Advice | March 13, 2017 9:00 am

I Tried Working on America’s Newest Performance-Enhancing Drug: Weed

Can a 'microdose' of THC solve your mid-afternoon blues?

By around 2:30 p.m. every day, I’ve written two short blog posts, read and answered numerous emails, bounced in and out of Slack chats and hosted a few visitors. It’s around this time that I start indulging all of my impulses: a quick walk to the kitchen to look into the fridge, thumbing through the Instagram feed, thinking about dinner…

These are clues that I’m slumping and need to meditate, which is my usual reset. And it works, especially followed up by a cup of green tea. But lately I’ve been doing a little something extra. Before I sit cross-legged, I pop a Petra mint by Kiva, a medical cannabis brand that serves up gourmet edibles laced with “microdoses.” Each mint contains about 2.5 milligrams of THC, the active ingredient in cannabis, which Kiva’s trained pharmacologists synthesize from California-grown marijuana. By comparison, a typical edible contains between 10 and 45 mg of THC.

If you haven’t heard of it, microdosing is having a bit of a moment. Silicon Valley techies have been consuming small amounts of cannabis, psilocybin and even LSD to enhance their creativity and focus, and plenty of studies have demonstrated that doing so can help with anxiety and depression. My medical card was given for anxiety, and though I don’t normally use cannabis while working, I’ve found that a smaller dosage can be pretty effective. I’m cranking out two more stories in the afternoon, and quickly enough to head to the gym, where the benefits include less soreness and more energy.

Also, as you may have guessed, it’s a fantastic mood enhancer. Kiva also makes gourmet chocolates, which contain 10mg. My experiences with these differ: sometimes they’re really strong, other times I barely feel them. But I do love the taste as well as their branding, which is a step in the right direction for normalizing cannabis. That is, if more companies were to encourage routine usage at lower dosages, I think it would help make the legal cannabis market appear less juvenile to non-users.

If you’re interested in microdosing, here are two things to consider:

It works better in the afternoon, once you’re a little frayed. In the morning, I have a clearer focus. But by noon, the distractions are so plentiful that I often need a little recentering. I found the 2.5 grams of THC were a great complement to my typical routine (meditation, tea) and helped make me more productive.

It’s not a panacea. If you’re looking for a magic pill, you won’t find it here. Americans overmedicate because they’re lazy. Yes, cannabis is natural, but it’s still a drug, and that comes with dependency issues. If you build too much of a tolerance, you’ll crave more and more, and there goes your white rabbit. If you’re distracted, anxious or in need of stimulation, consider microdosing in moderation and in tandem with other, healthier restorative methods, such as meditation, a healthy diet and exercise.

The human mind is malleable, but changing your habits won’t yield results overnight. You need to train your brain just like any muscle, and that takes time and patience.