For years I’ve bred extremely potent cannabis strains, with THC percentages sometimes clocking in at higher than 25 percent. And I’ll be the first to admit that I can’t take more than one or two inhalations of vaped cannabis before I’m as high as a kite.
The strains I’ve worked tirelessly to breed are crippling combinations that include the strongest traits of indica, sativa, Kush and Afghanica. This heady mix of cannabinoids, terpenoids and flavonoids is nothing like what would grow naturally in the wild.
When I consume my own strains, I must first set aside 2–5 hours for what I consider a recreational experience, because I know I will be so stoned that I won’t be able to do anything other than enjoy the high until it eventually dissipates.
I think of it as going to a marijuana theme park — like hopping onto a roller coaster, because I have little control over the experience. Problem is, that roller-coaster ride is so intense that its knockout punch interferes with life’s everyday activities.
My reasons for consuming cannabis are medical, recreational and spiritual. But what I was finding was that getting blazed on super-potent weed didn’t help me attain any of those goals.
So, I spoke with cannabis-savvy doctors, growers and consumers, and was subsequently introduced to the concept of microdosing, in which you take a tiny dose — so low a dose you might not notice any effects at all — and repeat the microdose several times per day.
Microdosing won’t give you a crushing high as can so often happen when consuming an entire infused brownie or a full-dose amount of tincture or oil. If you’re microdosing marijuana properly, you won’t feel high at all.
What you will likely feel is a subtle, reassuring sense of wellbeing, an upbeat mood, creativity, and the pain relief associated with both recreational and medical marijuana use.
For that reason, I started experimenting with my cannabis consumption patterns to find a less impactful way to ingest marijuana that works best for me. Each of these interventions changed my cannabis experience in some small way or proved impractical for logistical reasons. My experimentation included:
- Using a fraction of a gram of whole bud per session instead of the gram or more I usually consume.
- Vaping at a low temperature (around 350°F) to reduce the range and amount of cannabis compounds I inhale.
- Consuming cannabis less frequently.
- Ingesting high-CBD cannabis.
- Combining different strains when vaping.
- Using caffeine and other stimulants to keep me energized while high.
- Cannabis cessation for as long as three weeks.
- Using medibles, edibles, tinctures or dabs at half-strength dosage.
- Consuming cannabis at different times of the day.
- Changing my diet and increasing my exercise program.
The Sub-Perceptual Effects Of Microdosing Cannabis
When you’re microdosing with marijuana, you’re unlikely to feel an acute, sudden onset of effects as you would when taking a full-strength dose.
So, if you don’t feel any acute effects, and you’re not fully stoned, what good is microdosing?
The main benefit is that you’re giving yourself a maintenance dose of cannabinoids, terpenoids and flavonoids that helps stabilize body chemistry and provides a very subtle, sub-perceptual baseline of the positive affects you seek from cannabis.
I have chronic pain from sports injuries and a succession of surgeries. Using a full-strength dose of cannabis, the chronic pain is instantly and completely erased for several hours. Gradually, the relief goes away and body pain returns.
But the erasure of my body pain is accompanied by being massively stoned for several hours, which means I can’t do much else except sit and embrace the high.
When microdosing, I wake up feeling chronic pain and take my mini hit. The pain isn’t erased, but microdosing takes the edge off. After several of these small doses, I’m not stoned, but the pain is about 75 percent diminished, which is good enough for me.
This suggests to me that my microdosing has an accumulative effect. As the day wears on and you keep taking your micro hits, the body is gradually infused with marijuana’s beneficial compounds, instead of having a huge amount delivered to your system all at once, as is the case with regular forms of consumption.
Microdosing means for many that the side effects of a high-dose experience are missing. I don’t get any couch lock, munchies or the goofiness synonymous with typical stoner experiences. Granted, I still enjoy the all-encompassing marijuana theme-park experience, and a few times a month, I’ll vape a gram or two of bud or dab to get totally stoned.
But microdosing reduces my desire for those acute intoxication sessions, giving me a more stable, relaxed, tolerable daily mental state, along with acceptable relief from the chronic pain I mitigate with cannabis.
How To Practice Marijuana Microdosing Without Wasting Your Weed
Consumers who consider themselves medical patients rather than recreational users will very much appreciate the benefits of marijuana microdosing. This method of ingestion appears to be especially useful for the treatment of anxiety, chronic pain, depression, premenstrual syndrome, insomnia, post-traumatic stress disorder, or any long-term conditions for which the effects of high-dose cannabis intoxication might be disabling rather than enabling.
If you’re curious about trying to microdose your marijuana, here are some tips for effectively doing so effectively.
1.Instead Of Sizing Out A Tiny Amount, Try Sipping Your Inhalation
When it comes to microdosing, if you use potent whole bud, it isn’t practical to cut a tiny fraction of a gram and combust or vape it.
This is because the amount of bud small enough to qualify as a microdose is too small to properly fire up.
If I’m microdosing whole bud, the method that works best for me is to take a sip inhalation rather than the customary full-gulp inhalation we’re all used to.
When I vaporize bud, I generally inhale vapor for 2–3 seconds and hold it in a further 10 seconds to get a hefty dose of cannabis compounds absorbed in my lungs.
However, with microdosing, I inhale for half a second, holding in the vapor for a further two seconds. You might find that a different length of inhalation and breath holding works better for you. Repeat this technique several times during your waking hours as needed.
You won’t feel high. You won’t feel the big roller-coaster rush of a high-dose experience. But don’t let that subtleness fool you — you are indeed getting an effective dose of beneficial cannabis compounds.
At this point, it’s worth mentioning that it’s tricky to microdose bubble hash, dry sift and dabs — all cannabis concentrates so potent, you’d need only use an amount the size of pinhead to get dosed. Again, not very practical.
2. Microdosing Is Easier When Consuming Infused Weed Or Edibles
Microdosing is much more accessible when you have cannabis infused into vegetable oils and fats, or infused with alcohol to make green dragon, a glycerin-based tincture, cannabis capsules, or as edibles. Dose-consistent products, especially from licensed dispensaries, will make microdosing that much easier.
Simply take 5–10 percent of the manufacturer’s recommended dose several times a day as needed. For example, with a tincture whose manufacturer suggests 20 drops under the tongue as a full dose, instead take just three drops sublingually. And if you usually consume 20 drops twice a day, try taking three drops 12 times a day at evenly spaced intervals.
Of course, you have to experiment with dosage amounts and how often you take them. Amount and interval are crucial to achieving a consistent effect.
3. Microdosing CBD And THC Together Can Offer Greater Medical Relief Than Consuming CBD-Only Product
We hear a constant drumbeat of hype about consuming high-CBD strains as a miracle cure-all for everything under the sun, without the psychoactive high found in high-THC cannabis. CBD is the epitome of medical consumption, but with few recreational effects.
I’ve grown and used high-CBD cannabis strains, and I’ve also sampled CBD-only medibles, edibles, tinctures and extracts. CBD greatly benefits people who live with epilepsy, neurological and seizure disorders, as well as anxiety disorders.
For me, the most useful marijuana microdosing products have had THC and CBD in equal ratios. When I tried microdosing CBD-only products, it offered no beneficial effect.
So, if you’ve been taking products high in CBD or with only trace amounts of THC, you may want to try microdosing CBD and THC whole cannabis — could turn out to be more favorable to you than using CBD by itself.
Microdosing Books Worth Reading
At the time of writing, there are currently no how-to books on microdosing marijuana. However, I suggest reading Microdosing Psychedelics: A Practical Guide to Upgrade Your Life to gain insight into the goals and practices of microdosing (even though the book doesn’t focus on cannabis). A wonderful companion volume is The Psychedelic Explorer’s Guide: Safe, Therapeutic, and Sacred Journeys.
Both books are fascinating, highly regarded reads; the wisdom and techniques discussed within their pages can easily be transferred to marijuana microdosing.
And you might be wondering what the best strains are for microdosing. The short, simple answer is: Strains that already make you feel great in high doses will probably be best for you.
Microdosing is obviously a very different way of consuming cannabis compared to smoking a joint or a bowl, vaping whole bud, hitting dabs, inhaling bubble hash, or ingesting full-strength medibles or tinctures. I microdose on a daily basis and use a regular full-strength dose of marijuana far less frequently than I used to.
When I consume full-strength weed the old-school way, I no longer get as crippling a high, nor do I crash as hard as the high recedes. I hypothesize this is because regular microdosing gives me a baseline of cannabinoids, terpenoids and flavonoids that are always circulating in my blood and bound up in neuroreceptors to create physiological changes.
For people who are attempting to cut back in an environment where weed is readily available, microdosing may represent a good split the diff. Consider experimenting with microdosing, especially if your regular marijuana consumption overwhelms you with acute, sudden changes that large doses of cannabis can create in your psyche and body.