Photography by Kaya Blaze Kelley for Herb
Safety concerns, tact, and stigmatization can prevent many people from catching a buzz at work, and in many cases that’s understandable. Microdosing cannabis can give consumers access to the benefits of THC and CBD, but without the psychoactive effects or feeling “stoned”.
More and more cannabis companies are producing options for those interested in microdosing, even huge players like DaVinci, with their new IQ2 vaporizer that lets you calculate your THC consumption, are acknowledging the growing interest in microdosing cannabis.
As weed is legalized and becomes more mainstream, cannabis products seem to be getting “weaker” rather than stronger. This trend toward microdosing and low-THC products is, in part, to appeal to a wider audience of new and inexperienced users. But, it’s also helping veteran stoners stay medicated and productive.
We took a look at this trend, from low-THC strains of weed to low-dose edibles, and identify some of the best products for microdosing.
While many people have heard the term microdosing before, the idea of consuming small amounts of cannabis is still foreign to many. Traditionally, microdosing has been associated with hallucinogens, like LSD. Most recently, the practice has rippled through Silicon Valley.
Efficiency-obsessed tech professionals have been known to use tiny amounts of lysergic acid to boost their focus, alertness, and creativity without the unwelcome side effect of tripping for hours on end.
An increasing number of studies have shown that THC, in particular, is accessible to the endocannabinoid system in smaller amounts. While many medical patients believe that increasing the dosage of their cannabis will lead to better results.
In some cases, evidence shows that the opposite may actually be true. Microdosing cannabis can allow you to experience the plant’s bimodal nature.
To understand what we mean by bimodal, we can think about the effects of alcohol. A glass of red wine, for example, can have health benefits, and a couple of drinks can help to alleviate social anxiety. But consume too much, and those positive effects are quickly replaced by negative ones.
The same can be said for cannabis, wherein many people can be responsive to smaller doses of THC, but in higher doses, it can increase anxiety and stress.
This evidence is not just anecdotal, however. A 2012 study saw cancer patients experiencing greater pain relief with smaller doses of cannabis than they did with higher concentrations.
Microdosing can be an effective way to treat many of the same ailments that traditional consumption can. These include:
Even those struggling with more chronic ailments, such as Crohn’s disease or multiple sclerosis, can microdose to help maintain their health once these conditions have been controlled, either through traditional medication or larger doses of cannabis.
The efficacy of microdosing isn’t just limited to medical patients, however. Microdosing cannabis can be an excellent way to improve focus, overcome mental blocks or provide a small boost in energy to get you through your next wave of errands.
It might even provide a little boost to your sex life.
By mixing the psychoactive effects, microdosing cannabis could be perfect for working professionals, parents, or people who either don’t want to or can’t find the time to be high.
Like other cannabis experiences, proper dosage is entirely subjective. It can depend on your typical usage, tolerance, the strain of choice, and a range of biological factors unique to you. Some studies recommend under 5 mg of THC, while others begin at 10 mg.
The best advice is always to start slowly. Take 30 minutes to an hour after microdosing cannabis to assess how you feel, and then proceed accordingly. This may mean upping your dose slightly, or lowering it if you find the effects are still a little too potent.
Microdosing is taking over in states where cannabis is legal for adult use, like California and Oregon. In these places, more people are curious about trying weed than ever before. These new users are both older consumers and young people who may have tried weed in college and decided it wasn’t for them.
New users might not be interested in smoking a joint of Bubba Kush but presented with a 2.5 mg mint at a party, they’ll likely accept.
To make cannabis appealing to these inexperienced yet curious users, many smart entrepreneurs are creating microdose products, like Krista Whitely, cannabis industry veteran and Founder of Altitude Products.
“Mainstream consumers are seeking ways to feel better and don’t always want to feel high,” says Whitley. “Today’s consumers are seeking holistic wellness that incorporates seamlessly into their lives and busy Americans don’t have time to feel locked into their couch.”
These low-dose products aren’t getting people “couch-lock” high, but are still helping them unwind. They often make people feel “lighter,” more prone to the giggles and munchies without a crazy-paranoid head high that a dose of over 20 mg of THC could give a new user.
Let’s take a look at some different ways the cannabis industry is moving away from high-THC products and towards microdosing.
For a long time, microdosing cannabis was primarily the domain of edibles and tinctures. That’s understandable – they offer a discreet consumption method for those who need a small dose during the day, at work, or after.
The microdosing options left fans of dried herb out in the cold, however. Not to mention those who don’t have legal access to cannabis. For these people, dried herb is typically much easier to acquire than edibles, oils, or tinctures.
The edibles that can be acquired in these areas are not created under the same strict conditions as those in legal states, which can make controlling dosage difficult. Not really what you’re looking for when microdosing cannabis.
As consumption becomes increasingly mainstream, many products are reacting to a growing interest in microdosing cannabis. Vaporizers, like the DaVinci IQ2, are adding features to allow consumers to microdose their desired strains. To do this, the pearl is adjustable, shrinking the chamber size to ensure that the dry herb still vaporizes evenly, producing clean, pure vapor.
Properly microdosing cannabis isn’t just contingent on the size of your chamber, however. Lower temperatures avoid combustion, which can lead to unwanted harsh smoke, and allows you to enjoy the flavors and therapeutic benefits of the terpenes in your dried herb.
Go slow and low when you first start microdosing to really savor the effects and flavors.
If you’re typically consuming dried herb, you’re also more likely to understand how a particular strain affects you in higher doses, and understand how much is going to be too much when microdosing cannabis.
It also works the other way around: microdosing cannabis may be an excellent way to introduce people new to cannabis to the experience.
Microdosing edibles is one of the most obvious ways low-dose products are becoming dominant. In fact, to be compliant with California regulations, edibles must basically be microdosed anyway. For the adult-use market, a package of edibles cannot exceed 100 mg and a serving cannot exceed 10 mg.
Many products like Five CBD’s Daily Buzz Gummies contain a mere 5 mg of THC or less per serving.
Not only do microdosed mints or lollipops provide a subtle, chill buzz, but because they absorb into your system from the mouth rather than the liver, they kick in fast.
“The worst thing that can happen for our industry is over medication because we lose the opportunity to demonstrate effective plant medicine,” says Whitely.
“Including only microdosed products in our boxes helps our consumers to understand that it isn’t about consuming large quantities, but finding the optimal dosage for the effect the consumer is looking to achieve.”
Traditionally, cannabis cultivators would do anything to make sure their plants had the highest percent of THC possible. But as this trend toward microdosing and less psychoactive weed becomes more dominant, many growers are experimenting with strains that have more equal ratios of CBD to THC or high levels of CBG.
Ratios like 1:1 CBD:THC are lauded by consumers looking for relief from anxiety, depression, and chronic pain, as well as mainstream consumers who want to relax but don’t want to get “too high.” Strains like Harlequin and Mai Thai Cookies are in high demand for their 1:1 ratios, which provide users with a mellow, manageable high.
Only five years ago, growers in the U.S. would be embarrassed by a strain with only eight to 12 percent THC, but now, they can be extremely valuable, especially if the strain has high levels of CBD.
High-CBG strains like our Sour G are also great for microdosing. CBG is an up-and-coming cannabinoid that combines properties of THC and CBD. It delivers mind and body soothing effects, like CBD, and energizing THC-like effects without being psychoactive.
As flower sales continue to fall, vape pens continue to increase in popularity. Many long-time cannabis consumers in legal states are switching to vaping altogether for the health benefits, convenience, and cost. Plus, microdosing is easier with vape pens than with traditional flower.
One sip from a vape pen can keep consumers (experienced or not) comfortable and productive for hours, but smoking a joint or pipe can be harder to dose.
Many vape pen cartridge companies have caught onto the low-dose and 1:1 trend as well. Brands like Legion of Bloom have released four different 1:1 vape cartridges, all named after the “experience” they’re meant to invoke. Other brands, like dosist, have come out with vapes in a variety of ratios, like 1:1, 3:1, and 24:1 CBD:THC.
Some companies, like Botany Farms, are going for Delta 8 THC products. This cannabinoid is hemp-derived, has milder effects than traditional THC, and is gaining popularity amongst microdosers.
You can microdose in many ways with weed, from edibles to vaping to drinkables. Smoking is tricky unless you know how much THC and or CBD is in your bud, but even then it’s hard to say how much you’re ingesting with each bowl, blunt, etc.
For those who are new to microdosing or want to make sure they’re doing it right, these products make it easy:
Medterra is a brand that has made a name for itself in the CBD space with premium wellness cannabidiol products. These full-spectrum edibles have that power of their hemp CBD with the added twist of THC.
With 2 mg of THC per piece alongside 25 mg of CBD combined with other cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids, these treats offer a true full-spectrum experience that is perfect for microdosing. Their Citrus flavored gummies are perfect for daytime use, while their mixed berry flavored Sleep Gummies with melatonin are ideal pre-bedtime snacks.
We already mentioned their Daily Buzz Gummies which are also a fantastic microdosing option with 5 mg of THC per piece. But if you’re looking for something slightly less potent, and easier to use, then these capsules are just the product you need.
Each piece comes with 50 mg of CBD and 2 mg of THC, delivering a light 5:1 CBD to THC ratio that keeps you buzzed to perfection. You’ll feel extra focused, relaxed, and uplifted as you go by your day.
Here’s our full review of Five CBD for more!
We already mentioned Delta 8 THC as a great option for microdosers. These pre-rolls from Botany Farms are a fantastic and easy-to-smoke option. Coming in at 4% Delta 8 THC and 12% CBD, the have a perfectly balanced 3:1 ratio strain that can be used at any time of the day,
Botany Farms’ Delta 8 smokables separate themselves from the bunch thanks to their unique extraction and infusion process. They use a cold-press extraction process. Then, they crush the distillate into a fine powder that is infused into their invigorating Pineapple Haze sativa flower.
Camino Gummies by edible weed brand Kiva Confections are tasty low-dose confections for microdosing. Three of their flavors—Pineapple Habanero, Blenheim Apricot, and Wild Berry— have just 5 mg of THC per gummy, perfect for laying back without knocking yourself over.
They also have their Sparkling Pear gummies, which combine 2 mg of THC with 6 mg of CBD in each gummy. That way, the CBD will counteract any anxiety that you may face from the THC, but you’ll still catch a mildly euphoric buzz. You can read more about how CBD works against the adverse side effects of THC here.
Satori Mints prove that a little weed goes a long way. These naturally flavored fast-acting peppermint treats not only renew your day with their mouth-watering taste, but also deliver a mild buzz that helps you stay cool, calm, and productive. Moreover, they come inside of a tin package just as if they were Altoids. Talk about stealthy.
Go Beans by 1906 are the perfect dose of get-up-and-go. These chocolate-covered coffee beans contain just 5 mg of THC and 5 mg of CBD per bean and come lightly caffeinated to boost both your alertness and your motivation.
They rest inside of a nifty and convenient container that makes them easy to access right from your purse or pocket on your way out the door in the morning, or mid-afternoon when you need a pick-me-up.
Kin Slips are kind of like Listerine breath strips except not as strong. Available in Cloud Buster for creative energy (5, 10, or 20 mg), Nice Dream for balance and tranquility (10 or 20 mg), and Park Life for relief and comfort (10 mg CBD + 1 mg THC), these sublingual strips aren’t just low-dose, but also discreet. You can easily slip one under the tongue while on the go. Plus, they’re 100% natural and delicious.
Lagunitas is a fresh-looking IPA-inspired sparkling refreshment. By putting their IPA knowledge to the test, the Lagunitas masterminds have put together a hops-infused, but non-alcoholic beverage with no calories and no carbs.
These bottled drinks are infused with top-quality THC extracted from sun-grown cannabis and are split up into three different mood-based options with varying THC to CBD ratios: Unplugged, Tuner, and Reverb.
The Unplugged version is dosed with an 18:1 THC to CBD ratio, the Tuner has a 5:5 ratio, and Reverb is a more THC forward drink with 10 mg that delivers a more invigorating experience.
With Ripple Dissolvables from Stillwater Brands, you can turn any food or bevy into an edible with a manageable dose. Ripple Dissolvables come in three types: Pure 10 with 10 mg of THC per pack, Relief 20:1 with 10 mg CBD and 0.5 mg of THC, and Balanced 5 with 5 mg of CBD and THC.
All you do to reap their effects is to rip them open and pour the dissolvable, calorie-free cannabis into your favorite drink or mix with your favorite meal. You can have infused tacos, milkshakes, salad dressings, juices—you name it—with no added weed taste.
These organic full-spectrum edibles are vegan, gluten-free, and naturally flavored with a pleasing combination of strawberry, blueberry, and raspberry. They are also packed with cannabinoids and naturally occurring terpenes that heighten the entourage effect.
Each piece features a unique 22:1 CBD to THC ratio that makes them a great daytime use edible as they will help you stay active and chill while enjoying all the benefits of the combination of CBD, THC, and naturally occurring hemp terpenes.
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