I’ll admit it: as lovely as it is to be high, I don’t always want or enjoy the psychotropic effects of cannabis. There. I said it.
And I know I’m not alone.
Real talk: some nights, there is nothing better than a puff to help me unwind in the witching hour – when it’s dinner time, my kids are going crazy, bath, reading, and bedtime are looming. Everything feels very intense and very loud.
On those nights, I’m grateful for just a whisper of canna to soften the edges of my day.
But a lot of nights, I want to hit the gym after I put my kids to bed, and after that, I have work to catch up on that requires focus. On those nights, I’d love to unwind a bit – but I definitely can’t afford to be locked on the couch or zoning out on essential details.
I’m pretty much California sober these days, which means that I don’t drink alcohol at all (or if so, very rarely). Still, I do enjoy a bit of cannabis to help me chill out. What I miss about wine is that I knew exactly how one glass would make me feel. I could dose it easily and stop when I’d reached the desired effect. It’s taken me a while to figure out how to do this with cannabis. Honestly, it takes us all a while (helllloooo 20’s) to learn to dose alcohol appropriately too. For whatever reason, a lot of people are okay to experiment with alcohol, regardless of hangovers or blackouts. But they don’t go back to canna when they have an uncomfortable experience.
Here are my tried and true methods of enjoying cannabis, sans high:
The truth is, CBD works better when it’s paired with other cannabinoids like THC and terpenes. This is on account of something called the entourage effect. That said, if you don’t want to get high, then you can try microdosing – for maximum benefit, without psychotropic (high inducing) effects.
Microdosing basically means that you use are really tiny dose or amount of marijuana. It’s an excellent option if you want the healing qualities of cannabinoids, with minimal psychotropic (high-inducing) side effects.
I do this by eating just a fraction of an edible. I usually look at the amount of THC and CBD in a serving size and start out by quartering it. I wait an hour, and if it hasn’t hit the way I want it to, I’ll try a tiny bit more. It’s really easy to dose with edibles you get from a dispensary – rather than smoking or vaping. I’m a control freak and want to control my experience, so edibles purchased at the dispensary have totally enhanced my cannabis journey. My favorite edibles are sprays, gummies, and lozenges.
How Much Is a Microdose?
For me, a microdose of cannabis is about 5mg. However, our bodies all process cannabis differently, and your sweet spot may be less or more.
The trick with this is if you’re sensitive to THC, even 5mg can affect you, so it’s essential to go in knowing you might feel a LITTLE high – and you can dose back the next time. I find that mentally assuming I’ll feel at least a mental lift from CBD manages my expectations for the experience. Because the truth is, if you use cannabis, even if it’s a microdose, there’s a chance you’ll feel some effect. If you go into the experience knowing you might get a little high, it’s a lot less scary and a lot more manageable.
Another trick is to microdose with a high-CBD strain of cannabis. CBD can actually control the way THC affects you. This means that higher CBD strains are often a good option if you want to smoke marijuana but don’t want a significant high. Understanding the CBD to THC ratio in any of your cannabis selections is also a great way to measure the effects of cannabis on your body.
High CBD strains include (but aren’t limited to): ACDC, Charlotte’s Web, Ring’s Gift, Harle-Tsu, Harlequin.
Try CBD Oil vs. Cannabis
CBD is found in both hemp and marijuana plants. Along with THC, CBD is one of the hundreds of compounds in cannabis plants. You can buy CBD online when it comes from hemp plants – be sure you’re getting real CBD and not hemp seed oil. CBD from hemp plants has 0.3% THC or less, which means you likely won’t feel any notable high from it unless you consume a super high quantity, and you’re sensitive to THC.
I have found CBD to be really helpful for stress management, anxiety, and inflammation from my autoimmune disease. Although the science is relatively new, there are a host of other ailments CBD can alleviate.
Try a Topical
If you have acute or chronic pain, psoriasis, suffer from soreness, aches, tension, or headaches – a cannabis topical could be just the ticket. Cannabis topicals, even when they have THC, will not get you high. No munchies, no couch lock, no nothing. Just relief. I like CBD face oils to combat redness, gel rollers for tendonitis, and salves for minor aches and pains.
If you want to target a super-specific ailment, talk to your budtender about the terpene profiles in your topical. Terpenes work in tandem with CBD and THC to offer maximum pain relief. Specific terpenes to look for in your topical are b-caryophyllene, valencene, myrcene, and limonene. Here’s a deep dive into how terpenes work.
The key takeaways? If you’re a canna-curious control freak like me and want a specific cannabis experience that doesn’t include getting high – start small, understand your ratios, double down on CBD, and experiment with tiny doses until you find what works best for you. And if you do want to get high? Pretend you never read this article.