We’re going to be straight with you up front: Scientific CBD knowledge is still in its infancy, and there are no hard and fast rules about CBD serving sizes. But you can still make sure you and your loved ones are getting the amount you need. Our Ultimate Guide takes you through what’s known about CBD dosages, what approaches you can take to figuring out your own personal serving size, and how people are using it to great success.
How much CBD oil should you take?
As we noted above, there is currently no official standardization for dosage for CBD in the treatment of medical conditions. Dr. Benjamin S. Gonzàlez, Medical Director of the Atlantis Medical Wellness Center in Silver Spring, MD (and a frequent guest on our podcast, Understanding CBD with Max & Steven), notes that CBD doses in medical literature can vary from 30 mg to 300 mg or more.
Lack of standardization also means you need to be careful about finding a high-quality CBD product, he adds. “Because there are no set standards and poor regulation, many of the topical creams are not consistent and sometimes have little to no actual CBD,” says Dr. Gonzàlez.
In his practice, Dr. Gonzàlez says the dosage he recommends depends on the following factors:
- The condition being treated
- Medications the patient may be taking
- The weight of the person
CBD dosage for everyday use
A typical serving for general well being is 0.5 mL of CBD drops. Many people will begin with a smaller serving of 0.25 mL and then increase the amount over a few days until they get the effect they are looking for.
As a resource, you can use the following chart to determine the appropriate dosage, depending on your needs:
CBD oil cancer dosage
While the US Food & Drug Administration (FDA) does not offer guidance on CBD dosing for cancer, there are research studies that disclose how much CBD was administered to subjects.
Consider two case studies on glioma, a type of tumor that starts in the glial cells of the brain or the spine, and is responsible for roughly 30 percent of all brain tumors and central nervous system tumors as well as 80 percent of all malignant brain tumors. (The case studies are available here and here.) In one study, two patients were treated with three conventional cancer treatment drugs along with CBD. One patient was given CBD at a dose of 100–200 mg/day orally and the other at 300–450 mg/day orally. The two patients continued to take CBD at those respective doses for approximately two years. Both patients taking CBD did not experience any disease progression for two years after treatment.
In the other study, nine patients with stage IV glioblastoma, an aggressive type of cancer that begins in nerve-supporting cells, were given CBD at a dose of 200-400 mg per day, along with surgery, radiation and chemotherapy. The patients’ survival rate was prolonged to almost two years, on average. Two patients had no signs of disease progression for three or more years.
As for breast cancer, some of the most promising research has thus far only been conducted on breast cancer cell lines. In other words, in a petri dish, not on actual people. But the preliminary research is promising and demonstrates a positive, dose-dependent response to CBD. “Cancer cell lines are generally sensitive to CBD’s anti-proliferative effects,” the research summary concludes.
In determining if CBD may lessen the severity of lung cancer, a study on mice given 5 mg per kg of body weight three times a week yielded positive results.
(To explore the full range of CBD research on cancer and dosage, see this study published in the Swiss journal Cancers.)
CBD oil dosage for anxiety
If you have social anxiety, a 2011 study may give you a boost of confidence to try CBD. It concluded that a single dose of 600 mg significantly reduced anxiety, cognitive impairment, and discomfort and increased alertness during a simulated public speaking test.
Another study from that same year suggested a 400 mg dose did the same trick. A more recent study from 2017 examined a single CBD dose of 100 mg, 300 mg and 900 mg. The 300 mg dose reduced anxiety without making the subjects feel overly sedated, in comparison to the anti-anxiety medication, clonazepam.
A 2019 study confirmed the previous research results, showing that 300 mg of CBD significantly reduced anxiety during a staged public speaking test.
CBD oil dosage for seizures
Epidiolex is the only FDA-approved CBD-based drug. It’s used to treat two rare forms of seizure disorders: Lennox-Gastaut syndrome and Dravet syndrome. According to the Epidolex product information website, the recommended dosage for those ages two and older is as follows:
Begin at 5 mg/kg twice per day, then increase the dosage by 5 mg every week until you reach the 25 mg/kg dosage at week 5. Continue at that dosage.
For a person weighing 160 pounds (72.6 kg), the total daily dosage would be 1.45 ml or roughly 145 mg. The product website recommends splitting this dosage in two (0.75 ml twice daily).
CBD oil dosage for sleep
In this 2019 study published in Permanente Journal, 72 adults with anxiety and poor sleep were given 25 mg of CBD in capsule form every day. A handful of patients were given a higher dose (up to 75 mg/day). For anxiety, the CBD was taken in the morning and at night, after dinner, if poor sleep quality was the primary concern. One patient who also had a history of trauma and schizoaffective disorder eventually received 175 mg per day.
CBD oil autism dosage
A 2019 study in Frontiers in Neurology examined 18 patients with autism spectrum disorder that were administered a ratio of 75:1 CBD to THC capsules. The CBD dosage was 25 or 50 mg.
The average initial dose of CBD was approximately 2.90 mg/kg/day, varying according to individual case severity at the beginning of treatment. Researchers adjusted the dosage at a higher level during the first 30 days and more sparsely over the following 150 days. The average dose of CBD administered until the end of the study was 4.55 mg/kg/day, spread out over two doses, with researchers concluding:
“The results … are very promising and indicate that CBD … may ameliorate multiple ASD [autism spectrum disorder] symptoms … with substantial increase in life quality for both ASD patients and caretakers.”
CBD oil ADHD dosage
A pilot randomized placebo-controlled experimental study examined the effects of Sativex Oromucosal Spray, which is the equivalent of Epidiolex in the European Union. The 30 study participants with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), showed improvement. “While not definitive, this study provides preliminary evidence supporting the self-medication theory of cannabis use in ADHD and the need for further studies of the endocannabinoid system in ADHD,” concludes the researchers.
The usual dose of Sativex ranges between 4-8 sprays daily, with each spray providing 25 mg.
CBD oil for pain dosage
Pain and inflammation is perhaps why most people try CBD. According to Dr. Gonzàlez, the dosage range for chronic back pain can be anywhere from 20 mg to 100 mg, taken two to three times a day.
“I have a staff member who has had chronic back pain and knee pain for years and CBD has outright eliminated his pain at the 30 mg twice a day dosage, taken under the tongue,” says Dr. Gonzàlez, who adds that in order to properly treat pain with CBD, he recommends using it topically.
To apply CBD topically for pain relief, “I have patients place the trusted CBD tincture I recommend and mix it with pure topical aloe vera that contains no synthetic colors or additives. Apply it directly to the problem area such as the joints or injured muscle,” Dr. Gonzàlez suggests.
CBD oil dosage for cats and dogs
Whether it’s pain relief, anxiety or other behavioral problems for your pets, you can use this handy chart for CBD pet dosage:
For a more detailed discussion on this topic, listen at your convenience to an episode of the Understanding CBD with Max & Steven podcast titled, “CBD Dosing and Pets,” which features Shorty Rossi, animal activist and star of the Animal Planet show Pit Boss.
CBD oil dosage: an evolving journey
So while it’s true that CBD oil dosage isn’t an exact science at this point, it’s also true that the science is in your hands. Like many of us, you may have to “biohack”—self-experiment—to see what works best for you. It’s all part of the wellness journey, and better living lies ahead.