Most of us already practice some version of self-care. Whether it’s regular exercise, meditation, cooking a nutritious meal or cozying up with a good book, experts agree the best self-care routines should be simple, not too time-consuming, and benefit both your physical and mental health.
So where does cannabis fit into this picture? The therapeutic properties of cannabis are well known; it’s been shown to help regulate moods, curb anxiety, manage pain and even boost creativity. The problem is, sometimes you don’t want to get that high (or high at all) to enjoy the benefits.
Welcome to the world of microdosing, which refers to taking the minimum effective dose of cannabis to enjoy its therapeutic effects. Michael Whitty, Ph.D., LEO Lecturer Intermittent at the University of Michigan-Dearborn, says microdosing can be very healing, especially for people who find traditional consumption methods potent.
"We've run across such strong strains," he told Metro Times. "I think the cannabis community should take microdosing seriously, partially to be constructive and not fall asleep."
Here are a few ways microdosing can help you become the best version of yourself and fit into your self-care routine.
Find your flow
In psychology, a flow state (also known as “the zone”) occurs when you’re fully immersed in an activity, giving you a feeling of focused enjoyment. Dr. Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, Ph.D., argues that achieving the flow state on a regular basis is a key component of happiness. Since cannabis promotes relaxation, focus and euphoria during favourable activities (especially Sativa strains), it may help you shortcut to the flow state. Anecdotally, we already know that many artists, creators and entrepreneurs use cannabis to boost their creativity and find flow.
Whether due to discomfort, pain or simple lack of motivation, most of us don’t exercise as often as we should. Microdosing can motivate you to get moving and improve your results. One long-distance runner replaced her ibuprofen with microdosing cannabis after she found it worked better at numbing the pain associated with her long runs. She reported less nausea, too, but adds she also felt more aware, enjoying her runs more while microdosing. Similarly, many yoga practitioners have found cannabis to be helpful to their practice, reporting getting deeper into poses and better suspending their thoughts with cannabis.
Better beauty rest
We all know how important sleep is. Insufficient Zs have been linked to a number of health problems, including heart disease, kidney disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity and stroke—yet 70% of adults in the United States report getting insufficient sleep at least one night a month, and a full 11% suffer from chronic lack of sleep almost every night. Many consumers find Indica cannabis strains are the best for helping them relax and have a peaceful night’s rest, but consuming too much cannabis before bed can sometimes lead to groggy mornings. Microdosing can offer the same sedative effects without going overboard.
According to a study conducted by Van der Pop in partnership with Canadian Viewpoint, 38% of moms surveyed said using cannabis helps them be more patient and playful with their children; a further 35% use cannabis as a substitute for alcohol. “I don’t want to dab and get all crazy,” one California professional explained in a cannabis research survey. “I just want to sit, drink my tea and smoke.” For some people, microdosing can be an easy way to unwind and be more present, without the unwanted effects that can result from higher THC doses.
Cannabis users are becoming more sophisticated and so are their methods of consumption. The challenge with microdosing is that the right dose is different for each person. It’s called “micro,” after all, so start small and build up to a dosage that hits the sweet spot. (Don’t start your microdosing journey on a busy workday, or when you have an important meeting with your boss.)
When incorporating microdosing cannabis into your self-care routine, select the correct, dosage and delivery method that works for you. With cannabis, sometimes less is more.
Curious about microdosing?
- Abstain from cannabis for 2 days.
- On day 3, take one milligram of THC and one milligram of CBD (tinctures work best for precise dosing).
- Before consuming, ask yourself on a scale of 1 to 10: How comfortable and calm is your body? How content and/or grateful do you feel?
- Wait 45 minutes and ask yourself the same questions. Write your answers down.
- If there’s no change, increase your dose by one milligram the next day.
- Repeat until you feel a difference (2 to 5 milligrams is the sweet spot for most people!)