Microdosing is something we often hear about in regards to LSD or magic mushrooms. In essence, it’s the ingestion of sub-perceptual doses that enhance one’s appreciation and ability to experience, without producing an overt high. The point of microdosing is that it allows you to reap the benefits while pursuing your daily activities without interference.
The Effects of Microdosing with LSD
According to High Existence Magazine, taking psychedelics at lower doses can actually improve cognitive functioning, emotional balance, and physically stamina (per James Oroc, the author of Tryptamine Palace: 5-Meo-DMT and the Sonoran Desert Toad (what it lacks in a succinct title, it allegedly makes up for in engaging information)).
James Oroc even advocated for LSD use in extreme sports (when that use involves microdosing). He cites reports conducted over a forty-year period attesting to LSD’s ability to increase reflex time, improve balance, increase concentration, and make someone immune to weakness or pain (thus inducing a super hero like existence).
But, LSD aside, does microdosing work for marijuana?
Many of the benefits of microdosing are apparent in the medical marijuana community; it helps patients achieve the benefits of the medicine (reduction of pain, decrease in inflammation, increase in appetite, etc.) while leaving them with the ability to function. From a practical standpoint, it makes sense as well:
Microdosing allows marijuana to last longer, making it cost less to the consumer
For medical marijuana patients, this is extremely important: cannabis is expensive and insurance providers have yet to cover it. They probably won’t cover it any time soon, either. One reason is that marijuana is illegal on the federal level and insurers are erring on the side of caution in regards to the conflicting laws. Another reason is marijuana is still – still! – classified as Schedule I, meaning it is categorized as addictive with no medicinal benefits.
The FDA hasn’t approved it either, partly because its Schedule I status makes clinical studies difficult to conduct. And, of course, most insurance companies are a for profit business, not in a rush to cover more than they have to: they love to offer you coverage as long as you’re healthy as a horse.
Microdosing for the Recreational User
For those who use marijuana recreationally, microdosing is beneficial too. While cannabis isn’t a drug that you overdose on, you can get higher than you want, leaving you unable to perform your pesky daily tasks (like going to work). Microdosing also helps prevent the development of a ridiculous tolerance, which saves you money by preventing you from having to dish our more green for more green.
What the Studies Say
Some medical professionals agree that microdosing is beneficial, claiming that it enhances the endocannabinoid system on a less is more basis. A study conducted at the Medicinal Cannabis Research Center at the University of California appears to back this.
The study was a double-blind, placebo-controlled crossover aimed at evaluating the analgesic efficiency of vaporized cannabis. Most of the participants were experiencing neuropathic pain (even with traditional treatment). They found that psychoactive effects were minimal (and well tolerated) while the vaporized cannabis (at low doses) proved effective in reducing discomfort in those with treatment-resistant pain.
How to Microdose with Marijuana
Before you attempt to microdose with your ganja, it’s good to remember that the proper mini-dose differs from person to person: a three-hundred-pound man will need a different dose than a woman who’s half his weight. But, perhaps, nothing comes into play as much as tolerance:
Someone new to weed needs a much smaller microdose than someone with a Cheech and Chong poster on their bedroom wall
In other words, it’s based on trial and error: you’ll have to experiment a little to find the perfect microdose for you (aw shucks!).
The Trial and Error Tutorial
One-hitter pipes are a good place to start for anyone interested in microdosing. Designed to do exactly what they say (provide you with one hit), these pipes provide a small dose that you can build upon if need be.
The point of this is to introduce such a small amount of marijuana into your system that your body knows but your head doesn’t: you reap the benefits of the cannabinoids, without feeling the high.
Naturally, this involves a great deal of self-control: cannabis hits are sometimes like potato chips – you can’t eat (or in this case “breathe” just one). But you’ll adapt to the self-control; besides, it’s not like you need to microdose all the time: smoke to get high when it suits you (heck, macrodose on Friday nights!).
Strain is also important in your trial and error: weak weed might not provide many benefits from such a low dose. Choosing a strain you already know or a strain that’s popular might be a good starting point. For example, Sour Diesel can make users energetic, but when microdosed, it could perk up the user, rather than give them a blast of energy. Whatever the strain, asking a professional budtender for advice is always recommended:
Tell them you’re interested in microdosing and ask them which strains are most ideal
You can microdose with edibles as well, though this is much more difficult. Not only are edibles more potent – and more psychoactive – but the dosage that they contain are a bit of a crapshoot. Even commercially made goodies are difficult to make homogenous and the muffins or cookies in any given batch may range from dosages lower than 5 milligrams to “um, it’s anybody’s guess.”
Tips for Microdosing
It’s important to realize that microdosing isn’t an exact science: far too many variables exist for it to be a one-puff-fits-all process. But, there are a few tips to help make the process as effective as possible.
Firstly, as mentioned above, start small: remember the purpose of microdosing is not to get stoned. Secondly, try different routes of delivery: vaporizing or joints or edibles may each result in different outcomes. Try a variety of strains too – some strains are designed to make your high as intense as possible. These aren’t always the ones you want for microdosing (even if you want them during every other waking moment).
Finally, pay attention to how microdosing affects you. The results may be subtle – you may sleep better or have an increased level of energy. You may have a stronger appetite or a boss who, suddenly, stops micromanaging you as often. Take note of the effects so you recognize what’s working. If you’re not good at tracking results in your head, use a spreadsheet. Who knows, maybe Excel was invented for purposes exactly like this.