An estimated 22 million Americans have used cannabis at least once in the past month. While an increasing number of people consume it recreationally, medical use is still the primary reason. Novices often find it hard to cope with high-THC strains. However, microdosing marijuana could prove a useful alternative. Read on to see if you should microdose weed, and whether ‘less is more’ applies in this case.
What Is Microdosing Weed?
In simple terms, marijuana microdosing involves using tiny amounts of the herb at a time. The idea is to use these minuscule doses several times a day. The creator of LSD, Albert Hofmann, once said that microdosing would become the most significant area of psychedelic research.
Technically speaking, a microdose is relative to the threshold dosage of a psychedelic drug. This ‘threshold’ is the smallest dose of any drug that has a ‘perceptible’ effect. Weed microdosing means you remain below the threshold. In theory, you enjoy the benefits of the herb without it noticeably impacting your mindset or mood. When you microdose correctly, you won’t feel an intoxicating high.
Proponents of this consumption method say it helps promote sleep, reduce pain, increase creativity, and improve mood. It is an ideal way to ‘introduce’ yourself to marijuana if you are a newcomer. Microdosing should also slowly, yet comfortably, increase your tolerance over a long period.
While it is a growing movement, vast swathes of cannabis users are unaware of microdosing, or its perceived benefits. Too many users overindulge, and it isn’t always the best approach for a specific condition. It is the same story with recreational users who often smoke weed intending to get extremely high.
Microdosing is traditionally associated with hallucinogenic drugs like LSD. However, there is a growing belief that the ‘threshold’ for medical marijuana’s benefits is much lower than we initially thought. If you raise the dose too high, there is a danger of getting the opposite effects of what you seek. Microdosing is a sensible option and could become the future of cannabis use.
How to Microdose Weed
In general, the process involves between 2mg and 5mg of THC. If you have a naturally high tolerance, you may begin with 10mg. There is a significant debate surrounding the right dosage. Some people say that 10mg is the correct novice dose. Others suggest that females shouldn’t use more than 2-3mg. Unless you are a vastly experienced user, however, there is no need to go beyond 5mg.
Microdosing and smoking weed is not the best combination. Combustion is arguably the most expensive and least healthy method of use. Burning also destroys a significant proportion of terpenes and cannabinoids that could have therapeutic properties. Finally, it is incredibly tricky to measure a dose accurately. A single puff of a joint could exceed your microdose, depending on the strength of the strain.
There is a growing trend towards the use of a weed vaporizer when microdosing. It is far easier to gauge how much THC you have consumed when using a vape pen. However, we urge you only to purchase your e-liquid from a reputable supplier. Black market cannabis oil is responsible for dozens of vaping-related deaths recently. Edibles are also a useful method of microdosing marijuana. It is even easier to measure your dosage. Another option is the use of cannabis oils for sublingual absorption.
However, measuring your THC consumption is far from an exact science. The method of use plays a significant role in how much THC reaches the bloodstream. You consume more cannabinoids from vaporization than oral consumption, for example. Even your physical makeup has effects. Your body weight, metabolic rate, and general health all determine how marijuana affects you.
Getting Started on Microdosing
Begin by using 2-5mg of THC per dose. When taking it for the first time, try a 2mg dose and wait at least 10 minutes to see how you feel. If using an edible, wait for up to an hour. Depending on how you react, you can microdose several times in a day. Ideally, you will use no more than 10-15mg of THC on your first day.
If day one is a ‘success,’ use the same daily dosage for another two days. Then, if you feel no noticeable effects, increase the dosage by 1mg per hit. If you begin feeling an intoxicating high, you’ve used too much! Complete newcomers should avoid using alcohol until you know how your body responds to microdosing.
If you are an experienced user, take a short break of 2-3 days without cannabis. This period is likely enough to get the body used to the new, lower dosage. If you are a chronic user, you may need to take a couple of weeks off! Choose a product that allows for easy measuring, like cannabis oil or a THC cookie.
Benefits of Microdosing Weed
Those who have tried the process with drugs claim it boosts their mood and enhances creativity. Steve Jobs, the co-founder of Apple, famously spoke of his experiences microdosing LSD. He said it reinforced his sense of what was important. In his case, the aim was to make great things rather than focusing solely on money.
One of the main microdosing benefits of cannabis is simplicity. It is straightforward to break up a marijuana cookie or take a single hit of your vaporizer. You can also avail of products such as weed honey. Spread a thin layer on a slice of toast, and you have your microdosing marijuana dose! If there are medical benefits to using cannabis, you could receive them without an intoxicating high. There is no danger of getting caught stoned at work, for example.
What’s interesting is that MMJ’s benefits are potentially more significant when you adopt the less is more approach. A study by Wilsey et al., published in The Journal of Pain in February 2013, analyzed the effects of low cannabis doses. The researchers found that marijuana was useful as a painkiller in small doses and in medium doses.
A study by Portenoy et al., published in The Journal of Pain in May 2012, focused on opioid-treated cancer patients. The researchers gave a THC/CBD spray to patients who were unresponsive to painkillers. They found that those who received high doses of the spray remained in significant pain. Remarkably, patients that received low doses reported a decrease in pain.
Microdosing Weed for Anxiety and Depression
An estimated 40 million American adults have an anxiety disorder. There is a growing trend towards the use of weed to combat issues such as PTSD, anxiety, and depression. We know there is a link between excessive cannabis use and heightened paranoia or anxiety. However, microdosing for anxiety could provide benefits without the risk of adverse side effects.
A University of Washington paper, released in June 2017, looked at the effects of marijuana on mental health. It cited a 2017 University of Chicago study, which suggested that THC decreased anxiety at low doses. However, the cannabinoid increased anxiety when used in higher doses.
What’s interesting is the relatively small difference between a ‘low’ and ‘high’ dose. 7.5mg of THC reduced the duration of negative emotional responses to a task. However, 12.5mg led to a small but significant increase in negative mood, anxiety, and subjective stress.
Microdosing Weed for ADHD
One possible trend is the practice of microdosing weed for ADHD. The prevalence of the condition has increased markedly in recent times. In the late 1990s, around 6% of American kids were diagnosed with it. By 2016, the percentage was 10%.
Typically, doctors prescribe stimulants such as Adderall to children with ADHD. It increases dopamine levels, thus improving focus. However, the drug’s risks include sleeplessness and even tragic cases of sudden death. A growing number of parents are trying MMJ as it also increases dopamine levels. Moreover, the herb carries fewer side effects.
Clearly, parents don’t want ‘stoned’ children, so microdosing makes sense. A study by Cooper et al., published in European Neuropsychopharmacology in August 2017, looked at the effects of cannabinoids on adults with ADHD. The 30 volunteers used Sativex, a spray with 2.7mg of THC, and 2.5mg of CBD per puff. The researchers found that adults experienced significant improvements in hyperactivity and impulsivity.
Microdosing Marijuana for Migraines
Countless people use weed for migraines. A study by Cuttler et al., published in the Journal of Pain in November 2019, looked at the short and long-term effects of marijuana on migraines and headaches. The researchers found that cannabis could reduce headaches and migraines by up to 50%.
It also determined that tolerance increases, but the herb doesn’t increase the severity of migraines over time. Interestingly, concentrates were more effective. Microdosing a concentrate is tricky, given its potency. If you elect to use a product like shatter, you can do so via a dab rig.
What Are the Risks When Microdosing Marijuana?
One of the main benefits of weed microdosing is the relative lack of risk involved. The challenge is finding your threshold because it varies depending on the individual. Dustin Sulak is a pro-cannabis physician who works in Maine. He understands that there is no ‘uniform’ level of tolerance.
He asks his patients to steer clear of cannabis for two days as a means of resetting their tolerance. Next, Sulak advises them to use minimal amounts every few hours until they find a comfortable dose. Eventually, they discover their threshold. Sulak believes that as little as 3mg of THC is effective.
Cannabis microdosing potentially carries a lot of benefits. However, it isn’t entirely without risk. If you use too much marijuana, it could result in an intoxicating high. Even if you microdose, there is a danger of the herb slowing your reflexes or impairing your judgment. As such, you should not drive when using weed because there’s a risk of getting charged with a DUI.
The ‘gateway drug’ theory is a complete myth, but there is a chance of becoming addicted to cannabis. The addiction rate is lower than with substances like caffeine and nicotine, but it still exists. Most estimates suggest that around 9% of marijuana users ultimately become dependent on it.
Finally, your job is at risk if your company performs drug screenings. Taking a few 3mg THC increments may not seem like much. However, consistent use means THC-metabolites will show up on your drug screening.
Bottom Line on Microdosing Weed
Ultimately, microdosing weed has a growing following, and it offers an array of possible benefits. Physicians like Sulak believe we need to change our ideas about marijuana. He says that we should use the herb in the same way as vitamins. If we use it for medical benefits, it makes sense to adopt the ‘little and often’ approach.
Microdosing benefits include not getting high and saving money in the long-term. If you decide to microdose, it is best if you vaporize the herb, or consume edibles. Proponents of microdosing say that it helps keep them calm and relaxed, with no danger of intoxication. Save the smoking for days when you feel like getting stoned! If you have tried microdosing, let us know how it affected you in the comments section.