Throughout this blog, you can learn a lot of useful topics about CBD: the science behind it, how it differs from THC, its legality, etc. We feel that a user of any natural medicinal aid should be well-versed in it from top to bottom. Yet, it’s hard to have the best experience with any form of CBD if you don’t know how to take it and how much of it to take. Therefore, we’ve prepared a guide you can use as your go-to, one-stop wisdom shop for how to properly take CBD, one of the greatest plant-based remedies to come along in quite some time.
CBD Dosing for Different Conditions
You’ve heard of CBD, you’ve seen friends chewing on the multi-colored gummies; you even went into an ice cream shop with CBD-infused flavors. Hopefully, you’ve done your research and you know that CBD doesn’t cause a high, that it has no THC, that it has been known to have mood-enhancing or anti-depressant qualities. You shouldn’t try it at all without knowing those things, and if you want to take it as a general-purpose supplement, there’s probably nothing wrong with that either.
Anyone who uses Cannabidiol (CBD’s birth certificate name) will experience benefits and will feel good (aside from unlikely exceptions that can occur with any product). That’s because it works with the Endocannabinoid System, which has been whirring away in your body all your life, whether you knew it or not. This system regulates many important functions like sleep and hunger, is associated with pleasure and reward centers, and works to bring our bodies into homeostasis. When you combine that with anti-anxiety and anti-depressant benefits, you can see that a safe product like CBD, with no chance of an overdose, can be helpful to anyone.
Yet, many people turn to CBD due to specific needs. It is commonly used to wean folks off of prescription opioids they’ve been taking after a surgery, due to a chronic condition, etc. People turn to it for help with Sciatica, Fibromyalgia, Migraine, and other conditions involving terrible, long-term pain. Further, as studies have shown, CBD can be effective for conditions such as Epilepsy and breast cancer. If a person is trying to stop seizures or stop the growth of cancer cells—or to melt away serious pain—the correct CBD dosage is crucial. So let’s look at various specific uses of CBD.
- Chronic Pain—Fibromyalgia, Arthritis, other muscular aches, Migraine
Before we get into the use of CBD for some of the major pain conditions, a few important disclaimers. First, consult with your doctor first. Second, different people (particularly in terms of body weight) will have different results and benefit from different dosages. Third, always start out slowly. Monitor the effects, taking into consideration any other supplements, vitamins, beverages you are taking. The dosage we’re giving is a peak—not beginner’s dose—so begin at about half and work your way up.
Dosage: For serious pain such as that brought on by Fibromyalgia, Migraine
headaches, and serious body and muscle aches, a high-end dosage
will be necessary (build up to this for at least a week). For people under 150 1bs., 15-18
mg per day; over 150 lbs, 20-22 mg per day (and at higher weights, particularly with
severe pain, closer to 27-30 per day). The package will probably tell you how
many mg of CBD are in the whole package, and you may have to do some math. Sometimes
it will tell you how many mg are in a serving and how much/many of the product are in
Forms: Tinctures and Vaporizers are the best vehicles for CBD for serious pain. You’ll
need the CBD to impact your entire ECS and travel throughout your body. Oral tinctures, used
by placing drops from a dropper under the tongue and keeping them there for about a minute and a half, will stay in the system for about 5-6 hours, providing a nice steady flow of CBD during that time.
Vaping will deliver the CBD more quickly, and it won’t last as long.
Frequency: For an oral tincture, divide your daily dosage by 2 or 3 and take 2-3 times per day,
with at least 5 hours in between. Taking just before bed should produce good results. Vapers
will need to take small doses many times—this isn’t the most efficient way to work on chronic
pain, but it solves the problem of the remedy wearing off and leaving little gaps.
- Localized Pain—Sciatica, Neck Pain, Swelling or Inflammation
With pain that is ongoing and intense, but limited to a particular area of the body, or for a more temporary bout of swelling or inflammation, usage of CBD will be different from that for the above conditions. Sciatica is a serious nerve condition affecting the Sciatic nerve, which runs from the base of the spinal cord down each leg to the feet. People with damaged, pinched, or cramped nerves will suffer major pain, usually in one or both legs, on an ongoing basis. So here’s a dosage for that condition, or for other local pain.
Dosage: Medium to high, as needed. For people under 150 lbs, 13-15mg daily for
a medium dose, and 18-20 mg daily for a high dose; over 150, 18-20 per day for
medium, and 20-22 for a high dose.
Forms: Topical applications, such as creams, salves, etc. may be the best use
Here. This is particularly true for neck or other pain limited to a very specific
area. Sciatica may require a form that delivers CBD to the entire system
more thoroughly—capsules, tinctures, or vaping—but people have had success with
topical forms as well.
Frequency: When looking at salves and lotions, the level of concentration is
very important, as is the spectrum used (a “full spectrum” CBD product does
include some THC). Not only should the highest-concentration and broader
spectrums be limited to medium doses (at least until a user is very comfortable
with the product), they should be spread out a bit more than topicals at lower
concentrations. Two to three times daily is probably adequate for topical applications.
- Seizures/Dravet Syndrome (Infant Epilepsy)
Dravet Syndrome is a rare but harmful and tragic form of Epilepsy, affecting young children. One sufferer, whose family stumbled upon CBD as a remedy, was having 300 seizures per day. Since that family’s discovery, the FDA has approved CBD as a medication for this syndrome.
People who are having seizures not diagnosed as being a symptom of a particular disease should consult a doctor before taking any remedy of any kind.
As for Dravet Syndrome or Lennox-Gastaut Syndrome (another rare form of Epilepsy for which the FDA has approved CBD), here are the guidelines.
Dosage: Please consult a doctor before using CBD for Epilepsy or any seizure control.
We cannot give medical advice. However, this issue has been studied clinically; we
can tell that in the study of 200 children with Dravet Syndrome, a 10mg dose of CBD
daily cut seizures in half. The article recommends caution with going above that
amount, since the patients are children.
CBD can be helpful for depression, because it helps stimulate the flow of Serotonin, a neurotransmitter that wards off feelings of despair or excessive negativity.
Forms: It may be a good idea to start with an edible form of CBD first, such as a gummy
candy. This will help establish whether or not CBD works with your depression. With
a malady like depression, quick results aren’t paramount as they might be with migraines,
meaning that a delivery method such as tinctures, which gets CBD into one’s system
almost immediately, may not be required. However, tinctures and capsules, with their
consistent deliver of CBD, may be beneficial, too.
Dosage: If you are targeting only depression, with no physical pain, you may wish
to stick to a medium dosage. For someone under 150 lb, this would be 13-15mg per day,
and over 150, 18-20 mg.
Frequency: The workings of serotonin are all-day affairs—prescription anti-depressants
stay in the bloodstream for days after the meds are stopped, and take several days
to take effect. Therefore, affecting an all-day remedy, taking CBD perhaps twice
per day, may work. However, if a person feels drowsy or has any problem
with half of a daily medium dose at once, she or he may wish to go to three times
Most people who use CBD report some calming or mellowing effect. Parts of the brain such as the amygdala and hippocampus play a big role in emotions: these areas also have many receptors for both THC and CBD. Studies have shown concrete anti-anxiety properties of CBD on humans, particularly social anxiety.
Dosage: If you suffer from daily or patterned anxiety, with any symptoms of
anxiety disorders, you may (again, building up) have the best results with
a high dosage: 18-20mg for someone under 150 lb., and 20-22mg for someone over.
Yet, some people may be somewhat prone to anxiety without having it on the
scale of a disorder. Some people may experience anxiety for very logical
and pragmatic reasons in certain circumstances that come up regularly.
Because one might not need all-day coverage, a smaller overall dosage may
work here. Anywhere from 12-18mg may suffice.
Form: One of the best forms for anxiety is the tincture. This method gets
the Cannabidiol into one’s system most quickly—if you’re starting to get
anxious, you can’t wait around for a half an hour. Because capsules are
the slowest method, you wouldn’t go that route for anxiety. However, another
good option is gummies or other edibles, due to their portability and convenience.
Frequency: If ever there was an issue with no one-size-fits-all approach, it’s
anxiety. Except in cases of severe and regular anxiety, one may decide to
take CBD on an as-needed basis, or at least at no set schedule per day.
One of the reasons CBD is beneficial and enjoyable to users is that it cuts down on stress mechanisms in us. Its anti-stressor qualities make it valuable as a sleep aid.
Dosage: This is a unique need for CBD dosage: a moderate approach may not
work. Low doses of CBD will enhance the ECS and help with important
regulatory issues, causing one to feel clear and relaxed. This probably will
not help with insomnia. CBD tends to change at higher doses by being
more likely to cause near-term drowsiness, then to affect the brainwaves
longer term to help keep someone asleep. While building up can be
a viable choice, it’s probably best to stay at the higher end of the doses
to give CBD the best chance to work correctly. For people under 150 lb., 15-20mg
per day, 150-200 lb, 20-22, and 200 lbs and up 22-27mg per day.
Now, this is a good time to mention that a medical study we linked to above pointed
out that trials demonstrated people could take up to 1,500mg of CBD
per day without adverse effects. Therefore, though
we all want to be easy on our pocketbook,
one doesn’t need to worry about going as high as 25 vs. 22 mg, or 27 vs. 24,
in terms of possible adverse effects.
Form: Vaping may not give the long-range help, and gummies could last
a bit too long (though individual results will vary). Capsules might help here,
and so may tinctures.
Frequency: Roughly half an hour before bed.
Here’s a quick breakdown of the dosage for each grouping of usage for CBD.
Purpose Body Weight Dosage
Chronic Pain <150 lb. 15-18 mg
>150 lb. 20-22 mg
Localized Pain <150 lb. 13-20 mg
>150 lb. 18-22 mg
Seizures/Epilepsy consult with physician
Depression <150 lb. 13-15 mg
>150 lb. 18-20 mg
<150 lb. 18-20 mg
>150 lb. 20-22 mg
<150 lb. 12-15 mg
>150 lb. 12-18 mg
Insomnia <150 lb. 15-20 mg
150-200 lb. 20-22 mg
>200 lb. 22-27 mg
How Do You Make Your CBD Dosing Most Effective?
While it’s true that a person’s system can tolerate well over any amount of CBD anyone would ever take in a day, there’s no reason to use any supplement in an inefficient way. Rather than letting some of the natural substance go to waste, one should use it in a way that maximizes its effects—it’s really not how much you take, but how well and how good it makes you feel. Here are a few pointers.
- Slow Intake
When consuming a dose of CBD via vape or tincture, keeping the dose in one’s mouth for a period of time will increase the benefit of the dose. Not only is it important to follow the directions on the package suggesting how long to keep a tincture in your mouth, you may wish to go a bit longer. Between ninety seconds and two minutes is ideal. However, the idea is to get the CBD into your bloodstream, and the vehicle for this is capillaries, which are small blood vessels that convey the blood and anything in it along.
While you are keeping the CBD under your tongue, it’s being absorbed into the densely-packed capillaries there and in the neighboring gum and cheek areas. This means it’s in the bloodstream right now, again, making the vey most of each dose for soothing your pain, etc. Once any remaining oil is swallowed, it of course goes into one’s system too, but it is metabolized and not as completely injected, full-force, into your bloodstream.
As for vaping, a similar concept applies. Many people exhale out too much of the CBD. The more effective method is to pull in a slow inhalation for three seconds, pulling the vape all the way back to the throat. Hold it for another three seconds, and then exhale.
- Full Stomach
Contrary to what one might guess, CBD works better when taken on a full stomach. This is where we get into the concept of bioavailability. The bioavailable portion of a substance that is taken is the portion that actually gets into the bloodstream and is active and has the effects it is intended to have. One increases the bioavailability of CBD in tincture or vaping form by using it the way explained above. However, one can further increase this bioavailability—no matter what form he or she takes the CBD in—by having food with it or just before it. In short, enzymes in your body will go for the nutrients in food, thus leaving alone the CBD, so less of it is broken down (the “first pass effect” is the term for one’s digestive system stripping some of the goodness from CBD during the first pass into that system).
As a final note, when one thinks about the dosage of CBD, one has expectations and is expecting certain results. Taking that into consideration, it’s important not to throw curveballs at yourself. While it’s natural to go from one form of CBD to another from time to time, once you find a trusted brand, you should stick with it. Different brands of CBD will have a product with slightly different ingredients, possibly extracted differently, etc. Taking the same amount of two different brands of CBD will almost certainly produce different results. And that brings up the next key reminder, which is to always understand the strength (in mgs) of the CBD you are taking. Always read the label and get the overall milligrams in the entire package. From there, the task is to get the milligrams for each dose. Taking a dropper of one tincture isn’t the same as a dropper of another—each will have different numbers of milligrams, and you can easily find this on the packaging.
There’s a bit of a science to using CBD, as is the case with any supplement or herbal remedy. Yet, people catch on quickly and, in no time, tailor their use to their individual needs.