Microdosing is the act of regularly consuming low, sub-hallucinogenic doses of a psychedelic. Long term microdosing has been reported to improve mood, increase of energy, boost creativity, improve troubling or emotional menstrual periods, lead to healthier choices (food choices, exercise, yoga), improve focus, reduce anxiety and stress (to only scratch the surface).
The term ‘microdosing’ can be broken down into these three components:
- The low dose use of a psychedelic (dose)
- A schedule of multiple dosing sessions (protocol)
- The intention to improve well-being and enhance cognitive and/or emotional processes (intention)
TABLE OF CONTENTS:
1. FINDING YOUR DOSE
Many people report landing on 100mg for their ideal dose. If the immediate effect is too much, we recommend dropping your dose to 50mg, if the immediate effect is entirely unnoticeable, experiment with going up to 150mg (or higher). Give yourself time to explore and do not compare your dose to the next person – do what feels right to you.
Note: Taking your microdose on an empty stomach will increase its effects.
What to Expect When Microdosing
Microdosing should just help shift you into the zone of “me, but on a great day”.
Generally, the immediate effects last 4 – 6 hours but it’s common to experience an ‘after glow’ the next day. Some people enjoy the day after as much, if not more, than the dose day.
On your dose days: The effect of a microdose is subtle yet noticeable. You should be able to go about your daily routine without any impairment. It’s common for people who microdose to report the following on dose days: music sounds better, they’re more empathetic, more energetic, they pause to think before they speak, they’re more aware of their surroundings (especially nature), their focus feels sharper and they are able to stay on-track.
On your non-dose days: Many microdosers report experiencing an afterglow the day immediately after a dose day. The introspective effects in particular tend to draw out into the next day. Two days of non-dosing will bring you back to baseline.
With time: As you microdose, pay attention to whether your baseline is rising. Over time, many people notice broader improvements in mood, experiencing overall stronger focus and memory, feeling more inclined to live a healthy lifestyle, becoming more engaged and present — this list is very expansive.
Note: Be mindful of microdosing with stimulants such as coffee, energy drinks and ADHD medications.
2. FINDING YOUR PROTOCOL
We recommend picking two days every week to microdose. For example, every Saturday and Tuesday morning.
Depending on your experience, you can increase the frequency. You have the flexibility to choose whatever schedule aligns with your personal goals and lifestyle. The only rule we recommend is to take at least two days off per week. Popular protocols include Dr. James Fadiman’s 1 day on, 2 days off, repeat. Another popular protocol, developed by Paul Stamets, recommends 5 days on, 2 days off, repeat.
We recommend taking your first microdose on a day where you do not have many responsibilities (like a Sunday) to explore the effects in a comfortable environment.
Another recommendation is to take a one-week break after two months of microdosing. This will allow you to observe the differences you’re experiencing.
3. INTENTION SETTING
Before entering into a microdosing protocol it is important you understand why you are doing it in the first place. Is it to be more present? Improve your mood or memory? Feel happier? Have better focus? The reasons why will be deeply personal to your individual experience. Once you find your intention, remind yourself of it daily (we like to write it on a sticky note and hang this somewhere we look at often).
It is also important to follow your usual day-to-day routine while microdosing. The entire purpose of the experience is to enhance your normal everyday life through the addition of microdosing.
A helpful tool to create an optimal microdosing experience is journaling. This will help you document the effects you were intending to feel, and the ones that may surprise you. This will also allow you to notice the different effects on dose days and non-dose days.
Some unexpected effects users often note are: sleeping better, feeling more inclined to eat well or be more active, and a more positive reaction to challenging situations.
There are many benefits to microdosing – it’s why we do what we do! Below are the most documented.
To increase the frequency and intensity of desirable states/outcomes, including:
- Improved mood
- Flow states
- Pro-social behaviour
- Mental clarity
- Relational skills
- Athletic coordination
- Leadership development
- Social abilities
To decrease the frequency and intensity of undesirable feelings caused by various mental states, such as:
- Psychosomatic issues
The biggest reported risk surrounding microdosing is in regard to its legality (you can read about this here). Beyond the legal risks of microdosing the treatment has proven to be incredibly safe. How safe? Check out this article and if you want to read the full findings from the 2019 Global Drug Survey you can do that here (mushrooms start on page 93).
6. FLOW STATES
A “flow state” is often described as being in “the zone”, completely immersed in your current experience.
Have you ever been so absorbed in a project you’re working on that an entire afternoon effortlessly passed you by? If so, you were most likely experiencing a flow state.
Studies have shown that psilocybin causes brain waves to shift toward alpha oscillations, which is also seen in the transition to a flow state. Additionally, higher levels of serotonin are found during flow states which psilocybin encourages.
Perhaps most importantly, psychedelics have the ability to quiet the default mode network and foster an opportunity for our brains to make unique connections between areas that don’t usually communicate. This is crucial to accessing flow states.
Since we know that low-moderate doses of psychedelics can induce similar effects to a flow state in the brain, it seems likely that a regular microdosing regimen could begin to shift our awareness in the direction of flow.
7. THERAPEUTIC USE
Anecdotal evidence supports the notion that a regular microdosing protocol can help people struggling with depression, anxiety, PTSD, ADD/ADHD, mood disorders, and/or addiction. Here are some examples:
In 2019, the Harm Reduction Journal published a study documenting the experience of microdosers in a sample of 278 subjects. It was one of the most rigorous studies on microdosing ever completed and supports the anecdotal documents of improved mood, focus, creativity, and the like. We highly recommend you read through their findings.
If you microdose while attending psychotherapy (we highly recommend), you may find it easier to talk about issues that were previously difficult to access. You may also notice creative insight into yourself, your past, and your relationships that you previously didn’t understand, providing a new avenue for personal growth.