why you're using CBD. Everything from your body weight, what you've eaten, time of dosage, and your tolerance have an impact on how much CBD you'll need to find the sweet spot.

Your personal response to CBD is where the real work lies in finding your CBD dosage. Everything up until you actually begin taking a product can be studied based on the information we provide above. Your personal response must be self-tested and observed in order to be optimized. The next section will help you accomplish just that!

Start your dosage program with these recommendations

Now that you understand the factors at play, let's get down to business! The first step to finding your optimal dose is to build a dosing plan that you'll utilize. Start by identifying when you're looking to the CBD:

  • At night: to improve sleep quality & recovery.
  • During the day: for relief from day-to-day impacting conditions.
  • During the day and night: for relief from significant ongoing conditions that impact daily function and nightly rest.

Next, estimate your starting dosage. These ranges are based on the two most common types of CBD products - swallowed capsules/edibles or sublingual tinctures. Products like topicals and vape products are near impossible to measure the amount of CBD per dose, so the concept of 'start low, go slow' works well there:

  • If you're a smaller person, generally more sensitive to substances, and/or are looking for relief from minor conditions: 5-10mg per dose is a good starting level.
  • If you're an average-sized person, have average sensitivity to substances, and/or are looking for relief from mid-range conditions: 10-20mg per dose is a good starting level.
  • If you're a larger person, have a high tolerance to substances, and/or are looking for relief from strong conditions: 25-50mg per dose is a good starting point.

While these are general starting points for a per-dose recommendation, they are not set in stone. Don't be afraid to adjust up or down out of these ranges as you see fit. Also, note that you should generally take your dose 1-2 hours before your desired effect to give the dose time to process in your body and become active.

Observe and adjust as needed

The final step is to make your schedule and implement it. Here is an example:

Goal: Improving sleep quality
Starting Dose: Average (10-20mg)
Plan: Take the dose two hours before bed for two weeks. Start with a 10mg softgel or 10mg of a tincture and adjust up to 20mg and possibly even 30mg per dose after giving each dose two nights in a row and observe. If needed, lower the dosage.

Your job is to observe the effects and adjust accordingly. If it works for you, we recommend keeping notes on your dosages to refer back to. This can be valuable in helping more accurately adjust.

 

When to adjust the dosage up/down, timing, etc?

CBD's impact can be cumulative over the course of the initial days and weeks, so the key to finding your ideal dose is consistency. We recommend taking your dose at a consistent time(s) each day and give at least 2-3 days at the same dosage before adjusting up/down. This will hold true unless there are significant impacts that require immediate adjustment.

If you find the effects very strong, don't be afraid to cut the dose back, or let it remain the same for several days to see if the effects decrease slightly over time. Often there is a build-up period where the initial doses are strong but quickly become normalized before settling out over the course of about a week.

If the initial dose is right on, but the effects seem to diminish over time, the same thing can be happening. Don't be afraid to up the dose to compensate for this initial adjustment.

If the first doses are weak and don't seem to do much, don't be afraid to ramp things up to meet your needs. We've seen many people start out at 10-25mg per dose quickly ramp the levels up to 50mg multiple times a day to meet their needs - this is not excessive!

I'm not feeling it, should I take more?

CBD Tincture

Re-upping or taking another dose soon after the initial is one of the most common ways that too much of a drug ends up being consumed. CBD is no different, even though the risks of taking too much are minimal in normal dose ranges.

The reason we recommend against re-dosing shortly after an initial dose is it makes it tough to measure the impact.

Unlike THC, CBD is non-psychoactive, which means you might not 'feel' it in an immediately noticeable way. It will potentially require extended dosing over a longer period of time to observe the effects. This is most often the case in younger populations and/or if the issues you're targeting are less severe.

We recommend that you lay out an optimal dosage discovery plan ahead of time and stick to it. You're looking for the impact over the course of days and weeks, not hours or minutes.

Can you take too much CBD?

It's important to point out that CBD has been studied to be well tolerated at doses that far exceed the standard range of consumer products. That said there still are potential mild side effects including dry mouth, diarrhea, reduced appetite, drowsiness, and fatigue.

Additionally, there are known drug interaction considerations. Due to how CBD is processed, the interactions have been noted to be similar to that of taking grapefruit with medications. If you've been given warnings about consuming medication with grapefruit, this may indicate that CBD would behave similarly.

If you’re worried about taking too much, just know that clinical trials have utilized doses of up to 1,200mg / day without side effects. The dosage recommendations we provide are well, well under these doses. That said, with any new addition to your regimen, consult your healthcare professional for final guidance.

Try Our 6-Day Ramp Up Protocol

Softgel Sample Sizes

 

To make things easy for you, we've created a 6-day protocol for our softgels designed to expose you to the entire standard dosage range and help you acclimate to daily CBD use. Using 4x10mg softgels and 4x25mg softgels - which can be found in all of our sample packs or purchased individually - follow the 6-day protocol:

  • Days 1-2: take one, 10mg softgel each day.
  • Day 3: take two, 10mg softgels.
  • Day 4-5: take one, 25mg softgel each day.
  • Day 6: take two, 25mg softgels.

Observe the effects as you go, adjusting as needed. Once you find your ideal dosage, pick up full-sized bottles.

We would love to hear all about your ideal dose, how you arrived at it, and any tips or tricks you may have discovered along the way. Be sure to make your voice heard in the comments below!



2 comments on “CBD Dosage Guide: How Much Should I Take?

  • Mary Jane Holler says:

    Pictured dropper has no dosage lines. How do I know what dose to start with if I can't measure it?

    • Big Sky Botanicals says:

      You're right, at the time of writing this comment, our droppers are not graduated, meaning they don't have lines on them to help you measure the dosage. Today, we define one dropper full is one full squeeze and release of the rubber top. If you do this a few times to practice, you should see how far up the dropper gets filled and quickly get a feel for things. To adjust the dose from there, you'll have to eyeball the measurement. That said, we are actively working on transitioning to glass droppers with markers on them and select new batches of tinctures already have this change implemented with the rest following soon.

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