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Should I try Cannabis Microdosing?

Cannabis Microdosing

You may have read about microdosing THC recently or heard about it from friends, family or even your doctor.  Microdosing has been gaining popularity recently as an effective way to treat a wide variety of medical conditions.  So what exactly is microdosing and are you a cannabis user who may benefit from giving it a try?  As the name suggests, microdosing is consuming a very small quantity of cannabis, specifically THC, as a way of treating a medical condition.  You don’t have to have a diagnosed medical condition to reap the benefits of cannabis microdosing as we will explore other reasons it is beneficial.

Medical Conditions that can be treated by Microdosing

Naturally you should talk to your doctor about your specific medical condition and also make sure to check if any pharmaceutical drugs you are taking may be affected by cannabis.  Once you have the go ahead from your doctor,  cannabis, THC, microdosing can be used to manage pain and in fact small doses may be more beneficial than larger doses of THC in terms of controlling pain from cancer according to this 2012 study.  Other medical conditions that can be significantly helped with cannabis microdosing are depression, anxiety, PTSD, Multiple Sclerosis and Crohn’s Disease, just to name a few.  Additionally microdosing is gaining a positive reputation as an excellent method of achieving focus and enhancing creativity as well as working wonders for insomnia.

Why Microdosing is Preferred over Higher THC Cannabis

As most people that have consumed cannabis even once or twice but especially daily users know well, side effects are a real issue for some consumers. By ingesting cannabis, specifically THC in very small quantities, any negative side effects are basically non-existent.  Side effects that can potentially cause problems for medical users are dry mouth, dry eyes, even an increased appetite can be problematic for certain patients, particularly those with Crohn’s Disease.  The most problematic side effect for many medical cannabis patients is surprisingly, the feeling of being high.  As a recreational cannabis user, that is pretty much the whole point of consuming cannabis but for so many medical patients, the idea of feeling too high is a reason to forego even trying cannabis at all.  That is why cannabis microdosing is a perfect solution for those folks, the benefits without the unwanted side effects.

How to Get Started with Microdosing

If you are a current cannabis user, recreational or medical, it is best to start microdosing fresh.  This means stopping all cannabis use for at least 48 hours to give your system a chance to reset.  Once you are ready, start small, that’s why it’s called microdosing after all.  A good place to begin is between 1 and 2.5 milligrams.  Continue with the same dosage for 3 days, paying close attention to any changes in your condition, positive or negative.  You can increase the dosage after the 3 days if you feel you are not getting enough of the THC benefits, but do it in small 1 milligram increments, waiting 3 days before making any further increases.  If you choose to use edibles or tinctures to microdose, getting the amount spot on is fairly easy however if you are a cannabis smoker or like to vape, it’s more of a challenge but not impossible.  If you are smoking flower, go with a mid-range cannabis with about a 15% THC percentage to start.  Pack a medium sized bowl and take just one hit from the bowl, not a super big bong clearing hit, just a moderate hit.  Now wait about 5 minutes and see how you feel.  Most likely one hit should be all you need to get the benefits of THC without the high.  This way of microdosing is obviously imperfect when it comes to getting the dosage right but all microdosing, regardless of the method, takes some trial and erro to get the dose you want and need.

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How Cannabis Affects Dreams

How Cannabis Affects Dreams

For people that consume cannabis on an occasional basis, their dreams will likely not be affected unless you stop and start with a specific rhythm but for those regular cannabis users, their dreams will be significantly affected.  To understand how cannabis affects dreams and why, it is first necessary to talk a bit about sleep in general.  As most people are aware, there are four distinct sleep cycles of varying lengths.  The first three cycles grow increasing longer and produce deeper sleep.  It is common for people who are light sleepers to wake up during one of the first 3 sleep cycles, maybe to use the bathroom or as a response to noise or some other distraction.  The fourth sleep cycle is the longest and deepest and that is the one during which we dream.  Called the REM (Rapid Eye Movement) cycle, this part of sleep lasts the longest, anywhere from 10-90 minutes and this is the sleep stage when we dream.  The THC in cannabis suppresses our dreams during this stage.  Why would this be a desired outcome?

Most of the time we associate dreaming with positive images but in reality it’s not all rainbows and unicorns when it comes to dreaming.  The vast major of our dreams are simply neutral or slightly strange in nature.  So why would we want to suppress something that is not harmful like dreams?  The answer is, we may not but if you are someone who suffers from frequent nightmares or even just disturbing dreams on occasion, it can be a breath of fresh air to drift off to sleep each night knowing that you will not wake up in fear or confusion.  As cannabis use controls the very ability to dream during REM sleep, for many people that can be a welcome relief, at least on a temporary basis.

If you are an occasional cannabis user, your dreams will definitely be affected based on when you actually consume cannabis and when you stop.  For example, if you consume cannabis only on the weekends, once Tuesday or Wednesday rolls around and the THC is out of your system, you will start dreaming again and those dreams will likely be fairly vivid.  Some people have reported very colorful dreams or especially strange dreams and a few unlucky folks have nightmares.  This is temporary as your body readjusts and usually only lasts a few nights however if you repeat the cycle of consuming cannabis on the weekends, you may spend your midweek nights having some pretty strange dreams.  Other factors come into play as well including how much cannabis you consume, just an edible or two will not affect your dreams much at all or a few bong hits is unlikely to stop your dreams completely.  The amount of THC in the cannabis also matters as does the particular terpenes and other cannabinoids.  The exact ways cannabis affects dreams is still be studied.

What benefits could there be from suppressing your dreams on a long-term basis?  One area in which cannabis is proving extremely effective is in treating Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).  Upwards of 70% of people with PTSD experience regular nightmares that interfere with the quality of their lives in a profound way.  Treatment with cannabis has been quite successful in addressing PTSD nightmares.  Up until recently PTSD sufferers were treated with antidepressants or hypnotics or often both and did not get much relief especially considering the potential for serious side effects.  Cannabis has proven itself to be an effective treatment for this particular symptom of PTSD and allowed people with PTSD to get much better quality sleep and feel better during waking hours as a direct result.  So although the idea of suppressing dreams may not sound appealing to everyone, for some it can truly change the quality of their lives in positive ways with little to no negative side effects.