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Microdosing Psilocybin: The Ultimate Guide

Dive into psilocybin microdosing, where profound transformation meets everyday life.

This comprehensive guide demystifies the art of microdosing, offering insights for both newcomers and seasoned journeyers.

Harness the potential of tiny doses to enhance well-being, creativity, and personal growth.

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1. What is microdosing?

At its core, microdosing is a bridge to our Inner Healing Intelligence. This ancient, intuitive sense can discern the ideal pathways to our well-being and fulfillment.

When used with intention, psychedelic substances can magnify this innate wisdom, acting as a compass that points us toward self-healing and realization. This subtle yet profound practice is like taking a "spiritual vitamin," nourishing the soul just as nutrients replenish the body.

Various motivations draw individuals to microdosing: the desire for spiritual growth, relief from mental health challenges like anxiety or depression, and ability to tap into flow states that enhance creativity and productivity.

Yet, the true magic of microdosing reveals itself when integrated into a holistic lifestyle that values service, community engagement, and authenticity. Embracing these pillars creates an environment where the benefits of microdosing can flourish, allowing individuals to harness its full potential.

You can start microdosing here.

Microdosing is a gradual process of unraveling and loosening the tensions in the body and mind while taking higher doses will bring emotions to the surface in a much more intense and accelerated fashion.

2. What are the advantages of microdosing over macrodosing?

Taking a large dose of psilocybin mushrooms or truffles may be ideal if you have proper integration support and can afford to take at least one or two days away from your regular routine. On the other hand, microdosing can be a gentle method to enhance your life without disrupting 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 want 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;
  • Allows you to experiment with and track dosages day-to-day and week-to-week.
You may start questioning your assumptions and everything you thought you knew.

3. 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 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 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 enter flow states and "be in the zone more easily."

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.

Take your doses in a space where you feel completely comfortable, safe, and free.

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 questioning your assumptions and everything you thought you knew.

4. What is the ideal microdosing dosage?

Everybody reacts differently to various doses; some consider .3 grams (or more) of dried mushrooms a microdose, whereas others are more comfortable with a smaller quantity 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 known for being much stronger than the average cubensis strain.

It may take a few trials to find your ideal dose. Maintaining a journal or log during the first few weeks of your microdosing journey may be beneficial so you can reflect on the results and make adjustments as needed. When in doubt, starting small and working your way up is usually better.

During your exploration phase, taking your doses in a space where you feel completely comfortable, safe, and free may be helpful. Until you clearly understand 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. Do not drive or operate heavy machinery when you are microdosing.

5. 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 encapsulate it (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.

6. Is there an ideal dosing protocol?

There are various microdosing protocols and schedules. To find the 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" protocol.

    It may be worth noting that Stamets, now in his mid-60s, who has spent much of his adult life studying psilocybin, has recently changed his recommended protocol. This fact should give you the confidence to maintain a flexible approach and allow your experimentation and results to guide you.
  • Other proponents may suggest an "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 allow you to practice working with and processing emotions without the direct aid of a substance.

Microdosing helps us recognize the root causes of unhappiness and pain and live a wholesome lifestyle that avoids these causes. Still, 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."

The medicine merely reflects your relationship with the world.

Some people recommend "stacking" other ingredients with psilocybin. Stamets suggests adding lion's mane and niacin to the microdose, as they work well with the main ingredient.

As one fan says, "Psilocybin mushrooms promote 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. 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 thoroughly.

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 the potential for nausea;
  • Medicinal mushrooms such as chaga, cordyceps, and reishi;
  • Adaptogens such as ashwagandha, bacopa, longjack, and griffonia seed;
  • Vitamins such as C or D3.

7. Can I simultaneously take antidepressants and microdose?

This question is common and complex. To stay safe, please consult your doctor before starting any microdosing regimen, especially if you have a history of mental illness or medication use. Here is an article that surveys psilocybin's interaction with various medications.

Some people feel that microdosing helps to wean and stay off various medications, including antidepressants. Some report that antidepressant medications dull or even nullify the effects of microdosing. If you decide to microdose while on these medications, you may need a higher dose to feel the desired effects.  

Some find that microdosing psilocybin is a healthier, more natural alternative to consuming various pharmaceutical agents. Microdosing may be worth a try before committing to a pharmaceutical regimen.

Please note that microdosing does not guarantee happiness. Some people find it challenging to come or stay off certain medications, even if this is their primary intent. Those who have taken these medications for years may find various intense, painful, or difficult repressed emotions coming to the surface and may want to return to their medications. And it's OK.

Coming off these medications may be an uncomfortable ordeal lasting several months. Microdosing forces us to face painful emotions and thoughts and not to run or hide from them. It's natural to contract occasionally when dealing with darkness in the mind.

For more questions about interactions between psychedelics and other medications, visit Spirit Pharmacist, Dr. Emily Kulpa, The Holistic Apothec, Dr. Erica Zelfand, or Jen Zuckerman.

8. Does diet affect my reaction to the mushrooms?

Taking a microdose on an empty stomach will lead to faster metabolization and more intense effects. Taking a dose right after a heavy meal will slow down or weaken your body's reaction as the mushroom competes with other substances to be digested and assimilated into the system. The emptier your stomach and healthier your diet, the less dose you need to achieve the desired effects.

For mushrooms to work their magic, patience and a commitment to long-term thinking, healthy living, and reevaluating relationships are necessary.

9. Are there any adverse effects of microdosing?

When microdosing, some people may experience what they perceive to be adverse side effects. Psilocybin can act as a truth serum that reveals your innermost thoughts; some of these thoughts may be painful or unpleasant to encounter.

You may feel like running away, hiding, or distracting yourself when these thoughts appear. You may feel the urge to blame the medicine for unwanted emotions.

Still, one of microdosing's lessons is to take responsibility for your responses to circumstances. You can choose to resist reality or relinquish control and surrender. The latter choice leads to freedom and joy.

Some report that microdosing makes them feel tired. Some complain of headaches or nausea. Because microdosing works on every aspect of the body/mind system, assume that energetic and emotional shifts will affect the body in sometimes mysterious ways.

For some, microdosing may amplify their anxiety instead of decreasing it. The medicine makes you sensitive to your emotions and the energies around you. Psilocybin can shake up your sense of self and make you feel vulnerable.

Sometimes, while microdosing, you may experience more fear, a natural response to the unknown. The more you face and overcome this fear, the more confident and grounded you will be. Fear is a natural part of expanding your comfort zone.

You may lose productivity and a particular type of linear focus while taking a microdose. The medicine weakens the analytical part of the mind and activates the feeling part. This shift may affect one's ability to focus on a screen, a conversation, words, or numbers.

Microdosing may cause you to feel spaced out and confused for some time. You may feel like you are losing control. These experiences can rest the thinking mind and reveal and alleviate the causes of stress or anxiety.

When you let go of expectations, the world opens up and becomes more wonder-ful.

Microdosing may change your idea of what medicine is and what the healing process looks and feels like. There are bound to be moments of unpleasantness as the "gunk" comes to the surface. The less spiritual or contemplative work one has done, the more difficult it may be to face these unpleasant emotions.

It takes time to build a relationship with the medicine, which is alive and organic. Microdosing is not like taking certain pharmaceutical medications; instead of numbing emotions and allowing you to coast and ignore the root causes of your unhappiness, mushrooms require you to become aware of and actively change the causes of your state of mind.

For mushrooms to work their magic, patience and a commitment to long-term thinking, healthy living, and reevaluating relationships are necessary. Some people see desired results right away, whereas others start recognizing significant results only after reflecting upon several months of microdosing.  

The higher your expectations, the more likely you will be disappointed in the results of microdosing. The medicine merely reflects your relationship with the world. You will be disillusioned if you expect something outside of yourself to bring you instant or eternal happiness.

This disillusionment is part of the spiritual path. Sometimes, one must repeatedly learn that all phenomena, whether pleasant or unpleasant, are temporary.

Holding onto ideas, philosophies, or desires that do not align with the truth only prolongs one's never-ending search for something better, more pleasant, and less painful. When you let go of expectations, the world opens up and becomes more wonderful.

10. What happens if I accidentally take too much?

If you accidentally take too much, it can help to move the body, eat something, get out into nature, or just lay down and rest until you feel ready to return to your routine. Remind yourself that the journey will end, and the medicine will show you whatever you need to see.

11. What about legality?

The legal status of psilocybin remains a challenge for many. In most jurisdictions (with exceptions in the Netherlands, Jamaica, Brazil, and a few other places), the possession, cultivation, and processing of psilocybin (and other psychedelics) are criminalized.

However, movements calling for decriminalizing psilocybin and other substances are gaining steam. Denver has decriminalized psilocybin, while Oakland, Santa Cruz, Ann Arbor, and Washington D.C. have decriminalized all entheogens. The following cities and counties have followed suit:

  • San Francisco, CA
  • Arcata, CA
  • Easthampton, MA
  • Northampton, MA
  • Cambridge, MA
  • Somerville, MA
  • Detroit, MI
  • Hazel Park, MI
  • Ann Arbor, MI
  • Washtenaw County, MI
  • Seattle, WA
  • Port Townsend, WA
  • Jefferson County, WA

Oregon decriminalized most substances and passed an initiative in November 2020 to legalize psilocybin services. In 2022, Colorado also passed an initiative to allow mushrooms to be part of mental health treatments.

Canada's government has tolerated the sale of psilocybin mushrooms through the Internet and in-person dispensaries, and there are widespread calls nationwide to decriminalize simple possession of controlled substances.

With the growing number of positive testimonials about microdosing, many are taking matters into their own hands and finding ways to access the medicine. If you do enough research and read articles like this, you may discover a safe way to find mushrooms.  

12. What if I want to take a higher dose?

Microdosing is a gradual process of unraveling and loosening the tensions in the body and mind while taking higher doses will bring emotions to the surface in a much more intense and accelerated fashion.

Once you start seeing the benefits of microdosing, you may want to explore taking a higher dose. You may even skip the microdoses and go straight to bigger doses. Again, there is no right and wrong way to approach the medicine.

Many written guides help you prepare for a higher dose. Here is one example. It's important to note that taking a higher dose will require more stringent preparation and integration protocols to ensure a safe and healing journey. Set and setting become increasingly important as the dosage becomes larger. Consider a guide or companion to accompany you during your higher-dose trip.

Psychedelic retreats are an excellent opportunity to experience a cohesive, supportive group setting with passionate, skilled professionals (guides, therapists, tripsitters, or spaceholders). This directory lists psilocybin retreats and guides.

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES -- for those who wish to further delve into the world of microdosing. 

The Third Wave -- information and resources on microdosing 
How One Year of Microdosing Helped My Career, Relationships, and Happiness
-- Medium article by Janet Chang outlining her learnings after one year of microdosing  
Microdosing’s Guide and Explainer
-- The Cut article that surveys microdosing  
Psychedelic Explorer’s Guide
-- James Fadiman’s book
‘Microdosing’ is touted by ’shroomers and Reddit users. Science is starting to test their claims — and finding some truth
-- Stat article highlighting microdosing study conducted by Leiden University in the Netherlands that shows that microdosing may increase creativity. 
Self-Rated Effectiveness of Microdosing With Psychedelics for Mental and Physical Health Problems Among Microdosers
-- study conducted by Maastricht University in the Netherlands concluding that microdosing may be more effective than conventionally offered treatment options.
What You Should Know about Microdosing for Anxiety -- Double Blind article surveying the idea of microdosing various substances to alleviate anxiety
The Paul Stamets Microdosing Stacking Protocol/Qi Gong Combined Practise Experiment
-- Medium article by Nick Sun discussing his experience microdosing with the combination of psilocybin/lion’s mane/niacin
Go With The Flow
-- Wired interview with Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi about flow states 
-- subreddit dedicated to microdosing
Can You Take Shrooms on Antidepressants?
-- Synthesis article on psilocybin’s interactions with various medications
How to Prepare for Your Psilocybin Journey -- Basic Preparation Guidelines 
Where Can I Get Psilocybin?
-- article detailing ways to access the medicine
Paul Stamets Microdosing Video
-- Clip from Stamets’ interview with Joe Rogan in which he discusses his recommended stack. 
Mushroom Tao At Home Microdosing Program -- Start microdosing mushrooms at home with the support of experienced psilocybin guides.

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