Micro-Dosing Cannabis - Tips, Tricks, and Products to Try
Cannabis Experiences Don’t Always Have to Get You “High”
The practice of “micro-dosing” certain compounds first came to widespread public attention when it was reported that many Silicon Valley techs were taking very low doses of LSD or psychedelic mushrooms before work. Those in favor of the practice claimed that the low doses of psychedelics did not induce intoxication, but promoted a sense of focus, helped them reach a flow state in their work, and enhanced their creativity and abstract problem-solving abilities.
Now that cannabis legalization and adult recreational use are spreading across the U.S. and Canada, the practice of micro-dosing is being applied to cannabis more frequently as well. While research on micro-dosing is still in its infancy, anecdotal reports suggest that taking small doses of cannabinoids, such as 1mg-5mg of THC depending on your tolerance, can have several benefits to our wellness and quality of life. Just do a simple Google search for “micro-dosing cannabis”, and you’ll find article after article of reporters trying out cannabis micro-dosing for themselves and experiencing things like mood elevation, more enjoyment of daily experiences, increased productivity at work, and even improved sleep and anxiety management.
In this article, we’ll examine some of the reported benefits of micro-dosing cannabis compounds, both for acute health and overall wellness support, as well as the best types of products to use to experiment with improving your life through micro-dosing cannabis.
What Micro-Dosing May Offer
The emerging science of how our body interacts with cannabis suggests that our Endocannabinoid System (see our review of the ECS here, if you’re not familiar with this bodily system) may be able to benefit from regular supplementation with cannabis compounds. Our own natural cannabinoids are commonly under-produced or attacked by the chemical components of chronic stress and disease, such that we are operating below the normal baseline level of cannabinoids like Anandamide and 2-AG in our systems, meaning they are unable to keep our bodily processes running smoothly on their own. THC and CBD can mimic the functions of these endocannabinoids and fill the signal support gaps that result from low cannabinoid levels, which may be partially responsible for the symptoms of certain autoimmune diseases, chronic pain conditions, and the occurrence of depression and anxiety.
For this reason, regular micro-dosing with low levels of cannabinoids like THC and CBD may support overall wellness by helping to keep our Endocannabinoid System flush with the cannabinoids it needs to keep our body operating at peak health. Micro-dosing can also be effective for those seeking acute medicinal benefits from cannabis without the psychoactive effects of high-dose THC products. Studies have suggested that low levels of cannabinoids may even be the most effective for managing chronic pain conditions and PTSD-related symptoms like nightmares, paranoia, and insomnia.
For those who are new to cannabis, or novice users who are trying a new product type for the first time, sequential micro-dosing is the safest and best way to find your ideal THC dose for the type of cannabis effects you are after. Starting with a low dose of the new product, say 2.5 to 5mg maximum, and slowly increasing your dose by 2.5 to 5mg of THC (depending on the strength of effects you experienced in your first dose - you may even want to repeat the same dose across 2-3 sessions to ensure that the effects are consistent before increasing dose) will allow you to take note of how you feel at each new dose level, and prevent you from getting in over your head too quickly with a cannabis experience that is more intense than you desired. This method is especially helpful for those new to edibles, as the cannabis experience from edibles is often more powerfully intoxicating - even psychedelic for some consumers - and is much more dose-dependent than smoking or vaporizing cannabis. It is important to note that some consumers report experiencing intoxicating effects from THC doses as low as 2.5mg to even just 1mg, so if you’ve never had cannabis or an edible before, it’s best to start around 2.5mg of THC for the first dose, and if you do feel effects of any kind at this level, be cautious when increasing your dose as you may have an increased sensitivity to THC - maybe even try a 1mg dose and note the effects you feel there, if any. Edibles are not for everyone, so it’s important to experiment with caution and not increase your dose too far beyond levels at which you start to feel strong effects.
It may also be possible to tailor your micro-dosing experience with cannabis in ways that you cannot with other micro-dosed substances like LSD or psilocybin - because different cannabis strains and products have varied chemical matrixes of cannabinoids, terpenes, and other active compounds, they can produce vastly different effects through the Entourage Effect interactions of those compounds. This may allow you, through some trial and error experimentation, to find cannabis products that produce specific effects types you find desirable for a variety of times and situations - including uplifting and energizing effects, focused and motivated effects, relaxing or calming effects, and many others.
Once you find a certain cannabis products that consistently provides effect that are uplifting, relaxing, or focusing, you can use these products in micro-dosed quantities and experiment with their efficacy at providing certain benefits without heavy psychoactivity. An uplifting cannabis product may induce flow state during exercise, or help with general mood elevation throughout a mundane day’s work. A relaxing cannabis product may help relieve stress or control chronic anxiety - the same may be true for micro-dosed THC combined with CBD, which when combined are reported to help manage anxiety symptoms effectively. A focusing cannabis product in micro-dosed quantities can be perfect for work or study scenarios in which enhanced concentration is needed without a “high” experience that could derail your work goals.
As always, it’s important to experiment for yourself with a variety of cannabis product types to find the dose and effects that work best for you. If you’re not sure what type of product to try for your first micro-dosing experimentations, read on and maybe we can help you narrow it down! :)
Best Product Types for Micro-Dosing Cannabis
As you can imagine, the best types of products for micro-dosing cannabis have some common factors - they should be:
- Easy to separate into small doses
- Consistent in dose size and THC delivery
- Consistent in the effects they produce
For these reasons, smoking flower is generally not the best method for micro-dosing - flower is hard to consistently dose, nearly impossible to know the per-dose amount of THC with any accuracy, and can be quite variable in the effects produced if you’re not sourcing your flower from the same farm and cultivation method consistently. If you do decide to try micro-dosing flower, taking very light inhales and only in single-pull sessions is the best way to go.
However, the most reliable consumption methods and product types for micro-dosing cannabis are dose-controlled vaporizer devices, tinctures or other low-dose sublingual products, and easy-to-dose or low-dose per package edibles. Each of these product types will allow you to most precisely control the dose of THC that you receive to the ensure you’re in the 2.5mg to 5mg THC range for each dosing session. They are also usually quite consistent in the effects that they will provide across batches of product, as the processing methods to create them and the lab testing protocols required at multiple steps throughout the production cycle will ensure reliable THC dosing per package within a small variance. Additionally, if the product is single-source and strain-specific, the chemical matrix of cannabinoids and terpenes should be fairly consistent across batches as well. Look for cannabis products with these characteristics if you want to experiment with micro-dosing - if you’re interested in effects-based micro-dosing, be sure to look for products with terpenes listed and use our Terpene Education page to find terpenes that typically produce the effects you’re looking for. Take note of how those terpenes make you personally feel since everyone’s body is different, and continue purchasing products with the terpenes you enjoy for certain experiences.
While more research is needed to fully understand the medicinal and well-being benefits of micro-dosing cannabis compounds, and the exact impact of terpenes, consumption method, and THC:CBD ratio on the effects experienced, personal reports seem to indicate that there are real positive impacts to be made in our daily lives by micro-dosing cannabis, and not many immediate or serious drawbacks as yet identified.
If any of the benefits outlined in this article resonated with you, consider trying micro-dosing with one of the methods mentioned above, and let us know what effects you experience, both positive or negative, by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org - we may update this article to feature your insights!