Microdosing refers to regularly taking psychedelic drugs such as LSD or psilocybin (magic mushrooms) in micro amounts. People are microdosing to experience heightened senses, creativity, and focus and improve mental health. However, there are both benefits and risks. Read more to acknowledge the effects, safety, pros, and cons of microdosing.
Microdosing involves taking small amounts of psychedelic substances to enhance senses, creativity, focus, and mental health.
Popular microdosing protocols include the Fadiman Protocol and the Stamets Protocol. Still there is insufficient evidence to support the safety and efficacy of microdosing.
Microdosing carries the risks of short and long-term health risks. Consult with a healthcare provider to minimize risks while microdosing.
What is microdosing? Popular protocols
Microdosing refers to taking a small dose of a psychedelic substance, such as LSD or psilocybin, to experience heightened mood, alertness, creativity, and well-being. The goal of microdosing is not to induce a full-blown psychedelic experience but rather to enhance productivity, creativity, and well-being. Popular microdosing protocols are:
- Fadiman protocol. Dr. James Fadiman developed this protocol, considered one of the pioneers of microdosing. The protocol involves taking a microdose of a psychedelic substance every three days for at least four weeks.
- Stamets protocol. The protocol was developed by Paul Stamets, a mycologist who advocates for the use of psychedelics. In Stamets protocol, psilocybin is microdosed with Lion's Mane mushrooms and vitamin B3 for four days, followed by three days of no microdosing for a month.
Potential benefits and risks of microdosing
While the use of psychedelic substances remains controversial, there is growing evidence to suggest that microdosing may offer a range of potential benefits, including:
- Increased creativity and alertness
- Improved mood and well-being
- Increased physical energy
However, microdosing may cause short-term side effects, including:
- Increased heart rate
The long-term effects of regular microdosing are not well-understood.
Safety while microdosing
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, there is insufficient evidence to support the safety and efficacy of microdosing. Before microdosing, be aware of the following:
- Great variations of potency within mushrooms. Magic mushrooms are not regulated, and their potency changes between species.
- Inconsistent dosage. You can't really know the amount of active ingredients found in a magic mushroom. That's why it is unlikely to spot your exact dosage you took due to the lack of regulation and the illegality of using psychedelics.
- Overdosing. Effects subside over time. Regular microdosing can cause physiological tolerance to psychedelics such as psilocybin and LSD. Overdose of psychedelics can cause medical emergencies, including bad trips, fear, paranoia, hallucinations, psychosis, and coma.
- Legality. In most countries, the use of psychedelic substances is illegal or restricted. In the United States and the United Kingdom, psilocybin is a Schedule I drug, and it's illegal. However, in the USA, psilocybin is decriminalized in Denver, Oakland, California, and Oregon.
- Interactions with medications or pre-existing conditions. Microdosing may interact with medications and certain medical conditions, like heart disease or seizures.
Minimize the risks while microdosing
In order to minimize risks, you can:
- Start with a low dose. It's recommended to start with a low dose to minimize the risk of adverse effects and assess sensitivity to the substance.
- Know your source. Ensure that psychedelic substance has been tested for purity and potency. Impure substances can contain harmful contaminants that may pose health risks.
- Take breaks. It's important to take breaks from microdosing to allow your body and mind to rest and return to their baseline state. This can help minimize the risk of tolerance, dependence, or adverse effects on mental health.
- Don't combine substances or drugs. Combining psychedelic substances with other substances can increase the risk of adverse effects and may be dangerous. Avoid combining substances while microdosing.
- Be mindful of your environment. A safe and familiar environment can improve the experience. Avoiding potentially stressful or overwhelming situations while microdosing is also recommended.
- Be extra cautious if you have health conditions. Microdosing can cause adverse effects in the case of heart diseases and psychiatric diseases such as depression, anxiety, and bipolar disorder.
- Consult with a healthcare provider. It's crucial to consult with your healthcare provider before starting microdosing. They can inform you about potential risks considering your health.
Microdosing may enhance productivity, creativity, and well-being but has potential risks. Minimize them by starting with a low dose, taking breaks, avoiding combining substances, being mindful of the environment, and, most importantly, consulting a healthcare provider.
What substances can be used for microdosing?
Psychedelic substances like LSD and psilocybin are commonly used for microdosing. However, other substances like ketamine and MDMA have also been used.
What determines the effects of a microdose?
The effects of a microdose can vary depending on many factors, including the individual characteristics, the substance, and the dose used.
Is microdosing addictive?
Regular microdosing can lead to psychological addiction due to positive outcomes such as the heightened feelings and well-being it provides.
- Harvard Health Publishing. The popularity of microdosing of psychedelics: what does the science say?
- American Addiction Centers. What is microdosing? Effects & dangers.
- Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews. The emerging science of microdosing: a systematic review of research on low dose psychedelics (1955–2021) and recommendations for the field.
- Translational Psychiatry. Microdosing with psilocybin mushrooms: a double-blind placebo-controlled study.