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CBD | Science

CBD Oil Dosage: Finding your optimal dose and format

Dr Abraham Benavides


Dr Abraham Benavides

Medical Doctor

CBD is everywhere, and questions around CBD oil dosage are commonplace. From anecdotal reports of using CBD to aid sleep and to improve workout recovery, it’s everywhere.

The problem is that consumers are faced with a myriad of CBD products: including tinctures, edibles, topicals, and vaporizers. Feeling like an uphill struggle, you are sitting there wondering well what’s right for me, and how much do I use?

Feeling confused with the number of choices and product concentrations is normal and expected. Each different consumption method offers a distinct advantage, and each has its uses to be utilized for a specific purpose.

When Do You Need The CBD To Kick In?

If you are trying to go to sleep immediately, you might want something fast-acting like a vape pen vs swallowing a CBD capsule.

Moreover, each of our bodies responds differently to CBD products, and there is no one size that fits all – even your body weight can influence your dosage. As a result, experimentation and course correction is simply part of getting there.

Knowing other consumers have been on a similar journey and come out the other side with positive results can be motivating.

We frequently hear countless stories of new users finding their feet after a trial and error basis and later being glad they stuck with it after finding the CBD dosage ‘sweet spot’ which works for them.

Woman using CBD Oil

How long does CBD oil take to work?

Some of the most common questions around CBD from consumers are how much do I take, when will it work and how long will a bottle of CBD last?

The answer isn’t as clear cut as you might have assumed and there is no one size fits all approach to dosing. Figuring out the right amount is more of an art than a science; it takes a little time and effort to find what works for each individual. 

Later, you might also find the need to adjust the CBD dosage to reflect changes in your mood and environment.

Most people start low and build up their way up to find what works for them, also known as the low and slow methodology. While this can be a pain to start with, it’s the most common way to find the right dosage!

It’s important to note that as people react differently to CBD, consistency in dosing and your approach is vital to evaluate if it gives you the effects you desire.

But, before you dive in, you need to be clear on what your objectives are and what you want out of using CBD.

Why are you using CBD?

model sitting with cbd oil

Understanding your end goal can help direct you towards the most suitable path to get there.

Take a moment to consider what you want to achieve. It’s essential to define if you need to feel the effects immediately, for a longer duration or by not tasting the CBD (which can be earthy).

The answers to these questions send you down a specific consumption route, which we detail shortly.

Remember what we said about trial and error? Using a journal to document your progress might sound a pain and old school, but it can speed up your trajectory to ‘success’.

Tracking what you have used and when can be a pain but also a guiding light to document those ever so specific feelings you might get while on your CBD dosage journey.

Pay particular interest to the profile of the product you use, as CBD Isolate products (just pure CBD, often used in vaping) are thought to be less effective than those containing a broader plant profile. You should be ideally looking for CBD, which is called full or broad spectrum CBD.

Journals can also help if you want to try a different way of using CBD, like a vape, for example…More on that later.

What’s your timeline?

To ensure optimal effectiveness, you need to be aware that some methods are felt quicker over others, and are absorbed at a better rate than others too! 

What’s your target? Are you looking for a localised effect? If so, topical creams might be useful to explore. 

Are you looking to feel the effects immediately? Then consider vaping a concentrate for the highest level of absorption and the fastest onset meaning your CBD dosage is less. But if you’re not interested in vaping then using CBD oil drops under your tongue instead offers the second-highest absorption rate of all options.

Planning your use if using a slower acting method of CBD can be a pain, but it can prove useful, this includes having a routine ensuring you’re using your favourite CBD products and giving them time for them to act.

Start Low

At the start of your CBD journey, it’s useful to start with a very low dose ( i.e 1-2 drops of an oral product or a few puffs of a vape) and assess how you feel. 

Should you wish to go ahead to find you dose after this, you can follow the low and slow methodology, iterating your dose at a weekly cadence, adjusted according to how you feel and increase the dosage to find your ‘sweet spot’.

To start most use a small amount to test the water and the most popular way is via tinctures. Say 1-2 drops two to three times a day, spread across the day and sticking with it for a week and the next week increase to say 2-3 drops, the week after to 3-4 drops and increase like so until you find your optimal dosage.


There are some common factors which can influence the CBD dose you might need, including:

(1) Your body weight and age

(2) The concentration of the CBD product you are using

(3) What you are trying to achieve by using CBD

(4) Your endocannabinoid system and if you have a cannabinoid deficiency (check with your doctor if needed)

Accordingly, people respond in different ways for the same CBD dosage which while it can be a pain, once you find what works you have hit the jackpot moving forward!


cbd dropper

Using a CBD tincture is the most popular way to consume cannabidiol so far. 

CBD Oil is dropped under the tongue and absorbed sublingually. When using oil, you can quickly work backwards to find out how much CBD is in each drop. 

To do this, first, look at the pipette. If it’s labelled, you’re lucky as it makes it easy for measurement. 

You can then look at the bottle and work out what percentage of the bottle is in the pipette and work out the concentration per drop. For example:

– 10ml 500mg CBD tincture with a 1ml pipette.

– 1ml pipette holds 10% of the bottle.

– 20 drops of CBD = 2.5mg CBD per drop (1ml = 50mg. 50mg / 20 drops = 2.5mg per drop).

Start with 1-2 drops held under the tongue for 60 seconds three times a day. Increase the CBD dosage in the next week, and continue increasing at each weekly interval until you find your sweet spot.

Remember with a higher CBD concentration (i.e more milligrams per drop), your previous CBD oil dosage will be smaller in terms of drops, but more potent per drop. 

You can also find you equivalent dose using another consumption method through bioequivalence, this is useful if you use multiple ways to take CBD products.

This approach can take a little trial and error, but it’s worth it when you find your sweet spot! Should you be unable to locate it after using half a dropper, you may need a stronger strength oil.

Note, some CBD products may make you feel different regardless if you have the same dose, this is thought to be attributed to other constituents in the hemp plant called terpenes.

To understand how much CBD is in a 10mL bottle using a 1mL dropper, you can use the information below (denoted for 500mg,  1000mg, 1500mg CBD oil):

1/4 dropper (0.25 mL / 5 drops) = 12.5mg / 25mg / 37.5mg

1/2 dropper (0.5 mL / 10 drops) = 25mg / 50mg / 75mg

3/4 dropper (0.75 mL / 15 drops) = 37.5mg / 75mg / 112.5mg

Whole dropper (1 mL / 20 drops) = 50mg / 100mg / 150mg

Note – Based on customer anecdotes, we realise feeling the desired effects can take a while, and this varies from person to person. Our customers have outlined that sticking with CBD for at least three to four weeks before reassessing is useful. 

Also, be aware your CBD oil dosage may adjust across time, your endocannabinoid system is constantly in flux according to your own body’s balance, and being self-aware of this is key.


Inhaling CBD has the quickest onset, meaning you feel the effect within a matter of minutes. 

It’s also the most efficient way to use cannabinoids, due to vaping having the highest absorption rate over any consumption method. Meaning your CBD dosage for vaping is less than when using CBD drops for the same amount of CBD to enter your bloodstream.

Vaping CBD concentrates (dabbing), can prove extremely practical if you need to feel the effects immediately and with a high dose. 

Vaping bypasses the digestive tract for a higher dose delivered more effectively to the bloodstream.

Related Read: CBD Wax Products


When CBD is swallowed, it passes through the digestive tract. As a result, this is the slowest method in terms of feeling the effects, but it’s also the longest in terms of the active duration.

Depending on your stomach contents, digested CBD capsules can take anywhere from half an hour to a few hours to be fully absorbed.

The great thing about swallowing CBD is that it’s usually pre-measured. In edibles or gel caps, the CBD concentration is listed per piece, which makes it easy to know how many cbd gummies to consume.

If you already use a sublingual oil but want to add gel capsules to your regime, be aware that the same amount of CBD in milligrams will not be equal to the same dosage.

This is because of the extra steps the CBD has to go through before entering your bloodstream when swallowed. Thus some is metabolised before entering the bloodstream, so the required dosage is a lot higher. If you need to work out an equivalent dose for any method, check out our bioavailability post.


CBD Topical Products

Topical CBD creams and lotions or transdermal patches are applied directly to the skin. Effects are felt locally, and the amount used varies from person to person. 

Ways to use these products include:

  • Using CBD cream in your daily skincare routine.
  • Rub the cream/gel into your skin as and when you feel the need to.
  • Using CBD gel post-workout to help soothe your muscles.

In short: CBD dosage for skincare products doesn’t really exist, just use as you need and enjoy!

Multi Use

Many people find using multiple consumption methods for CBD work best for them.

Sometimes you might want to feel the effects immediately, so you vape, and at other times you want a longer duration but aren’t bothered by a more prolonged onset, so you swallow a gel cap or two.

Regardless of how you go about it, there are a couple of essential things to remember:

(1) If you have a pre-existing condition or take prescription medication: You must talk to your doctor for medical advice before using any supplement.
(2) This is your journey, and no one else has the same one, so don’t worry about what other people are using – just find what works for you.