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What is Microdosing?

Originally posted 8th June 2017, Updated on 27th May 2020

Microdosing may be a term you’re already aware of. Since it grew popular with the use of psychedelics. The method of taking small ‘micro’ doses of a substance has now made its way into the weed world. Microdosing weed is now trending amongst the cannabis scene. Since daytime weed use has increased for its many health effects, users are increasingly trying to avoid highly potent buzzes. At least, until the nighttime, that is. So, here we’ll explore microdosing marijuana, what it’s good for, and how to do it, best.

What is Microdosing?

The act of microdosing, means to take small doses of a substance to achieve its desired effects. For cannabis, microdosing allows users to harness the weed plant’s natural health effects, without a potent high. Originally, microdosing became popular in the 1960 and 70’s with the use of psychedelics. Like shrooms, LSD and ecstasy. Which are now compounds found to be highly beneficial for treating depression. In smaller doses, users are able to address depressive symptoms while avoiding hallucinogenic effects.

The thought for microdosing cannabis, is no different. Especially for medical users who are dosing throughout the day for relief. Yet, are still required to function as normal at their job, or at home with their kids, etc. So with that in mind, let’s take a deeper look into the other benefits of microdosing weed.

Benefits of Microdosing

medical-marijuana-for-depression

Of course, there will always be days where we can’t get as high as we’d like. Or, reach our full potency due to our tasks or surroundings. So really, the main benefit of microdosing is reaping the health benefits of weed...without too strong of psychoactive effects. Ingesting small doses throughout the day can maintain balance for moods, pain, and anxiety. Like cannabis typically provides. Yet, without your head being too far in the clouds, to function as normal.

Small doses of THC is also ideal for those who are sensitive to the compound. Certain consumers can become anxious, or paranoid with high levels of THC. So, microdosing can help avoid this negative effect. Lastly, but not quite as obvious, is the cost savings that microdosing weed can provide. Obviously, if you’re using smaller amounts, your bag, oil, concentrate or edible stash will seemingly last longer. This is especially helpful for medical patients, who use a fair amount of weed, without the help of insurance to cover the costs.

The most common conditions that benefit from microdosing cannabis include -

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Stress
  • Chronic pain
  • Neuropathic pain
  • Muscle tension and soreness
  • Insomnia

As our research on the plant increases, so does the knowledge we have on specific doses and use. Which is also the case for the act of microdosing. The following studies have helped prove the case for microdosing weed aiding the listed conditions and symptoms.

  • A 2012 study shows advanced cancer patients given THC/CBD compounds at low, medium and high doses showed the highest decrease in pain from low doses.
  • In a 2014 study, patients with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder or PTSD showed symptoms improved from microdosing. Including insomnia, nightmares, chronic pain and other side effects of the condition like anxiety, and depression.

Best Ways to Microdose

By now, you’re probably wondering how you can microdose to experience the method’s benefits. The first thing to keep in mind when microdosing, is everyone’s reaction varies. The effects of cannabis in general will differ from person to person. Depending on metabolism, tolerance, frequency of use, and specific genetics. So, a little experimentation is necessary to find your unique and ideal microdose.

Getting Started

With that said, it’s pretty simple to get going. Experts generally suggest starting with microdoses of 1 - 2.5 mgs, first. Consistency is also key, as the common microdose motto is ‘go low and slow’. You should maintain this dose for a few days before raising it. If you’re looking to microdose to the fullest, a period of abstinence from THC just prior will help. This allows your body’s endocannabinoid system to ‘reset’. Which helps your body react appropriately when microdosing is introduced.

An expert in the field, Dr.Dustin Sulak says this on initially beginning to microdose,

“You are not trying to get stoned, you are not trying to get total relief from symptoms–you are just trying to get a little something. And then once you get to that dose where you feel a little something, stay there for a few days and then you can start gradually increasing if needed. And that typically falls somewhere between one and three milligrams per dose.”

Delivery Methods

medical marijuana microdosingsing

Microdosing weed is possible with any delivery method. Although, some are better than others. Like when smoking or vaping, it’s hard to figure out exact doses or levels of cannabinoids per hit. So you’ll be playing a guessing game with ideal doses when hitting a bowl or joint. That’s why oils, tinctures, extracts or edibles are preferable when microdosing marijuana. These methods allow users to more accurately dose, and increase amounts when it’s time. Now, many cannabis brands produce low dose mints, and chocolates to make edible microdosing even easier.

When smoking or vaping, experts recommend taking one hit and waiting at least 15-30 minutes. If your desired effects aren’t achieved, then try another puff. Continue these intervals, until you feel relief for your symptoms. For edibles, one dose every 60-90 minutes is best. Remember, it takes longer for edible effects to set in, so give yourself time before taking your next microdose.

Dosages

Lastly, you’ll figure out how often to dose. Which again, will depend on your individual lifestyle. Depending on work, life, or school schedules you may be limited on when or how you can microdose cannabis. For some this may be morning, noon and evening. While others might find microdosing every couple hours works best.

As for how long effects will last, that also depends from person to person. As well as, from product to product. So you’ll answer this question best in your own test and trials. As a guide, microdosing effects mimic the onset and duration times that the delivery method normally would. Like edibles taking an hour for effects to set in, and then lasting for 3-6 hours.

Final Thoughts on Microdosing Marijuana

Microdosing marijuana might not be for everyone, but it’s definitely trending amongst new, veteran and medical users. The method’s ability to provide weed’s benefits without an overwhelming high is ideal for many, to say the least. Even the most advanced users are turning to microdosing weed for its health effects. Seeing how easy, effective and affordable the unique method of dosing can be, we can certainly see why.

OG Wells OG Wells / 27th May 2020

A long time cannabis enthusiast and graduate of Oaksterdam University in Horticulture and CannaBusiness (2018), OG Wells is the creator of the highly successful "Critical Grass" podcast series. He has worked alongside master breeders across Europe and cannabis collectives along the West coast, and is now a well respected activist and author.

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