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Arriving at the appropriate dosage of cannabidiol or CBD can be more complex than initially imagined. Though cannabis has been in use for a long period of time, CBD products are a relatively new entrant in the field of alternative wellness. Therefore, research and evidence-based guidelines and studies regarding the right dosage are in short supply. 

That said, the general consensus among experts is that users, especially first-time users, should start with a lower dose and gradually work their way up till they hit the sweet spot in terms of dosage. 

The right dosage varies by individual and is dependant on a number of different factors like the user’s body chemistry, metabolism rate, body weight, BMI, CBD tolerance levels, etc.

Here are a couple of factors for first-time users to consider. 

The Form of CBD Being Used

There are a number of different ways users can take CBD. The type of CBD product or form of CBD determines the amount a user should. It also determines how CBD is absorbed by the body and how soon it takes effect. 

Commonly available forms of CBD include – 

  • Tinctures and Oils
  • Edibles like CBD gummies
  • Capsules and Tablets
  • Topicals like Creams & Lotions
  • Smokables

As can be imagined, doses differ between the different forms of CBD. For example, on an average CBD gummies contain approximately 5mg of CBD per gummy. However, oils generally contain 1mg of CBD per drop.

What the User is Trying to Achieve

CBD is used to treat a wide variety of medical problems ranging from pain, inflammation, stress, anxiety, and depression. The dosage of CBD depends on what it is being used to treat. 

For example, the Arthritis Foundation suggests starting with a low dose of sublingual CBD twice a day and generally increasing the dose by the same amount every week till pain relief is optimal.

The same dosage guidelines may or may not hold true when attempting to treat another medical problem. 

Other Medications

Users that are currently on other medications need to fully understand if and how much CBD they should take. It is best to consult a licensed medical professional before starting with any CBD products. 

CBD is generally well tolerated, however, some potential drug interactions do exist. CBD may alter the way a drug is processed by the body and some evidence shows that it may interact with immune suppressant drugs, blood thinners, and antidepressants. 

How Long Before the Effects of CBD are Observed?

This depends on the form of CBD being consumed. Edibles such as gummies take a longer time as the digestion process has to kick in before the effects of CBD can be felt. 

CBD oils and tinctures that are taken sublingually, i.e under the tongue via a dropper, enter the bloodstream directly. Hence the effects of CBD can be felt much faster. 

Here is an approximate onset time for different forms of CBD –

  • Oils, tinctures, and sublingual sprays – 15-45 mins
  • Edibles – Approximately 2 hours
  • Creams and topicals – 45-60 mins
  • Smokables – 15-30 mins

What About Redosing?

Redosing is one of the most common reasons why users end up consuming more than the recommended amount of CBD. A higher dosage of CBD taken too soon can lead to unwanted side effects. Though CBD is well tolerated even when taken at higher levels, it does not mean it is 100% harmless. A higher dose of CBD can lead to – 

  • Changes to appetite and body weight
  • Fatigue
  • Diarrhea, etc.

A recently concluded animal-based study has shown that high doses of CBD can lead to liver damage.

How Long Does the Effect of CBD Last?

Depending on the form of CBD consumed, the volume, and the user’s tolerance level, the effects of CBD can last between 2 to 6 hours. Since CBD affects different users differently, here are some observations users can keep when consuming CBD – 

  • The amount and form of CBD consumed
  • After how long were the effects of CBD observed
  • The strength of the effects
  • How long did the effects of CBD last


Typically, CBD is safe and well-tolerated, however, the effects of CBD differ for each user. A number of different factors go into determining the dosage and frequency of CBD use for each user. 

Till medical research proves otherwise, it is best to start with a lower dosage and gradually work your way up till the optimum dosage level is reached. Users will also be well advised to consult their healthcare provider in case of taking CBD to manage a specific medical condition.


CBD products that are derived from Hemp and contain less than the prescribed .3 percent of THC are legal per federal law. However, certain state laws may still deem it illegal.

CBD products that are derived from Marijuana are illegal per federal law but remain legal under the laws of certain states. 

It is advisable to check the appropriate state laws in case of travel. It is important to note that over-the-counter CBD products are not approved by the FDA.


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