The “low dose” marijuana consumption strategy is quickly becoming mainstream.
Marijuana’s popularity among American adults is on the rise as more acknowledge its therapeutic benefits and become accepting of its recreational use. With now 33 states having laws permitting medical marijuana, more and more adults are discovering how cannabis can be beneficial for a variety of conditions and symptoms.
A growing trend in cannabis is a consumption tactic called microdosing, which involves taking in small amounts of marijuana throughout the day rather than a single large dose.
You may have heard of microdosing and want to learn more, or perhaps you’re interested in the benefits of cannabis but would prefer to avoid any type of “high.” Either way, here’s what you need to know about microdosing and how it may benefit you.
What is Microdosing Marijuana?
Microdosing is a consumption technique that involves taking low doses of cannabis throughout the day. This allows you to experience the natural benefits of cannabis-derived cannabinoids while avoiding the intoxicating effects of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) that can interfere with daily life activities.
THC is the intoxicating cannabinoid that is responsible for the euphoric effects, or “high,” when you consume marijuana. When THC is consumed in high enough doses, these euphoric effects can come in the form of:
- Slower response time
- Impaired coordination and body movement
- Impaired perception
- Altered sensory awareness
- Impaired memory
By taking small doses of marijuana throughout the day through microdosing, you can maintain low levels of THC, below the amount that will elicit intoxicating side effects or markedly alter your mood, mindset, or physical senses.
Benefits and Effects of Microdosing
Medical marijuana patients have started to utilize microdosing in the treatment efforts of various conditions and symptoms. A recent study of medical marijuana patients revealed that patients were finding microdosing to be particularly beneficial for reducing anxiety and stress and managing depression.
While thousands of studies have investigated the therapeutic properties of cannabis, research into the benefits of microdosing is limited. Still, there is some clinical research indicating that microdosing marijuana can be beneficial for some medical purposes.
In 2012, researchers found that patients with advanced cancer experienced a greater reduction in pain at a lower dose of THC compared to medium and high doses. A separate study a couple of years later found that lower doses of a synthetic cannabinoid elicited significant improvements in patients with PTSD-associated insomnia, nightmares, and chronic pain.
Most recently, scientists in Germany and Israel found that regular small doses of THC boosted memory performance in older mice, altering their brain chemistry so that they performed various memory tasks nearly as well as younger mice.
How to Microdose Marijuana
If you’re a medical marijuana patient looking to microdose, you have various types of consumption methods and products to choose from.
Experts often recommend products like marijuana tinctures, oils, and edibles. These marijuana products, in general, have more precise THC levels, which allows for more exact THC doses.
It’s important to note that individual servings of edibles may contain THC concentrations that are too high for microdosing, which could require that you divide an edible into smaller portions. There are, however, now a number of edible products available that lend themselves to microdosing — such as mints, chocolates, and gummies — that have smaller THC concentrations and can be easily eaten throughout the day.
Vaping, smoking, or dabbing marijuana is also commonly used for microdosing. When using these inhalation methods for microdosing, you may take one draw or puff, wait five to 10 minutes to feel any effects, and then take another draw or puff if necessary.
These inhalation methods can be challenging for microdosing because it is more difficult to precisely control the amount of THC received with each draw. Factors such as the strain of marijuana flower used and the length of each inhale can influence how much THC is consumed.
Finding the Microdosing Dose That Works For You
At first, it can be challenging to figure out the right THC dosage for microdosing. The optimal dose is different for everyone, and there is tremendous variance in the amount of THC that will result in a person feeling high. How THC affects you is influenced by liver metabolism, body fat percentage, genetics of cannabinoid receptors, and personal tolerance levels.
When figuring out the microdosing that works for you, the key is to take it slow and steady. Begin with a very low dose, monitor how you feel, and increase your intake gradually as needed. The goal is to find the dose that provides the most minimal noticeable effects.
Here’s a step-by-step way to determine your optimal microdosing dose:
- Begin by taking 1 milligram of THC.
- Monitor how calm and comfortable your body feels and whether you notice any effect. Keep in mind that inhaling cannabis will elicit effects in minutes, but the effects from ingesting edibles can take up to an hour.
- If you’ve felt no effect at all, increase your dose by 1 milligram. Again, monitor how you feel.
- Repeat the process over the next few days.
Through this process, you’ll be able to determine the optimal dose for microdosing for you. For most, the ideal dose falls somewhere between 1 and 3 milligrams of THC.
It is also important to consider the strain of marijuana you’re using. Indica strains are usually associated more with sedative properties, while sativa strains can be more energizing. Learn even more about the differences between indica and sativa marijuana strains.
Learn More about Marijuana
As the use and acceptance of medical marijuana continues to grow, regularly new products are being introduced and consumption techniques are being discovered. You can learn more about medical marijuana through our Cannabis 101 page.