When approaching different modalities for consuming cannabis, everyone brings their own experiences, stigmas, wants and needs to the table. Legal retail stores stock a wide range of low-dose products to their high-dose counterparts that appeal to consumers both novice and expert. But how do you choose one format over another? What exactly is micro-dosing cannabis, and why might a regular consumer of cannabis want to explore consuming a low dose?
What is Micro-Dosing Cannabis?
Micro-dosing cannabis means to portion out and consume only the cannabinoids needed to achieve your desired state or ‘symptomatic relief’ (relief from any symptoms you may have such as body pain, headaches, lack of appetite, etc.).You can avoid some of the possible negative side effects of consuming large doses of THC with this method, such as impaired short-term memory, impaired motor coordination, altered judgment, or paranoia.
We spoke with Dr. Rattan Panesar, Chief Medical Officer and President of CannaWay Clinic about the nuances of micro-dosing cannabis. “What is a micro-dose to one consumer, may very well be a macro-dose to the next,” says Dr. Panesar. “The age-old advice of ‘start low, go slow’ when it comes to dosing cannabinoids holds truer than ever, and we always recommend speaking to a medical expert before using cannabis to find symptomatic relief for a health condition.”
Once you discover the micro-dose limit that allows you to hit your desired state of being, you can reliably and repeatably re-dose as needed. Starting at 0.5 mg and working your way up with increases of 0.1 mg at a time, you can dial in the dose that works for you.
Adult-use Market Benefits
If you are a recreational adult-use consumer, there are still reasons to micro-dose your cannabis. Besides avoiding any possible negative side effects that cannabis may have, there is the concept of diminishing returns when consuming THC; a recent study revealed that higher potency does not necessarily mean greater intoxication, which raises the question about whether people might be able to achieve their desired results at lower doses.
This is great news for the adult-use consumer; you can save money by consuming less product while still achieving the desired effects and avoiding the possible negative effects.
Choosing Your Modality
There are many low dose options for the self-identified micro-doser — everything from low dose edibles to small format pre-rolls, edibles, oils, and even low THC flower options. However, the crème du la crème method for micro-dosing is via cannabis concentrates (a modality that some in the industry are hesitant to try), and we’ll tell you why.
Low THC flower and pre-rolls can be amazing options for those looking to consume small amounts of cannabis, but are difficult to accurately dose; remember, when micro-dosing you first identify the dose and repeat that same dose every time. If you were to light a joint, take a few puffs, put it out, then re-light it the next day and take a few puffs, it could lead to an undesirable experience; resin builds up at the base of all joints as they’re consumed, which is very potent and can have negative effects such as headaches, sore throat and difficulty breathing. In addition to the added potency that the resin provides, you also inhale other undesirable plant matter and chemicals in the process.
Your budtender may suggest edibles or oils for a reliable low-dose option. Although micro-dosing edibles can be tasty and convenient, it doesn’t offer immediate onset; edibles introduce cannabinoids to the human body through the gastrointestinal tract where they travel into the bloodstream and, via the portal vein, go on to the liver where it undergoes first-pass metabolism. This process can take up to two hours, which is great if you are able to predict your micro-dosing needs or schedule up to two hours in advance. For those looking for a faster onset, edibles are not a great option.
Cannabis Concentrates for Micro-Dosing
Cannabis concentrates are the best option for micro-dosing for a few reasons. First, the simplicity with dosing cannot be understated; all you have to do is divide your optimal dose of THC the total mg of THC in the package to get the weight of the dab you should take. For example, if your optimal dose is 20mg THC, and you purchase 1g live rosin with 671 mg/g THC, you would take a 0.029g dab.
Dabbing is also much easier on the lungs than smoking cannabis — vaporizing the product in a dab rig or vape pen is one of the cleanest methods of consumption because you are inhaling pure cannabinoids and terpenes, nothing else. And like smoking cannabis, you have an immediate onset of effect upon inhalation.
Micro dosing concentrates not only allows for flexibility with dosage, but it also provides the ultimate control over your experience. Since micro-dosing is all about repeatable experiences, portioning out your dabs is the best way you can guarantee a reliable dose. For on-the-go consumption you can either get a compartmented silicon container to carry your pre-portioned dabs, or purchase an electronic dab device that has an optional pre-dosed solution like the Shatterizer.
So, as you go forward in your micro-dosing journey, concentrates are a fantastic option for the newer consumer to the seasoned vet — you just need to give them a chance.