Getting the right dose of cannabis is a trick for novice and experienced users alike. Medical patients sometimes have to do some trial-and-error before they find the perfect dose.
Many people advocate a “start low and go slow” approach, which suggests starting with a low dose and increasing it over time. However, a new mindset toward cannabis dosing has recently gained popularity – microdosing takes that same advice—start low—and says “stay low.”
Some early research suggests it might be more effective for a few reasons. Here’s how microdosing works, why it works and how to effectively use it in day-to-day life.
The Cannabis Effectiveness Curve
Most people associate cannabis with “getting high,” a feeling delivered by the cannabinoid THC. THC is a psychoactive compound responsible for many of the classic effects of cannabis.
As a psychoactive compound, THC can also have negative side effects. In fact, it’s been known to cause people to experience paranoia and anxiety, especially in large doses.
Cannabis, and THC, in particular, is interesting because of its dose-effect curve. For most medicines, a larger dose just produces more pronounced effects.
Cannabis produces some effects up to a certain point. After this “optimal dosage,” larger amounts of cannabis can actually produce inverse effects. That’s the case with THC. At a certain point, THC stops producing euphoria and relaxation and instead triggers anxiety.
Avoiding the Negative Effects of Cannabis
Even experienced users may find they feel “too high” or experience adverse effects if they take too much. This is especially common when someone uses a new strain or product for the first time.
Add the fact that many strains are “high-octane” products designed to deliver as much THC as possible, and the likelihood someone will have a bad experience increases.
This is where the idea of “starting low” comes in. Cannabis novices are encouraged to start with a small dose to see if it delivers symptom relief. Even the more experienced should take this approach when trying a new product or delivery method.
If the desired effects aren’t achieved, then one can increase the dose.
Another way to avoid the potential adverse effects of THC is to add CBD. Some studies have shown CBD can moderate the effects of feeling too high when someone takes too much THC.
CBD acts on the same receptors in the body that THC does, but it binds in a different place. When CBD binds with the CB1 receptor, it changes the shape of the receptor. That makes it more difficult for THC to bind. This can moderate the effects of THC. If the ratio of CBD to THC is high enough, CBD may be able to cancel out the “high” effects produced by THC altogether.
Microdosing is one way for people to get effective relief without adverse effects.
To microdose, people are advised to take a small amount of cannabis to start. If someone is vaping or smoking flower, it’s recommended to take one puff, and then wait about 15 to 30 minutes. Once the desired effect is achieved, there’s no need to take any more until the effects wear off. If not, the user can take another puff every 15 to 30 minutes until they achieve symptom control.
For edibles, it’s recommended to take one dose every 60 to 90 minutes until desired effects are achieved. Edibles often take longer to work, so it’s important to give them time.
Proper titration of oils and other concentrates is a bit trickier but more important. Since these products are concentrated, it is easier to take too much.
Why Microdosing Works
The dose-effect curve of cannabis goes a long way to explaining why microdosing works. Beyond the “optimal dose,” people are more likely to experience adverse effects.
There are also studies suggesting the health benefits of THC are achieved at lower levels than what’s needed to “get high.” If someone feels high, chances are they’ve actually taken too much. There’s evidence that the health benefits are also more pronounced in smaller doses.
Microdosing also allows people more control over their doses. One of the advantages of cannabis as medicine is how personalized it can be. Some people achieve great effects with tiny doses, while others find symptom relief at much higher doses. The goal of microdosing is finding the lowest effective dose for every patient.
Stabilizing the Endocannabinoid System
The other argument for microdosing with cannabis and CBD, in particular, is about the endocannabinoid system.
The ECS is a complex system that interacts with many body systems. Humans and other mammals naturally produce cannabinoid-like substances, called endocannabinoids.
There’s some suggestion that the ECS plays a key role in the functioning of almost every system in the human body. A decline in endocannabinoid levels might be related to any number of health conditions.
Microdosing on a regular basis could supplement the body’s natural endocannabinoid supply. By taking the same small dose every day, a person can build and maintain their levels of these key compounds.
Another tip for microdosing is to keep the same steady dosage. This could limit the potential for cannabis tolerance increase.
Great Microdosing Picks
CBD has plenty of health benefits, even in small amounts. Choose one of these great products as a daily supplement to build up cannabinoid levels:
These all-natural capsules offer precise dosing. A 30mg single dose is a good way to start the day and find whole-body relief.
Vaping is an easy way to microdose and avoid the effects of smoking at the same time. This vape pen offers up to 2mg of CBD per 3-second puff. It’s blended with essential oils to deliver even more effective relief.
Microdosing THC is a popular way to manage doses and get relief, without negative effects.
This excellent vape cartridge offers a high ratio of CBD to THC. With 8 parts of CBD to every part THC, people can experience all the health benefits of THC and none of the side effects.
KIVA’s high-quality chocolate makes taking medicine seem like a special treat. With lower doses than many other edibles and easy portion control, these bars are a microdoser’s best friend.
Consult with the Experts
Getting the right advice about medical cannabis is important. Talk to a medical marijuana doctor today and learn more about your options.