How Many Millilitres in a Microdose of Marijuana

Posted on September 3rd 2018

The future of marijuana is in the wellness seekers, not in stoners. Sales of concentrates and high-dosage edibles are surging in legal in the U.S. and they’re already a hit in Canada’s marijuana grey market. Still plenty of patients are asking for "the best way" to take marijuana. For those seeking health benefits of THC, microdosing just might be the answer.

The Origin of the Marijuana Microdose

Microdosing refers to taking the minimal amount of cannabis to achieve the desired medical effect, also called minimum effective dose. The practice comes from the world of pharmaceutical testing. New drugs are administered to subjects in sub-therapeutic amounts to test the threshold at which a cellular response is observed to find the lowest effective dose.

But marijuana isn't like any pharmaceutical drug. You can give someone a prescription pill, and it'll more or less have the same effect each time but give someone weed, and it can affect the patient differently depending on the day. Conventional medications are tested rigorously for safety and efficacy among a large group of people over substantial periods of time before being approved by the Health Products and Food Branch (HPFB) of Health Canada. 

With cannabis patients, the threshold dosage may equal one puff from a portable vaporizer or a few milligrams of cannabis oil. 

Microdose Mondays at the Office Not Just for Marijuana

The microdose trend is surging in popularity not just among medical and recreational users of cannabis, but among users of other psychedelic drugs too. You've heard of microdosing before. It's what writers like Ayelet Waldman are doing with LSD for depression, what staff at Rolling Stone or Vogue are doing for a story and what Dave Asprey is doing to "hack" his biology and performance capacity. 

But the concept of small doses of marijuana is something doctors have suggested for medical patients who need to medicate and work. The idea that medical users can achieve medicinal benefits—pain, inflammation, neuroprotection, depression, or anxiety—by using only enough of the drug to obtain relief is a game-changer for patients. No overwhelming high and no impact on daily performance could be the difference between employment with health benefits and relying on disability with fewer financial options.


Microdosing for Everyday Wellness 

Cannabis has a bidirectional effect, which means at different dosages or with various individuals, you can see the exact opposite effect. If, for example, you give it to someone who’s anxious, it might relax them. Give it to someone who’s relaxed, and it may make them anxious, especially if they’re in the wrong environment.

The microdose is looking like it’s the sweet spot at which we can all experience the stress relief and relaxation effects of marijuana without the anxiety. Researchers from the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) and the University of Chicago, IL, looked at the effects of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) on stress and found low doses to be a stress head’s best friend. 

While using cannabis as a pre-workout supplement may sound unorthodox—it’s not the most stimulating substance, after all—it is not uncommon for elite athletes to microdose cannabis as pre-training motivation and post-workout relaxation. When vigorous activity leaves them nauseous, a microdose may be all it takes to gain an appetite and eat within the critical post-workout window most optimal for recovery eating. 


How Much is in a Microdose of Marijuana? 

There are different perspectives on what micro-dosing means. Microdosing to be using small doses that limit or avoid any impairment but still provides control of the desired symptom. When we talk about microdosing in the recreational, or adult use market, we are talking about very low, pre-defined dosage, measured in milligrams of THC and CBD to achieve a physiologic response and limit euphoria or impairment.

The Chicago study low-dose group got doses of 7.5 milligrams of THC while the moderate dose group never exceeded 12.5 milligrams of THC, so it’s safe to say that the average recommendation of 5 milligrams of THC for a microdose is a good place to start. Increase dosage to about 10 milligrams, stopping at the dosage just before a physiologic response occurs. 



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