What Is Microdosing? Can microdosing THC improve your health?
What Is Microdosing?
In a market obsessed with potency where high THC concentration means so much, there is an emerging community of cannabis protagonists that are pushing for less consumption as opposed to more. This technique is called “microdosing,” a growing trend as cannabis consumption becomes more mainstream.
Micro-dosing, or consuming very small amounts of an intoxicating substance, is a growing trend nationwide. Psychedelic mushrooms (psilocybin), MDMA, and LSD are being used in recreational and therapeutic settings, as well as being studied at research universities, to treat problems like depression, anxiety, and PTSD.
So, why do people resort to microdosing cannabis? Does a lower dose contain more benefit than a higher dose? And can you, as an individual, benefit from this technique? In this article, we will answer these questions while taking you through all you need to know about microdosing.
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More On Microdosing
Practitioners of microdosing are taking minute amounts of cannabis to harvest the medical benefits of THC while avoiding its psychoactive effects that can interfere with the demands of daily life.
“Most people don’t know about microdosing,” says Michelle Ross, founder of IMPACT Network, a nonprofit organization that uses empirical medical research to find new cannabis-related treatments for patients. “They just blast their system with cannabis or high amounts of THC, and that is not always the best approach for whatever condition they have.”
While microdosing has typically been associated with hallucinogens like LSD, many experts now believe that the threshold for the medical benefits of THC is far lower than many people think.
And sometimes, too much of a good thing can quickly turn disastrous.
“When you raise the dose sometimes you get diminished benefits, and sometimes you get the opposite of what you are looking for,” says Dustin Sulak, an osteopathic physician based in Maine who treats many of his patients with small doses of cannabis. For example, while a little cannabis can help reduce anxiety, too much can cause it.
What Drugs Can Be Microdosed?
When the dose of cannabis you’re using is important, consumption methods like smoking and topicals won’t offer the precision you might want. In these cases, you might decide to opt for tinctures, edibles, and similar products.
- Tinctures: Alcohol or oil-based extracts of cannabis, tinctures tend to be one of the most common products used for microdosing. This is because they’re regarded as very easy to work with, requiring no special equipment or extra accessories; you can simply drop the tincture under the tongue using a dropper and then get on with your day.
- Edibles: Products like CBD gummies and THC pastilles can also be very useful for microdosing, as you can easily learn by reading the cannabis label, exactly how much CBD or THC is contained within each edible. You can then use this as a measure to control how many cannabinoids you are consuming per day.
- Vape cartridges: Vape pens are a viable alternative product to be considered for microdosing THC. Consumers can apply the tried-and-true “start low, go slow method,” beginning by inhaling a small amount and gauging the effects before increasing the dosage.
Is It Possible To Microdose THC?
The simple answer to this question is - yes,iIt is. Microdosing is commonly used with medicinal cannabis that has a high THC percentage. This is because THC is known for being the cannabinoid that creates intoxicating effects. Yet, it is also associated with potential benefits like pain management.
A smaller dose of THC may allow a person to experience these kinds of possible therapeutic effects or medical benefits without necessarily experiencing other effects of THC.
What Are The Benefits Of Microdosing
These are some of the several potential benefits associated with Microdosing:
- First off, microdosing can represent a perfect starting point for people looking to start consuming cannabis. If you’re just becoming interested in the world of marijuana use, microdosing can be an ideal way to experiment and find the right amount for you.
- Beginning with the smallest possible amount, you can progressively increase your intake until you find the “sweet spot” dose for you. (To put it another way, we always recommend starting low and going slow!)
- Another common aim of microdosing THC is to distribute the desired effect throughout the day with smaller multiple doses rather than one larger amount.
- Avoiding unwanted effects is also a good reason to try microdosing cannabis. To experience the health benefits of cannabinoids while avoiding some of the more potent, state-altering effects of the plant, many prefer using a fraction of a regular dose.
- In other cases, smaller amounts have proven to be more efficient than large ones. Certain research into marijuana products has shown they can have a different effect on patients with anxiety depending on the dose and type of THC in them: while a larger amount of THC may have increased the levels of anxiety, a low dose of the same THC had a positive alleviating effect.
- Finally, microdosing can help you reset your system when you notice that you’re developing marijuana tolerance.
What Are The Risks Of Microdosing?
Microdosing is not for everyone. A lot of people who try it may find that the effects are not palatable to them. Some people may even be very sensitive to the compounds in common hallucinogens. Others report side effects while microdosing, such as:
- impaired focus
- depleted energy
- heightened anxiety
- worsened mood
- uncomfortable sensations or feelings
Some people with underlying mental health disorders may also wish to avoid microdosing. These people may include those with anxiety disorders, who may find that the practice makes anxiety and traits such as neuroticism worse.
People with a history of psychotic disorders, such as bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, or other disorders, may also want to avoid microdosing, as the practice may be too stimulating.
Additionally, most of the substances that people microdose are illegal.
For instance, according to the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), hallucinogens such as LSD and peyote are Schedule 1 drugs, meaning that they have “no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse.”
While many may challenge this scheduling, the fact remains that these substances are illegal to possess or consume in most cases. This fact adds a new level of risk to the act of microdosing.
Drug tests that check for these substances may be able to pick up on microdoses.
How Can I Start Microdosing?
There are a variety of methods of microdosing cannabis. Everyone’s body is different and requires some experimenting to find the right dosage amount. This process is delicate, as taking too much may make it hard to be at your best productively, while too little may not provide any effects at all.
The best way to determine your ideal dosing regimen is to record your cannabis consumption in a journal. Every day, write down what cannabis product you’re using (i.e., edible, tincture, or flower) and how much you took. Also, try to keep track of the effects you feel to dial in your ideal amount versus when you may have taken a little too much.
A good starting point for most medical marijuana patients interested in trying microdosing is to start at between 1 and 2.5 milligrams of THC and stick with that dosage for a few days.
Gradually increase your dosage from there using 1 mg increments until you begin to feel the effects slightly. Once you find the sweet spot, you should stick with that dose for at least three to four days. If it still feels like a good spot to be in, then you have found your dosage!
Where To Start Microdosing
There are many different consumption methods you can consider when it comes to microdosing cannabis. Possible options include cannabis edibles, tinctures, oils, and concentrates.
The most ideal methods tend to be those that allow you to easily control and monitor how much cannabinoids you’re consuming at any one time. Oils and tinctures, for example, can give you nearly full control over the precise quantity of THC or CBD you are using, allowing you to be very accurate in your dosing and adjust your dose over time if needed.
- Reminder: start low, go slow! (Trust us, there’s a reason we’re repeating this advice.)
- Keep a journal where you can keep track of your feelings and sensations
- Keep a schedule of your intakes and be consistent with it
- If you’re a beginner, start with the lowest possible dose
- If you’re more experienced and are accustomed to larger doses, start by breaking them down into smaller intakes during the day
Dosage Is Important
So, what exactly counts as a “microdose” of THC or CBD? A standard dose of THC is 10 milligrams, meaning this dose will generally cause intoxication (though heavy or frequent users often need more to achieve a high).
Thus, a microdose of THC can be anywhere from 0.5-5 milligrams. Since CBD isn’t intoxicating but does have some psychoactive effects (e.g., mental relaxation), a microdose of CBD can be up to 10 milligrams.
Microdosing is all about finding your “minimal effective dose,” which is different for everyone depending on tolerance, body weight, and much more.
If you’re completely new to cannabis, start with 1 milligram of THC and 1 milligram of CBD and record your experience in a cannabis journal. Increase each by 1-milligram increments until you feel airy and blissful but not high. An experienced user can start with 3-5 milligrams of THC, but refrain from going over 10 milligrams.
Best Products For Microdosing
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Whether you are into CBD, Delta-8, or THC, this is a prime list of cannabis-infused beverages (and even liquid cannabis!) to get you amped for picnics, backyard BBQs, or just hanging around the house after a long day of hustle. For those that are looking to go beyond flowers and edibles and get creative with their cannabis consumption, this mini-guide is the perfect round-up.
As with many areas of cannabis science, very little controlled clinical research has been conducted on microdosing. Still, the amount of positive anecdotal evidence from users is enough to justify giving it a shot if the practice intrigues you.
Microdosing is a great way for new and experienced users alike to benefit from the plant and enhance overall well-being without interfering with or halting daily life.