Updated: May 7, 2020
What is Microdosing, how do you do it, what does the experience feel like, are there any risks to take into consideration, and does it really live up to all the hype?
If you haven't already checked out the episode, head on over to The Lunita Podcast and give Episode 2: Microdosing Psychedelics a listen. Remember to subscribe to the Podcast, leave us a review if you like the show, and give us a follow on Instagram for updates and conversations with the community.
On this episode, Nina and Justin break down Microdosing -- taking small amounts of a psychedelic substance for a multitude of reasons including to enhance clarity, awareness, patience, and creativity (to name a few). We talk about the alleged benefits, personal experiences, what one can expect when Microdosing, and much more.
*DISCLAIMER: Many psychedelics are categorized as Schedule 1 substances by the federal government meaning that the possession, distribution, and use of these substances carry felony charges, large financial penalties, and possibility of incarceration. We do not condone or encourage the use of illegal substances; we are simply providing an educational foundation for those interested in the topic.
**If you find the article interesting, be sure to check out "5 Ways Microdosing has Helped Me Become a Better Father"
What IS Microdosing, and How Do You Do It?
Many of us have heard the buzzword -- "Microdosing"; Silicon Valley is doing it for productivity; artists are doing it to increase creativity; the spiritual community is doing it to access their highest levels of awareness; that weird guy at your office won't stop talking about it; but what exactly IS Microdosing?
Microdosing is the use of a small amount of psychedelic substances such as Psilocybin (the psychoactive ingredient in magic mushrooms), LSD (Lysergic acid diethylamide), DMT (Dimethyltryptamine), and even Cannabis. For this specific episode, we're focusing on the most commonly Microdosed substances, LSD and Psilocybin.
Generally speaking, there are three protocols you could follow on your journey through Microdosing:
1. The James Fadiman Method: One Microdose every three days
Microdose on a Tuesday (dose day)
No Dose on Wednesday (after-effects day)
No Dose on Thursday (baseline day)
Microdose on Friday and repeat
2. The Paul Stamets Stacking Method: Five days on, two days off. Paul also says users should be stacking psilocybin with lion's mane for its positive neurotrophic properties as well as niacin.
Microdose on Monday
Microdose on Tuesday
Microdose on Wednesday
Microdose on Thursday
Microdose on Friday
Take Saturday and Sunday off
3. The "Anything Goes" Method: Users take the substance when they feel like they could benefit from it.
A user has a project due, so they take LSD to increase productivity throughout the day.
A user has a social event they plan to attend, so they take psilocybin to ease anxiety.
*NOTE: No matter which method a user decides on, it's recommended to take notes of the experience, that way one can be sure to have awareness of how they react to the specific substances and doses.
What Does the Experience of Microdosing FEEL Like, and What are Some Reasons People are Microdosing?
Microdosing is the use of a small enough amount of a psychedelic substance whereas the user can go about one's day without fear of "tripping" but still feel a subtle increase in creativity, awareness, productivity, focus, and more.
A common fear is that one doesn't want to go to work high as all hell.. so, do you feel HIGH on a Microdose? The idea is that you are taking a dose that is near non-perceptual, so if you're using correctly, you are not going to be seeing beautifully patterned, geometric shapes floating around in front of you while you're typing up that email to your boss or working on that all-important presentation for a big client that you've got coming up in the next two hours.
You're also not going to be laughing uncontrollably, speaking aloud with your ancestors and guides, dancing with the vibration of the Universe, or hiding from the large crow that has begun pecking your innards apart -- yes, these are all occurrences that one may experience on a larger dose of a psychedelic substance, but that discussion is for another episode and another post.
A Microdose experience can differ from person-to-person and substance-to-substance, but some of the reported benefits associated with Microdosing include:
An increase in your awareness; you may notice small details of everyday life that typically go under-appreciated or unnoticed to many of us.
You may feel a surge in creativity; you may have an increased desire to draw, write, paint, create.
You may feel more of a connection to those around you and the larger world in general; some report an increase in empathy or a feeling of interconnectedness between their life and the lives of others.
Users may feel more productive and focused throughout their day; some users report taking these substances to complete projects or find a perspective outside of their original thought process.
Again, each person can experience these substances differently, so remember to research before dosing, take notes of your experience, and start small.
Our Personal Experiences: Psilocybin vs. LSD
Now, it wouldn't be Lunita without some words from our very own Justin and Nina, would it?
We experimented with Microdosing both Psilocybin and LSD for around two years, and for us, each had its own set of benefits and uses. We'll break down our individual experiences with each substance and sum it up with our overall experience of Microdosing.
Psilocybin (aka Magic Mushrooms):
My initial Microdose, and the majority thereafter, have been psilocybin. Mushroom Microdoses have helped me in a multitude of ways, many differing from my experiences with LSD. They helped me alleviate stress / anxiety in social situations, allowed me to connect on a deeper level with my emotions and emotional intelligence, increased my empathy for others, and showed me, in so much more detail, the world I was living in, allowing me opportunities to be more present in the moment and giving me a new level of appreciation for life.
I typically would take a psilocybin Microdose when I needed a pick-me-up (energy and mood), when I was entering a social situation and preferred not to drink, and if I felt an urge to be more appreciative of what I have.
For days I feel my patience slipping away, my compassion or my empathy becoming something I am not invested in. I define myself by my ability to connect with others, but sometimes after a shitty night's sleep and a messy apartment and a million things to do, compassion isn't always at the top of my list. I prefer this to alcohol in social events, crowded spaces, family reunions or on days when I need to reflect on my mood.
LSD has consistently (unlike psilocybin) given me large boosts of focus and productivity. The brain just seems to be moving at the speed it would move on a great day -- a day where you slept enough, you've organized and prioritized, you've eaten incredibly well, etc. I just felt like I could run at a higher capacity.
I would typically take LSD on days when I had a specific project I wanted to work on or if I wanted to take a look at something from another perspective. It also was a great motivator and really brought a lot of drive to my day.
I typically Microdose LSD if I have a big project to do. This can be anything from writing a paper to cleaning the house. I find this is best for intense focus. It gives me a surge of energy almost from the moment ingested and regardless of what my task was, I almost always feel my day has been exponentially more productive when I have taken it.
Microdosing in General:
Justin's Final Word:
The overall experience of Microdosing has pushed me to become a better, more well-rounded human being; I find I am a more patient human being, a more appreciative and grateful human being, a more aware human being, a more creative human being, and so much more. I'm a better father, a better husband, a better son, a better brother, a better... you get the picture.
Although the vast majority of my Microdosing experiences have been filled with positivity, there were some days when the Microdose had its negative effects -- an increase in my moodiness, a scattered mind, and sometimes the dose was a little overwhelming in the first hour (the "come-up" experienced on psychedelics is real, and it can still find its way into your life via Microdoses).
With that said, I'd like to end my notes on the topic with a reminder: the psychedelic experience, no matter the dose, does not do the work for you; do not expect to Microdose and find that you are magically a more patient person. My journey to find more patience in life began well before my journey with psychedelic substances, as did my journey toward gratitude, creativity, and so on. These medicines are there to help us grow and see where we need to grow, but we must be willing to take on the brunt of the work.
Nina's Final Word:
If my mind were a desk, it used to look like this: parenting responsibilities strewn about; traumatic experiences buried at the bottom of stacks of negative thoughts, doubt, and guilt; work stresses are scattered across the desk alongside poor boundaries with family, marital stress, and the desperation to get in a nice walk with my husband and daughter, catch up with some friends, or a quick workout at the gym. Basically, I could never find anything!
Microdosing was the organizer that put everything in its rightful place, removed the clutter from my mind, shredded the piles of useless self-doubt, and taught me how to prioritize what really mattered while tossing the small shit in the recycling bin.
What Are Others Saying About Their Experiences?
Yes, sure, we've got a lot to say about the subject, but don't just take our word for it. We've researched the topic and even asked some people within the community what their experiences have been. Here's what others had to say:
"Seriousness is silly: feel good now."
"No roadblocks, pain or mental quicksand when thinking, imagining, or recollecting (which advanced further than ever before); overall productivity and behavior patterns not affected though."
"Microdosing is like a little bit of sunlight."
"[I] found that my thinking was much clearer when I was on [a microdose]. Less random thoughts bouncing around in my head. Felt very focused."
"Awakening but not overwhelming. I feel a more heightened awareness of my presence in my surroundings and am more sensitive to all experiences."
Are There Any Risks?
When speaking to others about Microdosing, you may find yourself asking, "Well, what the hell is the catch? This sounds like a miracle drug?!" Well, there actually ARE a few catches:
1. As stated above, these substances fall under a Schedule 1 categorization by the federal government. This means the largest risk when using psychedelics is the loss of your freedom.
2. Due to the illegal status of these substances, there is not much research on Microdosing yet. While there ARE clinical studies currently underway on the effects and medicinal value of Psilocybin, the studies focus on larger doses, and much of the information available on Microdosing is experiential and non-clinical.
3. When using any substance, psychedelics included, the effects can vary widely from person to person. *Note: There has been some suggestion that psychedelics can trigger serious mental health risks to some people, especially those diagnosed with psychotic disorders and those taking certain types of medication. So, please, do your research!
4. If you are going to engage in ANY substance use, be sure to test your shit. The last thing you want is to take something completely different than what you intended to consume.
Elevation Chemicals is one of the best in the industry for test kits; use code LUNITA at checkout for a 15% discount, or click here to donate your 15% discount to MAPS upon purchase.
Microdosing may not be for everyone, and there really isn't much research on the subject, but it seems that the overwhelming majority of Microdosers are reporting positive experiences with the substances.
If you ARE going to begin your microdosing journey, remember to take things slow (start small and increase from there), respect the substances for what they are (many are medicines used by Indigenous people for thousands of years), and educate yourself on the pros and cons of experimenting with psychedelics. Psychedelic substances are not for everyone, and they are by no means a miracle drug. Microdosing is just one mode of healing that is only recently beginning to be explored. While psychedelics can serve as a vehicle in which to generate change, psychedelics are not a requirement for having an open mind.
We wish you the best of luck in your search for a happier life. We would love to hear from you, whether it's something you think we missed, something you would like to add, or an anecdote you would like to share from your experiences, send it our way via Instagram, in the comments section, or to our email.
Lastly, down below, you can find a list of resources mentioned in the episode and that we have found helpful and informative. Thank you for reading, remember to subscribe to the show if you haven't already, and sign up for our monthly newsletter to get updates on what is new at Lunita.
**Like the article? Interested in more? Be sure to check out "5 Ways Microdosing has Helped Me Become a Better Father"
Resources and Book Recommendations
DoubleBlindMag.com - An up-to-date source on all things psychedelic
Paul Austin's The Third Wave - A great all-around resource on Microdosing and psychedelic use in general.
JamesFadiman.com - James Fadiman is well-known throughout the psychedelic community as one of the first in the field to clinically study the effects of psychedelic substances (back before these substances became illegal and governments propagandized their "insanity-inducing" qualities).
We also highly recommend James Fadiman's book, The Psychedelic Explorer's Guide, a must-read if you're interested in learning more about psychedelics.
A Really Good Day by Ayelet Waldman - A truly enjoyable and informative book on Ayelet's 30-day Microdosing journey.
Microdose.me - The world's first mobile Microdosing study.