With the cannabis potency-obsessed market reaching new peaks in demand for high THC strains and products alike, it may seem as if more THC means everything nowadays.
Meanwhile, the growing popularity of high CBD strains and various products, ranging from bath salts through fancy facial therapies, the world of cannabis consumption is shifting. Once governed by an ugly stigma, currently, cannabis is becoming one of the hottest trends swiping the globe as if by storm.
In the midst of the growing cannabis acceptance and swiftly developing pot industry, many are now progressing into learning how to microdose cannabis as to reap the health benefits that come without the typical ganja buzz.
What is Cannabis Microdosing
Much more than simply a growing trend, cannabis microdosing refers to ingesting, inhaling and/or topically applying any preferred form of marijuana product in such minor amounts as not to experience the typical sense of high with the goal of reaping unique health benefits.
Practitioners of marijuana microdosing are basically taking only small, controlled amounts of the herb in order to take advantage of the associated medical benefits of THC but while simultaneously avoiding the often strong psychoactive effects that are not equally well-tolerated by each user, largely because of interfering with the demands of our busy daily lives but also because not everybody feels comfortable when under the potent influence of high THC products.
However, according to Michelle Ross who is the founder of a non-profit organization engaged in empirical medical research, driven by the passion for finding new cannabis treatments for patients, shared in an interview for one of the global marijuana online communities that most people don’t really know about microdosing.
As Ross highlighted, many cannabis users are simply blasting their system with high amounts of THC, and unfortunately, this isn’t always the most reliable approach “for whatever condition they have.”
Indeed, as we know fair well, sometimes, too much of a good thing does not necessarily mean, ahem, a good thing, and in fact, it can quickly turn disastrous. This is exactly what a 2017 study conducted at the University of Illinois at Chicago has revealed, pointing out to low doses of THC being far better suited for stress relief than high doses of THC that may bring exactly the opposite effects.
Even though microdosing is traditionally associated with psychedelics such as LSD, many reputable experts believe that the medical benefits associated with THC fall into a threshold that is rather lower than what most people tend to think.
And so, a new community of marijuana advocates is on the rise, pushing for less cannabis consumption and more conscious weed use.
But the truth is, for some users, microdosing cannabis does not have to automatically imply restraining from indulging in that big, fat, after-work joint (or delicious and potent pot-laced cookie) to let one roam away from pains and stress into a blissful state of body and mind relaxation and unwind.
Above all, cannabis microdosing remains a strictly personal matter of choice, and as such, it has many possible nuances.
Some might prefer to stick solely to microdosing their pot intake, opting for purchasing and/or crafting suitable microdose cannabis products to suit their individual needs and demands.
However, some are eager to reap the benefits of cannabis microdosing throughout the day as to be perfectly functioning at work without falling victim to stress, anxiety, tension, mood swings, and chronic pains but while also not restraining from consuming as much cannabis of the desirable potency as they crave for once their daily tasks are all set and done.
Experts do not share a common stance on whether or not those who microdose cannabis should 100% restrain from indulging in higher amounts of marijuana even randomly. It is only fair to state that it is based on the unique case of the person and his/her individual goals related to cannabis microdosing that set the frames.
One of the target groups of cannabis microdosing is that of mommies who can greatly benefit by taking advantage of such type of well-dosed and well-controlled pot intake, but ultimately, the scope of cannabis microdosing knows no particular limits.
Some claim that microdosing is the future of marijuana, and they certainly seem to have a good point on that note.
Health Benefits of Cannabis Microdosing
A big number of patients are turning to cannabis microdosing because of a whole multitude of therapeutic benefits they can reap.
Then again, the health benefits of learning how to microdose cannabis are not limited to medical marijuana patients, but instead, anyone can choose to join in. For recreational weed users, microdosing cannabis can help to not only treat but also to prevent a wide array of health issues from ever happening.
Microdosing knows no limits in terms of experience with cannabis use, age, background, or sex, and it can be just as wonderful for beginners as it can be for the seasoned pot consumers.
It is crucial to note that, at least as of now, a substantial amount of empirical evidence on the health benefits of cannabis microdosing is still lacking. On the bright side, though, there is some already existing clinical research that suggests less can be, indeed, more, when it comes to medicinal marijuana. For instance, it was in a 2012 study when patients diagnosed with advanced stages of cancer were given a new THC/CBD cannabinoid formulation at different dosages, ranging from low to medium and high.
While the patients were unresponsive to conventional opioid painkillers, this was not the case with cannabis treatment. Ultimately, those who received the lowest dosage of cannabinoids showcased the greatest reduction in pain rates. On the opposite, the patients who received high doses of the active THC/CBD compound called nabiximols were actually shown to experience more pain.
In yet another study, incarcerated individuals received low doses of a synthetic cannabinoid called Nabilone(up to 4 milligrams) for the purpose of treating their PTSD and the associated symptoms. The results of the study were published in 2014, showcasing intriguing improvements in posttraumatic stress disorder-associated symptoms, including general symptoms, as well as, in particular, chronic pain, nightmares, and insomnia.
As experts point out, microdosing can become a maintenance plan for many medical marijuana patients at some point of the treatment. For instance, if multiple sclerosis patientsare to undergo a flare-up, hence, having a really hard time, he/she can benefit from high doses of cannabis in order for the symptoms to be under proper control. However, as the person gets to heal in time, his/her daily dose can gradually start to go down until microdosing is to become the major health maintenance tool.
So, how can taking a sub-psychoactive dose of cannabis help you in terms of the health benefits you can reap Below is a shortlist.
1. Maintain homeostasis to promote general health and well-being
2. Reduce stress
3. Keep mood swings and depression at bay
4. Improve and sharpen focus
5. Reduce anxiety
6. Treat chronic pain and inflammation
7. Promote restful sleep
8. Reduce neurodegenerative brain damage
Speaking of the ways microdosing cannabis can help to reduce neurodegenerative brain damage, just recently, a group of Israeli scientists has come up with groundbreaking discoveries on that note.
Groundbreaking 2019 Microdosing Cannabis Study
Watching a beloved human being of yours losing himself/herself to conditions such as Alzheimer’s and dementia that seem to inevitably come with age, is really hard and painful for anyone involved. Watching someone you sincerely care for struggling to grasp thoughts, concepts, and memories, is nothing less but heartbreaking. Currently, at best, we have some options that can slow down brain cells’ degeneration. However, these options often come with unwanted side effects, and moreover, these options do not work as preventative measure for people who might be genetically prone to neurodegenerative disease. However, a groundbreaking 2019 study brings new rays of light in the dark tunnel of despair for the victims of neurodegenerative disorders, and that’s THC, or more precisely microdoses of THC, as the major active cannabinoid notorious for its strong psychoactive effects, has demonstrated to help reverse brain aging processes when ingested in low doses.
Conducted by experts at the University of Bonn, collaborating closely with their colleague scientists from the Israeli-based Hebrew University of Jerusalem, the study used mice between 12 and 18 months as subjects. The mice were broken into two groups. The first group received low doses of THC (THC microdoses) daily for a whole month. The second group received a placebo.
According to Professor Andreas Zimmer, THC treatment seemed to “turn back the molecular clock.”
Based on the results of the study, researchers concluded that mice treated with THC microdose daily demonstrated signs of reversed brain-damaging, including various age-related brain problems, such as cognitive speech and learning, as well as memory.
When looking closely into the brain tissue and gene activity of the THC microdose-treated mice, researchers concluded that it resembled that of 2-month-old mice after the full month of low doses of THC treatment.
The mice receiving placebo, however, continued to show signs of aging.
Emphasizing on the fact that more “knowledge-led research is indispensable,” researchers also shared that despite the long path studies need to go from mice to humans, it is truly important that we keep investigating the extremely promising, unparalleled benefits of THC for the treatment of various neurodegenerative-related disease, such as dementia, for example.
In this particular case, the endocannabinoid system does appear to play a vital role in the demonstrated beneficial changes in brain function that changes with age, and that adding low doses of THC regularly (think of daily), could, indeed, potentially become an effective, revolutionary treatment for Alzheimer’s other diseases sharing the same roots.
How to Microdose Cannabis
There is an enormous variance in the amount of THC that will lead to person A feeling high vs. person B being high, vs. person C being high, and so on. And so the short answer on how to microdose cannabis best fits into the phrase “it depends.”To put things in perspective, it is very difficult to fit cannabis microdosing know-how into strict frames, since the way a person is affected by THC potency depends on individual differences, such as cannabinoid receptors’ genetics, previous experience with cannabis consumption, and liver metabolism, just to name a few.
With CBD, microdosing is generally not needed, since CBD acts more like a multivitamin rather than the effect of the complex and highly potent activity of THC in an individual’s cognition, moves, perception of time, etc.
To sum things up, microdosing is a very, very personal thing, and there is no magic bullet or whatsoever for all patients. The key is to experiment and listen to your body until you find a dose that works well for you. Once you find it, it will certainly need further re-adapting as time goes by, so the process of experimentation basically repeats itself over time, just like seasons change and repeat in a similar manner.
A general recommendation for first-time cannabis microdosers is to start off with a dose of 2.5 milligrams. The starter dose is best to be maintained at the same level for about 3 days in a row (3-5 days should work great), and only then the dose can be increased, if necessary.
How about 10 milligrams as a starter dose for the experienced pot consumers
Experts emphasize that such a seemingly low dose for veteran ganja enthusiasts is actually way too high to start with, even for those who have sufficient previous experience with pot consumption.
Then again, the goal of cannabis microdosing is NOT to get high but to take a controlled dose at the smallest amount possible, leading to experiencing the slightest noticeable effects of the high as a result but promoting the process of homeostasis. Furthermore, for experienced, regular cannabis users, it is best to restrain from pot consumption for 48 hours before getting down to learning how to microdose your cannabis intake. The 48-hour period will allow for the endocannabinoid system to reset itself, so to say, and to grant you full access to the possible benefits you can reap by microdosing.
Isn’t 48 hours a relatively brief window
A brain imaging study has revealed that after a period of 2 days abstinence from cannabis, the cannabinoid receptors, even in heavy smokers, did bounce back to their baseline. As soon as this amazing form of neural cleansing is accomplished, microdosing cannabis can start successfully, re-introducing marijuana to the body’s cannabinoid receptors, one step at a time.
As a rule of thumb, the general recommendations for a typical microdose to begin with after taking the recommended 48 hours to restrain of cannabis, sum down to ingesting no more than 1 – 3 milligrams of THC per dose, and no matter how loosely this basic suggestion should be interpreted, it does give a good starting point view. The importance of staying low on the doses within the first weeks of microdosing is further emphasized by the notion that lower doses tend to lead to increased sensitivity to pot over time, thus, greatly assisting in optimizing the benefits of cannabis microdosing.
Not the least, tests that are currently only limited to animals suggest that taking low-level doses of THC may result in an upregulation of the endocannabinoid system (aka the ECS). The upregulation of the ECS includes improving endocannabinoid production as well as improving the expression of the endocannabinoid system’s receptors.
It is crucial to note that provided a person is to build a tolerance to THC, which inevitably happens with regular cannabis use and no periods of phytocannabinoid abstinence leads to a person’s bodybuilding tolerance to its very own endocannabinoids. Doing so indicates no good as the very purpose of the body’s natural cannabinoids (endocannabinoids), is to promote balance and health as deep as the cellular level.
If an individual’s ECS is not highly sensitive (which can be a result of building tolerance over time), then the individual is to be more prone to injury, stress, and illness. The major goal of a proper microdosing treatment is to achieve a highly sensitive, and hence, perfectly functioning endocannabinoid system capable of promoting homeostasis, thanks to ingesting low doses of cannabis on a regular basis, in a similar sense in which we are well-trained to wash our teeth every morning and every evening.
For newbie and occasional cannabis users, or for those who have a very low tolerance to THC, experts suggest opting for an equal ratio of THC to CBD to start with, and in particular, 1 mg THC + 1 mg CBD. Once a person is to feel comfortable with the dosage, it can be increased but the 1:1 ratio is best to be followed again, meaning that if the next dose should be 2 mg THC + 1 mg CBD.
Since the optimal dose is different for everyone, in order to find it, one must inevitably go past it, which may feel somewhat paradoxical but isn’t that part of the whimsical magic of the science behind cannabis
All in all, every single cannabis microdoser is to get to a point when the dosage will have to be increased (or decreased), and sometimes, this may happen week to week, or sometimes, it could be month to month, or in any other totally irregular pattern, unique to each person. Once the dosage does not work as well as it used to do before, then it means the optimal dose was passed, so trial and error should be embraced as part of the process. Fortunately, it is exactly because of the multifaceted nature of cannabis microdosing why this practice can be perfectly personalized, and being able to personalize ganja use is the Holy Grail of taming and maximizing the benefits of cannabis.
Microdosing Cannabis Flowers and Concentrates
Smoking is definitely the most challenging way to microdose cannabis. However, that doesn’t mean it is impossible to microdose cannabis flowers and/or smokable cannabis concentrates alike.
One simple approach is to calculate the total THC potency in the number of cannabis flowers or concentrate you are about to inhale, and then inhale only once. Then wait for 10 – 20 minutes to notice how a single puff has affected you to determine whether you should consume more or less. Count the total puffs you will be able to take from the particular amount of cannabis flowers/ cannabis concentrate so that you can gain an idea exactly how many puffs you have in total for your next microdosing.
As a rule of thumb, the best way to reach the desired cannabis microdose with inhalation delivery methods is to opt for vaporizing the herb. Using temperature, you can control the microdosing much more precisely. Plus, there are also vape pens that are set to deliver a single cannabis microdose per hit automatically, so these wonderful devices do the hard work for you (or simply save you some time from getting into the trial-and-error phase).
Remember, when it comes to microdosing concentrates, a vape pen is the only suitable option. Dabbing a cannabis concentrate using a nail rig makes it virtually impossible to microdose since THC is extremely concentrated. Then again, the temperature settings of a vape pen can greatly help, for as long as you make sure to set your vape pen at the lowest setting, you can enjoy well-measured microdosing.
Microdosing Cannabis Edibles
Important note: microdosing cannabis edibles tend to be tricky, so do not underestimate it. Cutting that pot brownie in equal pieces may seem like an excellent microdosing move but in reality, it is not. Your best bet is to opt for readily-microdose cannabis edibles, such as chocolate bars that come with, for example, 2 mg THC per single block you indulge in.
For DIY enthusiasts, microdosing your cannabis intake by opting for homemade cannabis tincture or cannabis capsules can make fantastic options. Don’t forget that the strain you choose to work with plays a huge role in the total amount of THC per edible. For beginner cannabis microdose enthusiasts who also happen to be crafty by growing their own green ladies and love to experiment with the harvested plant material, just make sure to start with a cannabis strain that will allow you to optimize THC potency while also catering to your likings, whether it be Strawberry Cough, Harle-Tsu, or OG Kush.
Also, remember that with edibles, patience is a virtue, and this rule perfectly applies to microdosing with edibles. Always wait for at least 1 and up to 3 hours for the effects of a cannabis microdose to be experienced, and do not hurry to take another one. Once the minimum suggested time has passed, you can easily decide whether consuming more makes sense. For beginners, 1 mg THC per serving is recommended for the first week of microdosing edibles, and then the dosage can be increased accordingly. Experienced cannabis users could potentially start with 5 mg and up to 10 mg THC per serving and carefully establish the best-working dose for their unique needs respectively.
Cannabis Microdosing Benefits and Uses: Conclusion
Probably one of the greatest roadblocks to learning how to microdose cannabis and reap the health benefits of ingesting low doses is the societal barricade. Up-to-date, we continue to share a rather complex relationship with the cannabis plant, and in fact, it sounds fair to state that the cannabis plant understands people better than humans understand the cannabis plant.
There are thousands of shades of colors in between treating cannabis as a recreational OR medical tool. After all, cannabis is not merely a natural way to unwind OR treat severe health issues, for cannabis is also a mighty herb we can use to stay healthy, in a similar sense in which we know that eating fresh, organic fruits and veggies is not only delicious while chilling out or needed when sick but absolutely wonderful as a preventative means for various disease all year-round.
Is it possible that the new buzz is no buzz Why not (and why not so many nuances in between)
At the end of the day, before you take that extra hit, you may want to think twice, as there are other exciting alternatives than forever sticking to your well-established pot consumption habits and rates, and cannabis microdosing is one of them. For those who want to remain calm, content, sharp, and collected, learning how to microdose cannabis can not only bring impressive health benefits but can also open the gateways towards establishing a much more deeper and fruitful relationship with the ancient cannabis plant in our busy modern-day world.