What The Research Says
When people are first getting into CBD, a commonly asked question is “How much CBD should I Take?”. Even though cannabis has been around forever, CBD is a relatively new product and the research is in its infancy. This therefore makes it a very complex question with no definite answer. People take anywhere between 10mg and 1,500mg per day depending on different factors which we will go into.
Everyone is Different
While we wish we could provide people with a universal evidence-based dosing calculator, the reality is that everyone is different, and the amount of CBD that will be suitable for you will depend on the following factors:
- Your Age & Sex
- Your Weight & Body Mass Index
- The condition you’re treating
With this in mind, people who are entirely new to cannabidiol, generally start by taking the minimum dose suggested by the manufacturer of their chosen product and seeing how they feel after a few weeks. If they desire stronger effects, then they usually up the dosage in small increments until they reach their desired dose.
But won’t I eventually build up a tolerance?
While studies have shown that prolonged use of cannabis that contains tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) results in a THC tolerance, cannabidiol (CBD) appears to have an opposite effect. Scientific reviews and research of CBD oil suggest you likely won’t build a tolerance to CBD, and contrary to popular belief, long-term use may result in reverse tolerance.
What is reverse tolerance?
CBD certainly isn’t cheap, so the thought of having to take more and more over time to get the same effect can be daunting.
Reverse tolerance, however, refers to the phenomenon whereby the more a person is exposed to a substance, the less amounts they need to take in order to feel the same effects. So over time, CBD oil users may find relief from their symptoms with lower and lower doses.
This is because of the way that it effects the human’s endocannabinoid system (which you can read about more here). Regular use of THC results in users building a tolerance due to the fact that it binds directly to the body’s endocannabinoid receptors which are part of the system that controls the immune system, nervous system and mood. THC particularly binds strongly to the CB1 receptor in the brain (hence the mind-altering experience) and therefore chronic THC users have fewer cannabinoid receptors over time, resulting in the need for more THC in order to gain the same result.
On the other hand, CBD does not cause tolerance because it doesn’t work by binding to cannabinoid receptors in the same way as THC. CBD actually promotes increased receptor activity therefore avoiding the problem of tolerance and addiction altogether.
Because studies are still being done on CBD oil and reverse tolerance, anecdotal evidence and your own personal experimentation are going to be your best resources on the topic. Even though CBD oil will not get you “high”, start off with a lower dose and track and measure your ideal dosage by gradually increasing the amount you take over the course of a few weeks or months.
If the benefits you’re feeling start to plateau even as your dosage continues to go up, you’ll know you’ll have hit your “sweet spot”, and it could be time to try lowering your dosage.
So how much are being given by health care professionals?
Well currently, most health care professionals are hesitant to prescribe cannabinoids like CBD because firstly there is no universal recommended dose for all people. And secondly, most medical schools never cover CBD therapy in their pharmacology courses.
However, to get an idea of the different dosages being recommended by certain professionals, we have taken a chart from Mayo Clinic, an American academic medical centre based in Minnesota. Please bear in mind, that this is for reference only and you should always consult a doctor before taking CBD and stick to their recommendation because everybody is different.
Chronic Pain: 2.5mg – 20mg of CBD (with or without THC) given orally. Link
Loss of Appetite in Cancer Patients: 2.5mg of THC given orally, with or without 1mg of CBD for six weeks. Link
Sleep Disorders: 40mg – 160mg of CBD taken orally. Link
Epilepsy: 200mg – 300mg of CBD daily (taken orally). Link
Movement problems due to Huntingdon’s Disease: 10mg of CBD per kg of body weight daily for six weeks (given orally). Link
Schizophrenia: 40mg – 1280mg CBD daily given orally. Link
Glaucoma: A single sublingual CBD dosage of 20mg – 40mg ( > 40mg may increase eye pressure). Link
Multiple Sclerosis (MS) Symptoms: Cannabis plant extracts containing 2.5mg – 120mg of a THC/CBD combination daily for 2-15 weeks. Patients typically use eight sprays within any three hours, with a maximum of 48 sprays in any 24 hour period. Link
Furthermore, the dosing schedule recommended for Epidiolex, (a highly purified liquid containing CBD produced by GW Pharmaceuticals) which was one of the first cannabis-derived treatments available under the NHS for patients with rare forms of epilepsy, (Lennox-Gastaut syndrome & Dravet syndrome) is as follows:
“The recommended starting dosage is 2.5mg/kg taken twice daily (5mg/kg/day). After one week, the dosage can be increased to a maintenance dosage of 5mg/kg twice daily (10mg/kg/day).
Based on individual clinical response and tolerability, Epidiolex can be increased up to a maximum recommended maintenance dosage of 10mg/kg twice daily (20mg/kg/day)“. Link
Can I overdose on CBD?
Currently, it’s generally viewed that you cannot overdose from taking CBD. A 2011 review on the safety and side effects of CBD found that continuous use, even in high doses like 1,500mg a day, is tolerated well by humans.
A 2017 update to this review also confirmed this. However, a 2019 study done on mice did raise some safety concerns about CBD’s potential for liver damage and it’s interaction with other medications.
There are also a few known side effects of CBD such as
- Drowsiness/Fatigue or other changes in alertness
- Digestive issues, such as diarrhea
- Changes in appetite
- Changes in mood, such as irritability and agitation
If you experience any of these side effects, we recommend that you stop taking CBD right away and consult a doctor or GP as soon as possible.
The bottom line is, there are a lot of variables that go into deciding how much CBD to take and even the general consensus of healthcare professionals are still trying to come up with an agreed universal dosage calculator because further research is still yet to be carried out. It is advised that you take precautions when approaching your schedule of CBD dosage and if possible always consult with a doctor.
People who are new to CBD should always start with the minimum dosage for a few weeks before moving up to a stronger dose if their body reacts well with it. We do not recommend CBD for anyone who is pregnant or currently taking any other medications and products that are not acquired through prescription should be viewed as food supplements that may or may not improve certain aspects of your life when taken alongside a balanced, nutritional diet.