CBD Dosage Calculator Guide – How Much CBD Should I Take?
As the world is starting to be aware of the benefits of CBD, we are seeing more and more people who are taking advantage of its health enhancing properties. For some people it is about giving their general health a boost, and for others, it could be that they are looking for CBD to help them with more specific issues like pain relief, to help with their anxiety or to help them sleep.
At the moment, CBD products are generally classified as a food supplement. This means that they are regulated by food regulatory bodies and not medicinal regulatory bodies, and therefore not giving many guidelines about how to take it.
With this, we are seeing a lack of accurate information out there about important aspects like dosing – in fact, there are very few guidelines into what dosages of CBD you should be taking.
Another reason for this is that to get the effects that they want, dosages vary from person to person. This makes it very difficult to give ‘one size fits all’ dosage guidelines. Not only will your CBD dosage according to who you are, but also according to what effect you are looking for.
What is CBD and why would I want to take it?
In the human body, we have a system called the endocannabinoid system. Just like the other systems – such as the digestive system, immune system or central nervous system – the endocannabinoid system is fundamental to the proper functioning of the body.
It is responsible for making sure that the body is kept in a perfect state of balance called homeostasis. The endocannabinoid keeps the body in the Goldilocks zone which means that levels are not too little and not too much for it to work at an optimal level.
The endocannabinoid system can affect many functions that keep you alive such as:
- Body temperature
- The immune system
- The nervous system including pain relief
It works through the interaction of CB1 and CB2 receptors with endocannabinoids which are produced naturally in the body. Often deficiencies in endocannabinoids can affect our health and this is how CBD can help.
CBD – or cannabidiol – is a cannabinoid which is found naturally in the cannabis plant. Due to the fact that there are so many different strains of the plant, there are a varying number of cannabinoids present in the plant, but there are usually over 100 of them – with a lot of them being only at trace levels.
Two of the most significant cannabinoids which are present in the cannabis plant are CBD and THC. They both interact with the endocannabinoid system in different ways, which can be beneficial to your health, and they can have different effects.
THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol is the compound in cannabis that (amongst other things) makes you feel ‘high’. When it is taken it sends a message to the brain which gives you the feeling of being stoned, that is most commonly associated with cannabis.
CBD, on the other hand interacts with the endocannabinoid system, giving it a lift but not making you stoned.
By taking CBD you can help your endocannabinoid system to work properly, keeping everything properly balanced and helping you to feel great. You can learn more about the endocannabinoid system and cannabinoids here.
It is no surprise that people are looking to see how CBD can benefit them. But with such little information about how much to take, it can be difficult to know how to go about it.
Why is CBD Difficult to Dose?
It is difficult to know how much CBD to take. Unlike some medications, the amount that will be effective for you is not necessarily the same as for someone else, so dosage instructions are generally very limited. There are a number of factors which affect how much CBD to take to get the best results for you.
The amount of CBD that will give similar results, changes from person to person. Some of the factors which have an impact on the dose that you require include your weight and height, genetic disposition, personal tolerance levels and specific metabolism.
It is also important to remember that you will want to change your dosage according to what you are trying to achieve with your CBD. For example, the amount that you take for pain relief might be different to what you would take for nausea.
CBD is Biphasic
CBD is what’s known as ‘Biphasic’. This means that its effects can change according to how much you take and is why you should consider your reason for taking CBD when finding the dosage. Because of this, just taking more doesn’t mean it will be more effective.
Depending on how much CBD you take, it can have different effects on you. This is called being ‘biphasic’ and is an important concept when it comes to dosing. It means that some effects can be more prominent with a lower dosage and others more prominent with a higher dosage.
For some people, very low doses of CBD can be more effective than higher ones, and this is why it is advised that you start off with low doses of CBD, gradually raising them until you get the best outcome for you.
When it comes to finding the best CBD dosage for you, the advice to is start off with very low levels. Gradually raise the amount that you are taking slowly over time and stop when you feel that you are getting the most effective dose. Some people find it helpful to write down their dosages to make it easier.
Some of the CBD products that you buy will give you guidelines on where to start with your CBD dosage, however, if you are unsure, the best advice is to start off very low – try 5-10 mg at the beginning, increasing by 5mg each time. It usually takes a few days for the CBD to properly take effect, so stick to the same dose for three days before upping it – you can reduce it straight away if you feel like you need to.
The best way to be able to experiment with your dosage is by having a book where you can note down your dosage and its effects. This makes it clearer to see how long you have been taking it for and how your body is reacting to it.
Side Effects and Over-Dosing
Although some people notice some side effects from CBD, they are not long-term and not serious. There has also never been any known incident of a fatal overdose on CBD. This means that it is safe to experiment with, as the most serious effect of an ‘overdose’ is that the CBD won’t work so well.
The most common side effects from CBD are a dry mouth, fatigue, a change in appetite and upset stomach. If you compare that with the long-term effects of taking some over-the-counter drugs such as opioids and NSAIDs, it is a lot safer. CBD has no long-term side effects, and no-one has ever died from over-dosing.
This means that you can keep upping your dose until you feel that you have found the right one for you without risk of overdose. Once you feel that the CBD is becoming less effective for you, stop and go back to the last dosage to find your optimal level.
If you are taking medication
Although CBD has no serious side effects, it can affect medication that you are taking. It is important therefore to talk to your doctor if you are already taking medication and want to try CBD products. Likewise, if you are already taking CBD products, make sure that you tell your doctor if they are going to prescribe you a new medication.
CBD can affect the way that some enzymes metabolise medication. This means that sometimes it can take longer for certain medications to break down in the bloodstream. As a consequence, some medications can be more effective or last for longer, which can be dangerous, and this is why it is very important to discuss it with your doctor if you are planning on having CBD in conjunction with medications which have been prescribed by them.
Taking your CBD
There are a number of different ways that you can take CBD, with each method having different implications on your dosage. It is important to be able to understand these differences to be able to calculate the best dosages for you. When it comes to finding the right dosage through experimentation the most important thing is to be consistent.
Everybody has their preferred method of taking CBD. From vaping to edibles to drops under the tongue. The way that you consume CBD (and that they body processes it) can affect the dosage that you take.
Once you are established with your CBD, you can chop and change how you take it – although you might need to change your dosage according to how you take it – when you are trying to find the best dose for you, it is easier to stick to the same delivery method.
Vaping CBD – Quick and Effective
The quickest way to take your CBD is through inhaling through a vaporiser or e-pen. This method ensures that all the CBD is absorbed into the bloodstream through the lungs, ensuring that there is little wastage and it gets to work almost straight away. Vaping is safe, easy and enjoyable for many people.
By using a vaporiser or e-pen to take CBD, users find that this is a particularly effective method of consumption. Due to the fact that the CBD isn’t burnt or heated to extremely high temperatures, vaping means that it is safe and very effective.
To calculate your CBD dosage when vaping, you first need to estimate how much CBD is in one drop (or tincture if you have one).
For example, if you buy a 30ml bottle with 200mg of CBD, then 1ml = 6.67mg of CBD
So, to get 10mg of CBD you will need 10/6.67 = about 1.5 ml of liquid
You can then add the quantity (in ml) of vape juice that you need. Or work out how much CBD is in a full ‘tank’ on your e-pen and vape that each day. It is not easy to make very accurate calculations about the CBD when it is being vaped, so it is important to be as consistent as possible.
Sublingual Drops or CBD Spray
Spray or drops under the tongue are another quick and easy way to take CBD. The CBD is absorbed through the lining of the mouth and directly into the bloodstream. CBD oil drops are relatively easy to calculate the dosage for and easy to take.
The recommended method for taking CBD as a tincture or spray is by taking it under the tongue and holding it there for about a minute so that it can be absorbed into the lining of the mouth.
You should be aware of whether you are taking full spectrum, broad spectrum CBD oil, or CBD distillate as this can affect how effective the CBD is.
To calculate the dosage if you are taking in a drop or spray form, the best thing to do is to calculate the amount of CBD per dropper or spray.
A dropper will usually hold 1ml of liquid.
For example, if you buy a 30ml bottle with 500mg of CBD, then 1ml = 16.67 mg of CBD
So, to get 10 mg of CBD, you will need 10/16.67 = about 0.6ml of liquid – or just over half a dropper.
Sublingual drops or sprays are not the most accurate method for ensure your exact dosage. But by being consistent about the number of drops and how long you keep it under the tongue, you can get a fairly accurate dose.
CBD Edibles for easy dosing
CBD edibles come in many forms, from capsules to chocolates to gummies to butter to use in your cooking. It does take longer to absorb into the bloodstream than other methods, as it goes through the digestive system. This also means that not all of the CBD is absorbed directly, but its effect can last for longer.
Unless you are cooking your own CBD edibles, these are the best way to ensure that you are getting exactly the same dosage every time. By swallowing a capsule or eating a gummy with the exact dosage given to you, you know how much you are taking.
Although you can lose some of the dosage as it goes through the digestive system, as long as you are consistent with when you take it (i.e. the time of day and before or after food, for example) it is all relative.
CBD edibles can be discreet and easy to calculate the dosage, making it a popular choice for many people.
CBD Topicals – through the skin
CBD topicals are a different way to get your CBD. The CBD gels, oils, creams, balms and ointments can be rubbed onto the skin and are particularly effective for skin complaints and joint and muscle pain. As the topical is not going into the bloodstream, there is no dosing required.
CBD topicals which are rubbed into the skin instead of taken internally are a great option for people who are looking to use it for skin problems like acne, dry skin and psoriasis, as well as aching muscles and sore joints. Due to the fact that it is rubbed straight into the skin it can work well on a particular, localised area. It also means that you don’t need to worry about getting the dosage right.
CBD topicals can be rubbed in as many times as you need it, when you need it.
Check out our best hemp topicals for pain relief here:
CBD Dosage for Children
Although there is not much research specifically about CBD and how it affects children in particular, there is nothing to say that it is not a good idea. In fact, there are many parents who risk a lot to bring in CBD products with higher levels of THC than is legal because they believe that it is extremely beneficial to their children with specific medical problems.
Just as with adults, there are no specific guidelines as to what the best CBD dose for children is. However, it is strongly recommended that you speak to your child’s doctor before giving it to them and starting off on the absolute smallest dose that is possible if you do decide to go ahead.
CBD Dosage for Animals
Giving CBD to pets is also growing in popularity. Almost all animals with a backbone have an endocannabinoid system and can therefore benefit from CBD. Just as with adults, the recommended dosage varies, and should be adjusted slowly over time.
Most of the guidelines for CBD doses for animals are calculated according to the animal’s weight and what effect that you are hoping to achieve with it. CBD companies usually say to give animals between 1 and 5mg for every 10lbs. Of course, it is more difficult with pets to tell how they are feeling so you should closely monitor them at first and whilst you are getting the dosage right.
As with people, it is important to speak to your vet before trying CBD with your pet.
CBD oil Types
When you are looking to buy CBD, you are often given the choice of full spectrum or broad spectrum CBD oil or CBD distillate oil. These can impact on how effective it is for you, so once that you have decided which one you want to use, try to stick to it whilst you are adjusting your dose. You should also be aware that if you switch to another type, the dosage that you need will be different.
The difference between full spectrum and broad spectrum CBD oil, and CBD distillate is about the purity of the CBD.
Full spectrum CBD oil not only includes CBD, but also all of the other cannabinoids that are found in the plant. Research shows that the other compounds make the CBD more effective and so this is the optimal way to take CBD.
CBD distillate is the purest form of CBD oil, which is made by extracting only CBD. Although less effective, CBD distillate is ideal for people who want CBD but cannot have any traces of the other cannabinoids in their system (like THC).
Broad spectrum CBD oil is somewhere between the two. It includes many of the compounds from the plant, but not all of them. This makes it very effective but not quite as good as full spectrum CBD oil.
It is easy to see why people are keen to try CBD products, but it is important that, to get the best effects for you, you get the dosage right. By starting off very low, and gradually increasing the dosage, you can work your way through the range until you get to the perfect dose.
There are a number of factors which can affect how much you take and how effective the CBD is, so it is absolutely essential that whilst you are finding your optimal level, you keep these things consistent, changing only one variable – the dose.
Try to use the same product, the same delivery method, the same measuring method, and take it at the same time of day. By making notes about all of these factors and keeping record of it all you can easily see your adjustments and ensure that you will find the right dose for you. It is only this way that you will be able to compare the effects and get to your Goldilocks dose as quickly as possible.
If you are thinking about trying CBD and are unsure about what dosage is best for you, remember that everyone’s body is different. Just because someone you know – even if they are similar to you – uses a particular dose, that doesn’t mean that that will be the best dose for you.
The only way to really find your best dose is by starting low and increasing it slowly. So if you’re ready to start, have a small dose now and keep increasing it until you get the effect that you want.
Jessica Rosslee is a former journalist that has dedicated her writing skills and passion for communication to the cannabis industry. Jessica has spent her life in the field of wellness and communication, committed to allowing people access to accurate health and wellness information.
As a freelance cannabis writer, Jessica is passionate about free-flowing education for the public and the destigmatization of cannabis.