CBD Serving Sizes: How Much Should You Take and When?
The non-intoxicating cannabinoid CBD has become quite popular in recent years due to its versatile use in wellness and medicine. As one of the main active compounds in the cannabis plant, CBD is being researched in a number of studies to determine exactly how it interacts with the body’s endocannabinoid system and whether it helps with soreness, anxiousness, discomfort, and so on.
The popularity of CBD has increased significantly among users and more and more people are adding it to their wellness regimen and/or using it as an alternative treatment, however, since there are currently no FDA-recommended serving sizes for CBD apart from when CBD is used to treat seizures associated with particular syndromes such as Lennox-Gastaut syndrome and Dravet syndrome, figuring out how much CBD to take can be tricky.
CBD comes in many forms, and what’s most important when using these products is to know how much CBD you should take and when you should take it. In practice, that means learning the correlation between the type of product you want to consume, the amount of CBD that's likely in it, and the method of consumption, while keeping in mind that the effective serving size of CBD is different for each individual - a daily serving that works for someone else may not work for you.
For that reason, in this article, we’ll try to help you get one step closer to figuring out your ideal CBD serving size and frequency of usage, so keep on reading.
Determining the Proper CBD Serving Size for You
It’s important to note that when it comes to using cannabinoids, especially for the first time, it’s best to start with the lowest serving size possible and gradually increase it over time until you get the desired effects.
Ideally, you should first consult with a doctor who’s experienced in CBD administration so they can help you determine your ideal serving. As the research on CBD is still ongoing, and there’s much to learn, it’s still not certain how CBD interacts with other medications, which is why an appointment with a qualified physician can be a good idea if you’re taking other medication.
People often use CBD as an alternative treatment option for conditions such as IBS (irritable bowel syndrome), sleep disorders, mood disorders, medical conditions that are regulated or treated with CBD, such as Lennox-Gastaut syndrome, Dravet syndrome, tuberous sclerosis complex, and other conditions. When taking CBD for these purposes, it’s just as important to consult with a doctor who has the expertise for prescribing CBD as a treatment option.
All in all, the CBD serving you take will depend on the condition you’re trying to manage, your personal endocannabinoid system, how tolerant you are to its effects, and whether you’re taking additional medication. Taking the correct serving size of CBD either for wellness or medical reasons isn’t something that you’ll figure out in one go, as it takes time to figure out how your body reacts to it and make alterations to the serving according to your insights.
What’s also essential when determining the right serving size for you is what type of CBD product you plan on using.
Types of CBD Products
As the CBD market expands, we can expect that more types of CBD products will be created. But even now, there are a number of ways in which you can consume CBD. Let’s go over the most popular ones.
- Capsules: Softgels and tablets that users ingest by mouth.
- Drinkables: CBD-infused beverages made with hemp extracts.
- Edibles: Foods infused with CBD, such as brownies, chocolates, lozenges, and other products.
- Flower: The dried flower of the hemp plant, which can be smoked.
- Gummies: Candy that is fruit-flavored and infused with CBD.
- Oils and tinctures: CBD extracts that are dissolved in ethanol or oils infused with CBD. Both come in a bottle with a dropper intended for administering specific servings.
- Vapes: Devices that use CBD oil placed in a cartridge which, when heated, produces vapor that’s inhaled.
- Topicals: Creams, lotions and salves that can be rubbed into and absorbed through the skin.
The type of product that you choose depends on your personal preference, the reason why you’re taking CBD, as well as your budget. What also varies depending on the method of consumption is how long it will take before you feel the effects. For example, when consuming edibles, it will take you longer to experience the effects compared to using a tincture, smoking, or vaping CBD when the effects are felt in mere minutes. This is due to the fact that when consuming CBD in edibles, the CBD needs to go through the digestive system where it gets broken down before it reaches the bloodstream and produces the effects.
How Much CBD Should I Take?
How much CBD you need to take depends on a number of factors such as:
- Your wellness goal;
- Your body weight;
- Your CBD tolerance level;
- The percentage of CBD concentration in the product (capsule, tincture, gummy, pill, etc.).
Since there are a lot of variables, you need to dive further into researching your specific case, discuss it with your doctor, and only then settle on a particular serving size which you can later modify if you don’t achieve the results you’re after.
As each person is different and uses CBD for a different purpose, it’s no wonder that they’d need a different serving size. A good idea is to start with a serving in the range between 10 to 20 mg of CBD and work your way up from there. If CBD oil is your product of choice, you can use the dropper to adequately measure the exact amount of CBD, like shown in the image below, and if you opt for softgels you can check the serving of each one on the label and take as many as you need to get the effects you’re after.
Calculating CBD Serving Size
As we’ve mentioned, CBD serving sizes are not a one-size-fits-all solution. Each person has a unique tolerance level to this cannabinoid and uses it for a different purpose. However, if we take a look at all CBD products in general, we can see serving sizes are similar regardless of the brand.
When we take a look at CBD edibles, we find that these products come in a few serving sizes. The Nuvita CBD softgels, for example, each contain a 25 mg serving of full-spectrum CBD. So, depending on how much CBD you need, starting with 1-2 softgels is a great starting point, and you can adjust up or down from there depending on the effects you are going for.
However, the same is not true for CBD oil, as this product is much more potent than the softgels. Nuvita’s Full Spectrum CBD Oil contains 750 milligrams of CBD in the 15-milliliter bottle. So, if you want to give this product a try, start at the 0.25 mL line on your dropper, and increase it gradually over the next few days/weeks to find your sweet spot. (see image above)
It’s essential that you first figure out the volume of a drop in the dropper, which is generally around 0.05 milliliters. Next, it’s important to determine how potent each drop is by dividing the milligrams of CBD per bottle by the milliliters in the bottle.
750 mg ÷ 15 mL = 50 mg/mL
Then we divide the 50 mg/mL with the 0.05 mL/drop, and we get that each drop of oil contains 2.5 milligrams of CBD, which is the potency of your product per drop. For example, if you were taking 50 mg, you’d need to take 20 drops. This estimation also helps you figure out how long the bottle will last.
CBD Oil Servings for Medical Conditions
Compared to recreational CBD users, people who use CBD oil for a major wellness goal often use a higher serving size as they’re dealing with extended soreness, discomfort, and other side effects of their problem. For that reason, these people should adhere to the strict serving guidelines provided by their doctors.
For medical conditions that are treated with the FDA-approved medicine Epidiolex, which treats seizures for conditions such as Lennox-Gastaut syndrome, Dravet syndrome, and tuberous sclerosis complex, the adequate serving of the medication is determined by taking the weight of the patient into account.
In Canada and the UK, the use of Sativex has been approved as a treatment option for pain associated with multiple sclerosis, and Canada has also approved it as a treatment for cancer pain. More research is needed to fully uncover the potentials of this versatile cannabinoid and figure out how exactly it can help the field of medicine.
When Should I Take My CBD?
The perfect time to take CBD is different for each individual and the effects you’re after. While some people prefer using CBD in the morning, others like to do it at night as part of their bedtime routine, and some even take it a few times throughout the day in order to maintain a steady concentration of cannabinoids in the body. So, let’s find out which effects CBD produces when taken at specific times in the day.
Taking CBD in the Morning
When taken in the morning, CBD may produce a number of effects, including:
- Enhancing your focus;
- Helping you cope with anxiousness;
- Relaxing your muscles;
- Improving the effectiveness of your morning workout.
Let’s examine each in more detail, but please note that not everyone will notice these same effects. These are some examples of effects our team and customers have experienced personally. Each person will be different and thus trying CBD at different times will give you a better understanding as to how it will affect you specifically.
Not everyone feels energetic and ready to seize the day after waking up, which is why some people turn to CBD. Even though it doesn’t provide the same energy spike as your morning coffee would, it may keep your stress levels low and may help you balance your mind and thoughts. It pairs well with a morning cup of joe also! Lower servings of CBD in the morning may benefit people who aim to stay focused and alert throughout the day while also maintaining healthy sleep cycles.
Coping With Stress
Another reason why cannabis users opt for taking CBD in the morning is because it may help manage stress and may reduce anxiety. Due to interacting with the cannabinoid receptors in the brain and regulating the GABA receptor that calms the brain, CBD allegedly promotes relaxation and reduces hyperactivity in users.
While CBD oil may keep your stress levels in check, according to users who take it for those exact purposes, it may also help promote muscle recovery. Taking CBD in the morning may relax your stiff muscles after a strenuous exercise or even reduce muscle stiffness after an 8-hour sleep cycle. You could also pair your CBD oil with a broad-spectrum topical to get the best out of both products and reduce the amount of time you’ll need to achieve the desired results.
Improving the Quality of Your Workouts
If exercising is part of your morning routine, CBD may also help your pre-workout and post-workout routine. While using it as a pre-workout staple might help you focus and warm up, using it post-workout might promote muscle recovery and regeneration, preventing sore muscles.
Taking CBD in the Evening
While taking CBD in the morning may boost focus levels, as well as act as a stress-management tool, taking it in the evening may have other benefits which appeal to users, such as:
- Unwinding after a stressful workday;
- Promoting rest and recovery while you’re sleeping;
- Helping your mind calm down before sleeping.
Unwinding After a Stressful Work Day
Similar to how CBD may help you keep you calm throughout the day, it may also help you unwind after a stressful day at work. Studies show that lower servings of CBD may be able to relax your body and mind, while higher servings may help you fall asleep by providing mild sedation.
Promoting Rest and Recovery While You Are Sleeping
Moreover, studies show that CBD may relax your body and mind, but it may also aid in maintaining healthy sleep cycles as well as promote restful sleep. According to studies, CBD may even improve sleep-related problems with REM (rapid eye movement) sleep in Parkinson’s disease, and may even help treat abrupt body movements.
Helping Your Mind Calm Down Before Sleeping
If you’re a person who has countless thoughts coming at you as you’re trying to fall asleep, this is also an area where some studies show CBD may help you. As CBD may promote relaxation for your body, it may also help you reduce the stream of thoughts as you’re trying to fall asleep. While the research on CBD doesn’t primarily focus on the use of CBD as a sleep aid, studies have shown that this is a common outcome. A serving of CBD before you go to bed may act as a more natural sleep aid and help you feel well-rested the next morning, but take this information with a grain of salt as more studies are needed to conclude whether or not CBD can be used as a long-term solution for problems with insomnia.
Can You Overdose on CBD?
The saying “You can have too much of a good thing” is also true for CBD. For example, research has provided evidence that a serving size of up to 1,500 milligrams of CBD a day is generally tolerated by most users. However, if you go over that number, or if you’re more sensitive to CBD, you could potentially experience some side effects. That said, 1,500 mg is a very large serving size as most people will take between 10-40 mg per day on average.
Overconsumption of CBD may also lead to unwanted side effects such as nausea, dry mouth, upset stomach, diarrhea, lightheadedness, drowsiness, and disorientation, as well as changes in weight, changes in appetite, and other side effects that come from long-term use of very high levels of CBD.
Based on prior research, we have indications that CBD can interact with some medication, which is why people who are taking medication should discuss taking CBD with their doctor before they start using it. According to an article published by Harvard Health Publishing, people need to be careful when taking CBD if they take:
- Warfarin (common blood thinner);
- Amiodarone (heart rhythm medication);
- Levothyroxine (thyroid medication);
- Clobazam, Lamotrigine, and Valproate (medications for seizures).
Since there may be potentially serious interactions between CBD and these medications, the best option for avoiding these side effects is to discuss the potential of incorporating cannabis with your healthcare practitioner and listen to the guidelines that they provide.
Finally, each CBD product is different in terms of quality, potency, and how well it works for your specific needs, so it’s a good idea to choose reliable brands and check whether their products are third-party tested. As there haven’t been any cases of fatal CBD overdoses, it’s safe to say that this cannabinoid isn’t lethal when taken in higher quantities. However, there have been cases of acute poisoning caused by a synthetic cannabinoid being sold as cannabidiol.
This is an example of a cannabinoid that isn't regulated by the FDA. As not all of them are, ensure to check whether the CBD products meet the necessary standards by thoroughly researching both the brand and the CBD product.
When it comes to dosing CBD, this isn’t an all-encompassing serving that fits the needs of each user. To figure out how much you should take and when, you'll need to learn more about the company that’s selling the product, as well as take a look at your specific needs. The right serving size for you will be the lowest possible one that will provide the maximum benefits.
It’s imperative that you discuss all your options with a doctor regardless of whether you’re using CBD as a wellness product or as a medicine. It’s a fact that now most healthcare professionals have the necessary knowledge to help you find the perfect serving size and keep in mind that researching brands beforehand can also help you along the way.
Here are some common questions we hear as it relates to how much CBD one should take. We’ll provide some helpful starting places and tips, but as always, consult with your healthcare professional before starting a CBD regimine, especially for serious conditions.
How Much CBD Oil Should I Take for Pain?
Patients who are taking CBD to deal with extended soreness and 24/7 discomfort often take serving sizes that range between 2.5–40 mg of CBD. Some use CBD isolates, while others opt for a full-spectrum CBD, which offers benefits outside of only cannabidiol. The serving size can increase depending on the body mass of the patient.
How Much CBD Should I Take for Anxiety?
Taking CBD as an aid for anxiousness has become common nowadays. There have been studies of patients taking a single serving size of around 600 mg of CBD for conditions such as social anxiety. That said, it's more common for a person to take between 20-50 mgs to start and then adjust up or down as needed from there.
How Much CBD Oil Should I Take for IBS?
A common condition for which CBD is used as a treatment option is irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Generally, patients take about 10-20 milligrams of CBD per day, which is considered the standard serving size for this condition. Some clinical trials have been using servings as high as 50 mg of CBD per day, and it has been well-tolerated among subjects. However, we advise you to always start with as low of a serving size as you’d need to achieve the effects that you require.
How Much CBD Should I Take at Bedtime?
Because CBD may reduce stress and anxiousness, a lot of people have been using it as a sleep aid. In order to improve the quality of their sleep, people have used higher levels of CBD and successfully induced sleepiness faster without experiencing a stream of racing thoughts in the process. CBD servings for this condition can vary from patient to patient, however, in one double-blind study where patients consumed a placebo, CBD, diazepam, or ipsapirone, the administered serving size of CBD was 300 mg.
How Much CBD Should I Take for Muscle Recovery?
When taking CBD post-workout to promote muscle recovery, it’s always best to start from your weight. For example, for 10 pounds of body weight, a person should take between 1-5 milligrams of CBD. You can also start with a serving size of 5-10 mg per day and increase it over time as needed to perfect it and tailor it to your own needs.
This is also an area where your doctor's input would be valuable, in fact, this is especially true for people who are already taking other medications apart from CBD. Make sure that you disclose this information to your doctor so they can alter the servings.
Have more questions? Feel free to reach out to us, we’re happy to talk and help answer any questions you may have.