Microdosing can help you get in touch with your Inner Healing Intelligence, which knows exactly what’s necessary for your health and happiness. Psychedelic substances can be reliable and powerful allies to remind you of your innate capacity to heal yourself. Some people may refer to a microdose as a “spiritual vitamin.”
People microdose for a variety of reasons. Common intentions include spiritual growth, alleviating anxiety or depression, and entering flow states. Microdosing is most effective as part of a holistic, healthy lifestyle that prioritizes service, community, and truth.
What are the advantages of microdosing over macrodosing?
Taking a full dose of psilocybin mushrooms or truffles may be an ideal option if you have proper integration support and can afford to take at least one or two days away from your normal routine. On the other hand, microdosing can be a gentle method to enhance your life without disruption to your daily activities.
There are several reasons why you may choose to microdose instead of macrodose. Compared to taking a full dose, microdosing:
- usually requires less integration support, as the effects are more subtle and less jarring;
- requires less intensive preparation (although you will find that incorporating various preparation and integration practices into your life is a vital part of the healing and growth process);
- allows you to metaphorically dip your toes in the water before making a full commitment to dive in;
- allows you to retain some control instead of having to let go completely;
- gives you the ability to carry on your daily activities in a normal or even enhanced manner;
- causes no hallucinatory, visual effects;
- is more flexible because you can take a microdose anytime during the day. Some people like to take it first thing in the morning, while others like to take it in the afternoon or even right before they go to sleep (although some may find taking it before sleep may keep them up for longer than expected);
- allows you to adjust dosage more effortlessly;
- gives you the opportunity to more easily experiment with and track dosages from day to day and week to week
What are the effects of microdosing?
Technically, a microdose is sub-perceptual, which means the effects are unnoticeable. In reality, however, many people can and want to feel the impacts of a microdose. Some of the most commonly reported effects of microdosing are:
- Increased energy
- A sense of presence and groundedness
- Heightened sense of emotional, mental, and physical well-being
- Increased emotional and mental maturity
- Increased optimism
- A sense of openness, brightness, or lightness
- Heightened sensory perception
- Decreased anxiety, stress and/or depression
- Improvement in relationships and social behaviors
- Decreased negative self-talk
- Increased sense of empathy, compassion, and love
- A heightened sense of being in touch and in tune with the body
- A feeling of interconnectedness
- A sense of connection with nature and ancestors
- An expanded sense of self
- Increased creativity
- Increased mental acuity, agility, flexibility, and resilience
- Decreased need for caffeine, alcohol, tobacco or other stimulants or depressants
- Decreased addictive or destructive tendencies
- Improved eating and sleeping habits
- More clarity and less mental fog
- Less intense headaches
- Improved memory and vocabulary
- Decreased focus on pain
Janet Chang, a mental health advocate who tracked her results during a one-year microdosing experiment, remarks: “Over the year I microdosed, I became a more empathetic, compassionate, and affectionate person. I began to live with more acceptance, gratitude, and presence of mind. My workaholic lifestyle turned into one of spontaneity, creativity, self-expression, and lightheartedness. I continued to live out my values, feeling even more connected than before.”
Redditor /u/trichechus writes: “I’m on day 6 now of microdosing ~0.08 to 0.12g.
The difference is subtle yet profound.
Nothing in my life has changed, yet everything has. The empty void that sucks the life out of everything I do is still there, but somehow I can see how beautiful it is and it doesn’t impede what I do. I feel how that vacuum is actually part of my ability to connect deeply with others and the world, that it’s one side of the coin, and the other side is God. These are all things I ‘knew’ consciously through mindfulness but couldn’t feel in my being. Now it’s being embodied.
I am more present, I don’t overthink, I am in my body. I can simply be without worrying about everything. I feel inspired to do more with my life for the betterment of the world. I am interconnected.
All of this happens at such a subtle, unconscious level. So even though my day-to-day hasn’t changed, I feel like I am the person I’m meant to be, when the gunk is cleared away.”
Another journeyer says: “I’ve been MD for about 3 months and I have never felt better. I have diagnosed depression and anxiety and was prescribed lexapro but after reading about how hard it is to get off antidepressants I opted to try MD.
My energy levels are back to normal, I used to want to sleep all the time and never wanted to go out. I’ve been a lot more productive at work and home, I’ve even had enough energy to go back to the gym. It’s such a mood booster too, I am always a bit chattier on the days I MD (I MD 0.2g about 2-3 days a week).”
Many microdosers claim the practice allows them to more easily enter flow states and “be in the zone.” Mikhaly Csíkszentmihályi, the originator of the idea of flow, describes it as “being completely involved in an activity for its own sake. The ego falls away. Time flies. Every action, movement, and thought follows inevitably from the previous one, like playing jazz. Your whole being is involved, and you’re using your skills to the utmost.” Microdosing seems to be a perfect tool for some people to experience a determined, focused mindset free from distractions and negative thoughts.
Microdosing may open you up to more cyclical, instead of linear, thinking. You may find yourself being more curious and less dogmatic. You may find yourself listening more and talking less. You may start to question your assumptions and all the things you thought you knew.
What is the ideal microdosing dosage?
Everybody reacts differently to various doses; some people consider .3 grams (or more) of dried mushrooms a microdose, whereas others are more comfortable with a smaller dose in the range of .05 – .08 grams. The species or strain of mushrooms you consume also affects dosage, as some are stronger than others. For example, the azurescens species or the penis envy strain of the cubensis species are noted for being much stronger than the average cubensisstrain.
It may take a few trials to find your ideal dose. You may find it beneficial to maintain a journal or log during the first few weeks of your microdosing journey, so you can reflect on the results and make adjustments as needed. When in doubt, it’s usually better to start small and work your way up.
During your exploration phase, it may be helpful to take your doses in a space where you feel completely comfortable, safe, and free. Until you have a clear understanding of how psilocybin affects you, it may be wise to prepare for your microdose just as if you were preparing for a larger dose, just in case the effects are stronger than you imagined. Although having an ideal setting is not as crucial for a microdose as for a full dose, you may find it beneficial to avoid certain uncontrolled situations that may make you feel vulnerable (work, social, public transportation, etc.) when you first start experimenting. Definitely do not drive or operate heavy machinery when you are microdosing.
How should I take a microdose?
There are many ways to take a microdose. Everybody has a different preference. There are no rights and wrongs.
Most people like to grind dried mushrooms into a fine powder, and then either encapsulate the powder (with or without other healthy ingredients) or mix it into a smoothie or other liquid.
Some eat mushrooms raw, while others chew them dried. Tea, chocolates, gummies, and tinctures are other delivery methods.
Is there an ideal dosing protocol?
There are various microdosing protocols and schedules. To find one that works best for you, be open to experimenting and listening to your body and intuition. There’s no need to rigidly follow a protocol just because it’s popular or promoted by someone famous.
Here are a few examples of schedules and protocols:
- A “one day on, two days off” schedule is recommended by James Fadiman, the author of The Psychedelic Explorer’s Guide: Safe, Therapeutic, and Sacred Journeys. In this protocol, you take a dose on Day 1, skip a dose on Day 2 and Day 3, and then resume dosing on Day 4. The idea behind this schedule is that the positive effects of microdosing seem to last two days, and the days off prevent tolerance from building and allow you to integrate your experiences. Although Fadiman may have designed this protocol specifically for microdosing LSD, many psilocybin microdosers see great results following it.
- A “four days on, three days off” schedule is recommended by Paul Stamets, a distinguished mycologist, who previously suggested a “five days on, two days off” schedule. It may be worth noting that Stamets, now in his mid-60s, who has spent much of his adult life studying psilocybin, has just recently changed his recommended protocol. This should give you confidence to maintain a flexible approach and allow your own experimentation and results to guide you.
- Other proponents may suggest a “every other day” or an “on, off, on, off, on, off, off” protocol, or a “go with the flow” or “as needed” philosophy.
Microdosing every day is not suggested. The off-days reduce the effects of tolerance that can build up over time, and give you the opportunity to practice working with and processing emotions without the direct aid of a substance. Microdosing helps us become aware of the root causes of unhappiness and pain, and to live a wholesome lifestyle that avoids these causes, but it’s best not to become dependent on any substance. In fact, under certain conditions, you may decide to take an “off-week” or “off-month.”
Some people recommend “stacking” other ingredients with psilocybin. Stamets suggests adding lion’s mane and niacin to the microdose, as they are known to work well with the main ingredient. As one fan says, “psilocybin mushrooms promotes neuroplasticity and new neural connections, lion’s mane promotes the creation of new nerve and brain cells and niacin drives these two medicines to the furthest reaches of the nervous system. Together they work synergistically to create a compound effect that enhances learning, cognition, neuroregeneration and many other things.”
The addition of niacin has its advocates and detractors. Advocates suggest that the “flushing” characteristic of niacin provides a built-in control against over- or misuse of psilocybin and opens the blood vessels to allow the other ingredients to move through the body more quickly and fully. Detractors argue that the possibility of experiencing an uncomfortable “flush,” or feeling unsettled or unwell as a result of the niacin, outweighs the benefits.
To their microdoses, others may add:
- turmeric and black pepper; the black pepper increases the bioavailability of the turmeric, and the turmeric acts as an MAO inhibitor, which makes the mushrooms “stronger”;
- dried ginger root, to reduce potential of nausea;
- medicinal mushrooms such as chaga, cordyceps, and reishi;
- adaptogens such as ashwagandha, bacopa, longjack, griffonia seed;
- vitamins such as c or d3.