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!”