How and Why You Should Microdose Cannabis
Before Albert Hofmann, the Swiss scientist who created lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD), passed away in 2008, he signaled to MAPS founder Rick Doblin, Ph.D. that the most important area of psychedelic research will be microdosing, the technique of taking only small quantities of substances for therapeutic purposes. Since Hofmann’s death, more and more people are experimenting with LSD and psilocybin mushrooms, microdosing to enhance productivity and inspiration as well as treat various mental health conditions such as depression, anxiety, and ADHD. Similarly, cannabis enthusiasts and patients alike are exploring this idea of “less is more” now that over half of the United States has legalized cannabis either medically, recreationally, or both. In this guide, we break down why microdosing in an effective way to administer cannabis, including tips and tools to guide you.
What’s the appeal?
When imbibing low doses of cannabis, you don’t perceive you’re intoxicated but experience a creative opening that allows you to enjoy the benefits without the side effects. The idea of designing subtle yet profound changes within ourselves using a natural healing plant like cannabis is an alluring aspect for many.
Are you prone to anxiety when you toke up? Do you like certain aspects of consuming cannabis, but negative effects keep you from using it therapeutically? Do you enjoy the psychoactive experience, but sometimes crave a more mellow and focused mindset? Have you tried pharmaceutical medications to mitigate health issues, but didn’t like the side effects? If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, microdosing may be right for you.
What’s the right dose?
Finding your sweet spot will take time, patience, and practice. Learn as much about cannabis as you can, keep a journal outlining your journey, and cultivate self-awareness. Since everyone’s endocannabinoid system is different, what works for you may not work for someone else. In fact, what works for you one day, may not work the following day. Mood, sleep habits, tolerance, and appetite as well as other aspects of your personal chemistry should be taken into consideration since they will have a direct effect on your outcome. Take it slow. The point of microdosing is to avoid amounts which produce pronounced euphoria and unwanted side effects while still reaping the subtle benefits of titrating cannabis into your mind-body-spirit system.
If you’re eating an infused edible, start with a tiny bite, perhaps 1 to 5 milligrams maximum. Many edibles are scored into distinct dosage sections for this reason. If you’re smoking cannabis, take a tiny puff and wait at least 10 minutes before taking another. If you’re vaporizing, pay attention to your temperature settings. Notice when the most subtle effects arise, then gently increase or decrease subsequent doses to find your optimal microdose. Slow and steady is the key to proper microdosing.
Which delivery method is best for microdosing?
The most popular delivery methods are smoking, vaping, and ingesting cannabis. All have their own advantages and disadvantages, but oftentimes you can design a regimen that’s right for you by incorporating all three.
Combusting cannabis is the most difficult way to control your dose. One single hit off a jay may contain up to 10 milligrams of THC, quickly overwhelming someone with a low tolerance. Instead of smoking a joint, try using a small transparent glass pipe like the 19mm mini steamroller by Grav Labs or the mini hitter pipe by Elevate Accessories. Since you can see the smoke fill up the chamber, it’s easier to take a tiny puff and leave the rest behind. The downside? It’s not the most economical way to medicate, since you will burn through more product this way. Plus, if you’re microdosing for health reasons, you may want to avoid combustion as it’s not the cleanest way to consume.
Vaporizing cannabis allows you to dial in your microdose accurately while avoiding harmful carcinogens and enjoying subtle cannabinoid and terpene profiles. Vaping has never been easier or more discreet thanks to convenient, portable, and stylish handheld devices like the PAX 3, Puffco Plus, hmblt, Firefly,and Quill. Learning about the myriad beneficial compounds in cannabis and their corresponding vaporization points will allow you to better control your experience, conserve your stash, and enjoy the various components as they vaporize off at different temperatures.
Ingesting cannabis tinctures and edibles is an easy way to medicate, providing a longer and sometimes more therapeutic dose. Recent updates in infusion technology allow edibles to be created with more consistent effects. Break off a 5mg square of Peak Extracts infused chocolate or tear open a packet of Ruby cannabis sugar and add it to your coffee. Measure out a dropper of tincture and take it sublingually. Or, make your own infused treats using a Magical Butter machine. Eating cannabis edibles allows you to consume discreetly and precisely without inhaling harsh smoke.
How does microdosing feel?
Chances are you’ll feel a slight sensation devoid of paranoia. Depending on the terpene and cannabinoid profiles, you may feel more relaxed, more energetic, more focused, or something in between. Some people report an increase in creativity, improved emotional balance and heightened spiritual awareness. Others microdose to relieve stress, treat disorders, alleviate pain, or take advantage of cannabis’ anti-inflammatory properties without having to navigate intense psychoactivity. This makes microdosing a valuable technique for medicating while working or taking care of the family.
What are some helpful tips for microdosing?
Avoid mixing cannabis and alcohol until you have a firm understanding of your relationship with both.
Pay attention to the potency of your cannabis and the ratios of CBD and THC.
Try strains high in CBD and low in THC to enjoy CBD’s muscle-relaxing benefits while minimizing THC’s strong psychoactivity.
Create therapeutic blends by combining cannabis and natural tobacco alternatives.
Metabolism and physiology can affect your experience. Be mindful of the ingredients in your edibles by looking for gluten-free, vegan, organic, sugar-free, and low-fat options to maintain a well-balanced diet.
Be patient. Finding what works for you may take a little time.
Written on January 26, 2017 by
Zoe Wilder is a writer based in Portland, Oregon, with a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature from the College of William & Mary and a Master of Social Work from Fordham University.