With CBD being referred to as the next gold rush, it’s no surprise that CBD users and providers have created unique ways of administering it. CBD infused coffee, chocolates and burgers are climbing in popularity. The rapid expansion of the CBD market has led to mass experimentation, which has created – among other things – a large group of CBD users that swear by the practice of microdosing. By virtue of the fact that everyone reacts to CBD in unique ways, one of the most enjoyable experiences for a new CBD user can be trial. Depending on how you take it, what time of the day you take it, and how much you take, you might be surprised by the varying effects of CBD. But does microdosing CBD provide any benefits? Let’s break it down.
What is microdosing CBD?
Microdosing, to put it simply, is the act of taking a substance in several small doses through the course of a day instead of one larger dose once a day. Let’s make it easier with an example.
Standard CBD Dosing Procedure
Your preferred CBD dose is 20mg a day, and you take it in tincture form with your morning coffee.
Microdosing CBD Procedure
Your preferred CBD dose is 20mg a day. You break this up into four 5mg doses taken through the day: the morning, afternoon, evening and night.
It’s important to note that the final dose doesn’t necessarily change – you’re still getting the same amount of CBD into your system. However, the difference in effects seems to be quite significant for some people. Since everyone’s body experiences different benefits with different amounts of CBD, it will require some experimentation to find your ideal microdose of CBD. You could, in some cases, end up taking more CBD than your regular dose or less than the regular dose (which would be easy on your wallet too!)
Colloquially, microdosing refers to the practice of taking small doses of an intoxicating substance, such as THC – the psychoactive compound in hemp. Microdosing is also common practice with hallucinogens like psilocybin or LSD. The rationale behind this sort of practice is that it would allow the user to consume the psychoactive compound without experiencing behavior-altering effects, allowing them to conduct their daily lives with relative inconspicuousness.
This, however, is not why most CBD users microdose. CBD is non-psychoactive, and will not produce intoxicating effects regardless of whether it’s taken in one dose or several smaller ones. The benefits of microdosing CBD come from its interaction with the endocannabinoid system. The endocannabinoid system works to keep all the major organ systems in balance. It can regulate mood, temperature, sleep, hormonal activity, neural activity and more. CBD very closely resembles endocannabinoids produced by the human body, which is why it can support one’s endocannabinoid system. Users theorize that microdosing CBD helps the body maintain more consistent endocannabinoid levels than one single dose.
Think of it this way: a 2-hour long workout once a week will do less for you than 3 half-hour workouts through the week. Regular physical activity helps maintain blood sugar levels, blood pressure, and mood, not to mention the fact that your body grows well accustomed to the regularity.
Research on microdosing CBD has not been very extensive and is mainly anecdotal, but there is generally no downside to breaking up the dose of a substance to take it in smaller doses. Nevertheless, here’s what studies have to say on microdosing of cannabis for varied purposes.
Studies on microdosing cannabis
There have been no studies on microdosing CBD alone, but a few have been conducted with a wide range of cannabinoids, including CBD or THC. In a 2012 study on the use of medical cannabis for pain reduction in patients who weren’t responding to traditional opioid painkillers, those that were administered the lowest doses of cannabinoids showed the most significant pain reduction. In another study by Malaysian researchers, they explored whether low doses of THC could induce neurogenesis (the creation of new neurons in the brain). They conducted a study on rats wherein they found that when the dose of THC was 6-7 times lesser than the one administered to test THC’s effect on memory, the rats indeed showed signs of neurogenesis. This study has not been replicated in humans yet, but if true, could open up a new world of therapeutic applications. Needless to say, it would also run counter to the common approach to medicine: if something is not working, you’d likely be asked to increase the dose, not decrease it.
Benefits of microdosing CBD
Based on anecdotal reports, here are a couple of things you could stand to gain from microdosing:
More consistent endocannabinoid support
As mentioned earlier, frequent small doses keep endocannabinoid levels in check.
Greater CBD sensitivity
When taking lower doses, you might be more mindful of the effects of CBD. This is especially true for someone who has never taken CBD before and begins with microdosing.
A stress-free introduction to CBD
For anyone apprehensive about trying out CBD, microdosing may be a great place to start, if the effects are in fact more pronounced than standard dosing.
How to microdose CBD
If you’re just starting out with CBD, try the following steps:
Start with a low dose CBD product (preferably in the 100-250mg range). A good product to use for microdosing is CBD vape oil, which you can use with a vape pen. This is mainly because vaping CBD gives the fastest acting results. You can also use drops.
Take a small dose of your product of choice 3-4 times a day. For a CBD tincture, this would be about 0.25ml. When microdosing while vaping, just puff once and then put the vaporizer away for a few hours.
Keep track of any effects that you feel. With both tinctures and vape oils, wait for a week to allow effects to take place.
If you feel nothing, increase the dose. Keep doing so until you feel the effects that you seek, and then you can stay on the same schedule, or increase the frequency of doses and lower the strength of each dose.
If you’re an experienced CBD user, here’s how to switch to microdosing:
-Don’t take CBD for 2 days to reset your tolerance, if any.
-Take your current dose of CBD (one that you’re satisfied with for its intended effects) and divide it by 4.
-Take the lowered dose 4 times a day. It’s that easy!
Since everyone’s endocannabinoid system is different, there’s no standard dosing procedure or amount for CBD. While this might seem bizarre for those used to fixed doses of vitamins, it’s actually a huge benefit. It gives you the power to determine what’s right for you, and gives you the privilege of taking the time to get to know your body better, which is something everyone could use!