Microdosing: Here’s what you need to know
The term “microdosing” has been making waves in news outlets and social media for some time now. And while the thought of dropping acid or going on a full-on psychedelic trip doesn’t sound very appealing to many, microdosing or taking a small amount of a substance like psilocybin may pique your interest.
This article will talk specifically about microdosing psilocybin, that is, mushrooms that have hallucinogenic properties. These psychedelic mushrooms are often called magic mushrooms.
Microdosing is the practice of taking small sub-perceptual doses of psychedelics, such as psilocybin, which is found in magic mushrooms.
Unlike the “classic” trip you might think of, microdosing is at the other end of the scale in terms of the amount of psychedelic or substance a person ingests. To break it down, microdosing is the practice of taking small sub-perceptual doses of psychedelics, such as psilocybin, which is found in magic mushrooms.
Thinking about microdosing? Here’s what you need to know. Read our beginner’s guide to microdosing, including rules, protocols, benefits, safety concerns, and three tips for a safe and supportive experience.
Want to dive deep into psychedelics? Check out our guide to psychedelics: what you need to know before taking hallucinogens
First, let’s move on to psychedelics
Before we get into microdosing, it’s important to understand the basics of psychedelics and how they affect the brain.
Psychedelics are a type of drug that alters our perception of the world. They can cause changes in mood, thoughts and perception. Psychedelics are thought to work by increasing the flow of information between different areas of the brain, which can lead to greater creativity, insight, and openness.
It is technically possible to microdose other substances, including cannabis, but most mainstream media refer to psychedelics such as psilocybin when discussing microdosing.
It’s hard to know exact numbers on how many people are microdosing. However, the consumption of psychedelics, including microdosing, appears to be on the rise.
One study shows that since 2002, the use of hallucinogens has increased among adults and decreased among young people, especially teenagers. The data also shows that between the end of 2020 and the beginning of 2021, approximately 25% of people who used psychedelics used microdoses.
What is a safe amount for microdosing?
When it comes to microdosing, the goal is to take a small enough dose that you don’t experience any hallucinations or other intense changes in perception, but still get benefits, including improved mood and concentration.
Microdosing is another tool that can be used on the path to self-discovery and healing.
According to the Microdosing Institute, the standard measurements used for microdosing differ for different substances. For example, 0.1-0.3 g is often used for mushrooms. There is also a difference in weight between fresh and dried product.
Often, someone may want to experiment with the dose until they find the amount that works best for them.
What you need to know about the accumulation of microdoses
The act of stacking can also be used together with microdosing and refers to taking other non-psychoactive substances. One such substance is lion’s mane, a non-psychoactive mushroom known for brain health.
The well-known mycologist Paul Stamets studied the stacking of various substances for microdosing. The combination, known as the Stamets Stack, includes:
- Lion’s Mane
Psilocybin microdosing protocols
Although microdosing has recently gained popularity, it has long been a common topic of discussion in many circles, especially in the psychedelic medicine research community. Dr. James Fediman, author and psychologist, has been researching psychedelics since the 1960s.
Known as the “father of microdosing,” Fadiman created one of the primary microdosing protocols that works especially well for beginners.
For microdosing purposes, the protocol refers to the number of days to microdose vs. days without. Fadiman’s protocol lists the first day as microdosing, the second day as a transition time to see any lasting effects, and the third day as just a normal day. Then the cycle starts over.
Other protocols, including the one I’m currently trying, is a protocol that involves two days on followed by one day off. While one may want to follow a pre-established protocol, it is important to remember that the user has their own intuition to use during this journey. Microdosing is best combined with the inner needs and wisdom of the user.
When following one of the standard protocols, such as the Fadiman protocol, microdoses are usually used for one to two months. After this time, a break is introduced for two to four weeks. These “regular” days allow plenty of time to integrate the knowledge gained during the microdosing and allow the body and mind to make any necessary adjustments from the recent journey.
Advantages of microdosing psilocybin
Microdosing has been touted for many benefits, and like most earthly medicines, research is mixed and ongoing. Although microdosing magic mushrooms can be called herbal medicine, it is technically mushroom medicine because mushrooms and other fungi belong to their own “kingdom”.
Just as animals belong to the kingdom Animalia and plants belong to the kingdom Plantae, fungi belong to the kingdom Fungi. I was recently reminded of this fact by my Psychedelic Integration Guide and Coach Sean Graves.
People may choose to microdose psilocybin for a variety of reasons. And from a beginner’s point of view, it can be difficult to know what to expect. Reported benefits associated with microdosing include:
- Increase productivity and concentration
- Increased creativity
- Improved troubleshooting
- Improved well-being
- Reduction of depression
- Improved focus
- Increased gratitude and joy
- Better ability to observe the present moment
- Improving sleep
- Reduction of PMS
3 Tips for a Safe and Enlightened Microdose Psilocybin Experience:
Now that we’ve covered the benefits of microdosing, here are three tips for effective, safe, and maintainable microdosing.
1. Determine the intention
Just like with a larger dose, deciding on an intention with each microdose can set the stage for how you want to grow. An intention is something you intend to do or feel. With microdosing, some intentions to consider might be to bring more joy to your day, feel more connected to nature, or feel a heightened sense of purpose.
Interested in the intention? Read: Intention Feeds Purpose: Follow These 5 Steps to Practice Intentional Living
During the microdosing journey, you can get key insights in various areas of your life. Some examples from my microdosing journey include thinking about wanting people to “please” as well as feeling alienated from my body and the constant fear of waiting for the other shoe to drop.
These insights come as little glimmers of wisdom that break through the noisy chatter of my daily life. A deeper awareness of them helps me understand how they affect my joy and ability to live in the present. Journaling is crucial when it comes to recording these bits of information so I can reflect on them both during and after the trip.
3. Integrate what you have learned
Another important component of microdosing psilocybin: the act of integration. The basic meaning of integration is to mix, shape, or add smaller parts to create a whole. While I’m still figuring out how to do this during my psychedelic journey, the main takeaway is to take any insight gained through medication into my everyday life and apply it to the best of my ability.
Bonus tip on microdosing
Going hand in hand with intention and journaling, my microdosing journey facilitator also recommended writing a letter to myself before my first dose. This letter is written from the point of view of a micro-doser at the end of a three-month journey.
Is Microdosing Psilocybin Safe?
After learning more about psilocybin microdosing, the next piece of information to consider includes common pitfalls and safety. Studies have shown that common side effects of microdosing can include anxiety, difficulty sleeping or feeling more tired, and general discomfort.
The Microdosing Institute also shares a list of when to microdos No recommended, including:
- During pregnancy or breastfeeding
- When refusing certain medications, such as antidepressants
- With alcohol or other drugs
- With tramadol or lithium carbonate
Although microdosing is safe for many people, it may not be a good choice for everyone.
Finding a professional knowledgeable in this type of medicine is critical when it comes to knowing if it’s right for you. Having a trusted guide also ensures that the “supplements” you take are high quality and safe.
While microdosing is safe for many, it may not be a good choice for everyone.
There are over 10,000 different mushrooms in North America, and many of them are similar. To avoid accidental poisoning, always contact a specialist you trust. Microdosing can have negative interactions with other medications, so always consult your doctor before starting microdosing.
Psychedelics and other mind-altering plants and mushrooms are still illegal in many places. Be sure to follow the law wherever you are to avoid breaking any laws.
To introduce microdoses or not?
Microdosing is another tool that can be used on the path to self-discovery and healing. Like other tools in one’s wellness toolkit, including meditation and yoga, it is a deeply personal experience. The choice of microdosing is a decision left to the user.
Taking small doses of substances such as psychedelics can improve a person’s life. As with many herbal or mushroom remedies, research is ongoing to scientifically confirm the many benefits that have already been experienced by many, including this writer.
For more on psychedelic research, check out MAPS (Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Research). Until next time, stay safe and happy microdosing!
All information included is not intended for treatment or diagnosis. The views expressed are those of the author and should be attributed solely to the author. For medical issues, please consult your doctor.