Friday May 18, 2018

By Erin Hiatt

Microdosing Cannabis: All the Health Benefits with Minimal Effects Health/Science

Unless you’ve been living in a cave, you’ve probably heard about the huge splash made by the microdosing trend, in particular with psychedelics like LSD. Microdosing, when a substance creates a sub-perceptual effect, can incite a feeling of almost being high – but not quite. The trend is even growing to include cannabis consumers seeking to receive the healing benefits of the plant with minimal psychoactive effects. So, if you’re new to the microdosing world or would simply like to know more about the practice, keep reading as we explore more into the benefits of microdosing.

Intro to Microdosing

Microdosing took root in Silicon Valley, when tech pros began using LSD in miniscule amounts to enhance creativity, productivity, and increase pattern recognition. Since then, the trend has been expanding to workplaces across the United States.

Also touted for its ability to ease depression and anxiety, author Ayelet Waldman chronicled her experience microdosing LSD for a month to relieve her extreme and tumultuous moods.  A Really Good Day: How Microdosing Made a Mega Difference in My Mood, My Marriage, and My Life was reviewed in publications like The New York Times and mainstream journalists were all aflutter. It was only a matter of time before the trend caught fire in the cannabis sphere.

LSD Example
LSD is one of the most popular psychedelic drugs to microdose. photo credit

But, there has been argument among proponents disagreeing about what exactly a cannabis microdose is. Does it entail taking small amounts of cannabis throughout the day? Or is it microdosing as suggested for LSD; in three-day cycles? While that argument gets settled, one thing people can agree on is that microdosing seems to amplify the benefits of the chosen substance while still allowing the microdoser to remain in the driver’s seat of daily life.

Cannabis Microdosing

The benefits of cannabis are storied and many, and microdosing seems to zero in on improving overall mood, lessening depression and anxiety, and enhancing productivity and creativity. Though cannabis has been known to increase paranoia and anxiety in some instances, microdosing very low doses has not – anecdotally it should be said – shown that effect.

Microdosing is often seen as a more inviting way to try cannabis, especially for those who are leery of THC’s psychoactive effects.

Cannabis Pharmacy author Michael Backes believes that microdosing could be the most popular way for people to use cannabis post-prohibition, not only to treat medical conditions and improve mood, but as an overall health benefit, much like a multivitamin.

The most confounding problem is how much cannabis actually makes a microdose, and the answer is, it depends. Some say that beginners use five milligrams as a starting point. Others suggest 10 milligrams for beginners, while still others say that women should start with fewer milligrams than men, between two and three. As with all things cannabis, your marijuana tolerance, mood, body type and daily demands will dictate how much of a microdose is right for you, and the only way to know that for sure is trial and error.

How to Microdose Cannabis

There three most common ways to microdose cannabis are: combustion, vaping, and ingestion. Let’s explore some pros and cons of each method.

Combustion

If you’re going to try microdosing by smoking, knowing how much THC is in your weed is of paramount importance. Smoking is the most efficient, yet trickiest method because when smoking there’s no clear way of knowing how much cannabis you’re actually ingesting.

Smoking a Pipe
Combustion is one of the most effective methods of consumption, but can be difficult to dose.

Besides, if improving health is the goal for beginning a microdosing routine, perhaps smoking is not an ideal intake method. If you’re set on combustion for your microdose regimen, consider trying high-CBD, low-THC strains!

Vaping

Vaporizers are designed to deliver cannabis without the drawbacks of the toxins produced by smoking. Some prefer vaping to smoking because inhaling with a vaporizer can be a shorter pull than on a joint or bowl. This may also make it easier to gauge the amount of cannabis inhaled.

Ingestion

Edible labeling has come a long way since The New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd ate herself into an edible-induced paranoia in a Denver hotel room. But there is still room for error, especially when a sub-perceptual dose is the goal. Infusion technology has improved, so dosing has become more reliable and consistent, but with edibles, the effects set in more slowly. Patience is the name of the game here.

Edibles Ingestion
Dosing edibles is much easier than with vaping or combustion.

With all of these methods, the most important thing is to go slow. Take a puff or bite and wait. Give yourself thirty minutes and if there are no effects, try another tiny bit. Remember, the goal here is sub-perceptual and to enhance cannabis’ positive effects.

Benefits of Cannabis Microdosing

Microdosing cannabis has been reported to be beneficial in a myriad of ways. Check out some of the highlights microdosing cannabis has to offer to see if it’s right for you:

Cannabis Microdosing Benefits:

  • Help level out the typical ups and downs of a normal day while still keeping you in control
  • Ease conditions like inflammation, stress, anxiety, and pain throughout the day
  • Increase increased creativity and productivity
  • Stretch your stash while still maintaining the benefits of cannabis
  • Be responsive to everyday situations while receiving medicinal benefits
  • Limit the negative side-effects of cannabis’

If a microdosing regimen is something you’d like to try, here are a few pointers to get you started:

Cannabis Microdosing Tips:

  • Pay attention to your cannabis tolerance. Knowing how much it takes to get high can help know how much to take for a microdose
  • Understand the potency of your cannabis of choice and its ratios of THC to CBD
  • Begin a microdosing regimen with a strain containing a higher ratio of CBD
  • Avoid mixing cannabis with alcohol until you know how each affects you separately
  • Know your body. Being aware of how you feel on cannabis will help to titrate the dose
  • Take notes. Keep track of your dosing and how you were affected, then make changes if needed
  • Go slow. Until you figure out the correct dose for you, microdosing will be an exercise in patience

Remember, the idea is to get all the benefits of cannabis, like pain relief, amplified creativity and improvement in mood without the psychoactive high and paranoia that can sometimes accompany THC. Microdosing can be a useful health tool when you discover what works best for you. So, what are you waiting for? Conduct some trial and error and dial in your perfect microdose!


Have you experimented with cannabis microdosing? If so, how were the results?


Erin Hiatt Erin Hiatt

Erin Hiatt writes about cannabis, psychedelics, hemp, politics, and drug policy reform for THC Mag and Freedom Leaf. She has also written for AlterNet and Vice. Erin's work and industry insights have been featured as the hemp and media specialist for the Cannabis and Hemp Association and as a guest on "In The Know 420," speaking on federal and international drug policy. Erin's background is in the entertainment industry, where she worked as a print model and actress on stage, film, television, and commercials. Erin is an avid hiker, trekking much of the southwest, and is a proud member of Actors Equity. You can follow her work on Wordpress, @erinhiatt on Twitter, and @erinisred on Instagram.


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