In the California cannabis community, you’ll find a lot of information on the label of any cannabis product you buy – potency, when it was cultivated, even a use-by date. But there’s one thing you won’t find: recommended dosage. A lot of this has to do with everyone’s unique chemistry; not everyone responds to cannabis the same. Most of it, however, has to do with the lack of research into how cannabis can be used medicinally.
So how do we find out just how much cannabis to use? We microdose.
Microdosing is simply consuming the least amount of cannabis to achieve the desired effect.
No, we’re not talking about getting baked out of your mind and taper off to see just how little you can take. The idea of microdosing began in 1999 when Dr. Allan Frankel was diagnosed with a viral infection of the heart. “Medical marijuana” was just beginning to gain traction back in those days, but several of his patients who benefited from cannabis themselves urged him to try it. Long story short, it helped. So he dove into cannabis research, studying just how little or how much cannabis as well as which specific cannabinoids would benefit a patient.
How does microdosing work?
First, you’re not going to get stoned. That’s not the point of microdosing. You’re just trying to minimize your symptoms, whatever they are, so you can go about your day. Think of it as taking an aspirin for a headache. The aspirin doesn’t give you a buzz, but it does take away the headache. That’s what microdosing shoots for.
Rolling Stone talked to Reiki healer and physician Dustin Sulak, who came up with a great way for us to find our individual dosage.
“Abstain from cannabis for two days. On day three, consume one milligram of THC and one milligram of CBD, preferably in a tincture or oil where they can be measured precisely. Before consuming, ask yourself three questions, and answer on a scale of one to 10: How easy is it to breathe, how comfortable and calm does your body feel and how easy is it for you to smile authentically, to feel content and grateful?”
Once you’ve answered those questions, wait about 45 minutes to see if your 1mg dosage makes you feel any different. If not, add a milligram and repeat until you do. Once you start to feel a difference, that is your minimum recommended dosage. To find your max, repeat the process one milligram at a time until you start to feel like you can’t function. Again, everyone reacts to cannabis in their own way, so this will be a trial-and-error process. You’ll want to set aside plenty of time in a safe space before calculating your dosage. It never hurts to have a friend on hand to make sure you’re OK, too.
What products are good for microdosing?
Things have come a long way in the last 20 years. Since Dr. Frankel began his research, more cannabinoids besides THC and CBD have been isolated along with their medicinal properties. Various growers and retailers have taken advantage of this knowledge to make a wide variety of products that make microdosing easy, safe, and discreet.
California-based LEVEL Blends offer a wide variety of ProTabs (pills), Tablinguals (sublingual tabs), Pods, and vape cartridges. Their products come in CBD, CBG, THC, Δ8THC, THCA, and THCV cannabinoids whose dosages range anywhere from 3mg to 25mg.
Cannadips are small cannabis infused pouches you can place between your gum and cheek like a dab of dip. It absorbs quickly into your bloodstream, which means you should start to feel something within 5-7 minutes. Unlike dip, you don’t spit it out; your saliva absorbs the cannabinoids like any other edible, meaning the effects will last even longer.
Mary’s Medicinals goes even deeper into the microdosing game with their gel pens, lotions, and transdermal patches. You can customize each dose of THC indica/sativa, CBD, CBC, or CBN two milligrams at a time.
These are just three examples of a multitude of products being developed to provide microdosing options. As cannabis creeps further and further into mainstream society, people are learning they can reap the benefits of cannabis without getting completely stoned. They’re happy. They’re healthy. They’re just not high.
OK, maybe a little.