What is this product? It’s cannabis trim, psyllium husk, and it’s coconut oil. This small amount is a quote unquote microdose— do you consider this to be a health supplement? I don’t know how to answer that question. It makes you better and makes you feel better. And if it doesn’t, you don’t take it. Microdosing started with LSD. While many users prefer to trip balls, the creator of acid, doctor Albert Hofmann, also believed tiny amounts have therapeutic value. Decades later, microdosing hallucinogens has been proposed as a substitute for everything from Adderall to marriage counseling. Now, with legal weed spreading across the country, marijuana microdoses are the next frontier. How many pills per day are you packaging here? We make like 1200 an hour. Ethan Ernest is the man behind Mirth Control, one of the many products in this emerging market. Ethan smoked cannabis to treat his anxiety. After volunteering at Ground Zero in New York, he developed chronic bronchitis and created marijuana pills. So is this medicine, or is this a recreational drug? I tried to position it as both, because it was clearly medicine for myself. It’s like an open source Xanax. There’s no scientific consensus on the benefits of microdosing marijuana, but some people swear by it. Portland dispensary worker Lauren LeFranc uses Mirth Control to treat several health issues. This is our edible selection. A lot of these are like lower dosages. What’s the difference between a microdose and a low dose? Is it the same thing? It is the same thing. It’s just… it’s… they’re just calling it microdosing. I think it’s just, kind of like, becoming a little fad right now. Products labeled as microdoses contain 1 to 10 mg of THC. A typical joint has 35 to 90 mg. And some edibles on the market have up to 1000 mg. Initially, I did use it recreationally, but I also found that it had really great medicinal benefits. It seems like the link between recreational and medical is pretty blurry. It really is. Mirth Control is distributed by Nova Paths. It’s one of several low dose products the company offers. Some push the envelope with their medical claims. We’ve developed a product line in conjunction with a medical doctor who has been practicing cannabis treatment. The basic idea behind this is that there are certain terpenes or cannabinoids that have the efficacy that this is referring to. The name of this is just SLEEP. Correct. But you’re not saying that it’s effective for sleep necessarily…? Yep. And so, the consumer can, you know, translate that however they wish. And we don’t have to make claims that, you know, this is going to help you sleep within 20 minutes or whatever the heck it does do. Is there a disclaimer that says, like, this won’t necessarily make you go to sleep? Um… I think the disclaimer is more generic. It says “this product is not approved by the FDA to treat, cure, or prevent any disease.” This type of suggestive packaging is not unprecedented. Dietary supplement labeling often implies medical benefits with a disclaimer to avoid FDA scrutiny. Is there any concern about liability from somebody who’s taking a medication for one of these conditions whether it’s depression or pain or something else? That they’re going to switch to this— that’s, like you said, kind of unproven? Not a huge concern, because if it doesn’t work, I don’t think there’s a lot of chance that it would do any damage to them. It just wouldn’t work. How do you know that this isn’t a placebo effect? It could be. On the other hand, why is that not adequate for the people for whom it works? At the very least, clearly labeled small doses could keep users from ending up like Maureen Dowd and every other novice stoner who has had a nightmare experience after eating too much weed. So who is your target demographic with this product? Anyone that might benefit from it, ultimately. But in my mind, I said okay, maybe someone my age that’s new to cannabis. You’re taking just a minimum amount to have an effect.