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Cannabis 101: What is Cannabis Microdosing?

Keegan Williams

By Keegan Williams

November 10, 2022

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Whether or not you partake in cannabis or the use of psychedelic substances like LSD or

, the psychoactive element in magic mushrooms, you’ve likely heard the phrase “microdosing.” 

The practice is often referenced in relation to psychedelics, as an emerging wellness trend helping a wide variety of folks — from

to — embrace wellness, creativity and more. The practice involves taking very small amounts of a drug on a regular basis. The doses are low enough that they won’t produce whole-body effects but strong enough to test or benefit the substance’s physiological action and cellular response.

Regarding the efficacy of psychedelic microdosing, research is still catching up, but anecdotal evidence is promising. A study in

categorized an array of possible microdosing benefits, including improved focus, concentration and mindfulness; less anxiety; more creativity; improved mood, optimism and appreciation for life; and improved ambition, productivity and motivation, among others.

But the microdosing conversation doesn’t stop with psychedelics. Unlike psilocybin, cannabis is legal for

and recreational use in a collection of states across the U.S. with a bustling retail market, but just because high-THC options are plentiful doesn’t necessarily mean all consumers are jumping on board.

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With the many potential benefits of THC, there’s still plenty to embrace even if you aren’t looking for the usual effects that come with standard dosing.

So, what exactly does cannabis microdosing entail? What are the potential benefits, and what does the research say? Take a closer look with High There and find out!

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What Does Cannabis Microdosing Look Like?

As with psychedelic microdosing, microdosing cannabis involves taking small amounts of THC to benefit from its effects without it necessarily impacting your day-to-day life — i.e., not experiencing a psychoactive high. 

One easy way to approach cannabis and THC microdosing is through milligram dosages. For

, a typical “standard” single serving is generally between 5 and 10mg, depending on the cannabis product and the tolerance of the consumer. A new cannabis user might tend to start out with 5mg, whereas a more experienced user may take 10mg or more in edibles.

So, when we think of microdosing, we might look at a dosage between 1 and 5mg, depending on the person. 

Ultimately, the dosage for cannabis microdosing is highly dependent on the individual, since the amount of THC it takes to result in a “high” feeling differs person to person, depending upon metabolism, age, weight, genetics of

receptors, previous cannabis use and more.

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Experts Weigh in on Beginning Cannabis Microdosing

Michelle Ross, founder of IMPACT network, which uses empirical medical research to find new cannabis-related treatments for patients, told

that first-time microdosers should start off at 2.5mg, maintain that level for approximately three days and increase if needed. 

“Microdosing is something that is very personal,” Ross said. “There is no magic bullet for all patients; it is different for each one. So keep experimenting until you find the dose that works for you.”

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Dustin Sulak, a Maine-based osteopathic physician who treats many of his patients with low-dose cannabis, recommends an initial 48-hour period of abstinence for regular smokers. While this may seem like a quick turnaround, a

tracking the number of cannabis receptors during a period of cannabis abstinence saw the receptors adjust to baseline levels after two days.

Sulak argues that microdosers should introduce or reintroduce cannabis to their systems starting with just 1mg. After taking 1mg, wait at least one to two hours and see how you feel. If you don’t notice any change, you can take another 1mg until you notice a difference in how you feel.

“The goal is to use the dose that gives the most minimal noticeable effect,” Sulak said. “You are not trying to get stoned, you are not trying to get total relief from symptoms — you are just trying to get a little something.”

That feeling could be a feeling of slight elation or wellbeing, experiencing increased creativity or slight pain relief. The effect depends on your personal reaction to

and your goals in pursuing cannabis microdosing.

After achieving that feeling, congratulations, you’ve found your own minimal THC dosage for microdosing! Sulak recommends staying at the same dose for a few days and gradually increasing if needed, adding that it generally falls somewhere between one and three milligrams per dose.

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What are the Benefits of Microdosing Cannabis?

As mentioned, many seek out cannabis microdosing as a means of embracing the benefits of THC without it affecting their normal routine or creating the same high feeling that standard dosing provides. 

cannabis concentrates or CBD vape juice. Weed Vape Pens for THC Oil . CBD vape oils. simple electronic device.
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Therefore, many consumers seek out microdosing for similar reasons they might use cannabis for wellness in general. Sulak told Leafly that many patients are looking toward microdosing as a way to treat conditions like depression, stress, anxiety and pain, along with improving focus and promoting sleep.

As with cannabis and microdosing as a whole, research is still catching up, but some studies have shown that using less cannabis could prove to be more beneficial for medicinal use. 

One

published in The Journal of Pain provided a THC/CBD compound, nabiximols, at varying doses to cancer patients who were unresponsive to traditional opioid painkillers. Patients who received the lowest level of cannabinoids had the greatest reduction in pain, while those with the highest doses actually reported more pain.

Another 2014 study published in the

treated a group of incarcerated people with 4mg doses of Nabilone, a synthetic cannabinoid, for their post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and other associated symptoms. After starting the low-dose cannabinoid regimen, they showed significant improvements in general symptoms of PTSD, along with less PTSD-associated insomnia, nightmares and chronic pain.

Sulak also told Leafly that cannabis can help to control chronic conditions. A person with multiple sclerosis, for example, might use higher doses of cannabis when dealing with a flare-up, but once they get well and heal, that person can lower their daily dose until microdosing “becomes a maintenance plan.”

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What is the Best Way to Microdose?

If you decide to take the plunge, it’s going to help to prepare ahead of time for your continued cannabis microdosing journey, meaning it might be time to go shopping. For beginners, it’s often advised to start cannabis microdosing with edibles, since it’s easier to dose than an inhalable option, like

or flower. 

Unrecognisable woman holding CBD oil drops.
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Low-dose edibles are also becoming more and more common, so you won’t necessarily have to worry about cutting a

in half or eyeing a partial dosage to achieve the proper microdose. 

There are all kinds of edibles available today, including pills and capsules that are even easier to incorporate into a daily morning routine. Beverages could also be a good option, as they metabolize in a different way than ingestible edibles and typically hit the system a bit quicker. It’s also common to find full-size, 12- or 16-ounce beverages available as a 10mg dose of THC, making microdosing even easier.

Sublinguals, which are made of cannabis suspended in alcohol or other liquids to increase concentration, are also a good option. These go right under your tongue and, like beverages, kick in quicker than ingestible edibles. Sublinguals and tinctures usually use a dropper or pipette, so it’s also easy to start with a drop or two and slowly work up as needed to perfect your dose.

Since measuring the dose can be such a challenge with flower, especially given the amount of smoke and waste, we’d generally suggest steering away from it when microdosing. However, single-use pipes and one-hitters — while still pretty challenging to microdose cannabis with — can be useful tools. 

could be a good alternative if you are set on an inhalable option, since there is no ignition involved — basically, pulling the vape periodically to continue delivering the optimal level of cannabinoids to your system.

It’s also still important to consider the strains and types of cannabis you are consuming. It might be a good idea to keep a log of the products you consume, the amount you consumed and how they affected you, as a general guide to what you like and what works best when microdosing cannabis and THC.

Final Thoughts

In the cannabis world, we still have a lot of catching up and learning to do. While we are still uncovering all the answers around cannabis microdosing, there is a collection of different ways to embrace and benefit from the plant. Microdosing can be a great way to enjoy some of the same benefits THC and cannabis provides without the psychoactive effects and quantity of products that comes with standard, or heavy, dosing.

While many cannabis consumers surely enjoy taking major

and relishing in the feeling of a solid high, sometimes less truly is more.

Keegan Williams

About The Author

Keegan Williams

HIGH THERE MISSION

WE’RE A CREATIVE COMMUNITY — EXPLORING THE SCIENCE, CRAFT, AND CULTURE OF CANNABIS.
WE BELIEVE THAT WE HAVE A COLLECTIVE RESPONSIBILITY TOWARDS ERADICATING THE STIGMA, MISINFORMATION, AND INEQUITIES SURROUNDING THIS PLANT, SO WE CAN UNLOCK ITS TRUE POTENTIAL FOR ALL.

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