Microdosing: Less is More

In an age where the most popular questions surrounding marijuana seem to be finding the most potent cannabis, it may feel strange for some people to consider the idea that less is more.

After all, if your goal with consuming cannabis is to see just how high you can fly, then taking an amount that won’t even get you “stoned” probably doesn’t sound appealing. But this is exactly what microdosing is and why it’s becoming popular.

In reality, the demographic seeking insanely high THC potency and debilitating doses is in the minority when looking at the spectrum of cannabis consumers. But due to the stereotypes and stigma around marijuana in many parts of our country, much of the attention (media and otherwise) focuses on “stoners.”

It’s important to remember that the reason marijuana has been making progress towards legalization is primarily for its medicinal benefits. Yes, (in the states that are lucky) full-scale recreational is an amazing freedom we enjoy. The only way, though, that advocates for legalization continue to make progress is by winning over those who are on the fence about cannabis or providing education and research.

Enter microdosing. This is the concept of taking an amount so small it is below the perceptual threshold. Microdosing gained popularity in recent years through studies with psychedelics but has gained steam and carried over to cannabis.

Regardless of what you’re microdosing, it’s the same theory: the dose won’t make you stoned or feel out of control, but it can

provide much more subtle benefits in regards to sleep, mood, pain relief and energy, to name a few. With marijuana, obviously depending on individual goals, strain choice could be a variable.

In regards to larger doses of cannabis, what most people don’t realize is that they are actually consuming more than their body can process. This often leads to negative effects that contribute to many of the perceptions surrounding marijuana: lack of motivation, fatigue, foggy mental state.

As for what happens when microdosing, let’s hear from a doctor:

“When I started my practice, I was surprised to see that some patients were using very low dosages (e.g. 1 puff), while other patients require much higher dosages (e.g. 1 joint or a potent edible) to achieve optimal benefits,” said Dr. Dustin Sulak, as quoted in this Herb article.

“Over time, I began to notice that most patients using small amounts of cannabis were getting better and more sustainable results than their high-dosage counterparts with similar conditions,” Sulak said. “Eventually I discovered that most people have a certain threshold dosage of cannabis, below which they’ll actually experience a gradual increase in health benefits over time, and above which they’ll start building tolerance, experiencing diminishing benefits, and more side effects.”

So while the concept of tolerance is not new, understanding that we can actually miss out on the medical benefits when we consume too much cannabis might be. So how do you give microdosing a shot?

  1. (If needed) Consider a “tolerance reset” and give your system a chance to recalibrate and cleanse any existing high levels of THC. If you are a daily user and your tolerance has increased, the only way to give microdosing a real shot is to start back at the ground level so you can actually notice the effects.
  2. Start out with a lower potency strain as you experiment, maybe even one with high CBD like L’Eagle’s Cannatonic (due to the increased medicinal benefits). Remember, you can always go up as far as stronger potency, but it’s hard to go back once you set your baseline. Cannabis also works better with your body when more cannabinoids are present and not just
  3. Alternate consumption methods. Whether you’ve only been smoking or you don’t like inhaling smoke, try consuming through edibles, tinctures or drinks. This will allow you to measure your dose most effectively. You can take a standard (Colorado recreational) 10mg edible and cut a small piece of it off to start out. A tincture will allow you to try a
  1. single drop and build from there. Finally, if you want a microdose that is pre-measured, drink the new teas L’Eagle carries from Stillwater that contain just 2.5mg of each THC and CBD.
  2. “Since everyone’s endocannabinoid system is different, what works for you may not work for someone else,” states this Merry Janearticle. “In fact, what works for you one day, may not work the following day. Mood, sleep habits, tolerance, and appetite as well as other aspects of your personal chemistry should be taken into consideration since they will have a direct effect on your outcome. Take it slow. The point of microdosing is to avoid amounts which produce pronounced euphoria and unwanted side effects while still reaping the subtle benefits of titrating cannabis into your mind-body-spirit system.”

As counterintuitive as less is more may seem to so many things in our American culture — food portions and alcohol at the top of the list — there are a lot of people who likely aren’t even aware that they can benefit from microdosing.