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How to Take CBD – A User Guide

User Guide to CBD

“How do I take CBD?” is probably the most frequent of the FAQs. And with good reason, it is hard to find the right product, and the right dose for you without good direction.

Simply put, you find the perfect CBD product by experimenting with the Three Ds:

  • Dose: how many milligrams do you need, both per serving and total for the day.
  • Delivery method: how the cannabinoids get into your blood stream, how quickly they work and how long they last.
  • Day time (or time of day): how to time the servings throughout the day, according to your needs.

We can point to many potential benefits of CBD, but whether it works for you depends on using these dials to pinpoint your perfect dose. And, if you need a little help navigating this process, we offer free consultations to get you started. 

The table above is an easy guide to how CBD products work, including dosing and use guidance, use this as a reference when thinking about how quickly you want it to work (the “Onset”) how long you want it to last (the “Duration”) and how many milligrams you want to take (the ”Dose”). 


As many healthcare providers will attest, CBD and other cannabinoid products are hard to prescribe. The “right” dose will vary from person to person, and may even fluctuate as time goes on. Here, experimenting is key. Starting low and slow is always advisable, increasing the dose and/or servings over several days or weeks.

  • 5mg – 10mg is considered a very low dose and may be sufficient for lower-level concerns
  • 20mg – 40mg is an average dose, many people find general support at this level
  • 50mg – 100mg is often used for more persistent issues
  • 100mg – 200mg is not unusual for people with serious concerns

Your ideal dose, including the total milligrams for the day and the milligrams per serving, will depend on your individual body chemistry and metabolism, unique genetics, weight, and the layout of your endocannabinoid system–everyone’s is a little different. Combining different products can help achieve different results.

Delivery Method

This refers to the way cannabinoids get into your bloodstream and travel throughout your body. The table above lays out common delivery methods, such as ingested, sublingual, and topical. The delivery method will influence the product’s onset, duration, and distribution throughout the body. You may also find that different methods have different optimal doses.


Consider the how and why you are taking the product: ingested delivery methods, like capsules and edibles, take longer to have an effect than sublingual delivery methods like tinctures, which are absorbed under the tongue more quickly. On the other hand, sublingual delivery methods tend to wear off more quickly. 

So, think about when you want to experience the effects and how long you want them to last to help decide the best time for you to take CBD oil. If you are taking CBD capsules, it can take up to one to two hours to feel the effects. It’s also important to consider your daily schedule and wellness routine, and when it would be most-convenient to incorporate CBD into your lifestyle.


The duration refers to how long the dose has meaningful action in the body. It is affected by many factors, like your metabolism and other medications, but the delivery method plays the primary role in determining how long each dose lasts. 

Depending on the delivery method used, the duration of CBD’s effect will vary. CBD in the form of edibles and capsules can last for four to eight hours while tinctures can last from 45 minutes to three hours. Ingested CBD typically lasts longer than tinctures (four to eight hours versus 30 min to three hours), but it also has a longer onset time (30 minutes to two hours) which may affect when you consume it. Although tinctures have a quick onset in comparison (15 to 45 minutes), its duration may not be suitable if you need the effect to last longer.

Time of Day

Generally, we advise that you use CBD when you need it—if stress shows up as soon as you get to the office, try a fast-acting dose of CBD+CBG Hemp Tincture on the spot. Taking an Organic Hemp Capsule after a hard workout can help stave off soreness the next day, or a Deep Dreams gummy before bedtime to help you fall asleep quickly.*

Because everyone’s biochemistry is unique, some people will feel energized and others may feel more relaxed after using CBD. Generally, lower doses will feel energizing while higher doses more relaxing, so plan the dose and time of day according to the effect you want.

Consuming a low dose of CBD in the mornings or afternoons can provide a quick pick-me-up, while a higher dose in the evening is better for those who need help unwinding or relaxing before bedtime so they can wake up feeling refreshed.

A dose that feels supportive on a daily basis might include a combination of delivery methods, milligrams, and cannabinoids to address various concerns. For example, a 30mg capsule in the morning, a 20mg CBD+CBG gummy before the afternoon meetings, and 1/2 dropper of tincture for fast relaxation before bed.

Experimenting to Find Your Dose

The best advice is to start low and go slow. “Low” typically includes 5-15mg servings, but for bigger issues, low could start at 30-40mg per serving, with 50-100mg per day as a supportive dose. Increasing the dose by 5-10mg every week until you notice the desired effects is a good strategy. 

Another trick to try: combine different delivery methods to dial in the most effective onset and duration for your needs.

How to Take Tinctures

Tinctures provide sublingual absorption of cannabinoids, meaning the tiny capillaries in your mouth start getting the compound into your bloodstream quickly and without waiting on your digestive tract. 

  • Using an oral mist or a dropper, tincture is applied directly under the tongue and held there for 60-90 seconds.

Our Hemp Tinctures come in a variety of flavors and sizes, with consistent potency across all products. With graduated droppers that clearly indicate ¼, ½, ¾ and full serving sizes, tincture makes it easy to find the perfect dose, and are a great option for multi-uxer household  use in beverages or applied directly under the tongue.

How to Take CBD Capsules

Upstate’s line of CBD capsules, including the only USDA Certified Organic Hemp Capsules available, are formulated in 30mg, 50mg, 75mg and 100mg dosages, and are available in both Full Spectrum and THC-free options. Easy to dose and simple, they contain only two pure ingredients: organic coconut oil and either full spectrum hemp extract or pharmaceutical grade crystalline CBD isolate. 

Many of our capsules offer multiple cannabinoids in a variety of ratios. The Entourage Effect suggests there may be greater benefit from combining cannabinoids, and may even need a lower total number of milligrams required. Check out our Video about Full Spectrum benefits and the Entourage Effect at the bottom of this post!

  • Select a dose to start, usually 30mg or 50mg. The capsule will take 45-90 min to start working, so plan to take it accordingly.
  • Taking the capsule with a fatty food, like peanut butter, avocado, or coconut oil will increase the bioavailability. 
  • Wait 2-3 hours to determine if this dose is sufficient. If not, experiment with a higher initial dose, increasing the frequency of the dose, or supplementing with another delivery method (like a 10mg gummy or ½ dropper of tincture).
  • If you have serious concerns, consider a free consultation to help find a dose you will notice.

How to Use CBD Topicals

Topicals are externally applied CBD-infused lotions, balms, patches and roll-ons that deliver cannabinoids through application directly to the skin. Depending on dosage, the effects can last form 1 – 24 hours.

Upstate’s line of topicals is handcrafted with no synthetic fragrances, no petroleum based products, and no animal based ingredients.

  • Apply topicals to the area where you most need them, in sufficient quantity to cover it, as often as you’d like. 

How to Take CBD Gummies 

CBD gummies are not only convenient but also delicious. Our CBD gummies are available in a variety of strengths. Our gummies are made with organic ingredients and come in a various doses and formulations for maximum convenience.

Choose a gummy in the appropriate dose (or stack them to find your sweet spot). Pop the gummy in your mouth and let it dissolve for a little while, allowing the CBD to be absorbed by the tiny blood vessels in your mouth (similar to CBD Tincture). Then, chew it up and swallow as usual.

How to Use Nano-encapsulated Beverages

Our nano-encapsulated CBD and CBG beverages use nano-technology which is just a fancy way of saying CBD that has been broken down into tiny particle sizes and wrapped in a protective layer that makes it easier for your body to absorb. This allows your body to absorb the CBD up to six times faster than traditional products, with 90% greater bioavailability.

That means, each can has only 6mg of cannabinoids, but the effects feel like a 25-30mg dose. Highly bioavailable, highly functional, and highly delicious, our sodas and seltzers are a great way to refresh, unwind, and elevate all at once!

  • Pick your favorite flavor and pop it open! Start with one can, the nano action will help you feel the effects quickly, and you can decide your level of mellow. 
  • Try mixing with your favorite juice, syrup, shrub or muddle herbs for a truly lifted mocktail. Or swap out the seltzer in your favorite cocktail for double the fun. 
Kelsy Raap, Director of Education & Outreach and the Upstate Elevator staff explain the benefits of Full Spectrum CBD.

*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

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