Microdosing is the practice of taking very small, sub-perceptual amounts of psychedelic drugs like psilocybin mushrooms, typically about one tenth of a regular dose (50-300 mg of psilocybin mushrooms).
Microdosing doesn’t produce the hallucinogenic effects of a full dose, but users still experience an array of benefits such as:
The most common microdosing regimens are known as the Paul Stamets Protocol and the James Fadiman Protocol. The Stamets Protocol involves microdosing 4 days in a row, then taking a 3 day break before repeating the cycle, whereas the Fadiman Protocol recommends microdosing once every three days. While some users microdose daily, it’s recommended to take breaks to avoid a tolerance build up.
Many users notice such significant improvements after just a few months of following these protocols that they only feel a need to microdose occasionally.
Microdoses typically come in capsule form for more accurate dosages. Psilocybin mushrooms are often combined or “stacked” with functional mushrooms (non-psychedelic mushrooms) or other medicinal herbs for added benefits. Paul Stamets recommends combining psilocybin mushrooms with 50-200 mg lion’s mane mushrooms to enhance neurogenesis, and 100-200 mg of niacin (vitamin B3) to push the dose throughout the nervous system. Other stacks include reishi, chaga, or turkey’s tail mushrooms or herbs like ginseng or ginkgo biloba.
Microdoses are typically taken in the morning to maximize the benefits, as taking it later could make it harder to fall asleep. It’s recommended to take your dose with food, especially if it’s stacked with niacin as it can sometimes cause skin irritation. Starting with a low dose of 50-100 mg is recommended for beginners.
Many people combine microdosing with other wellness practices like meditation, exercise, or affirmations in a morning ritual. It can be helpful to keep a journal or use an app to track how you feel as you experiment with different dosages and protocols to see what works best for you.
Psilocybin connects regions of the brain that don’t normally communicate and promotes neurogenesis in the hippocampus, a region associated with learning and memory. As a result, psilocybin can ‘rewire’ the brain by breaking the negative and unhealthy thought patterns that are at the root of many mental health issues like anxiety, depression, and addiction. Additionally, psilocybin helps users feel at peace and present in the moment because it slows down activity in the default mode network (DMN), the part of the brain that’s active when we ruminate on the past or worry about the future. Psilocybin also binds to serotonin receptors, which is why it can have mood boosting effects.
Some studies suggest that microdosing positively impacts mental health, creative thinking, and task motivation, and may be useful in treating major depressive disorder, but more research needs to be conducted in placebo-controlled human trials. Fortunately, there are a number of microdosing clinical studies in progress.
Microdosing is not recommended if you are pregnant, breastfeeding, or under 19 years old.
There is no clinical research on microdosing while breastfeeding, but many moms report that it has no negative effects if done carefully. Moms in the Facebook groups “Boobies for Cubies” and “Microdosing Mummies” suggest waiting 12-18 hours between microdosing and nursing.
Those with a pre-existing risk for psychosis, schizophrenia, or bipolar disorder may be more susceptible to negative side effects when using psychedelics.
There are no known side effects of combining microdosing with other substances such as alcohol or marijuana, but it hasn’t been researched in clinical settings.