While high-THC strains prevail in the modern recreational cannabis market, many specialists advise sticking to low doses of the weed compound. They explain it with the fact that the medicinal properties of weed can be brought to naught because of the potent dose of the psychoactive cannabinoid. For this reason, more and more people start to support microdosing.
The tactic of microdosing suggests that by consuming less cannabis you will actually benefit more. It refers mostly to medical users who want to avoid the psychoactive effects of marijuana but receive all possible benefits of the THC compound.
Of course, we should understand that microdosing is not a panacea, and the decision about the dose should be made based on your condition and preferences. However, numerous medical studies prove that there is a drastic difference in the effects regular and small doses provide. For instance, microdoses of weed with a high level of THC can reduce stress and anxiety, while a large amount of the same strain can even cause them, as well as paranoia and panic attacks.
The sad thing is that most of the users do not know about microdosing or do not believe that it can work. They prefer to blast their systems with super-potent flowers or concentrates rich in THC and never receive the desired results. They believe that the more weed they consume, the more benefits they will obtain. Unfortunately, this theory is far from the truth. In most cases, by raising the dose of the substance, you get diminished benefits.
Questions about microdosing start to appear when it comes to treating medical conditions that require interaction with THC. While the CBD compound lacks the psychoactive effects and can be consumed safely with no negative impact on the human health, THC may cause side effects such as paranoia, anxiety, nausea, or red eyes.
Among numerous conditions that are treated by THC are depression, anxiety, mood swings, pain, insomnia, and inability to focus. Unfortunately, there is not enough data on the amounts of THC that work best for each condition. However, many specialists suggest that less is in fact better.
Initially, it may seem a bit unusual, but cannabis compounds do not work like painkillers. That is one of the reasons why they may be prescribed to patients as an alternative medicine to treat chronic or other kinds of pain. While traditional painkillers require increasing the dosage with the course of time, medical cannabis works perfectly in small doses.
The same results were presented by a study conducted in 2012 on patients with advanced cancer that were not responding to opioid painkillers. The patients were given different dosages (low, medium, and high) of nabiximols, an extract of cannabis that contains THC and CBD compounds. The patients who got the lowest dosage of the treatment showed the best results in the reduction of pain. The patients who received high doses of cannabinoids demonstrated the opposite result and not only did not feel better but even started to experience more pain.
The same promising results were presented in the study conducted in 2014. It observed patients who experienced post-traumatic stress disorder. The patients were given low doses of synthetic cannabinoids. Even though the dosage was not more than four milligrams, it managed to improve their health state significantly and soothe a number of PTSD-associated symptoms, such as nightmares, insomnia, and chronic pain.
Microdosing of cannabis can be very effective for various chronic health conditions, including multiple sclerosis, neuropathy, fibromyalgia, and stress-related issues. The greatest benefit of this treatment is that a patient can consume it on a daily basis lowering the dose every time, and it will still work perfectly.
The chemical composition of your treatment should be determined by your doctor and prescribed individually. While some conditions should be treated by CBD only, others require THC as the main active element. However, since THC is a psychoactive compound and may cause side effects, the presence of CBD is desirable anyway.
The thing is, the CBD compound is able to neutralize the negative side effects of THC. It has its own price, though. Compared to THC, the production of CBD is still quite expensive, and that means that the price for such a product is higher than for a THC-only item.
For a perfect effect, it is recommended to get a product with an equal THC:CBD ratio—in this case, the herb will provide the most benefits.
At the same time, it is important to note that CBD may serve as a mental stimulant for some people. Therefore, it is not suitable for nighttime usage.
We may only hope that in the near future the formula for measuring the optimal dose of cannabis will be found, but for now the only thing we can rely on is experimenting. Finding the ideal microdose is something very personal. It depends on many factors: the strain's genetics, your metabolism, health condition, history of previous usage, etc.
The idea is to find the dose that provides the minimal noticeable effect but works for treating the symptoms. That is why there cannot be a universal pill that will fit everyone's situation.
The amount of the substance that is considered to be a microdose is very different. Some offer to begin with 2.5 milligrams, while others suggest using 10 milligrams as a start. The best solution in this situation may be relying on studies that worked with cases similar to yours or simply starting with the lowest dose.
The experimenting part can be quite difficult and sometimes even a bit painful. The idea is to be patient and, if needed, increase the dose slowly. It is usually recommended to maintain each level for about three days to see whether it is working for you. However, if you are already a regular user, it may be a good idea to abstain from any consumption of cannabis for at least 48 hours.
Two days of abstinence may seem not enough after years of usage. However, a study published in 2016 showed that this time is sufficient for the whole endocannabinoid system to reset. In two days, even heavy smokers bring their CB-receptors back to the baseline level. If you have been consuming cannabis for quite a while, you may have built a tolerance to THC, and that means that your endocannabinoid system is resistant to your own body's cannabinoids. That is why you need to make a pause and let your body make the system sensitive again.
Microdosing bases on the idea that you teach your body to react to the minimum of incoming cannabinoids. You do not try to get stoned or feel total relief—all you need is to help your endocannabinoid system work properly. It takes time, it requires patience, but it works.
You may start with as little as one milligram of the substance that has a 1:1 THC:CBD ratio and increase the dose step-by-step while maintaining the same ratio of compounds. Each step should take three-four days, during which you will understand whether there is any body reaction. At some point, you will pass the optimal level and realize that today's dose does not work as well as before. That is when you will find your own optimal microdose.
In most cases, the final amount of the substance lies between one and four milligrams per dose, but as we have already mentioned, it is different for everyone.
If you are going to start microdosing cannabis, you may stick to the same way of consuming you are used to. However, in some cases, it may be a bit difficult to measure the exact amount of THC. For this reason, some methods are considered to be more effective than others.
Most users opt for smoking and vaping. If you choose this way, you should start with just one puff and then wait for at least five minutes to see if you feel any kind of effect. It is impossible to know the precise amount of THC you smoke or vape, but if you do it slowly, it can work for you anyway.
THC-infused drinks start working after about ten minutes, so if you opt for this way of consuming, you should start with a sip and wait. Take another sip only if needed. At the same time, this method cannot guarantee that the first and second sips you take will deliver the same amount of THC to your system.
Edibles can be more or less convenient for microdosing, depending on what product you take. For instance, if you have a brownie with 100 milligrams of THC in it, it will be quite difficult (if even possible at all) to get a piece that contains only 2.5 milligrams. At the same time, you can find edibles that were made specially for microdosing—for instance, candies or chocolate bars that contain a certain amount of THC. Although this way seems to be the most rational, you should also remember that edibles usually require an hour or even longer for the effects to show. If you are looking for immediate relief, waiting for so long can be really frustrating.
Besides edibles, you may also try cannabis-infused tinctures and oils that can perfectly manage the problem locally. The only thing you should avoid is applying untested products, whether it is a tincture, an edible or a concentrate.
The main thing you should remember while experimenting with microdosing is that you should not consider recreational and medical cannabis the same things. You should be as careful with medicinal herb as with any other medical drugs. Overdose can lead to dramatic consequences, while an exact amount can be your savior.
Unfortunately, there are still very few products with a low dose of THC on the market today. Even in the most popular places, it is difficult to find items that would suit the microdosing concept. The majority of the cannabis industry is targeted at recreational use. Instead, we should consider cannabis as something that helps us stay healthy, like multivitamins.