How to take CBD oil: Your Guide to Dosage and Methods

Alternaleaf Team
Written by
Alternaleaf Team
Jun 17, 2024
Last updated:
Jun 17, 2024

What is CBD Oil?

CBD is a natural substance derived from the cannabis plant. In recent years, CBD has exploded in popularity, along with another cannabis derivative, THC, mainly thanks to its wide range of medicinal benefits for complaints including pain, insomnia and anxiety. 

CBD can be mixed with a carrier oil, like coconut, olive or hemp seed oil, to make CBD oil.

If you’re just getting started with CBD oil, read on to learn about the various methods of using CBD, how to use CBD oil effectively to meet your needs, and how to work out which dose to take.

Methods of Taking CBD Oil

The most common way to take CBD oil is to administer a few drops underneath your tongue (the exact amount will depend on your required dose). You then hold it there for a minute or so before swallowing it. This method results in fast absorption and takes effect within 15 - 30 minutes.

Other ways to take CBD oil include:

  • Adding it to a drink, like coffee or milkshake
  • Mixing it with food to disguise its taste
  • Eating a CBD edible, like a gummy, or taking a CBD oil capsule
  • Applying a CBD cream or balm directly onto the skin
  • Blending CBD oil with skincare or cosmetic products

Understand the Difference Between CBD Oil Consumption Methods

Ingesting (swallowing) CBD has a systemic effect, which means the CBD enters the bloodstream and works throughout the body. This method works quickly and is effective for treating symptoms like anxiety and generalised pain.

You can apply CBD oil topically in a cream or balm to target a specific area of the body, for example, massaging it into an aching joint or sore muscle. Topical CBD does not get absorbed into the bloodstream.

And finally, CBD can be inhaled, either from a pre-filled cartridge used in a vape device or e-cigarette or through a dried hemp flower vaporiser. Like oral consumption, inhaled CBD also has a systemic effect on the body. Important: You must never vaporise and inhale oral CBD oil, as the carrier oil is harmful when taken in this way. Always use a formulation specifically intended for inhalation.

CBD Oil Dosage

If you’re new to CBD, understanding dosages can be confusing, as there are no set rules, and the correct dose can vary from person to person.

Some of the factors that will influence your ideal dosage include:

  • Weight and body size - larger people can typically tolerate higher doses than smaller people
  • Metabolism - those with a fast metabolism may need higher or more frequent doses
  • Your medical condition or symptoms - for example, you might require higher doses for pain relief than you would for anxiety
  • The strength or ‘potency’ of the CBD oil
  • Whether you are new to CBD or have built up some tolerance over time
  • The CBD oil absorption technique, as some ways of taking CBD work more quickly than others

Best Practices for Taking CBD Oil

When taking CBD oil for wellness, it’s always best to start with a low dosage and gradually increase until you find the minimum dose that gives you the effect you’re looking for. 

CBD oil comes in different strengths, so it’s important to calculate your desired dose according to the potency of the oil. Some people are more sensitive to the effects of CBD, so start cautiously. Our advice is always to start low and go slow.

Understanding CBD Oil Potency

The amount of CBD you take will change depending on the strength or potency of your CBD oil. The available strengths are typically 5%, 10%, 15%, 20%, 30%, and 40%. The percentage indicates how many milligrams (mg) of CBD are in each millilitre (ml) of oil.

5% contains 5mg of CBD per ml, 10% contains 10mg of CBD per ml, and so on.

If you are new to CBD oil, starting with a 5% oil is advisable. At the other end of the spectrum, more experienced users may take 30-40% CBD oil, which is only suitable for people used to taking higher amounts of CBD regularly.

Most people will settle on a potency somewhere in between these two strengths.

Beginners Guide to CBD Oil Dosage

A standard CBD oil dropper holds 0.5mls. You can calculate how many mg of CBD are in each drop by checking the strength labelled on the bottle. Although you should always follow your doctor’s advice, here is a general idea of typical dosages. 

New users

Beginners are advised to start at around 1-5mg three times a day. This is a small dose, but it may be sufficient to manage mild complaints for new users who have a low tolerance for CBD. You can then increase the dose by 2-5mg at a time until you experience the desired effects.

Tip: It’s standard practice to take three doses per day - but not always. However, if you take CBD for insomnia, for example, you might only need a bedtime dose. If you take CBD oil to settle anxiety before a triggering situation, you may only need to take it as and when required.

Moderate users

20-40mg is the most common CBD dose, and users typically fall within this range.

Experienced users

Experienced users may find that they build up a tolerance to CBD and subsequently need to increase their dose to achieve the same effect. Some medical conditions may also require higher doses of CBD; for example, research has shown that anywhere between 150mg and 600mg of CBD is most beneficial for treating insomnia.1

Tips for Effective CBD Oil Use

  • Low doses of CBD oil tend to have stimulating effects, while larger doses can have a sedative effect
  • You can maximise the benefits of CBD oil by storing it in a cool, dry place, preferably in its original packaging
  • Always source your CBD oil from a reputable supplier using a prescription from a specialist doctor

Safety Precautions 

  • Never inhale CBD oil through a vape or e-cigarette unless it is a formulation specifically intended for inhalation
  • CBD takes longer to take full effect when ingested through edibles, so take this into account when deciding on dosage
  • Although CBD is usually well-tolerated, you may need to reduce your dose if you start to experience unwanted side effects, like diarrhoea, appetite changes, tiredness, vomiting or sleepiness.

Is THC More Suitable for Some Conditions?

Yes, THC can be more suitable than CBD for certain conditions. When THC and CBD are taken together, their effects can be enhanced through a phenomenon known as the "entourage effect," where the combined cannabinoids work synergistically with terpenes and other compounds within cannabis to amplify their therapeutic benefits. This combination can be particularly effective for managing chronic pain, severe nausea, and muscle spasticity, among other conditions.

THC oil is only available via prescription through clinics like Alternaleaf. This ensures that patients receive proper medical supervision and guidance regarding dosage and usage, minimising the risk of adverse effects and ensuring optimal therapeutic outcomes. If you're considering THC oil for pain management, we encourage you to consult with a medical professional to determine if it's the right option for you.


There is no one standard CBD oil dose that suits every user. A person’s weight, metabolism, medical condition and method of consumption can all impact ideal dosing.

We always advise starting on a low dose and increasing slowly and cautiously until you find the minimum effective dose for your needs. Remember to consider the potency of your CBD oil when calculating how much to take, and reduce your intake immediately if you start to experience unwanted side effects.

By working closely with medical professionals and utilising other medical products like, THC oil, available legally and exclusively through clinics like Alternaleaf, individuals can access comprehensive care and guidance tailored to their specific needs

In some cases, THC on its own or taken alongside CBD can be more suitable. To access THC oil and discuss transitioning from CBD to THC, consult your Alternaleaf specialist doctor.