How to use CBD oil is one of the most common inquiries we get.
The bottom line is there’s no one “right way” to use CBD oil and CBD is not safe for everyone, according to the FDA.
Study dosages vary widely from less than 5 mg/day to well over 100 mg/day. So these dosing guidelines are meant as just that: general guidelines. Not a substitute for professional medical advice.
Even researchers will admit: dosing guidelines for CBD are still unclear and further study is needed.
It’s also important to note that dosing is very individual and if you’re new to CBD it will take some trial and error. And it should go without saying, but …
Talk to your doctor before you start taking CBD about potential side effects or drug interactions … especially if you’re taking medications that thin the blood!
With that said, here’s the (admittedly little) we know about CBD dosing, based on a combination of small clinical studies and anecdotal evidence from users.
CBD Oil Dosing: How Much to Start With
In our experience 5-15 mg of CBD once or twice a day seems to be a fairly typical range for first-time users to start with.
However, the dose that works for you may vary depending on the type of condition you’re looking to treat.
Here’s what the latest research says about CBD dosing for pain, anxiety, and sleep:
CBD Dosage for Pain
Daniel Clauw, MD, a professor at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor and an expert in chronic pain, suggests the following if you’re using CBD to treat pain:
- Start with 5 – 10 mg of CBD and use only at night at first.
- Slowly increase your dose as-needed (25-50 mg twice daily). If that doesn’t help, try a CBD product with a low dose of THC.
- Edibles’ effects last longer than vaping, so don’t try them until you know what CBD strain and dose work for you.
- Use caution if you are 25 years old or younger and using CBD products that contain THC. This age group is at highest risk of addiction, dependency or even psychosis.
Another important thing to note: acute treatment is likely insufficient … meaning if you’re taking CBD one or two times to try and get one-off relief, it’s probably not going to work.
The most effective neuropathic pain relief occurs after 1 week of daily CBD treatment.
-Gabriella Gobbi, MD, PhD, professor of psychiatry, Neurobiological Psychiatry Unit, McGill University
CBD Dosage for Anxiety and Sleep
The few placebo-controlled, double blind clinical trials available have shown that CBD at very high doses (150-600 mg) is effective for treating anxiety.
Taking that much CBD would be incredibly expensive, so fortunately for us there is some more recent evidence available …
A 2019 study followed 72 people who took 25 mg of CBD via capsule form. Here were the results:
- At the first monthly assessment after the start of CBD treatment, 79.2% and 66.7% of all patients experienced an improvement in anxiety and sleep, respectively.
- Two months after the start of CBD treatment, 78.1% and 56.1% of patients reported improvement in anxiety and sleep, respectively, compared with the prior monthly visit.
Related: The Medical Benefits of CBD Oil
When to Take CBD Oil (Is There a “Best Time”?)
The best time to take CBD depends on what type of product you’re taking (capsule, tincture, etc.) and what you’re using it for.
If you’re trying to better manage stress, anxiety, or pain, then taking CBD in the morning right when you wake up or during the day may be right for you (I’ll share my routine below).
If you want to sleep better, taking CBD before you go to bed may offer some relief.
One thing to keep in mind is that certain types of CBD get absorbed by your body faster …
How Long Does CBD Take to Work?
Capsules Vs. Tinctures
• Capsules generally take 30-60 minutes to begin working.
• Tinctures (CBD Oil Drops) tend to take effect within minutes when applied sublingually (under the tongue) for 30-60 seconds. If swallowed immediately, they can take 15-30 minutes.
How Will CBD Make You Feel?
We wrote a whole article on that. Check it out: Here’s What CBD Makes You Feel Like
How I Personally Use CBD
I have suffered from anxiety and insomnia for years and have been experimenting with CBD for about 9 months now. CBD has helped me feel less anxious and stressed during the day, fall asleep faster, spend more time in REM sleep, and fall back asleep easier after waking up during the night.
Important Note: If you’re using CBD to improve sleep, then tracking your sleep is crucial. I use the FitBit watch and app, which is one of the better ones I’ve seen for sleep tracking. Get some baseline measurements for at least two weeks prior to starting CBD, and then check your results after using CBD for 2-4 weeks. You can’t improve what you don’t measure.
What works best for me now after 9 months of experimentation is to take 15-25 mg of CBD oil drops in the morning or as-needed throughout the day for pain or anxiety, and then a 25 mg gel capsule an hour before I go to bed.
The important part is to be patient and continue to use it every day. Some people notice effects right away while others may take several weeks and even months.
If you’re new to CBD, and want to try our products, we recommend starting with the tincture (oil drops) if you’re a beginner because it allows for a smaller, more controlled dose than our gel capsules, which have 25 mg of CBD apiece.
Half a dropper of our tincture gets you 12.5 mg, which seems to be a good starting point for many of our customers (plus 60 servings per bottle if you’re using 12.5 mg at a time).
Ultimately, the correct dosage for you also will depend upon the type of condition you’re trying to get relief from and your unique physiology.