Microdosing: Five Things to Consider

Golden Teacher psilocybin mushrooms on pink bright colorful background. Golden Teacher is a popular strain for microdosing.
Ella Guinan 27 Sep 2022

A few weeks ago, a friend of mine asked me where to get mushrooms. I told her to check the grocery store, to which she chuckled and gave me a look that said, “Not that type of mushroom.”

My friend has long wrestled with mental health issues and has tried a slew of various antidepressants and other pharmaceutical therapies in an effort to curb her struggles with depression and social anxiety. Unfortunately, these efforts follow a pattern – at first, they felt helpful, but each time she would gradually sink back into the same place she started.

Her therapist suggested she try microdosing psilocybin, citing numerous success stories from other patients. This friend of mine is someone who only ingests mind-altering substances for very special occasions, so she came to me with trepidation, knowing me as a trusted source with personal experience.

We are lucky to live during a time when psychedelic use–whether recreational or medicinal–is becoming more accepted and researched more thoroughly.

The act of microdosing psychedelics has been in practice for as long as psilocybin has been growing from the earth. In recent years however, this exercise has gained popularity among a wide array of populations, including those who may have never given psychedelic therapies the credit they deserve.

The failed war on drugs blighted public opinion and legislation on psychedelics for decades, making reliable, peer-reviewed research on the matter rare. We are lucky to live during a time when psychedelic use–whether recreational or medicinal–is becoming more accepted and researched more thoroughly.

The failed war on drugs blighted public opinion and legislation on psychedelics for decades, making reliable, peer-reviewed research on the matter rare.

Organizations like Baystaters, Brooklyn Psychedelic Society, and The Beckley Foundation engage in transformative work to decriminalize psychedelics and make psychedelic healing more accessible to everyone.

It’s worth noting that reasons for microdosing are not limited to mental health issues. Microdosing has been shown, anecdotally and in limited studies, to lead to increases in productivity, motivation, and/or creativity, all of which can benefit anyone, regardless of mental health status.

**While LSD and MDMA are also effective tools for microdosing, this article focuses on psilocybin.

Locate a reliable source.

Something that often deters people from experimenting with microdosing is a lack of knowledge on where to safely obtain mushrooms. I wish there was a place I could directly send you to get some, but sadly, the nation in which we live – and its prohibitive drug laws – makes this somewhat of a chore.

Any time you use drugs it’s vital to trust your source. Luckily, this is becoming easier to do with cannabis, however, the same cannot yet be said for psychedelics in Vermont. There have been recent efforts on the state level to decriminalize some psychedelics throughout Vermont

Suggestion: The good news is there’s a fair amount of overlap between cannabis users and psychonauts. I recommend you ask a friend who smokes weed if they could direct you to a reliable psilocybin source. Chances are they can!

Gauge intention.

According to the Microdosing Institute, the best results are found in those who microdose with preparation and intention. As is found when ‘macrodosing,’ mindset is key to a successful experience.

As is found when ‘macrodosing,’ mindset is key to a successful experience.

Before you get started, loosely outline what you wish to gain from your microdosing experience. ‘Loosely’ is the operative word here – don’t expect a drastic shift immediately. Just like talk therapy, benefits unfold over time and often require patience.

Dried psilocybin mushrooms in vegan capsules. Grind your mushroom in a coffee grinder – let the fine powder settle for a moment before you open it, or you’ll get a nice cloud of mushroom dust in your face! Then use a micron scale to precisely measure out your dose per capsule.

Suggestion: Get a journal. Take at least five minutes to freely write whatever pops in your head when you think about yourself microdosing and what you’d like to gain from it. Journaling on its own is a powerful mechanism that can unlock thoughts and ideas you didn’t even know you had! Tap into what you’re seeking and let the mushrooms take it from there.

Research dosing methods and amounts.

There are dozens of step-by-step microdosing guides both online and in print form. Some scientists, like Dr. James Fadiman, have written whole books on the matter and worked it out to a ‘science.’

Researchers generally consider a microdose to be about 1/10 or 1/20 of a “normal recreational” dose. If you’re a beginner, start low and go slow, like with edibles. General ranges for dried psilocybin mushrooms:

  • Microdose: 0.1–0.3g
  • Creative dose: 0.5–1g (test out these doses before taking at work!)
  • Typical party dose: 2–3g (a full trip dose)

It’s suggested that you get a micron scale and a coffee grinder, and measure out your doses precisely for a surprise-free experience.

A common misconception about microdosing is that it should be done every day. The vast majority of specialists suggest the best approach is to alternate days.

Suggestion: Try multiple different dosing methods. I’ve found this guide, in particular, is thorough and wide-ranging. It offers various methods and also touches on microdosing LSD.

Everyone is different.

What works for some people, doesn’t work for others. While some might have life-changing experiences after two tabs of acid, this could result in somewhat of a nightmare for others.

If you or anyone in your family has a history of schizophrenia or another psychotic disorder, please proceed with extra caution, or consider not proceeding down this path at all.

An abundance of misinformation exists around high-THC products causing mental breakdowns, with similar narratives pushed for substances like LSD and mushrooms.

Peer reviewed studies have shown in recent years that psychedelics do not necessarily cause psychosis; the propensity to develop the condition was already there. Nevertheless, you may want to exercise caution if you are concerned about psychotic disorders.

Suggestion: While developing a psychotic disorder as a result of microdosing is thought to be rare, it’s still important to be considerate of what may be lying dormant.

Do your own research.

Look into microdosing beyond this article!
Browse some subreddits for more discussion on the topic.
Google recent doubleblind peer-reviewed studies (see a few below).

Thanks for reading!

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Peer Reviewed Studies on Microdosing

Powerful substances in tiny amounts: An interview study of psychedelic microdosing (2018)

A systematic study of microdosing psychedelics (2019)

Psychedelic Microdosing: Prevalence and Subjective Effects (2020)

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