If you are not familiar with microdosing, you are not the only one. Few people know about this practice of using certain drugs in minimal doses intentionally to achieve the effect they desire. The drugs used for this purpose are usually controlled substances or illegal. That means that in most areas, microdosing falls in a gray area, both legally and medically.
A microdose is often 1/10 to 1/20 of a standard dosage. That means if the typical dose of a particular drug is 200mcg, a microdose is just 20mcgs or even less. People who take microdoses of drugs aim to get the effects of the substance without getting that “high” feeling or showing signs of intoxication.
Those who advocate for microdosing claim that doing it results in desirable benefits, including:
- Reducing various mental health symptoms
- Treating psychological conditions
- Improving certain abilities or skills
- Improving overall well-being
Microdosing has gotten the scientific community’s attention, and it’s being talked about online, too. However, there’s still little to no evidence supporting the practice in a clinical setting, though this can potentially change in the future when there’s more research. This is what happened with the drug called ketamine. It’s a drug that’s commonly used for the sedation of large animals undergoing surgeries. However, some people abuse ketamine due to its dissociative and hallucinogenic effects. Recently, a version of ketamine has been approved for people who suffer from treatment-resistant depression.
What Are the Benefits of Microdosing?
Microdosing can result in various outcomes. It largely depends on the needs and lifestyle of the person doing it. For example, some may find that microdosing allows them to be more productive, and it helps them achieve a clearer mind while studying or working—others microdose to release tension and stress.
There are some potential benefits of microdosing cannabis. Note that these are “potential” benefits and are not assured. After all, there’s not much research on this, and the effects may vary from one person to another. It’s also worth noting that no clinical studies are stating that these are indeed the effects of microdosing:
Relief from Pain and Inflammation
Microdosing THC can trigger the endocannabinoid system, leading to pain relief minus the intoxicating high.
Cannabis in small doses can reduce symptoms of nausea. Various chemotherapy studies show that marijuana can help decrease nausea and provide patients with relief.
Marijuana is quite popular among users who are suffering from insomnia. The problem is that those who need to complete their usual tasks may find themselves tired and drowsy. Microdosing can be beneficial for those who need to relax and induce natural sleep patterns.
What Are the Disadvantages of Microdosing Cannabis?
As you can see so far, there are benefits from a minimal dose of cannabis. For one, a small amount can limit psychoactivity. Additionally, they may find relief for their symptoms. Because you only need small amounts, it’s significantly cheaper, too.
The biggest challenge is faced by experienced smokers who might find it difficult to reduce their dosage and be consistent with the small doses. Additionally, it might not be easy to find the amount that works for you. While there are several articles online that give you a calculation for a generic dosage, it still varies from one person to another. That means two milligrams might be perfect for your friend but not for you.
One way to try out microdosing is by consuming one milligram of THC then abstaining for two days. On the third day, one milligram of CBD may be taken, preferably as an oil tincture, so that the measurements can be accurate. The user can then check how they respond to that dosage by answering questions like:
- Is it easy or difficult to breathe?
- What’s the current level of comfort or calmness?
Users can grade their answers. After recording their grades, they can consume the cannabis, wait for 45 minutes to an hour and answer the questions again. They can then compare the grades, and if there are no changes, they can increase the dosage by one mg. They should repeat these steps until they see a difference in scores which indicates that they found their minimum effective dose or what’s known as their cannabis threshold. They can then increase the amount until there are no further improvements in the symptoms they’re trying to address.
Can Microdosing Help with Anxiety?
The use of cannabis seems to have biphasic effects on stress and anxiety. What this means is that in low doses, THC can help decrease stress levels, but in higher doses, it can do the opposite.
The effects of cannabis are said to be dose-dependent. While low doses can reduce one’s nerves when doing public speaking, at a higher dose, the speaker might experience higher levels of anxiety.
In a 2015 publication in Neurotherapeutics, researchers found that microinjections of CBD into the DPAG region of the brain produced anxiety-relieving effects. This research states that preclinical evidence demonstrated the efficacy of CDB in reducing anxiety behaviors that are relevant to conditions like PTSD, OCD, PD, and GAD, among others.
A similar study published in the European Journal of Pharmacology showed that microinjections of CBD into the substantia nigra region of the brain resulted in panicolytic effects. The term ‘panicolytic’ refers to reduced flight instincts in animals in a dangerous situation. What the study suggests is that cannabidiol microinjections may modulate panic-like defensive behavior.
Consumption Methods for Microdosing
This is the best option for non-smokers. It’s pretty easy to measure your doses through this method. That said, the effects of CBD through edibles are quite gradual.
This may be the worst option for users who want to microdose because it’s hard to precisely measure the amount of cannabis used.
This may be a better option compared to smoking, as users can accurately measure doses. Since there are a lot of vape liquids on the market, vape kit users can try this.
What Substances Are Used for Microdosing?
Microdosing typically refers to the use of psychedelic drugs. But there are users who practice this method using different substances:
- LSD or Lysergic Acid Diethylamide
- Psilocybin or “magic” mushrooms
- Dimethyltryptamine or DMT
- Cannabidiol or CBD
Microdosing might work for many, but it is not for everyone. Many who have tried it find that the effects are not even to their liking. Some are quite sensitive to the compounds found in hallucinogens and even with microdoses, side effects like reduced focus and energy, increased anxiety, and discomfort may be experienced.
People with mental health disorders should also avoid microdosing as there is not enough research that proves its efficacy. Those with a history of bipolar disorder, psychotic disorders, schizophrenia, and others should also avoid microdosing as it can be too stimulating. Of course, it shouldn’t be forgotten that most of the substances used for microdosing are still illegal. According to the DEA, hallucinogens are Schedule 1 drugs, meaning “there are no currently accepted medical uses,” These put one at risk of drug addiction. Apart from that, many of these substances are illegal to consume and possess, and these can still be picked up by drug tests, even if they’re taken in microdoses.