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Microdosing

A Brief Introduction

Microdosing involves taking tiny, almost imperceptible amounts of psychedelics, like psilocybin mushrooms. Unlike the profound effects of larger doses, microdosing gently alters mood and thought.

For newcomers to psychedelics, microdosing is a mild start. It's a way to get a feel for the effects without a full-on trip. Advocates claim it can boost creativity, uplift mood, and sharpen focus, positioning it as a tool for personal enhancement.

Remember, everyone's body reacts differently. It's essential to find a microdosing schedule that suits you. Some might feel sleepy and prefer dosing at night, while others experience energy and creativity, choosing to dose before work.

Always check local laws regarding legality. While it remains federally illegal, through education and advocacy, we aim to change perceptions and harness its potential for societal good.

Microdose 101

Covering all there is to know about microdosing psychedelics.

The Pros and Cons of Microdosing: A Deep Dive

Microdosing, the practice of consuming minuscule amounts of psychedelics like LSD or psilocybin, has garnered significant attention recently. At its core, the purpose is to ingest just enough to glean potential benefits without experiencing a full-blown high or intoxication. This approach, which usually involves taking about 1/10 to 1/20 of a typical recreational dose, has intrigued many for its proposed advantages. However, as with all things, it comes with its set of drawbacks.

Benefits of Microdosing:

  1. Mood and Well-being: Advocates argue that microdosing elevates mood and improves overall well-being.

  2. Increased Focus and Motivation: Some individuals report heightened concentration and a boost in motivation during their day-to-day tasks.

  3. Reduced Anxiety: A segment of microdosers has highlighted its potential in decreasing anxiety levels.

  4. Clearer Thinking: There's anecdotal evidence that suggests microdosing may clarify one's thoughts, allowing for more organized thinking patterns.

 

Drawbacks and Risks of Microdosing:

  1. Legality: One of the most glaring issues with microdosing is its illegality in many jurisdictions. This not only poses a legal risk but also raises concerns about the purity and quality of substances procured from unregulated sources. (Strength of mushrooms can vary wildly between the same batch of genetics and some strains have been selected for potency)

  2. Mixed Research: While some have reported benefits, others in studies have experienced increased anxiety, low moods, and even difficulty in social settings.

  3. Physical Side Effects: Some reported side effects include problems with attention, brain fog, low energy, appetite changes, stomach upsets, migraines, headaches, and uncomfortable sensations such as numbness or tingling.

  4. Anxiety and Microdosing - Some individuals report heightened anxiety on microdosing days, often due to slightly high doses or excessive stress. Psychedelics can induce mania, particularly during prolonged microdosing. Those with anxiety disorders should proceed with caution, considering very low starting doses or microdosing only under ideal conditions. Guidance from a healthcare professional is highly recommended in these cases.

  5. Mood Swings and Destabilization - Some microdosers find their microdosing protocol to be temporarily destabilizing, especially when a considerable amount of unprocessed psychological issues or life stressors are present. It’s up to each person to find their own sense of balance, but if you find yourself in a particularly turbulent or stressful time in your life, it might not be the best time to initiate a microdosing protocol.

  6. Sleep and Digestion - Some microdosers report that regular microdosing can negatively affect sleep patterns and digestion. In all cases where negative effects such as these are experienced, we recommend lowering the dose and perhaps taking a break from your microdosing regimen if the effects persist.

  7. Unconfirmed Long-Term Impact: As with many substances, the long-term effects of microdosing remain uncertain due to the lack of comprehensive research.

 

Typical Microdosing Schedules: While there isn't a one-size-fits-all schedule for microdosing, many individuals tend to follow certain patterns based on anecdotal evidence or personal preferences:

  1. Fadiman Protocol: It’s named after Dr. James Fadiman, who created this protocol to observe the effects of microdosing by clearly distinguishing between microdosing days and non-microdosing days. Dr. James Fadiman’s protocol is an excellent basis for a first microdosing experiment. It assumes a 3-day cycle, which you follow for four to eight weeks.

  2. Microdosing Institute Protocol: Every second day. This can increase the effectiveness of microdosing especially when microdosing for medical purposes or psychological challenges such as depression, social anxiety, ADHD/ADD, migraine, or cluster headaches.

  3. Daily to Weekly: Some individuals may opt to microdose daily, while others may choose a more sporadic, weekly approach. Duration varies, with some continuing for weeks, months, or even years.

  4. Stamet's Stack: The combination of psilocybin, niacin (vitamin B3), and the medicinal mushroom Lion’s Mane. This microdosing stacking method has a positive and lasting effect on the brain. The protocol calls for 4 days of microdosing, followed by 3 days off. Continued for a 4 week duration, followed by taking 2-4 weeks off for a tolerance reset.

  5. Nightcap Protocol: Some people experience slight fatigue while microdosing magic truffles or magic mushrooms. Therefore, Microdosing Institute devised the Nightcap Protocol, which involves microdosing every second day before bedtime to take advantage of this weariness and get a decent night’s sleep. People who microdose like this report that they’re having more vivid dreams and waking up feeling more refreshed and brighter than before they began microdosing.  (Note: Do not try with LSD or LSD analogues)

 

Legal Landscape: Although the U.S. federal stance categorizes psychedelics as illegal, some states and cities have embarked on decriminalization. Oregon, for instance, made history in 2020 by approving psilocybin-assisted therapy in supervised healthcare facilities.

Precautions: Certain individuals should consult a qualified healthcare practitioner before using psychedelic substances. It is also essential to source these substances from reputable providers to minimize risks. The following groups need to take special precautions:

  • Pregnant or breastfeeding women

  • Individuals currently using lithium

  • Individuals currently using tramadol

  • Those diagnosed with schizophrenia or bipolar disorder (I or II)

  • People with red/green color blindness (due to potential visual trails based on preliminary research)

  • Those on antidepressants, as there are specific considerations to keep in mind. Refer to the detailed information provided below.

Here is some more information about precautions and potential side effects that you should be aware of.

Lithium influences sodium movement in nerve and muscle cells, which plays a role in controlling excitation and mania. It is commonly used to manage manic episodes in bipolar disorder. However, when combined with high doses of psychedelics, lithium can lead to a coma-like state and increase the risk of seizures.

Tramadol, marketed as Ultram, is an opioid medication designed for moderate to severe pain relief. It functions by activating opioid receptors and inhibiting the reuptake of noradrenaline and serotonin. However, its use alongside serotonergic medications can heighten the risk of serotonin syndrome, a potentially serious condition.

 

Driving and Operating Machinery - When microdosing at the correct dosage, impairment is unlikely, and you may even experience increased focus. However, during the initial phase of your microdosing regimen, as you determine the appropriate dosage, exercise caution. Avoid driving or operating machinery for three hours post-dose. Refrain from these activities entirely if you feel impaired at any point.

Antidepressants and Serotonin-Related Medications and Supplements -

Caution is advised for those using antidepressants or serotonin-related medications and supplements (such as 5-HTP, tryptophan, Garcinia cambogia, St. John’s wort) while microdosing. The primary concern arises with larger doses of psychedelics, but understanding potential interactions at any dose is crucial. When microdosing, it's recommended to dose earlier in the day and delay any other medications for 6-8 hours afterwards. If you're on antidepressants, including SSRIs, SNRIs, MAOIs, TCAs/TeCAs, NRIs/NDRIs, or SMS/SARIs, please review the information on Serotonin Syndrome to be aware of possible risks. Note that the effects of psilocybin mushrooms differ significantly from those of traditional antidepressants like SSRIs, contributing to their distinct efficacy.

Serotonin Syndrome - The primary concern when combining antidepressants (SSRIs, SNRIs, MAOIs, TCAs/TeCAs, NRIs/NDRIs, SMS/SARIs) with psychedelics is the risk of serotonin syndrome. This rare but serious condition arises from excessive serotonin levels in the body, a chemical vital for nerve cells and brain function. Symptoms vary from mild (shivering, diarrhea) to severe (muscle rigidity, fever, seizures). It can occur with dosage increases or the introduction of new drugs. Mild cases may resolve within a day of discontinuing the causative medications or taking serotonin-blocking drugs.

Final Thoughts: While there's a growing interest in the potential therapeutic uses of psychedelics for conditions such as depression, PTSD, and substance use disorders, it's imperative to approach microdosing with caution. The potential risks, both legal and health-related, might overshadow the purported benefits. As always, staying informed and prioritizing safety is essential.

Microdose Links

Trusted links in our community for education and support.

Harvard Law | Petrie-Flom Center Blog | Microdosing at Work: Business and Legal Implications

https://blog.petrieflom.law.harvard.edu/2022/04/08/microdosing-at-work-business-and-legal-implications/#more-30871

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