Ultimate Guide to Microdosing

Microdosing has gained a lot of attention lately. Simply put, it’s a practice of taking a small amount of hallucinogenic substance seeking a positive effect on the mind without going through a full-blown psychedelic experience.  While there may be differing opinions among experts on what precisely constitutes a microdose, most believe it is ten to twenty percent of the dose that delivers a psychoactive response.

In the United States, it’s estimated that over 30 million people have had some experience with psychedelics. While a significant portion of psychedelics research centers around the health impacts of full-dose experiences, the surge in microdosing demands a deeper investigation and education to grasp its potential therapeutic benefits, minimize risks, and break down any associated stigma. Before we embark on a journey into the world of microdosing, let’s take a step back and familiarize ourselves with its historical context and sift through the evidence both in support and skepticism of this practice.

Microdosing History

The roots of magic mushroom history are not completely clear, our records paint a vivid but incomplete picture of the practice of microdosing, much like peering through a half-drawn curtain. We have fragments of the story, but not the whole masterpiece.  Now, let’s talk about Terence McKenna, the visionary American ethnobotanist who dived deep into the cultural significance of psychedelics, particularly psilocybin, across diverse global cultures, from Nepal to the depths of the Southern Amazon.

McKenna’s fascination with psychedelics deepened as he ventured further into his own experiments. He became a prominent public advocate for psychedelics during their initial surge of popularity in North America during the 1960s and 70s. One of McKenna’s groundbreaking theories, now known as the “Stoned Ape” theory, posited that the evolution from homo erectus to homo sapiens was significantly influenced by the introduction of psilocybin into their diet.

McKenna believed that when consumed in small doses, these mushrooms could have enhanced mental clarity and visual acuity. This boost elevated the proficiency of those who first partook, turning them into more adept hunters.

So, if this theory holds even a modicum of truth, it suggests that our species has been reaping the benefits of microdosing psilocybin since before we even officially became “human” as we know it today. Quite the thought-provoking concept, isn’t it?

Dr James Fadiman – Father of Microdosing

Few are aware that the contemporary fascination with psychedelic microdosing owes much to one man: Dr. James Fadiman. Born in New York, Fadiman’s upbringing unfolded in the opulent neighborhood of Bel Air, California. Following the completion of his Bachelor of Arts at Harvard, Fadiman flew on a transformative summer in Paris, where his former undergraduate mentor, Ram Dass, introduced him to the realm of psychedelics, particularly through psilocybin mushrooms. This encounter left an indelible mark, prompting Fadiman to join Dass, alongside Timothy Leary and Aldous Huxley, at the 14th Annual Congress of Applied Psychology in Copenhagen, Denmark. A panel was formed at that critical moment to investigate the potential domains of psychedelic drugs. These chats would shape Fadiman’s path, leading him back to Stanford, CA, for his Master’s and PhD studies in psychology, with a focus on psychedelics.

Fadiman emerged as a trailblazing academic, realizing the possibilities of “sub-perceptual dosing” of psychedelics, today known as “microdosing.” Unafraid of the FDA’s attitude, he and his colleagues pushed deep into microdosing research and obtained encouraging findings. Fadiman then founded the Institute for Transpersonal Psychology, a non-profit dedicated to advising people who have access to their own psychedelics and want to know how to use them appropriately. Concurrently, beginning in the early 1970s, he methodically recorded and collated anecdotal narratives from hundreds of people, which he did for four decades before giving a summary of his findings in his 2011 opus, “The Psychedelic Explorer’s Guide.”

Benefits of Microdosing

Before we start looking at the potential benefits, it’s important to note that while some may find benefits in microdosing there’s a lack of definitive evidence to firmly establish its health benefits.

Both a study conducted in January 2021 and another in March 2021 concluded that the current body of evidence doesn’t provide robust differentiation between the benefits of microdosing and a placebo effect. Interestingly, the researchers from the first study noted that approaching the experience with positive expectations often resulted in positive outcomes.

  • Improved focus and mood. An examination in 2019 involving 278 microdosers employing either mushrooms or LSD revealed that 26.6% of participants noted an uplifted mood, while 14.8% reported heightened focus. Nonetheless, the study did not explicitly delineate whether these effects stemmed from LSD or psilocybin.
  • Increased creativity. In a study from 2019, it was discovered that individuals who engaged in microdosing LSD or psilocybin reported heightened creativity and a more open-minded outlook. This phenomenon may be attributed to the psilocybin’s ability to facilitate novel communication between distinct regions of the brain.
  • Improved mental well-being. According to another 2019 study, individuals who engaged in microdosing LSD or psilocybin reported reduced levels of depression and stress over a span of six weeks. This positive outcome is believed to be linked to the impact these substances may have on serotonin ( a neurotransmitter that regulates mood). Psilocybin acts as a serotonin receptor antagonist, potentially augmenting the accessibility of neurotransmitters like serotonin.
  • How To Microdose

First of all, you need to require the substance you intend to microdose. If you are microdosing with psilocybin there are multiple different products to choose from, such as:

Choose whatever is the most convenient way of dosing for you and carefully calculate the dosage. Aim for around 10% of your regular recreational dose. For the majority of people, this would be 0.1-0.2 grams.

For beginners its best to follow Dr. Fadimans protocol. One day of microdosing in the morning followed by two days of rest. The cycle should be repeated up to 8 weeks, followed by 4 weeks resting period.

When microdosing, take a moment to relax and introspect. Tune in to your physical and emotional sensations – do they align with your expectations?  Initiate a journal to document your microdosing journey, recording as much detail as possible, including the duration of effects. These specifics will prove invaluable in determining the optimal dose aligned with your goals. 

 

What to Do When Microdosing

Microdosing seamlessly integrates into your daily routines, potentially enhancing your performance and overall satisfaction in performing them. Given the sub-perceptual nature of microdosing, you should never feel hindered or intoxicated. Here are some activities that you should consider while microdosing:

  • Work

In both professional and academic pursuits, a significant number of individuals have discovered profound satisfaction in integrating microdosing into their work routines. Some assert that it enhances concentration during extended work hours, leading to heightened productivity. For others, it serves as a gateway to achieving a ‘flow state’ of mind and facilitates overcoming mental barriers.

Microdosing infuses a sense of enjoyment into the work process and fuels the development of creative ideas, ultimately elevating the outcomes of one’s dedicated efforts.

  • Be Creative

Microdosing has the potential to greatly enhance creative pursuits like writing, painting, designing, music composition, and crafting. Numerous artists attest to its ability to amplify divergent thinking, enabling them to uncover fresh and distinctive avenues of self-expression in their endeavors. Additionally, it aids in alleviating the initial apprehension often associated with starting or grappling with writer’s block. This creative advantage can lead to breakthroughs and a more adaptable creative process.

  • Everything You’d Normally Do

Microdosing has gained a lot of attention lately. Simply put, it’s a practice of taking a small amount of hallucinogenic substance seeking a positive effect on the mind without going through a full-blown psychedelic experience.  While there may be differing opinions among experts on what precisely constitutes a microdose, most believe it is ten to twenty percent of the dose that delivers a psychoactive response.

 

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