By Josette Pajotte
July 25, 2020
What brand and what preparation should you choose?
Getting started with CBD
Determining what dose to use
So in this article, we are talking about how to start with CBD. The amount of CBD needed to achieve the best results varies by individual. Each person’s optimal dosage and frequency of use is based on a variety of factors including body chemistry, genetics, weight, physical condition, and reasons for using CBD.
It’s important to take the time to find your optimal dose or “sweet spot”. Doing so ensures that you are not using more product than necessary. This means less for your liver to have to process and less cost.
The CBD dosage calculator below is useful for converting dosage levels which are commonly expressed in milligrams of CBD, into milliliters of liquid or drops, so you know how much to take.
- There is no “one-size-fits-all” protocol. Some people get desired results from as little as 1 milligram of CBD daily; others may need 100 milligrams or more daily. Finding your “sweet spot” will involve some experimentation and adjustments over time.
- Finding the right dosage is key to achieving success with CBD. The number 1 mistake made by new users is taking too little or too. If your dose is too small, you may not feel any effects at all. If your dose is too high, you may experience undesirable results such as headaches, nausea, or a general worsening of symptoms. This often results in people believing that CBD doesn’t work for them when in reality, it may work well if they settle into the dose that is optimal for their specific needs.
- Start low and gradually increase your dosage over time until you find your “sweet spot”. Less is more when it comes to CBD.
Be patient and be open to experimenting. Some people get results immediately with the first brand they try, but many people don’t see the results they want for weeks or even months. Many people try several brands before settling on the one that works best for their situation.
The potency of your CBD product should be labelled in milligrams (mg).
Generally, products with less than 15 mg/ml are considered low-potency, a product with between 15-49 mg/ml is regarded as standard potency, and a product with 50 mg/ml or more is high-potency.
Depending on the formula, you may need to take more of a low-potency product compared to a high-potency one to achieve the same dosage level.
However, the absorption rate and bioavailability of formula may make a lower potency product more effective.
If you have one formula in olive oil, for example, or in a capsule, that can’t be absorbed in the mouth and it has to travel through the digestive tract before being absorbed into the bloodstream vs a formula that is nano-liposomal and is absorbed sublingually within 15 seconds… there’s a huge difference in spite of any difference in potency.
It’s good to know your product’s potency, for comparison. To calculate the potency, divide the total number of milligrams of CBD in the bottle by the total amount of liquid in milliliters. These numbers should be on the product label or on the company’s website.
Microdosing -- Microdosing is likely the most popular and cost-effective method to find your optimal dose. The caveat is that it requires 2-5 days’ time, attention and patience.
How to do it:
- Start by taking a single drop (not dropper-full) of your CBD oil.
- Assess how you feel after 45 minutes.
- Take another single drop if you haven’t felt any effects.
- Repeat this process until you feel a difference.
The total number of drops that you take in a 4-hour window that gets you to the point of feeling a difference is likely your optimal dosage.
On day 2, you switch and take the total number of drops that you determined on day 1 as a single dose.
Then you assess how you feel after 45 minutes and make adjustments as needed.
If you are using a lower potency product, it can take a considerable amount of time to find your optimal dosage using this method.
You can speed up this process by taking a couple of drops at a time rather than just one, or by switching to a high-potency product.
Start Low, Increase Slow
This method is preferred by those who don’t have the time or patience for microdosing.
You choose a starting daily dosage based on general guidelines and then slowly increasing your daily dosage every 3-4 days until you get your desired results.
The dosage needed to achieve the results you’re looking for is your optimal dose.
How to do it:
- Choose a starting dose. Generally, the suggestion is to start with half of the dosage suggested.
The chart below may help guide you towards a reasonable dose. Based on your weight and the severity of the symptoms/condition you are trying to ease, find the dose recommended, and begin with HALF that amount.
Dose recommendations are NOT standardized, so these are guidelines based on an average of available industry information only.
The hard rule is generally not to exceed 60 mg of CBD daily, but everything else is fairly flexible depending on what source you review
|Up to 25 pounds||26-45 pounds||46-85 pounds||86-150 pounds||151-240 pounds||240+ pounds|
|Mild||4.5 mg||6 mg||9 mg||12 mg||18 mg||22.5 mg|
|Moderate||6 mg||9 mg||12 mg||15 mg||22.5 mg||30 mg|
|Severe||9 mg||12 mg||15 mg||18 mg||27 mg||45 mg|
Calculate your dose
1. What is your desired dosage of CBD in milligrams?
2. What is the potency of your product in milligrams of CBD per milliliter?
3. What is the size of the CBD oil bottle in milliliters? (most bottles are 15ml/30ml)
4. A standard dropper produces 20 drops per milliliter, but dropper sizes are not all standard. Measure the number of drops in a milliliter using your dropper and the value for drops/ml if your dropper is different.
5. Take the desired dose in mg and divide it by the number of mg/ml. For example, 20 mg desired dose divided by 10 mg/ml = 2 ml to get the desired dose with this product.
6. To calculate how many drops, take the milligrams desired and divide by the number of drops in the ml you just calculated as your desired dose to get the mg/drop. For example, 20 milligrams divided by 40 drops = 0.5 mg/drop.
To help standardize your dosing, you can also purchase 1 ml syringes (like these BSTEAN 1ml 1cc Syringe with Luer Slip Tip, No Needle, Non-Sterile) and simply dose by milliliter or fraction of a milliliter instead of by drop. Since syringes are standardized you are more likely to get consistent dosing this way.
Edibles are much less bioavailable than sublingual drops. With edibles, however, it’s very easy to determine the dose because the packaging must state how many milligrams of CBD are in each gummy. Typically, it’s 10 – 25 milligrams of CBD per edible, capsule or gummy.
Since drinks and edibles have to go through the digestive tract, they take longer to create an effect and the effect may be more subtle than a sublingual dose. Wait an hour after consuming an edible before assessing how you feel.
If you do not have any relief, the guideline is to take not more than you did at first and wait another hour.
Remember, the max is about 45-60 mg/day. Edibles are generally considered for recreational use and subtle mood management to “take the edge off” whereas, more therapeutic doses are easier and more cost-effective through a quality sublingual.
Vaping is very difficult to dose. The process requires that you fill a vape pen or vape tank with specifically formulated vape liquid. Once this is done, you take “hits” from the device.
Generally, the recommendation is to take one or two “hits” and then wait a few minutes. If you get relief, stop. If you don’t feel relief, then take another one or two “hits.”
If you choose vaping as your delivery method, use the tracker and carefully chart your response. Ideally, we want the least amount of vaped product since safety is questionable.
Because medical guidelines change, we want to point you to consult with your doctor if you have any medical conditions or any questions about whether or not CBD is a good and safe choice for you.
Other resources to check: