Updated: Jan 31
What is Microdosing?
Microdosing is the act of consuming sub-perceptual (unnoticeable) amounts of a psychedelic substance.
Many individuals who have integrated microdosing psilocybin mushrooms into their weekly routine report higher levels of creativity, more energy, increased focus, and improved relational skills, as well as reduced anxiety, stress, and even depression.
Some enthusiasts also report that microdosing psilocybin has helped them heighten their spiritual awareness and enhance their senses.
How to Microdose
Experts in this area suggest different microdosing regimens. James Fadiman recommends taking a microdose once every three days: Take a microdose on Day 1. Then, do not take a microdose on Day 2 or Day 3. On Day 4, take another microdose.
Continue this process for several weeks.
For most people, morning is the best time because the beneficial effects will last throughout the day without interfering with sleep. It’s also helpful to take daily notes in a journal to observe the effects throughout this process and adjust accordingly—or just notice the positive changes.
It’s also important to follow your usual routine while microdosing. The purpose is to enhance your day-to-day existence by integrating microdoses into your routine, so don’t change what you normally do. However, when you try microdosing for the first time, take a day off from work and social commitments. This will give you a chance to notice any unusual effects before microdosing in a more public situation.
While it may seem like you would only feel the effects of the microdose on the days you actually take it, try to observe the effect on the two days between doses, too. Many people perceive increased feelings of flow, creativity, and energy the day after they microdose in addition to the day of microdosing.
Microdosing plus Lion's Mane Mushroom Extract
Paul Stamets recommends a different microdosing protocol. He suggests taking a microdose every day for four days, then taking three days off to avoid building up a tolerance. He also suggests making psilocybin a central part of the stack, which also includes lions mane and niacin, to help with neuroplasticity and general well-being.
Psilocybin and lion’s mane both have the capacity to create new neurons and neural pathways, and also to repair existing neurological damage. Niacin works as a flushing agent and carries GABA across the blood-brain barrier, which helps with the distribution of the psilocybin molecules.
All together, Stamets believes that “this unique combination of compounds can be incorporated into other therapies with such combinations providing unique advantages for medically significant advancements in repairing neurons, removing amyloid plaques, improving mental health, cognition, agility, and improving overall the ecology of consciousness.”
What not to do
Microdosing every day is not recommended. Because your body produces a tolerance to psilocybin, you might see diminishing returns after a few days if they are taken every day. This is why Fadiman suggests leaving a couple of days between each dose. Plus, the fact that positive effects can sometimes be felt many days after a microdose is a good reason to space out your doses.
What research says
Psychedelic researchers have also discovered that psilocybin can have positive effects on mood disorders and anxiety. In fact, The Beckley Foundation is spearheading the push for the legalization of psilocybin mushrooms, backed by their research showing that psilocybin has long-term positive effects for treatment-resistant depression patients. Recently, Oakland,
California decriminalized all plant medicines including psilocybin mushrooms, a move that followed Denver, Colorado’s, successful referendum to decriminalize psilocybin mushrooms.
Psilocybin is also proving effective at treating addiction. Researchers from Johns Hopkins found that 80% of smokers who took psilocybin as part of cognitive behavioral therapy were able to quit tobacco completely.
Mushrooms (and LSD) have also been found to have comparable or better results in treating cluster headaches than most conventional medications—many people have experienced extended periods of remission after treating their headaches with psychedelic substances.
With all these encouraging results on full doses of psilocybin, there’s reason to believe that microdosing could bring about similarly positive life changes.
Microdosing in the Professional World
Taking mushrooms is a siren’s song luring fast-track professionals to boost their creativity and greatly enhance their work performance. It feels like the next level up from asking your doctor for a prescription of Adderall. White-collar professionals and college students alike cite their Attention Deficit Disorder to get a prescribed drug that elevates their adrenaline, sharpens focus and helps people to work better and faster.
Steve Jobs was said to have partaken in psychedelics and playfully derided his rival, Bill Gates, as being “unimaginative” and suggested that he should drop some LSD. Scott Adams, the creator of the Dilbert cartoon strip, pundit on YouTube and Periscope and resident of Northern California, claims that he took mushrooms once and it was the best day of his life and he no longer felt any limits to his life and career success.
Joe Rogan, the host of one of the most listened-to podcasts and another California resident, is a big proponent of micro-dosing mushrooms and has had numerous guests on his shows, ranging from scientists to MMA fighters, who have shared their positive experiences from micro-dosing.
What the FDA has to say
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration granted two psychedelics—psilocybin and MDMA—as “breakthrough” designations, which permits them to be clinically researched after showing promising potential in treating patients with mental health conditions.
One study showed that participants scored higher than usual in connectedness, creativity, focus, happiness, productiveness and well-being. However, it didn’t last long, which is counter to the argument that one dose will last long or even change your life forever.