July 11, 2017 | by admin
Microdosing, or starting low and going slow, is all the buzz for new cannabis patients. Here's how you do it.
Start low and go slow is wise advice—and a super catchy rhyme—that you've likely heard from your cannabis-prescribing doctor or your licensed producer (LP), but to actually microdose, you’ll need to know a few things. This guide will help you determine how much THC is in a dose, how strong your flower (bud) is, and how long to wait between doses.
In Colorado, where cannabis-infused edibles are sold legally for the recreational market, a regular serving size is regulated at 10 mg of THC. Lately though, edibles with a 5 mg microdose are the big buzz—in fact, low THC products make up one of fastest growing sectors in the US cannabis industry. While cannabis edibles aren’t legal under medical marijuana regulations in Canada—and the craft industry’s future under upcoming recreational rules remains uncertain—accurate dosing of homemade edibles is easy with prescription oil.
Cannabis contains more than 60 cannabinoids, the most famous of which is THC. THC is the plant's main psychoactive cannabinoid, i.e., the one that gets you buzzed. THC is measured in milligrams (mg) for dosing and since government-licensed producers in Canada provide the active THC percentage for each of their strains, you’ll need to convert it. Don't worry, it’s easy math. For example, dried cannabis labelled as 15 per cent means each gram (1000 mg) contains 150 mg of THC. As an aside, Canadian cannabis oil is already labelled with THC converted into mg/ml for easy dosing and no math.
Smoking cannabis is probably the most difficult method for controlling your dose, but it’s also the least efficient since you can lose between 60 to 80 per cent of the THC due to burning and side stream smoke. Even so, depending on the strength of your flower, the size of your roll and the depth of your inhale, one puff can be enough to feel effects. To go slow while smoking, choose a low-TCH flower and take long breaks between puffs to assess how you're feeling.
In a vaporizer, the flower heats up without combusting—so you avoid the toxins released by burning—and it’s more efficient than smoking, too. Some vaporizers allow you to adjust the temperature, so keep it low to taste the aromatic terpenes (organic compounds that carry scent and flavour as well as medicinal benefits). To get a low dose from your vaporizer, start with a mouth hit by holding the vapour in your mouth instead of your lungs.
Ingesting your cannabis in tinctures, oils and homemade cannabutter has the advantage of longer-lasting effects, but give yourself lots of time for them to take hold. Start low with a 5 mg dose and wait 45 minutes to an hour for the THC to pass through the liver and the effects to begin, with peak after 2 to 3 hours. Note that if you make your own oils with flower, it can be nearly impossible to get an accurate dose and it will likely take longer to find your correct dose—a process you'll have to repeat with each new batch. Using prescription LP oils in your cooking is the easiest way to know exactly how much THC you're getting in each serving.
And speaking of feeling: what, you may suitably ask, will it feel like? Many patients report that a 5 mg microdose of THC—one puff on a joint, a couple of mouth hits of vapour, a tiny brownie—creates a mellow and focused feeling, creative and happy. But cannabis is a highly personal experience, and different strains and doses will resonate with different people. Lift's patient-generated strain reviews offer a good starting point for choosing the right flower and oil; from there it's a matter of experimenting until you find your sweet spot, whether that's relaxed and sleepy, creative and energized or clearheaded and pain-free.
- by Heather Eggers, Lift