Understanding CBD Dosage: Can You Use Too Much?

CBD dosage guide

According to a recent report from the World Health Organization, CBD has “no potential for abuse and no potential to produce dependence,” nor does it cause any major side effects. Image Credit: By Roxana Gonzalez on shutterstock.

Over the past year, CBD has become one of the most popular new trends in health and wellness. As more people begin to embrace its use, a common question has emerged among those trying to determine their optimal CBD dosage: can you use too much? 

The short answer is: probably not. But the reasons why are a bit more complicated.

First, a bit of background. Cannabidiol (CBD) is a non-toxic natural compound in the cannabis plant that works with our body’s own endocannabinoid system by regulating cell receptors (especially the CB2 receptor) that help control essential functions like mood, appetite, and sleep. Unlike some medical cannabis derivatives, hemp-derived CBD products contain only a negligible trace amount of the psychotropic compound THC — 0.3 percent at most — which means they will not get you high. 

CBD products are often touted for their ability to safely and effectively treat a wide range of health issues, from arthritis to psychosis to chronic pain to anxiety disorders. While ongoing research does appear to support many of these claims, at the moment the only Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved medication derived from CBD is for the treatment of epileptic seizures

Still, there don’t seem to be any significant negative consequences from using CBD for other purposes (though if you’re considering trying it, you should always check with your doctor to make sure it won’t interfere with your other medications). According to a recent report from the World Health Organization (WHO), CBD has “no potential for abuse and no potential to produce dependence,” nor does it cause any major side effects.

All the available evidence strongly suggests there’s little to fear from using too much CBD. But if you want to ensure you’re getting the most for your money — CBD products can be expensive, after all — you’ll still want to be careful about how much you use. 

How to Choose the Right CBD Dosage For Your Body

When it comes to choosing your CBD dosage, there’s no single correct answer. Your personal needs will depend on several factors, of which the two most important are 1) the medical condition you want to treat, and 2) your body weight. 

In general, though, a typical starting dose of CBD usually ranges from 1-6 mg of CBD for every 10 pounds of body weight. From there, you can adjust the dosage up or down by 2 mg, depending on how you’re feeling. It’s always best to start low and go slow, as the old doctor’s adage says. 

But what if for some reason you accidentally drank an entire bottle of CBD oil at once? Wouldn’t that get you an express trip to the emergency room?

Probably not. According to a 2011 study published in Medicinal Genomics, humans can tolerate high doses of CBD very well — up to 1,500 mg per day, even for extended time periods. Another study from Brazilian and Israeli researchers, which tested the effects of CBD on human epilepsy over the course of 4.5 months, found that “all patients and volunteers tolerated CBD very well and no signs of toxicity or serious side effects were detected on examination.” As with other cannabinoids, no fatal overdoses have ever been reported as a result of using CBD.

But like with any alternative treatment or supplement — even natural ones — some people do experience side effects. These are some of the most commonly reported side effects of using CBD:

  • Anxiety
  • Slight dip in blood pressure
  • Changes in appetite and weight
  • Changes in mood
  • Diarrhea
  • Dizziness
  • Drowsiness
  • Dry mouth
  • Nausea
  • Tiredness and lethargy
  • Vomiting

Ongoing research is looking into whether CBD can cause an increase in liver enzymes, which can be a symptom of liver inflammation or liver damage.

Bottom Line
Even high doses of CBD seem to be safe, but you need to pay attention to how your body reacts — and remember that taking more won’t necessarily increase the effectiveness of your CBD oil. Always talk to your doctor before using CBD to ensure it won’t cause harmful interactions with your other medications, and seek immediate medical advice if you feel unwell after using CBD.

Lynn Marie Morski, MD, Esq.
Lynn Marie Morski, MD, Esq.
Lynn Marie Morski, MD, Esq. is a board-certified family and sports medicine physician and attorney. She is also the host of the Plant Medicine Podcast, which aims to educate the medical community and interested patients on the power of plant medicines like CBD, cannabis, and beyond.

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