How Much CBD Should I Take the First Time?
The safety and long-term health effects of using e-cigarettes or other vaping products still aren’t well known. In September 2019, federal and state health authorities began investigating an outbreak of a severe lung disease associated with e-cigarettes and other vaping products . We’re closely monitoring the situation and will update our content as soon as more information is available.
Figuring out how much CBD, or cannabidiol, to take is more complex than it sounds. While cannabis has been around for forever, CBD products are relatively new. As a result, there aren’t any evidence-based dosing guidelines yet.
Most experts agree that if it’s your first time using CBD, starting with the lowest dose and gradually working your way up is the best way to go.
Here’s a look at what you should know before trying CBD for the first time.
For starters, your body weight and individual body chemistry affect how you tolerate CBD.
Here are some other factors that play into how much CBD you should use.
How you take it
There are a few different ways to use CBD. The form matters when it comes to how much you should take, how it’s absorbed by your body, and how quickly it takes effect.
The different forms include:
- oils and tinctures
- pills and capsules
- creams and lotions
Doses vary among forms. For instance, a standard dose in CBD gummies is around 5 milligrams (mg) per gummy, while tinctures and oils contain about 1 mg per drop.
Capsules and edibles can also take longer to kick in than a spray or tincture.
What you’re using it for
People use CBD to treat everything from nausea to arthritis pain. What you’re using it for matters when deciding how much you should take.
For instance, the Arthritis Foundation recommends starting slow with just a few milligrams of a sublingual form of CBD twice a day and increasing the dose by the same amount after a week if you don’t get enough pain relief.
That recommendation may not be the same if you’re using CBD for another condition.
If you’re on any other medications, it’s important to know exactly how much, if any, CBD you should take.
CBD is usually well tolerated, but there’s still limited data on drug interactions. CBD could change the way a drug is metabolized, and there’s some evidence that it may interact with blood thinners, immune suppressant drugs, and antidepressants.
If you’re taking any other medications, speak to your doctor before using CBD.
It depends on how you take it.
Edibles, such as gummies, have to go through your digestive tract before they’re absorbed. By the time this happens, the actual amount of CBD that ends up in your system could be fairly low.
Another form, such as a tincture that you take sublingually, gets absorbed directly into your bloodstream, meaning it kicks in faster.
CBD onset time
Here’s a look at how long it generally takes to feel the effects of different forms of CBD:
- Edibles: up to 2 hours
- Tinctures sublingual sprays: 15 to 45 minutes
- Topicals: 45 to 60 minutes
- Vape products: 15 to 30 minutes
Re-dosing is one of the most common reasons why people end up taking too much of anything. If you take more too soon, you could end up with unwanted effects.
Again, CBD is generally well tolerated, even at high doses, but that doesn’t mean it’s harmless.
Taking too much could result in:
A recent animal study also showed that high doses of CBD may cause liver damage.
Start low and slow, and make sure you give the CBD ample time to work before taking more. The general rule of thumb seems to be sticking with a low dose for about a week before increasing it.
In general, the effects of CBD last from 2 to 6 hours, depending on how you use it, how much you use, and your tolerance.
To better understand how your body reacts to it, take some general notes when using CBD, including:
- the amount you took and how you took it
- when you started feeling the effects
- how strong the effects were
- how long the effects lasted
This information can help you decide how much to take next time, as well as when to take it.
Ready to dip a toe into the world of CBD? These tips will help to unsure your experience is as comfortable, safe, and effective as possible:
- Shop smart. CBD products are largely unregulated in the United States. Mislabeling and poor quality control, including significant discrepancies in strength and undeclared THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol, are an issue. Only shop from trusted, licensed dispensaries.
- Ask a professional. A healthcare provider who knows your medical history is the best person to go to for advice about how much CBD you take. As knowledgeable as sales staff may be when it comes to CBD products, they aren’t healthcare providers. Your best bet is to consult both.
- Use it before bedtime.Drowsiness is one of the most common side effects of CBD. Unless your healthcare provider advises otherwise, using CBD at bedtime — or when you have time to chill if you need to — is a good idea, at least until you know how your body responds to it.
- Avoid vaping. Vaping has been linked to serious lung infections and even death, though it’s not exactly clear how or why. While the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are investigating the risks of vaping, most government health agencies recommend avoiding vaping until we know more.
CBD is typically safe and well tolerated, but it’s not a one-size-fits-all solution. There are several factors that play into how much and how often you should use it.
Until experts come up with clinical guidelines, your best bet is to talk to your healthcare provider, especially if you’re using CBD to manage a specific condition or regularly take a medication for a specific condition.
Is CBD Legal? Hemp-derived CBD products (with less than 0.3 percent THC) are legal on the federal level, but are still illegal under some state laws. Marijuana-derived CBD products are illegal on the federal level, but are legal under some state laws. Check your state’s laws and those of anywhere you travel. Keep in mind that nonprescription CBD products are not FDA-approved, and may be inaccurately labeled.
Adrienne Santos-Longhurst is a freelance writer and author who has written extensively on all things health and lifestyle for more than a decade. When she’s not holed-up in her writing shed researching an article or off interviewing health professionals, she can be found frolicking around her beach town with husband and dogs in tow or splashing about the lake trying to master the stand-up paddle board.
Last medically reviewed on November 18, 2019
New to CBD? Figuring out your most effective dose usually takes some trial and error. We’ll break down the process and everything else you need to know before your first time.
When is the Best Time to Take CBD?
Here, on the frontlines of the CBD movement, we get asked this question all the time. Since CBD affects everyone differently, there really isn’t a one-size-fits-all answer. Instead, let’s look at the main factors to consider when determining what time of day is best for you.
3 key factors that help determine when to take CBD
- Reasons for taking CBD
- Type of CBD product
Listen to Your Body
Before we explore these main factors, the recurring theme here is to listen to your body. What gets one person to sleep may help another maintain energy throughout the day. Why are there such massive discrepancies with the effects of CBD? Well, it’s complicated .
The Human Endocannabinoid System (ECS) regulates many physical processes including pain, memory, mood, appetite, stress, sleep, metabolism, immune function, and reproductive function. CBD acts upon the ECS on a molecular level. Given the complexity of this regulatory system, the potential effect that CBD can have on these processes is totally unique. When beginning your journey with CBD, choose a time of day when you can safely experiment.
For example, if you decide to try CBD for improving sleep, logic would dictate that taking it before bedtime would be most effective. However, some people may feel stimulated when they are trying to catch some z’s . To complicate matters even more, it is possible that when taking CBD in the morning it has a different effect than in the evening. All this leads back to the idea that you want to create enough space to safely experiment. For most of us, that often means the early evening when we are done with the demands of the workplace, and still hours before bedtime. Doing so should safeguard against any potential disruptions to your daily/nightly rhythms. After sufficient time, you will gain more insight into how CBD interacts with your body, and this will ultimately lead to an intake schedule that works best for you.
1. Reasons for taking CBD
People are using CBD for a variety of reasons. Stories range from treating specific symptoms like seizures and acne, to regulating moods, appetite, and more. What time of day you take CBD should largely be based on the reasons you are taking it in the first place. Back to our sleep example. Some of our customers simply take their daily dose before bed, while others take it during the day and find that having it in their system throughout the day helps improve their sleep behavior at night.
Food for thought: my acupuncturist prescribed Chinese herbs for me (they taste gross!) and said, “the best way to take these herbs is to take them.” Meaning, that despite their rancid taste and elaborate boiling protocol, I needed to take them. Similarly, despite our tincture’s great flavor, all the nuances we are discussing here are secondary to the main point: keep taking CBD!
CBD products often include a serving size or daily dose suggestion. However, here too it is important to experiment and find what works best for you. For instance, we recommend starting with 1ml of our regular strength tincture per day, and for some of our customers, this feels right.
Get Creative / mix it up:
- Split the recommended dosage: taking .5ml in the morning and .5ml in the evening allows the effects to be more evenly spread out through the day.
- Double the dose: for some, taking 1ml in the morning and another in the evening provides relief beyond the recommended dose.
For whom the bell curves?
For thee, of course! CBD has been shown to have a bell curve in regards to its effectiveness. This means that as you take more, its effectiveness will ramp up to a maximum efficiency rate before beginning to fall off as you reach saturation levels, resulting in wasted product. Think about your ECS as a gas tank. When you are pumping gas, eventually the pump will click off once the tank is full. You can try to keep squeezing the handle to put more in, but no more will fit. Once your tank is full, you need to put some miles in before it’s necessary to refuel.
Once you know how you react to CBD, play with dosage amounts and times. Think about when you need relief, and plan timing around that.
3. Product Choice
The type of product you are using is a strong consideration when deciding what time you should use CBD. Products like CBD Capsules will have more of a slow, gradual effect since they must be processed through your digestive system. Conversely, a CBD vape will have more immediate effects as vaporizing is one of the most bioavailable ways to consume CBD. Let’s look at the different ingestion methods and how to think ahead for timing your dose.
Think about what you are up against, and how a slow fuse product will interact with it. Do you have anxiety during daytime hours? You will probably want to take CBD capsules in the morning so they can slowly begin working as you go about your day. Do you have trouble sleeping through the night? You will want to take CBD Capsules before dinner, so your body has time to process them before bed.
Full Spectrum CBD Capsules
Original CBD Tincture
Often called CBD Oil, tincture is taken sublingually and absorbed into glands under your tongue. This will yield a faster result since the tincture will enter your bloodstream more directly than swallowing. Because tincture takes time to work its way through your system, it is much easier to dial in for timing. We recommend 1ml of tincture per day to start with. Most consumers choose to take their daily dose of tincture in the morning so they have CBD pumping through their veins throughout the day. If you find that any results you are experiencing wear off quickly, you may want to double up and take a dose in the evening as well.
What time of day to take CBD varies from person to person, but keep these factors in mind if you’re just getting started with CBD.