Understanding Cannabis Microdosing
Cannabis microdosing can be a great way to experience the benefits of the plant without the intense psychoactive effects associated with higher doses. As with any cannabis product, and especially edibles, it’s important to remember that everyone's body chemistry is different, so it may take some experimentation to find the right dosage for you. It's also important to pay attention to the details, such as: your administration method, the THC content the product you choose, terpene profile, and the recommended dose.
In recent years, microdosing has become a highly debated topic among scientists, mental health experts, and people who experiment with psychoactive substances in an attempt to relieve various conditions. This is not limited to marijuana; microdosing also describes taking small, carefully measured doses of illicit or controlled substances like LSD, psilocybin (magic mushrooms), or DMT. The idea behind microdosing is to experience the therapeutic benefits of the substance without the intense psychoactive effects that can be associated with higher doses.
Increased Interest in Microdosing
The concept of microdosing is not new, but it has gained significant attention in recent years as more and more people are looking for alternative methods of self-care and mental health management. The growing body of research on the therapeutic benefits of psychedelics has led to an increased interest in microdosing.
Microdosing can be used to help with a wide range of mental health and brain-based conditions, including depression, stress and anxiety, PTSD, and ADHD. Other people use microdosing to help with creativity, focus, and productivity. It should be noted that microdosing can also be used to address physical symptoms like pain, seizures, Multiple Sclerosis, GI issues, and more.
The recent surge in interest in microdosing can be traced back to the tech industry in Silicon Valley, where entrepreneurs and tech moguls began exploring the potential of using these substances in tiny doses. They found that microdoses appeared to enhance their creativity and improve their mood during long work hours without the negative side effects of a full-blown hallucinogenic trip.
Murmurs of Silicon Valley’s success with microdosing led to a growing number of people experimenting with microdosing with cannabis to unlock the potential therapeutic benefits, without experiencing the more intense effects.
What is Microdosing Cannabis and How Does It Work?
Cannabis microdosing is a therapeutic approach that involves taking small, precise doses of cannabis plant compounds to achieve specific health benefits—most often between 1 and 5 mg of cannabinoids, though for some with higher tolerances, 5-10 mg is a comfortable microdose. By consuming lower doses, individuals can avoid the psychoactive effects of cannabis while still reaping its medicinal benefits. Even if cannabis is not consumed in the quantities necessary to cause a high, it can still exert therapeutic effects on the body and brain.
Major cannabinoid compounds, including tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD), and other cannabinoids like CBN, CBG, and more interact with the body's endocannabinoid system (ECS). Even minuscule amounts of cannabinoid compounds bind with cannabinoid receptors in the brain and body to affect the way the ECS modulates processes like sleep, immunity, pain response, mood, digestion, and more.
Certain doses of these cannabinoids—and the associated terpenes and flavonoids also produced by the cannabis plant—have been found to attenuate issues with insomnia, chronic pain, seizures, mood disorders, gastrointestinal disorders, and more. In some cases, low doses of the compounds found in cannabis appear to be even more effective than high doses.
The Benefits of Cannabis Microdosing
There are many reasons people choose to microdose cannabis, including:
Low to No Psychoactive Effects
First and foremost, microdosing is ideal for patients who do not wish to experience the euphoric effects caused by high-THC cannabis. Extremely low doses taken on a regular basis still provide medicinal benefits while eliminating the potential for psychoactive effects. Individuals can microdose during the day without feeling "high" or impaired.
Microdosing appears to address many issues that are not well-treated by traditional medications. For example, low doses of cannabis compounds like THC and CBD can reduce pain, inflammation, and anxiety while also helping improve mood and cognitive function. In this way, cannabis may help reduce or eliminate reliance on addictive prescription medications.
Reduces the Potential Negative Side Effects of Cannabis
By consuming lower doses of cannabis, individuals may avoid negative side effects such as paranoia and anxiety that sometimes come with intense psychoactivity. Microdosing can provide a subtle but powerful form of relief for certain conditions without the fear of a negative experience.
Since CBD appears to moderate the effects of THC, it's suggested to look for products that have a higher CBD:THC ratio or at least a balanced ratio. Taking these products at a low dose provides an extra layer of assurance you will have a positive experience.
What Conditions May Benefit from Microdosing?
Microdosing cannabis can provide a host of benefits to patients experiencing a wide range of conditions.
Some common ailments eased by microdosing include:
Microdosing cannabis can be an effective way to mitigate certain symptoms of ADD/ADHD. People report that low doses of THC can help improve focus and attention while also reducing symptoms of anxiety and impulsivity. Additionally, CBD, a non-psychoactive compound found in cannabis, appears to have a calming effect on the nervous system, which can be beneficial for those with ADD/ADHD.
Microdosing cannabis can be an effective way to treat chronic pain. Research suggests that low doses of THC and CBD can help to reduce pain and inflammation. In particular, microdosing with a well-balanced THC:CBD ratio or high-CBD product appears to have a positive impact on the symptoms of chronic pain. It's important to note that the optimal dosage for chronic pain relief may vary for everyone.
Tip: certain strains have been reported as more effective for specific types of pain. Check out our quiz: What Cannabis Strain is Best for Pain Relief? to learn what products and strains are best for your own pain relief.
Appetite Disorders, Including Anorexia and Reduced Appetite
Microdosing cannabis can be a beneficial way to help treat anorexia. For many people, low doses of THC and CBD can help to stimulate appetite and reduce feelings of nausea, which can be beneficial for those who struggle with conditions ranging from eating disorders to nausea induced by chemotherapy, low appetite, and more. Additionally, microdosing with cannabis may also help to reduce feelings of anxiety and depression, which are common in people struggling with eating disorders.
Alzheimer’s Disease and other Neurodegenerative Conditions
Microdosing cannabis may help alleviate some symptoms of Alzheimer's disease and similar neurodegenerative conditions. Research suggests that low doses of THC and CBD can help to improve memory, reduce inflammation, and improve overall cognitive function. As mentioned, cannabinoids may also help improve mood, especially as they relate to anxiety and depression, common comorbidities with neurodegenerative disorders.
Microdosing cannabis may help with addiction recovery by reducing cravings and decreasing symptoms of withdrawal. Research suggests that cannabis could be especially useful for addressing opioid use disorder, or OUD. Low doses of CBD can help to reduce insomnia, anxiety, and depression, which are common in people struggling with addiction.
Additionally, microdosing with cannabis can help to attenuate some of the intrusive symptoms of PTSD, which is a common co-occurring disorder among those in recovery. With this in mind, it’s safe to say that microdosing cannabis may help to reduce society’s reliance on opioids to treat chronic pain, addressing the source of opioid addiction in the first place.
General Mood and Mood Disorders
Some people report that microdosing cannabis helps them to feel more relaxed, focused, and creative. Others have found that microdosing can be useful in managing symptoms of anxiety or depression. In addition, mood can be affected by a variety of the conditions listed above, including chronic pain. This means that the crossover effects of how cannabis treats certain ailments and how it can act as a mood regulator or mood enhancer are a complex interplay that can ultimately serve to improve mood.
How to Get Started with Cannabis Microdosing
Looking to get the most out of your cannabis experience? Microdosing is the perfect way to explore the benefits of cannabis in a safe and controlled way.
Ready to get started?
- First, consult with a medical professional to ensure that cannabis is safe for you to use and to discuss any potential interactions with any medications you may be taking.
- Next, consider purchasing low-dose edibles, like mints or lozenges. These products are typically pre-portioned and tested, making it easy to determine the exact THC content and how much you are ingesting. (Look out for our specific low-dose cannabis product recommendations below.)
- Begin with small doses and gradually increase until you find your "sweet spot" that provides the desired effects without any unwanted side effects.
- Consider keeping a journal or using Strainprint to track your progress and note any changes in your symptoms. This will help you understand how your body responds to different dosages and strains of cannabis.
- Finally, be patient and consistent with your microdosing regimen. It may take some time to find the right dosage and the right cannabis products that work best for you. Remember that microdosing cannabis is a personal experience and what works for one person may not work for another, so it's important to listen to your body and adjust accordingly.
Things to Keep in Mind when Microdosing Cannabis
Aside from the tips above, there are some other things to consider when microdosing. Some people find that lower doses of THC paired with a full spectrum of cannabinoids and terpenes may be beneficial for their therapeutic needs.
It's also important to be aware of other factors that can impact your experiences, such as your environment, mental state, hydration, and nutrition. Even the product types you choose can impact the experience. Some consumption methods allow for more accurate dosing, and you can exert finer control over your dose as you start low and increase until you achieve optimal effects.
Best Products for Microdosing
With so many products and dosing options available, it is easy to see why microdosing is taking over medical marijuana, including Florida.
Take a look at some of the top options that can be effectively used to microdose cannabis:
Sublinguals are a form of cannabis consumption that has recently been gaining popularity. They include tinctures and oral sprays, which are made by suspending cannabis in an alcohol or liquid base, and candy-like options such as mints and lozenges. Unlike edibles, which are designed to be digested, sublinguals are intended to be absorbed under the tongue. This allows for faster onset of effects, as the active compounds enter the bloodstream directly through the blood vessels under the tongue.
The variety of edibles available on the market is wide, and the options are endless. From soft chews to chocolates and mint meltaways, you can find edibles in every shape, size, and flavor. Edibles are great for microdosing because they come with cannabinoid concentrations and dosing information printed on the label. Too, edibles provide longer-lasting effects, meaning you may reap the benefits of this small dose for up to 6 hours.
You can easily consume a smaller portion of an edible if you wish to keep your dose low - in fact, MÜV Chocolates are crafted with this in mind. Or, find a product that offers smaller mg’s of THC per piece.
Topicals and Transdermals
Topical cannabis products are applied directly to the skin, providing systemic relief. They can be an excellent option for those looking to microdose. Topical cannabis products come in a variety of forms, including creams, lotions, balms, and patches.
Topicals target the hands, shoulders, back, or feet, and can provide relief for a variety of conditions, including pain, inflammation, and skin conditions. Transdermal products feature specialized encapsulation technology, which allows cannabinoids to cross into the bloodstream and provide systemic relief.
Cannabis in tablet or capsule form is an effective way to safely and consistently dose cannabis compounds, particularly for those looking to microdose. These forms of cannabis consumption are becoming increasingly popular among cannabis users as they offer a discreet and convenient way to consume cannabis.
Cannabis tablets and capsules come in a variety of delivery methods, including coated tablets to resist stomach acid and pass into the small intestine, where they are absorbed, providing a more consistent and controlled experience. Coated tablets and capsules can also help to reduce the risk of stomach upset and other gastrointestinal side effects.
Is Microdosing for You?
If you do decide to microdose,it’s important to note the timing of your doses, keep track of your symptoms and how they change, and note how you feel after taking a microdose. For this reason, we recommend keeping a journal of your experience or tracking your sessions with Strainprint when beginning your microdosing journey.
And if you're looking to try microdosing cannabis, it's crucial to purchase your products from an approved medical dispensary in Florida. At MÜV, we offer a wide variety of cannabis products with varying levels of THC, CBD and other important cannabinoids, so you can find the right microdosing product for you. If you’re unsure, speak with a member of our Patient Care team or your local Cannabis Advisor for guidance on the ideal product for your needs.
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Content Manager for MÜV Florida and Contributor for Zen Leaf Dispensaries. A cannabis connoisseur with a passion for explaining the miraculous possibility of the plant, Swan began her journey with cannabis as a recreational user and quickly realized its positive impact on her depression and severe anxiety. She joined the cannabis industry as Receptionist and MedTender and witnessed first-hand the immense potential of the plant for a wide variety of ailments, deepening her passion for alternative medicine. Swan is dedicated to self-education on the plant and sharing its potential with all. She holds a Journalism degree from the University of Iowa.