CBD Microdosing: What is it & How to Microdose?

I see a lot of beginner CBD users constantly asking questions about what is CBD microdosing and should I do it and if so, how do I do it? So, I decided to write this blog post to clear up any confusion you might have about CBD microdosing and what its pros and cons are. 

What is CBD Microdosing?

CBD microdosing is the process of starting out small, usually with one drop at a time but more often, and adding one additional drop of CBD oil, at a certain time interval, usually hourly or daily until you find your sweet spot - what works well for you. Think low doses with gradual, methodical increases. If you're a first-time CBD user sometimes you need to start slow in order to wake up your Endocannabinoid System (ECS). Microdosing isn't intended to ramp you up immediately. It is much more important that you start with a small dosage and gradually increase. In certain cases, tiny amounts taken more frequently have been shown to be more effective than what is traditionally thought of as standard dosing. Finding a 'sweet spot' by any method depends on being able to see a difference from whatever you're seeking relief.

If done well, microdosing is a safe and effective method that provides a balanced homeostatic state, saves you money and prevents your symptoms from becoming worse. A user's symptoms often get worse when they are first starting out of they start with a fixed dosage that is too strong.

How to Microdose?

If you want to microdose, start small. The size of your body doesn’t seem to factor in really. While many people start with what seems like a large dose there are a lot of others who would have given up if they'd tried that. If you have never taken more than 10mg per dose. even if you take it several times a day, but only 10mg or less per dose, start with 5mg and see how you feel. If you have increased anxiety or headaches or anything undesirable, go lower. If you don’t have results with that dose after a little while, go higher.

Consider starting with 1 drop a day for 3 days, and adding an additional drop every 3 days, while continuously assessing how you’re feeling until you find your therapeutic range. Split doses when you increase, so if you’re taking your drop in the morning and you’re increasing, add the additional drop in the evening.

If this is your first time using CBD and you're not sure how to get the desired amount out of the dropper, how hard do you squeeze or do you just let it fall out the dropper, and what is the best way to get 1 drop out the dropper? The best way to figure out the dropper is to draw a little into the dropper, then carefully drop back into the container. After you do that a few times, you’ll know how much pressure to apply to get individual drops.

Most of us won't continue to pay for and use something if we haven't felt positive effects after the first full bottle or month. So the goal is to find your sweet spot in 1 month or less without having to experience unnecessary or unpleasant side effects.

Hourly Microdosing

A drop the first hour, two drops the second hour and three drops the third hour (until the point where you feel some relief). If you get into the 3rd day with no relief, then you might want to try another protocol like daily increases. However, the slow addition of a drop per hour is a relatively slow infusion. Especially when compared to a full dropper recommendation on most boxes. Let's say most droppers have 35 drops, that means to equate that amount (even if you add it up over 4 hours which is the time it's effective) you'd be on hour 11-12.

The point of microdosing is to find the minimum effective dose that gives relief because it seems to work better with our ECS and reduce cost. Rather than over-medicating, and possibly overshooting our sweet spot.

If the hourly doesn't work, then you can start over with daily increases, but I haven't heard of anyone who didn't get results by first trying hourly, then went to daily or weekly increases. Seems most people find results with their chosen time frame or they switch products. Most people find the right product in 2 or 3 attempts (according to an informal survey I asked a few dozen CBD users).

CBD Microdosing

Does Microdosing Affect Everyone Differently?

Yes! Everyone's body, regardless of size, reacts differently to any form of medication, natural or not.

CBD microdosing works very different for everyone, but generally, weight doesn't matter. Microdosing seems to work for some and I don't disagree with those who do, but personally, I believe the severity of the thing you're trying to treat should be the deciding factor on how much to start. If you're a chronic pain patient with a very high tolerance, microdosing is most likely not the way to go for you.

Another difference is that for some people it can take a long time to wake up their ECS, but that's not necessarily the case for most people. The only real way to know if it works for you is try it. None of us know if we are one of those that it's going to take on the longer end to 'wake up our ECS'.

The Importance of Microdosing Correctly

When starting out microdosing, you shouldn't be increasing your dosage hourly unless you're trying to treat severe or chronic pain. For most people that is far too much and will most likely cause migraines that may last 2 or 3 days. On the other hand, if you're microdosing and you don't take enough then it might lead you to believe that CBD oil doesn't work for you when in reality you just haven't found your therapeutic range (sweet spot) yet.

This is unfortunately why so many people give up and just give in to the lure of pharmaceutical drugs, because u can see how complicated it is to use CBD, tracking doses, measuring, trying different brands, then add in the cost of CBD vs a prescription pill.

When you finally get to an amount that works for you please do the simple math to figure out your dosage. Microdosing by the drop is a good way of finding your sweet spot but you will need to know the amount (mg of CBD) you are taking because '8 drops' is not a dosage. You may eventually change brands or concentrations. 8 drops of 300mg tincture is not the same as 8 drops of 1000mg tincture.

Save Money by Microdosing

If done effectively, microdosing can save you a lot of money. For example, if you purchase a 3000mg extra-strength CBD bottle you're looking at about 3000 1mg drops. If you take 4 1mg drops 3 times a day (12mg in total), you can expect that bottle to last you about 8 months. If the bottle costs you $125 and it lasts for 8 months long, you're only paying about $15.63 per month.

When you compare the hourly microdosing amount to the instructions offered on the box as "serving size", the microdosing is still way less usually, even after days of trial and error.

 

References

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4. Nagarkatti P, Pandey R, Rieder SA, Hegde VL, Nagarkatti M. Cannabinoids as novel anti-inflammatory drugs. Future Med Chem. 2009;1(7):1333-49. [PDF]
5. Pertwee RG. The diverse CB1 and CB2 receptor pharmacology of three plant cannabinoids: delta9-tetrahydrocannabinol, cannabidiol and delta9-tetrahydrocannabivarin. Br J Pharmacol. 2008;153(2):199-215. [PDF]
6. Wilson RI, Nicoll RA. Endocannabinoid signaling in the brain. Science. 2002;296(5568):678-82. [PDF]
7. Zlebnik NE, Cheer JF. Beyond the CB1 Receptor: Is Cannabidiol the Answer for Disorders of Motivation? Annu Rev Neurosci. 2016;39:1-17. [PDF]


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