When it comes to cannabis dosing, more isn’t always better. In fact, the very best dose of cannabis might be the dose you don’t immediately feel at all!
That’s according to a study put out by Syque Medical, a Tel Aviv-based medical cannabis company. Published only recently, in May of 2020, this clinical trial is the first to show that microdoses of cannabis can be just as effective as much higher doses.
Before getting into the study itself, though, let’s go over the basics.
What is microdosing?
The concept of microdosing is pretty simple. It just refers to taking small amounts of cannabis, usually frequently throughout the day.
The premise behind marijuana microdosing is equally straightforward. Instead of overwhelming the endocannabinoid system with more cannabinoids than it needs, the thinking goes: Why not provide smaller doses designed to kickstart the body’s own endocannabinoid production? Endocannabinoids like anandamide, after all, are what really keep pain and inflammation at bay.
But that’s all theoretical.
Up until recently, scientists didn’t know whether microdosing worked or not…
Microdosing study: Important findings
In light of this lack of research, Syqe Medical’s scientists set out to learn more. They gave 27 patients with chronic pain (reporting pain levels of at least six out of 10) one of the following treatment options:
- .5mg of inhaled THC
- 1mg of inhaled THC
- Placebo containing no THC at all
Patients didn’t know what dosage they were getting.
When the study was complete, the 1mg THC group’s plasma THC levels peaked at over twice the .5mg group’s, implying that higher THC intake may facilitate slightly higher THC absorption. But interestingly, while the 1mg THC group also experienced side effects more than twice as intense, they didn’t experience twice the pain relief — the two groups reported 39% and 25% reductions, respectively.
Both doses resulted in a notable reduction in pain intensity: 63.64% of the patients in 0.5 mg dose, and more than 69.57% of the patients in 1.0 mg dose, demonstrated at least 2‐points reduction in pain scores.
Translation? Higher THC doses aren’t always necessary to alleviate pain.
Microdosing with THC
According to those close to the study, these findings indicate that it really is possible to get the best of both worlds. As Syqe Medical’s CEO, Perry Davidson, explains to The Times of Israel:
It’s about using the smallest amount of the drug to get the highest symptom relief, lowest side-effects and best quality of life.
And getting the best of both worlds also means avoiding unwanted side effects. According to Davidson:
Cannabis use usually comes with side effects. [We’ve] found that a microdose can give significant pain relief, similar to the pain relief from smoking cannabis, but has close to no side effects which makes it a better way of dosing.
Microdosing THC also allows one to avoid the infamous THC-induced high — at least in part. Indeed, most patients given .5mg of THC felt almost nothing (save for some pain relief, of course!).
Microdosing with CBD
More good news: The benefits of microdosing don’t stop with THC!
CBD microdosing may allow for reduced pain and inflammation in the absence of side effects, too. Patients also report that CBD microdosing may combat anxiety and depression.
Here’s to hoping that studies begin to uncover more CBD-specific benefits soon!