Microdosing Was A Game-Changer For My Chronic Pain And Anxiety

by Leah Campbell
Originally Published: 

I have never been someone who enjoys feeling fuzzy or out of control. You could probably trace that back to me being a bit of a control freak, but while I’ve certainly done my fair share of partying and making bad decisions, I prefer to live my life sober and clear-headed.

So for years, when doctors prescribed me opioids and narcotics to treat the chronic pain I was in because of endometriosis, I stored them in the back of my cabinet and reached for them as rarely as possible. If I could power though the pain instead of doping myself up, that was the choice I made every time.

This became even more true when my daughter was born. As a single mother by choice, I didn’t feel like I had the option of being out of it. I had to remain alert and aware to ensure my daughter was safe and taken care of.

That meant a lot of days choosing to be in pain.

A few years ago, I went to visit a friend in Seattle while at the height of one of my pain episodes. Marijuana was legal there, and she picked me up at the airport with some edibles in hand.

“I don’t know,” I said. “I’ve never liked being high.” I had tried marijuana a few times with friends over the years, but I had never enjoyed it—it only heightened my social anxiety and anti-social tendencies, making me want to hide in a room instead of socializing with others.

“You’re not going to get high,” she said. “I want you to try just taking small amounts and see if that helps.”

That was my first introduction to microdosing.

If I were to explain it in the simplest terms possible, microdosing involves taking a drug at a much lower dose than is typically required to feel an effect, repeating that dose continuously throughout the day.


Getty Images/iStockphoto

People do it with marijuana and LSD and several other substances.

The goal is typically to achieve the therapeutic benefits of that drug without the mind-altering high.

For me, it worked.

Not only did microdosing ease my pain, but I started to realize that when I was microdosing, the anxiety I had been dealing with all my life eased off too.

It wasn’t a complete erasure of the pain and anxiety I was used to, but it was a leveling off that allowed me to function normally—making me feel like a more complete version of myself.

I talk about this pretty openly and have even done national television appearances on the Tamron Hall Show and GMA discussing how I learned to embrace microdosing as part of my therapeutic plan. As a result, I get a lot of emails and questions about where to start from those interested in trying for themselves.

The good news is, more states are legalizing marijuana every day. And with that comes increasing options for anyone who is interested in giving microdosing a try.

My advice is always this: Visit your local dispensary (these tend to pop up everywhere in legal states) and talk to the budtenders there about your needs. They are usually extremely knowledgeable and they love educating newbies on the wonders of marijuana.

I personally prefer edibles to smoking. This is both because I really don’t enjoy smoking (it burns my lungs and would be impossible to hide from my daughter) and because microdosing depends on being very calculated with your dosing—something that is far easier to do with edibles than it is with a joint or bong.

My favorite product are these buttermints made by Lady Grey Medibles. They come in low doses—three mints equals 5 mg, which is where most people start when they are trying to achieve a high (for many regular users, 10 to 15 mg is more like it). By having an option that already comes dosed small, I can easily take 1 every hour or 2 and never feel a high—just a slow numbing of the pain or anxiety I’m experiencing.

I can still play with my daughter, cook dinner, and even work on this low dose.


Getty Images/iStockphoto

I don’t, for the record, drive—only because there are a lot of different factors that can impact how a dose hits you (to include what you’ve had to eat that day) and I’m not willing to risk being behind the wheel when I realize I’m higher than I meant to be.

Otherwise, I’m able to live my life completely normally on the days I need to microdose. Most people who talk to me would never know the difference between a microdose day and a marijuana-free day.

Keep in mind, THC products can’t cross state lines, so unless you live in Alaska, the products available to you are going to be different than the ones I use. But those helpful budtenders can assist in finding something similar for you.

As far as dosing, it’s different for everyone. My best advice is to start low and slow—1mg at a time, if you can find products dosed out that low (if not, choose gummies or something similar you can cut into smaller doses yourself). Take another dose every hour or two until you feel a difference. Over time, you’ll become an expert on what you need for different types of pain and anxiety.

For me? It took about three months of experimenting before I really felt like I had it figured it out. There were definitely times when I overdosed, and those when I underdosed—but that’s how you learn.

The only other piece of advice I like to give people is to be cautious of where you store your stash if you have kids at home. While edibles are put in childproof containers, we all know how capable kids are when they set their mind to something. My daughter is thankfully old enough to know the bag I keep in the freezer with “mommy’s medicine” is off limits. But if your kids aren’t there yet, you may want to consider locking your weed up to keep it out of reach.

Otherwise, you’re good to go—give it a try and see if microdosing works for you.

This article was originally published on