One of the variables to take into consideration when evaluating CBD products is potency.
CBD potency specifically refers to how strong it is. If a CBD extract is rated at 300mg, it’s going to be about half as strong (potent) as the same amount of a CBD extract rated at 600mg CBD. These potencies also rely on the actual size of the bottle! The total CBD listed in mg refers to the dose contained IN THE ENTIRE BOTTLE. If you have a smaller bottle, the potency will increase, so 300 mg in a 15 mL bottle will be twice as potent as a 300 mg oil in a 30 mL bottle.
The majority of CBD companies sell oil tinctures in three different potencies:
• 300 mg
• 600 mg
• 1000 mg
Each of these potencies can come in a 15, 30, 50, or 60mL bottle. These are the most common, but there are also more potent 2000 mg and 4000 mg CBD options available too.
The most important thing to remember when you buy CBD oil is to keep in mind that the bottle size matters. There’s a simple calculation you can make to determine the strength of a CBD oil. It goes like this:
[AMOUNT OF CBD IN MG] ÷ [BOTTLE SIZE IN ML] = STRENGTH IN MG/ML
• Anything below 5 mg/mL (10%) is considered low strength
• Anything between 15 and 30 mg/mL (15-30%) is medium strength
• Anything between 30 and 60 (30-60%) is high strength
• Anything else (60+%) is considered ultra-high strength or classified as a concentrate
CBD oil, like most products, can be watered down. Although concentrations of CBD vary across a wide range, quality products will provide between 250mg and 1,000mg per fluid ounce. An effective dosage can range from as little as a few milligrams of CBD oil to a full gram or more, depending on several individual factors and the condition you are interested in treating.
Always start with a small dose, especially if you have little or no experience with cannabis. Less is often more with regard to cannabis therapy; the compounds in CBD oil have biphasic properties, meaning that low and high doses often produce opposite effects. Small doses of CBD oil tend to stimulate; large doses sedate. CBD has no known adverse side effects, but an excessive amount of CBD is likely to be less effective than a moderate dose.
Though there are seemingly endless different CBD manufacturers to choose from, most will offer products in at least two or three different potencies or concentrations. Starting with the lowest potency lets you adequately gauge how much CBD is needed to relieve your specific condition. You can gradually increase the dose to see how that works for you, simultaneously reducing the likelihood of developing a tolerance to the product.
Low-potency CBD oil (300 mg):
Relatively low-potency oil (300 mg) is likely to be a good option for people who may be sensitive to CBD, and some individuals’ endocannabinoid systems are more active than others, so naturally they won’t need as much CBD as others. Many people use a 300 mg oil for things like mild to moderate anxiety, or minor aches & pains. A single serving from a 300 mg (30 mL) bottle is equivalent to 15 drops of oil, which translates to a 7.5 mg dose of CBD. However, plenty of people won’t even use a full dose, as they’re able to achieve relief with as little as 5-7 drops of oil, or about a 3.5 mg dose. CBD has long been recognized as an effective anti-inflammatory with specific properties that reduce the risk of cancer, metabolic disorders, and nerve cell degeneration. Some studies on mice have actually shown CBD to promote the creation of new nerve cells, which could potentially be highly relevant in numerous age-related neurodegenerative diseases. For example, CBD has been proven to block certain specific enzymes known to inhibit marrow-producing tissues, making it an excellent preventative treatment for age-related bone diseases like osteoporosis and arthritis.
A huge body of research supports the idea that using CBD as a simple, daily supplement provides natural disease-prevention qualities. A low-strength, 300 mg bottle of CBD oil is a good option for a daily supplement; many people take a single daily dose to increase immune health, increase homeostatic balance, and as general disease prevention. CBD oil can be used as a daily treatment to lower the risk of everything from mental disorders and diabetes to obesity and heart disease. Research has shown that the specific antioxidants found in CBD are more powerful than vitamins E and C in terms of physiological function. When used in serums and tinctures, this translates to a wealth of disease-preventing characteristics.
Top CBD researchers and physicians are starting to draw connections between CBD’s influence on brain-to-body communication. For example, Harvard University experimental psychologist and one of the world’s leading CBD researchers, Dr. Bradley E. Alger claims that the core of medicinal cannabinoid treatment lies at the chemical “matrix” between brain and body. According to Alger, CBD likely involves a chemical mechanism that interconnects brain activity and bodily homeostasis: “… the endocannabinoids are literally a bridge between body and mind. By understanding their function, we begin to see a mechanism that could connect brain activity and states of physical health and disease.”
In all honesty, it’s appearing more and more likely that daily small doses (less than 5 mg) of CBD oil may be an extraordinary means of long-term disease prevention. Also, considering the fact that excellent quality, low-concentration oils (300 mg or less) are available for less than $30, it appears that a 100% natural disease-preventing therapy is now a practical means for individuals of all income types – regardless of whether or not they have health insurance.
Preventative medication is likely the key to developing a happier, healthier, and more productive society, and CBD oil very well may be the necessary link that’s been missing for generations on end.
Mid-potency CBD oil (600 mg):
The 600 mg oil is a good “step-up” option for people who find that they’re having to take larger or multiple doses of the 300 mg in order to get effective results. In general, a lot of people use this strength for more moderate cases of anxiety, pain, inflammation, and digestive issues. A single dose is still the same 15 drops of oil, but instead of containing 7.5 mg of CBD, a 600 mg bottle will contain 15 mg per dose.
High-potency CBD oil (1,000 mg):
1,000 mg CBD oil is the highest-strength option. People have used it successfully treat insomnia, depression, anxiety/panic attacks, chronic pain, and/or as a buffer while weaning off drug or alcohol addiction. We do no recommended that first-time users start with this strength tincture.
Just like the 300 and 600 mg products, it comes in a 30 mL bottle, but a single 15 drop serving equates to a heavy 24 mg dose of CBD; unless your condition is fairly severe, you likely won’t need this high-strength tincture.
The main thing to consider when deciding the right strength of CBD oil is to realize that each person’s biochemistry is different. It’s important to start with the smallest possible dose and work up from there.
CBD Dosage: How Much Should You Take?
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Table of Contents
- Determining the Best CBD Dosage for You
- How to Calculate CBD Dosage
- How to Take CBD
Cannabidiol (CBD) is growing increasingly popular, thanks to its many purported health benefits and non-intoxicating properties (most CBD products contain less than 0.3% tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC). In fact, 60% of U.S. adults have tried CBD at some point and believe it has medicinal benefits, according to a recent Forbes Health survey of 2,000 U.S. adults conducted by OnePoll. As research evolves and sheds light on CBD’s efficacy, especially for pain relief, more and more people are adding it to their daily wellness regimens.
Consumers can choose from a variety of CBD products, from oils to gummies to vapes to capsules. But figuring out the safe and effective CBD dose for an individual is a complex decision.
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Here’s how to find the right CBD dosage for you and how to consume it safely.
Determining the Best CBD Dosage for You
With the exception of one CBD product, a prescription drug used to treat seizures associated with particular syndromes, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) doesn’t regulate the use of CBD. (In fact, it’s illegal to market CBD as a supplement or add it to food.) Therefore, it’s best to consult a doctor with experience in CBD administration to determine your ideal dosage.
Expressed in milligrams (mg), CBD dosage largely depends on the conditions and symptoms you’re trying to treat and your unique endocannabinoid system, which is associated with motor control, behavior, emotions, the nervous system and homeostasis. CBD dosage remains an area of active research—more large, high-quality studies are needed in different populations to determine appropriate dosing, efficacy and safety guidelines.
“It’s best to start small and gradually increase your dose up to a level that gives you the desired effect,” says Cheryl Bugailiskis, M.D., a cannabis specialist at Heally, a telehealth platform for alternative medicine. Your starting point might look like half a CBD gummy or a drop of oil. Ideally, navigate this process under the guidance of a qualified physician.
If you’re still not sure where to start, mydosage.com offers a questionnaire and CBD calculator to help you based on your specific symptoms and usage goals.
How to Calculate CBD Dosage
When you consume CBD gummies, capsules or softgels, dosage is typically expressed per unit. For example, there may be 50 milligrams of CBD in each individual gummy. These products don’t offer much dosage flexibility since you can’t split up capsules easily. For instance, if one softgel capsule didn’t provide your desired result, you would have to take another full capsule, doubling the total dose.
CBD oil, on the other hand, makes it easier, to begin with a small dose. But calculating CBD oil dosage can be less straightforward. Oils and tinctures tend to come in a dropper bottle and, typically, only the total liquid volume and CBD contents are listed on the label. For example, the label might simply state there’s 1,500 milligrams of CBD in the 30-milliliter bottle.
But what does 1 milliliter look like? Due to the current lack of regulation of CBD, this calculation can be tricky. Start by figuring out the volume of a single drop in your dropper, which is usually 0.05 milliliters, according to Dr. Bugailiskis. If you’re unsure, ask the company.
Here’s where math comes in. Let’s continue with the 30-milliliter bottle with 1,500 milligrams of CBD and 0.05 milliliters in a single drop as our example.
1500mg÷30mL = 50 mg/mL
This bottle contains 50 milligrams of CBD per milliliter. Let’s see how many milligrams are in a drop:
50mg/mL ×0.05mL/drop = 2.5mg/drop
Each drop contains 2.5 milligrams of CBD.
Next, you can calculate how many drops you need to reach your goal dosage. Let’s say you want to consume 25 milligrams each day.
25mg÷2.5mg/drop = 10 drops
10 drops ×2.5mg = 0.5mL
With this CBD oil dosage calculator as your guide, you would find that you needed to consume 10 drops, or 0.5 milliliters, to reach 25 milligrams. And if you intend to consume 25 milligrams daily, you can expect this particular bottle to serve as a 60-day supply.
Some CBD products do some of this math for you and illustrate how many milligrams are in a milliliter, some even marking these points on the dropper so you know exactly what you’re taking.
CBD Dosage for Different Ailments
Without FDA approval, there is little guidance in the U.S. on how much CBD a person should consume for various conditions.
In many medical studies on CBD, you see administered doses reach hundreds of milligrams a day, which sounds severe compared to our starting dosage example of 25 milligrams. However, Steven Phan, founder of Come Back Daily, a CBD dispensary in New York, points out that patients in these studies are often dealing with serious flare-ups and pain-inducing conditions compared to everyday dispensary customers.
Below are clinically-studied CBD dosages based on different ailments and conditions. Note: Some of the formulations studied contained THC as well—not all available dosage research sticks strictly to CBD.
*Dosages are based solely on small, short-term clinical study results where CBD proved significantly successful over placebo. Much larger studies are needed to further strengthen the evidence.
FDA-approved Epidiolex administers CBD orally as a liquid to treat seizures associated with Lennox-Gastaut syndrome, Dravet syndrome and tuberous sclerosis complex. The dosage of Epidiolex is determined by taking the patient’s weight in kilograms (kg) into account.
Several countries, including Canada and those in the U.K., have approved the use of Sativex, an oral spray with equal amounts of CBD and THC, to treat pain stemming from multiple sclerosis. Canada has also approved it for treatment of cancer pain.
The medical and research community still has a long way to go before figuring out what dose works best for each condition. At an individual level, consumers can experiment with caution until they find what works best for them.
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How to Take CBD
Popular ways to take CBD include:
- Oils and tinctures (extracts of plant material dissolved in ethanol): A liquid that comes in a bottle with a dropper
- Gummies: A soft, chewable candy that’s often fruit-flavored
- Sprays: A liquid that comes in a bottle with a nozzle for spraying into the mouth
- Capsules: Tablets or softgels that are ingested by mouth
- Vapes: CBD oil that’s heated without ignition, resulting in an inhalable vapor
- Flower: Dried hemp plant that’s often ignited and smoked
- Edibles: Any food that CBD oil has been added to, such as brownies or chips
- Drinks: Any beverage that’s infused with CBD, often in the form of hemp extract
Your CBD product of choice will largely depend on your personal preferences, as well as your budget since prices vary depending on the potency of ingredients and manufacturing processes. Different mediums also offer varying levels of bioavailability—or how much of what you take is actually absorbed into your bloodstream to have an effect. For example, if you ingest 10 milligrams of CBD via 1 milliliter of liquid, your body might absorb about 60% of it, or about 6 milligrams.
Cannabinoids generally have a low bioavailability compared to other substances, according to Jordan Tishler, M.D., a physician specializing in cannabis treatment in Massachusetts. However, “products that contain emulsifiers like egg yolk (brownies) or lecithin (some gummies) do better,” he says.
With that said, ingesting CBD via gummies or other edibles may take longer to take effect since the CBD has to travel to your digestive system to be broken down and absorbed.
Can You Take Too Much CBD?
Like with any substance, you can take more CBD than your body can handle. Studies show doses up to 1,500 milligrams a day have been well-tolerated, but every person is different  Bergamaschi MM, Costa Queiroz RH, Zuardi AW, Crippa JAS. Safety and side effects of cannabidiol, a Cannabis sativa constituent. Current Drug Safety. 2011;6(4):237-49. . Ingesting too much CBD can cause unpleasant side effects, such as dry mouth, nausea, diarrhea, upset stomach, drowsiness, lightheadedness and general disorientation. While rare, liver damage can also occur.
What’s more, CBD can have serious interactions with certain medications. In evaluating available information on five prescription CBD-based medications, researchers found 139 medications could have a potential drug-drug interaction with CBD  Kocis PT, Vrana KE. Delta-9-Tetrahydrocannabinol and Cannabidiol Drug-Drug Interactions. Medical Cannabis and Cannabinoids. 2020;3:61–73. . People who take certain blood thinners, heart rhythm medications, thyroid medications and seizure medications need to be particularly careful.
At the end of the day, not all supplements are created equal, which is why it’s important to work alongside a health care provider when adding CBD to your wellness regimen and research reliable brands. And while emerging research and anecdotal evidence is promising, more large, randomized-controlled trials are needed to further understand the benefits of CBD and its dosing.