How To Start Microdosing Psychedelics: A Beginner’s Guide
If you want to know how to start microdosing, there are many aspects of this practice you should be aware of. This beginner’s guide on microdosing will detail the main aspects, so you are in a position to get started.
We will be taking a look at the following.
- The psychedelic compounds you can microdose
- How to ensure that you take an accurate microdose of these various substances
- What a microdosing regimen might look like
Before beginning a microdosing regimen, you should know that the evidence for the effectiveness of microdosing is mixed.
We have covered placebo-controlled studies showing some benefits from microdosing. However, newer research has found the effects seem to be down to the placebo effect. In other words, expecting positive results causes the benefits.
Despite the possibility that microdosing is fully or partly driven by the placebo effect, this doesn’t mean you won’t experience any benefits. The placebo effect can still be powerful. But due to mixed research on microdosing’s benefits, it’s important to manage your expectations. Not everyone feels their mental health improve after microdosing, and for some, it is possible to experience downsides.
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How To Start Microdosing: Pick Your Psychedelic
First, you want to choose the psychedelic substance you want to microdose. The most common options include LSD and psilocybin mushrooms. However, other users will microdose with mescaline, DMT, MDMA, and compounds similar to LSD (e.g. 1P-LSD) and psilocybin (e.g. 4-AcO-DMT).
Let’s briefly explore the advantages and disadvantages of microdosing all of these compounds.
- Long-lasting, so you can experience effects for the whole day.
- Affordable: LSD and similar compounds tend to be very cheap for a full macrodose.
- It may offer more stimulation than psilocybin.
- There are multiple studies showing benefits from microdosing LSD.
- Long-lasting: this can be a downside, as well as a benefit. If you microdose LSD or a similar compound too late in the day, it may affect your ability to sleep.
- Some people don’t like the more stimulating effects of LSD.
- Some LSD is missold, so what you think is LSD could actually be a more harmful substance like DOx compounds or 25I-NBOMe. These drugs are toxic. While microdosing them wouldn’t be as risky as taking a full recreational dose of them, it is still understandable you would want to avoid them completely. Real LSD, in contrast, is non-toxic.
Microdosing Psilocybin Mushrooms
- Short-lasting: you can experience the effects of microdosing for a good chunk of your day but not the whole day.
- Magic mushrooms grow in the wild, but knowing how to grow psilocybin mushrooms is an option, too. This means it may be easier to have a supply compared to substances like LSD, DMT, and MDMA.
- The effects may be less stimulating compared to LSD, which many users prefer.
- Magic mushrooms don’t carry the risk of adulteration or being sold something else, which applies to LSD, MDMA, and mescaline.
- Some species of psilocybin mushrooms look like a toxic variety, so you need to be careful if you go out to pick them.
- Some users would prefer the effects of microdosing to last the whole day.
- Due to being a phenethylamine psychedelic (rather than a tryptamine or ergoline psychedelic, like psilocybin or LSD, respectively), the effects of mescaline may be preferable for some users. Mescaline, for instance, tends to be more associated with feelings of empathy and sociability.
- Mescaline is a long-lasting psychedelic, so the effects of microdosing may last the whole day.
- Synthetic mescaline is rare and hard to come across. This is because a standard recreational dose is 300+mg. So it is not as profitable for a chemist to produce it compared to other psychedelics like LSD, which is dosed in micrograms (ug). It may also be hard to find extracted mescaline, taken from certain cacti. You can microdose mescaline-containing cacti themselves. However, you should know that the peyote cactus only grows in very specific locations, is under threat due to overharvesting, and grows extremely slowly (making it hard to cultivate). On the other hand, the San Pedro cactus grows more quickly and isn’t facing the risk of extinction that peyote is.
- You may not want the effects of microdosing to be long-lasting.
- Mescaline, especially in its synthetic form, tends to be one of the more expensive psychedelics.
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- A DMT trip experience is often brief, but it may provide an afterglow that lasts for the rest of the day.
- Research suggests that microdosing DMT may effectively alleviate depression and anxiety.
- DMT may be less available to you than psilocybin mushrooms or LSD.
- To microdose DMT, you’ll need the proper equipment for smoking or vaporizing it.
- Depending on your reasons for microdosing (e.g. productivity), you may not find DMT as effective compared to a longer-lasting compound like LSD.
- MDMA is known to produce empathic, pro-social feelings, which someone may especially want to experience through microdosing.
- MDMA is less likely to induce feelings of anxiety compared to substances like LSD and psilocybin.
- In our guide on microdosing MDMA, we cautioned against taking microdoses of this particular compound. This is because MDMA has a greater risk of abuse and various health risks.
- For instance, psilocybin has a much better safety profile. If you want to microdose for the sake of improving your mental health, using MDMA may lead to the opposite effect.
- In contrast, research indicates that a couple of macrodoses of MDMA, in a therapeutic context, are safe and effective for the treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
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How To Start Microdosing: Getting An Accurate Dose
A microdose is a tenth to a twentieth of a normal recreational dose. But, making sure you take this dosage can be tricky.
Take LSD, for example. Some people cut the tabs (which may contain, say, 100ug) into tenths. But this isn’t likely to be accurate.
Firstly, each section that is cut out is likely to be a different size from the rest. Secondly, LSD won’t be evenly spread throughout the tab. So one cut-out section may contain more or less of the substance than another section.
People may think that weighing magic mushrooms using high-quality digital scales will lead to an accurate microdose.
However, the concentrations of psilocybin and psilocin can be unevenly distributed throughout a particular mushroom. This same issue wouldn’t apply if you were using scales for your microdoses of synthetic or extracted mescaline or DMT.
Here’s how you can more or less accurately microdose a psychedelic.
Volumetric dosing works for compounds like LSD and 1P-LSD that come in the form of tabs. Ideally, the tabs would be dosed in a way that is easily divisible (e.g. 100 or 200ug).
To do volumetric dosing, you would take, say, a 100ug tab of LSD, and place it in a small amber bottle that can contain 100ml of liquid. Next, add 100ml of distilled water or grain alcohol (e.g. gin or vodka) or a half-and-half mix of distilled water and grain alcohol into the amber bottle. Give it a shake and leave it for a day, so that the LSD has time to be distributed throughout the liquid.
Then, using a 10ml syringe with an attachable plastic tube, you can take out your microdose. 1ml would correspond to 1ug of LSD, roughly.
Powderizing Your Mushrooms
To accurately microdose psilocybin mushrooms, you ideally want to powderize them, so that each time you microdose, you will likely get the same concentrations of psilocybin and psilocin. For example, you can create magic mushroom powder by using a coffee grinder.
After you have your powder, you can then place your microdoses in capsules, making them easier to consume.
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How To Start Microdosing: Creating A Regimen
People who microdose tend to follow a regimen. This is what microdosing pioneer James Fadiman recommends, and he has suggested his own protocol of one day on and two days off. This means you microdose one day — ideally in the morning — then have a two-day break until your next dosage.
The idea behind leaving a two-day gap is that it’s enough time for your tolerance to drop.
Tolerance to psychedelics can build quickly. This means if you tried to microdose the next day using the same dose, you may experience reduced effects, or perhaps no effects at all. After two days, however, your tolerance will have gone, and the same dosage should provide the desired effects.
Another reason for leaving a gap between days is that many people experience benefits the next day, and perhaps even the day after that. Indeed, you don’t have to microdose every day or frequently to experience some benefits.
Fadiman also recommends that you limit your microdosing regimen to four to eight weeks, with two to four weeks rest before (if) you start microdosing again.
Concerns About Taking Small Doses Of Psychedelics
Some scientists have concerns about the potential heart complications from long-term microdosing. Taking small doses of psychedelics for a limited amount of time, then, is a good harm reduction practice. We simply don’t know yet the health risks (if any) that result from a long-term regimen.
Keep in mind that any microdosing regimen may involve an element of trial and error. You might need to adjust your dosage, or change the compound, before finding out what suits you best.
Moreover, make sure that you’re mindful of how your mental health changes (if at all) during your microdosing regimen. This also you to see if the practice is working for you or not. It’s why using one of a handful of microdosing apps may prove helpful.
According to a study published in Harm Reduction Journal in 2019, the potential benefits of microdosing psychedelics are most apparent related to mood and focus.
The findings of the study showed participants saw improvements in mood (26.6%), focus (14.8%), and creativity (12.9%). Additionally, some challenges were reported as well, with issues like illegality and physiological discomfort among the most prevalent concerns.
The figure below shows a more in-depth look at some of the benefits (and challenges) from participants who took part in the study. (Image via “Psychedelic microdosing benefits and challenges: an empirical codebook”)
The answer lies with each specific user, as different doses cost different prices.
In general terms, a gram of psilocybin mushrooms costs about $10 (depending on the species), whereas an eighth of shrooms costs about $40. Finally, a quarter of shrooms (7 g) costs anywhere between $55-$75.
Lastly, another option to keep the cost of microdosing down is either growing or foraging your own mushrooms. This is the cheapest alternative to buying elsewhere, but still carries risks depending on laws.
Remember, it’s critical to abide by local laws prior to purchasing or consuming any type of psychedelic.
An in-depth 2019 study into microdosing psychedelics helps answer this question — but more research is necessary to get the full scope of effects.
Per the study, microdosing led to many of the aforementioned effects, such as increased mood and creativity. However, the study’s authors wrote that “these effects were (mostly) not sustained over multiple days.”
The study also discovered that different doses often provided different levels of therapy. But, as mentioned above, more research is required into fully understanding some of the long term effects when microdosing psychedelics.
Disclaimer: We do not endorse the illicit use of Schedule 1 psychedelic compounds in a non-therapeutic setting. We do, however, hope the regulations look at the research to understand how these drugs can used in powerfully positive ways.