You’ve probably heard the saying “you can never have too much of a good thing.” It’s great to indulge in simple things like good food, and now that Canada has legalized cannabis nationwide, good weed.
If you are thinking of trying cannabis for the first time or haven’t used any in a while, there are a few things to keep in mind. “Start low, and go slow” was one of my favorite sayings as a budtender. There’s no need to try to smoke all the weed at once. Take your time and find the right amount for you. If you’re familiar with high culture, you may have already heard of people “microdosing” psychedelics such as psilocybin mushrooms for mental health benefits. The same micro dosing technique can be used with THC to improve quality of life.
As the name implies, the practice of microdosing entails ingesting small quantities of a substance, in this case, THC. Enough to experience sustained relief, but not enough to set on the reactive, mind-altering effects of a high which could interfere with your day to day routine. Much of the publicity surrounding the trend typically focuses on hallucinogenics, but for those who want the benefits of THC, microdosing cannabis has become increasingly popular.
How to Microdose Marijuana
The first step in microdosing cannabis is determining the optimal dose to suit your needs. Unfortunately, decades of criminalization has made it difficult for scientists to pinpoint one “magic number” for dosage. CBD and THC affect individual endocannabinoid systems differently, and these effects can uniquely vary with liver metabolism, genetics, weight, mood, as well as prior cannabis use history, meaning that there is no one “right” dose for everyone.
Long story short, the “right” microdose depends on the person, and finding your own is a matter of patience, guesswork, and careful experimentation. Typically, the recommended numbers from experts are to microdose with 2.5mg, 5mg, or 10mg of THC, sustain that number over three days minimum to notice changes, and to incrementally increase that dose if needed. For more thorough estimates, we recommend Cheri Sicard’s free Marijuana Dosing Class and Calculator, both available here.
Strain selection is another important factor when determining your microdosing schedule. If you are someone who wants to use THC in the morning to help your energy throughout the workday, sativa-dominant strains are recommended because of their uplifting and energetic effects. If you are a more anxious person and need something to help you stay focused and relaxed, an indica-dominant strain would be more helpful.
From there, you’ll want to determine your preferred method of ingesting the microdose, and much like the dosing process, there is no one “right” form of ingestion. However, some forms may meet your personal preferences better than others. Smoking and vaping can be an effective way to absorb THC into your lung’s cannabinoid receptors for direct, immediate effect, though it can be difficult to estimate the THC content through this method. One or two puffs could be sufficient, though, for more precision, you may want to use a one-hitter pipe, tailor-made for quick, short-term consumption. The major benefit of smoking is that your body also gets the benefits of the terpenes that marijuana possesses.
For more sustained, long-term, and full body relief, cannabis edibles can be a great option, but you have to calculate the dosing carefully. Unlike smoking, edibles from a dispensary have precise amounts of THC per peice. Because edibles metabolize uniquely in the liver, it takes far longer to set in, about an hour to an hour and a half after ingesting. The high will start to set in and will stay present for about 2-4 hours. If you prefer to microdose using cannabis-infused edibles, we recommend that you start with small, carefully-portioned bites and taking them about the same time of day for predictable results.
For the most precise measurements, we highly recommend that users start with tincture products. Like smoking, sublingual oil application via placing droplets under the tongue can induce near immediate effect without smoking or vaping. The one drawback is that oils are usually THC isolate meaning that you are getting the only THC and not the additional benefits of the naturally occurring terpenes. However, as previously stated, the way you microdose is ultimately a matter of personal preference.
Why You Should Microdose Marijuana
While more research still needs to be conducted, there is more and more evidence coming out supporting THC usage and its positive effects. A Washington State University study with 1300 participants demonstrated significant anxiety and depression reduction through microdosing. A separate trial observing cancer patients found that those given the lowest amount of a THC/CBD compound exhibited the least pain, and though the results have yet to be clinically replicated in humans, one mice study even found that frequent low doses of THC reversed age-related memory loss, a potentially profound insight for treating dementia, Alzheimer’s, CTE, or other neurodegenerative disorders. The reasons for microdosing THC may vary, but the results are consistent.