In cannabis culture where the goal finding the strongest products, microdosing is the counterbalance that takes a “less is more” approach.
The practice of microdosing is becoming a practical way to incorporate cannabis into everyday life, without the noticeable side effects typically associated with getting high.
“In all medicine, with all drugs, you look for the minimum effective dose. Period,”
said Dr. Allan Frankel, a preeminent Los Angeles physician.
Frankel was diagnosed with a heart condition in 1999 that doctors estimated would end his life within six months. His own patients suggested medical marijuana based on their experiences of coping with debilitating conditions. Today, Frankel attributes his survival partially to medical marijuana “I’d been depressed and cannabis stopped the depression,” he said. “It gave me something to look forward to. My brain was turned on.” Frankel has actively incorporated marijuana into his practice, helping patients determine their best dose, as well as the amount of THC and CBD for their conditions.
Finding an individual’s dose involves some experimentation. Just like any substance that pass the blood-brain barrier, each person reacts to substances that cross this threshold differently. A person’s weight, height, metabolism, diet, and overall health can affect their sensitivity to THC. Edibles are the product of choice for microdosing, as the amount of THC is easier to identify thanks to labels and packaging and allows for a more discreet delivery system during the day.
Being able to use cannabis to treat the symptoms of depression and anxiety can be crucial for those dealing with these illnesses in the workplace. Susannah Grossman, Principal at Verdant Communications and COO of Mountain Medicine, switched to a job where marijuana was not welcome in the workplace. After experiencing side effects from antidepressants, she tried microdosing after learning about marijuana’s ability to treat depression.
“I had a major fear that I wouldn’t be able to write or work,” she said. “But it’s been just the opposite. Microdosing has helped me focus and accomplish more.”
It took time for Grossman to find the best dose for her, but Dustin Sulak, a medical marijuana doctor in Maine, has developed a simple method for determining one’s dose: “Abstain from cannabis for two days. On day three, consume one milligram of THC and one milligram of CBD, preferably in a tincture or oil where they can be measured precisely. Before consuming, ask yourself three questions, and answer on a scale of one to 10: How easy is it to breathe, how comfortable and calm does your body feel and how easy is it for you to smile authentically, to feel content and grateful?” Sulak recommends increasing the dose milligram by milligram until the effects become just noticeable.
The concern with any medical marijuana regimen is developing a tolerance. Sulak recommends refraining from all cannabis consumption for 48 hours, “That’s all – that’s the magic time when tolerance gets re-set.” Grossman keeps tabs on her consumption and takes breaks to keep her tolerance low. She takes a balanced dose of 5mg CBD and 5mg THC, “But there’s something about the THC in sativa strains that I enjoy,” she said. “It lifts my spirits – gives me a sense of playfulness.” She added, “And I’m still getting a ton of work done!”
Every time I take a leisurely summer stroll through my local farmer’s market, I find myself wishing that Colorado’s local cannabis products could have a place among the fresh fruit, flowers, and farm eggs. There’s no doubt in my mind that displaying these locally-made products out in the sunshine and encouraging the community to ask our cultivators and producers questions would inspire better understanding and strengthen connections.
Colorado produces an incredible array of edibles, but very few companies are making products with the local ethos we expect at our markets and even some grocery stores. So I was excited to see that Mountain Medicine, a line of medical and recreational edibles made in Colorado since 2009, uses raw, local honey to sweeten many of its products.
A co-branding partnership with Highland Honey in Boulder County allows Mountain Medicine to make edibles that promise a true taste of Colorado. On a recent weekend afternoon, I made my way to the park with Harmonious Honey Sticks in hand to see what the buzz was about.
Mountain Medicine sells its Harmonious Honey Sticks in medical and recreational strengths. The medical package contains 10 sticks, with 20mg of THC per stick. On the recreational side, 10mg adult-use sticks come 8 to a package.
Both the recreational and medical Harmonious Honey Sticks come in a joint tube with a charming, Western-accented label that proudly proclaims that the product is made with raw, local Highland Honey (the first time I’ve seen a mainstream producer named on cannabis brand packaging). The very childproof tube pops open to reveal honey sticks that look like a slightly shorter version of the sticks you see at the grocery store checkout. When I held a stick up to the sun, the honey had a gorgeous golden color that was more intense once I squeezed it out of its packaging.
Taste & Texture
I had plans to sweeten a big tumbler of iced tea with my honey, but I wanted to try it on its own first. Squeezing a small amount straight into my mouth, the honey was thick with a sweet, rich flavor and smell. Faint floral notes lingered in my mouth and in my nose, hinting at the bees’ Boulder County bouquet. The cannabis oil added a very faint herbal taste.
I shook the rest of the rest of the stick into some iced mint green tea. The honey was a perfect sweetener, healthier than refined sugar with a very subtle floral flavor that perfectly balanced the mint. Once the honey was mixed in the tea, I wasn’t able to detect any cannabis oil flavor.
I started with 10 mgs, and after about 30 minutes I was feeling a mellow, sunny buzz that perfectly matched my mood and the weather. An hour in, I felt dreamy and energized (and ready for more tea). I mixed up another 10 mgs, and sipped it while we took a walk. After 30 minutes, I floated back to the blanket and basked in the sunshine, supremely chilled out, for a solid three hours. I walked home, still buzzed but perfectly comfortable, and after five hours, the effects wore off, leaving me clear-headed and relaxed.
Mountain Medicine’s Harmonious Honey Sticks offered a consistent, pleasant high that was slightly more intense, but less tiring, than what I typically expect of 20 mgs of edibles. The honey sticks tasted incredible and left me with enough mellow energy to enjoy being outside. Overall, this proudly local treat provided the peak Colorado summer experience I was looking for.
Bacon is one of those hot ingredients that lives up to the hype. Over the past few years, it seems like deliciously fatty bits of porky goodness have made their way into almost any kind of treat out there. It’s definitely not just for breakfast anymore. You can find bacon infused in beer and studded in kettle corn, a kind of buzzword that more or less guarantees some degree of tastiness.
Just when I thought I’d seen it all (bacon ice cream or lollipops, anyone?), I encountered Mountain Medicine’s Boombastic Bacon Brittle. Medicated bacon seemed like too much awesome to miss, and I soon found a low key afternoon to dedicate to bacon and cannabis indulgence.
Mountain Medicine makes Boombastic Bacon Brittle in medical and recreational strengths. The medical package contains two 75mg portions. The recreational brittle comes with eight 10mg servings per package.
The medical and recreational Bacon Brittles are packaged in round black containers with childproof, twist-off tops. The label design is playful and fun, with a slight vintage vibe courtesy of vibrant color and funky fonts. Each serving is individually packaged, and looks like a bite-sized praline studded with bits of what I could only assume was bacon, and maybe a few nuts. Each piece had a glossy, candied shine.
Taste & Texture
I had one 10 mg piece of the Bacon Brittle to start. My expectations were high, but the bacon brittle still managed to make me fall in love. It was sweet and savory with just a hint of salt and a deliciously rich caramel taste. There were delicious bits of bacon (local, I’m told) and nut in every bite, giving the brittle a perfect crunch to contrast the melt-in-your-mouth sweetness of the brittle, made with local, raw honey from Boulder County’s Highland Honey. The flavors were intense, but balanced, and I didn’t detect any flavor from the cannabutter.
I ate 10 mgs and immediately wanted more. After about 20 minutes, I started to feel relaxed, and at a half hour, a pleasantly low-key buzz was in full effect. After an hour, I was still feeling the mild high, and the brittle was calling my name. After another 10 mg piece and a 20-30 minutes, I felt silly and supremely relaxed. I kicked back, got comfortable, listened to music, and enjoyed a wonderfully lazy afternoon with friends. We lounged, pleasantly high, for several hours. After about five hours, the high wore off and I was ready to head out for a walk to work off the bacon (and some subsequent munchies).
For lovers of bud or bacon, this is an indulgence worth experiencing. I found the 20 mgs of cannabutter (my preferred type of edible) to be slightly stronger than other experiences at the same dosage, with nice, relaxing body and mind effects. This is an edible that everyone can love. But be forewarned – eating just one piece of the sweet and salty treat is almost impossible.