How Much CBD Should I Take?

A new guide extols the virtues of CBD for wellness, including the thorny issue of dosage

Introduction by THE EDITORS
Photography by JULIA STOTZ


Cannabis-focused lifestyle company Merry Jane — launched in 2015 by rapper (and self-professed cannabis enthusiast) Snoop Dogg and Los Angeles-based entertainment entrepreneur Ted Chung — has debuted a new book to dispel any persisting mysteries about personal use of the plant.

Inside Merry Jane’s The CBD Solution: Wellness — How Cannabis, CBD and Other Plant Allies Can Change Your Everyday Life (Chronicle Books, $20), published earlier this month, you will find all the basics covered, such as what cannabidiol is, how it works and where it comes from.

The experts at Merry Jane, which touts itself as a media hub connecting cannabis and pop culture, also weigh in on trickier topics, like how to tell the difference between high-quality CBD and a low-quality one, along with recipes for a wellness-boosting smoothie, bath bomb, nonalcoholic spritz and healing ointment that all — you guessed it — are powered by cannabidiol.

Here, we share an excerpt from the new title to walk you through the process of finding a CBD dosage that’s not too much, not too little, but just right.


• • • • •



You’ve done your homework. You’ve thought about why and how you want to use CBD. You’ve gone shopping and made sure your product is legit. But your tincture says a serving size is 30 mg, your topical has 350 mg in it, and the gummies you got say a serving size is 10 mg. So how much should a person actually take?

With the many other complications that have come along with cannabis prohibition, one of the trickier things about CBD is figuring out how much to take. There are no published guidelines and not a lot of research looking at how much different people should take, or what dose is appropriate for various conditions, symptoms or desired outcomes. On top of that, everyone responds differently to medications and supplements, and CBD is no different. Then you have to consider how you’re taking the CBD, too: inhaling versus eating versus dissolving under the tongue. Figuring out how much to take is a personal journey of trial and error.


Just because CBD is in everything doesn’t mean you should take it in everything


In case you’re feeling a little doubtful, or intimidated, or even just annoyed that figuring out the best amount to take is, like, a thing, know this: In a nationally representative survey of American adults done by Consumer Reports in 2019, about 64 million people said they had tried CBD, and 90 percent of those folks said it helped. So the effort is worth it.

But let’s also underscore that while CBD is a wonderful plant-based, safe, and nontoxic compound capable of doing so much good in our bodies, it is nonetheless a medicinal compound that will impact your body. Approach taking CBD with the mindfulness it deserves. Just because CBD is in everything doesn’t mean you should take it in everything.

And while honing in on the best CBD dose and consumption method for you might sound like a choose-your-own adventure experience, when in doubt, or if you have any other conditions or ailments, it’d be best to talk to your doc before embarking on the adventure.



Start Low and Go Slow
Start low. What’s low? Most products targeted to the general consumer for general health and wellness (as opposed to medical) purposes have what would be considered a low dose. You could start with anywhere from 5 to 10 mg once or twice per day, and continue with that amount for at least a few days or up to a week before increasing if you need to. Incrementally increase the amount by 5 to 10 mg, giving your body a few days to adjust until you get to where you want to be — the go slow portion of the advice.



Find Your Sweet Spot
The “sweet spot” is the minimum serving size or dose that does what you need it to do — more is not necessarily better when it comes to CBD. Why flood your endocannabinoid system with more CBD than it needs to help you feel calmer or tame inflammation after a hard workout? The minimum effective dose is the most cost-effective dose, too.

Keep in mind that your sweet spot with a vape pen versus a sublingual tincture versus an edible may be different because of that little thing called bioavailability (the degree and rate at which CBD gets absorbed into the bloodstream; some delivery methods are more efficient than others).

Can You Get High From Too Much CBD?
No. Once upon a time some people thought that CBD might get converted into THC in your stomach, and in fact there is some research showing that artificial gastric juices could convert CBD into THC, but these effects are not likely to happen in human stomachs.



If you try a tincture and it doesn’t seem to do what you want it to, maybe try capsules. Or maybe try another tincture with a different terpene profile. Or if you’re in a legal state, maybe add a little THC to the mix. If you tried topicals but they didn’t help, maybe you need a transdermal gel or patch. If you hate having to vape repeatedly throughout the day, maybe you supplement with an edible or capsules to give you a low, steady stream of CBD that you can top off with the occasional vape.

The point here is that there are several levers you can pull along with milligrams of CBD to calibrate your best experience. You can change up what time of day you take CBD, what you eat before and/or after, the product type or delivery method, along with terpenes and other cannabinoids like THC, CBG, or CBN.

Keep a Journal
Asking one to keep track of all these variables just begs for some journaling. A journal is a great way to keep track of your CBD experience in enough detail to be useful. You could go from “I took some CBD this morning and felt great” to “I put 20 mg of my homemade coconut CBD oil into a green smoothie and it made me happier and more alert all morning.” Who doesn’t want to be that second person?


Keep in mind that life changes, our bodies are always changing, and your dose might need to change along with those things


Along with the rise of Queen CBD has come lots of fun accoutrement for your cannabidiol experience. You can get spiffy CBD-specific journals, designed for all your tracking needs. Or you can get a blank journal of your choice and customize what you track based on your own personal needs and desires.

Keep in mind that life changes, our bodies are always changing, and your dose might need to change along with those things. After you’ve hammered out a good amount to be taking on the daily, doing a weekly maintenance journal entry can help you keep track of changes over the long term.



Don’t Get Discouraged
Finding your optimal dosage might take a minute, as titration (incrementally adjusting your dosage) is a process that takes time. Not only that, but it might require some experimentation with several variables — dosage, timing, delivery method, product formulations, etc. — to nail down your routine. But that’s OK! You might also find that CBD doesn’t work for you the way you hoped, and that’s OK, too.

Enjoy the Journey
Discovering just how CBD fits into your wellness routine might be a bit of a journey, so why not enjoy it? With the sheer volume of products now available, chances are you can find something you and your body will love. Not only that, but CBD is on a journey of its own, too. The legal, regulatory, and research landscapes will continue to evolve quickly, and it will be interesting to see where this little cannabinoid goes next.

Excerpted and adapted from Merry Jane’s The CBD Solution: Wellness — How Cannabis, CBD and Other Plant Allies Can Change Your Everyday Life (Chronicle Books, $20) by Merry Jane.

Sept. 28, 2020

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