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Is Microdosing Cannabis Really Effective? [Updated 2021]

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Less is more. Less is more. Less is more. Less is more.

This is my new mantra.

When it comes to the number of clothes in my closet, books on my shelf and appointments in my calendar, this principle seems so simple.

It’s easy to see the things that clutter up our lives and make us less effective, to haul piles of clothes to Goodwill and pots and pans to a friend’s house.

Once you start living with less, it’s obvious that giving ourselves the gift of more with less leads to a healthier, calmer, and more fulfilling journey. It becomes clear that while we may be conditioned to think that we need more to be happy and effective humans, that’s not really true in practice.

I get it.

So I’m not sure why this same lesson hit me so hard this week: Less is also more when it comes to medicating with cannabis.

While I’ve been on the “start low and go slow” bandwagon for many years and have posted about microdosing in the past, I didn’t really get why microdosing was beneficial and why it’s important for everyone to understand (not just beginners).  

You see, I have to microdose marijuana. There’s no other choice for me these days.

About three years ago, after taking a long break from all things cannabis after writing Wake + Bake, my tolerance completely disappeared.

I went from ingesting the amount of cannabis it takes to make several cannabis cookbooks in 6 months (i.e. a LOT) to melting into the floor after a 20 mg dose.

The truth is that I get negative side effects when I use a high dose of cannabis.

I’ve taken a dab twice and both times were horrific, and if you’ve ever read this blog before, you probably know about what that infamous Hash-Butter Grilled Cheese did to me.

microdosing cannabis

And as someone who exclusively writes about cannabis, I worried that the idea that I couldn’t handle bong rips and 100 mg edibles made me totally inauthentic and… well… weak sauce.

The fact that after 8 years of medicating with cannabis, a moderate amount of THC made me paranoid made me feel like there was something wrong with me.

And the worry that maybe cannabis eventually wouldn’t work for me anymore was, quite frankly, terrifying.

I started thinking, “How could a plant that has helped me so much for so many years be turning on me?”

And in hindsight, that question is pretty funny.

Turns out I wasn’t defective, and cannabis never stopped working for me. I’d accidentally given myself a tolerance break and started haphazardly microdosing without even knowing it was a thing.

And yes! It’s a thing.

Microdosing Weed: The Minimalist Art of Cannabis Use

microdosing cannabis

Microdosing all boils down to one basic understanding:

Cannabis has a “biphasic nature.” This means that clients will experience an effect from using cannabis at a low dose and lose that effect as they take more, only to reach another response at an even higher dose.

Let’s break that down really quick.

Many cannabis users think that if they take several hits and they aren’t getting the desired effect, they need to take more cannabis.

It makes logical sense. Not working… take more… still not working… take even more.

It’s how a lot of things work in our world. You ate, but you’re still hungry? Eat more. Still thirsty? Drink more. Still tired? Take a nap. Still cold? Put on another sweater.

But, it’s not how cannabis works.

It’s likely that most of you (or your students or clients) are starting off with too high a dose in the first place and they’re missing that sweet spot of cannabis dosing.

While many budtenders and inexperienced cannabis users may tell you to try a new strain or a new method of ingestion, odds are, you just need less.

Less means something different to everyone, and if you need higher amounts of cannabinoids to reduce the size of tumors or help with major neurological issues, it may not be for you. Always talk to a doctor or consult with a functional cannabis therapist to figure out a baseline for microdosing.

Microdosing and “High Tolerance”

microdosing cannabis

And, I know what you’re thinking. You might be saying, “But Corinne, I am one of those people with a high tolerance and less just won’t work for me.”

And maybe that’s true. Maybe you’ve been taking cannabis for a long time and your tolerance to cannabinoids is so high that you require a significant dose in order to get any effect at all.

The issue with this is that, not only are you burning up precious resources and money feeding your high tolerance, you also may not be getting the full benefit of the cannabis you are using.

Even if you don’t turn into an anxious and paranoid emotional wreck after taking a high dose, you may be experiencing other forms of side effects that can keep you from being vibrant, energetic and happy. 

It’s something we don’t like to address in the cannabis industry because it has taken so long to get beyond the stigma of things like Reefer Madness.

But, sometimes, cannabis use can have negative side effects, especially with prolonged use of high dosages.

It’s a powerful medicine and, yes, it’s possible to overdo it.

And even if you’re not experiencing direct side effects from taking too much cannabis chronically (see what I did there?), your endocannabinoid system may shift out of balance and your receptors might be shrinking back into your cells to hide from your massive dab seshing.

Throwing your endocannabinoid system off could cause a bunch of other seemingly unrelated problems.

Fortunately, there are things folks can do to lower their tolerance, re-sensitize their cannabinoid receptors and regain the myriad of benefits of medicating with cannabis.

I’ll be covering tolerance breaks in depth in a later post, but until then here’s a simple guide: ytake a 2-3 day break every couple of weeks or a week or two every couple of months to lower your tolerance before experimenting with microdosing.

Much love,



Corinne Tobias

My name is Corinne Tobias and I’m the creator of this site that is all about cannabis and health (and having a good time combining those things!). Since 2013, I’ve helped millions of people on their cannabis journey and have been featured in publications like High Times, Merry Jane, Jezelbel, Westword, and Vice.

13 thoughts on “Is Microdosing Cannabis Really Effective? [Updated 2021]”

  1. Dustin Sulak, DO, explains this perfect. he even has a sensitization protocol for 6 days. Even people who have smoked for 20+ year all day long comment on how much less they smoke or vape. my preferred method is tinctures. What most people find is what they used before now last them 3 months rather than 1. There is a bell curve once you find your optimal dosage. as you go more and more you start to lose the efectiveness. By going thru his 6 day protocol your body starts to build more receptors, CB1 and CB2. and you will find you need less to help your illness.

    During the day if I cant find a 1:1 cbd ratio I have to microdose every 2 hours with 20% + THC. it may take 10 days for me to find my optimal dose this way, wether from a different strain or batch.

    Since I started dosing with tincture, .1ml increments using a syringe, I barley touch my vaporiser. Also most people overdose from the start becase they take too much. if you smoke or vape take 1 hit to start and then wait 45 min. especially with a 1:1 CBD ratio. it takes a bit longer to feel the full effects, but CBD last a longer time than THC also.. so if your dose is really 2-3 hits and you smoke a joint you are already on the lowest downside of the medicinal benefits, but instead of backing off most people take more. USE a Journal if you have to.

    It may take a few days to get this right but it does work.
    Nice topic, dear to my heart. Coined the” Sulak method”. Not microdosing, but microdosing to find your optimal dose.
    Some may neverr find thier optimal dose becase the side effects may bother them. studies have shown that optimal dose usually dose not need to be increased over time much. if at all.

  2. I have no deficiency in the flower availability department, but I still treat each nugget like it’s my last one. Check out the Magic Flight Launch Box! It is a portable, AA powered vaporizer (and decarboxylator ) that is unbelievably small, efficient, and inexpensive – and no I don’t work for them. I

  3. Oh, if you think about high school days and one-hitters, and remember how long a quarter could be made to last, it makes sense to take a “dose”, check the results, then re-dose as needed.

  4. Don’t know how I got here! Going from recipes to stories about Cannibis lube. ( I will be making that btw) and I found this post, I am exactly the same having smoked all my young life I gave up 18 years ago to have my son. Once I had lost my tolerance it made me feel self conscious, paranoid. I couldn’t believe that something I had relied on for sanity made me feel like I was going mad. Now my son is 18 his dad lives in LA ( we are in London U.K) he discovered edibles, oh yes thats how I got here to make weed butter! Anyway your post is very insightful and I think micro dosing is the way to go. I have been micro losing without realising it, taking tiny nibbles here and there and feeling great! Makes complete sense to me. Great site, great posts keep it up sis : )

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  6. I’ve been partaking of cannabis since 1970. Not bragging or proud but am not ashamed either. Had my medical card in Michigan and a caregiver that supplied me with 2 and a half ounces of potent medical grade a month plus a couple grams of dabs, every month for five years. Most of this time I was getting sick, throwing up, serious stomach pain and dehydration which always ended in hospitalization. It wasn’t until last Dec. that someone informed me about Cannabinoid Hyperemesis Syndrome and as I was moving to a non medical state with severe penalties I decided to quit altogether. After about 2 months of no cannabis, I was feeling great, no nausea or other stomach issue’s. I was told that smoking too much will suck the cannabinoid receptor’s out of your stomach and
    cause just what I was experiencing and that if you quit for a couple months, you will recover these receptor’s.
    I started smoking again a few months back and knowing I needed to not overdo my consumption, I found I needed very little to achieve the desired effect. An eighth lasted a month and although I’m up to a quarter a month, I’m still way below my lifelong consumption rate and still get the desired effect the medicine delivers, mostly through smoking. I might make a bowl last for the better part of the day with usually 2 or 3 hits to feel the medical benefits associated with cannabis use. When you quit for a couple months and start up again, you will get so high with very little, it can’t be beat!

  7. i was diagnosed with ALS 4 years ago. i live in a state that has medical cannabis and i’ve had my card since it was available. i was never a big smoker, but through various articles about therapeutic use of cannabis , i’ve been exploring my many options. i have found my “sweet spot” for sleeping 6-8 hours a night to be 4:3 THC/CBD. this alleviates cramps and fasticulations. I also use a high CBD topical before bed and during the day for muscle soreness, 20:1 ratio. right now i am working with CBDa to see about neuropathic regenerative possibilities. I have been micro-dosing THC with high CBD because it is more effective for me. Be Well!

  8. I used Sulak’s program and to make a long story short I have used cannabis for 30 years. I did his six-day program and believe it or not my minimum effective dose (the amount I have to smoke to feel anything) is .09g. My optimal dose which is what I need to hit my “sweet spot’ is .18g. Yes, I put the decimal points in the right place. Less is more!

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