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Microdosing Psilocybin Mushrooms

Microdosing Psilocybin Mushrooms

Microdosing psilocybin mushrooms has been a popular way of taking this psychedelic for several years now. The hype surrounding the practice all began in 2015 when major media outlets like Rolling Stone, Forbes, The Independent, and Business Insider were reporting on how Silicon Valley workers were taking tiny doses of LSD to boost their energy, creativity, and productivity.

Soon, users were swearing by the mental health benefits of microdosing mushrooms, using not just LSD but also psilocybin mushrooms. Eventually, studies began to be published on microdosing, with some finding effects not attributable to the placebo effect. However, currently, the evidence generally indicates that the benefits of microdosing shrooms can be explained by the placebo effect.

What Is Microdosing?

Let’s start by defining what microdosing is.

A microdose is typically a tenth to a twentieth of a standard dose of a psychedelic.

So how much is a microdose of mushrooms? Well, since 1-2 g is enough to produce classic psychedelic effects, then a microdose would be 0.1-0.2 g.

When microdosing psilocybin mushrooms, the idea is to aim for sub-perceptual effects. This means the dose is low enough that no perceptual changes occur, but still — so proponents argue — high enough to produce benefits like positive mood and enhanced focus.

What Are The Benefits Of Microdosing Psilocybin Mushrooms?

There are many purported benefits to microdosing psilocybin mushrooms, some of which we’ve described. In summary, they include:

  • Improving a mental health condition, including depression, generalized anxiety, social anxiety, PTSD, OCD, and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
  • Resolving relationship issues. Ayelet Waldman popularized this notion in her book A Really Good Day: How Microdosing Made a Mega Difference in My Mood, My Marriage, and My Life (2017). (Also, see this article in The New York Times on how Waldman believes microdosing LSD saved her marriage.)
  • Improved focus, attention, and concentration
  • Positive mood
  • Increased energy levels
  • Less rumination
  • More present-mindedness
  • More calmness and peace of mind
  • Enhanced creativity
  • Higher levels of productivity

Nevertheless, research has not substantiated many of these claims.

What Studies Say About Microdosing

Charles University researchers found there were no noticeable benefits to microdosing psilocin. Researchers from Goldsmith’s, University of London — in a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial — concluded that microdoses of LSD “were not associated with any robust changes in self-report indices of perception, mentation, or concentration.”

In addition, a study conducted by Anya Bershad at the University of Chicago found that, overall, LSD microdoses did not cause any significant measurable effects, such as an increase in mood, reduction of depression, or elevation of cognition. A 2021 study from Imperial College London concluded that the placebo effect may explain the benefits of microdosing.

The picture is somewhat complicated, nonetheless. There are a few studies showing that microdoses of LSD create changes that go beyond the placebo effect, including increased positive mood, friendliness, and attention, and a reduction in pain perception. But in some cases, the dose (20 micrograms) would be higher than a microdose for many people.

There are also studies revealing that microdosers score higher on certain measures of well-being and cognition compared to non-microdosers. But it’s important to bear in mind that these kinds of studies rely on surveys, which do not establish that microdosing psilocybin mushrooms actually causes these benefits.

Microdosing Benefits Remain Tricky

It could be that people with better mental health and who are more open-minded and creative are more likely to microdose. There could, moreover, be an unknown cause that makes people both more likely to microdose and be creative.

Even if the felt benefits of microdosing are mostly or fully explained by the placebo effect, this doesn’t mean the benefits aren’t real. After all, the placebo effect can be powerful. If you expect to experience some improvement to your mood or mental health after taking a drug, this can encourage those effects to occur.

However, there are companies and individuals now selling microdosing kits, courses, and coaching, and the claims they make about microdosing may be misleading, given what the current research is telling us.

How To Microdose Shrooms

There are several steps you need to take before microdosing psilocybin mushrooms effectively.

Obtaining Psilocybin Mushrooms

First, you need to source your magic mushrooms. We have outlined the different ways you can obtain them, but here are the advantages and disadvantages of each of these options:

  • Picking them. This way, you can source them directly, rather than having to buy them from a dealer or online vendor. This can also be a great way to get you out in nature. Nevertheless, there are some downsides: picking might be time-consuming, you might end up empty-handed or with only a small batch, only certain types of mushrooms will grow (and only in specific locations and times of the year), and you have to be careful about accidentally picking a poisonous look-alike mushroom.
  • Buying from a street dealer. This may be less time-consuming than picking or growing, but it might feel riskier; plus you will be limited to whatever types of mushrooms he or she sells.
  • The dark web. Purchasing shrooms from a darknet market has the benefit of more choices available, as well as a review system, so you can assess the quality of different vendors and products. However, this option might feel risky and could carry with it the worry of your package being intercepted. The practical downsides are that you have to get to grips with using a darknet market, cryptocurrency, a crypto wallet, and PGP encryption.
  • Growing magic mushrooms at home. This can feel like a more private affair. Also, you have the opportunity to select the exact species or strain of mushroom you want to grow. Assuming you choose a quality vendor for magic mushroom spores, you will know for certain the type of mushroom you’ll be growing.

Choosing Your Mushroom For Microdosing

Next, you want to choose your species or strain of psilocybin mushroom. One of the main factors influencing this choice is potency.

Knowing how to microdose shrooms effectively means being aware of the potency of the mushroom you’re using, and then adjusting your dosage accordingly. This could involve some trial and error.

With Penis Envy mushrooms (left), you wouldn’t need to take as much to achieve the desired effects as you would if consuming Golden Teachers (right).

It may take a few tries before you find a dosage that works for you.

It may be easier to choose a moderately potent magic mushroom, as microdosing dosage recommendations tend to be based on these types of shrooms. This is one reason why people commonly use Psilocybe cubensis and its strains. Other reasons are that this species and its varieties are widely available and the easiest to grow.

Understand Your Individual Level Of Sensitivity

When microdosing psilocybin mushrooms, you also want to understand your sensitivity to psychedelics.

If you feel that you tend to trip harder than others despite taking the same dose, then you may require a lower dose to feel the desired effects of microdosing compared to someone who is less sensitive.

There is no standard microdose and there is a lot of variation in people’s preferred dosage for microdosing. One person’s ideal dosage could feel too high for someone else, inducing feelings of restlessness, anxiety, or giddiness.

The Fundamentals Of Microdosing Psilocybin Mushrooms

Let’s explore all of the practical aspects of microdosing psilocybin mushrooms. These encompass what you need to get started, the regimen people typically follow, and how to keep track of your progress.

First, you need to have a reliable supply of mushrooms: this means having enough to see you through your regimen, which might last a few weeks or months.

Next, you should store your mushrooms effectively: as we have seen, this means ideally having dried mushrooms and then placing them in air-tight jars with silica gel packets, which should then be kept in a cool, dark environment.

Make sure you use high-quality digital scales so you know exactly what your shrooms dosage is. If you try to guess it, you may end up taking too little or too much.

Many people choose to powderize their shrooms. Within a single batch of shrooms (whether picked or cultivated), potency can vary between one mushroom to another. Moreover, the stem and cap of the mushroom may contain varying amounts of psilocybin and psilocin.

For this reason, even weighing your dosage accurately may lead to different microdosing experiences from one time to the next. This is why powderizing your mushrooms can be helpful. This allows you to evenly distribute the psychedelic compounds. To powderize your shrooms, you can use a coffee grinder, food processor, or blender. Then, you can weigh up your preferred dose and put this into capsules.

Choosing A Regimen

In terms of microdosing regimens, users tend to follow the Fadiman protocol (developed by the psychedelic researcher James Fadiman). This involves dosing in the morning and having a two-day break in between dosing days. This break allows your tolerance to drop. Also, many people experience benefits on non-microdosing days, so don’t feel the need to dose more often.

In addition, part of the Fadiman protocol is microdosing for a period of 4-8 weeks and taking a break of 2-4 weeks before starting another microdosing regimen.

Keeping Track Of Your Progress

If you want to know if your microdosing regiment is effective, you want to keep track of the following:

  • How you feel before microdosing
  • How you feel on the days you microdose
  • Your feeling during the days after your microdose and before the next dosing day
  • Any long-term changes

If you want a simple and easy way to track your progress, you can use a microdosing app. These apps track relevant information, such as your:

  • Dose
  • Microdosing schedule
  • Intentions
  • Progress
  • States of mind (e.g. mood, energy, clarity, focus, motivation, self-esteem)

Moreover, if you set an intention for microdosing, by tracking your progress you can see if the results match your goal. However, it is worth mentioning the placebo effect again. The expectation that you will improve your mental health through microdosing could play a role in making that result occur.

Sam Woolfe

View all posts by Sam Woolfe

Sam Woolfe is a freelance writer based in London. His main areas of interest include mental health, mystical experiences, the history of psychedelics, and the philosophy of psychedelics. He first became fascinated by psychedelics after reading Aldous Huxley's description of the mescaline experience in The Doors of Perception. Since then, he has researched and written about psychedelics for various publications, covering the legality of psychedelics, drug policy reform, and psychedelic science.

Abid Nazeer

This post was medically approved by Abid Nazeer

Dr. Nazeer is the Founder and President of APS Ketamine/Advanced Psychiatric Solutions, which he established in 2016 as the first psychiatric outpatient ketamine clinic in Illinois. He is board certified in Psychiatry as well as Addiction Medicine. He completed his psychiatry residency at Louisiana State University Health Sciences in Shreveport where he held the role of Chief Resident. Dr. Nazeer is providing medical oversight to the growth plan of Wesana Clinics, with the model of comprehensive psychiatry clinics specialized ketamine and psychedelic therapies, integrated brain health and wellness centers, and technology utilization of Wesana Solutions remote patient monitoring product.

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Comments (1)

  • D.D.M.A
    May 3, 2022 at 10:40 pm Reply

    The first thing you should advise anyone before suggesting they attempt to grow them is this- In MANY countries it is illegal to grow them.

    Micro dosing is very beneficial and I practice it myself, I have for around 3 years now.
    ( I suffer from BPD, Anxiety, Clinical Depression and PTSD.)
    I find micro dosing to be an excellent option for these conditions instead of the anti-depressants, Xanax, etc that never worked for me which I was prescribed in the past.

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