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Cannabis Without the High: What Is Microdosing?

My, how things have changed in the world of cannabis! During all those decades when marijuana was Public Enemy #1, the trend among underground growers was towards growing cannabis with the maximum potency so as to achieve the maximum high. But now a different trend is emerging, one with broad implications for the future of cannabis. Increasingly, people who use cannabis want to feel less high, or even not high at all! 

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One way to achieve this is to stick with cannabis products with little to no THC, the cannabinoid responsible for marijuana’s intoxicating “high.” Another is to try microdosing: Taking such a minute amount of cannabis that its effects remain imperceptible.

How—and perhaps why—should you microdose cannabis? Read on!

What is Microdosing Cannabis Used For?

Simply put, microdosing cannabis—or any medicine, for that matter—means taking a dose so low that you’re not aware of its effects on a conscious level. But that’s not to say “nothing’s happening.” Let’s look at three conditions patients typically use cannabis for, pain management, better sleep, and reduction of anxiety. Can taking a lower dose be more useful?

Take pain control. Typically, the assumption is that the more painkillers we take, the more our pain is diminished. However, a 2020 study on the efficacy of selective dose inhalers found that a small dose of just 1mg of THC delivered through an inhaler provided significant pain relief in comparison to a placebo.

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Insomnia—the inability to fall (or stay) asleep—is the second most common reason patients request medical marijuana, and it’s generally accepted as a gentle and safe remedy. That said, there’s one common issue: Sometimes, taking even moderate doses of cannabis at bedtime can lead to grogginess and fuzziness clouding the next morning.   

While there are no published sleep studies focused specifically on the effects of microdosing cannabis, anecdotally, many patients report that microdosing gives them all the soothing relief of a full-strength dose.

And finally, one of cannabis’ most exciting qualities is its ability to help quell anxiety. A 2014 study found that a synthetic cannabinoid was effective in managing PTSD, which shares many characteristics in common with anxiety. The research showed that the individuals in the study experienced significant improvements not only in the root cause PTSD but its associated symptoms, including insomnia, nightmares, and chronic pain. Again, it appears that a low dose was an important factor in patients’ success.

How to Microdose Cannabis

One potential issue with microdosing cannabis is learning how to take the lowest possible dose. Even a small puff from a vape pen might be too strong to qualify as a microdose, though with practice it can be done. 

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We typically recommend trying a cannabis tincture or oil. They’re pure, reasonably fast-acting, and most importantly, sold in carefully measured and labeled doses. At least to begin with, a good target is roughly 2.5 milligrams of cannabinoids per dose. 

We also recommend that when you’re experimenting with microdosing, you cease any “regular” cannabis use. The idea is to use the smallest medically useful dose possible, and cannabinoids can stick around in our systems for up to several weeks, it’s best to start with a clean slate.

Want to learn more about microdosing cannabis? There’s a simple way: Just ask! We’re here to help, and we’d love to answer any questions you have.

Ready to try microdosing for yourself? Find your nearest Green Goods!