What's An Effective Dose Of CBD?

Heard buzz about the benefits of CBD-rich full-spectrum hemp oil and curious to try it out for yourself? The non-psychoactive oil can be used to help manage stress, regulate mood, and promote a sense of calm—and you don't need to take much of it to feel the effects.* Here, experts share their recommendations for making sure you're getting the proper dose.

How to decide how much to take at one time.

So what do the experts say about how much hemp oil to take? Functional medicine doctor Amy Shah, M.D., recommends starting at the lowest dose possible (that may be one gelcap or half of one dropper, depending on the product) and moving up as needed once you see how your body responds. Everyone will metabolize the supplement differently, so it's important to tailor a dose to your body. Stick with the starter amount for several days, and monitor how you feel before increasing. Be sure to follow the instructions on the label of the product you're taking, as well.

Remember that the milligrams per serving on a hemp oil extract will encompass all of the plant's compounds as a whole and may be much higher than that shown on a CBD isolate product. This is because hemp oil contains not only CBD but hundreds of compounds that have a way of working together to boost the product's overall benefits. Researchers call this synergy the entourage effect. "Beware that some [CBD] products contain THC, which can have other impacts and side effects on how you feel and could impair your judgment," adds integrative gastroenterologist Marvin Singh, M.D.

How to know if you're dosing correctly.

Hemp oil is generally safe, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). You're not at risk of overdosing by taking it, and you won't experience psychoactive effects from it even at higher doses. Like CBD, hemp oil may contain trace amounts of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the psychoactive component of cannabis. But the amount will be so minuscule (0.3% or less), it's not enough to come close to causing a high.

Minor side effects can occur from taking hemp oil, though, such as diarrhea or fatigue. And some people do have cannabis allergies, so be mindful of any reactions.

Hemp oil shows promise in helping manage the symptoms of stress, support relief from tension and aches, and enhance sleep.* But the dose required to achieve a calmer state of mind or help manage discomfort varies from person to person.* You can increase your dose gradually to achieve your desired results.

One way you can monitor what the right dose is for you is by keeping a symptom-and-relief log: Track your dosage over time and report any changes in how your body reacts. Doing so can help you pinpoint a dosage sweet spot.

Are there any times you shouldn't be taking hemp oil?

If you are pregnant, breastfeeding, or taking prescription medications or other supplements, consult with your doctor before trying hemp oil. Your body has to metabolize, or break down, the substances you consume, and a phytocannabinoid-rich hemp oil may have compounds that can slow down or speed up the way your body metabolizes some medications.

Talking to your doctor before taking hemp oil is especially important if any of your medications warn against consuming grapefruit and grapefruit juice while taking them. Interestingly enough, grapefruit and some cannabinoids affect the same family of enzymes (cytochrome P450) responsible for substance metabolization.

The bottom line.

Hemp oil extract may be your ticket to a more relaxed day or night.* Take baby steps with dosing to settle on an effective amount for you.

If you are pregnant, breastfeeding, or taking medications, consult with your doctor before starting a supplement routine. It is always optimal to consult with a health care provider when considering what supplements are right for you.

Article originally posted on MBG by Jennifer Chesak, medically reviewed by Bindiya Gandhi, M.D.