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Microdosing cannabis for medical and cognitive benefits

Microdosing Cannabis: A Low-Dose Approach to Health and Well-Being

The gradual legalization of marijuana across the nation has given rise to a wider array of cannabis products, with varying levels of potency. However, the high-THC options can often be overwhelming, especially for those new to the cannabis scene, and may lead to undesirable side effects such as anxiety. Enter the world of microdosing, a low-dose method of cannabis consumption that’s steadily gaining popularity.

Understanding Microdosing

Microdosing essentially involves the intake of small quantities of a psychoactive or therapeutic substance. These doses are subtle and significantly lower than what is typically considered a “standard” dose. They are often too small to elicit any psychoactive effects. What Is the Approved Microdosing Marijuana Myth

Microdosing is usually undertaken to avoid negative side effects while still benefiting from desirable effects. It’s commonly used in medicinal treatments for chronic pain and anxiety, leading to less pronounced psychoactive effects. It can also be employed for recreational purposes to boost creativity, focus, and productivity.

In the context of cannabis, microdoses usually involve doses of THC between 2.5 and 5 milligrams. However, the actual microdose could be higher or lower, depending on the individual user.

The Advantages of Microdosing Cannabis

Microdosing Cannabis

Preliminary research and anecdotal evidence suggest numerous advantages to microdosing cannabis:

  • Pain Management:

Microdosing cannabis could potentially aid in reducing chronic pain and inflammation. A study published in the European Journal of Pain revealed that low doses of THC significantly reduced pain, with the relief lasting up to 2 or more hours.

  • Mood Enhancement:

While marijuana is often recommended for relieving anxiety or stress, high doses of THC might trigger anxiety in some users. Microdosing cannabis may provide an alternative way to improve mood and reduce anxious feelings while minimizing the risk of negative side effects. A report by the Alcohol & Drug Abuse Institute at the University of Washington demonstrated that THC appears to decrease anxiety at lower doses.

  • Sleep Improvement:

Microdosing cannabis could potentially improve sleep quality. Research published in the Canadian Pharmacists Journal showed that cannabis helped improve sleep and enabled patients to stop using prescribed medication for insomnia and other sleep-related disorders.

It’s crucial to remember that the effects of consuming marijuana, including microdosing, can vary greatly among individuals.

The Art of Microdosing Cannabis

Microdosing Cannabis

A cannabis microdose is usually a dosage between 2.5 to 5 milligrams of THC. This is a lower dosage than the average dose, which would typically cause noticeable effects on the body and mind.

How much you’ll need to consume will depend on your chosen method of consumption, your desired effects, and your cannabis tolerance.

Microdosing While Smoking

There are several ways to smoke weed, with the two primary methods being bowls and joints.

Both these methods allow for microdosing by taking small puffs or ‘hits’ to inhale less THC. While many consumers enjoy smoking from bongs, they can deliver too high a dose of THC even if you’re trying to inhale less. Amnesia Haze Pre Rolled Joints

One inhale from a joint is equivalent to consuming roughly 2.5 to 5 mg of THC. However, marijuana these days comes in a variety of potencies, so this figure may vary.

To calculate your inhaled dosage, use the following microdose smoking formula:

  1. Find the weight of the joint you are smoking (typically 1 gram or 1/2 gram).
  2. (% THC in the cannabis you’re using) x (weight in milligrams) = total mg of THC
  3. (total mg of THC) / (total puffs in the joint or bowl) = mg per puff. This is unique to the individual and the size of each inhale.

For instance, if you had a one-gram joint with 20% THC, that means the joint contains 200mg of THC (or 0.20 * 1000mg).

If it typically takes you 20 puffs to smoke a full joint, there is approximately 10mg of THC per puff (200 mg / 20 puffs). In this case, a single puff puts you on the high end of a typical microdose, so you might want to consider a lower-potency joint or taking a smaller draw each time you inhale.

This formula can be used to determine how much to smoke.

Photo by nneem on Pixabay

Microdosing While Vaping

Determining the proper microdose amount for vaping is similar to smoking. If anything, it’s a little easier.

You can use the same formula.

For example, a 1g vape cart at 90% THC has 900mg of THC in the cartridge. As with smoking, the number of inhalations per cartridge will vary greatly by individual. Many consumers estimate they’ll get approximately 200 puffs from a 1g vape cart. Therefore, a single hit would deliver approximately 4.5 mg of THC.

Microdosing With Edibles

Edibles

Edibles can be a convenient and discreet way to consume marijuana. And because edible dosage is clearly labeled, controlling your THC intake is a matter of purchasing the right product (or cutting your favorite product into smaller pieces, if needed).

However, it should be noted that edibles can have a slower onset time and the effects can last longer, as the THC must be metabolized by the liver. Edibles can take up to 2 hours to kick in, and these effects can last 12 hours or more for some consumers. For this reason, it’s best to wait the full two hours or even till the next day before adding more milligrams to your dosage.

Microdosing With Tinctures

A tincture is a liquid form of marijuana typically made by extracting THC and other cannabinoids from the plant using alcohol or another solvent. Tinctures can be taken orally, or added to food, beverages, or even topicals.

One advantage of tinctures is that they can deliver a precise dose. And when taken sublingually, effects are typically felt within 15 to 30 minutes as the THC is absorbed directly into the bloodstream through the mucous membranes in the mouth.

They are often sold with a measured dropper allowing you to get small, specific amounts of THC.

Tinctures are measured in milligrams of THC per milliliter (mg/mL). A popular starting dose for a tincture microdose is around 2.5 mg of THC, equivalent to about 0.25 mL of a 10 mg/mL tincture or 0.5 mL of a 5 mg/mL tincture.

For context, a single drop from a tincture is approximately 0.05 mL. So, if you have a 10 mg/mL THC tincture, a microdose would be 5 drops or fewer.

Regardless of your preferred consumption method, the key to successfully microdosing is tracking and recording your dosages, timing, and how you felt after each dose.

Microdosing: THC vs CBD

Both THC and CBD, the main active compounds in marijuana, can be microdosed.

There are several key differences between microdosing CBD and THC:

  • Intoxicating effects:

THC is the psychoactive compound in cannabis responsible for its “high” or euphoria and altered feelings of consciousness. CBD, on the other hand, does not produce any intoxicating effects when consumed.

  • Therapeutic benefits:

CBD and THC have been associated with various potential therapeutic benefits, but they can have different effects on the body. For example, CBD is believed to have anti-inflammatory and anxiolytic (anxiety-reducing) properties. While THC may have pain-relieving and appetite-stimulating effects.

  • Variability of effects:

The effects of THC may vary more widely from person to person, while the effects of CBD are anecdotally more consistent.

Microdosing Cannabis: FAQ

How often can I microdose?

How often you microdose will depend on your individual goals and needs, as well as the specific strain and dosage of marijuana you are using.

Some people may choose to microdose daily, while others may prefer to microdose less frequently. It may be necessary to experiment with different doses, times and effects to find what works best for you.

You should wait until your previous microdose has worn off before you re-dose.

How long does the high last?

How long the effects of a microdose last will depend on several factors, including the specific strain and dosage of marijuana you are using, as well as your physiology and metabolism.

In general, the effects of a microdose are likely to be shorter and less intense than the high from a typical dose.

Are microdoses detectable in a drug test?

Microdoses may show up on drug tests, although the likelihood of this occurring will depend on a variety of factors, including the specific drug test being used, the sensitivity of the test, the frequency with which you microdose, and the amount of marijuana recently consumed.

Can I microdose and drive?

No, you should not microdose and drive. It is not recommended to drive after consuming any amount of marijuana, even a microdose. Marijuana use can impair judgment, coordination, and reaction time, and these effects can increase the risk of accidents and injuries.

If you are planning to microdose marijuana, it is essential to plan ahead and arrange a safe and sober means of transportation if necessary. If caught driving under the influence of cannabis, you could face legal consequences.

Are there any adverse effects of microdosing marijuana?

As with any drug, there are potential risks and side effects to consider when microdosing marijuana.

Some people may experience unpleasant side effects like anxiety, dizziness, or impaired cognitive function, regardless of the size of their dose. While such adverse effects are less likely while microdosing, they can still occur. Start small and gradually increase the amount you consume as needed to reduce the likelihood of adverse effects and to find the proper dose for you.

Sources:

  1. Almog, Shlomo, et al. “The Pharmacokinetics, Efficacy, and Safety of a Novel Selective‐Dose Cannabis Inhaler in Patients with Chronic Pain: A Randomized, Double‐Blinded, Placebo‐Controlled Trial.” European Journal of Pain, vol. 24, no. 8, 12 June 2020, pp. 1505-1516, 10.1002/ejp.1605.
  2. “Low-Dose THC Can Relieve Stress; More Does Just the Opposite | UIC Today.” Today.uic.edu, today.uic.edu/low-dose-thc-can-relieve-stress-more-does-just-the-opposite/.
  3. Stoner, Susan. Effects of Marijuana on Mental Health: Anxiety Disorders Considering Locked vs. Unlocked Treatment Facilities. 2017.
  4. Vaillancourt, Regis, et al. “Cannabis Use in Patients with Insomnia and Sleep Disorders: Retrospective Chart Review.” Canadian Pharmacists Journal / Revue Des Pharmaciens Du Canada, vol. 155, no. 3, 15 Apr. 2022, pp. 175-180, 10.1177/17151635221089617.

The information in this article and any included images or charts are for educational purposes only. This information is neither a substitute for, nor does it replace, professional legal advice or medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you have any concerns or questions about laws, regulations, or your health, you should always consult with an attorney, physician or other licensed professional.

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