Microdosing initially originated in psychedelic drug research and has remained closely associated with hallucinogens such as LSD and psilocybin mushrooms, with researchers specifically focused on how the administering of lower doses of these substances could potentially yield greater therapeutic results. While research of psychedelics continues today, many consumers have begun applying a similar methodology to their intake of cannabinoids such as THC and CBD.
Some users looking to harness the efficacy of plant medicine on a daily basis may prefer to do so in a manner that either limits or excludes the accompanying psychoactive effects of THC, which is another reason why microdosing can be appealing. While many cannabis users don't view the THC-induced "high" as a negative, some may face difficulties adjusting to the sensation or would simply prefer to limit the psychoactive side effects without abstaining entirely from cannabis-derived products containing THC.
Overloading our bodies with cannabinoids such as THC or CBD (the non psychoactive cannabinoid found in cannabis) can overwhelm the body's cannabinoid receptors (as found in the endocannabinoid system) and overstimulate them, resulting in undesirable side effects such as an increased heart rate, anxiety or paranoia. Given that many turn to cannabis-derived products in the first place to reduce or relieve symptoms of anxiety, consuming too much can actually cause or amplify it, leading more users to explore the benefits of a microdosing approach. Additionally, some users are reporting experiencing better results overall with lower doses.
Given that many turn to cannabis-derived products in the first place to reduce or relieve symptoms of anxiety, consuming too much can actually cause or amplify it, leading more users to explore the benefits of a microdosing approach.
A 2012 study found that patients with advanced cancer, who were unresponsive to traditional opioid painkillers and were instead given an alternative treatment of a THC/CBD compound called nabiximols at various doses, responded the best to the lowest dosage. The study found that those who received a higher dosage of cannabinoids experienced more pain. While such studies are in preliminary stages and more focused research needs to be conducted, they do suggest that microdosing may prove to be a recommended approach for those who would like to utilize cannabis to reduce chronic pain, improve focus or medicate ailments such as anxiety, stress, ADHD, inflammation and indigestion, to name a few. Other common benefits of exploring microdosing include higher levels of creativity or calmness, relief from depression, more energy and relief from menstrual pain, among others.
Finding the right customized dose is dependent on a variety of factors, including one's previous experiences with cannabis, current tolerance and the number of endocannabinoid receptors in the body. As such, it is imperative to start as low as possible and gradually increase the dosage, all while noting how the body reacts to different amounts of cannabis. The best way to take advantage of the benefits of microdosing is to keep track of how it affects you and adjusting your consumption accordingly.
Microdosing can be tailored to accommodate the different consumption methods of cannabinoids as well, with many turning to microdosing with edibles since it is an easy way to keep track of exact dosage. Whether you are microdosing cannabis through vaporizers, concentrates, edibles, topicals or traditional flowers, it also can be helpful to first begin by undergoing a 48-period of abstinence, which is believed to be a proper amount of time to reset one's endocannabinoid system to baseline levels. This will help establish the right therapeutic range of micro-dosage that works best for you.
From helping shift the societal stigma of cannabis and helping new users lean into the benefits a slow and intentional manner to enhancing the daily lives of many, microdosing just might be the key to best enhancing the healing capacity of the plant on an individualized scale.