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Your complete guide to CBD dosing

Get the what, where, when and how of CBD dosing—plus tips for choosing a brand.

The secret to unlocking the benefits of CBD starts with understanding dosing. But figuring out how much to take, when and how can be a bit of a guessing game—especially on your first go around.  

Keeping in mind that you may have to experiement to get the perfect dose, let's dive into the basics of CBD dosing. 

What determines how much CBD I should take? 

Dosing CBD is almost always situational and has three primary factors.

  • Body weight. As with most medicines, supplements and other substances, the higher your weight, the more you'll need. 
  • Desired outcome. The reason why you're taking CBD in the first place could determine how much you'll want to take. 
  • Sensitivity and previous exposure. Everyone's body chemistry is tuned a little different and some people already have an established tolerance. If you're a frequent cannabis users, you'll likely need a higher dose of CBD to enjoy a noticeable benefit. 
  • Type of CBD product. This is an important one. Certain methods of CBD consumption allow for greater bioavailability—meaning your body will absorb less or more of it depending on the format. Here is an overview of the most common forms of CBD, from most to least bioavailable:
    • Inhalation (smoking, vaping, etc.) is the highest, with experts estimating a bioavalibility of 36-58% (the percentage of CBD that is absorbed into your bloodstream)
    • Sublingual application (under the tongue—a tincture or spray, for example); estimated 13-35% bioavailability
    • Oral ingestion (eating a gummy, for example); estimated 10-20% bioavailability 
    • Topical application (salves, creams, lotions); the bioavailability of CBD applied topically is less well known, but it's safe to say it's fairly low. For this reason, topicals are best when applied on a specific/localized area (for help with skin concerns, joint issues, etc.)

What happens if I take too little?

There's no risk to taking too little CBD—other than the possibility of disappointment in the experience. If you feel like your current dose might be too low, give it at least a week. That is, take the same dose, 1-2 times per day, every day for 7 days. Often times CBD can have a cumulative effect, depending on your desired outcome. If you still aren't feeling the desired benefit at that dose and believe you could benefit from more, increase your dose by 5 to 10mg and try for another week at that dosage. 

What happens when I take too much?

The good news is that CBD is considered generally safe to consume and there are no reported "overdose" situations. If you take too much you'll get very sleepy or you may feel an elevated heart rate. 

How do I measure a "dose"?

Measuring your dosage depends on how you'll take the product.

  • Oils/tinctures
    • One dose usually consists of one dropper, which is typically 1ml
    • Choose a CBD oil that features graduated marks on the dropper for the most precise dosing.
  • Gummies/edibles
    • One dose = One gummy or edible
    • Gummy packaging should tell you how much CBD is in each gummy. Keep in mind that not all edibles are created equal. For example, some gummies are sprayed with CBD, which can result in widely inconsistent dosing from gummy to gummy. Look for infused products (meaning the CBD is mixed into the gummy intself) that are third-party tested for potency. 
  • Smokable
    • One dose = One pre-roll
    • Each pre-roll will contain ~1 gram of flower material
  • Topicals
    • One dose = as much as you need to cover the affected area
    • In most cases, a pea-sized amount for a small area, a grape-sized amount for a larger area. 

How long does a dose take to kick in and how long will it last?

It entirely depends on the method of use.

  • Inhalation 
    • Fastest acting, but the effect dissipates faster
    • Onset: Immediate
    • Duration: 1-3 hours
  • Sublingual
    • When applied under your tongue (usually via an oil or spray), the CBD will have a fairly fast onset, because it is absorbed into the blood vessels and mucus membranes
    • Onset: 15-60 minutes
    • Duration: 4-12 hours 
  • Oral ingestion 
    • Absorption will be slower, but the effect will last longer
    • Onset: 30 minutes - 2 hours
    • Duration: 10-14 hours
    • Topical application
      • Only produces local effects and will not enter the bloodstream
      • Onset: 5-15 minutes
      • Duration: 4-6 hours

    Remember: The timing of the effect can be influenced by weight, the severity of the condition, and sensitivity to cannabis.

    This is all good, but how many milligrams of CBD should I take at a time?

    If you speak to a physician, they will always recommend you titrate your dose. Titrating means to start low and gradually increase your dose over time. This method can help you find your "sweet spot."

    Regardless, everyone needs a starting point. Here is a chart that we would recommend when using Half Day products specifically. It never hurts to ask a physician if you're taking other medications or if you're pregnant or nursing. 

     Pounds (LBS) Low Severity Medium Severity High Severity
    80 lbs 10 mg 20mg 30 mg
    100 lbs 15 mg  25 mg 35 mg
    120 lbs  20 mg 30 mg 40 mg
    140 lbs  20 mg  30 mg 40 mg
    160 lbs  25 mg 35 mg 45 mg
    180 lbs 25 mg 35 mg 45 mg
    200 lbs 30 mg 40 mg 50 mg
    220 lbs 30 mg 40 mg 50 mg
    240 lbs 35 mg 45 mg 55 mg
    260 lbs 35 mg 45 mg 55 mg
    280 lbs 40 mg 50 mg 60 mg
    300 lbs 40 mg 50 mg 60 mg

    Remember, this is a general guide rather than a rigid perscription—it's best to experiment and find what works for you. Most importantly, make sure you're choosing a brand you can trust. More on that—including a CBD quality checklist—here. 

    Click here to learn more.