How to take CBD oil – CBD dose guide

CBD tincture and coconut oil

Updated May 2019

How to determine the correct CBD oil dosage and the different ways to take CBD oil

You’ve looked into how to identify high quality CBD oil and chosen which brand you’re going to buy. Now it’s time to look into how to take CBD oil most effectively. This guide unpacks the different aspects of using different CBD products and how to get the most out of them. Remember, the first step in your CBD journey should be consulting your medical professional.

In this article:

  1. How much CBD oil to take
  2. When to take CBD oil and how often
  3. Sublingual administration: Taking cbd oil under tongue
  4. How to take CBD oil with a tincture
  5. How to take CBD oil concentrate
  6. How to take CBD isolate crystals
  7. How to vape CBD oil
  8. Ingesting CBD oil
  9. Smoking CBD rich flowers
  10. Taking CBD using a dry herb atomizer
  11. How to use CBD oil topicals

CBD oil dosage – how much to take?

There are a couple of reasons why it’s difficult to get a straight answer to this question. Firstly due to the legal status of CBD oil, suppliers are not able to able to give medical advice so clear dosage instructions are harder to come by compared with other products.

Secondly, the ‘best’ or optimal CBD oil dose varies from person to person, based on a number of factors from size, how their system reacts to CBD supplementation, what conditions they are looking to alleviate and also the method of CBD intake.

The dose range for CBD is broad, that means it can be effective for different people at very different dosage amounts. Some individuals see effective results from very small doses, as low as 5-10 milligrams (mg) of CBD a day. Some take a number of 10-15 mg doses per day (we will look at dosage timing and frequency shortly). The following section outlines the best method for working out how much CBD oil is optimal for you.

Fortunately, experimenting with CBD dosage is low risk and those in clinical trials are exposed to very high doses in the 300-700 mg, though we certainly don’t recommend a dosage this high at home.

“CBD is generally well tolerated with a good safety profile”

The World Health Organisation, November 2017

Start Small

The CBD dosage that yields the best results will differ from person to person. The best way to find your optimal dose is to start out slowly, with very small dosages and slowly increase the amount taken from there.

What this small dose looks like will depend on which form of CBD you’re taking. For example, start with only a few drops from a tincture (depending on concentration of CBD) or ingesting a single low strength CBD oil capsule. Generally speaking, bigger people will have a higher optimal dose but the strategy for finding the right dose is the same, start off with small doses to see how your body reacts to the CBD before increasing dosage.

Finding your optimal CBD dose:

  • Start with a low dose, a few drops (5-10mg) and see how your body reacts
  • Take the same dosage for a few days to give your body time to respond
  • Record and keep track of how much CBD you took, when, and how you were feeling before and after
  • Adjust the dosage and experiment with slightly different amounts over 3 days to see how your body responds
  • Don’t dramatically increase dose, the optimal dose is the minimum amount to feel desired effect
  • If you feel any discomfort, reduce dosage
  • Remember, CBD can have a subtle effect, there isn’t a ‘high’ or dramatically noticeable effect like THC (recreational cannabis)
flowering cannabis crop

When to take CBD oil and how often

Depending on how your body reacts will impact on when you may want to take CBD. If your feel relaxed and sleepy, it may best suit you to have CBD oil after your evening meal before sleep. If you find CBD energises or gives you a pick up, after breakfast or early afternoon may be a good option.

That being said, many users find they get the best results taking small amounts at various intervals during the day, as the effects of CBD last approximately for 4-6 hours depending on how you take it. You feel the effects faster with vaping and sublingual application, whereas the effects are slower and longer lasting when CBD oil is ingested.

Along with dosage amount, experiment with timing of dosage to see what suits you best. Another factor to consider when deciding what time of day to take CBD is dependent on the strain of cannabis that was used to produce the CBD you’re taking as this can impact the effect.

Consumers in Europe or Australia will most likely be using a product made from legally grown industrial hemp, a sativa strain of cannabis which is known for a stimulating and energising effect. Consumers in North America often have a choice of strain and may opt for an indica variety, known for its sedating effect.

CBD oil price comparison

Price comparison of popular CBD brands, breaking down the cost per dose and number of doses in different CBD oil products.

Should I take CBD daily or as I need it?

In clinical trials, participants are administered CBD daily. This is consistent with the anecdotal advice from CBD communities and suppliers, which claim that taking CBD daily produces the best results as it keeps a regular level of CBD in your system.

Some users utilise multiple forms of CBD products in their routine to get the best results for their particular needs. For example, taking CBD drops in addition to applying a topical to their skin is a particularly effective method to use as needed in localised areas.

CBD Safely Tip

We recommend keeping a CBD diary to keep track of dosage amount, timing and how you were feeling before and after, this will help in determining your optimal dose and routine without losing track.

Sublingual administration: Taking cbd oil the under tongue

Sublingual is latin for ‘under the tongue’. In this case it’s used to describe a method of drug administration where substances (CBD in our case) are absorbed into the bloodstream through thinner tissues under the tongue and through the gums.

Compared to ingesting a capsule or edible, this process is the faster and more effective way to take CBD. This is because more CBD is absorbed by the body, rather than passed through the digestive system, so therefore less is needed to feel the same effect. When swallowed and digested, CBD is broken down by enzymes in saliva and processed in the liver, which results in less ending up in your bloodstream compared to sublingual administration.

When taking CBD with a dropper / tincture, spray or concentrate, hold it under your tongue for at least 90 seconds to allow the CBD to be absorbed. You can also swish it around your mouth before swallowing as the gum tissue also absorbs the CBD.

How to take CBD oil with a tincture

Dosing CBD with a tincture or dropper is one of the most popular methods of administration and the most commonly sold form of CBD oil. Tinctures should be made of dark glass, as plastics and sunlight can damage the cannabinoids. Store your CBD oil tincture in a cool, dark place.

CBD oil tincture

If you’re new to CBD, we recommend dropping CBD oil under tongue with a tincture. Based on our research it’s the most effective and accessible form of taking CBD and also allows the most flexibility with dosage amounts.

Use the discount code: HempCBDoil to get free U.S shipping and 5% off these trusted CBD tincture products

Fast acting – absorbed into the bloodstream directly, much faster than digestingPotentially more messy than other CBD products. Glass bottle and dropper are breakable
More effective than digesting – more economical use of CBD oilNot as simple as taking a capsule or edible
Allows flexibility and control over dosage quantitiesMany dislike the taste. Holding the oil under your tongue more tricky than other methods

Administration steps:

  1. Shake the bottle well before using. It’s normal for the contents to separate and important that you don’t consume an unmixed product
  2. Squeeze the top of the dropper to fill with desired amount of oil. If the oil seems too thick to fill or empty dropper, use your hands to gently warm the bottle
  3. Drop under your tongue and hold it there for 90 seconds or more before swishing around your mouth and swallowing. We recommend chasing it with some juice as the flavour is very strong and many dislike the taste. This method of administration allows the CBD to diffuse into the blood through tissues under the tongue and in the gums rather than being ingested
CBD tincture

Complete CBD tincture guide

How to identify reputable brands, understand CBD labels, get good value for money and the best way to use a CBD tincture so that you get the most out of your product.

CBD oil sprays

Some suppliers sell CBD oil sprays rather than tinctures/droppers. Their reasoning is that it’s more easy and less messy to administer CBD oil under tongue. Even though these suppliers estimate CBD dose per spray, you have less control over dosing compared to a traditional tincture.

How to take CBD oil concentrate

Concentrates are a paste which contain a highly concentrated amount of CBD. They are sometimes 10 times the potency of tinctures and are recommended for those who are more experienced taking CBD products, because it is more difficult to calculate dosage sizes.

Place the desired amount of CBD oil concentrate, typically a drop the size of a grain of rice under your tongue, hold it there for 90 seconds or rub onto your gums with your tongue.

It is fast acting and absorbed into the bloodstream much faster than ingesting itDifficult to measure dosage sizes
More effective than ingesting it, making it a more economical use of CBD oilSlightly more difficult to administer compared to other methods

How to take CBD isolate crystals

CBD isolate crystals are the most pure form of CBD product, there is nothing else added or included. CBD isolate should look like pure white crystals

There are many advantages of using CBD isolate: Firstly, there’s many ways to dose – how to use CBD isolate . Secondly, exact dosages are easy to measure using sensitive scales. Additionally, you are able to use the pure product to make your own CBD consumables, from tinctures, to edibles, to creams.

Pure form of CBD – no unwanted additivesIt’s strongly believed that pure CBD is less effective than a ‘full spectrum’ alternative
Able to measure and take very precise dosagesRequires sensitive scales to measure dosage properly
Can be used to make a variety of CBD products at home to desired strengthIf not using to make an oil or edible, requires a dabbing rig to administer directly

CBD isolate crystals can be used to make

  • CBD oil tincture – dissolve the desired amount of CBD isolate crystal in olive, coconut or hemp seed oil, before sealing and gently warming in a hot water bath for 10-15 mins
  • Homemade e-liquid for vaping – dissolve crystal in preferred e-liquid and gently heat
  • CBD topical (cream) – CBD isolates can be mixed with coconut oil, olive oil or shea butter to make a CBD infused cream
  • Edibles – CBD isolate can be dissolved into fatty foods like butter or coconut oil, which can then be used in cooking

Some people use dabbing rigs to smoke CBD isolate crystals. Unless you’re familiar with and have experience with this form of smoking, we don’t recommend it as an effective method to dose CBD, particularly as a new user.

CBD isolate in jar

What is CBD isolate and how to use it

CBD isolate (crystal, slab or shatter) is the most pure form of CBD you can buy. CBD isolate benefits include being THC free, cheaper & able to be used to make DIY CBD products.

How to vape CBD oil

Vaping or vaporizing is a popular new activity which for many replaces smoking cigarettes. Vapes, vape-pens or electronic cigarettes are devices which heat up a special liquid (e-juice) to a certain temperature that produces a vapor, an inhalable gas which looks alot like smoke.

Vaping CBD is the same as normal vaping (you’re able to use normal vapes to do it) but with added CBD to the e-liquid. When vaped, CBD enters the bloodstream via blood vessels in your lungs.

Similarly to taking CBD oil under the tongue, vaping CBD is more effective and users feel the effects of it faster than swallowing and ingesting it.

Fast acting – absorbed into the bloodstream much faster than ingestingLittle is known about the health implications of vaping the thinning agent in e-liquids, propylene glycol alternative
More effective than ingesting – more economical use of CBD oilDifficult to measure and consume exact dosage
The act of vaping is enjoyable for manyRequires purchase of a vape, in addition to the CBD e-liquid

Different options for vaping CBD:

  • Disposable CBD vapes: These are thrown away after one use, making them less ecologically friendly, but they are a convenient way for new user try vaping without investing in a reusable vape
  • Special CBD cartridges: These are designed for a specific vaping device, and need to be replaced once empty. These are easy and convenient to use, but also ties you to a particular supplier, offering less flexibility over the longer term
  • Premixed CBD vape oil: This form of CBD can be added to any vape. Just like CBD oil tinctures, premixed vape oil come in varying strengths
  • Make your own CBD vape oil by dissolving CBD crystal isolate in preferred e-liquid and gently heating it to combine the two. This method requires the most preparation and hassle, but it does allows you to keep using your favourite e-liquid.

You cannot vape normal CBD oil

CBD oils which are intended for oral consumption are not able to be vaped. You must use particular e-juice which has added thinning agents that allow it to be vaporized.

Administration steps:

  • Fill your vape pen with CBD vape oil the same way as you would with normal e-juice
  • Follow your device’s user manual for steps to heat up liquid
  • vapor for about 4 seconds, then fill your mouth with fresh air, hold for 10 seconds or more before exhaling, this maximises the amount of CBD absorbed
  • Most users find 4 to 8 inhalations are enough for them to feel effect
  • Similar to other forms of CBD administration, different users prefer different doses and dose frequency
vaping cbd oil

Ingesting CBD oil

Ingesting CBD is a popular method of dosing with suppliers selling capsules, pills, drinks, CBD candy and an array of other different edibles. When ingesting CBD, the onset of effects take a lot longer, sometimes 30-90 minutes as the CBD is first digested before reaching the bloodstream. For this reason, less CBD is utilised by the body when ingesting compared to inhaling or taking CBD under the tongue and a higher dose may be required to feel the same effect.

Most simple method of administrationLess effective than other methods, more CBD is required for the same effect
Variety of different products and flavours availableTakes longer to feel effects
Effects last for longerIf buying pre-made edibles, usually a more expensive option.

Take CBD with food or an empty stomach?

Taking CBD oil with food increases the bioavailability of the CBD, that means that it makes it easier for your body to absorb and more will end up in your system.

CBD gummies

CBD gummies, candies and edibles

How to dose with CBD gummies and edibles, their advantages over other methods and a review of the best CBD gummies for sale.

Smoking CBD-rich flowers

A new method of taking cbd is to smoke cannabis flowers or CBD bud which has been specially grown to contain a high amount of CBD and no THC (the chemical which causes the mild altering high).

This method of administration will not suit everyone as smoking plant matter can have negative effects on the respiratory system. However, it may suit those wishing to replicate the feeling of smoking cannabis without the psychoactive element and cognitive distortion that comes with it.

More effective than ingesting CBD and is also fast actingSmoking plant matter can have negative effects on the respiratory system
Ability to take CBD with no other added chemicals or agentsDifficult to calculate and take standardised dosages
Replicates the feeling of smoking cannabisIt is currently difficult to source CBD flowers in a lot of countries
CBD bud

How to use hemp buds / CBD bud

CBD-rich strains of cannabis are an exciting product of the CBD and medicinal cannabis movement. Hemp buds offer an alternative to CBD oil as a source of CBD that can be smoked, vaped or used to make edibles and ingested.

Taking CBD using a dry herb atomizer

A dry herb vaporizer or atomizer is a vaping device that heats up a herb or CBD flower rather than e-liquids or oils. This method of administration is one of the most effective as CBD is absorbed via blood vessels in your lungs without the potential risks resulting from the thinning agents in e-juice.

The drawbacks of vaping CBD with a dry herb atomizer is that is requires investment in a vaping device, a supply of CBD-rich flowers and a more involved learning process.

More effective than ingesting CBD and is also fast actingRequires investing in a vaping device
Ability to take CBD with no other added chemicals or agentsDifficult to calculate and take standardised dosages
The act of vaping is enjoyable for manyCurrently difficult to source CBD-flowers in many countries

Administration steps:

  1. Break apart or grind your CBD bud, use a herb grinder for best results, this increases the surface area exposed to heat
  2. Fill your dry herb atomizer with CBD flowers. Experiment with how much / how tightly you pack the chamber, don’t over pack and ensure the bottom of the chamber, closest to the heat source is covered with the ground flower. Your particular vape device may have more detailed instructions
  3. Follow your device’s user manual for steps to heat up. Again, vaping temperature is something you can experiment with, as it can affect the flavour as well as the intensity of its effects
  4. Inhale vapor for about 10 seconds in a slow controlled manner, then fill your mouth with fresh air and hold briefly before exhaling. This maximises the amount of CBD absorbed
  5. Similar to other forms of CBD administration, different users prefer different doses and dose frequency
  6. Keep the chamber, vapor path and screens clear of residue using a q-tip and cleaning alcohol

How to use CBD oil topicals

CBD topicals are creams, lotions, balms, massage oils and salves infused with CBD. They are applied directly to the body and once absorbed by the skin interact with the local CB2 receptors directly. CBD topicals are an unobtrusive way to treat localised pain points.

CBD topicals are unobtrusive and allow users to target specific pain pointsWhile suspected to be effective in treating many ailments, little clinical research has been done
Safe form of administration for those who are concerned with drug testsIt’s relatively unknown how much CBD is absorbed into the system
CBD Cream

CBD cream for pain

Regularly using a topical cannabidiol (CBD) cream is an effective source of targeted pain relief for many, especially for people suffering from multiple sclerosis, arthritis, or those who often have sore or inflamed muscles.

Administration steps:

  • Apply to clean skin, light exfoliation can also help
  • Don’t use in combination with other skin products
  • Contact with water or sweat can wash off the product before it has time to be absorbed by your skin
  • Use as much as directed according to your specific product, be liberal with application (test a small amount first to see if you have any adverse reactions)