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Microdosing is a technique that involves consuming the lowest dose of a drug that creates a perceptible effect without producing whole-body effects. While microdosing has typically been associated with hallucinogens like LSD, many experts believe that consuming small amounts of cannabinoids can provide all of the benefits of the plant without the intoxicating effects. In fact, studies show that microdosing can help treat conditions such as depression, anxiety, and chronic pain — sometimes even better than higher doses of THC.

Studies on low doses of cannabinoids

In a study published by the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neuroscience at the University of Chicago, participants experienced greater stress-relieving effects from 7.5 milligrams of THC than 12.5 milligrams. Participants reported increased negative mood after consuming the higher dose, suggesting that lower doses may be more effective in reducing emotional stress for individuals with anxiety disorders.

In another study published in 2012 in The Journal of Pain by Elsevier, patients with advanced cancer who were unresponsive to traditional painkillers were given nabiximols, a THC and CBD compound, at various doses. Patients who received the lowest dose experienced the greatest reduction in pain compared with those who received higher doses.

(Austin Distel/Unsplash)
Microdosing involves consuming cannabis to deliver therapeutic effects of cannabinoids in minimal amounts. Because each person’s endocannabinoid system (ECS) response is unique, microdosing involves trial and error and consumers should start at very low doses a few days before work and note how long it takes for effects to be felt.

For patients who suffer from conditions that impair their ability to work, microdosing can be a useful tool in reducing pain and improving overall mood. Jane, 43, is a paralegal in New Jersey who microdoses to cope with her health issues.

“I have an autoimmune disease called Crohn’s disease and it causes a lot of pain and inflammation so I microdose cannabis so I can work,” she said. “Always learn what dosage works for your needs. It’s a trial and error situation but when you finally get it right the benefits are astounding.”

Because the goal of microdosing is to reap the therapeutic benefits of weed without actually getting stoned, dosage can be a bit tricky. There’s no universal dosage that works for everyone and finding the magic number depends on your tolerance, consumption method, and your endocannabinoid system. To avoid accidentally get stoned on the job, a 1:1 ratio of THC to CBD may be a good place to start. CBD is known to minimize THC’s undesirable effects such as paranoia, heart palpitations, and impaired thinking, which makes it a helpful additive in avoiding a negative reaction.

Optimal microdose options

For more seasoned consumers, a typical microdose can range between 2.5 and 10 milligrams of THC. Unfortunately, it’s not always easy to control exactly how much you consume. There are a number of methods available for microdosing cannabis, but some may be more precise in terms of dosage than others.

  • Edibles are a good option for this reason, and they’re also discreet enough to use in the workplace. For example, verano offers low-dose capsules in multiple THC and CBD-filled formulas for consumers across the microdosing spectrum. Kiva Confections also makes mints that are ideal for microdosing with 2.5 milligrams of THC that can provide the perfect afternoon pick me up while at the office.
  • Tinctures are a common choice for busy working individuals because they’re easily concealed, plus they have the added benefit of fast delivery. When applied sublingually, tinctures are delivered directly to the bloodstream and can begin acting within just 15 minutes. Or, if you want to mix a few drops in with your coffee or on top of your lunch, tinctures will be absorbed in the same way as an edible. Several brands like Select and Care By Design make THC/CBD tinctures designed for microdosing with ratios ranging from 1:1 to 18:1.
  • Smoking or vaping are also options, though these can be more difficult to do at work. Because vapes produce a less potent smell, they are much more discreet for use in the workplace. For consumers vaping flower or oil cartridges, it’s best to start out with just a puff or two and then assessing how you feel.

Chris, 27, is an NYC-based microdoser who works in marketing for higher education. He said, “Some people go on cigarette breaks, I rip my THC pen a few times. Aside from serving as a much-needed break between screen time at my desk or one of the countless interactions with a client, when done responsibly, a minor rip of my pen can reset my mood and expand my perspective, allowing my focus to flourish.”

(Photo by Annie Spratt/Unsplash)
Microdosing at the workplace can be done discreetly by taking very small amounts of cannabis from an edible, tincture, or vape pen.

The key to successful microdosing is taking it slow. You’re at work and you have a job to do. Start with very low doses and give yourself a few days to gauge the way your microdoses are affecting you before upping your dosage. And, as with any new medication, make sure to consume responsibly and on a regulated schedule. Make sure you’re giving yourself accurate dosages each time and keeping tabs on how much you’ve consumed to avoid become intoxicated.

Most importantly, know the rules in your workplace and the laws in your state or province governing cannabis use to avoid getting yourself into any legal trouble or disciplinary action. Do not take chances with your job if cannabis is prohibited at the workplace or if your job duties require you to be substance-free.

When done correctly, microdosing can be a beneficial way to reduce pain or anxiety, improve focus, and remain sharp throughout the workday. Whether you’re a lifelong stoner or you’re curious about trying cannabis, microdosing at work can help you get stuff done like a boss without the buzz.