• Epidiolex is the sole CBD product approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA)(1). Any other product containing cannabidiol is not officially recognized by the agency and has no dosing guidelines.
  • The right amount of CBD for one’s needs can be determined based on weight, body chemistry, and current health condition.
  • People should consult a doctor, preferably someone familiar with cannabis, to know the right cannabidiol dosage. If no recommendation is given, the best approach is to start with a low dose and observe CBD’s effects.
  • Keeping track of CBD usage and dosage can help people assess the effectiveness of their current cannabidiol products.


Cannabidiol
(CBD) is a cannabis plant compound believed to have several therapeutic properties(2).

Currently, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved only one cannabidiol product, Epidiolex(3). This oral solution is used in treating seizures caused by Dravet syndrome (DS) or Lennox-Gastaut syndrome (LGS), two rare types of epilepsy.

The recommended dosage for Epidiolex is as follows(4):

  1. The starting point is an oral dose of 2.5mg/kg twice each day, or 5mg/kg daily.
  2. After a week, users can increase the dosage to approximately 5mg/kg twice each day, or 10mg/kg per day.

FDA regulations do not cover any other product that contains cannabidiol. Thus, they do not have official guidelines for CBD dosing.

Identifying the Right Amount of CBD

Body weight, body chemistry, and current health conditions should be considered when deciding on the amount of CBD one should take. There is no one-size-fits-all solution, especially for beginner CBD users. 

First-time users are advised to consult a doctor for the appropriate dosage of CBD. A physician can give medical advice for any potential risks and drug interactions with existing medications.

It is also best to start with lower doses, increasing gradually to higher doses until the desired results are achieved.

Low doses could mean taking 20 to 40 milligrams of CBD per day as a starting point. After about one week, users can try higher amounts if they do not experience any adverse reactions. 

For instance, an individual may be advised to take 40mg of CBD for pain relief. After one week, users can choose to increase this to 45mg, then 50mg by the second week, and so on until the pain becomes bearable.

It is recommended to keep track of one’s use of CBD and how their body reacts to the dosage. CBD users can write their findings in a notebook or mobile app.

Calculating the Right Dose of CBD

Many brands provide labels on their CBD capsules and CBD gummies for users to know how much of the compound they can get in one serving size. For example, the label on a CBD capsule bottle may indicate 5mg of CBD per pill.

For those using CBD oil, the product usually comes with a dropper. Its package may specify how much cannabidiol can be obtained in one drop. Using the recommended number of drops per serving, an individual can estimate how many drops they need.

Sometimes, the CBD content in a product can be challenging to measure. The product’s packaging states the total amount in the entire bottle instead of the amount provided in one serving.

Consider a person who wishes to take a serving size of 40mg of CBD from a 10 ml bottle of CBD oil labeled to have 1,000mg of cannabidiol.

Since one drop is approximately 0.05 milliliters (ml), the 10ml bottle contains 200 drops of CBD. The result can be achieved by dividing the bottle size (10ml) with CBD’s amount per drop (0.05ml).

To estimate how much CBD is in each drop, divide the total amount of CBD (1,000mg) by the total drops (200). This means each drop should contain about 5mg of CBD.

To get 40mg of that CBD oil dosage, one should measure at least eight drops of the product in their dropper.

Reputable CBD brands readily provide the lab results of their cannabidiol products for people to access. Checking these reports is one of the best ways to know how much CBD is in each package.

Research Concerning CBD Dosage

In a review, the World Health Organization (WHO) analyzed oral CBD doses ranging from 100mg to 800mg daily(5). They noted that these amounts of CBD did not produce harmful effects.

In a study, a patient with schizophrenia took 1,200mg of CBD per day for a few weeks saw a positive change in their symptoms(6)

The same study also claimed that CBD doses between 40mg to 1,280 mg per day improved the wellness of another patient.

Meanwhile, a study on arthritic patients given 15mg of CBD per day from Sativex, a spray product that contains equal parts CBD and THC, found that the treatment relieved morning pain on movement and rest(7). These results were better than those achieved with a placebo.

The table below shows a list of CBD dosages that were found to be useful in providing the desired effects for various medical conditions.

Condition CBD Dose Delivery Method
Anxiety Disorder 300mg to 600mg(8) Oral
Bowel Disease 5mg twice per day(9) Sublingual
Type 2 Diabetes 100mg twice per day(10) Oral
Cancer Pain 50mg to 600mg per day(11) Oral
Parkinson’s Disease 75mg to 300mg per day(12) Oral
Huntington’s Disease Up to 12 sprays daily(13) Nasal Spray


Is CBD Overdose Possible?

According to a 2011 study on CBD’s safety and side effects, researchers noted that subjects who took 1,500mg of CBD a day tolerated the compound well(14)

A study in 2017 also confirms this finding, adding that no studies reported CBD tolerance despite how much CBD oil they took(15).

Although there is no proof of CBD overdose, one study in 2019 found that human subjects experienced side effects of CBD. Some of these adverse reactions include fatigue, diarrhea, somnolence (drowsiness), and vomiting(16).

There are possible adverse drug interactions that could occur for people taking CBD(17). Researchers believe these interactions may be due to how cannabidiol engages with the cannabinoid receptors and enzymes in the endocannabinoid system (ECS).

The ECS is thought to regulate several bodily functions while having a protective role in many medical conditions. In a study, experts theorize that drugs modulating the ECS and its receptors may help with diseases involving pain, inflammation, and multiple sclerosis(18).

In a 2019 clinical trial, 57 healthy subjects were divided into four groups: those who received 150 mg of CBD, 300mg of CBD, 600mg of CBD, and placebo(19)

Results of the study indicated that the group who received 300mg of CBD experienced a significant reduction in anxiety during a simulated public speaking test.

According to the researchers, the results of the trial are in line with results of animal studies describing bell-shaped dose-response curves in terms of the effectiveness of CBD(20).

CBD Oil Dosage vs. CBD Capsule Dosage

Various types of CBD products are sold by brands nowadays. When performing research, first-time users should consider the best CBD that suits their lifestyle.

Although there are CBD vape pens, lotions (topicals), and CBD edibles, the two most popular products are oils and capsules.

CBD Dosage in CBD Oil

The most prevalent cannabidiol product on the market is CBD oil. With a full dropper, users can get full-spectrum CBD, broad-spectrum CBD, or CBD isolate based on their preference.

Full-spectrum contains all CBD compounds, broad-spectrum has all components except THC, while isolates are pure cannabidiol. The appropriate type of CBD oil depends on the needs of each person.

CBD oil is made after cannabis plants, preferably the hemp variety, are harvested and sent to laboratories for extraction. These plants contain many cannabinoids, with CBD and THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) being two of its major components(21).

One of the main benefits of CBD oil tinctures is that they are absorbed faster by the body. Taking CBD sublingually, or under the tongue, ensures immediate delivery of the compound(22).

Another advantage of using CBD oil is that these products often come with droppers. A dropper lets people accurately measure the amount of CBD they need to take for each serving size.

Most CBD products come with recommended dosages. CBD users may follow the recommended dosage or they may start with lower dosages.

If the effects of a CBD tincture are too strong, users can reduce the amount without purchasing a new product.

However, it is still recommended to consult a physician before taking CBD, especially for first-time CBD users. Visiting a medical professional may provide CBD users with more information about safe and effective dosing.

CBD Dosage in CBD Capsules

CBD capsules are cannabidiol placed in a medium intended for easy and convenient intake. However, their manufacturing process is different compared to CBD oils.

CBD capsules are sold in softgel pills containing either type of CBD. Full and broad-spectrum CBD capsules are made similar to CBD oils, except the extracts are placed in softgel capsules.

As for isolates, the CBD capsules are filled with a white crystalline powder, which is pure CBD.

A key advantage of taking CBD capsules is their ease of use and discretion. A CBD pill while traveling can be a convenient way of consuming cannabidiol. 

CBD capsules also provide an accurate and consistent CBD dosage to users.

However, a CBD capsule needs to go through the digestive tract, resulting in lower bioavailability than CBD oil drops. Bioavailability is the rate and fraction of a drug when it becomes available to its intended biological destination(23)

Tips to Determine Safe CBD Dosage

Below is a list of important things to remember when calculating CBD dosage:

  • Users should consider their body weight, the condition they want to treat, and the CBD concentration and potency of the product they are taking.
  • It is best to start with small doses of CBD, gradually increasing to high doses until the desired effects are achieved.
  • It is recommended to keep a record of how much CBD a user has taken. Monitoring CBD intake may help when adjusting the CBD dosage.
  • Tinctures come with a measured dropper for accurate dosing.
  • Most importantly, CBD users must talk to their doctors about safe dosage and any potential risks of using CBD.

Methods of Extracting CBD

When people discuss how CBD is made, they refer to the specific type of extraction method performed to create a product. Using carbon dioxide, steam distillation, and natural solvents or hydrocarbons is the most common way to extract CBD oil.

Carbon dioxide extraction, also known as supercritical CO2, is a method of separating CBD oil from cannabis plant material. The term supercritical refers to the CO2 containing both properties of a gaseous and liquid state, which is why it is sometimes called Supercritical Fluid Extraction (SFE).

Although requiring costly and specialized machinery to accomplish, many brands prefer CO2 extraction in creating high-quality CBD products. One study found that this extraction method produces cannabidiol concentrations with as high as 92% efficiency(24).

In steam distillation, the vapor in this method causes the cannabidiol oil from the hemp plant to separate. The plant extract is placed in a flask containing an inlet and outlet.

As water is heated, its steam travels towards the flask, extracting the hemp oil vapors. The vapors are then collected in a tube, condensing the byproduct into water and oil. This mixture is finally distilled to draw out the oil from the water.

Although the steam distillation technique is tried and tested for many centuries, it is not as popular as CO2 extraction due to being inefficient. With steam distillation, more hemp plant material is needed while extracting exact amounts of CBD is difficult.

Solvent extraction is similar to steam distillation, except it uses solvents or hydrocarbons to separate the CBD oil from cannabis. This process results in a mixture of CBD that contains the solvent. Once the solvent evaporates, it leaves behind pure CBD oil.

Compared to steam distillation, solvent extraction is less expensive and more efficient overall. However, the solvents in hydrocarbon extraction, such as butane, naphtha, and petroleum, can cause concern. The residue of these solvents can be harmful, increasing the risk of cancer to those exposed.

The downside of natural solvent extraction is that chlorophyll from the plant may be included during extraction, resulting in CBD oil that has an unpleasant taste. 

An unexpected flavor may not matter for topicals or capsules. However, CBD products such as vaping oils and gummies are affected by it.

Another problem with using natural solvents is that they do not evaporate immediately. As a result, the CBD derived has lower cannabidiol concentration than other methods.

When buying CBD, it is vital to check which extraction method was used in creating the product. The approach is an essential indicator of the quality and value of a brand’s offering.

CBD products made using CO2 extraction may be of higher quality but are more expensive than goods created through other methods.

Those that used other types of extraction may be affordable but could pose a risk when consumed. Meanwhile, the low-risk natural solvent and steam distillation processes often result in inconsistent CBD amounts.

FAQs

How Is Hemp CBD Different From Marijuana CBD?

There are two varieties of cannabis that produce cannabidiol: hemp and marijuana.

CBD from hemp is derived from the industrial hemp plant, a cannabis variety mainly grown for its fiber and seeds. Hemp plants have scarce foliage and are skinny compared to marijuana plants.

Hemp also has different levels of THC compared to marijuana. THC is a psychoactive compound(25)that can cause a euphoric high when consumed. Under US law, hemp plants must not have more than 0.3% THC to be legal(26).

Meanwhile, marijuana CBD is acquired from marijuana plants known for their thick foliage and flowers. Marijuana is often cultivated for its intoxicating properties.

The federal government defines marijuana as cannabis plants that have more than 0.3% THC. Although THC is the predominant compound in marijuana, some of its strains have high CBD content. 

Deciding to purchase CBD either from hemp or marijuana depends on its intended use. The human body does not discriminate where the compound is sourced. With regards to CBD oil, there are other cannabinoids to consider including phytochemicals and terpenes.

According to a study, all cannabis constituents contribute to each other’s capacity when combined(27). The effects of every component are multiplied when they are consumed together.

This concept is commonly called the “entourage effect.” The presence of CBD, THC, terpenes, and other cannabinoids all determine how a user reacts to cannabis.

People seeking the health benefits of THC may choose marijuana-derived CBD oil. However, they need to purchase and use the product in a state where medical marijuana products are allowed.

For a federally-legal product high in CBD, hemp-derived CBD oil may be the right choice.

Conclusion

The drug Epidiolex is the only cannabidiol product approved by the FDA (fda.gov) with officially recommended dosage guidelines. Any other product that contains cannabidiol is not covered by FDA regulations and does not have guidelines for dosing CBD.

However, many users have identified the right amount of CBD to take by considering body chemistry, concentration of CBD, and current health condition.

Individuals must seek guidance from a doctor to know the appropriate CBD dosage for their needs. Medical advice from a healthcare provider can help people avoid potential drug interactions and risks due to improper CBD use.

Compared to CBD oil, capsules need to go through the digestive system, which results in lower bioavailability. Also, not all CBD products are the same and can have different dosages.

Before buying CBD products, it is best to check the third-party lab test results. These reports should provide an in-depth analysis of the product’s composition, such as cannabidiol potency and the presence of other compounds. These reports also show if there are any contaminants detected.


  1. US Food & Drug Administration (2020, Oct. 1). FDA Regulation of Cannabis and Cannabis-Derived Products, Including Cannabidiol (CBD). Retrieved from: https://www.fda.gov/news-events/public-health-focus/fda-regulation-cannabis-and-cannabis-derived-products-including-cannabidiol-cbd
  2. Crippa, J. A., Guimarães, F. S., Campos, A. C., & Zuardi, A. W. (2018). Translational Investigation of the Therapeutic Potential of Cannabidiol (CBD): Toward a New Age. Frontiers in immunology, 9, 2009. https://doi.org/10.3389/fimmu.2018.02009. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6161644/
  3. US Food & Drug Administration (2020, Oct. 1). FDA Regulation of Cannabis and Cannabis-Derived Products, Including Cannabidiol (CBD). op. cit.
  4. DailyMed (2020, Aug. 26). LABEL: EPIDIOLEX- cannabidiol solution. Retrieved from: https://dailymed.nlm.nih.gov/dailymed/drugInfo.cfm?setid=8bf27097-4870-43fb-94f0-f3d0871d1eec
  5. World Health Organization (2017, Nov. 6-10). CANNABIDIOL (CBD) Pre-Review Report Agenda Item 5.2. Retrieved from: https://www.who.int/medicines/access/controlled-substances/5.2_CBD.pdf
  6. Fasinu, P. S., Phillips, S., ElSohly, M. A., & Walker, L. A. (2016). Current Status and Prospects for Cannabidiol Preparations as New Therapeutic Agents. Pharmacotherapy, 36(7), 781–796. https://doi.org/10.1002/phar.1780. https://www.alchimiaweb.com/blogfr/wp-content/uploads/2016/07/Current-Status-and-Prospects-for-Cannabidiol-Preparations.pdf
  7. Russo E. B. (2008). Cannabinoids in the management of difficult to treat pain. Therapeutics and clinical risk management, 4(1), 245–259. https://doi.org/10.2147/tcrm.s1928. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2503660/
  8. Blessing, E. M., Steenkamp, M. M., Manzanares, J., & Marmar, C. R. (2015). Cannabidiol as a Potential Treatment for Anxiety Disorders. Neurotherapeutics : the journal of the American Society for Experimental NeuroTherapeutics, 12(4), 825–836. https://doi.org/10.1007/s13311-015-0387-1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4604171/
  9. Fasinu, P. S., Phillips, S., ElSohly, M. A., & Walker, L. A. (2016). Current Status and Prospects for Cannabidiol Preparations as New Therapeutic Agents. op. cit.
  10. Jadoon, K. A., Ratcliffe, S. H., Barrett, D. A., Thomas, E. L., Stott, C., Bell, J. D., O’Sullivan, S. E., & Tan, G. D. (2016). Efficacy and Safety of Cannabidiol and Tetrahydrocannabivarin on Glycemic and Lipid Parameters in Patients With Type 2 Diabetes: A Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled, Parallel Group Pilot Study. Diabetes care, 39(10), 1777–1786. https://doi.org/10.2337/dc16-0650. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/27573936/
  11. Good, P., Haywood, A., Gogna, G. et al. Oral medicinal cannabinoids to relieve symptom burden in the palliative care of patients with advanced cancer: a double-blind, placebo controlled, randomised clinical trial of efficacy and safety of cannabidiol (CBD). BMC Palliat Care 18, 110 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1186/s12904-019-0494-6. https://bmcpalliatcare.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12904-019-0494-6#citeas
  12. Peres, F. F., Lima, A. C., Hallak, J., Crippa, J. A., Silva, R. H., & Abílio, V. C. (2018). Cannabidiol as a Promising Strategy to Treat and Prevent Movement Disorders?. Frontiers in pharmacology, 9, 482. https://doi.org/10.3389/fphar.2018.00482. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5958190/
  13. Ibid.
  14. Bergamaschi, M. M., Queiroz, R. H., Zuardi, A. W., & Crippa, J. A. (2011). Safety and side effects of cannabidiol, a Cannabis sativa constituent. Current drug safety, 6(4), 237–249. https://doi.org/10.2174/157488611798280924. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22129319/
  15. Iffland, K., & Grotenhermen, F. (2017). An Update on Safety and Side Effects of Cannabidiol: A Review of Clinical Data and Relevant Animal Studies. Cannabis and cannabinoid research, 2(1), 139–154. https://doi.org/10.1089/can.2016.0034. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5569602/
  16. Huestis, M. A., Solimini, R., Pichini, S., Pacifici, R., Carlier, J., & Busardò, F. P. (2019). Cannabidiol Adverse Effects and Toxicity. Current neuropharmacology, 17(10), 974–989. https://doi.org/10.2174/1570159X17666190603171901. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7052834/
  17. Brown, J. D., & Winterstein, A. G. (2019). Potential Adverse Drug Events and Drug-Drug Interactions with Medical and Consumer Cannabidiol (CBD) Use. Journal of clinical medicine, 8(7), 989. https://doi.org/10.3390/jcm8070989. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6678684/
  18. Kaur, R., Ambwani, S. R., & Singh, S. (2016). Endocannabinoid System: A Multi-Facet Therapeutic Target. Current clinical pharmacology, 11(2), 110–117. https://doi.org/10.2174/1574884711666160418105339. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/27086601/
  19. Linares, I., Zuardi, A., Pereira, L., Queiroz, R., Mechoulam, R., Guimarães, F., & Crippa, J. (2019). Cannabidiol presents an inverted U-shaped dose-response curve in a simulated public speaking test. Brazillian Journal of Psychiatry. 41(1): 9-14 https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30328956/ 
  20. Ibid
  21. Atakan Z. (2012). Cannabis, a complex plant: different compounds and different effects on individuals. Therapeutic advances in psychopharmacology, 2(6), 241–254. https://doi.org/10.1177/2045125312457586. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3736954/
  22. Koland, M., Sandeep, V., & Charyulu, N. (2010). Fast Dissolving Sublingual Films of Ondansetron Hydrochloride: Effect of Additives on in vitro Drug Release and Mucosal Permeation. Journal of young pharmacists : JYP, 2(3), 216–222. https://doi.org/10.4103/0975-1483.66790. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2964757/
  23. Price, G. & Patel, D. (2020). Drug Bioavailability. StatPearls. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK557852/
  24. Rovetto L, Aieta N. 2017. Supercritical carbon dioxide extraction of cannabinoids from Cannabis sativa L. IDTQ—Grupo Vinculado PLAPIQUI-CONICET, Universidad Nacional de Córdoba, Av. Vélez Sarsfield 1611, X5016GCA Córdoba, Argentina. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.supflu.2017.03.014. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0896844617301900
  25. Huestis M. A. (2007). Human cannabinoid pharmacokinetics. Chemistry & biodiversity, 4(8), 1770–1804. https://doi.org/10.1002/cbdv.200790152. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2689518/
  26. Hudak, J (2018, Dec. 14). The Farm Bill, hemp legalization and the status of CBD: An explainer. Retrieved from: https://www.brookings.edu/blog/fixgov/2018/12/14/the-farm-bill-hemp-and-cbd-explainer/
  27. Russo E. B. (2019). The Case for the Entourage Effect and Conventional Breeding of Clinical Cannabis: No “Strain,” No Gain. Frontiers in plant science, 9, 1969. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpls.2018.01969. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6334252/
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