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Monday February 26, 2018

By Abby Hutmacher

420 Culture

It's true: this isn’t your parent’s pot. Some of today’s cannabis is stronger than the cannabis of yesteryear, yes, but the most significant benefit of modern marijuana is the fact that there is so dang much of it to choose from – and that includes potency choices, as well.

So, if you want to get really, really high, you can ask for high THC strains (or opt for concentrates which can reach potency levels of 90 percent and up), or you can choose low-potency products for a milder experience. And as it turns out, low-dose cannabis products are pretty freaking popular nowadays.

Why Low-Dose Cannabis Products are Important

According to the Cannabist’s head strain reviewer, Jake Browne, the most common question budtenders receive from customers is not “what will get me the highest” but rather “what will help me out without knocking me out?”

In other words, which cannabis strains or products offer therapeutic benefits without the overly pronounced “high” that often accompanies them? The answer: low-dose cannabis products.

The reason most people seem to prefer lower cannabinoid doses is simple – too much can turn a good time into an uncomfortable one real quick. And research backs this, too. The results of a randomized controlled trial conducted by researchers from the University of California in San Diego found that, like many substances, cannabis’s therapeutic benefits increase with dose only to a certain extent, at which point therapeutic benefits begin to taper off in a bell curve.

Low-Dose Cannabis
Research shows that consumers experience the most therapeutic benefits at moderate doses.

Results of the study showed that participants received no pain relief from either placebo or extremely low doses of cannabinoids, had the most therapeutic relief at moderate doses, and experienced increased pain at high doses of THC. This suggests that high potency cannabis products may cause more discomfort than relief especially regarding pain, anxiety and cognitive functioning.

To put it in perspective, think about the last time you drank too much alcohol. Your experience likely started out positive – you were more relaxed and sociable, perhaps – but as the night went on and you continued to drink, the experience became much less forgiving, maybe even resulting in a case of the spins or uncontrollable vomiting. Had you stopped (or at least slowed down) when the effects were still pleasant, you could have avoided the headache (and I do mean headache!) of overconsumption all together. Cannabis works the same way, albeit to a much lesser extent.

While cannabis in lower doses does provide some relief from things like pain and anxiety, after surpassing your ideal dose, the likelihood of experiencing unpleasant side effects of marijuana increase.

Things like lethargy, depression, paranoia, and discomfort become much more likely at high doses, often turning people off cannabis altogether after one or two bad experiences. But bad experiences with cannabis don’t necessarily mean that the individual cannot reap the benefits of cannabis therapy, they may just have to recalibrate their dose.

Low-Dose Cannabis Products You Should Try

The powerful effects of THC need not deter you from trying cannabis again. Whether you’re a new consumer or just thinking about trying it another time, we suggest beginning slow – at about five milligrams or half of a standard dose – for the therapeutic benefit of the micro-dose without any unwanted side effects. These are a few of our favorite low-dose cannabis products that you should try.

Kiva Terra Bites

Kiva Terra Bites
Kiva Terra Bites blend coffee and cannabis for an excellent experience. photo credit

Kiva, a California-based company, makes chocolate-covered, cannabis-infused coffee beans that are perfect for micro-dosing on the go. Kiva Terra Bites contain five milligrams of THC each and can easily be stored in a pocket, desk drawer or purse for a quick pick-me-up throughout the day.

Though research is limited, one study suggests that mixing low doses of cannabis and coffee could heighten the effects of the THC, thus requiring a lower dose to feel its effects (though this is mainly dependent on the individual and their frequency of both cannabis and coffee consumption). Bonus!

Incredibles Fruit Tarts and Mints

Incredibles Tablets
Incredibles' new line of low-dose mints and fruit tarts are great for micro-dosing during the day. photo credit

Well-established edible producer Incredibles is back at it with another hit in the form of their new low-dose line of flavored tablets. Available in “energizing” fruit tarts, “stimulating” ice mints and “calming” fire mints, each tablet is dosed at two milligrams (recreational) or five milligrams (medical). Indeed, these products are perfect for micro-dosing throughout the day. And with three varieties to choose from, you can really dial in your desired effects much easier than a traditional edible.

Dixie Dew Drops

Dixie Dew Drops
Dixie Dew Drops are perfect for dialing in your desired dosage. photo credit

Though there are 100 milligrams per bottle, Dixie’s Dew Drops are perfect for micro-dosing one drop at a time. When taken sublingually, these flavored tinctures can take effect within a few minutes to provide quick relief from pain and anxiety. And because the effects don’t typically last as long as metabolized edibles, you won’t have to worry about lengthy overconsumption periods. Dixie products are available throughout many recreational states.

Feeling frugal? You can easily make your own low-dose tinctures at home!

Low-Potency Cannabis Strains

Toast Cigarettes
Toast's high-CBD, low-THC joints have been a huge hit among novice cannabis consumers. photo credit

Edibles and tinctures work well for extended relief, but sometimes a quick puff is all that’s needed to feel better. If you’d prefer to stick with some good ol’ green, we recommend trying strains that have a low potency or a 1:1 ratio of THC to CBD.

Some of the strains to look out for include Good Medicine, Tora Bora, and (a PotGuide favorite) Death Star.

All these strains have average potencies of about 15 percent or less and contain high levels of CBD to help balance out the THC. There are even companies making high CBD and low THC products in legal markets, like Toast. Toast produces pre-rolled cannabis cigarettes called “Slices” that have a four to one ratio of CBD to THC. These joints are all-natural and perfect for enjoying a night out without having to worry about overconsumption.

The Future of Low-Dose Cannabis

Cannabis has evolved into so much more than an easy way to get high. Despite common assumptions that cannabis consumers just want to get “stoned,” the therapeutic potential of cannabis has made its appeal reach a much larger demographic than the average “burn-out stoner.”

With the rise of low-dose cannabis strains and products, the average cannabis consumer is now the average person just looking for a little relief. As legal cannabis spreads and more newcomers begin their journey into cannabis consumption, expect to see more low-dose products available at dispensaries. Whatever method you choose, always remember to consume responsibly!

Have you tried any low-dose cannabis products? Tell us about your experience.


Abby Hutmacher Abby Hutmacher

Abby is a writer and founder of Cannabis Content, a marketplace designed to connect cannabis writers and creatives with businesses in the industry. She has been a professional cannabis writer since 2014 and regularly contributes to publications such as PotGuide and M&F Talent. She is also the Content Director at Fortuna Hemp, America’s leading feminized hemp seed bank. Follow Abby on Facebook, Twitter, and Linkedin.

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