The microdosing trend has garnered a lot of attention in the psychedelic community — and now it’s hit the cannabis community.
Whether it’s with LSD, MDMA, or THC (the main psychoactive compound in cannabis), people microdose for various reasons. They may want a boost of creativity or productivity, or perhaps some relief from anxiety, depression, cluster headaches, or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.
With cannabis, it’s easiest to microdose with edibles since they’re often marked with exactly how many milligrams of THC they contain. Anything with less than five milligrams should be little enough to microdose, depending on the user.
Kiva, a California-based edible company, for example, makes five-milligram THC Terra Bites, chocolate covered espresso beans, as well as 2.5 milligram THC Petra Mints. That’s a tiny dose: For reference, a single serving of Kiva’s chocolate bars, which are not made for microdosing, contain 15 to 45 milligrams of THC.
Kiva’s mints are marketed specifically to professionals, who are looking to microdose throughout the day. “The small dose makes it possible to use cannabis as part of a daily routine, as there is no interference with work, focus, or energy levels,” according to the company’s guide to microdosing.
“What we’re finding is that people use these small doses in the morning at work, and are able to maintain the focus and sharpness they need for their work,” says Christie Strong, Kiva’s marketing communications manager. “People use it as a productivity tool, it’s not about the psychoactive experience cannabis is known for.”
Microdosing doesn’t focus on THC potency, but rather on benefits like cannabis’s relaxation or anti-inflammation effects. It also helps manage stress and anxiety without any side effects, Strong adds. Because the plant is “biphasic,” she says, or having two phases, in small amounts it can be relaxing, medicinal, and balancing, but in large amounts it can “overload the system.”
Hence, microdosing also helps users self-titrate, she says, meaning that they can dose themselves in small amounts, working their way up to a dose that’s comfortable, instead of taking a large dose of a brownie and hoping not to end up uncomfortably high.
Microdosing is specifically helpful for those who are new to cannabis, says Daniel Pantaleo, dispensary general manager at Diego Pellicer—Colorado. Some people might feel light trace effects when they microdose, while others feel nothing at all, he says, but they still have the cannabinoids working inside the body.
People also have different approaches to microdosing, depending on their needs and experience with cannabis. A heavy user who wants to microdose might take five milligram THC doses a few times throughout the day, whereas newer microdosers may take only one or two 2.5 milligram THC doses.
“A lot of people think of drugs as being taken to get way over the limit and messed up,” says Pantaleo, “when in reality you can use these substances on a low dose level and really really enhance your day and performance.”