Hello MD reports:
Micro dosing is not a new concept when it comes to cannabis. The term micro dosing has been thrown around a lot over the past couple of years. Many people refer to micro dosing in terms of taking small amounts of cannabis, waiting to feel the effects, and then taking more until you feel that you have reached the perfect amount for the desired result. For some, the perfect amount might be to reach a threshold where you reduce pain and to others that amount might be to have the just-right ratio of psychoactivity to overall symptom reduction. The micro dosing I refer to however, is the notion of taking small amounts of cannabis on a consistent basis to create the optimal health benefits without the psychoactive effect.
Why Micro Dose?
The idea behind micro dosing in this fashion is to receive the optimal health results that are sustainable over long periods of time. Respected cannabis doctor Dr. Justin Sulak has noted substantial anecdotal evidence within his practice over a period of years with this method. He said in a recent article “I discovered that most people have a certain threshold dosage of cannabis, below which they’ll actually experience a gradual increase in health benefits over time, and above which they’ll start building tolerance, experiencing diminishing benefits, and more side effects.”
As with so much within cannabis we depend upon anecdotal evidence as clinical research is rare due to the federal classification on cannabis. However, a recent NCBI research study conducted by University of California, San Diego titled Low Dose Vaporized Cannabis Significantly Improves Neuropathic Pain demonstrated positive results with micro dosing. The study focused on subjects suffering from neuropathic pain and the method of micro dosing through vaporization. To briefly sum it up, the results indicated that patients who micro dosed cannabis at 1.29 percent felt as much pain relief as patients who used a medium-dose at 3.53 percent cannabis. Ultimately, those who micro dosed less felt better for a longer period of time than those who ingested more.
The Endocannibinoid System
What is most interesting about this study is the contrast to the average amount of THC in the most vape pens or joints, which often stand at 14% and may even go as high as 95%. The amount of THC used within micro dosing is substantially lower than what most consumers ingest in a typical sitting. Some hypothesize that micro dosing on a consistent basis results in more positive benefits than higher doses because lower doses of cannabis enhance the endocannabinoid system while much larger doses make our CB1 and CB2 receptors less responsive. CB1 and CB2 receptors are responsible for a variety of physiological processes including appetite, pain-sensation, mood, and memory.
Micro Dosing Works
My own experience with micro dosing has completely altered how I self administer cannabis. I have long suffered chronic pain from intense migraines as well as fibromyalgia. Cannabis allowed me to change course and no longer use narcotics or other traditional pharmaceuticals that did not provide much benefit other than occasionally masking the pain. Once I turned to cannabis, I found a solution that not only prevents my chronic pain but is able to help me manage pain when it crawls through. Once I realized cannabis was a possible solution for me, I began self experimentation and I eventually found that micro dosing was my path to success.
My version of micro dosing includes a daily dose of high CBD tinctures in ratio of 20:1 as well as low dose tinctures that I administer as many as 2-3 times a day at a THC level of 2.5 mg. At these incredibly low THC doses, I never feel altered and if anything feel mildly relaxed in body and mind. When a migraine does manage to sneak through, which is now rare, I vape a high CBD pen of Canna Tsu, ACDC or Harlequin. These strains contain around 20% CBD to 5% THC. Again, my goal is to manage pain and not to get high, and without a doubt I reach my goal. Micro dosing allows me to live a very full life, prevent a chronic condition and manage pain when it happens. Without cannabis and this regime I would be in bed for multiple days a month. It allows me to not be dependent on narcotics and to be far more functional across the board.
The Market Needs to Catch Up
Unfortunately, the cannabis marketplace, which largely caters to recreational consumers, has not caught up with the medicinal marketplace. The micro dosing movement is not just relevant to me, it is relevant to all newcomers to cannabis as well as the most prevalent and growing demographic, that of the 65+ senior citizen. These new consumers are faced with a confusing and disaggregated system. When walking into a typical dispensary you will often be faced with a twenty-ish bud tender who might lead you to an indica gummy bear that contains 100 mg of THC, a chocolate bar with 1000 mg or a vape oil cartridge with a whopping 95% THC. Oftentimes, this is a recipe for disaster for the new consumer.
What needs to occur in the current marketplace is a plethora of low dose products that are between 2.5-5mg per dose, whether that be a tincture, edible, sub lingual spray or high CBD/low THC vape oil cartridges. The bottom line is that the market has yet to catch up with the explosion that is happening around it. My hope is that innovative manufacturers continue to release new products that address the new demographics entering the marketplace as well as the anecdotal and research based evidence that supports micro dosing of cannabis.
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