Long and Slow

Microdosing is for moms and anyone else turned off by stoner culture

By Lee V. Gaines

A more chill demographic is emerging among cannabis users—those who prefer a pleasant buzz over complete inebriation.

The audience is wide and varied, from empty nesters to harried moms, who want to relax after a challenging day, stay focused on a particular task or just laugh a little more heartily. They tend to be middle- to upper-income professionals who don’t smoke cannabis but are curious about just getting high enough, the equivalent of a few cocktails or glasses of wine.

They’re exactly the audience for microdosed edibles. Whether a brownie, candy or a liquid concentrate, a microdosed edible is generally no more than 10 mg of THC, the psychoactive chemical in cannabis responsible for a euphoric high. Anecdotal accounts abound, but reliable data on the number of low-dose cannabis users does not exist. But if manufacturers of edibles are a measurement, the market is white-hot.

“We will continue to see microdosing become more and more mainstream,” says Lily Colley, director of marketing for Denver-based Incredibles, a company that sells cannabis-infused edibles in Colorado, California and Nevada dispensaries, with plans to expand to Oregon, Illinois, Arizona, Michigan and Puerto Rico.

“What we’ll also continue to see is new demographics move toward enjoying this kind of product, even if it’s just at a book club.”

Instead of gulping a chocolate cookie laced with 20 mg of THC, manufacturers are retooling their lines initially meant for medicinal users. No one knows if a low dose user is slowly dissolving fruit-flavored lozenge or sipping a beverage with only a couple milligrams of THC. The delivery is discreet.

Manufacturers of microdose edibles say it’s important for first-timers and those who haven’t consumed cannabis after a lengthy absence to learn how the drug affects them.

Everyone reacts differently, says Seth Yaffe, operations manager at a Ermont, a medical cannabis dispensary in Quincy, Massachusetts.

“I definitely can feel anywhere from 5 to 7 to 10 mg of THC in an edible really quickly,” says Yaffe, a medical cannabis patient and a former restaurateur.

Microdosing allows patients and recreational users to control their experience and learn how they respond to different dosage levels.

“It’s not like I’m drinking a Corona and I know what that’s doing to me,” says Chris Walsh, vice president of Marijuana Business Daily, a Denver-based cannabis business news publication. “In the world of cannabis, you don’t know if it’s a Corona or a shot of Everclear.”

While alcohol and cannabis are obviously different drugs, manufacturers of edibles are intentionally associating the two because the effects of a beer or a glass of wine are familiar to most people. It’s a benchmark.

“It’s about building familiarity and normalizing cannabis-infused treats as an alternative to a bottle of beer or a glass of wine at the end of a long work day,” says Jesse Burns, sales and marketing director of Sweet Grass Kitchen, a small batch bakery that sells cannabis-infused products in 450 dispensaries throughout Colorado.

Christie Strong, marketing communications manager for California-based edibles manufacturer Kiva Confections, says she’s given some of the company’s microdosed sugar-free Eucalyptus and Moroccan mints, called Petra Mints, to her “mom friends” in their mid-to-late 30s.

“It’s catching on like fire,” Strong says.

Kiva also offers chocolate- covered dried blueberries and espresso beans, called Terra Bites, infused with 5 mg of THC per bite. The company sells its products in California, Arizona, Nevada and Illinois, with plans to expand to Massachusetts, Colorado and Hawaii.

“I find it’s wonderful when I want to get into a flow state,” Strong says. “If I have to do some writing, a blog post or a large piece of copy, it really gets me in the zone and helps me focus and put a out a higher quality of work.”

Kiva soon will convert all of its products, including its higher-dose chocolate bars, into microdose- friendly treats with new molds that include 5 mg of THC per chocolate square. Consistency in dosing is key, Strong says.

“It’s not about getting stoned; it’s about enjoying your life and having fun,” say Michael Devlin, co-founder and president of Seattle-based edibles manufacturer Db3 (Zoots). “And there’s ways to do that with small doses.”

What’s your microdose? Buy the magazine to find out.