While therapy is arguably the most effective way to combat depression in the long-term, physicians in the United States remain ‘pill happy’ and prescribe anti-depressants almost as a matter of course. The trouble with these drugs is the array of side effects which include increased weight gain, nausea, and blurred vision. Also, weaning yourself off anti-depressants is a long, arduous and frustrating experience.
With that said, there is hope on the horizon – and it comes in the form of weed! Weed has always been thought of as a cure for depression, but for some it can actually worsen the situation, if not dosed correctly. To avoid uncomfortable psychedelic episodes, the process of microdosing has now become a hot topic and is highly recommended by cannabis enthusiates. This practice has spread over to the world of medicinal marijuana and is proving very popular in the treatment of depression.
Why Microdose Weed for Depression?
The enormous rise of the marijuana industry in the United States has seen a significant increase in the quality and quantity of weed available. About the only downside is that the cannabis you purchase could be too strong or too weak. Much has been written about the potential side effects of smoking excessive amounts of marijuana, particularly in the long-term.
As a result, physicians nowadays recommend microdosing; the practice of consuming minute amounts of weed at a time. The key is first to find the minimum effective dosage and slowly continue increasing it until you stop seeing benefits. While the ‘starting’ dose will vary according to each individual, it is usually placed somewhere in the 3-10 milligrams of THC range.
According to Dr. Allan Frankel, a renowned physician in Los Angeles, 25% of his patients consume less than 3mg of THC a day to combat depression. Unlike many doctors, Frankel practices what he preaches. He began taking cannabis in 1999 when he was found to have a viral infection of the heart.
He was given just six months to live and naturally, Frankel felt depressed. Within a year, his heart had returned to normal, and while the doctor can’t be sure that marijuana was the reason, he knows it helped his mental state. Seven years later, Frankel opened a cannabis medical practice, and today, he is keen to spread the microdosing word.
The Benefits of Microdosing Weed for Depression
A 2014 study by researchers at Tennessee’s Vanderbilt University found that smoking marijuana reduces anxiety and depression, but only in small doses. Previous studies have linked cannabis to depression and schizophrenia, but this only occurs when extremely large doses are consumed.
In this particular study, led by Dr. Sachin Patel, the team made an amazing discovery, finding the cannabinoid receptors where marijuana has the most impact. This is called the amygdala, a crucial emotional hub in the brain. It is this part of the brain that regulates the famous ‘fight or flight’ response.
When you suffer chronic stress or severe emotional trauma, you experience a reduction in the creation of natural endocannabinoids. The result is an increase in anxiety. However, marijuana makes up for this discrepancy – but only in the right dosage. While chronic use of the drug reduces the efficiency of the brain’s cannabinoid receptors, microdosing provides the perfect amount of marijuana.
From a professional and even social point of view, the benefits of microdosing weed are obvious. You can consume tiny amounts during the day, and it will have no negative impact on your work performance, nor will you be ‘high’ and uncommunicative when out with friends. Nonetheless, there will be plenty of positive effects. You will increase a clear improvement in mood and may experience a spike in your energy, creativity, and production during the day.
Are There Any Disadvantages of Microdosing Weed for Depression
As we mentioned above it is all a matter of dosage. Furthermore, it is also a question of ratios.
Dustin Sulak is a well-known physician in the state of Maine, and he believes that THC is a more potent medical treatment than the non-psychoactive CBD. According to Sulak, 3mg of THC could be effective in instances where it takes up to 30mg of CBD to get the job done. It is up to patients to experiment and figure out the right dose for them, but there is a problem with this process.
In many states, it is tough to find out the precise amount of cannabinoids in any weed product since the information isn’t always included. This means utilizing the ‘trial and error’ process which is potentially lengthy and frustrating. This lack of information often causes problems and prevents patients from microdosing succesfully.
5 Tips on Microdosing for Depression
1 – Choose the Right Strain
Marijuana strains are certainly not created equal; some will give you a burst of energy while others will give you ‘couch-lock.’ Use less powerful strains when microdosing during the day and save the powerful stuff for the evenings.
2 – Experiment with Consumption Methods
Realistically, smoking marijuana is all wrong for microdosing purposes. Capsules and edibles are the way to go as you can be more accurate with the dosage. However, you may discover that smoking weed provides you with the best effects.
3 – Use a Small Dose Initially
No matter what strain you use, it will take time to discover the ideal dose. Always start as small as possible and work your way up. Remember, microdosing is all about giving your body the ‘right’ amount of weed; you are not trying to get stoned.
4 – Timing is everything
The amount you require could depend on the situation. Clearly, a tiny amount in the form of a ‘hash brownie’ before work is a good idea, but you may need a little more when trying to be sociable. Try and keep a journal to discover how you react based on the amount of marijuana you consume.
5 – Be Patient
If you’re used to getting stoned, microdosing is a challenge. Don’t mess up your progress by taking a hit every four minutes. Wait at least 20 minutes to see if the dose has had any effect.
Best Strains for Microdosing for Depression
1 – Pennywise
This indica dominant (70%) hybrid marijuana strain contains a nice mix of up to 15% THC and 12% CBD. It is a cross of Harlequin and Jack the Ripper, and because of the mild level of psychoactivity, Pennywise is the perfect daytime strain. It has a calming effect on the body without making you too tired.
2 – Harlequin
This is a Sativa dominant (75%) hybrid strain and once again, its THC: CBD ratio (up to 15% THC and 10% CBD) means it keeps you alert and inspires an upbeat mood. Harlequin is another good workday choice and is the perfect strain for newbie’s.
3 – Chocolope
This is almost entirely sativa at 95%, and it is a marijuana strain famed for its smoky and chocolate flavor. With a THC content of up to 21%, Chocolope is very much a night time strain. While it can cause anxiety in large doses, it works wonders for depression when you utilize microdosing.
4 – Granddaddy Purple
If insomnia is one of the symptoms of your depression, microdosing Granddaddy Purple can finally help you get a good night’s sleep. With a THC content of 20-27%, this is not a marijuana strain for inexperienced users. While it brings your body to a state of pure relaxation, Granddaddy Purple also drastically improves your mood.
5 – Blue Dream
This is one of the best-known marijuana strains in the world. While it has a high THC content of up to 24% in some cases, it also contains CBD so you should be able to microdose Blue Dream during the day. It is also known for boosting creativity so it could prove very useful at work.
Final Thoughts on Microdosing for Depression
While there is nothing wrong with getting high now and then, there is an increasing body of research which suggests that microdosing provides the best medicinal results. If you have depression, microdosing weed could provide you with badly needed light at the end of the tunnel.