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  • Alec Chenkus

What Does It Mean to Microdose Cannabis?

Updated: Aug 26, 2021

Cannabis Microdosing
Learn how to microdose with cannabis

While there has been a noticeable push to reach more potent THC levels in the cannabis community over the past couple of decades; on the other end of the spectrum, there is a growing number of cannabis users that are pushing for less THC consumption - a tactic called "microdosing."

The growth of microdosing cannabis goes hand-in-hand with the expansion of CBD use across the country. There are large numbers of patients that are not interested in the psychoactive effects of THC, and rather want the cannabis relief without a potent THC content. While utilizing high-CBD strains can be helpful, many patients wish to also avoid the act of vaporization for personal or health concerns.

Why Should I Microdose?

Dr. Dustin Sulak, an osteopathic physician based in Maine, told Leafly:

"When you raise the dose sometimes you get diminished benefits, and sometimes you get the opposite of what you are looking for. For example, while a little cannabis can help reduce anxiety, too much can actually cause it."

Sulak further states that patients are turning to microdosing in order to treat a number of conditions including depression, stress, anxiety, pain, and to help improve focus and promote sleep.

A 2012 study found that patients with advanced cancer, and were given a THC/CBD compound at low, medium, and high doses, found that patients who received the lowest dosage of cannabinoids showed the greatest reduction in pain while those receiving higher doses actually experienced more pain.

Cannabis Organizer
Cannabis being dosed out over the course of a week

In another study, a group of individuals was given low doses of a synthetic cannabinoid to help treat their PTSD, showing significant improvements in PTSD-associated insomnia, nightmares, general symptoms, and chronic pain.

Of course, this is not to say that microdosing is the only option available. For more severe symtpoms and flare-ups, it is common for patients to use a higher dose at that time and then slowly moving back to microdosing.

What Dose is Considered Microdosing?

Michelle Ross, founder of IMPACT newtork - a nonprofit using medical research to find new cannabis-related treatments for patients - told Leafly,

"There is no magic bullet for all patietns; it is different for each one. So keep experimenting until you find the dose that works for you."

According to Ross, she generally recommends that first-time microdosers start off at 2.5 mg for three days, and increase if necessary; "start slow, and go slow." The doses can range from THC-dominant, CBD-dominant, or a mixed ratio of CBD and THC depending on the symptoms and conditions that you want to treat.

However, Dr. Sulak has a slightly different take: he suggests that patients enter an initial 48 hours of abstinence in order to reset the endocannabinoid system. From there, Sulak believes that most patients can start with just 1 mg gradually increasing to 3 mg. The goal of this treatment option is to give the most minimal noticeable effect, while also maintaining your tolerance at a level that does not affect balance and health.

How To Microdose

You can use a number of different cannabis forms to achieve microdosing, however, some options will allow more control over dosing relative to others.

Cannabis-Infused Mints
2.5 mg mints often used for microdosing

While vaporizing is an ideal option for immediate, significant relief, controlling the dosage using this approach can be inconsistent depending on the strain choice. Rather, many experts recommend products such as tinctures, oils, or even edibles in some cases. It is important to note, however, that edibles are often not the ideal method to deliver low doses, especially with THC, and tinctures and oils will allow for more reliable and consistent dosing.

That's not to say that there are no edible options to consider for microdosing, as there are a number of edible options coming to markets across the country, including mints and chocolates, with THC content starting at 2.5 mg.

Should I Microdose CBD?

While our bodies will naturally build a tolerance to THC, this is not the case with CBD. For this reason, it is advised with CBD use to use more significant quantities. CBD can, however, be combined with THC microdosing to boost the benefits!

To learn more about cannabis dosing, specifically related to edibles, be sure to check out this helpful graphic created with the help of Dr. Sulak!

Edibles Dosing Chart
Infograph to help understand edible dosing


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