Exploring Therapeutic Microdoses Of Cannabis

I’ve been writing about my experiences of being a Medical Marijuana patient for two years now. I’ve often talked about the way I use cannabis: in small doses, not enough to get high, but enough to make a change.

Suddenly (in the shower, of course!) a word came to me out of nowhere: microdose. I had never heard it in my life as far as I knew, but it was clearly time to do some research using the old Google. Turns out that microdosing is indeed a thing on your planet, and it has some relevance to psychedelics (coincidentally or not, some of the related experiences sound a lot like happy cannabis users), but there’s relatively little talk about the word “microdose” in connection with cannabis. So it’s time for us to claim it, because it’s one of those words that almost explains itself. Almost…but not quite.

So, for the record, Wikipedia defines microdosing as “a technique for studying the behavior of drugs in humans through the administration of doses so low (“sub-therapeutic”) they are unlikely to produce whole-body effects, but high enough to allow the cellular response to be studied. ” In the medical cannabis context, I’d like to similarly define microdosing as “a technique for using cannabis in humans through the administration of doses so low (“sub-psychoactive”) they are unlikely to produce gross body or mind effects, but high enough to allow the subtle and positive changes in thinking, feeling, and pain relief that the patient desires.”

What do I mean by subtle changes? Well, you might not want to go numb, but you’d want your pain to disappear. You don’t want to get giddy and high, you just want your depression and brain fog to go away. You don’t want to feel stoned, you just want your anxiety to go away. That’s right, world: we medical marijuana patients don’t want what you think we want. And the proof is right here in what we’re talking about.

Microdosing Techniques

The trick is to develop a procedure for a dose, measured in some way clear to you, that works consistently to get you to the appropriate level of consciousness: that place where you can feel something different in your body and mind, but you’re not feeling high or impaired or stoned or in any way out of control. For most people, this will be somewhere between [1] and [3].

Finding the right dose is called titrating, and the procedure varies based on the method of medicinal intake you prefer:

  • Smoking/Vaping — this is by far the most popular method. The advantages are that it requires little preparation or supplies, and that it starts working within seconds.
    Smoking anything, of course, is not optimal for your long-term health, but as long as you don’t have any lung or heart ailments, you should be fine, especially if you hold your smoking down to a period just long enough to determine what strain and consciousness level work best for you.

    It’s incredibly simple to find your proper dose if you inhale. Just take one toke, and wait 8 to 10 minutes for the full effect to hit you. Evaluate how you feel, and decide if you need more. Repeat as necessary.If you get higher than you’d like with a single toke, you’ll have to be creative. Roll thinner joints, pack smaller bowls, take only 5-second tokes rather than 10…or whatever works. Leave a comment and let us know what worked!

  • Tincture — a very discreet way to medicate. You can easily drop some of this liquid into a drink such as coffee or tea, or put some under your tongue for almost instant results. The tradeoff is that you’ll have to plan several weeks ahead, because that’s how long it takes to make it.

    A dose of tincture is usually a dropper or two, so start with 1/4 dropper to be safe, and put it under your tongue for the fastest results (warning: it will burn like hellfire if high-proof alcohol was used in making it). Wait 15 minutes, then as before, evaluate how you feel, and decide if you need more. Repeat as necessary.

  • Oil and Canna Capsules — Medicated cooking oil or cannaoil allows you to not only measure out doses easily, but use it for cooking as well. You can even make salad dressing with it! And, once you determine your proper dosage, you can load up 50 gelatin capsules at a time for the ultimate in discreet dosing.

    As usual, there’s a tradeoff, and that’s the fact that this method takes the most work. But it’s worth it, especially when only an evening’s work can let you make enough capsules for several months of daily use. If you plan to use your cannaoil for cooking, I recommend making it from olive or coconut oil, preferably the latter, but not canola oil and never use hempseed oil.

    The strongest cannaoil I’ve ever seen had a dose of 10 drops, so start by taking 5. The thing about edibles is that it takes a relatively long time to work their way through the digestive system, so you’ll have to allow 45 minutes to a full 2 hours here. Evaluate how you feel 15 minutes after you first feel anything, then decide if you need more.

    The procedure changes here because of the time delay, so if you felt nothing at all, double the dose (for example, if you started with 5 drops, take 10 the next time if you feel nothing after 2 hours). Repeat as necessary.

    A lot depends here on how strong the oil is. In any case, at one point you’ll start feeling it, and then you should experience that level for 4 to 6 hours, which will give you a good guess for the number of drops to take next time (whether more or less). It might take a good few days of careful experimentation, but eventually you’ll know how many drops of that oil is the right dose for you. Then you can put that amount into capsules and simply take a capsule when you need it, or squirt it on your salad or French bread, or whatever!


Old Hippie is a father of two boys and thankfully living in California where all this kind of thing is legal. He started smoking marijuana in 1967 in high school, experimented with mind-expanding drugs of all kinds, and then straightened out 15 or so years later to become an airplane pilot. After being diagnosed with depression in 2000, he lost his job and most of the following decade to prescription medications (such as antidepressants) which sapped his energy and will. Finally, a chance conversation with a friend led to a doctor’s recommendation for medical marijuana (MMJ). This changed his entire life, health, and outlook for the better. BeyondChronic.com is his continuing story. It’s also his way to provide experienced advice on using medical marijuana effectively and responsibly, as well as advocacy, activism, and support for others. Old Hippie teaches about safe use of cannabis edibles, Canna Caps, vaporizers, dosing, and even microdosing.


Through many experiments I have tincture (11 minute decarboxylated cannabis with everclear as the solvent) making down to about 4 hours from start to finish. Two hours of it is evaporation to make it stronger. If interested I’d gladly let you know my method. It’s a very safe method also.

I have been using cannabis in microdoses for about 10 years now. I am a 26 year old athlete who suffers from chronic neck and shoulder pain from a work injury.

I generally roll joint that weight about 0.05 grams and take 3-4 tokes off of it. Or a regular .24 gram joint and take 1 quick toke.

I find that you get the excact feelings you describe above. Numbing of the pain, calming while body effect, and a clearer thought process. I just wanted to post this to verify the accuracy of yor article. I completely agree and have long term experience to verify your thoughts on the subject.

I have been doing microdoses without knowing its name for a few months.
I find it helps with depression and motivation. I also just got a vaporizer which I think helps alot. I can get as much or as little that I need for any activity. Works great for me.

Thank you for the article!

Less is most definitely more. People are shocked when I tell them how little I consume.

I find smoking amounts as low as .02 grams of mid-quality cannabis will put just nudge my consciousness where it should be. I find it to have similar effects as Joel mentioned above me, lifting mild depression and easing my anxiety. I only need to dose once or twice a day like this with effects lasting 4-5 hours usually.
At this rate, an eighth could last me about 3 months.

may i ask how you smoke?
its an intriguing approach to marijuana. however i have no idea how to roll with just 0,02 grams. it does not seem enough to be “roll-able”

If You want to have the benefits, find the right dose for Yourself. For me it turned out it is around 0,02 grams through a vaporizer. -Just to relief (mental or physical) pain.
to have the feeling of being “inside the body”, relaxation, clear thoughts.
“Use it or lose it” – Use responsibly or it will abandon You. Taking high doses without even thinking, combine it with too much stuff like bad food, negative thoughts can- can of course harm you.
But beside that, it is a very precious plant, that we can use. not misuse.
I personally like to take breaks of 3 days as often as I can. just to appreciate it more. and to never have to increase the dose
Reduce it to the max…

I’ve been microdosing cannabis for 3+ years now. One or two pulls from some dried flowers spaced about 10-15min apart. It’s amazing when you do it in solitude where you can pay close attention to it’s effects on you.

I find myself microdosing before:
~playing music (percussion, cello, acoustic guitar)
~social engagement
~sketching (ballpoint pen)
~maths (lot’s of system theory)
…and, especially before nearly any self directed learning

I wish government would get off peoples backs when it comes to their own wellbeing….

I am new to this and so far getting little to no effect for my chronic pain. I use a vaporizer and purchase high quality medicine from regulated dispensaries. The most effect I get is lightheadedness. I have moderate to severe pain and am used to using opiates but want to replace them completely with MM. I don’t know if I am not inhaling correctly or what. I use a PAX 2 vaporizer, fill the bowl but not too tightly, wait between doses. I have taken as many as 7 hits with no body pain relief. Any suggestions?? I had such high hopes for MM and am now just frustrated. It’s been three months testing with many strains and no results.

OK, first of all, you should know that studies have found that most people can cut down drastically on their opiates, but only a few can cut them out completely. So there’s hope for that goal, but don’t give up yet!

If you’re only getting dizzy, there’s definitely something wrong. In order to determine whether you’re inhaling properly, please read my article on proper inhaling and try it with your vaporizer. If there’s still no change, I’d advise you to try smoking it with a pipe to make sure the problem isn’t your vaporizer. And please let me know what strains you have tried and where your pain is coming from.

I am going to try eating a minute piece of fresh weed….i am 52 and have been a pretty much every day toker for many years,however i havn’t smoked for 26 days now… ahh maybe i wont risk it!!!! i am well at the moment and enjoying the clarity of sobriety,in the past when i’ve abstained for a while,one smoke has led to a full on smoke as much as i can ‘habit’ again,also the conditions which i’ve needed to abstain are not easily created,so i value highly this time of abstinence…. will a little piece to chew on set me on an unwanted ‘habitual’ path?? i dont know!! Peace and love to you all,Tim.

Hello! I have taught about physiologoc dose for 5 years with Cannabis International Foundation, the dietary clinician. Raw cannabis is not mentioned in a single article referring to consuming traces of THC – exactly what thousands of animals are chewing right now. Review the facts http://www.rawhemp.tk

Actually I’m a big supporter of Dr. William Courtney and I’m mentioning him prominently in my upcoming book. Thanks for writing!

This may be a stupid question, but how often do you dose? 3 times a day? Once? Twice? Only when needed? Thanks!

I was actually wondering the same questions. How often should you dose. When needed? Once a day, Twice? I’m treating Cancer, Fibromayalgia, Osteoarthritis and a few other old injuries causing pain. I’ve not responded well to smoking or THC products in the past so I was put off by it even trying small doses myself. I’ve had good results with a 300/cbd-10thc edible but I’m afraid to take it more than once a day for fear it may be bad the second time around.

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