What the New Dosage Guidelines Mean for CBD

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This article reviews several studies on CBD dosages and what they mean for consumers and the industry.

For such a large industry, there’s still very little evidence-based safety guidance when it comes to cannabidiol (CBD). For example, 60% of American adults have tried CBD at some point and believe it has medicinal benefits, but there are no official dosage guidelines for the compound. Until now.

A new review recommends, for the first time, that the maximum daily CBD intake is up to 160 milligrams (mg) for “healthy” adults. For those trying to conceive, are pregnant, or breastfeeding, the report recommends a daily upper limit dose of 70 mg.

This study is yet another step forward to legitimizing the industry with health- and science-focused application recommendations. Likewise, by suggesting daily limits, CBD dietary supplements can more readily include adequate and specific labeling around dosage for the consideration of special populations. Let’s explore.

Dosage Based on Estimates

In recent years, CBD dosage has largely relied upon estimates. Often, the absence of peer-reviewed research meant that industry experts could only suggest users ingesting the cannabinoid to “start low and go slow.” The common sense is to start with a few drops and work up in 5 mg increments to what feels best.


As more people take the compound for mental and physical health benefits, however, the industry requires more specific dosage guidelines. By 2027, more than 900 million people worldwide will be using CBD. This demand is driven by the perceived advantageous impacts on conditions ranging from anxiety to pain management, depression, and insomnia. Moreover, consumers are drawn to these products for their potential to enhance overall well-being, promote relaxation, and alleviate stress.

Interestingly, science is beginning to back up these anecdotal benefits in the lab. For example, preliminary results from an ongoing clinical trial published in Nature December 2023 support the use of full-spectrum, high-CBD oil for anxiety treatment. In May, a peer-reviewed study by The American Nutrition Association also found that low doses of CBD are as effective as the sleep-inducing hormone melatonin in improving sleep quality. With emerging evidence that CBD assists myriad conditions, researchers have their sights set on dosage and the limits of safe daily ingestion.

Understanding the Daily Limit of CBD

In September 2023, Regulatory Toxicology and Pharmacology published a report with maximum oral intake limits for CBD. To reach its findings, the researchers carefully identified robust and dependable data from both human clinical trials and animal toxicity studies conducted under established guidelines.

Following a comprehensive assessment, the study proposed an “acceptable” daily intake value for the general population of 0.43 mg of CBD per kilogram of body weight. This is the equivalent of 30 mg/day for a 70-kg adult. Nonetheless, this value applies to all individuals, including sensitive groups like children, over their entire lifetimes. It also includes CBD intake from various sources including food.

Additionally, the study proposed an “upper limit intake” suggestion for different kinds of adults. For example, taking into account reproductive effects observed in animal studies, adults actively trying to conceive, are pregnant, or lactating count an upper limit value of 70 mg per day. For adults at risk of liver injury and erring on the side of caution, the study suggests using dietary supplements with clear and accurate labeling at no more than 100 mg per day. Lastly, excluding those at risk for liver injury from the target population, 160 mg per day can be considered a safe upper limit for adults.

Ultimately, the recommended maximum limits intend to protect two elements of health. First, the liver. CBD is non-toxic, non-addictive, and non-lethal. Nonetheless, CBD may raise levels of liver enzymes and this could result in liver damage. In most cases, this only happens with very high doses of CBD, hence the suggested upper daily limits in this study. Second, reproduction. Some studies indicate that CBD can result in developmental and reproductive toxicity in animals. Again, keeping daily intake levels below certain thresholds for specific populations intends to minimize such potential side effects.

Lessons for Producers, Consumers, and Regulators

This new dosage study will be very interesting to risk assessors and regulators in deciding the coming years in CBD. Likewise, it should inform the producers and consumers of this compound.

For producers, reliable output that’s tested for purity and potency is paramount. The nascent years of this industry have been marred by cowboy producers who don’t independently test the quality of their products. As a result, nearly half of the tested brands in this report delivered an incorrect amount of CBD as advertised on the label. With more people leveraging this compound for health and well-being benefits, this isn’t good enough. To this end, clear labeling around purity and potency is a must. Taken a step further, future labels could also suggest the amount of daily drops for an average consumer to reach their ideal dose.

For consumers, understand your health and what population you fit into. Then, dose accordingly. Buy reputable brands that publish their product test results. Brands that use organic hemp and high-quality production methods are also far less likely to contain byproducts like pesticides and heavy metals. In all, choose your products carefully with an eye on those who openly discuss green production, quality assurance, and third-party testing.

In conclusion, this study marks a significant milestone in establishing evidence-based dosage guidelines for CBD. The industry is maturing, and this sort of research promotes health- and science-first decision-making. Let’s look forward to more research like this which protects the consumer, guides the industry, and informs the regulators.

About the Author

Scott Mazza is the co-founder and COO of Vitality CBD (Buffalo, NY). Hailing from a background in finance, Scott is well-versed in the benefits of hemp and is passionate about providing people with a natural alternative to pharmaceuticals.