“Dr Sears, I want to try CBD oil but I don’t know how much to take.”
This is one of the most frequent questions I get about CBD oil. To be honest, the first few times my patients asked me about this, I didn’t have a good answer for them. This was several years ago, and I was somewhat naïve about how many patients were seeing benefits for their particular maladies. Most were simply starting it on their own and pretty-much “winging it” when trying to figure out a proper dose.
Fast-forward to today, and I have many patients (more than I can count) that are successfully using CBD, and there are now easy to understand dosing suggestions. There are two main questions involved here:
- What’s a good starting dose?
- How much can I safely take (i.e. what’s the max dose)?
Here is a very good rule of thumb to follow when first trying CBD oil: Take 0.5mg per pound of body weight per day, divided into two or three doses. This may sound complicated, but let’s look at some examples to simplify it:
I weigh 180lbs; my daily dose would be approximately 90mg, so I would take 30mg three times a day. This coincides with about 1 dropperful of the 1,000mg tincture.
If you weigh 125lbs, your daily dose is approximately 60mg (it’s ok to be approximate), so you would take 20mg three times a day (or 30mg twice a day).
Note: CBD is very safe, so don’t get caught up too much on the exact milligram dose. By safe, I mean that there is a very wide range of dosing amounts before you get any side-effects (see below). CBD is vastly safer than pharmaceuticals used for similar purposes, like sleeping meds, pain pills, and anti-inflammatories. Its fine to use 35mg caramels vs 30mg gummies vs 25mg candies. Or, you can easily take half a caramel or gummy if that suits your needs. It’s nice to be able to choose between 2 or 3 times per day dosing, so you can find an amount that works for you.
Increase as needed
If you are not quite getting the relief you are looking for, you can go ahead and double the dose (1mg/pound of body weight/day). Most of my patients find excellent relief at this higher dose. My 9th grader will occasionally take 50mg (once a day – at night) without any problem. She is prone to anxiety from time to time, which interferes with her sleep. She tried 30mg first, but it didn’t seem to help, so I happily bumped her dose to 50mg without any safety concerns.
Many moms are asking me about using it on their kids, which probably warrants a whole separate blog entry, but here’s my brief opinion: For teens, I’m comfortable recommending it at the same doses as above. For younger children, the discussion often involves some significant behavior problems that go along with autism, other developmental issues, or possibly a seizure disorder, and it’s probably best to get your doctor’s blessing to add CBD to the mix (can still use the same dosing calculations above). Interestingly, many of the safety and efficacy studies on CBD have been on children with seizure disorders, and it has been shown to be safe. It is especially important to use a product that is pure and does not contain THC.
What’s the max amount I can take?
To answer this question, I needed to look at several studies that addressed the effectiveness of CBD vs any potential side effects. Of the 15 studies I considered, the consensus was that at doses up to 300mg per day, no side effects were reported. Even higher doses were studied (600, 800, 1,000mg per day) and those were “well tolerated” with only mild side effects (stomach upset, diarrhea, sleepiness). The vast majority of my patients don’t need to go above 1mg/pound/day, but it’s nice to know that I could recommend a higher dose if needed.