How to Try CBD Oil for the First Time

Aimée Shunney, ND

Cannabidiol (CBD) oil is becoming a popular natural treatment for conditions like anxiety, insomnia, and pain. When you’re first trying CBD oil, start by picking the type of CBD product you want to use. Then, choose the right dose for your needs. However, make sure that you’re using CBD oil safely by first checking with your doctor.

Deciding How to Take It

  1. 1

    Use a topical CBD oil if you want to treat pain at the site. Massage the CBD oil into your skin if you’re treating aches and pains. Apply a few drops of the oil to the palm of your hand, then rub it into the spot you’re treating. Add more oil as needed to treat the entire area.[1]

    • You may notice pain relief instantly, but it might take 30 minutes for the CBD oil to start working. However, keep in mind that CBD oil may not work for you.
    • It’s safe to use as much topical oil as you need to get relief.
    • Topical CBD oil may work for up to 5 hours.[2]
  2. 2

    Use a tincture for quick relief of anxiety, insomnia, or widespread pain. A tincture may start working in as little as 15-30 minutes. Measure out 1 dose of tincture using the eyedropper that came with your product and squeeze the drops under your tongue. Hold the tincture under your tongue for 30 seconds before swallowing it.[3]

    • Your tincture may come in a spray bottle. If this is the case, apply 1 spritz to the inside of each cheek.
    • Tinctures often come in flavors, so look for 1 that appeals to you.
    • If CBD oil works for you, the benefits of the tincture should last for up to 2-4 hours.

    Variation: If you’re using edible CBD oil, it’s safe to squeeze it directly under your tongue. Hold it under your tongue for 30-60 seconds, then swallow it. However, keep in mind that it may taste like grass and won’t absorb quite as well as a tincture.[4]

  3. 3

    Take CBD oil capsules for an easy, convenient option. CBD oil capsules ensure you get the same dosage each time, but they may take longer to work since they have to go through your digestive system. Read the label on your CBD capsules to find the right dose. Then, take your CBD capsules as directed.[5]

    • If CBD oil works for you, the capsules may start working in 30 minutes. However, it could take as long as 2-4 hours to feel the results. Typically, the benefits of CBD oil capsules last for 4-6 hours.[6]
  4. 4

    Experiment with edibles if you can wait 2-4 hours to feel the effects. CBD edibles are a fun, easy option for trying CBD oil. While they take longer to work than other delivery methods, they also provide longer-lasting effects. Choose CBD edibles that are tasty to you. Check the label on the product to ensure you consume the right serving size.[7]

    • Serving sizes may be small for some edibles. For instance, 1-2 gummies or candies is a normal serving size for CBD treats.
    • If CBD oil works for you, edibles may provide benefits for up to 4-6 hours.

Finding the Right Dose

  1. 1

    Check the dosage instructions if you’re using a commercial product. Read the label on your CBD product to get the dosage recommendation for the product you’re using. Then, follow the manufacturer’s dosage recommendations to use the product safely.[8]

    • If there’s a dosage range, start with the lowest recommended dose and slowly increase your dose until you find one that works for you.
    • If your product container doesn’t have a dosage recommendation, visit the company’s website or check with a local dispensary.

    Variation: If you’re having trouble finding the right dose for your product, look for a CBD dosage calculator online. Open the calculator and enter how many mL of oil the bottle has, how many mg of CBD oil the product contains, and how much you weigh. The calculator will give you an estimated dosage.[9]

  2. 2

    Experiment to find the best dose for your needs. There’s no standard dose for CBD oil, and everyone’s body is different. You may need to try different dosage amounts to find what works for you. Start with the lowest recommended dose for the product you’re using to see how it affects you. Then, slowly increase your dose until you find what works for you. [10]

    • Since the bioavailability of CBD oil can vary, it’s likely that you’ll absorb some products better than others. You may need to adjust your dosage depending on the product you’re using.


    Dr. Aimée Gould Shunney is a Licensed Naturopathic Doctor at Santa Cruz Integrative Medicine in Santa Cruz, California where she specializes in women’s health and hormone balancing. She also consults with various companies in the natural products industry including CV Sciences, makers of PlusCBD Oil. Dr. Aimée educates consumers, retailers, and healthcare providers about CBD oil through written articles, webinars, podcasts, and conferences nationwide. Her work has been featured at the American Academy for Anti-Aging Medicine, the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians Conference, and on Fox News. She earned her ND from the National College of Naturopathic Medicine in 2001.

    Aimée Shunney, ND

    Aimée Shunney, ND
    Licensed Naturopathic Doctor

    Our Expert Agrees: When you’re first trying CBD, be prepared to adjust your dose if you take CBD and you don’t notice many effects. There’s not a huge amount of CBD in most full-spectrum hemp products, so don’t be afraid to experiment until you find what works for you. If that still isn’t effective, try a different formulation.

  3. 3

    Use the smallest dosage that provides the benefits you want. Fortunately, you won’t overdose on CBD oil, so you don’t need to worry about taking too much. However, there are side effects that can occur with high dosages, such as stomach aches, irritability, and extreme fatigue. To help you get the benefits you want with minimal risk of side effects, stick to the lowest dose that works for you.[11]

    • It’s unlikely that you’ll develop a tolerance to CBD oil. However, it’s okay to increase your dose if you feel like you’re no longer noticing the benefits of the CBD.
  4. 4

    Ask your doctor for the best dose to treat a medical condition. Your doctor may be your best resource for helping your find the right CBD oil dose for you. Talk to your doctor about what you want to use CBD oil to treat. Then, ask them for their dosage recommendation for your unique needs.[12]

    • Your doctor may recommend a brand or delivery method that’s best for your needs.

Using CBD Oil Safely

  1. 1

    Talk to your doctor before using CBD oil. While CBD oil is generally safe, it’s not right for everyone. It can interact with some medications and might worsen certain conditions. Check with your doctor before using any CBD products to make sure they’re safe for you.[13]

    • Explain what you’re using the CBD oil to treat so your doctor can give you their best advice.
    • Tell your doctor about any medications you’re already taking and if you’re pregnant or nursing.

    Warning: CBD oil may interact with certain blood thinners. If you’re taking a blood thinner, avoid CBD products unless your doctor approves them.

  2. 2

    Call your doctor if you experience side effects. Although it’s rare, you might experience side effects while using CBD oil, especially when taking a high dose. These side effects usually go away quickly, so you don’t need to worry. However, it’s best to check with your doctor if you notice the following side effects: [14]

    • Drowsiness
    • Fatigue
    • Dry mouth
    • Diarrhea
    • Reduced Appetite
  3. 3

    Buy products from a reputable supplier. Before you purchase a CBD product, research the supplier to make sure they have good reviews and a professional website. In addition, review any third-party lab reports to ensure you know exactly what’s in the product you’re using. Because CBD is not FDA-regulated, it’s important to use your best judgement when selecting the product you want to try.[15]

    • If you have friends who use CBD oil, ask them which products they recommend.
    • Your doctor or pharmacist may also be able to recommend a product for you.
  4. 4

    Use CBD oil at home until you know how it affects you. CBD will not get you high, but it could make you feel very tired. You may even fall asleep easily. When you first start using CBD oil, choose a time when you know you’ll be safe at home and don’t have any pressing responsibilities.[16]

    • For instance, you don’t want to try it at work and end up asleep at your desk.

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  • Although CBD oil is legal in many areas, it’s still illegal in some locations. Check the laws where you live before purchasing CBD products.[17]


  • Always check with your doctor before using CBD oil to make sure it’s safe for you. This is especially important if you’re taking any medications or have a medical condition.[18]

About This Article

Article SummaryX

Cannabidiol, commonly known as CBD, is a compound found in cannabis. Unlike THC, the compound in cannabis that makes you feel high, CBD doesn’t cause a high feeling. Some research suggests that CBD oil can help treat conditions like anxiety, insomnia, and mild pain. If you’re interested in trying CBD oil for the first time, start with a low dose, like 10 milligrams per day, and gradually increase your dose until you feel the effects. You can eat CBD edibles, use a CBD oil tincture, or take CBD capsules. The effects from CBD edibles and capsules can take around 2 to 4 hours to kick in. A CBD oil tincture can provide quick relief in as little as 15 to 30 minutes. Our expert recommends starting with liquid CBD oil. Take CBD oil at home the first time you try it in case it makes you feel drowsy. Always buy your CBD products from a reputable seller since CBD oil isn’t regulated. You should also talk to your doctor before trying CBD oil to make sure it won’t interfere with any medications you’re taking.

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