Originally published in 2016
My own experience with microdosing completely changed how I consume medical cannabis. After suffering for years from chronic pain due to intense migraines and fibromyalgia, cannabis allowed me to stop using narcotics. Those traditional pharmaceuticals didn’t provide much benefit other than occasionally masking the pain. Once I turned to cannabis, I found a solution that not only prevented my chronic pain, but also helped me manage pain when it crawled through. Once I realized cannabis was a possible solution for me, I began experimenting and eventually found that microdosing was my path to success.
Microdosing Cannabis as Effective Pain Relief
When many people talk about microdosing, they mean taking small amounts of cannabis, waiting to feel the effects, and then taking more until you reach your desired result. The microdosing I want to talk about is taking small amounts of cannabis on a consistent basis to receive health benefits without the psychoactive effect.
Respected cannabis doctor Dr. Dustin Sulak noted substantial anecdotal evidence within his practice over a period of years with microdosing. He said in a recent article, “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.”
As with so much within the cannabis community, we depend upon anecdotal evidence as clinical research is still scarce. However, a recent study conducted by University of California, San Diego demonstrated positive results with microdosing. The study focused on subjects suffering from neuropathic pain and had them microdose through vaping. The results indicated that the patients who microdosed cannabis at 1.29% felt as much pain relief as the patients who used a medium-dose at 3.53% cannabis. Those who microdosed less also felt better for a longer period of time than participants who ingested more.
Lower Doses of THC May Enhance the Endocannabinoid System
What’s most interesting about this study is its contrast with the average amount of tetrahydrocannabiniol (THC) found in most vape pens or joints, which often stand at 14% and may even go as high as 95%. The amount of THC used within microdosing is substantially lower than what most consumers ingest in a typical sitting. Some hypothesize that microdosing on a consistent basis results in more positive benefits than higher doses because lower doses of cannabis enhance the endocannabinoid system while much larger doses make our CB1 and CB2 receptors—the receptors that control appetite, pain, mood and memory—less responsive.
My Personal CBD Microdosing Regimen
My version of microdosing includes a daily dose of tinctures high in cannabidiol (CBD); I like a ratio of 20:1 CBD to THC. I also use a low-dose tincture with 2.5 mg of THC per dose as many as two to three times a day.
Since these THC doses are incredibly low, I never feel high. If anything I just feel mildly relaxed. When a migraine does manage to sneak through, which is now rare, I vape a high-CBD pen of any one of the strains Canna-Tsu, ACDC or Harlequin. These strains contain around 20% CBD to 5% THC. Again, my goal is to manage pain and not get high, and without a doubt I reach my goal.
Microdosing allows me to live a very full life, prevent a chronic condition and manage pain when it happens. Without cannabis and this regime, I would be in bed for multiple days a month. Now I’m not dependent on narcotics, and I’m able to be far more functional across the board.
Microdosing Is Perfect for Newcomers & Seniors
I feel that microdosing is the way to go for all newcomers to cannabis, as well as the fastest-growing group of medicinal marijuana users: senior citizen. What we need is access to a plethora of products that are between 2.5–5 mg per dose, whether that be a tincture, edible, sublingual spray or high CBD/low THC vape oil cartridges.
The bottom line is that the market has yet to catch up with consumer trends. My hope is that innovative licensed producers release new products that address the new groups using medicinal marijuana, as well as the anecdotal and research-based evidence that supports microdosing cannabis.