Quick Start Guide on How to Take CBD

quick start guide to cbd

Let us save you a ton of time and money! 


Most people who are new to CBD have to find out through trial and error what works.

We'll skip the trial, please!

The verdict is...feeling better!

Seriously, we're going to go through all the questions that pop up around how to use CBD.

If you have further questions, please reach out to us here or via the chat option bottom right.

Our favorite thing to do is craft personalized research for a person's situation (not just CBD!!).


Everyone's different.

Make sure to find what works for you!

And pass that information on to others below.

Let's help each other feel better.

Here are the sections covered below:

  • Is CBD safe
  • Are there side effects to CBD
  • When should I take CBD
  • How should I take CBD
  • How much CBD do I need to work
  • Can you overdose on CBD
  • What will I feel with CBD
  • Should I take CBD with food
  • Should I take it all at once or break it up
  • How long does it take CBD to work
  • How long will CBD last for
  • Does CBD give you energy
  • Does CBD make you sleepy
  • Can I take it with my medications
  • What does CBD taste like
  • What does CBD smell like
  • Should I refrigerate CBD
  • Does CBD expire
  • Can I take CBD before I drive
  • Does CBD affect other supplements or hormones
  • Can I add CBD to food or drinks
  • Will CBD make me feel high
  • Can I fail a drug test on CBD

Before we jump into it, you can find ridiculous levels of research by issue at our blog here or reach out to us here (or chat to right) and we'll send tailor-made lists for you!

Let's get started.

We'll cover each of these questions in more detail soon.

Do you know how everything you buy has a "Quick Start" section?

This is that for CBD!

Is CBD safe?

The safety profile for CBD is very strong.

In fact, much more so than for many of the common over-the-counter meds you find at the grocery store.

After all, overuse of acetaminophen like Tylenol is the leading cause of liver failure in the US.


Learn how CBD and Tylenol affect the same pathways here.

There have been no reported deaths, overdoses, or significant health conditions from quality CBD isolate.

More on CBD Safety here.

Are there any side effects?

Are there side effects to CBD?

The most reported side effects tend to be rare and mild:

  • Dry mouth
  • Drowsiness
  • Low blood pressure
  • Lightheadedness


Keep in mind that many people try full-spectrum CBD which has lots of other plant material.

If you have allergy or histamine issues, some of the side effects can result from your reaction to that.


Roughly 40-60% of the population and it's big reason many people have bad reactions to tons of CBD brands out there.  


histamine and CBD isolate


That's why we only deal with CBD isolate which avoids that histamine reaction.

More on CBD and histamines here.

Also, see below for CBD and medication interaction.

When should I take CBD?

You want to test your body's reaction with a baseline dosage.

Some people feel relaxed.

Others get energy!

We looked at this in our CBD in the middle of the day review.  

Seriously...we're all so different and CBD works to help balance the endocannabinoid system. 

A lack of energy or a lack of calm may be the result of this system not working correctly.

Most people will break up the dosage in 2-3 and take after meals.


Make sure to read below on taking with food (big deal!).

Peak CBD is about 4-6 hours after taking it so after meals is ideal.


Get lots of detail on When to Take CBD here.

How should I take CBD

It's best to take the dropper and apply the CBD oil under your tongue.

Try to hold it there for 30-60 seconds and then swallow.

Since we deal with pure CBD isolate, it can absorb under the tongue and avoid the digestive tract.

It's estimated that only 40% of the CBD makes it through the digestive tract and into our bodies.


The under tongue application is faster and more efficient.

Learn all about how to get the most out of your CBD here.

How much CBD do I need to work?

We have an entire article on how much CBD to take here.

  • The test amount is roughly 15-30 mgs.
  • For a 1000 mg bottle, 30mg is approximately one full dropper of CBD oil
  • For a 2000 mg bottle, 30mg is approximately ½ a dropper of CBD oil


We advise to test how your body reacts first and the move up.

Research is showing daily dosage benefits:

  • Sleeping benefits at about 160 mgs
  • More serious issues are generally based on 300 mgs
  • Dosages up to 600 mgs are used very serious studies (psychosis, etc)
  • CBD has been tested up to 1500mg with a strong safety profile in research.


For example, maximum dosage for neurogenesis (repair brain pathways) was at 300 mg.


CBD dosage peak neurogenesis


BDNF is the star of mental health and addiction!


See how much CBD for anxiety to get more detail on that. 

Our recommendation…

Start at 30 mg doses to test and then increase accordingly.

You'll likely avoid all the stomach issues since we're dealing with CBD isolate.

Then work your way up to 100mg+ and see how your body feels.

What we find is that people generally are nervous when new to CBD and probably have too low of a dosage to really see the benefits.


Most likely, you'll see real benefits and work your way up to 100-300mg/day.

Just based on our personal experience, research, and many other customers.

That's why the 6000mg oil is so popular.

It's much more affordable per mg of CBD.   Use the FIRST50 code for 50% off.

Learn all about how many mg's of CBD to take.

Can you overdose on CBD?

There has been no reported incident of overdose for CBD.

That can't be said for Advil, caffeine, alcohol, or even water!

Yes...people have died from drinking too much water and washing out their electrolytes!

That being said, let's be smart and work our way up to see where we get the desired benefit.  Serious issues are at 600-800 mg (usually short term basis) with 300 mg daily being peak neurogenesis (critical to mental health).

review on neurogenesis and BDNF


What will I feel with CBD?

It's pretty funny to watch people take CBD for the first time.

They're really bracing themselves for some crazy drug reaction.


It's just not there!

This is not psychoactive like THC.

In fact learn how different CBD is from its cousin, THC.

CBD versus THC


The most common feelings are:

  • Calm
  • Drowsy (less common)
  • Relaxed
  • Energy (less common)
  • Focused (less common)

The response may differ depending on where you are in the sleep/wake cycle.


There is not a "high" or change in thought process.

Research even backs this lack of cognitive effect.

When you first start taking CBD, go slow and test how you feel. 


Read up more on How will CBD Make Me Feel?

Should I take CBD with food


If you can, take CBD with your fattiest meal.

CBD, like many other supplements, needs fat to get into your system more effectively.


It's really about keeping the liver busy so it doesn't break down CBD as fast.

You can still use the steps above (place under the tongue for 30-60 seconds and then swallow) but try to do so with food!

Learn all about why this can make it more effective (and less costly) when you take CBD with food here.

Should I take it all at once or break it up

This is partially a personal preference but responses point to breaking up a daily dosage into 2-3 times.

After meals is ideal so that the liver is busy digesting fat and not CBD!

This gets into how long CBD takes to work (below) and how long it lasts for.

Many people take CBD to aid sleep so taking CBD at dinner or right before bed works towards this goal.


Just a head's up...it's not uncommon to get energy from CBD but usually during the wake cycle.

Reduction in oxidative stress and inflammation can feel...well...liberating and that may come across as renewed energy.

Test this before taking it late at night but the energy boost is usually tied to light/dark cycles.

See the section above about taking with food!

Check out our section on When in the day should I take CBD?

How long does it take CBD to work

CBD oil can take from 15-25 minutes to really work.

You may feel some effects faster if you place it under your tongue where it is absorbed directly.

There's both a short term effect (GABA)...

CBD and GABA and anxilety


and longer term effect (serotonin) which builds over 2 weeks.  That's the neurogenesis piece!


The topical balm tends to work more quickly for skin and localized pain issues.

How long will CBD last for

Is we're addressing a specific and even more serious issue, breaking up our total dosage into 2-3 applications may be best.

CBD typically lasts for a 4-6 hours at peak levels but the residual effect of CBD has been found in the body up to 7 days in research!!

Keep in mind that serotonin effects build over 14 days!

Serotonin is just the master regulator of all human behavior  - sleep, mood, pain thresholds, etc. 

This is not like most medications that hit a specific pathway in the body and the wears off.

Research is showing that CBD helps to balance key systems in the body.

The effects of that can be longer-lasting and more systematic than knocking down a pain receptor for a few hours.

More info at How Long Does CBD Last For here

Does CBD give you energy?

Yes...it can be depending on your chemistry and where your levels are for endocannabinoids.

Some people report feeling more energy and focus with CBD use.

It is not a stimulant!

This is not caffeine.

You know those days where you feel great and get a lot done??

All your systems are working well.

Keep in mind that CBD affects the endocrine system which governs energy, sugar use, and weight.

More on whether CBD can give you energy here

Does CBD make you sleepy?

Maybe.  Probably!

It's not a sedative but research is showing great promise in helping people sleep better, longer, and deeper.

Drowsiness is a listed (though not common) side effect of CBD.

This may just mean that the impediments to sleep (anxiety, worry, pain, inflammation, etc) are being reduced and the brain/body is "allowed" to be tired finally!!


Sound like anyone you know??

When you start with CBD, test the dosage at about 20-30 mgs to see your effect.

Unless of course, sleep is your desired goal with CBD (the most popular reason by far).

Learn all about CBD and Sleep here.

Can I take it with my medications?

Here's a tip you find everywhere.

If you take medications, first check with your doctor.

CBD uses a pathway in the liver (p450) that many medications also use.


Our recommendation is to take CBD 4 hours away from any medications.

Learn about CBD and Medications here.

What does CBD taste like?

The pure CBD isolate at IndigoNaturals doesn't have a strong taste or scent.

It shouldn't!!

It's just CBD isolate (naturally a white crystalline substance with no scent/taste) and MCT oil (extraction from coconut oil).

There might a slight (very slight) taste from the coconut oil extract but it's not strong.

Or bad tasting!

There are some full-spectrum CBD oils out there that are very strong tasting (kinda like the wheatgrass shots of yesteryear).

We avoid full-spectrum because the research isn't there and too many people have histamine or allergy issues with full-spectrum CBD.

CBD isolate versus full spectrum


Check out CBD isolate versus full spectrum for more information.

More on CBD Taste here.

What does CBD smell like

Nothing really.

Again, the CBD isolate has no discernable scent.

The MCT oil (from coconut oil) has a very slight sweet smell but barely.

Some of the other full-spectrum oils are very strong smelling but we avoid those for the reason listed above regarding allergies and histamines.

More on Does CBD have a Smell here.

Should I refrigerate CBD?

CBD isolate oil does not need to be refrigerated.

The MCT oil base generally has a shelf life of up to 2 years depending on how it's stored.


If able, store in a cool, dry place.

Look, you're going to love CBD so the issue won't be tinctures lying around and never being used as long as you have good CBD (the whole reason we made IndigoNaturals!)

Learn about CBD and refrigeration here.

Does CBD expire?

Generally, CBD oil should be used in 12 months.

It doesn't expire but the MCT oil base generally has a 2-year expiration depending on how it is stored.

The color of CBD oil can darken with time due to changes in the MCT oil but that does not impact is quality.  Both CBD and MCT oil antimicrobial.

Learn about CBD expiration dates here.

Can I take CBD before I drive?

Sure but when you're new to CBD, test your body's reactions first.

Try 25-30mg (see above for how much of a dropper that is).

CBD does not have a sedative or mind-altering effect so there should be no issue.

Drowsiness can be a side effect so let's first see our reaction.

Does CBD affect other supplements or hormones

Generally, no.

CBD works with the endocannabinoid system which generally helps balance other key systems:

  • Endocrine system
  • Nervous system
  • Immune system


CBD feedback endocannabinoid system


Supplements generally work to boost or impede individual pathways in the body.

The two should not interfere with each other and may actually help these key systems to work better.

Keep in mind that anything which uses the liver pathway may be affected by CBD.

It's good to check with your doctor if you're taking medications of course!

Can I add CBD to food or drinks


Coffee seems to be a popular option these days.

Again, CBD works best when taken with fat.


It's not required but the CBD is able to get into the bloodstream more easily!

Some people even use the oil to bake.

Lots of question on CBD

People are generally nervous if new to CBD.

There's a negative connotation with THC and the hemp plant in general for many people.

CBD is not THC!!!

Its safety profile is very strong.

You can learn more about CBD and safety here.

Try as we might, we're sure to have missed some questions.

Either send us your question or via chat.

Everyone deserves to feel better.


Related Research:

Tips to save on CBD

How CBD works


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buy 2000 mg cbd isolate online no thc
buy 6000 mg cbd isolate no thc online


Always work with a doctor or naturopath with any supplement!

The information provided here is not intended to treat an illness or substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment from a qualified healthcare provider.

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Great point Ken! One note…some effects improve with long term use since neurogenesis can take some time. Check out https://indigonaturals.net/blogs/news/can-you-take-cbd-long-term


Suggestion: before taking CBD make a list of your ailments (sore this, that, pain, aches, etc.). After taking CBD for about 5 days, look at the list and see if some of your ailments have dissipated. My personal experience is that after 30 days lots of ailments have been depressed. The real test is stop taking CBD and in 3 – 5 days many of the things that CBD has helped with… will raise up and… then start taking it again… the issues will go away.

Ken Martin

We received your comment on the other CBD. That’s very strange. It could be a full spectrum aspect with other cannabinoids and plant material. We’ve seen all kinds of side effects from full spectrum for people with histamine/allergy issues. Itch is definitely a sign of heightened histamine response! CBD isolate by itself has been shown in research to calm histamine and mast cell (where histamine comes from) response. That’s why we started IndigoNaturals and use on Isolate. We went through 3-4 of the biggest brands originally and we had weird side effects. Fever, diarrhea, and a click in the back of the throat. The fever was weird…but so is tingling. The itch is a pretty good indicator.


I was taking a BIO-cbd capsule. I had taken almost a one month supply 1 every night. When I noticed that my tongue was starting to tingle and my arms were starting to itch. I stopped the capsules and all other vitamins I was taking because I wasn’t sure which was causing the issue. Have you ever heard of this being any of the allergic symptoms?


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