By Luke Sumpter

The term “microdose” is often invoked by proponents of psychedelic drugs, but cannabis is also considered a good candidate for the practice. Taking small doses of THC and/or CBD may help to boost creativity and focus, reduce the likelihood of experiencing weed's typical side effects, and generally provide a more pleasant experience for sensitive smokers. Dive into the world of cannabis microdosing below to discover everything you need to know.


Why Microdose Cannabis?

Microdosing cannabis involves finding your own unique minimum effective dose. But why would you want to do that in the first place? Well, microdosing offers the best parts of smoking weed while removing some of the inconvenient parts.

Ideally, after a microdose, you’ll still feel emotional and mental elevation. Your surroundings will seem brighter; you’ll get creative inspiration, and you might be more talkative and friendly than usual. However, you won’t feel paranoid, overwhelmed, or too blazed to function.

Overall, when done right, microdosing will allow you to experience the benefits of smoking or ingesting weed with minimal intoxication. In turn, it’s a great strategy to boost your workflow and enhance your mindset while going through your regular life.

What Are the Benefits of Microdosing Marijuana?

Many users enjoy getting as baked as possible every time they smoke. So, why do some cannabis lovers prefer microdosing THC over smoking massive joints and packed-out bong bowls? Everyone has their own reasons, but here are some of the most attractive benefits of microdosing:

  • It’s a good place to start: How did you feel the first time you smoked weed? Considering the potency of modern strains, beginners often find themselves out of their depth. Introducing yourself to cannabis by taking small doses allows you to dip your toe in the water before diving in. Slowly increasing the amount each session will help you find a dose that works for you.
  • Helps to minimise side effects: Just like any other substance, cannabis comes with several side effects. Microdosing allows users to experience some of the benefits of cannabis without the same degree of red eyes, dry mouth, and potential anxiety.
  • Increases focus: Anecdotally, avid microdosers find that small quantities of cannabis help them to focus more effectively than normal or high doses, which can leave some people feeling overwhelmed or distracted.
  • Enhances creativity: The same goes for creativity. While some artists and musicians prefer large doses before entering their creative headspace, others find greater success and improved cognitive endurance when microdosing weed.
  • Helps during withdrawal: Whether you want to take a tolerance break or give up cannabis altogether, microdosing cannabis can help to stave off withdrawal symptoms. It might seem counterintuitive, but taking low quantities of THC can help users reset their endocannabinoid system more slowly over time; it’s a gentler option than going cold turkey.

How Much Cannabis To Microdose

Not shackled by a strict definition, a microdose will vary from person to person. In other words, it’s entirely subjective. A single hit from a dab pen might serve as a microdose to one person. For someone else, an entire joint of low-THC weed might do the trick. It depends on individual experience and tolerance.

The way you take it will also play a role in how much you need to achieve a successful microdose. For example, you could try hitting a joint once per minute until you find your sweet spot. However, edibles are a different story. They take longer to set in, and do so with more intensity. Take a few nibbles and wait at least an hour, if not two, before indulging further.

  • A good general rule to follow: start low and slow. If you’re experimenting with microdosing during the work week, take things easy so you don’t bump into your boss while red-eyed. Start trying to discover your sweet spot at home in the evenings. Once you’re confident you’ve perfected it, you can start introducing microdoses into your daily routine.

Smoking Cannabis

Cannabis flower falls into three different potency ranges based on THC content. These include:

  • Weak: <10%
  • Average: 10–20%
  • Strong: >20%

Before attempting to microdose smoked cannabis, you need to work out how much THC lurks in your joint. You can figure it out using this equation:

Milligrams of dried bud × % THC

Let’s say you’re dealing with a strain with an average THC content of 15%, and you have 5g to play with. Here’s what the calculation would look like:

500mg × 0.15 = 75mg

Now, you need to work out how much of that 75mg to take for your microdose. For most smokers, simply rolling a joint, taking a puff, and waiting 20 minutes works as a satisfactory strategy. However, if you’re more mathematically minded, you can take the following approach.

Overall, studies are lacking when it comes to microdosing cannabis. A pharma-tech company in Israel conducted a study[1] involving 27 subjects in an attempt to ascertain what constitutes a standard microdose. Participants inhaled both 1,000-microgram (1mg) and 500-microgram doses and experienced no cognitive impairment.

So, how much of the bud used in the example above contains 1mg of THC? Around 6.7mg. If you want to pursue this more accurate route, you're going to need a milligram scale, a pair of tweezers, a steady hand, and a bit of patience. Place this amount into a bong or pipe bowl, or mix it in with some other herbs and roll it up.

Eating Cannabis

Things are slightly more simple when microdosing edibles, especially now that microdosing-specific products are available on the market. The three dose ranges of edibles look like this:

  • Microdose: 1–2mg
  • Average dose: 5–10mg
  • Large dose: 50mg and above

How to Microdose Cannabis

Now that you’re more familiar with the dose ranges of smoked herb and edibles, let’s take a look at exactly how to go about taking a marijuana microdose. Before we get into the nitty-gritty, check out these top tips to ensure a good outcome:

  • Start low and slow: If you take too little, you can always take more. If you take too much, you might turn up to that important meeting with red eyes. Go low and slow to avoid unwanted outcomes.
  • Keep a journal: Record everything. Write down how much you took, what time of day you took it, how it made you feel, the effects you experienced, and for how long you experienced those effects.
  • Know your tolerance: If you smoke cannabis daily, you’ll have a high tolerance to THC; you’d be wasting your time messing around with 1mg doses. Likewise, if you’ve never smoked before, stay humble and aim for very low doses initially.

Smoking

Smoking results in a fast onset of effects. Options include joints, spliffs, bongs, pipes, and blunts. Either start out with a tiny amount of flower using the equation mentioned above, or take more of a loose approach by rolling a joint and only taking small hits whenever you want a microdose.

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Vaping

Vaping also offers a quick onset, yet excludes some of the damaging byproducts associated with combustion. Many vapes give users the option to select operating temperatures. To effectively convert THCA into THC, you’ll need to heat your device up to 105ºC. Keep increasing the temperature to access different terpenes. Eventually, you’ll find out which temperature works best for microdosing cannabis. Like with smoking, start by taking one hit at a time and gauging how you feel before going back for more.

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Edibles

Edibles hit much harder than smoked or vaped cannabis, though this is of little concern when dealing with such small doses. However, because the edible route sends THC through the digestive tract, it takes longer to feel the effects. You can microdose edibles by learning to make and dose your own, or purchase a pre-made product if you have access in your country. Start out with as little as 1mg of THC and slowly work your way up to find your “goldilocks” microdose zone.

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Tinctures

Tinctures are easy to make at home. Provided you know the THC content of your plant material, you can also use the equation above to determine how much to take for a microdose. Again, aim for around 1mg of THC when starting out. You can either elect to swallow tincture as an oral product or place some drops under the tongue for faster, sublingual absorption.

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Microdosing THC vs CBD

Microdosing THC works well for a lot of cannabis users. But this principal psychoactive cannabinoid only makes up a portion of the cannabinoids present in the plant. As the second-most-prominent cannabinoid in most cultivars, CBD has risen to stardom in recent years for its clear-headed and relaxing effect. Although not intoxicating, not everyone gets on well with CBD. It produces several mild side effects, and can also compromise the psychoactive effects of THC at high doses. Taking any amount of CBD won’t get you high, but microdosing may still be a good idea for those looking to experiment with the cannabinoid’s influence.

How Does Microdosing Cannabis Work?

Many cannabis lovers are used to smoking large amounts of weed over a shorter period of time. Perhaps you wait for the day to wind down before rolling up a few grams. Maybe you wait to go hard on the weekend with your smoking buddies.

  • Microdosing cannabis involves the polar opposite strategy: smoking little, but often. It’s all about hitting your vape pen or a small joint every now and then. Just enough to feel minor effects, but not enough to get high.

Although some cannabis users might scoff, teetering on the edge of high and sober comes with a myriad of benefits. Your satisfaction for life could increase, and you could be more motivated to get things done during the day.

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What Are the Benefits of Microdosing CBD?

So, why space out your CBD intake across the day? Why not just gulp it all in one go? As you’ll see below, dividing up your cannabidiol into microdoses can help to sustain the effect. It also allows you to “mix and match” products, and may even reduce side effects in those who are prone.

Enjoy CBD All Day Long

Spreading out your daily dose of CBD will enable you to experience the cannabinoid in a more sustained, subtle, and consistent manner. When you take all your CBD in one go, you’ll experience the effects for only one or two hours.

Instead, microdosing gives users the chance to feel the sustained effects of CBD all day long. By taking a microdose of CBD once per hour, for example, you’ll remain in that elevated mindset.

Take CBD at Critical Points

Instead of taking a normal dose alongside your breakfast in the morning or just before you go to bed, microdosing allows you to take smaller amounts as and when needed.

If you take a large dose in the morning, for example, chances are you won’t feel much in the afternoon. If you choose to microdose, though, you can save a portion of your total daily dose to take strategically before that meeting or presentation.

Less CBD, Fewer Side Effects

CBD boasts a good safety profile, and most people consume it without any side effects at all. However, some users report minor side effects such as drowsiness, dry mouth, reduced appetite, and fatigue.

Microdosing introduces CBD into the body gradually over the course of the day. This reduces the chances of feeling any side effects from the cannabinoid.

Mix Products

Dividing CBD doses into microdoses allows users to mix and match different products. You can freely distribute your normal daily CBD intake between products with different carrier oils, concentrations, and terpenes.

How To Calculate a CBD Microdose?

Calculating a microdose that suits you depends on your current daily dose of CBD. Once you’ve established how much CBD you need to feel a satisfying effect, you can divide that up evenly throughout the day.

If you’ve never taken CBD before, a 10% CBD oil serves as a great place to start. We recommend taking 5mg per day (one drop) to start out. Increase by one drop the next day and maintain that dose for around one week. If you find your body handles that well, increase to three drops (15mg) each day. You can also use our CBD Dosage Calculator to determine your ideal dose according to the strength of your CBD oil and your body weight.

CBD Dosage Calculator
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CBD Dosage Calculator
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How To Microdose CBD

Now that you’ve discovered your ideal dose, you need to decide how to take your CBD. First, decide on a schedule. Then, choose from a wide range of ways to administer the cannabinoid.

CBD Microdosing Schedule

Once you have your perfect dose dialled in, you can simply divide that up evenly throughout the day. For example, say you’re feeling comfortable with a daily dose of 25mg using a 10% CBD oil. You could break that down into the following routine:

CBD Microdosing Schedule

Of course, you can feel free to switch this around any way you like. Perhaps you'd rather take a dose just before bed? Or maybe you want to combine your afternoon doses for a more tangible effect right after lunch?

CBD Oil Capsules

Capsules are a super-easy way to take CBD oil, and they fit perfectly into an existing CBD regimen. However, capsules are limited in the sense that they contain a set dose. If you decide to microdose with capsules, we recommend choosing a lower CBD concentration. Try and take your capsules alongside a small snack to improve digestion and enhance how your body absorbs the CBD.

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Sublingual CBD Oil

CBD oil offers one of the most flexible ways to microdose CBD. You have almost complete control over the amount you take at any one time. Sublingual administration delivers CBD directly into the bloodstream through the capillary bed under the tongue. You won't have to wait long to feel the effects. You can also take CBD oil almost anywhere and at any time, whether you’re commuting to work or sitting in the office.

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Smoking CBD Flower

Smoking CBD flower works to quickly introduce CBD into the bloodstream through the lungs. You’ll receive a dose of the cannabinoid alongside numerous terpenes, and many users find the action of rolling and smoking to be ritualistic and enjoyable.

However, it’s slightly harder to administer a controlled microdose when smoking. Every variable, from the potency of your flowers to how deeply you inhale, will change the amount of CBD entering your body.

You have two choices: you can either roll a large joint and take a hit here and there throughout the day, or you can get precise with your dose. Using a milligram scale, you can weigh out a tiny portion of flower and work out your dose. Around 0.5g of high-CBD flower contains approximately 70mg of CBD. You can weigh up small portions relative to your ideal dose and add them to a pipe or bong bowl for a more accurate hit.

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Vaping CBD Flower

Vaping offers significant benefits over smoking cannabis. For one, you won’t expose your lungs to high levels of carcinogens, as vaporization takes place at lower temperatures.

Vaping also helps to preserve those tasty terpenes and generally offers better flavours. Plus, you won’t rock up to work stinking of cannabis smoke. You can use the same calculations mentioned above to work out how much weed to pack into your vape with each microdose.

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Microdosing THC and CBD: Why Not Try It?

Various individuals within your smoking circle and the greater cannabis industry will try to sell you the idea that stronger equals better. Well, we’re here to tell you that this isn’t always the case. Everybody experiences the effects of cannabis differently, and therefore different people benefit from different cultivars, potencies, chemical profiles, and quantities. If you ever feel overwhelmed while high, experience unwanted side effects, or simply want to boost your creativity and focus without getting stoned, you should give microdosing THC, CBD—or both—a try.

Disclaimer:
This content is for educational purposes only. The information provided is derived from research gathered from external sources.

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