When Elizabeth* started using marijuana to ease her anxiety and Crohn’s disease, it brought her great relief. However, she found one major side effect: she didn’t enjoy getting high.
“No matter what strain I used, I found it made me really high,” she says. “While it relieved my symptoms, I couldn’t really function after getting high.” As a retail worker who had to work long hours, getting inebriated really wasn’t an option for her. Eventually, a friend recommended that Elizabeth try microdosing.
Nowadays, ‘microdosing’ is a popular technique for ingesting marijuana for medicinal purposes. This is a technique where a tiny amount of marijuana is used; for example, one hit from a joint, a drop of hemp oil, or a bite from a cannabis-infused edible. Microdosing enables the user to ingest small amounts of CBD and THC without getting inebriated. Often, someone would take small hits frequently as opposed to ingesting a large amount more sporadically.
Microdosing works really well for people who want to reap the medical benefits of using marijuana without experiencing the psychedelic high. Microdosing means that the user can experience a lifted mood, anti-inflammatory benefits, and the relief of psychological difficulties like depression and anxiety. For people like Elizabeth, who are naturally more prone to getting high very quickly, microdosing could offer a great solution.
Elizabeth finds that microdosing is just as effective as using a larger amount of cannabis. Medical research has found that marijuana’s anti-inflammatory properties makes it an excellent treatment for Crohn’s disease, which Elizabeth has struggled with for many years. “I just take one hit every so often to ease the discomfort and feeling of sensitivity in my stomach,” she explains. “It helps me function at work without suffering from cramps and an irritable bowel.”
Experts tend to agree that microdosing can be incredibly helpful. Speaking to Herb, Dr. Dustin Sulak, a Medical Director of clinics in New England, said the following:
“When I started my practice, I was surprised to see that some patients were using very low dosages (e.g. 1 puff), while other patients require much higher dosages (e.g. 1 joint or a potent edible) to achieve optimal benefits. Over time, I began to notice that most patients using small amounts of cannabis were getting better and more sustainable results than their high-dosage counterparts with similar conditions.
Eventually 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.”
Microdosing isn’t for anyone, so the best way to figure out if it’s for you is to experiment. “Start with a small amount of weed in your favourite strain. Give it time and be mindful of how it affects your body,” Elizabeth suggests. Once again, smoking isn’t the only method of ingestion – you can also vape, use edibles or even try a small amount of tinctures or oils.