Start low and go slow. This has been the mantra surrounding cannabis infused edibles in the age of legalization, promoted by manufacturers, regulators and retailers alike. For newbies, they say, start with 5 mg and wait an hour or two before consuming more. In recreational markets, edibles must be dosed at 10 mg or less - but in practicality these products are formulated primarily to meet the law but not targeted towards people who are truly interested in microdosing. Most cannabis users prefer edibles because they are a delicious and discreet way of enjoying their cannabis experience. But what is the point of consuming edibles if you can only eat one gummy bear or the tiniest smidgen of chocolate?
Microdosing should not be treated as simply a safety precaution to humor regulators - there is a large and growing demand for very low dosage products amongst consumers in both recreational and medical markets. In a recent Brightfield Group survey of medical marijuana patients in California, 37% of respondents identified "lower dosage products" as one of the top three things they would like to see in new edibles. 29% of respondents looking for THC dominant products prefer dosages of infused products with 5 mg of THC or less, compared with only 38% who prefer infused products with more than 25 mg of THC per dose.
The industry has been slow to catch up to this demand, particularly in California. As no regulations have yet necessitated this in California, leading edibles brand typically feature relatively high dosages even for the smallest products - a single Liquid Gold chocolate heart from GFarma Labs has 50 mg of THC and a single Cannabis Quencher from Venice Cookie Company has 25 mg THC. There are a very small number of lower dosage mints on the market in California, including Dixie Elixirs's 5 mg mints and Kiva's 5 mg espresso beans, and other mints and lozenges (like Zoots Rocks) with 5 mg doses in recreational markets. But the first major launch of a truly microdosed product is Kiva's Petra mints, which were launched at the end of 2016 and by the end of March, it was being carried by 400 dispensaries around California. The mints are dosed at 2.5mg THC each and targeted primarily towards newer users or those looking for a very mild experience. Given the company's strong distribution in California and reputation amongst mid to higher income females and moderate users, these products are expected to perform very well and make a sizeable impact on the state's sugar candy market in 2017 and beyond.
Microdosing is certainly not for the more experienced user (while no one wants to eat just one gummy bear, they also don't want to eat 50 chocolates a day to receive their intended effect). But as legalization powers on and the stigma against cannabis lessens; the more new or occasional users turn to the legal market. Microdosing offers these customers a substitute for OTC or prescription medications or even a glass of wine, and in this case the demand for microdosed products will continue to rise.