Heard buzz about the benefits of full-spectrum hemp oil and curious to try it out for yourself? The oil can be used to help manage stress, balance mood, and promote a sense of calm—and you don't need to take much of it to feel the effects.* Here, experts share their recommendations for making sure you're getting the proper dose.
How to decide how much to take at one time.
So what do the experts say about how much hemp oil to take at a time? Functional medicine doctor Amy Shah, M.D., recommends starting at the lowest dose possible (that may be one gelcap or half of one dropper, depending on the product) and moving up as needed once you see how your body responds. Everyone will metabolize the supplement differently, so it's important to tailor the dose to your body. Stick with the starter amount for several days, and monitor how you feel before increasing. Be sure to follow the instructions on the label of the product you're taking, as well.
Remember that the serving of a hemp oil extract will encompass all of the plant's compounds as a whole (and may identify the amount of CBD within each serving, for example) and thus, may be higher than that of a CBD isolate product. This is because hemp oil contains not only hemp-derived CBD but an array of other compounds (other cannabinoids, plus terpenes, flavonoids, etc.) that have a way of working together to boost the product's overall benefits.* Researchers call this synergy the entourage effect.
How to know if you're dosing correctly.
Hemp oil is generally safe, according to the World Health Organization (WHO) and a growing body of clinical research evidence. You shouldn't experience psychoactive effects from it, even at higher doses, since industrial hemp legally needs to contain minuscule (0.3% or less by dry weight) amounts of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), a psychoactive phytocannabinoid native to the cannabis plant. And European hemp has stricter THC requirements (0.2% or less).
Minor side effects may occur in a subset of individuals from taking hemp oil, though, such as tiredness (some people consider this a benefit) or loose stools. And some people may have sensitivities to the cannabis plant generally, although that's uncommon. With any new supplement, be mindful of how you're feeling and partner with your healthcare provider.
Hemp oil shows promise in helping ease stress, promote a positive mood, and even enhance sleep.* But the amount required to achieve a calmer state of mind varies from person to person.* As with most botanicals, individual responses vary. You can increase the amount you take gradually to achieve your desired results.
One way you can monitor what the right amount is for you is by keeping a hemp diary: Track your dosage over time and report any changes in how your body reacts. Doing so can help you pinpoint a sweet spot personalized to you.
Are there any times you shouldn't be taking hemp oil?
If you are pregnant, breastfeeding, or taking medications or other supplements, consult with your doctor before trying hemp oil. Your body has to metabolize, or break down, the substances you consume, and a phytocannabinoid-rich hemp oil may have compounds that can slow down or speed up the way your body metabolizes some medications.
Talking to your doctor before taking hemp oil is especially important if any of your medications warn against consuming grapefruit and grapefruit juice while taking them. Interestingly enough, grapefruit and some cannabinoids affect the same family of enzymes (cytochrome P450) responsible for substance metabolism.
The bottom line.
Hemp oil may be your ticket to a more relaxed day or night.* Take baby steps with dosing to settle on an effective amount for you.
Jennifer Chesak is a freelance medical journalist with bylines in several national publications, including Washington Post, Healthline, Prevention, Greatist, Runner’s World, and more. Her coverage focuses on chronic health issues, fitness, nutrition, women’s medical rights, and the scientific evidence around health and wellness trends. She earned her Master of Science in journalism from Northwestern’s Medill School. In addition to reporting, she also serves as a freelance manuscript editor and medical fact-checker. She teaches copyediting and media studies at Belmont University and several writing courses through the Porch Writers’ Collective in Nashville, and she is the managing editor for the literary magazine Shift.