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CBD Oil Strengths Explained: What Does 500mg Even Mean?

5 min read

CBD Oil Strengths Explained: What Does 500mg Even Mean?

5 min read

Deciphering a CBD bottle can often feel like you’ve been transported back to a high school maths lesson. 

Obscure labelling can make newcomers reluctant to pick up a bottle and give it a try. 

What if I buy the wrong one? 

What if it’s too strong? 

CBD oil strengths explained

What if it isn’t strong enough? 

These are all very common and completely legitimate concerns. CBD oil is an investment, and you don’t want to waste money on something too strong for regular use or too weak to be effective.

Having CBD oil strengths explained is necessary to make sure you make the most of your CBD.

If you’re confused by CBD strengths, read on to learn how to read your CBD oil label and how to choose the right strength for your needs.

What's in this Guide?

CBD Oil Strengths Explained: Percentage vs Mg/Ml

The majority of CBD brands will display the strength of the CBD oil either as a percentage or in mg. Mg stands for milligrams or a thousandth of a gram. 

This tells you the concentration of the CBD in the bottle.

CBD isn’t the only substance in the bottle. It will also contain other cannabinoids, terpenes and carrier oil

So, if a CBD oil is marked as 5%, this means that 5% of the contents are CBD, and the remaining 95% is made up of other cannabinoids, terpenes and carrier oil.

To work out the weight of the CBD, you would need to know the volume of the bottle. For example, for a 10ml bottle containing 5% CBD, this would be 0.5ml. 

This is the equivalent of 500mg.

If the label states the oil contains 1000mg of CBD of a total of 10ml; then this could also be marked as 10%. But if you increase the total bottle contents to 20ml, then a 10% oil would only contain 500mg per 20ml.

The strength of the oil isn’t the only thing to consider; you should also look at the dosing system. 

For example, does the bottle have a spray top or a dropper? 

Knowing how to calculate the CBD contents of a single dose is also important, as this will help you determine your dosing schedule.

Read more: How to take CBD oil

What Strength Is 500mg CBD oil?

Many newcomers to CBD start with a 500mg strength oil. A single drop of CBD is usually around 0.05ml, so a 10ml bottle will contain 200 drops. 

Therefore, a single drop will contain 2.5mg of CBD oil.

Most people start by taking 20-30mg of CBD per day. This would require an individual to take 8-12 drops of CBD. The maximum recommended daily dose of CBD is 70mg

This would be 28 drops of CBD.

What’s The Difference Between 500mg And 1000mg CBD oil?

Expanding on the example above, a 10ml bottle of CBD oil containing 1000mg of CBD would offer 5mg per 0.05ml drop

Thus, to achieve a daily dose of 20-30 mg, you would have to take between 4-6 drops.

To stay within the daily recommended limit of 70mg, you would have to make sure you don’t exceed more than 14 drops of this CBD oil.

A 1000mg CBD is twice as strong as a 500mg CBD oil, provided the total contents of the bottle is the same. 

However, this could be the same strength if the 500mg bottle contains a total of 10ml and the 1000mg bottle contains a total of 20ml.

CBD oil strengths explained
It's probably best to start off with a lower strength if you're new to CBD, because you can simply take more drops if you want a higher dose

How Do You Know What Strength CBD Oil To Buy?

When choosing your CBD oil strength, consider your goals and how you plan to take the oil. 

You should also consider your height and weight, sex, age and experience with CBD

While research is still limited, these factors may influence how your body processes CBD.

Height and weight

The taller and heavier you are, the more CBD you will need to take to experience the effects. 

This is because the CBD passes through your bloodstream to reach cannabinoid receptors throughout the body. 

If you are larger, you’ll have more blood volume, which means the CBD will be more diluted in your body.


Your metabolism plays an important part in processing and breaking down the CBD. As metabolism slows as we get older, CBD will stick around in your system for longer. 

This means you may need to take less CBD as you get older.


More research is needed on the topic, but some believe that CBD impacts men and women differently. 

For example, men have a greater physiological reaction to CBD (affecting energy balance and food intake), whereas women have a greater behavioural reaction.

Experience with CBD

If you are new to CBD, it’s best to start with a lower dose and increase over time as you become more accustomed to the effects. 

Those with more experience with CBD may choose to increase their CBD strength over time.

What strength CBD oil is best
If you're a bigger person, you may want to opt for a higher strength to start with

Can I Build Up A Tolerance To CBD?

As we’ve mentioned above, your experience with CBD should influence your choice of CBD strength. This leads many people to wonder if they can build up a tolerance to CBD.

Research suggests that this isn’t the case. 

Tolerance to a substance means that your body gets used to the effects, and you would need to use more of it to achieve the same results.

CBD does not work this way. 

Instead, it is thought that CBD users increase their usage until they find the correct dosage and then taper off over time.

Can you build up a tolerance to CBD
Once you've increased your dose to the right point, you can just keep taking that dose without worrying about building up your tolerance

What’s The Strongest Strength Of CBD Oil?

We’ve seen sellers offering CBD strengths of 5000mg per 30ml, which would equate to 8.3mg per 0.05ml drop. These are typically very expensive oils, despite the marginally higher CBD content.

Compare this with our 1000mg CBD oil in a 10ml bottle. 

Our bottle contains 5ml per drop, but for a fraction of the cost of a 5000mg bottle of CBD.

When choosing your CBD oil, always check the total volume and how much CBD you’re getting per drop or dose

This will help you to avoid paying over the odds for your CBD oil.

Also, bear in mind that the strongest oil doesn’t always mean the most effective. It’s far more important to prioritise factors such as CBD origins, organic ingredients and an effective terpene profile. 

Added ingredients such as ashwagandha and turmeric can help to enhance the entourage effect and offer additional benefits.

Download your FREE Buyers Guide for an introduction to CBD   

Check our other blog posts for more information about CBD – or buy CBD oil online from our shop if you’re ready to give it a try! With our 30-day happiness guarantee, there’s nothing to lose.

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