The Art of Microdosing Cannabis

How to achieve the high you want

“Microdosing” involves taking threshold amounts of a substance to feel sub-perceptual effects, and it’s gaining traction with cannabis legalization. While some cannabis micro-dosers are curious about enhanced creativity or mood, others are seeking relief from pain or anxiety without experiencing psychoactivity. Whatever the reason, taking minimal doses of THC is reportedly beneficial for many of those who’ve tried it, and some limited medical research seems to support this claim. THC, tetrahydrocannabinol, is the psychoactive compound found in cannabis that gives users the sensation of being “high.” Depending on the amount of THC consumed, effects can range from the sub-perceptual elevation of mood to a nearly psychedelic experience. The ideal cannabis microdose will be hardly noticeable, and shouldn’t impair your ability to perform daily tasks.

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People choose to microdose cannabis for a variety of reasons. Most often, medical patients will start experimenting for the first time with cannabis and will take only the smallest amount needed to experience relief without feeling the psychoactive buzz. In some instances, taking lower doses of cannabis is actually more helpful for alleviating chronic pain than higher doses. This is the conclusion of a 2012 study, published in the Journal of Pain, in which cancer patients were administered either a low dose (1–4 sprays/day), medium dose (6–10 sprays/day), or high dose (11–16 sprays/day) of a blend of THC and CBD. The results of the study describe patients with a higher dose experiencing similar pain levels as the control group, whereas the low dose group reported experiencing the least amount of pain. Such research shows promising potential for the use of THC and CBD in small, sub-perceptual doses.

While cancer pain is a comparatively severe reason to seek the medicinal benefits of cannabis, some people are microdosing THC for a myriad of other reasons, which may include the desire to feel more creative, or just to see what happens! For all the reasons there are to try microdosing weed, there are several points of valuable advice that apply to anyone:

Start low and go slow. If you aren’t feeling anything yet, it’s tempting to take more, but cannabis consumed orally takes between 60-120 minutes to fully onset. Be patient!

Concerning dosage, there isn’t one universally accepted microdose. Since each person experiences cannabis differently, it’s nearly impossible to define a perfect microdose in terms of milligrams. Typically, it’s advisable to start with 2.5mg of THC, unless you’re incredibly wary of any possibility of subtle psychoactivity, in which case 1mg is a good option. In Washington State, 10mg is the maximum legal limit for a cannabis edible, which is roughly equivalent to one standard dose.

To truly “micro”-dose, that is, to ingest less than the amount needed to feel perceptually high, you’ll want to consume no more than 5mg at a time. For this reason, edibles, tinctures, and capsules are the preferred method of ingestion since the dose is more measurable. When smoking flower, it’s harder to dial-in a specific dose. If you do wish to attempt microdosing with flower, it’s advisable to look for cannabis with a THC content at or under 15%, and start with only one hit. Stronger flower can still cause psychoactivity with only one hit, which defeats the purpose of a microdose. For the same reason, microdosing with dab oil or cartridges is difficult unless the oil or cartridge is quite low in THC.

With any luck, you may find that microdosing cannabis is a great strategy to experience the benefits of cannabis without unwanted psychoactivity. Cannabis is a complicated plant- it’s made of hundreds of unique compounds that we’ve yet to sufficiently research due to federal laws. Therefore, no two people will react to the same cannabis product identically. Microdosing around 2mg each day might work well for some people, but others may require higher doses to achieve the desired results.

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