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What is Microdosing? What You Need to Know

illustration of a magic mushroom

Psychedelic drugs, such as magic mushrooms and LSD, are typically associated with mind-bending trips and spiritual discovery. However, if you head to major cities like New York and San Francisco, you’ll meet people who are taking these drugs in tiny doses to improve their lives.

Microdosing started as a secret technique tech entrepreneurs used to get a creative boost and become more in tune with their ideas. However, microdosing is no longer just a trend for Silicon Valley biohackers. Numerous health and wellness professionals turn to psychedelics as a viable way to improve the quality of life.

This post will be your complete guide on microdosing, including its uses, risks, and real scientific data about its benefits. Is microdosing for you? Let’s find out! 

What Exactly Is Microdosing?

The basic idea behind microdosing is that taking small doses of psychedelics can make you more creative, happier, social, and in some cases, deal with mental health problems. This is known as microdosing.

Although microdosing isn’t strictly limited to psychedelics, popular hallucinogenic substances like LSD and magic mushrooms are typically the main focus. Microdoses typically range from 1/10th to 1/20th of a full dose. 

The main purpose of microdosing is to achieve positive effects such as:

People who microdose don’t want any of the overwhelming side effects of psychedelics (wild hallucinations, paranoia, nausea, insomnia, etc.).

The world of microdosing is growing, and people of all walks of life try this trippy trend to enhance their performance at work and create a better emotional balance at home.

Common Substances for Microdosing

Typically, when people talk about microdosing, they mean taking psychedelics. However, there is a wide range of substances people use to microdose.

Here are some of the most common substances for microdosing. Keep in mind that some of these substances are illegal and potentially have some mind-altering side effects:

●  Psilocybin (Magic Mushrooms) – Magic mushrooms are a popular psychedelic drug you can find in almost any country. People with depression and anxiety claim that microdosing psilocybin helps treat their symptoms.- Order Neuro Botanicals — Psilocybin Microdose

●  Lysergic Acid Diethylamide (LSD) – LSD is another widely known substance popular among musicians, painters, and other creative professionals. Microdosing LSD can apparently give you a sharper focus and higher energy levels.

●  Dimethyltryptamine (DMT) – DMT is a compound in plants and some animals. It’s a heavy-duty psychedelic that usually causes out of body experience in full doses. Small amounts of DMT might help treat anxiety and aid with spiritual development.

●  CannabisCannabis, or marijuana, is not psychedelic but is a common substance for microdosing. People who microdose cannabis claim it gives them a brain boost and aids with creativity.

●  Ayahuasca – This is a plant found in the Amazon that packs some pretty powerful hallucinogenic properties. However, microdoses make you more open-minded and feel stronger connections with your peers.

●  Ketamine – Ketamine is an anesthetic and is found in horse tranquilizers. When taken in small doses, it can make you feel more relaxed. Some doctors prescribe a form of ketamine for patients with severe stress and anxiety.

How to Microdose Safely

Dr. James Fadiman is an avid researcher of psychedelics in the United States. He’s conducted dozens of experiments with a wide variety of substances and published several books on his research outcomes.

With that, he has a helpful LSD microdosing protocol that you can use as a reference when microdosing any substance.

Disclaimer: Many substances for microdosing are illegal and potentially dangerous. We in no way encourage you to try any unlawful substances. This guide is for informational purposes only. If you do decide to microdose psychedelics, do so at your own risk.

  1. Finding Your Substance – You can usually find legal substances for microdosing at your local supplement shop or grocery store. Other substances are sold on the black market.
  2. Taking Your First Dose – Make sure to try your first dose on a day when you have little to no obligations, preferably a weekend morning. Your first dose should be anywhere from 1/10-1/20 of a full dose, or about 10-20 micrograms.
  3. Take Notes About How You Feel – Always monitor your experience when taking a specific dosage. Pay attention to how you feel and how long the effects last for. Record a logbook of your experiences to use a reference.
  4. Make Adjustments – If you feel your dose is too strong or weak, make adjustments when necessary.
  5. Stay Consistent – When you find a dose you’re comfortable with, stick with it. It’s best to not microdose every day, but alternate days to avoid building a high tolerance.

Remember, when increasing your dosage do it gradually. Any large spikes could result in you experiencing hallucinations, and going to work might not be the best idea. Also, most psychedelics can stay in your urine for over a week after usage.

Microdosing Risks and Adverse Side Effects

Although most substances for microdosing are deemed safe, there are still a few risks involved you should know about before you give it a try, including:

Bad Trips

One mistake a lot of people make when microdosing is chasing the effects of a full dose. The purpose of microdosing is to enhance your brain power without tripping or hallucinating. People who don’t have experience with psychedelics may end up taking too much and have a “bad trip,” which is an unpleasant physical or mental feeling.

Usually, when people take psychedelics in full doses, their setting and mental state can significantly influence their experience. For example, if you’re having a terrible day, you should never take psychedelics as it may enhance their negative feelings. These kinds of experiences can even leave you with post-trauma or increased anxiety.

Here are a few things you can do if you or a friend is experiencing a bad trip:

●  Go Somewhere Safe – Find a secluded safe area without much noise or people.

●  Stay Together – A lousy trip with a group of friends is unpleasant, but tripping alone is terrifying and dangerous. If you or a friend have a bad trip, stay together and try your best to keep each other comfortable.

●  Communicate – Though it may be difficult to realize at the time, what you’re experiencing isn’t real. Always remind each other that it’s just a drug and that this feeling won’t last forever. 

Potentially Losing Your Job

Drug use puts you in jeopardy of losing your job. Although many professional-grade employees are microdosing, it’s still illegal and frowned upon in most working environments. Also, some companies may require you to take a random drug test. It doesn’t matter if you’re microdosing; even small traces of psychedelic drugs can still show up on a drug test.

Health Risks

While it’s nearly impossible to overdose on psychedelics when microdosing, you should still be aware of a few potential adverse side effects, including:

  • Nausea
  • Distorted sensory experiences (brighter colors, blurry vision, etc.)
  • Insomnia
  • Increased anxiety
  • Increased heart rate
  • Abstract thoughts or ideas

In rare cases, severe long-term effects can take place from habitually taking psychedelics. Two of them include persistent psychosis and hallucinogen persisting perception disorder (HPPD).

Benefits of Microdosing

Now that we’ve got all the bad stuff out of the way let’s go over some of the potential positive effects microdosing can have. Remember that many of these claims are based on individual experiences and haven’t been backed by scientific research.

Confidence, Motivation, and Productivity

Avid microdosers claim that they feel a wave of confidence and a boost of motivation and productivity throughout the day. It’s no surprise that most psychedelics improve your mood in full doses.

Some users report that tiny amounts of LSD make them more in touch with their creativity and perform better in social environments. Also, some state that microdosing has eliminated their cravings for other substances such as nicotine and alcohol.

Reduced Headaches and Insomnia

Does the daily grind give you headaches and prevent you from sleeping? Or perhaps coffee doesn’t do the trick anymore.

Some users claim that microdosing psychedelics reduces the severity of their headaches and helps them sleep better at night. Now, this may seem counterintuitive considering psychedelics in full doses keep you awake longer, but small quantities don’t seem to have this effect.

Coping With Depression and Anxiety

People living with depression or anxiety are always under mental stress. While there are effective prescription drugs to help with symptoms, they often have their troublesome side effects.

Psychedelics, especially magic mushrooms, can potentially work as an antidepressant and help users feel more self-worth and optimistic. There’s no scientific evidence to back this claim, but the current research is promising.

Magic Mushrooms for Depression and PTSD

A company in Oregon made a psilocybin nasal spray to help those suffering from depression and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). The innovative company, Silo Wellness, conducted experiments for its product in Jamaica, where the use of psilocybin for medical research is legal.

The nasal spray sends psilocybin particles through your nose, which transmit into your bloodstream via your mucus membranes.

Psilocybin is known to aid with various physical and mental conditions, including depression and anxiety. The use of psilocybin focuses more on treatment-resistant depression. This kind of depression isn’t relieved by any conventional treatments such as:

  • Prescription drugs
  • Talk therapy
  • Habit changes
  • Experimental therapy

Research from Imperial College London has shown that some patients with treatment-resistant depression went five weeks without symptoms after two doses of psilocybin. Other studies claim that a single microdose of psilocybin can reduce depression and anxiety symptoms in certain cancer patients.

To give you a better idea of how much potential psilocybin has as a therapy for mental health problems, patients would need to take prescription drugs for years to see similar effects.

Microdosing In Pop Culture

Celebrities are no strangers to psychedelics. Steve Jobs used LSD in his late teens and considered it one of the most important things he did. Many musicians, including The Beatles and Jimi Hendrix, owe a little credit to psychedelics for some of their most creative songs.

One of the people responsible for exposing the mainstream media to microdosing is author Tim Ferris. He continually writes about microdosing on his blog and claims that almost all high-level executives he knows in Silicon Valley experiment with psychedelics.

Even Bill Gates admits he’s tried LSD. We highly-doubt he microdoses, but if the former “richest man in the world” has tripped, nobody can judge you for it.

What’s the Future of Microdosing?

Unfortunately, the one big thing missing from the microdosing community is viable scientific data. As of now, it’s a trend with strong support from people who enjoy psychedelics. With that in mind, microdosing has gotten a ton of media attention over the last few years. Many big-name publishers are putting out stories about the potential health benefits of microdosing.

However, there is a lot of work that needs to be done before psychedelics become a mainstream alternative to prescription drugs.

Psychedelics offer a pattern of success that’s unmatched by most common mental health medications. But without the research to back these claims and the legal limitations, it remains an underground solution.

Final Thoughts

What are your thoughts on microdosing? Do you think it will evolve into a legitimate industry like cannabis?

Though the microdosing community stands firm behind their claims, there is still a lot of grey area to clear up about the health benefits of microdosing. Given the legal limitations and limited research, it appears we still have a ways to go before we can make any assumptions.

However, microdosing is, without a doubt, an exciting trend. If the claims are valid, then there’s no reason it couldn’t evolve into a massive industry that helps millions of people improve their quality of life.

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