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A Different Way to Dose

The Zeno Philosophy in a (Very Tiny) Nutshell

Modern life can be overwhelming. Bombarded with notifications and constantly task-switching — it’s a lot to handle!

But when it comes to treating burnout & brain fog — or even striving for a better quality of life & work —  the usual remedies just don’t cut it.

That’s where micro-dosing comes in. We founded Zeno because we believe that THC — the psychoactive ingredient found in cannabis — can do more than just get people high. When taken daily in subtle, ultra-low doses, THC has the power to help you relax AND focus — to shake off the stresses of modern life and return to your natural, best self.

But at the end of the day, it’s not about our beliefs: it’s about the evidence. We started with a hunch about microdosing cannabis, but that hunch was validated through personal experience, social feedback, and now our own consumer testing.

Jack’s Story

Meet Jack Dreifuss, Zeno’s founder and CEO. All his life, Jack suffered from depression, anxiety, and a cluster of related mental health issues.

As for the so-called “treatments,” Jack’s tried them all: herbal adaptogens, CBD supplements, even prescription SSRIs and ADHD medication. Some of them didn’t do anything, while others made him feel like a zombie.

After decades of experimenting with these treatments and getting nowhere, Jack decided to try a different approach. He started seeing a therapist. He began to meditate. He even improved his diet, exercise routine, and sleeping habits. (Nice work, Jack.)

All of that helped of course, but the fundamental issues remained: he still suffered from inattention, emotional burnout, and a deep lack of motivation. To make matters worse, he was ashamed to talk about it to anyone other than his therapist.

When he finally confided to some friends, one of them suggested that cannabis might help. But Jack was horrified at the idea: in his youth he'd had a few shockingly bad experiences with brownies — not fond memories.

Eventually, however, Jack decided to try a ridiculously cautious cannabis dose — and he was amazed at what he discovered. When he ate the tiniest sliver of a THC gummy every day, he became remarkably more at ease with himself: less anxious, more engaged, all-around happier and more confident. And all without getting high.

Weed always got him too high, and never in a good way... But when he ate the tiniest sliver of a THC gummy, he became noticeably more at ease with himself.

As Jack shared this daily microdose technique with his friends, they too found it helped shake off the stresses and excessive stimuli of modern life, allowing them to recover their natural, wakeful balance without any spikes, crashes, or hangovers.

And so, Zeno was born!

Consumer Trials

To land on the right microdose strength during our consumer trials, the Zeno team worked with a number of participants ranging from heavy cannabis users to people who, like an earlier version of Jack, “just don't like weed.”

What we found was surprising.

It turns out that many people who claim not to “enjoy” cannabis simply have a much higher sensitivity to it, genetically speaking. Their aversion to cannabis is not because they're “control freaks” or “just didn’t try the right strain yet.” On the contrary, they might have enjoyed cannabis if they'd only taken a much, much lower dose.

That’s the thing about cannabis: everyone has a different sensitivity to it, based on their body’s ability to process THC. [We’ll get into the science of your body’s Endo-Cannabinoid System (ECS) and the genetic variations in cannabinoid processing enzymes in an upcoming blog post].

Unfortunately, the cannabis industry caters to people with a higher natural tolerance of THC. For instance, most “microdose” gummies and mints contain a whopping 2.5 mg. As we learned in our consumer trials, 2.5mg is far too strong for average folks who just want to feel better in body and mind on a regular basis. In other words, the cannabis industry’s tendency towards high potency, has left huge numbers of people behind, turning them off cannabis altogether!

Most offerings calling themselves “microdose” only go down to 2.5 mg per unit...the cannabis industry’s tendency towards high potency has left huge numbers of people behind, turning them off cannabis altogether!

So we cut the industry standard of 2.5 mg in half and tried again. And although many people in our trial reported that 1.25 mg helped them focus more and increase their energy and creativity, it was still a bit strong for others to take every day (thanks, once again, to their unique genetics). So we went even lower—down to 0.8 mg per dose—and found it was the sweet spot for the vast majority of folks in our study (except for Jack’s mom, who actually found 0.4mg was her sweet spot).

But then we found ourselves in a predicament: if we left it at 0.8, those wanting a slightly stronger dose would have to "jump" to 1.6 mg, likely overshooting their sweet spot. We wanted people to have more fine-tuned control in their dosing, so we cut it in half once again.

At 0.4 mg per tablet, Zeno offers the lowest dose of THC on the market, allowing people to step up gradually and with precision to the place they want to be. Because if we learned anything from our study, it’s that everyone’s got a different THC sensitivity.

The cannabis industry’s tendency towards higher-strength doses has left huge numbers of people behind, turning them off of cannabis altogether.

As for our name, well, Zeno was an ancient Greek philosopher famous for his “paradoxes” exploring how units of measurement can be infinitely subdivided (which is why the tortoise beat Achilles in a race? don’t ask), so as you can imagine, we felt a bit like you-know-who when fiddling around with smaller and smaller amounts of THC.

The smallest doses, the biggest benefits. Now that’s a paradox.

Why the L-Theanine then?

Although we wanted microdose THC to be the star of the show — it’s what helped Jack be Jack, after all — we aren’t blind to the research happening in the field of nutraceuticals. We were curious to know what might pair well with our main ingredient.

So we did another consumer trial, combining THC with various popular supplements. We discovered that L-Theanine was the crowd favorite by a mile — enhancing their microdose experience with a calm focus (and without any fogginess or distraction).

A few months later, what we'd found in our consumer trial was actually supported by a peer-reviewed scientific study demonstrating the power of L-Theanine to modulate the most overstimulating effects of THC, with protective effects in the long run. We were pretty happy about that!

Microdosing with Community

Jack still plays around with his daily dose — as do the other folks at Zeno, comparing notes as we go along — and we encourage you to experiment as well! Finding balance and inspiration in your day-to-day life is an ongoing journey. And like all good journeys, this one's best when shared with fellow travellers.

During our consumer trials, we facilitated dialogue among our participants — a support system and a source of ideas as people experimented to find their most successful doses and routines.

Because everyone's unique — with different dietary restrictions, medical conditions, genetic backgrounds, physiological makeups, formative experiences, and personal tastes — there are a lot of different ways to integrate cannabis into one's life. And the best way to figure that out is with a community.

That's why we included a Dosing Routines section in our Microdosing FAQ: so everyone can share their favorite ways to use Zeno, discovering new possibilities in the process. Check out our two favorites so far:

Whether you call it microdosing, biohacking, or just interest in your own well-being, we love to compare notes about our experiences, and we welcome you to the community!