This dosage guide has been developed from our practical knowledge and experience in the industry but we are not doctors, medical practitioners or nutritionists. We have followed the guidance of my industry experts who have written books on CBD, such as Mary Biles and Dr Dani Gordon. Much of the dosage practice that we set out in this guide also follows the teaching from The Centre for Medicinal Cannabis module on dosage.
‘How much do I need to take?’ is probably the most prominent query from customers looking to get started with CBD. To get the maximum benefits out of CBD you need to pick the right product that suits you, then administer the product correctly, while also consuming the correct amount of CBD. But with the exhaustive list of different brands, CBD types and product types it can make it a daunting task for first-time customers and even experienced users.
Within this comprehensive dosage guide, we will separate fact from fiction and give you clear guidelines for how to get started with CBD without the confusion and the hassle. This will include a breakdown of how to start dosing with oils, vapes, gummies, capsules, patches and topicals, while also providing you with a simplified breakdown of conversions for strength and finding milligrams (mg) per drop. If you follow these instructions, not only will you have a better understanding of how to set your dosage correctly, but you will also recognize what is the right strength and product for you.
Putting the record straight
There is a lot of misinformation out there suggesting that there are specific set doses for different types of consumers, but this is incorrect. The truth is there is no ‘one size fits all’ approach to CBD dosage, as there are a variety of different factors that come into play, such as physiology, metabolic responses and lifestyle choices. With all these elements in play, it becomes extremely difficult – if not impossible – for a consumer to prescribe a specific dosage from the beginning.
In considering the challenges of finding the correct CBD dose, we must be cautious and flexible in our approach. We can do this by starting on a low dosage of 1-2 drops 2-3 times a day using a low to medium strength CBD oil, such as a 500mg (5%) product. From here, we can slowly increase the dose every five days until we find what is called the ‘sweet spot’, which is when you are feeling the maximum amount of benefit from the oil, without wasting any CBD. We recommend that you titrate up 1 drop of oil every 5 days until you find your sweet spot (1-2 drops first 5 days, 2-3 drops next 5 days and so on).
Note on ‘wasting’ CBD
Our endocannabinoid system has a ceiling where it will close off absorption once we have received an adequate dose. If we go past this ceiling, the remaining phytocannabinoids and phytonutrients in our system will be excreted from the body. This is another reason to be extremely careful with your dosage as if you start on a high dose which is too much for your body and endocannabinoid system, you are going to be wasting the CBD, and essentially, your hard-earned money.
Should you dose differently depending on your condition?
The short answer is no, but this could change in the future. At the moment there isn’t enough research on human subjects in a clinical setting to make conclusions about dosage for different conditions. As research develops and focuses specifically on a range of conditions with different CBD types and measurements of these products over varying time periods, we may find more conclusive data to give set doses for specific conditions.
But as many factors come into play which can alter dosage requirements (as explained previously), we think it is more likely that a flexible and cautious approach is likely to be the most accurate way of finding your optimal dose.
If you wish to see the most recent preliminary data on dosage, here are two of the most significant research studies:
A systematic review of cannabidiol dosing in clinical populations by the Division of Medical Sciences and Graduate Entry Medicine, School of Medicine, University of Nottingham, Royal Derby Hospital, Derby, UK.
CBD per drop
To measure your dosage as accurately as possible, you need to know the number of milligrams (mg) of CBD per drop. In the following table, we lay out how much mg there is per drop in a range of the most popular strengths whilst also factoring in bottle sizes. It is important to mention that this is a rough guide – CBD drops can vary in size depending on what pipette you are using, which means the amount of mg will vary slightly too. If you want to be as precise as possible, we recommend you buy a product which uses a graduated marked dropper or buy one separately from your local pharmacy. This will ensure you are administering the correct dose each time you take CBD.
MG per drop
This table exhibits mg per drop for some of the preferred strengths on the market, but if you have a strength different to the one displayed, you can work out the mg per drop by multiplying by 0.5. For example, to work out the mg per drop for a strength of 6%, I multiply 6 by 0.5 to get 3mg (6 x 0.5 = 3).
To get the most accurate dose specifically tailored to you, we recommend that you record the amount of CBD you are consuming in mg daily. So, if you were starting CBD for the first time, taking 1 drop three times a day and were using a 5% product, from looking at the table you would be taking 7.5mg per day and 37.5mg per week. If you didn’t feel any effects from this dosage, you would continue to the next week slightly increasing the dosage and continue and record again. This may sound trivial, but it is really important not only to know how much you are consuming but also if you change the product to a different strength or variety you can adjust accordingly without any hitches.
How to workout strength from the amount of mg and visa versa
Dosage becomes a bit more tricky as different CBD brands decide to market their products in different ways. Some brands prefer to title its products in mg, some brands prefer to market its products in strength concentration percentage and others like to give mg per ml. You also have to take into account that products will come in different sizes (ml), which affects the strength concentration percentage – just to make things even more confusing.
As it happens, there are very easy solutions to make things much more simple.
Mg > total strength concentration % (10ml)
Converting the mg into strength for 10ml bottles is very simple (see table below); – all you have to do is take two zeros away from the total mg, and what you are left with is the total percentage concentration of the product (1000mg – two zeros = 10%).
This works if there is only one zero, but you need to add a decimal place two numbers along (2750mg – 1 zero = 275 *adds decimal place two numbers along* 27.5%).
Even if the total mg falls on a number without any zeros, as long as you place a decimal place 1 number along for numbers in the hundreds (278mg = 2.78%) or 2 numbers along for numbers in the thousands (2758mg = 27.58%).
The tricks given before are just a way of instantly knowing the percentage without having to do a sum, but if it was confusing and you would rather just do an equation each time you work it out, all you have to do is divide the total mg by 100, which also gives you the total percentage concentration of the product (2758mg divided by 100 = 27.58%).
Total strength concentration % > Mg
If the product displays the total strength concentration and you want to work out total mg, all you have to do is work backwards from the equation for mg > total strength concentration %.
If you were wishing to do the tricks I explained previously, instead of taking away 2 zeros, you would add 2 zeros (20% + 2 zeros = 2000mg), instead of taking away 1 zero you would add one and take away the decimal place (27.5% = 2750mg) and instead of adding a decimal place 1 or 2 numbers down you would remove the decimal place (2.75% = 275) (27.58% = 2758mg).
If you would rather not do this trick, all you have to do is multiply by 100 (27.58% x 100 = 2758mg).
Total strength concentration % > Mg & Mg > total strength concentration % (20ml)
The quickest and most simple way to work out the total strength concentration for 20ml product sizes is to divide the total mg by 200 (1000mg divided by 200 = 5%). Reverse this sum to find the converted total strength concentration percentage to mg (5% x 200 = 1000mg).
Total strength concentration % > Mg & Mg > total strength concentration % (30ml)
The quickest and most simple way to work out the total strength concentration for 30ml product sizes is to divide the total mg by 300 (1500mg divided by 300 = 5%). Reverse this sum to find the converted total strength concentration percentage to mg (5% x 300 = 1500mg).
Differences in dosing between full-spectrum, broad- spectrum and isolate
As a beginner, you might assume that you need to take the same dosage across all CBD types, but the amount you need to administer will vary significantly depending on the type of CBD you use. There are 3 main types of CBD formulations:
This contains CBD with a carrier oil and no other cannabinoids – hence the name ‘isolate’
This contains CBD and a range of other cannabinoids but no THC. Other cannabinoids have also been associated with a variety of health benefits, and research has suggested that this type of product could be more effective than an isolate due to the ‘entourage effect’. This is where all the cannabinoids work together synergistically to create a more long-lasting and potent effect.
Full-spectrum is the same as broad-spectrum but contains THC. You might see some products advertised as full-spectrum on our website, but they only contain a minimal trace of THC (below 0.2%), as CBD brands have to abide by the UK’s and Food Standards Agency (FSA).
According to preliminary research conducted by the University of Jerusalem, full spectrum CBD extracts produced greater effects than isolate CBD. The research also suggests that the effectiveness of CBD isolate against pain and inflammation may only be shown at a specific dose, where full-spectrum CBD exhibited more effectiveness as the dose was increased.
Researchers believe that this is due to stripping away all the terpenes, flavonoids and other minor cannabinoids out of the formulation. All these other elements individually have there own associated benefits, and when working together in unison it produces a phenomenon called the entourage effect. This means that if you use an isolate product in the same way you use a broad-spectrum or full-spectrum product, it is likely that you will not receive the same benefits, which means we have to adjust accordingly.
We recommend that you double your dose to account for the differences, but it is important to remember that the FSA recommends you stay under 70mg per day.
Why use isolate?
You might be asking, why would you use isolate over broad-spectrum or full-spectrum products? We think you shouldn’t unless you fall into the following categories.
- You have regular drug tests due to your occupation
While it is unlikely that you will test positive for THC as there is such a small amount allowed in products across Europe, there is no point in taking the risk. You can be sure that when taking an Isolate there is 0 THC. Even with broad-spectrum products, there are still risks as it is very difficult to remove all the THC from the formulation.
- You have anxiety taking broad-spectrum and full-spectrum products
With all these other ingredients included in the formulation, you may be worried about taking the product and you might find more comfort in knowing there are only CBD and the carrier oil included in the product.
If you are looking for the most effective formulation possible and you don’t have these worries, we do recommend that you take broad-spectrum or full-spectrum products. In our experience, customers have seen more improvements in their well-being from using products which contain all the goodness which hemp has to offer.
Capsules, soft gels and gummies dosage
Capsules and gummies are a great alternative for consumers who want to avoid the hassle of administering CBD oil. You shouldou should bare in mind that It is more difficult to be precise with your dosage for capsules and gummies as there is a fixed amount of mg per capsules (10mg, 20mg, 25mg per capsule) and they can be more expensive as the manufacturing process is more extensive than for a regular CBD oil.
If you do choose capsules or gummies as your prefered option, we recommend you start with a 5mg or 10mg product.
Take 1 capsule/gummy twice a day (one in the morning, one in the afternoon/evening) for 5 days and see how you feel.
If you didn’t see the results you were hoping for, take one capsule 3 times a day (one in the morning, one in the afternoon and one in the evening) for 5 days. If you still don’t feel the results you were hoping for, you can up the dose to 2 capsules/gummies 3 times a day. If you do see good effects after this, next time you purchase capsules you should buy a higher strength product (20mg or 25mg per capsule), as you won’t have to consume as many capsules/gummies per day and you will likely save a little bit of money as you are purchasing more at one time.
Vaping can be a great option for former smokers who wish to use a less harmful alternative. It also has the highest bioavailability out of all the different product types, so if you are wishing to get the most out of your CBD this might be the choice for you. Vape products tend to be the cheapest product as they don’t usually come in the same high strengths due to the risk of crystallisation.
Dosing for vaping can be a bit more tricky as it is difficult to know how much mg you are consuming as there isn’t an accurate way of measuring a ‘puff’. What we recommend is that you have around 5-8 puffs three times a day for five days using a lower strength product (100mg, 200mg). Keep adding one puff to your dosage every 5 days until you find your ‘sweet spot’ – if you are having to have many puffs to get the results you were looking for, this would be when you increase the strength of the product when you go to buy your next batch.
A quick side note on vaping…
It can be tempting to use a CBD vape throughout the day, especially if you are an ex-smoker. While it is unlikely there will be any risks to your health from the CBD (not in regards to damage caused by inhaling vapour), you will reach your ceiling and the CBD you consume after that will be wasted. It is up to the consumer’s discretion whether to continue to use CBD regardless of wasting the CBD or the recommended FSA limit of 70mg, but if you wish to save yourself some money and follow the guidelines, we recommend you use a normal vape oil that doesn’t contain CBD in between your doses of CBD.
Topicals are for people who may be looking for alternatives to pharmaceutical medication for their skin conditions, or for users who are looking for alternative products to keep skin healthy, you
Topicals are for people who may be looking for alternatives to pharmaceutical medication for their skin conditions, or for users who are looking for alternative products to keep skin healthy, young and moisturised and people who are looking to target an area of pain and inflammation with CBD. Topical dosage is much more simple as you shouldn’t have to increase the dosage over time. We recommend that you use a small amount and rub it gently in the affected area/face/body twice a day (in the morning and evening). If you keep using it consistently, you should hopefully see some good results.
CBD oil dosage (spray and pipette)
The most popular choice of CBD oil is an effective all-round product which offers good bioavailability and accurate dosage. CBD oil will usually come as a spray or with a pipette which are both designed to be used sublingually (under the tongue). You use the dropper or spray under the tongue and leave it in your mouth until you have absorbed the oil. We have gone over dosage for CBD oil previously in this guide, but we will just clarify the main sticking points to avoid confusion.
We recommend you start on a low strength product (200mg – 500mg) and take 1-2 drops/sprays three times a day (morning, afternoon and evening) for 5 days.
After this you review – if you haven’t seen the results you are looking for, increase your dose by 1 drop. And as you have probably already guessed, you continue to do this until you find your optimal dose. If you are having to take a lot of drops/sprays to see effects, it is recommended that next time you go for a higher strength product.
Patches are designed for users who wish to consistently absorb CBD transdermally during an extended period to a place of inflammation and pain. Patches tend to be a bit more expensive than regular topicals such as balms and creams, but can be an effective option for users who experience pain throughout the day, or for active people who want to consistently absorb CBD throughout their workout in an attempt to prevent inflammation.
Fortunately, patches are relatively simple to use – you stick the patch on the area of the body that is experiencing pain/inflammation for the amount of time it says on the instructions. Some patches will be 10mg and you will apply them for 24 hours, others will be 20-25mg and you will apply them for 48 hours.
Verified by a Healthcare Professional
Anastasiia Myronenko is a Medical Physicist actively practicing in one of the leading cancer centers in Kyiv, Ukraine. She received her master’s degree in Medical Physics at Karazin Kharkiv National University and completed Biological Physics internship at GSI Helmholtz Centre for Heavy Ion Research, Germany. Anastasiia Myronenko specializes in radiation therapy and is a fellow of Ukrainian Association of Medical Physicists.