Optimizing marijuana’s benefits with lower doses

Emily Gray Brosious

March 3, 2017: 11:43 AM CT

Marijuana microdosing mintsA woman inspects marijuana with special magnifying glasses at the Cannabis Crown 2010 expo April 18, 2010 in Aspen, Colorado. (Photo credit: Chris Hondros/Getty Images)


Your optimal marijuana dose may be lower than you think.

When it comes to marijuana, smaller doses may provide greater health benefits than larger doses in many patients. That’s the crux of an increasingly popular practice called marijuana microdosing, and it’s why many in the cannabis community are starting to approach marijuana dosing a little differently.

“The future of cannabis consumption is microdosing,” Christie Strong, marketing communications manager of Kiva Confections, told Extract in an interview.

The award-winning California producer of cannabis-infused confections has seen soaring demand for low-dose edibles over the past couple years. Kiva plans to release more microdose edible products, and currently sells cannabis-infused mints that measure in at 2.5 mg THC per serving, about one-fourth the standard 10 mg THC single-serving dose.

“Think about the microdose mints like a health supplement,” Strong said. “It’s just enough THC to slightly augment the endocannabinoid system and give the health benefits of cannabis without overloading the system and producing intense psychoactive side effects.”

Strong explains that marijuana edibles have a reputation for being overwhelmingly potent, so Kiva set out to make edible products that even beginners could feel confident using. The mints are a portable and discreet method for managing anxiety and stress, and they don’t lend themselves to overconsumption the way brownies and cookies might, she says.

“This is really a productivity tool for lifehacking and bio-optimization. It’s about integrating it into people’s lives, instead of just getting them high,” Strong said.


unnamedKiva Confections Petra Mints. (Photo credit: Kiva Confections)


Dr. Dustin Sulak, director of Integr8 Health, co-founder of Healer.com and a recognized leader in this area of cannabis research, says lower doses often improve patient health benefits and can help prevent tolerance buildup as well.

“We’ve had numerous patients that are already using cannabis that come in saying, ‘This used to work better for me, how can I adjust my use to get more health benefits?’ And typically, the answer is to reduce their dose,” Sulak told Project CBD in a May 2016 interview.

More from Sulak’s Project CBD interview:

“I found that over time everyone has an optimal dose of cannabis where they don’t build tolerance, they get the most benefits, they get the least side effects. When they exceed that optimal dose, they start to lose the benefits over time. Then they think they need to use more. In order to regain those benefits they use more, and over time the benefits diminish even more.”

Strong can attest to Sulak’s findings. As a longtime cannabis user, she’s personally experienced the benefits of reducing her daily THC dose.

Kiva’s microdose mints can take between 30 minutes and two hours to kick in fully, and effects can last a few hours or more. Although 2.5 mg THC is a very subtle dose, Strong says she can definitely feel it.

“I feel a wonderful relaxation and calmness without the psychoactivity. I just feel relaxed, happy and in the flow,” she said. “It’s the only daytime product that I take.”

Strong advises new patients and cannabis consumers take it slow and experiment with optimal dosing over a couple days.

For experienced cannabis users looking to reduce their THC intake, Sulak recommends his six-day “Sensitization Protocol.”

More from Sulak’s Project CBD interview:

“It involves two days of cannabis abstinence and then four days of very careful dose titration. And what happens, people come in, they reduce their dose by at least 50 percent over those six days. So by the end of the program, they’re using less, they’re feeling more benefits, they’re feeling less side effects, they’re saving money; it’s just great for them. …

“Something I hear quite frequently goes like, ‘Doc, I was smoking 12 joints a day, now I’m smoking two. And it’s stronger, it feels better, I’m getting more benefit from it.’”



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