GCSE’s are a set of exams that occur at the end of secondary school in the UK. We usually sit them at the age of 16 and to many, they are the most important exams they’ll ever sit, contributing towards employment opportunities in the future and even to university applications. To make matters worse, they are the broadest exams UK students will sit often covering around 8 subjects, meaning that in one day you might have to sit both a Biology paper and a Drama one too, or sit for 3 hours working on an Art exam, to jump into solving mechanical equations in Physics. GCSE’s are the kind of exams you wake up thirty years later, in a fever dream, sweating thinking you have your Chemistry test that day and you’re in your pants.
In fact, 1 in 10 young adults will suffer from post exam stress disorder after their GCSEs. So are there any better ways to revise for these hellish exams? Is there a modern method, perhaps using cannabinoids, that may have been experimented with in the process of exam revision and preparation. We have written a lot about the benefits of microdosing psychoactive drugs and today we are going to look at an experience of microdosing THC to help in the approach and execution of GCSE exams. I use my friend Josh, who I promise isn’t a thinly veiled nom de plume for myself… genuinely, as an example of someone who used THC’s multiple benefits to help him succeed in his GCSEs.
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Microdosing: What is it and how can you do it?
Microdosing is the act of taking a small amount of a drug, small so as not to feel the full psychoactive effects, but enough of the drug to gain some of the benefits it has to offer. Microdosing isn’t anything new and has been around for quite some time, however it has often been associated with psychedelics. Microdosing perhaps gained notoriety thanks to the many silicon valley tech workers, who have openly admitted to microdosing shrooms and LSD in aid of their creativity and productivity.
Though microdosing hasn’t been studied extensively due to its only recent popularity surge, there are still some encouraging papers that show microdosing is linked to perceived reductions in anxiety as well as an increase in popularity. Microdosing isn’t only limited to psychedelics though, and a growing number of drug users are turning to cannabis and its associated compounds to see if similar gains can be found. Both THC and CBD can be purchased as oils, which make it exceptionally easy to microdose and mix with any of your favorite foods and beverages.
To microdose THC, it’s advised to purchase concentrated THC oils, which you can buy from CBD testers. Take about 1-2.5 milligrams of THC to start with, you can add this to your morning drink, or just drop it straight onto your tongue. If you feel zero effects or benefits, you can gently increase the dose, but remember the aim isn’t to get high, only to notice the slight changes in your productivity, concentration and energy levels.
What is THC?
To understand the benefits of microdosing THC, we must first understand exactly what THC is. Cannabis is a rather broad name that is often used to describe multiple aspects of the cannabis experience. Cannabis is the name of the plant, but cannabis itself contains a number of component chemicals that have differing effects on the mind and body. These chemicals are called cannabinoids. The most famous and well known cannabinoids are of course phytocannabinoid tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and Cannabidoil (CBD).
THC and CBD both have different interactions with the Endocannabinoid system (ECS) , the network of receptors in the body that react to cannabinoids. The ECS is a rather incredible network that seems to have links to a wide range of cognitive functions, hence the benefits of cannabinoids which interact and stimulate the ECS. It seems that THC binds to CB1 receptors in the ECS strongly and is associated with the euphoric high that cannabis produces. CBD bins with these receptors less so and is linked more to reductions in anxiety and has a calming effect on the body. Both have their benefits and are just two of the myriad of beneficial compounds found within cannabis.
Benefits of Microdosing Cannabinoids
There have recently been many studies on the benefits of both CBD and THC when taken as small doses. A huge review (that is very much worth examining) by a specific board dedicated to the benefits of cannabis from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine; Health and Medicine Division looked at all of the reported benefits of low doses of cannabis and showed how there were moderate effects on pain relief from specific disorders as well as a reduction in nausea in chemotherapy patients. Another study showed that the microinjection of cannabinoids even had an antidepressant on participants, increasing serotonin levels. When it comes to ultra-low doses of THC too, there seems to be research promoting the benefits. Ultra low doses of THC given to mice was shown to speed up the recovery of some brains from minor damage, as well as delaying the onset of cognitive decline. Of course, we have to be wary when generalizing animal studies to human cases, but still encouraging nonetheless.
One of the most interesting studies to show how low doses of THC may be preferable in the preparation before exams comes from Kowal et al. They showed that some aspects of creativity were actually reduced in a very high dose of THC, but not from a low dose. Of course, this doesn;t mean that a high dose of THC is a bad thing, it just may mean that if you are looking to improve your creativity before an exam, microdosing may be the preferred method over macrodosing. An issue with this study though is that it was a between-subjects design, which means that different participants were used in the different conditions, so it is hard to dissociate between the individual differences between the participants and the dose of cannabis.
Using THC Microdosing for GCSEs
The benefits of microdosing THC are clear, but let’s take an in depth look at how microdosing THC could be beneficial for exam preparation, revision and the exam itself. For this, I will have to use the example of my good friend Josh. Josh was a few years below me at school, but we were close family friends. Josh had always been a keen proponent of the benefits of microdosing Cannabinoids since we were 15 and he’d promised me that the benefits of them were multiple, particularly for coping with exam stress.
He told me that he had been microdosing THC capsules throughout the entire revision process as well as through the exam season in his final year at secondary school. Initially skeptical, I was shocked when his grades were actually pretty solid. Josh had suffered from quite severe exam stress and was always looking for ways to calm himself, focus and think creatively in exams. Knowing I was writing this article, I asked him a few questions about his experiences from microdosing THC and how he felt that THC saved his GCSEs.
He mentioned how he started with a very low dose, only one drop of THC oil in milk in the mornings, but increased to three drops as he felt the exam stress increasing. Josh reported that the THC not only left him feeling calmer in the face of the exams, but also increased his productivity and creativity when revising for the tests. He said, what usually would have taken days to produce (revision wise) due to being easily distracted, or focussing on the anxiety of the exams, he would be able to whip through in a day.
When it came to the exams themselves, Josh found he had a new confidence when entering the exam hall, he felt he was ready, that he had the knowledge he needed to smash the exam. The fear that he usually had before the tests was gone. He ended up getting some of the best results he’s ever had and he puts that success down to his careful microdosing of cannabinoids and THC.
It’s clear to see that microdosing THC can have largely beneficial effects on a wide range of skills needed to smash those GCSEs, with concentration, creativity and productivity reportedly improved. Josh’s example too, proves to me that if microdosed correctly THC can be a great study aid. Of course a caveat must be that if you choose to microdose, do just make sure it is a microdose. Too much THC will lead to an exceptionally great evening, but perhaps will distract from the task at hand. So please, be responsible and careful with your microdosing and if you are, it seems that you will reap the benefits of these truly remarkable chemicals. Remember that you can purchase both THC and CBD from the CBD testers shops.
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Disclaimer: Hi, I’m a researcher and writer. I’m not a doctor, lawyer, or businessperson. All information in my articles is sourced and referenced, and all opinions stated are mine. I am not giving anyone advice, and though I am more than happy to discuss topics, should someone have a further question or concern, they should seek guidance from a relevant professional.