While you may have heard of microdosing in relation to hallucinogens like LSD, there has been a quiet movement of cannabis and CBD oil microdosing. Basically, it's taking cannabis in such small quantities that you aren't able to feel the effects of THC, the cannabinoid compound that makes marijuana psychoactive. To get a better medical understanding of cannabis microdosing, we spoke with Dr. Douglas Jorgensen, DO, CPC, FAAO, FACOFP, CAQ Pain Medicine and founder of Patient360. He explains that "microdosing, in general, is a means to manipulate the receptors and gain a desired physiologic response with less drug." Dr. Jorgensen continues that "microdosing can work and the 'start low and go slow' methodology has been a longstanding mantra in medicine for everything from blood pressure medicine to pain medicine. In cannabis treatment, it's really no different. The theory is if we use very small doses, less drug may be needed than the provider or the patient thought so let's slowly ramp up to that dose rather than overshooting it and then trying to reduce the dosing."
OK, so who can actually benefit from cannabis or CBD microdosing? According to Michael Backes, author of Cannabis Pharmacy, "Microdosing CBD is commonly used for treating mild social anxiety, some forms of pain, and inflammation. The overwhelming number of accounts from people that have used low-dose CBD successfully lend considerable support to its claims as an effective approach to many symptoms, especially mild anxiety that is often treated with addictive benzodiazepines. CBD has very few side effects and is quite nontoxic." Having limited side effects makes this type of treatment incredibly appealing to some people, especially scientists. In fact, a 2014 study even found therapeutic effects in elderly mice when they were treated with microdoses of cannabis. Another 2012 study found that patients with advanced stages of cancer found the greatest pain relief when they were given microdoses of nabiximols, a THC/CBD compound.
It's important to note that microdosing is entirely dependent on each individual's response. As Dr. Jorgensen explains, "Every person is unique, so no two patients will respond identically due to their own metabolization differences predicated upon their genetic makeup as well as the person's chronicity and quantity of cannabis dosing." So being especially cautious at the beginning is imperative. From the looks of how popular microdosing cannabis has become, this medical trend doesn't seem to be going away anytime soon.