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How to Microdose Cannabis: Benefits of THC and CBD for Microdosing

"In all medicine, with all drugs, you look for the minimum effective dose." – Dr. Allan Frankel, Rolling Stone Magazine (1)

Microdosing has been in the headlines a lot in the past few years because of renewed scientific interest in its benefits for psychedelic drugs — but while the outcomes are mixed (2) for drugs like LSD and psilocybin (psychedelic mushrooms), another plant-based medicine is showing maximum results for people who want to minimize their dose.

Cannabis microdosing, especially of full spectrum CBD+THC, (3) is growing in popularity thanks to an equally expanding scientific database of studies that highlight its therapeutic benefits for a number of top mental and physical health issues.  

Microdosing: What Is It & How Does It Work?

Microdosing CBD+THC is founded on the medical premise that you can have too much of a good thing. In other words, in order to reduce the side effects of any medication – including plant-based medicinal cannabis products – doctors typically prescribe the minimum dose that's effective (4) for treating your symptoms or underlying health imbalances.

Here's where it gets interesting. Science is revealing that for many common health issues, low doses of cannabis may be more effective than medium or even high doses of the plant, especially when the products contain both CBD and THC. These two cannabis compounds (cannabinoids) have been shown to work together (5) to help boost each other's wellness benefits.

The Science of Microdosing

Here's what the latest research reveals about the benefits of microdosing for pain, stress, anxiety, and brain health.

A 2020 randomized, double-blind study (6) found that a dose of 0.5mg and 1mg of inhaled THC significantly (7) improved the pain intensity levels of patients suffering from nerve pain as compared to the control group. They also reported none of the normal psychedelic effects of THC when taking these low doses. This backs up another study (8) conducted between 2009-2011 that showed low-dose THC reduced neuropathic (nerve) pain significantly.

Another recent study (9) revealed that participants taking a lower dose of THC reported a decrease in their psychological stress after an experimental stressor, while participants taking a higher dose of THC in the same scenario reported an increase in their negative mood throughout the process and after. In addition, a 2014 University of Ottowa study (10) revealed that just 4mg of a synthetic cannabis therapy improved PTSD symptoms such as nightmares and insomnia in over 100 male patients.

Microdosing may also have benefits for brain health. In a recent animal study, (11) THC doses that were 6-7 times lower (12) than normal were given, and the animals showed improved memory and even formed new neuron (nerve cell) connections in one key area of the brain. In humans, a case study (13) of a 75-year-old man with Alzheimer's Disease who was given microdoses of a cannabis extract containing THC and CBD showed he had marked improvement in memory, time and space orientation, and quality of life without any toxicity or side effects present in his follow up assessments.

Is Microdosing Right for You?

While you might think that microdosing is just the latest fad, that couldn't be farther from the truth. In fact, it's always recommended to start slow and work your way up to your minimum effective dose when beginning any cannabis dosing routine. The difference with microdosing is that the dose you work your way up to is still fairly low as compared to regular doses.

If you notice that your symptoms are being properly addressed by these lower doses of cannabis, microdosing may be the perfect fit for you.

In addition, if you're already using a medium or a higher dose of cannabis and have noticed yourself building up a tolerance to it, you may find it helpful to stop dosing for 48 hours and then begin a microdosing schedule.

According to Dr. Dustin Sulak, an osteopathic physician (14) and Reiki and yoga practitioner in Maine, this helps "resets" (15) your tolerance back to zero. He says that his patients that have done this end up needing a lot less cannabis after this short reset period.  This is backed up by a 2016 Yale University study (16) that showed participants' tolerance to cannabis started to reverse after just two days.

Of course, there are some conditions that may benefit from regular or even extra-strength cannabis dosing,(17) and it's best to discuss your particular symptoms with your doctor to find the right amount of CBD and THC for you.

6 Stellar Benefits of Microdosing Cannabis

Here are 6 stellar benefits of microdosing cannabis:

  1. You get the benefits of THC without as much risk of developing hallucinations, paranoia, or tired feelings that are sometimes associated with higher doses.

  2. Cognition has been shown (18) to be enhanced with cannabis microdosing, which may help you manage your work, parenting, and learning tasks more effectively.

  3. You can enhance your yoga (19), reiki,(20) and other sessions without getting high and losing control of your moves.

  4. Microdosing after exercising may help speed up recovery times (21) and allow you to get on with the more practical aspects of your day faster.

  5. Microdosing cannabis may help ease stress throughout your day. This is important because chronic stress is a leading cause of doctor's visits (22) in the U.S. and a key underlying cause of many diseases.(23)

  6. Since you're taking less of the product over time, microdosing CBD+THC can help save you money.

Why is Microdosing Gaining Popularity?

In addition to the scientific evidence, here are a few other reasons why the cannabis "micro"-dosing trend is growing to such "macro" proportions!

1. It's a Great Way for New Users to Discover the Benefits of Cannabis

Cannabis works through the Endocannabinoid System (ECS) (24) to help keep your body's natural processes balanced and flowing smoothly. That's why what's right for one person may not work for another. Microdosing allows new users to discover which cannabinoids, health-balancing terpenes, and flavors are the most effective - and the most enjoyable!

2. It Helps You Get the "Best of Both Worlds”

The THC in cannabis is renowned for getting people "high", but with microdosing you can take tiny amounts of THC to avoid the psychedelic side effects while still enjoying its health benefits. This allows people to more effectively engage in their daily activities, whether as a parent, boss, peer, student, or other productive member of society.

3. It Provides the Most "Bang for Your Buck”

The price of CBD products is determined (25) in part by how much CBD and THC are in a product. Microdosing means you use less of these products, which is why it's a cost-effective option to help you manage both your budget and your overall wellness.

What is the Best Dosage?

Dosage of CBD

A 2021 task force (26) reached a consensus that between 5-40mg of CBD was considered a "normal" range for treating inflammation and various types of pain. By this measure, anything under 5mg would be considered a "microdose". In addition, the FDA recommends starting off with 2.5mg of Epilodex per dose, (27) which is the first medication the agency approved that contains CBD.

Dr. Sulak recommends choosing a low dose and then asking yourself a few key questions (28) both before and after you take your microdose to help gauge if you're feeling any (or too many) side effects. This can help you adjust your dose accordingly.

Dosage of THC

How Many Milligrams of THC: What Is Considered a Low Dose of THC?

According to GoodRx, 5mg of THC (29) is considered a standard unit. They recommend starting with 2.5mg of THC to gauge how your body reacts to it.

Delta 9 THC is the form of the compound that's most abundant in most cannabis plants, and it's responsible for the psychedelic effects of the plant. To avoid these effects and still get the health benefits of THC,(30) some people start out using full-spectrum CBD oil with THC. This blend contains less than 0.3% of the THC compound, in compliance with federal regulations.

What are the Best Times of Day to Microdose?

This will likely depend on your particular routines and health concerns. For instance, if you work out in the morning and are microdosing to enhance your exercise routine, morning microdosing may be the best option for you. On the other hand, if you have sleep issues that keep you from getting the rest you need, taking your microdose closer to the time you normally go to bed would be a better choice.

Flexibility and experimenting to see what works best for you is really the name of the game when it comes to microdosing CBD+THC.

Activities That Pair Well With Microdosing

  1. Working: According to a 2012 study,(31) cannabis increases the type of thinking that allows for the consideration of a wide range of solutions to problems. This is known as "divergent thinking" and cannabis helped boost this type of creative thinking for people in the study who normally had lower creative skills.

  2. Exercising: In a survey of 620 cannabis users in states where it's legal, approximately 8o% (32) said they mix it with their exercise routine by taking it either before or after a workout. Of these, over half said it increased their motivation, while over three quarters agreed it helped with post-workout recovery. About 70% stated their enjoyment levels during exercising were given a boost by taking cannabis.

  3. Everyday Activities: Because of the lower doses that define microdosing, you can often go about your regular day-to-day activities without having to deal with the same level of side effects that you might experience when taking higher cannabis doses. This is especially true if you choose full spectrum CBD+THC products make from hemp, which by federal law (33) contains less than 0.3% THC. This helps you can stay focused on the tasks at hand and avoid feelings of fatigue and paranoia that are sometimes associated (34)  with higher levels of THC.

Our full spectrum CBD and Delta 9 THC products for sale at Eli Ruby include six scrumptious flavors of CBD + THC Mega Gummies (35) that make it super easy to microdose. They contain different combinations of CBD+THC so you can find the perfect microdose for your lifestyle, and they all contain less than 0.3% THC in compliance with federal regulations. Because we post all our products' lab tests (36) on our website, you can buy CBD and Delta 9 THC products online with confidence!


References:

 

  1. Rolling Stone “Why Microdosing Is Taking Over Medical Marijuana” Published: Sara Davidson  Author: April 20, 2017

  2. Harvard Health Publishing “The popularity of microdosing of psychedelics: What does the science say?” Published: September 19, 2022  Author: Peter Grinspoon, MD

  3. Eli Ruby Blog: https://eliruby.com/blogs/news/cbd-thc-what-is-the-difference

  4. Wiley online Library “Estinating the Minimum Therapeutically effective Dose of a Compound via Regression Modeling and Percentile Estimation”  Published: May 1995 Author: Thomas G. Filloon.

  5. Eli Ruby Blog: https://eliruby.com/blogs/news/synergy-between-thc-and-cbd

  6. Wiley Online Library “The pharmacokinetics, efficacy, and safety of a novel selective-dose cannabis inhaler in patients with chronic pain: A randomized, double-blinded, placebo-controlled trial”  Published: September 2020 Author: Shlomo Almog

  7. New Atlas “THC microdosing reduces chronic pain in world-first clinical trial” Published: July 5, 2020 Author: Rich Haridy

  8. NIH | National Library of Medicine “Low Dose Vaporized Cannabis Significantly Improves Neuropathic Pain” Published: December 11. 2011 Authors: Barth Wilsey, MD, Thomas D. Marcotte, PhD, Associate Professor, Reena Deutsch, PhD, Statistician, Ben Gouaux, Research Associate, Staci Sakai, Research Associate, and Haylee Donaghe.

  9. NIH | National Library of Medicine “Dose-related effects of delta-9-THC on emotional responses to acute psychosocial stress” Published: May 30, 2017 Author: Emma Childs, Joseph A. Lutz, and Harriet de Wit.

  10. NIH | National Library of Medicine  “Use of a Synthetic Cannabinoid in a Correctional Population for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder–Related Insomnia and Nightmares, Chronic Pain, Harm Reduction, and Other Indications” Published: September 2, 2014 Authors: Colin Cameron, MDCM, FRCPC, Diane Watson, MD, FRCPC, and Jeffrey Robinson, MA.

  11. NIH | National Library of Medicine  “Delta-9-Tetrahydrocannabinol (∆9-THC) Induce Neurogenesis and Improve Cognitive Performances of Male Sprague Dawley Rats”  Published: September 21, 2017 Authors: Noor Azuin Suliman, Che Norma Mat Taib, Mohamad Aris Mohd Moklas, and Rusliza Basir.

  12. Project CBD “Low Does THC Can Improve Cognition”  Published: February 26, 2019 Author: Adrian Devitt-Lee

  13. Journal of Medical Case Reports “Cannabinoid extract in microdoses ameliorates mnemonic and nonmnemonic Alzheimer’s disease symptoms”  Published: July 12, 2022 Authors: Ana Carolina Ruver-Martins, Maíra Assunção Bicca, Fabiano Soares de Araujo, Beatriz Helena Lameiro de Noronha Sales Maia, Fabrício Alano Pamplona, Elton Gomes da Silva & Francisney Pinto Nascimento.

  14. Integr8 Health “Providers”

  15. Rolling Stone “Why Microdosing Is Taking Over Medical Marijuana” Published: Sara Davidson  Author: April 20, 2017

  16. NIH | National Library of Medicine  “Rapid Changes in CB1 Receptor Availability in Cannabis Dependent Males after Abstinence from Cannabis” Publushed: January 1, 2016 Authors: Deepak Cyril D’Souza, M.D., Jose A. Cortes-Briones, Ph.D., M.D., Halle Thurnauer, M.A., Gina Creatura, B.A., Toral Surti, M.D., Beata Planeta, M.S., Alexander Neumeister, M.D., Brian Pittman, M.S, Marc Normandin, Ph.D., Michael Kapinos, B.S., Jim Ropchan, Ph.D., Yiyun Huang, Ph.D., Richard E. Carson, Ph.D, and Patrick D. Skosnik, Ph.D.

  17. Eli Ruby Blog: 5 Benefits of Extra Strength CBD Products

  18. Project CBD “Low Does THC Can Improve Cognition”  Published: February 26, 2019 Author: Adrian Devitt-Lee

  19. Eli Ruby Blog

  20. Eli Ruby Blog

  21. Eli Ruby Blog

  22. Stress “America’s #1 Health Problem” 

  23. NIH | National Library of Medicine “Life Event, Stress and Illness” Published: October 15, 2008 Author: Mohd. Razali Salleh

  24. Harvard Health Publishing  “The endocannabinoid system: Essential and mysterious” Published: August 11, 2021 Author: Peter Grinspoon, MD

  25. Cision PRWeb “How much does CBD cost?” Published: October 5, 2020 Author: Jeremy

  26. Journal of Cannabis Research “Consensus recommendations on dosing and administration of medical cannabis to treat chronic pain: results of a modified Delphi process” Authors: Arun Bhaskar, Alan Bell, Michael Boivin, Wellington Briques, Matthew Brown, Hance Clarke, Claude Cyr, Elon Eisenberg, Ricardo Ferreira de Oliveira Silva, Eva Frohlich, Peter Georgius, Malcolm Hogg.

  27. Medical News Today “What is the correct dosage of CBD?” Published: January 17, 2020 Author: Jessica Caporuscio, Pharm.D.

  28. Rolling Stone “Why Microdosing Is Taking Over Medical Marijuana” Published: Sara Davidson  Author: April 20, 2017

  29. GoodRX Health “How Do I Gauge What’s the Right (and Safe) Dosage of THC?” Published: August 24, 2021 Author: Emily Guarnotta, PsyD.

  30. NIH | National Library of Medicine  “Therapeutic Effects of Cannabis and Cannabinoids”

  31. Research Gate "Investigating the interaction between schizotypy, divergent thinking and cannabis use” Published: March 2012 Authors: Grainne Schafer, Amanda Feilding, Celia Morgan, Maria Agathangelou.

  32. Frontiers "The New Runner's High? Examining Relationships Between Cannabis Use and Exercise Behavior in States With Legalized Cannabis” Published: April 30, 2019 Authors: Sophie L. YorkWilliams, Charleen J. Gust, Raeghan Mueller, L. Cinnamon Bidwell, Kent E. Hutchison, Arielle S. Gillman and Angela D. Bryan

  33. The 2018 Farm Bill

  34. Dominican University “Potentially Negative Effects from THC Use”

  35. Eli Ruby Shop

  36. Eli Ruby Lab Test