How Much CBD Should a First Time User Start With?

New to CBD? This article contains some essential tips to help you kickstart your journey.

doctor with stethoscope prescribing cbd to a patient

Key takeaways:

  • Cannabidiol (CBD) is a non-intoxicating chemical compound found in cannabis, also known as hemp. People use CBD to treat chronic pain, anxiety, depression, epilepsy, sleep disorders, and other medical conditions. 
  • The amount of CBD a first-time user should start with depends on different factors such as weight, desired effects, the type of CBD, and the route of administration. 
  • If you experience any serious side effects after you start using CBD, stop immediately and consult your doctor. 

Cannabidiol (CBD) is a naturally occurring chemical compound found in Cannabis sativa, also known as hemp. Unlike tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), another chemical compound in cannabis, CBD is non-intoxicating. 

According to a 2018 study, people commonly take CBD to treat medical conditions such as:

  • Chronic pain 
  • Anxiety 
  • Depression 
  • Epilepsy 
  • Sleep disorders
  • Post-traumatic stress syndrome (PTSD)
  • Multiple sclerosis (MS) 
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Alzheimer’s disease 

As CBD continues to gain popularity, many first-time users find themselves navigating uncharted waters. The question of how much CBD to start with is ever-looming, and that’s why this article is here to provide guidance. 

What dosage of CBD should you take for the first time

Aside from Epidiolex, which is approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the treatment of seizures, other CBD products—which may come in different forms like CBD oil, tinctures, or gummies—do not have a recommended dosage. 

The general rule when using CBD for the first time is to start low and go slow. It’s important to start with a low dose so you can observe the effects and how your body reacts to it. 

For example, you can start with 10 milligrams (mg) of CBD daily and increase it by 5 mg after three to four days. If you notice any adverse side effects, reduce your dose and speak with a healthcare professional if side effects persist. It is, in fact, advisable to speak with a healthcare professional before trying out any dosing of CBD.

You can also take advantage of online CBD dose calculators like the one on The AI algorithm recommends a personalized dosage based on the information you provide. 

Factors that determine how much CBD you should take

Certain factors play a role in how much CBD you need, which is why you should speak to your doctor before using CBD.

Your doctor will help you work out an ideal dose based on factors like the following:


Individuals who have more weight may require a higher dose of CBD to experience the same benefits that a lighter person might get with a lower dose. This is because people who weigh more often have a greater volume of blood, which lowers the concentration of CBD in the body.

Desired effects

Different medical conditions require varying doses of CBD. Research shows that 10 mg of CBD per day can improve symptoms associated with bowel disease. For Parkinson’s disease, you may need to take at least 75 mg of CBD daily to see results. 

The type of CBD

There are different types of CBD extracts:

  • CBD isolate: A pure form of CBD with none of the chemical compounds found in the cannabis plant. 
  • Full-spectrum CBD: This contains CBD and other cannabis compounds, including THC (less than 0.3%). 
  • Broad-spectrum CBD: It is similar to full-spectrum CBD. The only difference is that it doesn’t contain THC. 

You may need lower doses when using full-spectrum and broad-spectrum CBD compared to CBD isolate due to the entourage effect. The entourage effect is a strongly supported theory that CBD is more effective when accompanied by other cannabis compounds.

Route of Administration

Vaping CBD produces a near-instantaneous effect because the CBD enters the bloodstream via the gaseous exchange in the lungs. This also means that most of the CBD you take is absorbed by your body. 

In contrast, when you take CBD orally (think gummies and capsules), it has to pass through the digestive tract first. During this process, some CBD is broken down and lost.

How to calculate CBD dosage

Calculating CBD dosage can be tricky, especially when dealing with oils and tinctures (CBD dissolved in alcohol). You’ll need a bit of math to get it right. 

Let’s say you want to take 15 mg of CBD, and you bought a 50-milliliter (ml) CBD oil that contains 1,500 mg of CBD. When you divide the CBD content of the bottle by the volume, you will discover that each ml contains 30 mg of CBD. This means you’ll need to take 0.5 ml of the oil to get 15 mg of CBD. 

Many high-quality CBD oils come with a calibrated dropper. However, if you purchase an oil that doesn’t have one, you can always get a calibrated dropper on e-commerce sites like Amazon.  

How much CBD is too much?

Humans can tolerate high doses of CBD, up to 1,500 mg daily. However, CBD tolerance varies from person to person. What might be too much for you might be moderate for another person, and vice versa. 

The primary way to know if you’re taking too much CBD is if you notice side effects such as:

Helpful tips for a CBD newbie

Before you start exploring CBD and its potential benefits, keep in mind that:

  • It’s best to speak to a doctor before using CBD, especially if you’re on any medications. 
  • Most CBD products are not regulated. It’s up to you to do your due diligence to find high-quality products. 
  • You should start with a low dose of CBD to see how well you tolerate it.  
  • CBD can cause drowsiness, so you shouldn’t use it if you’re performing or about to perform a task that requires mental concentration. 
  • It’s not advisable to use CBD if you’re pregnant or breastfeeding.
  • CBD is not legal everywhere. Check the laws governing where you live before purchasing CBD products. 

What to do if you experience side effects after taking CBD

Most people tolerate CBD well. Side effects are not common and are rarely serious. If you experience adverse side effects after taking CBD, reduce your intake. 

If the side effects persist or are severe, discontinue CBD use and consult a healthcare provider. They can help determine if CBD is the problem or if there’s an underlying medical condition.