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Trace your mind back a couple of years, and microdosing might have sounded like an alien concept. Much like the recent rise of CBD, the act of microdosing has only come into vogue recently, so a big portion of the population is still unaware of how it works and how it may benefit us. However, for many of those who are already in the loop, microdosing is transforming the way they take CBD. With an increasing amount of research and anecdotal evidence into microdosing mounting, what was once a niche wellness fad is finally beginning to be taken seriously among the scientific community.
Microdosing CBD is akin to taking around a 5th of a standard dose, as it’s intended to affect the user in a very subtle way. The idea behind the practice is simple: by taking small, perpetual amounts of the cannabinoid more regularly throughout the day, the body receives a more consistent supply of the supplement. But, with the infancy of the trend, a lot of questions are arising. Like - how often should I take microdoses of CBD? What form should I take it in? And, how will microdosing CBD make me feel?
So if your head is buzzing with any questions, don’t worry. In this article, we’re setting out to answer all these and more, to help you mark out this new territory and become an expert in the practice of microdosing CBD. But, before we get into the advantages and methods of microdosing, let’s take a closer look at the star of the show, CBD.
What is CBD?
Otherwise known as cannabidiol, CBD is a chemical compound that is found in the cannabis Sativa plant. It’s the second-most prevalent of the plant’s active ingredients, and unlike its cannabinoid cousin tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), it’s completely non-intoxicating. Despite sharing associations with the marijuana plant, CBD is entirely legal and safe in most countries, and this is evidenced in a report from the World Health Organization which, claims that the substance ‘exhibits no effects indicative of any abuse or dependence potential’, and that ‘to date, there is no evidence of public health-related problems associated with the use of pure CBD’.
How does it work?
The main reason why CBD and other cannabinoids are understood to be useful is that they mimic the ‘endocannabinoids’ that are naturally present within our bodies. These endocannabinoids are located within a network of chemicals and receptors, which is known as the endocannabinoid system, or the ECS for short. This system is situated throughout most of our major organs, our nervous system, and our immune system, and it helps to control an array of bodily functions, including sleep, immune response, mood, pain, and appetite.
When health issues arise, the ECS releases endocannabinoids in order to restore the natural balance or homeostasis in our bodies. However, in some instances, the endocannabinoid system can’t go far enough to solve the problem, and this is where CBD comes in. When cannabidiol is consumed, it may improve the function of the ECS by binding to receptors in a similar way to that which our body’s natural endocannabinoids do. This enables CBD’s therapeutic potential to be felt throughout the body and mind, and it’s understood to be why this unique cannabinoid can potentially alleviate a range of symptoms of conditions, from pain and over-inflammation, to anxiety and insomnia.
What is microdosing?
Microdosing is a technique that involves taking small amounts of a particular substance on a regular schedule. Typically, this smaller amount refers to around 1/10th of a full dose, but this can depend on a wide range of factors, such as the individual’s tolerance, their desired effect, and the substance they are choosing to take. If you’ve come across the term before, it’s probably been in relation to psychedelic drugs, such as LSD or psilocybin mushrooms. This is because the practice of taking tiny amounts of psychedelics has received a massive surge of interest in recent years, predominantly due to the work of American psychologist James Fadiman, and it’s widespread adoption within the tech community in Silicon Valley.
However, microdosing isn’t confined to the realm of hallucinogens. We can choose to microdose anything we want. So, it’s no surprise that, with CBD becoming the hottest new wellness supplement on the market, more and more people are sampling its benefits in tinier, more consistent doses. And microdosing CBD is increasing in popularity for good reason. The practice of microdosing CBD is understood to be beneficial because taking smaller portions of the compound throughout the day enables it to be more efficiently absorbed into our system. Compared to the feast-and-famine approach of taking full doses of cannabidiol, microdosing allows the CBD to be released at a much slower pace, but with higher levels of consistency.
Still not convinced? Here are some reasons why taking tinier increments of CBD may actually be the perfect way to consume the natural extract.
Possible benefits of microdosing CBD
It spreads out the potential benefits
An obvious advantage to microdosing your CBD is that if you take it in smaller doses, in regular intervals throughout the day, it spreads out its potential therapeutic benefits more evenly. This means that the compound will be circulating your system for a more extended amount of time in comparison to the shorter burst of relief that you may receive from larger, more conventional doses. This is likely to be more favourable if you’re taking CBD to supplement the treatment of issues that tend to be more ongoing, such as persistent pain or anxiety.
It may help to reset your tolerance
If you are a long-time CBD user, you may find that you need to up your dosage to achieve the same results that you felt when you first started taking it. Aside from being pretty annoying, this can also be a strain on personal finances, as it requires you to choose products with higher cannabinoid counts as your tolerance increases. Luckily, there’s a way to tackle this. If you take a break from your usual-sized dose and start microdosing instead, it may help to reset your tolerance to a more manageable level. This gives you the opportunity to lower your cannabidiol tolerance while still receiving more moderate potential benefits from CBD, so you don’t have to go completely cold-turkey.
It’s perfect for CBD newbies
For those who are new to the CBD game, microdosing may be the most practical way to start out. Even though the consumption of CBD is completely safe, and there have been no recorded accounts of overdoses, if taken in excess, the compound can possibly elicit mild side effects (such as nausea and fatigue). This means that it’s sensible to start taking the cannabinoid in smaller doses at first, before increasing the amount gradually until you reach your desired effect. Additionally, taking microdoses at the start of your CBD journey also puts you at less risk of developing a tolerance to the compound early on.
It may induce a more significant effect
We know this might sound crazy, but in some instances, if you take smaller, more consistent cases of cannabidiol, it may actually enhance the possible therapeutic effects of the product. This is all to do with how CBD works in our body’s endocannabinoid system.
Since cannabinoids from hemp-derived products mimic our body’s naturally-occurring endocannabinoids, taking the substance in smaller and consistent doses mimics our body’s natural response with greater accuracy. This means that microdosing CBD and allowing it to interact with our endocannabinoid system more continually may even help to improve the system’s function with more success than more significant doses not seen in nature. And, if you improve the effectiveness of the ECS, you’re able to restore an even greater balance to a range of physiological processes concerning our mood, sleep, and physical comfort, among others.
It’s no surprise that CBD isn’t the cheapest wellness product on the market. Even though, in our opinion, the potential benefits far exceed the price tag, for those who are living on tight budgets, splashing out on any type of self-care product may seem like a bit of an unnecessary expense. This is where microdosing comes in. Microdosing CBD allows you to reap the benefits of the hemp plant without breaking the bank. By taking much smaller amounts of your chosen products, you can stretch out their life span for an extended portion of time compared to if you were taking ‘normal’ doses, reducing the number of times you need to replenish your stock. This method works especially well with CBD oil or tinctures, because you have more control over the amount of CBD you consume, and these products typically last longer anyway.
How do I microdose?
Find a method
Now that you’re clued up to the possible benefits of microdosing CBD, you may be wondering how you can put it into action. But just like the regular consumption of CBD, there’s not just one way to microdose. Each method of ingestion has a significant effect on how the product works, and some products are much more suited to certain people rather than others- it all depends on you and your personal preferences. So, join us as we run you through the ins and outs of different microdosing methods, to help you find the perfect one that suits you!
CBD oils and tinctures
If you’ve ever browsed the online CBD marketplace, you’ve probably seen cannabinoid-infused oils and tinctures pop up the most. Although these two products would be hard to distinguish from each other on a shelf, they’re actually quite different, and this is largely to do with their cannabinoid counts and the carrier oils they use. CBD oils typically include hemp extract alongside a carrier oil, such as hemp seed oil, coconut oil, or MCT oil. This is compared to tinctures that suspend CBD under 60-70% distilled alcohol. Tinctures also usually have a lower cannabinoid content than oils. Still, due to their typical alcohol content, they have higher rates of bioavailability (don’t worry, most tinctures are made with small amounts of ethyl alcohol, so you won’t get drunk from using this product).
Despite the differences in their contents, however, both CBD oils and CBD tinctures are typically sold in little glass bottles, with a dropper for administration, so the way you ingest tinctures and oils is very similar. To microdose CBD tinctures or oils, you first need to work out how many drops are in one mL of oil, to calculate the strength of each. For example, if your dropper has 20 drops in a 1mL serving, and each dropper is full of 30mg of CBD, then you just divide the mg in each dropper by the number of drops - and you would be left with 1.5mg of CBD per drop. So, you would just be consuming 1.5mg of CBD at a time consistently throughout the day - until you achieve your desired result.
Using CBD oils and tinctures to microdose ensures you get super high rates of bioavailability, especially if you consume the product through your sublingual gland (underneath the tongue), so this makes it a cost-effective and non-wasteful way to microdose. However, administering your dosage precisely through a dropper can be quite a fussy task, so this is also something to think about when choosing your perfect CBD delivery method.
CBD edibles and drinkables
Putting the more conventional products to one side, edibles and drinkables offer up super-exciting and novel ways to microdose cannabinoids. Growing in popularity as the CBD market has continued to expand, edibles and drinkables now comprise a wide range of CBD products, from cannabinoid-infused brownies, gummies, and mints, to soft, alcoholic, and even hot drinks.
And aside from being delicious, CBD edibles and drinkables may also be a great option when it comes to microdosing. Since the digestion process is long, the initial onset of the effects may take a while, but after it kicks in, the benefits can stay in your system for around 8-10 hours. If you are continually taking smaller doses of cannabidiol, these potential benefits will be circulating for a more extended amount of time. Also, if you choose to infuse your own food or drinks, you can be very precise with the amount of CBD you are intaking. This is typically the case when we talk about drinkables, because you can administer the exact amount of water-soluble CBD you want into the drink.
However, there are several possible downsides to this method too. Despite our digestive systems being home to high levels of endocannabinoids and enzymes, lots of any ingestible CBD product’s benefits are depleted when they pass through the stomach, in what is commonly referred to as the ‘first-pass effect’. Due to the acid that is present in our stomachs, lots of cannabinoids are degraded or turned into waste before they reach our bloodstream, reducing their rates of bioavailability. Some edible delivery methods differ slightly from this. For example mints, can be consumed sublingually like a tincture which will mitigating CBD waste via “first-pass effect”.
Our skin is the largest organ of our entire body. And, aside from protecting us and being our first barrier of defence against disease and illness, it also is home to lots of endocannabinoid receptors, making it a core part of our body’s ECS. This means that it’s possible to have a noticeable CBD intake through rubbing cannabinoid-products into our skin using topical products such as creams, balms, and lotions.
While this is a valid way to consume the benefits of CBD, topical applications have far lower bioavailability rates than other ingestible methods, such as consuming oil sublingually or vaping. This basically makes using topical products like hand cream or lip balm akin to a form of microdosing, because of the smaller amount of CBD that enters your system. And because of the unique way it enters our bodies, applying products topically may be an effective way to microdose.
One reason this is is that rubbing products into our skin transdermally means that the product isn’t subject to the first-pass effect, meaning none of the CBD will get destroyed or damaged in the stomach. Also, applying CBD to a specific part of the body is also a very effective way to reduce localised pain, as the benefits are able to be absorbed straight into the area of need, rather than taking a less direct route around the rest of the body. However, this method does also have its drawbacks, as since rubbing products into your skin means that the CBD will not directly enter your bloodstream, it may take around 1-2 hours to take effect. You’ll also miss out on that potential whole-body effect that can be achieved with other cannabinoid products and methods of taking CBD.
Last, but definitely not least, is vaping. Vaping CBD simply refers to using an electronic cigarette or ‘e-cig’ to transform e-liquid into vapour. After the vapour is inhaled, it is absorbed into the lungs, where it has a fast and direct route into your body. This makes it one of the highest-level bioavailable methods out there, and with it kicking in after around 1-3 minutes, it also delivers the quickest results.
It’s very easy to microdose CBD using the vaping method. You can do so by adjusting the strength of the e-liquid so that it may deliver more subtle results, or by reducing your use of the vape by only inhaling it for a set amount of times each day. But, despite all the advantages of microdosing CBD using this method, there are also a few drawbacks. Since the CBD travels directly into the bloodstream when inhaled, it doesn’t stay circulating for as long as other delivery methods. This means that you are required to readminister your CBD supply more frequently than with other products, which can be inconvenient if you’re somewhere where vaping isn’t socially acceptable.
Work out your dose
After you’ve worked out your perfect method of microdosing - it’s time to work out your dose. A general rule of thumb with microdosing CBD is to divide your usual dose by 5, so it’s enough to elicit a subtle effect without being too noticeable. For example, if your typical dose of CBD is around 20mg, that would make an average microdose around 4mg. However, the goal is to consume a full dose of cannabidiol throughout the course of a day, so if you consume your microdose 5 times throughout the day, you should be getting your perfect CBD intake.
Obviously, your daily dose of CBD will depend on personal factors as well as the method of delivery you choose to use. For instance, if you microdose using products with lower rates of bioavailability, such as topical, edible, and drinkable CBD, it may be wise to slightly up your daily dosage, so you’re able to achieve a more noticeable potential effect. Conversely, if you’re a CBD newbie, it may be better to start off with a total dose lower than 20mg, so you’re able to slowly work your way up until you reach a cannabinoid content that is perfect for you.
Make a schedule
As we just noted, to obtain the maximum possible results from microdosing, you should be taking a tiny dose of CBD around five times a day. To make sure you’re taking them consistently, it really helps to form some sort of schedule. By mapping out five times a day that you’ll be taking your dose, it makes you much less likely to forget, and it also ensures every dose is spaced out evenly. For example, if you decide to divide your daily dose into five portions, you could choose to take a microdose at 3-hour intervals at 9.a.m, 12.p.m, 3.p.m, 6.p.m, 9.p.m, and just before bed at 12.a.m. However, this is only a rough outline, and each person should adjust their schedule to suit their own body and daily routine.
Keep a journal
A great way to monitor your microdosing journey is by recording your experiences in a journal. By recording any changes you may be feeling (especially in the early days) it helps you to become aware of how the practice is affecting you, while acting as a useful reference point to reflect back on further down the line.
A super-simple way to document your results is by asking a simple set of questions either every time you take a dose, or just a couple of times throughout the day. These questions should be specific to the reason why you’re taking CBD. For instance, if you’re taking CBD to potentially help relieve anxiety symptoms, you may ask yourself questions like ‘how am I feeling now, on a scale of 1-10?’, or ‘am I feeling better than before I began microdosing?’, as well as keeping a record of external factors that may be impacting these results. By logging these responses, it’s much easier to track your progress so you can adjust your dose accordingly - helping you to maximise the therapeutic benefits of microdosing CBD.
Find quality CBD
Whatever way you choose to microdose CBD, and however much you decide to take, you need to be using quality CBD. The cannabidiol market can feel a little like the wild west at times, so finding regulated, third-party lab-tested products with decent cannabinoid counts is essential to your overall CBD experience. Fortunately for you, we might be able to help.
CBD at Amphora
Here at Amphora, we pride ourselves in manufacturing excellent quality CBD vape oil cartridges, that are made with the consumer experience in mind. All of our CBD vape products contain cannabidiol distillate and plant-sourced terpenes that are sourced from 100% organically-grown hemp, so we can guarantee that our premium CBD vape oils are bursting with natural goodness. Everything we make is tested using an independent lab and comes with a Certificate of Analysis (COA), so we can guarantee our products have high cannabinoid counts while ensuring the absence of THC, nicotine, harmful toxins and pesticides.
Each of our different cartridges is focused on fulfilling a different set of needs - from possibly getting you focused and potentially easing physical discomfort, to purportedly helping you drift off at night. So, no matter your reason for taking CBD, if you’re considering using a vape to embark on your microdosing journey, Amphora will have something for you.
Written by | Infused Amphora Team
The Infused Amphora Team is dedicated to creating resources to educate and engage consumers on the growing evidence of CBD benefits and the extensive health and wellness properties of CBD oil.
Contributors | Angus Taylor + Dr Gaylord Wardell
IPI is a pharmaceutical ingredient company that cultivates cannabis strains curated to extract specific cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids for the formulation of effects-based health and wellness products. Angus is an experienced public speaker, engaging stakeholders, governments and media. Angus was the co-founder of NewLeaf Cannabis, Canada’s most successful retail brand to date, and has been established as a well-known and recognized expert in the field.
Dr Wardell is a practising physician with over 40 years of clinical and educational experience in pain management, medical practices and education. Dr Wardell is past President of the Pain Society of Alberta, and current President of the Alberta Medical Association, section of Pain. He is a popular public speaker, an active blogger on medical and pain-related issues, and proponent for scientific validation for patients experiencing pain.
Infused Amphora “Learn” is intended for informational purposes only and is NOT a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.