The legal marijuana market is extremely diverse, with literally something for everyone be it low-dose cannabis gummies or maximum strength capsules. The amount of cannabinoids (which are the active ingredients in cannabis) varies from product to product and while it may seem like higher concentrations are always preferable in order to get more bang for your buck, this isn’t always the case.
More and more people are microdosing cannabis products, with the goal of benefiting from the plant’s perceived wellness abilities without as much of the psychoactivity associated with consumption. This is especially useful for those with sensitivities to THC, as it reduces the risk of certain uncomfortable side effects such as anxiety.
What exactly is microdosing and why is low-dose cannabis actually a good thing? Green Flower is here to set the record straight.
What Is Considered Low-Dose Cannabis?
According to a study released in 2019, cannabis plant potency has steadily increased over the last decade, with an average concentration of 8.9 percent THC in 2008 to 17.1 percent in 2017. However, cannabis flower testing over 30 percent THC is becoming more and more common for top-shelf producers seeking to meet the growing demand for bud with considerably high THC content.
This demand is ill-conceived, according to some industry professionals, who argue it’s naive to assume something with more THC will automatically be better or feel more potent. Additionally, when the cannabis plants are forced to express more cannabinoid content, there is less room for other active ingredients such as terpenes, meaning the flavor and aroma may be sacrificed. Low-dose cannabis flower would test closer to the 8-10 percent THC range as opposed to the more common 20 percent or above often popular in adult-use dispensaries.
Low-dose cannabis edibles and tinctures have less than the typical 10 milligrams (mg) of THC per serving, more often having 2.5 mg or five mg of THC. Officials in Canada, which fully legalized adult-use cannabis in 2018, issued guidance stating consuming cannabis doses of THC between 2.5 and 3 milligrams is “associated with a therapeutic benefit and minimal psychoactivity.”
How To Microdose Cannabis
For anyone starting a cannabis microdosing regimen, it’s always recommended to begin with small amounts containing very low THC concentration and then work up to higher doses. An ultra-low-dose of cannabis is considered around 0.2 mg of THC but the lowest dosed products on the market are likely to contain 2.5 mg of THC per serving. These products may contain both THC and CBD.
Depending on what your desired outcome is (pain relief, feel relaxed, improved sleep, etc.), you may want to consider beginning your dosage at night in case it makes you feel drowsy. Always give yourself up to two hours after consumption to feel the effects — especially when trying edibles as a consumption method. It is important to consult with your primary care physician prior to beginning microdosing, especially if you are on any prescription medications.
The Effects of THC in Low-Dose Cannabis vs High Dose
Every person’s endocannabinoid system is different, meaning the effects of cannabis can vary greatly from one consumer to the next. For some, the effects of THC, in particular, may be too intense, or unwanted altogether. Microdosing cannabis could allow a person to receive relief without feeling “high.” On the opposite end of the spectrum, abstaining from consumption from large amounts of cannabis (also known as tolerance break) could help reset a heavy consumer’s endocannabinoid system, allowing a microdosing regimen to commence after the fact.
Additionally, some scientists have found low-dose cannabis to be more effective at treating certain conditions compared with high dose regimens. For example, a 2014 study showed low doses of THC may protect the brain from neuroinflammation damage. Furthermore, research released in 2019 saw low-dose cannabis improve cognitive function in mice who had developed issues due to stroke, neurotoxicity, and hypoxia. These findings, related to biphasic effects theories, further show that there is no such thing as “one size fits all” when it comes to medical marijuana or adult-use cannabis consumption.
Microdosing Popularity Means A Range of Cannabis Products For All Types
While a large segment of the cannabis consumer population desires high potency, the “less is more” lifestyle continues to trend upward. A large number of cannabis products, especially edibles and tinctures, are being developed and marketed toward those seeking less THC. These include low-dose cannabis mints, infused chocolate bar varietals, and specially-formulated beverages.
Low-dose plants, which are cannabis strains bred to produce higher concentrations of other cannabinoids like CBD or CBG, also perform well in certain markets. This option is great for consumers who enjoy smoking joints or bowls but do not desire an intensely psychoactive experience.
Low-Dose Cannabis May Be Key To Legal Market Of The Future
While it may seem the only hype weed is cannabis that’s testing at 30 percent THC content or above, the growing demand for low-dose cannabis products showcases a spectrum of cannabinoid needs for people across the board. As legalization continues to spread and the market matures, brands will gain a better awareness of what certain demographics desire — especially as research on cannabis reveals more on the intricate nature of dosage on individuals with varying conditions. The result will be a wider range of offerings with potency designed for both micro and macro consumers alike.