Microdosing

Microdosing means taking very low doses of a substance about 5% to 10%.

Not everyone who buys a psychedelic drug wants hallucinations, some just want therapeutic benefits.

Low doses enhance daily function while avoiding hallucinating or having a ‘trip’. mystical effects, unitary consciousness, or ego dissolution.

Examples of psychedelics used:

  • LSD
  • 1P-LSD
  • ALD-52/1A-LSD
  • Psilocybin (including psilocybin-containing truffles or mushrooms)
  • Ayahuasca
  • DMT
  • 5-MeO-DMT
  • Salvinorin A
  • Mescaline
  • MDMA/Ecstasy
  • NBOMe’s, 2C’s

Why Microdose?

In a study in Psychopharmacology, researchers asked people their reasoning for microdosing. 21% of people responded that they primarily used microdosing as a therapy for depression, while 7% used microdosing for symptoms of anxiety. About 9% of people who responded used microdosing to help with other mental health disorders.

Overall, 44% of people who responded perceived that their mental health was much better as a consequence of microdosing.

Anecdotal evidence shows that microdosing helps improve brain function by allowing the brain to operate at its fullest potential or making people open to new ideas.

People microdosing report:

  • Improved focus, concentration, and mindfulness
  • Improved energy, wakefulness, and stimulation
  • Cognitive benefits, such as enhanced problem solving
  • Social benefits
  • Reduced anxiety
  • Creativity
  • Reduced symptoms, such as stress
  • Improved mood, optimism, and life appreciation
  • Improved body functioning
  • Self-efficacy, including improved ambition, productivity, and motivation

What dose to start with

The point of microdosing is to take enough that you’ll feel the mood-boosting effects, but little enough that you’ll get none of the psychedelic effects.

Mushrooms or ‘shrooms’ can be taken in powder form, such as in capsules, eaten whole or boiled into a tea. The standard microdose is around a third of a gram, but can be anything from 0.1 to 0.9 grams. Anything more than that is getting into the psychedelic tripping zone.

The amount you take might also depend on how often you take it. Take a microdose every other day for one to two weeks and then take a week or a few weeks off. The main reasons for taking a break are to avoid building a tolerance and because microdosing everyday can be expensive. While dependency is less of a risk take breaks from it and monitor what its effects are on your health carefully ideally by journalling.

It’s also a good idea not to mix psychedelics with any other drugs, particularly alcohol. If you mix alcohol with magic mushrooms, it’s considered to be kind of pulling your brain in different directions at the same time (Ref Dr Nuke’s Guide to Mind Bending Drugs 2004). “The harm reduction advice is usually not to mix the two.”

Comparison to health service drugs and full doses of Psychedelics

Maastricht University (2019) used an online questionnaire to ask people who microdose to compare its effects with those of other treatments for symptoms such as depression and anxiety. The answers indicated that people found microdosing more effective than current health service forms of treatment, but less effective than higher doses of psychedelics.

The Journal of Psychopharmacology in 2022 found, Psilocybin microdosing did not affect emotion processing or symptoms of anxiety and depression compared with placebo. However the study was small and due to the legality it is hard to get so participants created their own batch of microdoses during a workshop. The doses contained 0.7 g of dried psilocybin-containing Galindoi truffles

Summary

There are lots of promising anecdotal reports from microdosers on how psychedelics have transformed their mental health, relationships, and how they feel about themselves. But how do we know if the placebo effect is driving these benefits? 

There is not much formal research into this practice yet, because most substances that people microdose are illegal and difficult to research.

Microdosing is not for everyone, and people with mental health disorders or symptoms should not use the practice to replace any treatment.

The practice of microdosing tells us that full doses of psychedelics may be too high for some people. Lower doses may still provide insights and perspective changes.

PsyNurse
Author: PsyNurse

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