Psilocybin Microdosing Guide – A Resource for Beginners

Talk of psychedelics is entering the mainstream again, and this time it isn’t just the hippies that are using them. Consumer interest in the topic is driving an increase in the marketing of pseudo-psychedelic products, 1960’s inspired fashion, and a renewed interest in mushrooms of all kinds. Silicon Valley may be partially to blame for this trend, as news reports of techies microdosing to enhance productivity and achieve a flow state flood our social media feeds.

Microdosing, or the ingestion of minute, sub-perceptual doses of psychedelic substances, was popularized in James Fadiman’s book The Psychedelic Explorer’s Guide: Safe, Therapeutic, and Sacred Journeys[1], which was published in 2011. Since then, what was once a practice largely limited to clandestine groups of underground drug enthusiasts has made its way into mainstream culture. These days, even moms are looking to psychedelics to help with mental health [2]. Mainstream news outlets such as the New York Times have also taken notice. 

But does it actually work? The most recent study [3]  at the time of this writing was published in the journal Scientific Reports. It found that people who microdosed psilocybin for one month had greater improvements in mental health than the control group. However, definitive evidence is still lacking, with some studies[4] unable to distinguish the effects of microdosing from placebo. Others had inconclusive results[5]. That said, anecdotal reports from thousands of people regard the practice as helpful.

For those  interested in joining the psychedelic renaissance but don’t know how to start, you’ve come to the right place! This article will briefly discuss current research on microdosing, safety considerations, and offer some guidelines for microdosing psilocybin mushrooms (Note that psilocybin is the molecule in mushrooms that produces their mind-altering effects.)

 

Safety Considerations

DISCLAIMER: Neither Mind Mend nor the author are responsible for the use of information in this article, nor do they condone the use of illicit substances. Always consult with a doctor, psychiatrist, or other licensed mental health professional before changing or modifying your current prescription drug regime. This article is intended for informational purposes only, and is not intended to be used to diagnose, treat, or cure any disease.

Finding the right mushroom

The biggest risk of microdosing magic mushrooms is accidentally ingesting the wrong fungus. Of course, this isn’t an issue if you’re using Mind Mend products, such as the Shrooms Tinctures! However, an amateur mycologist may have difficulty in identifying psilocybin mushrooms in the wild since they are relatively nondescript. If you are using home-grown mushrooms, be aware that there are several different strains of psilocybin mushrooms which vary considerably in potency, making it easy to accidentally take too much. You can use the precisely measured Smart Shrooms Capsules to avoid this risk.

Drug interactions

This chart provides information regarding interactions between several common recreational and prescription drugs. Generally speaking, the effects of the interactions listed will be much less noticeable on a microdose of mushrooms as compared to a full trip. 

Addiction potential

Psychedelics are not known to be addictive[1]. On higher doses, tolerance builds immediately and lasts about a week. The author is unaware of any reports of addiction related to psilocybin microdosing. There is some preliminary evidence that psychedelics can help break other additions [6].

Mental health

Most people who microdose report positive changes in mood including feeling more patient, a heightened imagination, easier access to the flow state, and increased productivity. The senses may also be heightened, making details more noticeable. Although there can be a mild increase in anxiety during the first hour, most people find that this levels out soon after. Individuals with anxiety disorders may find that they are better able to cope with their symptoms after using psychedelics. Psilocybin has also been reported to help ease depression, even in cases where traditional treatments have been ineffective.

Although current research remains inconclusive, it is advised that individuals with a predisposition towards mania, psychosis, or schizophrenia approach psychedelics with extreme caution if they choose to use them.

Legality & drug screenings

Officially, “The production, sale and possession of magic mushrooms are illegal in Canada.”[7]; however possession of small quantities of mushrooms has been decriminalized in British Columbia.

Psychedelics are not typically tested for during routine pre-employment drug screenings, however there are methods that can detect them. In rare cases, this may pose issues for some jobs and legal cases. Psilocybin metabolites typically stay in the body for about three days post ingestion. 

 

Microdosing Guide

Start small

The common adage “start low and go slow” applies just as much to microdosing, especially if you are planning on going about business as usual, such as going to a job. Doses typically range from 0.1 g to 0.3 g of dried mushroom. If you find you don’t notice any effects on your mood after 0.1 g , then take 0.2  the next time, and so on. Remember that microdosing relies on sub-perceptual doses. If you notice things  like differences in your perception of time, shimmering at the edges of your vision, or other hallucinations, then you have likely taken more than a microdose. For reference, most people find that eating 1/8th oz of dried mushrooms (or a whole bag of Shroom Gummies) will result in a full trip. 

Timing

Psilocybin typically takes about 30-60 minutes to produce any effects. Minor anxiety may be present for about an hour after this, but typically dissipates after that. You may want to take your first dose on a weekend or holiday if you’re not sure how it will affect you. Many people recommend microdosing every third or fourth day to avoid building a tolerance. However, it is unclear whether or not this is truly an issue for sub-perceptual doses in the same way that it is for full trips. However, one advantage to doing it this way is that you can see if there are any after-effects the following day(s). Also note that psychedelics, even in minute quantities, can disrupt sleep. Therefore it’s best to take psilocybin at least eight hours before you plan to go to bed.

Consider keeping a journal

Recording changes in your mood, appetite, productivity, imagination, sleep, relationships etc. can help you track patterns and determine how much to take and how often. Keeping a journal can also help you find out if you’re getting the effects that you were hoping for from microdosing. If you are concerned about data privacy or possible legal repercussions, consider using a notebook for this, rather than an app.

 

Sources

[1] Fadiman, F. The Psychedelic Explorers Guide: Safe, Therapeutic, and Sacred Journeys. Park Street Press, 2011, Chapter 15. 
[2] Waldman, A. A Really Good Day: How Microdosing Made a Mega Difference in My Mood, My Marriage, and My Life. Knopf Publishing Group, 2017.
[3] Rootman, W., et al. “Psilocybin microdosers demonstrate greater observed improvements in mood and mental health at one month relative to non-microdosing controls.” Scientific Reports, vol. 12, no. 11091, June 2022, https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-022-14512-3
[4] Wit, H., et al. “Repeated low doses of LSD in healthy adults: A placebo-controlled, dose–response study.” Addiction Biology, vol. 27 no. 2, February 2022, https://doi.org/10.1111/adb.13143.
[5] Polito, V., et al. “A systematic study of microdosing psychedelics.” PLoS One, vol. 14, no. 2, February 2019, https://10.1371/journal.pone.0211023
[6] Pollan, M. How to Change Your Mind: What the New Science of Psychedelics Teaches Us About Consciousness, Dying, Addiction, Depression, and Transcendence. Penguin Press, 2018.
[7] “Psilocybin and psilocin (Magic mushrooms).” Government of Canada, 19 Apr. 2022, https://www.canada.ca/en/health-canada/services/substance-use/controlled-illegal-drugs/magic-mushrooms.html
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