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You’ve likely heard of the increasingly popular method of cannabis consumption: microdosing. However, you may be wondering what it’s all about, and why people are turning to lower doses of cannabis on a regular basis.
What is microdosing?
Microdosing is a process of consuming minimal amounts of cannabis to reap its potential healing benefits without feeling strong intoxicating effects [*]. Many people turn to microdosing for a variety of reasons; patients have reported that microdosing helps to boost mood, increase creativity, and even lessen feelings of stress and anxiety [*].
Why take lower doses?
Cannabis has hundreds of chemical compounds, called cannabinoids, that interfere with the body’s endocannabinoid system to help maintain homeostasis [*]. Two of these cannabinoids, CBD and THC, are known to potentially help improve health [*]. According to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, CBD and THC may be helpful in treating pain, anxiety, epilepsy, nausea, multiple sclerosis, PTSD, appetite loss, and insomnia [*].
While cannabis can have potentially healing benefits, taking too much can actually produce adverse effects. For example, researchers Volkow et al. found that high doses of THC can “interfere with cognitive function (e.g., memory and perception of time) and motor function (e.g., coordination)” [*].
While little is known about the potential benefits of microdosing, this is slowly changing as more researchers are looking into low dose cannabis consumption . Considering that high doses can sometimes produce adverse effects, low doses (2-5 mg) may be safer and more effective [*]. A study analyzing the effect of CBD on sleep found that the low doses of CBD produce more of an anti-anxiety effect than higher doses [*]. Another study that looked at THC’s effect on stress determined that low doses of THC also helped to increase feelings of relaxation [*].
How to microdose cannabis
As with any form of cannabis consumption, it’s always smart to start low and go slow.
When consuming edible cannabis, consume a product with a low levels of THC or CBD (2-5 mg). Wait approximately two hours before consuming any more.
When consuming dried flower or concentrates by smoking or vaping, simply take one draw and wait to see how you feel before consuming more. Since the effects from inhalation can vary from strain to strain, wait at least 10 minutes before taking another draw. Some users may still feel a buzz after 10 minutes, and since the goal of microdosing is to reap cannabis’ potentially therapeutic effects without strong intoxication, use your discretion on if and when to consume more. When using a vaporizer, start by setting your device to the lowest setting and work your way up in temperature. This will allow you to experience the full range of terpenes and cannabinoids, and you will be able to find what temperature works best for your desired effect. Don't forget that each strain and concentrate will be experienced differently. For example, you may prefer to vaporize one strain at the lowest setting, whereas you may prefer a different strain at a mid level. Similarly with concentrates, you might find one type of concentrate works better for you at the highest temperature, whereas you might find other types of concentrates work best at lower temperatures.
When consuming cannabis tinctures, measure a small amount of infused oil (such as .25ml or ¼ of a dropper) and ingest sublingually. Hold under your tongue for approximately 30 seconds, and wait at least 30 minutes before consuming more.