CBD drops and other CBD products have seen a surge in popularity recently due to their potential health benefits.
Research suggests CBD may be effective in treating a range of conditions. But how much CBD should you take and how often? The dosage you take will depend on a number of factors.
Read on to find out how to work out the ideal dosage for you.
What are the uses of CBD?
CBD, or cannabidiol, is one of a number of compounds known as cannabinoids found in the Cannabis sativa plant.
CBD doesn’t have any intoxicating or psychotropic effects, so it won’t get you ‘high’. However, interest in its potential therapeutic properties has been steadily growing over the last few years.
Studies are currently underway around the world to better understand these properties. According to a 2017 World Health Organization report, research so far suggests that CBD could be effective in treating a variety of symptoms and conditions.
There are two medicines containing CBD licensed for use in the UK:
- Epidyolex, which is used to treat rare forms of epilepsy
- Nabiximols (Sativex), which is used to treat multiple sclerosis-related muscle spasticity
Both are available by prescription only.
What does the research say about dosage?
As there are only two CBD-containing medicines licensed for use in the UK, there is no ‘official’ dosage when CBD is used for other reasons.
It’s important to consult with a medical professional as they may be able to recommend an appropriate dosage that provides the desired therapeutic effect.
Various doses of CBD have been used in clinical studies, ranging from 10 mg – 1,500 mg per day.
A 2017 literature review concluded that CBD has a favourable safety profile, but highlighted that different individuals and conditions respond to different doses of CBD.
However, it suggested that chronic use and high doses of up to 1,500 mg per day are generally well tolerated by humans.
To determine whether a CBD product is an appropriate treatment for you, you should talk to your doctor.
How much CBD should I take?
Whatever your reasons for taking CBD, it’s a good idea to figure out an appropriate dosage to ensure your CBD usage is both safe and effective.
As mentioned previously, there are no official clinical guidelines on how much CBD you should take for treating different conditions. This is due to the fact that CBD products are not allowed to be marketed as medicines.
The dosage you take will depend on a variety of factors, including:
- Your weight – in clinical trials, researchers often calculate the dosage of CBD per kilogram of body weight. People who weigh less are likely to require a lower dosage of CBD
- The symptoms you’re treating – some conditions, like epilepsy, may require high doses, while a smaller dosage may be effective to treat less severe conditions
- Your body chemistry – everybody is built differently, and different people may respond to CBD in different ways
- The type of product – CBD is available in a number of different products, including drops, capsules, tablets, gummies, topical creams, cigarettes, vape products, oral sprays, and beverages
Consult your GP
Before using any CBD product, you should speak to your doctor about how much to take and any potential risks.
This is particularly important if you take any other medications. If your doctor advises a particular dosage, you should follow their advice.
If your doctor doesn’t recommend a particular dosage, some people suggest that you can work out how much CBD to take by starting with a small amount and increasing it gradually until you find your ideal dose.
For example, you could start by taking 5-10 mg per day for a week. If you feel like this isn’t effective in treating your symptoms, increase your daily dose by 5 mg for another week, and so on. Repeat this process until you feel like you’re achieving the desired effect.
To aid this process, it’s a good idea to make daily notes of how much CBD you take and whether you notice any changes to your symptoms. When you look back at your notes, you’ll get an idea of which doses are most effective.
Alcohol and medications that slow down brain activity (central nervous system depressants) may increase the sedative effect of CBD.
If you take medication that causes a sedative effect or you intend to consume alcohol, you may need to lower your dosage of CBD or avoid it altogether.
If this is the case, it’s even more important to seek medical advice from your doctor before taking CBD.
How do I work out the CBD dosage?
Different CBD products contain different amounts of CBD, so working out how much of a particular product to take may require a bit of maths.
Products like CBD oil capsules, gummies or tablets should tell you how much CBD is in a single serving.
For example, if you look at the packaging for a bottle of CBD gummies, it might tell you that each gummy contains 10 mg of CBD.
However, if you’re taking CBD oil, the label may indicate how much CBD is in a single drop, or it may tell you the bottle’s total CBD content.
If the label tells you how much CBD is in one drop, then working out how many CBD drops to take should be relatively easy. Use the following formula:
[Target dosage of CBD] ÷ [Amount of CBD in one drop] = [Number of CBD drops to take]
For example, if the label states that there are 2.5 mg of CBD per drop, and you intend to take 20 mg of CBD per day, you would work out your daily dosage as follows:
20 mg ÷ 2.5 mg = 8 drops per day
How many drops in 1 ml?
If the label states the amount of CBD in the entire bottle, you’ll need to do a different calculation to work out how much CBD oil to take.
Firstly, it’s important to know how many drops there are in 1 ml. A single drop (not a full dropper) equates to about 0.05 ml, meaning there are 20 drops in 1 ml.
From here, you can work out how many drops there are in a particular bottle. You may do so by multiplying the number of millilitres in the bottle by 20. So, if it’s a 10 ml bottle, it will contain:
10 ml x 20 = 200 drops in total
You can then work out the amount of CBD in one drop by using the following calculation:
[Total amount of CBD in the bottle] ÷ [Total number of drops in the bottle] = [Amount of CBD in one drop]
For example, if you have a 10 ml bottle of CBD oil and the label states there are 300 mg of CBD in it, you can work out the CBD content in one drop as follows:
10 ml x 20 = 200 drops
300 mg ÷ 200 drops = 1.5 mg per drop
You can then use the first formula above to work out how many drops you need to take to reach your target dosage.
Avoid any CBD products that are not clearly labelled. High-quality products should always clearly state their CBD content.
Is it possible to take too much CBD?
Research so far suggests that CBD has relatively low toxicity and is well tolerated by humans, even in high doses.
However, data is limited. In a 2019 study, mice were given the scaled equivalent of the maximum recommended human dose of CBD in Epidyolex (20 mg per kg). The study raised concerns about CBD’s potential for liver damage and interactions with other medications.
As mentioned previously, it’s essential to talk to your doctor before taking CBD if you’re taking any other medications.
Previous studies have suggested that CBD can cause side effects in some individuals, including diarrhoea, decreased appetite, drowsiness and changes in mood.
As always, if you’re concerned about potential side effects, talk to your doctor.
When should I take CBD?
As with dosage, there’s no one-size-fits-all approach. The best time to take CBD oil will vary from person to person.
Some people report a boost in alertness after taking CBD, so taking it first thing in the morning may make sense if this is the case.
However, CBD makes other people feel sleepy and relaxed, so taking it before bed may work better in these circumstances.
You may choose to take CBD with your evening meal, simply because it’s easy to remember. Ultimately, it’s all down to what works best for you.
Try taking it at different times of day to see how it affects you.