In news articles published in the United States, several high-ranking Silicon Valley tech leaders recently discussed the anecdotal benefits of taking small daily dosages of psychedelics in their daily lives. These popular accounts caused the phrases “microdosing” and “psychedelics” to go viral, and people unfamiliar with psychoactive drugs began to question what they meant.
Microdosing and psychedelics are not new trends. Contrary to what communities of microdosers and online forums believe, archeologists have long-established their spiritual significance in a wide range of ancient rites. Scientists also identified the medicinal potentials of microdosing early in the mid-20th century.
A Guide to Psychedelics and Microdosing
What are Psychedelic substances or psychedelics?
The words “psychedelic” come from the Greek words “Psukhe” and “Delos,” which mean “soul” and “manifest,” respectively. In 1957, the word was coined to describe a wide range of substances that disclose valuable parts of the psyche.
Psychedelic drugs are psychoactive compounds or herbs, natural or manufactured, that can alter consciousness and momentarily modify the senses after absorption into the blood. They can also affect cognitive function, mood, and perceptual capacities in general. Psilocybin, LSD, MDMA, DMT, Ayahuasca, and Mescaline are the most popular psychedelics.
Serotonergic psychedelics are a subclass of psychedelic substances that have a similar reaction to the serotonin neurotransmitter.
Types of Psychedelics
There are various psychedelic chemicals, some of which are naturally occurring and others that have been synthesized in a laboratory. Each psychedelic substance has a unique effect on the brain. The following are some of the most often used psychedelics today.
More than two hundred mushrooms create Psilocybin, a naturally occurring hallucinogenic molecule. It’s also known as magic mushrooms or shrooms and is perhaps the most popular material for microdosing. According to scientific studies, magic mushrooms are generally safe for microdosing and offer numerous benefits.
The substance causes hallucinations in the brain by triggering serotonin sensors, mainly in the forebrain. Mood, cognition, and perception are all influenced by this area of the brain.
Psilocybin microdosing can help you focus and concentrate, improve your mood, boost your creative ability, and even make you more sympathetic.
Lysergic Acid Diethylamide
Lysergic Acid Diethylamide, or LSD, is one of the most widely used psychedelics globally. Public celebrities such as Terrence McKenna, Dennis McKenna, and Ram Dass made it renowned in the 1960s.
It is naturally occurring in morning glory seeds, but in synthetic form; it comes as tiny pieces of blotting tissue that has been covered in LSD fluid. LSD microdosing can assist in increasing stamina and alertness, and clarity of thoughts, and decrease appetite.
The tablets are inserted in the back of the mouth, beneath the tongue, and assimilated through the mouth’s mucosal surfaces. LSD, or acid as it is popularly called, is the 2nd most commonly used substance for microdosing since it is easy to obtain and has been widely proved to be safe
Microdosing LSD can help boost energy and concentration, improve the clarity of thoughts, and reduce appetite.
Another hallucinogenic drug used for microdosing is methylenedioxymethamphetamine, often known as MDMA.
Despite being categorized as a psychedelic, MDMA has effects distinct from those of the other psychedelics on this list. While other psychedelics on this list can affect the brain in tiny amounts, MDMA only has psychedelic effects at high doses. Even at high doses, its effects are substantially e weaker than those of the other chemicals on this list, but it still should not be used all the time.
Micro doses of MDMA, however, have been observed to make people feel more empathic, improve their temperament, and alleviate symptoms of PTSD and depression. Increased physical and mental vigor, enhanced concentration, and empathy are all common effects of microdosing MDMA.
Studies have, however warned about the psychological effects, random effects, and daily effects of a long period of microdosing of MDMA
The Ayahuasca vine is frequently combined with Psychotria viridis or Mimosa pudica, which are excellent sources of dimethyltryptamine. The combination frequently results in a potent psychedelic effect.
Although Ayahuasca is not commonly used for microdosing, it has been claimed to have some psychedelic effects when consumed in small doses. Increased flow states, increased creativity, and empathy for others are all common effects. Microdosing Ayahuasca has also been reported to make colors appear more bright.
Mescaline is a hallucinogenic component found in a variety of cacti species. The psychedelic isn’t as well-known as it once was because it is less valuable than other psychedelics. To achieve the psychedelic effects from Mescaline, a person would have to eat a lot of cactus, which is frequently unpleasant for the stomach, which is why many people choose to use alternative psychedelics.
However, you can easily take minor amounts of natural psychoactive cactus while microdosing. Greater empathy for others, general happiness, improved attention, higher mental and physical vitality, and less anxiety are benefits of microdosing Mescaline.
Mescaline, unlike other psychedelics, allows the user to stay more aware and alert.
While Marijuana is not commonly categorized as a psychedelic, the tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) it possesses has psychoactive effects on the brain. THC regulates several neurological activities such as hunger, pain perception, emotion, and more through a system of special brain receptors known as endocannabinoid sensors.
Marijuana is used to relieve pain, ease anxiety, boost hunger, and promote relaxation, among other things.
Tiny portions of Marijuana have been demonstrated to have many of the same benefits as its macro doses without the high. Furthermore, minimal portions of THC are more effective at treating mental stress, insomnia, and discomfort.
Typical doses of Marijuana can induce a broad range of daily effects, including lowering nausea, boosting focus, alleviating pain, and increasing relaxation. The substance can also cause a mystical experience.
Ibogaine is a psychedelic chemical that can be found in many African plants. It has been used in traditional medicine for thousands of years to treat a variety of ailments. In this century, it became more popular as antidepressants.
Since the potency of Ibogaine varies based on the plant utilized, and because people react differently to the substance, microdosing is difficult. As a result, determining the appropriate dose for everyone is difficult. Increased empathy, introspection, and clarity of mind are all common effects.
What is Microdosing?
The action of microdosing is the technique of taking extremely low dosages of psychoactive substances to attain specific positive aims while avoiding the adverse physiological effects that these substances can cause. Simply put, microdosing will not get you intoxicated.
The practice of microdosing has the advantage of providing all of the wellbeing benefits of consuming a psychoactive substance without the accumulative outcomes, acute and post-acute outcomes, and nasty side effects.
Psychedelic microdose differs from recreational dose in that it is often not used to generate imaginative experiences, acquire a spiritual awakening, or obtain a mystical experience. Instead, the common purpose is to improve innovation, performance, attention, and general personal well-being or life satisfaction.
The specific science that underpins the action of microdosing is still a mystery. The majority of reports are mainly subjective rather than double-blind trials and so cannot be trusted. It is crucial, however, to note that while microdosing is relatively harmless, it should not be done all the time, as reports on experiences of microdosing and reports on microdosing days suggest that it can lead to a broad range of adverse effects,
What exactly makes a microdose?
The variations in their types and potency make psychedelics difficult generally to microdose. Thus, the amount considered a microdose depends on the amount of the active ingredient present in the drug or substance. While some chemicals require as little as 0.2g, others may require as much as 5g before the user begins to feel any psychedelic effects.
0.2g and 0.5g is the typical dose to experience microdosing effect of Psilocybin. However, there are several types of magic mushrooms, each with a different level of Psilocybin. The higher the psilocybin content of the mushroom, the higher its levels of trait absorption and the lesser its micro dosage.
Some species, such as Psilocybe tampanensis, have relatively little Psilocybin concentration and hence require significantly greater microdosing dosages, but others, such as Psilocybe azurescens, only require roughly 0.05g due to their high psilocybin content.
The most common type of psychedelic mushroom, Psilocybe cubensis, has a psilocybin content of about 0.6 percent to one percent; therefore, only 0.2g to 0.5g of the mushroom is necessary for microdosing.
You have the option of taking it raw or as a pill. While many people buy ready-made mushroom capsules, some choose to produce theirs at home to know what is in them. You’ll need a tiny scale and capsule gels for this. Other chemicals, such as tyrosine, theanine, or powdered ginger, can be added to the capsules.
Lysergic Acid Diethylamide
The typical dose range for LSD is between 8 and 12 micrograms. They’re gotten from morning glory seeds but are usually sold in tabs, each containing 60 to 100 micrograms of LSD; therefore, a micro dose is roughly one-eighth of a tab.
Because each ayahuasca brew has a varied potency, determining the correct amount for a microdose can be challenging. Most of the time, it depends on the ratios utilized by the maker and the species of herbs used. To experience microdosing of Ayahuasca, 2 mL of fluid from a bottle might be sufficient, while another bottle may require at least 6 milliliters
As a result, the most uncomplicated strategy to identify the appropriate microdose is to start with 1ml of liquid and gradually increase by 1ml each day until you see minor changes.
Although there are various forms of Mescaline, the concentration of hallucinogenic chemicals is often determined by the type of cacti utilized. Microdosing with pure Mescaline takes from 10mg to 40mg.
Microdosing Peruvian cactus will only take about 3 to 5 grams; however, microdosing Mescaline from mescaline sulfate will take 52.8mls.
The majority of people consider anything less than 10mg of pure Marijuana to be a micro dose and 10mg is the typical dose for Marijuana. However, the best approach to microdose marijuana is to combine it with an edible that contains a low dose of THC, as studies have shown that the two together deliver more benefits.
Before attempting to micro dose Ibogaine, speak with experienced microdosers first, as it can be pretty harmful at high doses. The optimal micro dosage for the drug is 1g root bark of the Iboga plant or 25mg pure Ibogaine.
What are the Benefits of Microdosing?
Microdosing is utilized for various reasons, the most common of which is to increase productivity, creativity, and attention without the side effects of a complete hallucinogenic trip. Microdosing is still being researched, and more rigorous studies of microdosing are necessary to assess its beneficial effects and acute effects.
Anecdotal reports from an observational study showed that one of the therapeutic benefits of psychedelic microdosing is how it aids with mental stress such as anxiety, clinical depression. Some empirical studies have also shown Microdosing to promote creativity and a person’s overall assessment of living. Some of the reasons why most people microdose are as follows:
Concentration and Creativity
One of the most common justifications for microdosing is to boost concentration, innovation, and efficiency. Young adults are searching for techniques to differentiate themselves from their mates in today’s society, where self-worth appears to be heavily reliant on performance and results. Microdosing is now a trendy habit among tech startups searching for a strategic advantage.
Individuals who microdose daily say it enhances work efficiency, improves attentional capabilities, and boosts creative abilities.
Depression & Anxiety
While empirical studies show that psychoactive treatment can assist with psychological distress, scientific proof is limited.
According to a clinical trial of low-dose Psilocybin and LSD, lesser dosages of psychedelics could be used as a therapy for healthy people suffering from sadness or stress. A broad range of psychedelic drugs microdose appears to influence psychological functioning by lowering the inclination towards ruminating, a thought process typically associated with depression.
The notion is that psychoactive substances can promote positive emotions and performance while lowering the possibility of unpleasant effects such as anxiousness that could occur during a typical high when taken in modest dosages. As their neurotransmitters re-calibrate, after getting high, some people may feel depressed. When microdosing, the risk of post-high depression may be reduced.
Most people microdose for a variety of reasons, one of which is to manage or alleviate pain. According to one study, medicines like Lysergic Acid Diethylamide can control pain in a non-addictive manner.
- Improved problem-solving abilities
- Divergent thinking
- Increased self-assurance
- Improved attentional capabilities
- Increased compassion for others
- More inquiry and inventiveness
- Reduced addictive tendencies
- Reduced levels of anxiety.
What are the Risks Associated with Psychedelic Microdosing?
The practice of microdosing has a few unintended consequences, and a few of these run counter to the practice’s purported “advantages.”
Everyone reacts in their unique way. While popular accounts have reported that during the period of microdosing psychedelic substances, symptoms like lack of concentration, sadness, and anxiety will be alleviated, others indicated they began to experience even more anxiety and focusing difficulties after a period of microdosing.
By far, the most dangerous aspect of utilizing psychedelics is accidentally macro dosing. For this reason, it is critical to learn the proper dosage for every kind of drug you are using and to begin with a dose that’s far lower than you require for your first
Other potential risks associated with psychedelic microdosing include:
- Discomfort in the Digestive System
- Disruptions in Temperature Regulations
- Impaired concentration
- Lower energy levels later in the day
- Reduced appetite
- Tingling in the fingers
- Changes in time perception
Since not enough double-blind trials have been conducted, it is difficult to ascertain these subjective effects. Some researchers have also warned of the long term effects of microdosing some psychedelics such as MDMA.
Are Psychedelics Legal?
Although they seem to offer a wide variety of psychological benefits, psychedelic drugs are prohibited, and this is the most generally mentioned barrier for persons who have tried to microdose. LSD, Magic Mushrooms, and Mescaline are all classified as Schedule I narcotics under the Drugs Act of the United States.
According to the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), these substances are not presently recognized as medicines and are easily abused. It is therefore prohibited to develop, carry, or distribute such drugs for private or business purposes.
Even at very low dosages, such drugs may show up on routine drug tests, resulting in severe consequences, such as getting charged and job loss.
Scientific Research on Psychedelic Microdosing
Although the bureaucratic climate has made a direct empirical investigation into this subject difficult, many researchers have delved into a wide range of studies of psychedelic microdosing. Researchers such as Liechti ME, Petranker R, Kometer M, Schooler JW, Anderson T, Woody EZ, Vollenweider FX, and Fadiman J have carried out a wide range of studies of microdosing including, observational study, clinical trial, and double-blind trials on psychedelic microdosing, serotonergic psychedelics, experiences of microdosing, acute drug intensity, and experiences of microdosers.
The aim of the studies on microdosing varied; some studies aimed to find the daily effects of regular microdosing, LSD microdosing, positive benefits and wellbeing benefits of microdosing, levels of trait absorption, experiences of absorption, the effect of microdosing on the quality of life of the participants, and more.
The study period varied across the studies; some studies involved weeks of microdosing a range of substances. The type of participants also varied; some studies made use of experienced participants while the majority of the participants involved in most of the studies had never used a psychedelic substance before.
Controlling the Experiments
Using a Sense of Agency Rating Scale (SOARS), on a unidimensional scale, 5-point Likert scale, or a 6-point Likert-type scale, participants were made to rate their current sense of self-control. A sense of agency rating scale (SOARS) or current sense of control scale is an item scale used in scientific studies to determine the participants’ sense of self-awareness before a study. The weighted expectation scores were calculated for each item; the higher the agreement with items on the scale, the higher the SOARS scores.
Baseline scores were also taken across the studies. These baseline scores allow the researchers to assess the actual effect of the microdose on the participants. The measure at baseline, for instance, gave a visual inspection into the participant’s performance level, and the baseline to week one, week two, week three, and so on were recorded.
By estimating the difference from baseline, the researchers were able to monitor each life dimension depending on the aims of the studies. Daily measure and daily ratings of each life dimension were also done, and marked alterations, obvious deviations, deviations from homoscedasticity, and residual plots were recorded.
The accumulative outcomes and acute and post-acute outcomes were some of the post study measures recorded at the end of the studies. The difference in baseline and post-study measures were also recorded.
Although Rolling Stone was the first significant publication to report on psychedelic microdosing, other journals such as PLoS ONE, Johns Hopkins, and PMC Free Article have also published reports from studies on psychedelic microdosing.
The reports of the outcome from a clinical study were very different from the expectation of the researcher. The clinical trial, which aimed to ascertain how the action of microdosing can affect psychological functioning and the general experiences of microdosers concluded that the psychedelic effects of microdosing are merely a placebo effect.
The study included 191 participants (the highest number of participants used in a clinical study of this kind) split into experimental and control groups. The experimental group consisted of microdosers who were given psychedelic substances in tiny dosages, while the control group administered placebo doses.
While both groups went through weeks of microdosing, reports of microdosing days, daily effects including psychological effects, random effects, and acute effects were recorded. The differences in microdosers, microdosing time, participants’ perception of personal well-being or life satisfaction, time perception, and many more, were collected during the daily reports.
At the end of the clinical study period, baseline and post-study measures were compared, and it was reported. The majority of participants in the experimental group experienced the positive benefits of psychedelic microdosing, and at the same time, the majority of participants in the control group also experienced improved psychological functioning. This reults were surprising as that was not the expectation of the scientists. There are, however strong expectations for further studies to be done on the subject.
Who is James Fadiman?
Dr. James Fadiman is the most well-known professional in the field of psychedelic microdosing. Fadiman has spent many years researching the pros and cons of regular microdosing of a wide range of psychoactive drugs.
After numerous scientific studies on these chemicals, Fadiman concluded that regular microdosing is dangerous. Thus, it is best to consume them every three days: the first day for consuming the substance, the second day for monitoring for lingering adverse effects, and the third day for rest.
James Fadiman said that avoiding regular microdosing will lower the chance of an adverse outcome, reduce the risk of addiction from its daily effects, and allow you to enjoy the benefits of psychedelics for a more extended time period.
People consume psychedelic substances for a wide range of reasons, including a mystical experience or an imaginative experience. Psychedelic microdosing, however, involves taking tiny dosages of psychoactive drugs to obtain intended positive outcomes while avoiding the negative physiological consequences associated with the drugs. Many people claim that psychedelic microdosing has, on a large scale, improved their quality of life through enhanced attention and increased flow states. However, because people react to psychedelics differently, there are just as many adverse effects as advantages.
Remember, therefore, that:
- When microdosing, it’s preferable to start with small doses of the psychedelic drugs and gradually increase the dosages until mild psychedelic effects are felt.
- It is not recommended to utilize psychedelics all the time; instead, once every three days is preferable.
Please remember that this article was written for educational purposes only and does not promote drug use or misuse.
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