When studying the life sciences, there are a lot of in-depth concepts to take in. Depending on the the type of science you are studying, biology vs. evolution, for example, you may even have to learn a handful of mathematical formulas to fully appreciate the material. Here, we are just having a light-hearted overview of the life sciences, so a light serving of sativa will do just fine. In my experience, sativa helps me to not get lost in wordy texts (reading that is not broken up by graphics/tables or formulas) and keep my mind sharp and able to take in all relevant information. Grinding about 60mg (less than 1/4 of a 1g bud) of sativa and smoking just a small pinch of that for over a 3-5hr period is perfect for maintaining a healthy attention span for learning. Black Flower Science Co. does not claim to be a medical professional and does not offer recommendations as a substitute for medical advice. All advice and recommendations are based on personal experience of the benefits of medical marijuana. If you are experiencing severe or declining mental health symptoms, please seek the advice of a medical professional.
Revealing to someone that you use cannabis typically yields two reactions:
- The dismissive, “Oh, you’re a pothead.” (Whether they say it out loud or express it only to themselves.) or
- The accepting, “Oh, what’s your reason for smoking?”
It’s often much easier for people to accept that you use cannabis if you have a distinct reason for it, other than “I like it.” As unfortunate as that may be for some people (that is, assuming you care about others’ comfort with your use of cannabis), it’s not unfounded.
Many people, like myself, use cannabis to overcome symptoms of anxiety and depression – symptoms that often inhibit our efficiency in studying and working due to low energy and an inability to focus. If you’re one of those folks, you likely need some tips on how to make cannabis work for you throughout the day.
To do so, you’ll need to learn a little trick for your cannabis consumption: microdosing cannabis.
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What Does Microdosing Mean?
Microdosing cannabis refers to the technique of drawing out your consumption of the herb over time. Instead of smoking a full gram at once, for example, you take your time to consume your serving. This process can stretch out over several hours.
Take the recommendations I give at the top of each science article, for example. I model these suggestions based on what works for me. Never have I used a full gram of weed at once. Instead, I parse out tiny servings over the most stressful part of my day to keep me calm while I either write, read, study, or work.
As practicing osteopathic physician Dustin Sulak told Leafly, “When you raise the dose [of marijuana], sometimes you get diminished benefits, and sometimes you get the opposite of what you are looking for.”
Too much of the herb can bar you from experiencing its benefits, whereas microdosing cannabis can enhance the positive aspects without the psychoactive effects of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).
For instance, in a 2014 study, researchers administered Nabilone, a cannabis-derived drug, to patients with PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder). Before taking the medication, they suffered with nightmares, insomnia, and chronic pain. With a dose of 4mg, all 104 patients reported improvement in their PTSD-related conditions.
Microdosing Cannabis for Productivity
Depending on the strain and your needs, you might microdose cannabis differently. I typically use 18-20% THC strains of sativa, and take only about 2 hits of <60mg (less than one-quarter of a 1g bud) bowls over 3-5 hours. Admittedly, this dose may truly amount to nothing for most people.
(Note: I do this all by eye, and I do not weigh it. My tolerance and need change often, and it’s infrequent that I need it daily. Perhaps I do this about an average of 2-3 days a week.)
Yet, this works for me because the high is not what I’m after. Rather, the elimination of racing thoughts, tension in my chest and shoulders, and the alleviation of a depressed mindset is my goal. Note that this is based on smoking the flower, however.
Microdosing cannabis edibles is another matter entirely, one that I am, unfortunately, not prepared to give advice for. (My experiences with edibles are hit-and-miss, so I don’t have enough solid ground on which to confidently suggest how you should allocate your helpings throughout the day.)
According to Sulak, first-timers should have a serving of 1mg of a 1:1 THC:CBD supplement (edible, concentrate, any substance that does not entail smoking the flower directly) to introduce themselves to the practice of microdosing cannabis. Once you get used to it, you can increase to 2.5mg.
Understand that the effects will significantly differ based on the strain you are using. For me, indica is far too much, almost regardless of the dose. Further, if productivity is your goal, sativa is much better anyway, as it tends to energize those who use it.
If you have never used cannabis before, it’s best that you seek advice from an unbiased physician or psychiatrist. It’s also ideal to have an experienced friend nearby for your first time, so they talk you through the process and offer advice on how to get the best results.
THC or CBD: How Microdosing Cannabis Changes Between Hemp and Marijuana
The difference between hemp and marijuana lies in the concentration of THC in the trichomes. Any cannabis flower that has more than 0.3% THC is considered marijuana. Thus, your experience with microdosing cannabis will change due to the varying concentrations of THC in hemp vs. marijuana.
In my experience, the effects microdosing marijuana compared to hemp are
- More noticeable
- Last longer
Microdosing hemp, on the other hand, is a much more fleeting experience, although the calming effect is much more pronounced. (That is, as opposed to the multifaceted experience you get with marijuana.) Truthfully, this is much better for situations in which you need a sharper mind but still need help to relax.
For instance, if you’re cutting it close to a deadline, and need to relax to clear your mind and work effectively, you may want to use hemp instead of marijuana. On the other hand, if you’re planning an all-day study sesh and you want to kick back while you read, microdosing marijuana would be better.
Your goals and techniques for microdosing cannabis will change with the type of flower you’re using, and the activity you’re engaging in. Start small and get familiar with how your body reacts to the herb before jumping in too with too large of doses.
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