Safety of Microdosing and Its Positive Aspects
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Microdosing can enhance your mood and mental acuity, here’s how to do it safely.
There have been multiple studies throughout the scientific community researching the alleged effects of psilocybin and other recreational hallucinogens on mental wellbeing. What perhaps has come as the biggest surprise to skeptics everywhere, is that these studies have shown an overwhelmingly positive result.
Since 2017, there has been a massive push, in both the scientific and lay communities, to begin investigating the ameliorative effects of psychotropics on standard neurobiology. Specifically those that can be obtained through the practice of microdosing.
What is Microdosing?
Microdosing, in short, is the practice of taking super small doses of hallucinogenic drugs to improve performance and mental wellbeing. By taking frequent, sub-hallucinogenic doses of common psychotropics such as psilocybin, LSD, and DMT, users can hope to see improvements in mental and physical issues that they have long contended with. All without needing to rearrange work or social schedules.
What Substances Are Commonly Used?
The most common substances used in microdosing regimens are psilocybin, the psychoactive ingredient in “magic mushrooms” and lysergic acid diethylamide or LSD. These two common compounds are used at 1/10 of a recreational dose to combat symptoms of depression and anxiety. Other hallucinogens, such as the Amazonian Ayahuasca, peyote, and mescaline are also sometimes used for microdosing, but by far the most popular choice appears to be psilocybin. Possibly because of the relative ease of obtainment, or because of nearly all hallucinogenic compounds, psilocybin is the most common and shortest acting.
While compounds like DMT, the agent most commonly associated with ayahuasca, are very short acting (sometimes as little as 15 minutes) the associated experiences can be incredibly intense. These types of substances are also harder to dose properly at smaller concentrations.
Research abounds about the mentally freeing abilities of hallucinogens. Being touted as a way to completely “reboot” the brain, some are less than excited about going on a vision quest. While it may not necessarily be in enjoyable, oftentimes these experiences are tainted by public perception of the drugs and substances that are used to achieve the event. Not only that, but if you’ve ever used a psychoactive substance recreationally, you’ll be aware of how important it is to curate the proper environment.
Which requires time, and makes it incredibly difficult to integrate these moments into heavily regimented work and social schedules. Which is where microdosing comes to dovetail perfectly into modern day society. As they say “modern problems require modern solutions” and microdosing seems to fit that adage perfectly. Because of the infinitesimal amount of psilocybin microdosers use, it is perfectly safe to coincide with a standard office schedule. Where the idea is not to produce overtly noticeable effects, but instead provide an optimum amount of energy without becoming unfocused. Microdosing also offers the ability to subtly tackle common mental issues, like depression or anxiety, that may be interfering with work/life productivity and balance.
What Can You Expect From Microdosing Psilocybin?
Perhaps the most commonly reported positive result associated with microdosing psilocybin is a reduction in anxious behaviors and depressive thoughts. Many believe that this is because it helps the neural pathways associated with the sense of self regions of the brain to disassociate a bit, reducing awkward and anxious feelings. However, there have been many reported benefits of microdosing psilocybin that can exist outside of depression and anxiety.
Researchers in the Netherlands hoped to find out more about exactly how psilocybin may improve cognition. In their findings, they state that their preliminary results suggest “support for cognitive enhancing properties…” and “speculate that psychedelics might affect cognitive meta control policies by optimizing the balance between cognitive persistence and flexibility.” Suggesting that both convergent (focusing on abstract concepts to be able to find a solution to a problem) and divergent thinking (a type of mental flexibility, or thinking outside the box mentality) can be improved through microdosing psilocybin.
Another regularly reported benefit to microdosing is that of increased physical energy, allowing many microdosing proponents to better enjoy social and physical activities. Microdosing has also been suggested as an intervention useful in combating certain addictions, like smoking, alcoholism, and caffeine addiction. Helping to improve overall motivation, stamina, and workplace productivity.
Some science geared towards researching the effects of psilocybin on the brain have suggested that hallucinogens may function as a “reset button” on the brain. Working to reshape cells in the brain. As it creates a positive feedback loop of neuronal activity and neurotransmitter release. Suggesting that as certain areas of the brain are decentralized and dampened, the brain resets to work to create a more globalized thought network. Effectively rebooting existing and possibly detrimental pathways. Bringing a new balance to a historically chaotic thought process.
How to Microdose Safely
Microdosing safely is incredibly simple. Even at hallucinogenic concentrations, psilocybin is incredibly difficult to “overdose” on. Worst case scenario generally involves a rather unsavory experience, although even this is often described as rare. So at sub-hallucinogenic levels, psilocybin is an incredibly safe compound.
In general, a microdose for psilocybin is around 0.15 – 0.3g for a standard body weight. This is usually obtained from measuring out an amount of dried, psilocybin containing mushrooms. A shroom dispensary will often offer premeasured capsules, which make it extremely easy to get a precise dose that will have consistent absorption. To buy shrooms, Canada has many online options available when it comes to microdose products. These can also be found in other countries, such as the Netherlands, as well.
Schedules may vary when microdosing. Canada seems to go most often with Dr. James Fadiman’s approach, which consists of taking a microdose near 0.3 g depending on tolerance, once every three days. Fadiman also notes that increasing the dose in subsequent weeks may be required/tolerated. In the United States, many microdosers choose a more workweek mindful schedule, where each workday a microdose is taken, leaving the weekends to return to baseline. There are any number of scheduling options, as psilocybin affects all users differently, so finding the right schedule for you may require a bit of trial and error.