Microdosing CBD: How and When to Do It
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Content reviewed by
Dr. Lewis JasseyMedical Director - Pediatric Medicine
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Microdosing CBD, or taking small doses of the cannabinoid regularly for therapeutic effects, is a growing trend among alternative health enthusiasts that reportedly heightens mood, creativity, focus, and relaxation. Many choose to microdose CBD throughout the day instead of ingesting high quantities to feel the desired outcome without potential psychoactive effects like sedation or anxiety.
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What Is Microdosing?
Microdosing refers to taking tiny drug doses to achieve positive wellness effects without altering cognitive function. In recent years, many people have started microdosing psychedelics, like psilocybin and LSD, for the reported advantages like depression relief and increased creativity.
Microdosing CBD is less common than psychedelics. Still, people are increasingly experimenting with small doses of this hemp-based compound for benefits like anxiety relief without potential high-dose outcomes, like intense relaxation that can make people sleepy.
The main difference between psychedelic and CBD microdosing is that people often microdose CBD repeatedly throughout the day rather than a few times a week. CBD is also not as psychoactive as psilocybin or LSD, and some of the conditions CBD may be used for (e.g., arthritis) may require daily dosing to manage symptoms such as chronic pain and insomnia.
Potential Benefits of CBD Microdosing
CBD microdosing helps people achieve potential benefits like:
- Increased focus
- Increased creativity
- Heightened relaxation
- Better sleep
These benefits reportedly occur without the possible unwanted psychoactive effects many people experience from ingesting THC. But while CBD doesn’t significantly change people’s mental state like THC, CBD does elicit psychoactive drug properties by altering mood, perception, and alertness, which vary based on the dosage and person.
Higher CBD doses can increase total sleep time, while lower doses have mild stimulating effects. So, CBD microdosing may be a perfect regimen for avoiding potential lethargy. Confusingly though, CBD can also work in reverse, with one study reporting minor sleep improvements with low doses of around 15 milligrams. Because everyone’s body is different, finding the optimal amount and frequency can take experimentation.
Regardless of the outliers, the critical benefit of experimenting with CBD microdosing is preventing the potential sedative downsides of single high-dose administration. Additionally, microdosing offers a more consistent level of support to the human body’s endocannabinoid system, compared to one larger dose of CBD at the beginning of the day, which risks wearing off in the afternoon.
Another benefit of low CBD doses is staving off unwanted physical side effects. High CBD doses are safe but can cause dry mouth, dizziness, sweating, or nausea. Opting for a smaller CBD dosage and administering it through microdosing multiple times throughout the day can be a milder alternative.
Who Is Microdosing CBD Good For?
Microdosing CBD may be appropriate for anyone seeking symptom relief for anxiety, stress, inflammation, and muscle spasms. Small CBD doses throughout the day may also support people looking for enhanced creativity and focus.
Research and Anecdotal Evidence
One case study showed that combining THC and CBD microdoses can relieve muscle spasms after a traumatic brain injury. This outcome may be due to CBD’s anti-inflammatory and neuroprotective effects. An investigational review article concluded that low oral doses of CBD might have therapeutic benefits for reducing anxiety and anti-addiction effects.
Additionally, evidence in mice shows CBD influences anxiety relief at repeated low doses. One Reddit review mirrored this sentiment: “I have been using 5 milligrams in the morning and 5 milligrams in the nighttime with no sedative effect at all. I think it has helped with my anxiety, as this is the main reason I’m taking CBD.” CBD microdosing can also theoretically enhance creativity, focus, and energy due to its stimulating properties at low doses.
How to Microdose CBD
Microdosing CBD will look a bit different for everyone. Some sources suggest a normal adult microdose is around 2.5 milligrams (mg). However, small CBD doses can range from 1 milligram to 5 milligrams or more, depending on the person’s tolerance and desired outcomes. Most people take their optimal microdose a few times daily to maintain the effects from morning to night.
CBD microdosing typically starts in the morning and continues as needed when the effects wear off throughout the day. New CBD users should start around 1 milligram to 5 milligrams of CBD and wait a few hours to feel the effects. Those who need more should incrementally increase until they achieve their desired results.
Additionally, there are different ways to microdose CBD, including vaping and using edibles, oils, or tinctures. So, trying out a few different ways may help you find your own microdosing sweet spot.
Vaping CBD is a popular microdosing delivery route because it has the most rapid absorption and yields near-instant results. On the other hand, the effects also dissipate much quicker than other methods (usually within a few hours, depending on dosage), like edibles and oils. Additionally, vaping CBD has potential lung health risks, so those who choose this method must find a reputable brand.
How to do it: Typically, a single puff for 1 to 3 seconds yields an approximate CBD microdose. Users should take additional doses when the effects start to wear off.
CBD edibles like gummies, cookies, and bars will take 1 to 2 hours to kick in and can last up to eight hours. Many people prefer this ingestion option because of its long-lasting effects. Edibles are also delicious, discreet, and easy to dose.
For example, people who want to microdose 5 milligrams to 10 milligrams of CBD at a time can easily find single-serve treats like CBD gummies in this precise dosage. Those who want to start with a lower dose can break the edibles into multiple pieces.
How to do it: Start with the desired dose, then wait at least two hours before taking more. Repeat as needed throughout the day, remembering that edibles stay in the system longer than other product types.
Oils and Tinctures
Microdosing CBD oil or tinctures is an excellent method, as relatively rapid absorption occurs when taken sublingually (under the tongue). The effects kick in as quickly as 15 to 30 minutes and can last 2 to 6 hours.
Microdosing CBD oils or tinctures can be complicated because it requires calculating the strength per serving to determine the strength per drop. But this method is the most reliable for consistent dosing long term.
How to do it: CBD tinctures usually come in 15 or 30-milliliter bottles with varying concentrations of CBD ranging from 100 mg to 5000 mg per bottle. The serving size is usually one milliliter of oil or one full dropper.
To find the strength per serving, divide the total milligrams of the bottle by the number of servings. Most tincture droppers have dosage measurements to make it easy to take the right amount.
First, determine how many drops are in one milliliter of oil. Divide that number by strength per serving. A dropper with 20 drops in one milliliter of oil containing 30 mg of CBD will hold approximately 1.5 mg of CBD per drop.
Start with 1 to 5 drops and repeat depending on the CBD concentration.
The Bottom Line
Microdosing CBD is a great way to heighten your mood, reduce stress, and increase focus without the psychoactive effects of THC. Tinctures, edibles, and vaping can be excellent CBD microdosing methods. Still, many other products, such as capsules, beverages, tablets, and transdermal patches, can also work. When microdosing for the first time, start low at 1 milligram to 5 milligrams of CBD and go slow. Once you determine your optimal microdosing level, continue throughout the day as needed.
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Frequently Asked Questions
How long does 25 mg of CBD stay in your system?
CBD will stay in the body for anywhere from four hours to almost a month. This range depends on the method of consumption, frequency of administration, and an individual’s lifestyle and biology.
In regard to drug tests, most drug tests only screen for THC, not CBD, so THC-free products, like CBD isolates and broad-spectrum solutions, will not trigger a failed test. It is possible for a full-spectrum CBD product to cause a failed test, as even low doses of THC repeated over a long time may build up inside the body and trigger a failed result, even if no psychoactive effect is ever achieved.
How much CBD should a beginner start with?
An excellent place to start is around 1-5 milligrams of CBD for the first daily microdose, and wait to feel the effects. Beginners can increase the potency in subsequent doses throughout the day to achieve the desired, long-lasting relief.
How soon will I feel the effects of CBD?
CBD’s onset time depends on the method of consumption, individual biology, and whether the person is taking edibles on a full or empty stomach. Vaping CBD products produce the fastest effects for a consumer. CBD oil and tinctures can take about 15-30 minutes to set in, and edibles have the slowest onset at about 30 minutes to two hours.