How Much CBD Should You Take?

Getting the right dose of CBD for your symptoms and conditions is key to getting the relief you need.

Calculating how much CBD you should take depends on why you’re taking it and how you take it. CBD’s formulary concentration (how much CBD is in each dose) and body weight are other considerations. There’s a lot to unpack in answering the question of how much CBD you should take; so, let’s get to it.


One of the first things to consider is how you’ll take your CBD. You can inhale (vape) it, use it sublingually, or try edible products such as gummies and capsules. Each form has a different bioavailability factor, which simply means how much and how quickly your body absorbs and uses the CBD. The more your body absorbs, the higher the bioavailability and vice versa.

Vaping has the highest bioavailability, getting into your bloodstream quickly. However, use caution when vaping—make sure your CBD does not contain oils or vitamin E acetate. Vaping has been linked to a serious lung condition called E-Cigarette Or Vaping-Related Lung Injuries—EVALI.

Look for vape juice without the chemicals, such as CBD distillate that doesn’t need additives to thin the liquid. Terms to look for in the product description include “clean solvent,” “winterization,” and “fractional distillation.” The end product is a pure and potent form of CBD that doesn’t require chemical additives to thin the vape liquid.

Next in line on the bioavailability scale are sublingual products such as oils and tinctures. When CBD is mixed with carrier oils, such as coconut-based MCT or hemp oil, you get exactly that—CBD oil. Tinctures are alcohol or alcohol/water-based CBD products. Both are taken by holding under your tongue for 1 – 2 minutes, and both are faster-acting than edibles, taking about 30 minutes.

CBD edibles are the slowest-acting; it can take several hours to feel the effects, and because of metabolization, your body will absorb less. It can also be difficult to calculate dosage accurately because of variations inherent in the manufacturing process of things like gummies. Ideally, capsules are a more reliable way to take your CBD.

Topical products—lotions, creams, balms, and ointments—are in a class of their own and bioavailability isn’t a factor in their use. They are applied directly to the skin in the affected area, such as joints. Because the dermal layer is difficult to penetrate, apply liberally and often.

Full- or broad-spectrum or CBD isolate?

A full-spectrum CBD is less processed and includes other cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids that add to the overall effect (called the Entourage Effect). Full-spectrum CBD includes 3 other major cannabinoids:

  • Cannabigerol (CBG) fights inflammation, pain, nausea, and slows cancer cell growth. It can also reduce the intraocular eye pressure of glaucoma. Full-spectrum CBD contains 3% or less.
  • Cannabichromene (CBC) is also helpful with pain, inflammation, and cancer. Full-spectrum has only small quantities of CBC.
  • Tetrahydrocannabivarin (THCV) is possibly helpful for obesity and type-2 diabetes, seizure disorders and Parkinson’s tremors, and anxiety disorders. There are only very minimal quantities in full-spectrum CBD.

Flavonoids and terpenes are also found in full-spectrum CBD, and they also have specific effects. Finally, your full-spectrum CBD will contain less than 0.3% THC—not enough to intoxicate you.

A broad-spectrum CBD includes everything that a full-spectrum product does but without the THC. Isolate is pure CBD, no cannabinoids, terpenes, or flavonoids. If you have concerns about THC in your CBD, then a broad-spectrum may be the best solution for you. Isolate, because it has no additional cannabinoids or terpenes, may not be as effective as a full- or broad-spectrum product.

How much CBD is in my CBD?

Gummies, capsules, or pills tell you how much CBD is in a single dose.

Vape juice and CBD oil aren’t as clear cut. You need to know the total milligrams of CBD in the container and how many milliliters per container (volume). Divide the total milligrams by milliliters and you have the strength in milligrams per milliliter.

A good product tells you the total milligrams per container and the total milliliters per container. An excellent product tells you how much CBD is delivered per dose. If you have doubts, ask your retailer for that information. If they can’t or won’t tell you, try another retailer. A reputable retailer wants satisfied customers and that means customer service is a priority.

Common CBD uses and how much CBD you should take

By now, you’ve probably figured out that there is no standard dose. However, we do have some recommendations for you for each of these conditions or symptoms. The rule of thumb is to start with a low dose and slowly increase the amount until you have achieved the relief you want. Remember, the effects are cumulative.

CBD for general well-being

CBD supports the healthy functioning of many of your body’s systems. It helps your endocannabinoid system (responsible for cellular-level signaling) maintain balance. That makes CBD a go-to supplement for overall wellness.

Start with 5 mg twice a day for a week. Increase by half each week thereafter until you are feeling “in the pink.”

Insomnia benefits from lower doses of CBD, and from CBN

A number of things cause insomnia, defined as poor sleep quality and sleep duration, mental health disorders, caffeine, and environmental or physical conditions. If you have trouble falling asleep, staying asleep, or have an irregular sleep pattern, CBD may be the answer.

Start with 25 mg a few hours before bed. Gradually increase the dose in 5 – 10 mg increments. It may take a month before the cumulative effects take hold.

Pain and inflammation gets a little help from the right amount of CBD

Beyond the everyday aches and pains of life, some diseases are linked with pain and inflammation. Inflammation is usually the precursor to the chronic pain of rheumatoid arthritis, fibromyalgia, multiple sclerosis, osteoarthritis, and neuropathy. CBD is a potent anti-inflammatory.

Start with 2 – 5 mg twice a day. After a week, if necessary, double the dose. Most people find relief at 20 – 35 mg daily.

Helpful CBD doses for anxiety and stress.

Anxiety can be crippling, especially anxiety-related mental health disorders, which means anxiety can make performing daily tasks nearly impossible. CBD is thought to regulate serotonin receptors responsible for the stress response.

Some research has shown 300 mg of CBD helps people with situational anxiety such as public speaking. Regardless, start with a low dose, 5 – 10 mg twice daily, and double the dose weekly until stress and anxiety are manageable.

What happens if you take too much CBD?

CBD can cause drowsiness, dry mouth, and diarrhea. It can also lower blood pressure. Be sure to talk with your doctor before you begin taking CBD, especially if you are on medication. Avoid giving to children until you’ve discussed it with your pediatrician.

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Andrew Mattison

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