EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT MICRODOSING

Everything you need to know about microdosing

Everything you need to know about microdosing-Microdosing is the practice of consuming a very small amount of a psychedelic substance, usually 5–10% of a regular dose, with the intention of improving quality of life. When microdosing, you don’t experience a classic psychedelic trip with visual disturbances; instead, you only perceive subtle effects called “sub-perceptual” effects. Microdosing is a practice that yields best results when it’s done over an extended period of time following a dosing scheme, or protocol. The exact effects and results of this practice depend greatly on the person, the substance, the dosage and many other personal factors such as their intention, their expectations and mindset. 

The subtle effects of microdosing most often mentioned:

  • More energy
  • More creativity
  • Clearer thinking 
  • Increased problem-solving ability
  • Increased focus
  • Increased awareness
  • Positive mood
  • Emotional connection with people around you
  • Being more present
 

Microdosing—Powerful substances in tiny amounts

Psychedelic means “that which makes the mind visible”. Psychologists and psychiatrists believed that the drugs they studied in the fifties and sixties (especially LSD, psilocybin, and mescaline) brought the subconscious parts to the conscious mind. In this way, one could see and process repressed feelings and memories. What all psychedelic substances have in common is that they induce a classic trip experience at high doses, they’re not addictive, and especially when microdosing, they pose hardly any risks in healthy people.

Positive experiences with microdosing

Psychedelics, and microdosing in particular, still require a lot of scientific research to fully understand their workings. Although some claim, microdosing is nothing more than a placebo effect, a large body of anecdotal evidence clearly shows that microdosing leads to physical, mental, and emotional improvement. Since 2010, Dr. James Fadiman, an American transpersonal psychologist, has been collecting microdosing reports from people around the world. His findings with numerous positive experiences serve as the foundation for the scientific quest into the world of microdosing. It comes as no surprise that he’s often coined “The Father of Microdosing”.

How does microdosing work?

What we do know is that psychedelic substances act on the serotonin (5-HT) receptors in our brain. Serotonin receptors are found throughout our nervous system and govern many aspects of our being, including mood, thinking, and bowel movements. Psychedelics bind most effectively to the 5HT-2A receptor, which is one of the receptors involved in learning, memory, and cognition. As a result, when consuming only a microdose of a psychedelic substance and thus avoiding the “classical trip,” the brain can focus solely on the cognitive boost caused by these receptors.

Psychedelic substances suitable for microdosing

Based on our own experience, the stories from our community, and the knowledge of our network of experts, we can verify that the following psychedelic substances can be safely and effectively used for microdosing:

Psychedelic substances likely suitable for microdosing

From the psychedelic substances below, we know people have used them for microdosing, but not much is known yet about the methods and results:

  • Cannabis (marijuana)
  • LSA (the active ingredient in morning glory seeds and Hawaiian baby Woodrose seeds)
  • Iboga(ine)
  • Salvia divinorum

If you have experience with microdosing these substances, please let us know, as we would like to map this out further.

What is microdosing not?

Microdosing is the practice of consuming a very small quantity of a psychedelic substance explicitly to increase health and wellbeing. Because non-psychedelic substances are often toxic, they won’t produce any beneficial effects associated with microdosing. Therefore, microdosing cannot be effectively and safely done with these non-psychedelic substances:

  • MDMA
  • Amphetamine
  • Cocaine
  • Heroin
  • Coffee
  • Sugar
  • Alcohol

History of Microdosing

Although the term microdosing has been in use only in the last decade, the phenomenon itself has a long history. How did people come up with the idea of taking small doses of powerful psychedelics? The history of microdosing probably goes as far back as the beginning of humanity. 

The first humans: Evolution due to psychedelics?

Most people are familiar with Charles Darwin and the Theory of Evolution. But have you heard of Terence McKenna’s “stoned ape” theory’? According to the theory, psychedelics caused the Homo erectus to eventually become Homo sapiens. In his book, Food of the Gods, he explains the North African continent was becoming drier and drier, turning into grasslands towards the end of the most recent ice age. Our ancestors, who previously lived in the trees, had to adapt in order to survive. McKenna claims that these humans were hunter-gatherers who were in the vicinity of herds of animals. Therefore, it’s plausible that they found psilocybin-containing mushrooms that are known grow on cattle droppings.  

An experiment by psychologist Roland Fischer in 1970 shows that low doses of psilocybin (microdoses!) improve our vision. The theory states, that this vision improvement could have helped our ancestors hunt, gather food, and discover predators. The introduction of these mushrooms in the diet of early humans could have enabled them to live (more) consciously, increase their learning and subsequently move up the food chain. That would be the beginning of the symbiotic relationship between magic mushrooms and humans. 

The first wave: Indigenous cultures

Although the stoned ape theory has yet to be proven, it appears plausible. It’s true that psychoactive substances can be found in herbs, roots, plants, seeds, and mushrooms everywhere on the planet. It seemed to have been only a matter of time before cultures all over the world would discover and started to use them in various ways.

Until this day, many indigenous cultures have a shaman, a person who serves both as a doctor and spiritual leader of a community. In South America, the shaman (also known as a vegetalista or curandero/a) uses psychoactive plants to get into contact with “the higher realms.” Many cultures believe that such plants are the embodiment of a plant spirit and that by consuming them, one can improve contact with this wise primal force. This occurs not only with consumption of high doses, but also with low doses, or microdoses as we have coined them today.

Tangible evidence that mushrooms were consumed in the Old World comes from cave drawings of 10,000 B.C. on the Tassili plateau in the Sahara of Algeria, showing anthropomorphic dancing mushrooms. On various images of mushrooms and objects from the Bronze Age that were decorated with mushroom-like images. The “Mushroom stones” of Mexico—dancing figures with a mushroom hat—date from 1000–500 BC.

 

The second wave: the Western ‘Discoverers’

When Albert Hofmann, a Swiss pharmacological researcher, accidentally synthesized LSD in 1938  from the ergot fungus and experienced the ever-first LSD trip, it marked the beginning of a second wave of psychedelics in Western society. With it came profound research into psychedelics and the famous counter-culture or hippie movement. 

At home, I lay down and fell into a not unpleasant drunken state, characterized by a very stimulated imagination. In a dreamlike state, with my eyes closed (I found the daylight unpleasantly powerful), I saw an uninterrupted flow of fantastic images, extraordinary shapes with an intense, kaleidoscopic play of colors.

Albert Hofmann

LSD was first utilized in psychotherapy and scientific study in the 1950s, mostly to treat anxiety, depression, addiction, and psychosomatic diseases. LSD was the subject of intensive (psycho) pharmacological study, which resulted in almost 10,000 scholarly papers. In the years that followed, medical experts, scientists, and even the U.S. government expressed an interest in the novel chemical. The CIA’s infamous MK ULTRA program looked at the use of LSD for “mind control” and chemical warfare. The scientific and ethical standards of the experiments were questionable, to say the least. 

Psychedelics and increased performance

In 1966, a team of a scientist under the leadership of Dr. James Fadiman studied the influence of psychedelic agents on participants’ creative problem-solving skills. In the “Psychedelic agents in the creative problem-solving” experiment, they tested 27 people working in creative professions such as engineers, architects, scientists, and designers. They gave them 200 milligrams of mescaline sulfate (This is comparable to 100 micrograms of LSD, so hardly a microdose) and had them work on a work assignment or problem. The results are positive. The participants came up with technologically advanced project proposals, products, and solutions that have been mostly accepted by their clients.

Participants reported various forms of increased performance:

  • Less burden of inhibitions and fears
  • The ability to see a problem in the right context
  • Increased idea generation
  • Better ability to visualize and use fantasy
  • Better concentration
  • Increased empathy for external processes and issues
  • Increased empathy for people
  • Access to unconscious information
  • Increased motivation to complete a project
  • Visualizing solutions

Shortly after this experiment, the FDA banned all scientific research on psychedelics. The influence of psychedelics on our creativity and problem-solving ability could not be investigated further for decades that followed. 

From macro to micro

We know from that Albert Hofmann microdosed for a few decades. When he microdosed, he took  walks in the forest, where it would help him think more clearly. He turned 102, and at the age of one hundred, he still gave long lectures. He’s the one who introduced the concept of microdosing to others and has always said that microdosing should be researched scientifically.

Eventually, Robert Forte, who was aware that Albert Hofmann had positive experiences with microdosing, made Dr. James Fadiman aware of the practice. Dr. James Fadiman started to independently investigate microdosing and has been collecting reports from people who experiment with microdosing; the vast majority of microdosers report extremely positive experiences. His book, The Psychedelic Explorer’s Guide, is the first book to extensively discuss microdosing, and most scientific articles about microdosing to date lean on the work of Dr. James Fadiman. 

After years of independent research, Dr. James Fadiman devised a microdosing protocol to guide people want to experiment with microdosing. This protocol includes a number of concrete guidelines of when to microdose and the invitation to keep a daily journal of the experience. Since then, the number of inquiries and reports has been rising exponentially. By now, he has received more than 1850 reports, part of which he has analyzed together with Sophia Korb.

NOTE: At this moment, he’s solely interested in reports from people who microdose for medical reasons. Soon more information via the website of the study.

The third wave: Community and Therapeutic applications

The third phase in the history of microdosing is that of a rapidly increasing awareness of psychedelics and microdosing, at least in the Western world. The awareness has been surging after microdosing gained a lot of media attention in 2015 with articles in Rolling Stone MagazineForbes, and a podcast by Tim Ferris. Soon after that, Microdosing Institute and other pioneering organizations like The Third Wave started to provide education and community support. 

Research into the effects and medical applications is rapidly increasing with organization like The Beckley Foundation, Imperial College London, and Maastricht University have been leading the way. Additionally, we see many other institutions and companies collaborating to research the potential of microdosing a treatment for many conditions such as migraines, inflammatory pain, cluster headaches, ADHD/ADD, OCD, TBI, and hormonal imbalances in women.

Unfortunately, many microdosing substances are still not legally accessible in most countries (except for Caapi Vine and Truffles containing psilocybin in the Netherlands). Nevertheless, those who wish to microdose safely and effectively have access to a variety of online courses  workshops, retreats, and microdosing-assisted coaching   

Benefits of Microdosing

People microdose for many reasons; ranging from increasing their productivity and creativity to finding relief from pain, or to combat specific medical complaints. From the early days of the Microdosing Institute, our team has been mapping the benefits of microdosing. Since 2017, we have been coaching and guiding people during their microdosing journeys and have assisted scientists in their microdosing research.

Throughout that time, we’ve seen first hand many of the reported benefits in our community of microdosers.  This has helped deepen our understanding of how and under what circumstances these benefits can be obtained. We’ve also learned a lot about some unwanted effects that might occur while microdosing

We always highlight that microdosing is not a magic bullet but a tool you can use to accelerate your process of awareness, maximize your healing, and take charge of your own life. It’s also important to not that because psychedelics are so-called “non-specific mental amplifiers”, the benefits reported below won’t apply to everyone all the time or with all microdosing substances

Some benefits of microdosing are now scientifically investigated, but it is important to recognize that microdosers experience greater benefits when microdosing with proper preparation, intention, and integrationIn all cases, the responsibility to actively integrate the gained insights into our lives lies with each one of us but a (microdosing) coach can certainly help with that process. 

Below, we’ve compiled the most commonly reported mental, physical, and spiritual benefits experienced by microdosers.

Mental Benefits of Microdosing

  • Improved concentration and focus—particularly in ADHD
  • Getting into the flow more quickly—at work, hobby, or study
  • Increased creativity
  • Increased productivity
  • Improved problem-solving capability
  • Increased overall awareness
  • More balanced mood
  • Better decision-making ability 
  • Making more conscious choices about health, lifestyle, well-being
  • More positive mindset 
  • Decrease in depression (in a range from mild symptoms to clinical depression)
  • Less procrastination
Mental Benefits of Microdosing Graphic

Physical Benefits of Microdosing

  • Improved sleep
  • More physical energy
  • Enhanced sensory perception
  • Reduced premenstrual syndrome (PMS) 
  • Decreased pain levels
  • Less stuttering
  • Support in quitting smoking and other addictions
 
 

Spiritual Benefits of Microdosing

  • Increased emotional awareness
  • Greater emotional connection with people 
  • More presence
  • Increased Open-mindedness
  • Increased sense of wonder
  • Increased sense of belonging
  • Increased sense of unity
  • Increased connection with spirituality and/or life mission
  • Increased gratitude for life
 
 

Microdosing and the placebo effect

Skeptics attribute the benefits of microdosing to the placebo effect, stating that the stories about the benefits of microdosing are due to people thinking it affects their productivity or creativity and, therefore, become more creative. Matthew Johnson, a researcher who works with psilocybin and other hallucinogens at Johns Hopkins University, states that the scientific basis that microdosing is more than a placebo effect isn’t very solid right now; “the reported benefits of microdosing are credible and very interesting. But the claim that everything coincides and goes well, and you’re in a good mood, and you’re in the right flow, well, we all have those kinds of days. Even without pharmaceutical help”, he adds. “If you expect to get days like that, you’re more likely to get that,” he continues. “It’s actually not that different from the feeling you get from a very low dose of amphetamine or some other stimulant.”

Scholars like Dr. James Fadiman argue that Johnson is a conscientious skeptic for thinking that microdosers may have a placebo-like reaction, but agrees that further research is necessary. Fadiman believes there is more than a placebo after analyzing the 1850 microdosing reports he has received so far. The majority reports major benefits—both psychological and medicinal—and their experiences are very similar to one another. These people come from allover the world, have never spoken to each other, nor have they influenced each other in their experiences. For him, this is enough proof that the benefits of microdosing are more than just a placebo effect

What are the disadvantages of microdosing?

Out of the more than 1850 reports Dr. James Fadiman and Sophia Korb have analyzed for their published paper “Might Microdosing Psychedelics Be Safe and Beneficial? An Initial Exploration”, 75 people claim not to have had a positive experience with microdosing (that’s less than 4%). The reasons mentioned most leading to quitting microdosing were consequences of the positive effects. The disadvantages of microdosing mentioned include:

  • Fatigue – potentially because of a change in physical needs or as an indicator to address underlying emotional and/or physical needs
  • Tolerance (needing more of the substance each time to get the same effect) – It has not been scientifically proven yet, but Fadiman’s findings show that people report tolerance when microdosing every day instead of following one of the established  microdosing protocols
  • Dealing with changes in your consciousness and your sensitivity can be challenging
  • Other risks of microdosing include nausea, headaches, or increased anxiety among others.

Even if you don’t experience negative effects from microdosing, we recommend taking a break from microdosing after four to ten weeks. It’s necessary to (re-)experience existence and daily life without a “microdosing tool”. After a break, you can always start again or consciously choose to do so when you feel the need. 

Can Microdosing Be Combined With Medication or Supplements?

Many people wonder if microdosing can be combined with medication. This is one of the most frequently asked questions for researchers and experts in this field. To effectively answer that question, Dr. James Fadiman and his colleague Sophia Korb compiled a list of medications, supplements, and drugs until now are known not to cause any adverse side effects when combined with microdosing. 

The list stems from the data collected through their long-term study from hundreds of subjects who have microdosed independently with (mainly) LSD1P-LSD, or psilocybin. We want to emphasize that this list does not guarantee that you can use microdose safely and responsibly while taking any of the medications listed. Read more about risk with microdosing.

Therefore:

  • Always consult your doctor first if you plan to combine, stop, or phase out
  • Remember: no one is currently knowledgeable enough in the field of microdosing to be able to advise you on stopping (pharmaceutical) drug use. If you want to phase it out because you suspect that microdosing is a better alternative, consult with your doctor and thoroughly research the pros and cons!

Have you experienced problems with microdosing in combination with your medication? Or do you have an addition to the list? Please get in touch with us!

 

Painkillers

  • Acetomenophen/paracetemol (Tylenol)
  • Aspirin
  • Codeine
  • Dihydrocodeine (Co-dydramol)
  • Hydrocodone (Vicodin, Norco)
  • Ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin)
  • Naproxen (Aleve)
  • Tramadol (Ultram)

Heart/high blood pressure medication

  • amiodarone (Cordarone, Nexterone)
  • hydrochlorothiazide (HCTZ, HCT)
  • lisinopril (Prinivil, Zestril)
  • losartan (Cozaar)
  • spironolactone (Aldactone)
  • telemisartin (Micardis, Actavis)
  • valsartan (Diovan)

Birth-control

  • Aubra
  • Hormonal pills
  • Marvelon
  • Mirena
  • Nuvaring
  • Tricyclen

Antacid

  • Ranitidine (Zantac)

Antibiotics

  • clindamycin (Cleocin, Dalacin, Clinacin)
  • Doxycycline
  • Minocycline (Minocin, Minomycin, Akamine)
  • Penicillin (Bicillin)

Antifungals

  • Fluconazole (Diflucan, Celozole)

Focus medication (ADHD/ADD)

  • Amphetamine (Adderall)
  • Bupropion (Wellbutrin)
  • Dextroamphetamine (Dexedrine, Metamina, Attentin, Zenzedi, Procentra, Amfexa)
  • Lisdexamfetamine (Vyvanse)
  • Methylphenidate (Ritalin, Biphentin)
  • Modafinil (Provigil)

Sleeping

  • Zopiclone (Zimovane, Imovane)
  • Melatonin
  • Zolpidem (ambien, stilnox)

Antihistamines

  • Cetirizine (Zyrtec)
  • Diphenahydramine (Benadryl, Gravol)
  • Loratadine (Claritin)
  • Ranitidine (Zantac)

Benzodiazepines (anxiety, sleep, seizure)

  • Alprazolam (Xanax)
  • Clonazepam (Klonopin)
  • Diazepam (Valium)
  • Flurazepam (Staurodorm)
  • Lorazepam (Ativan)

Other anxiolytic

  • Etizolam
  • Propranolol

Parkinson’s medication

  • Levodopa
  • Pramipexole

Cholesterol medication

  • Atorvastatin (Lipitor)
  • Rosuvastatin (Crestor)
    Simvastatin (Zocor)
  • Statins

Racetams

  • Aniracetam
  • Phenylpiracetam
  • Piracetam

Mood stabilizers and antipsychotics

  • Aripiprazole (Abilify)
  • Buspirone (Buspar)
  • Lamotrigine (Lamictal)
  • Lithium

  • Quetiapine (Seroquel)

Diabetes

  • Metformin (Glucophage)

Anticonvulsants

  • Baclofen (Lioresal)
  • Carbamazepine (Tegretol)
  • Cyclobenzaprine (Flexeril)
  • Gabapentin
  • Mirtazapine
  • Sodium valproate
  • Tizanidine (Zanaflex)

Thyroid medication

  • Methimazole or thiamazole

Antidepressants

  • Bupropion (Wellbutrin)
  • Citalopram (Celexa)
  • Desvenlafaxine (Pristiq)
  • Doxepin (Sinequan)
  • Duloxetine (Cymbalta)
  • Escitalopram (Lexapro)
  • Paroxetine (Paxil)
  • Sertraline (Zoloft)
  • Venlafaxine (Effexor)

GERD

  • Esomeprazole (Nexium)
  • Pantoprazole (Protonix)
  • Ranitidine (Zantac)

Breathing (asthma, COPD)

  • Salbutamol (Albuterol)
  • Cetirizine (Zyrtec)
  • Beclometasone (Clenil Modulite)
  • Montelukast (Singulair)

Antiviral

  • Nitazoxanide

Recreational drugs

  • Alcohol
  • Amphetamine (speed)
  • Heroin
  • Kratom
  • Marijuana (cannabis)
  • Nicotine

Anti-inflammatory

  • Mesalazine (Octasa)

Immunosuppressant

  • Hydroxychloroquine (Quensyl)

Erectile Dysfunction

  • Tadalafil (Cialis)

Alcohol dependence treatment

  • Acamprosate (Campral)
  • Disulfiram (Antabuse)
  • Naltrexone

Hormones and Steroids

  • Norethindrone Acetate ethinyl
  • Estradiol
  • Prednisone (Deltasone, Liquid Pred, Orasone, Adasone, Deltacortisone)
  • Estrogen (Premarin)
  • Progesterone (Prometrium, Utrogestan, Endometrin)
  • Testosterone
  • Levothyroxine (Synthroid)
  • Naturethroid
  • Dexamethasone

DHEA

  • spironolactone (Aldactone)

Supplements

  • 5-HTP
  • Albizia
  • Ashwagandha
  • B100
  • BCAAs
  • Biotin
  • Brahmi
  • Bromelain
  • Caffeine
  • Calcium
  • Cayenne
  • Chaga
  • Chlorophyll
  • Choline
  • CILTEP
  • CoQ10
  • Cordyceps
  • Creatine
  • Eleuthero
  • EPA/DHA
  • Fish oil
  • Ginseng
  • Glucosamine
  • Iodine
  • Iron
  • Kelp
  • Kratom
  • L-theanine
  • Lemon balm
  • Lion’s Mane
  • Maca
  • Magnesium
  • MCT
  • Methyl sulfonyl methane (MSM)
  • Milk thistle
  • Multivitamins
  • Mmega 3/6/9
  • Passionflower
  • Phosphatidyl
  • Probiotics
  • Pycnogenol
  • Reishi
  • Rhodiola
  • Rosacea
  • Selenium
  • Shatavari
  • Skullcap
  • Johns wort
  • Taurine
  • Tulsi
  • Turmeric (curcumin)
  • Turkey’s tail
  • Twynsta
  • Vitamin
    • B6
    • B12
    • D3
    • K
    • C
    • K2
    • D
  • Zinc
  • Zinium

Risks of Microdosing

One of the most frequently asked questions about microdosing is: is microdosing safe? In other words, what are the risks of microdosing? After all, we heard disturbing stories about LSD and magic mushrooms, psychoses, acute schizophrenia, and flashbacks. These stories date to the 1960s and are primarily attributed to exaggerated propaganda from the War on Drugs.

Meanwhile, the risks of psychedelics in a high dosage have been well studied and documented. As it turns out, psychedelics are among the safest substances on the “drugs” spectrum—below weed, alcohol, and MDMA.

 
 

It’s tempting to assume that when microdosing — taking a tiny or micro amount of a psychedelic substance — that the risk will also become smaller. However, this is a false assumption, and anecdotal evidence does show that microdosing can have some risks. Our understanding of the direct physiological effects of microdosing is currently limited, but gaining ground as more clinical studies on the practice are taking place. For now, we must rely on what we know about higher dosages as well as the side effects, and contraindications reported by the experimental microdosers.

A provisional starting point for the risks of microdosing

Dr. James Fadiman and Sophia Korb have collected over 1850 reports of experiences from microdosers across 59 countries. In these reports, there were only 75 people in total that claimed not to have a positive experience when microdosing. From this, Fadiman and Korb are confident to a provisional starting point for the risks of microdosing – microdosing is overwhelmingly safe for most people.

Among Fadiman’s gathered responses of microdosers, there was not a single case of  reported psychosis, a risk that requires strong consideration when taking a high dose. However, while no known anecdotal reports exist, it is important to note that this does not rule out the possibility of psychosis triggered by microdosing. It is important to note that the risks of microdosing depend on the specific situation, person, and substance, and therefore it’s best to proceed with caution. 

The most well-known risks of microdosing are:

  • Increased anxiety
  • Increased paranoia in those prone to paranoia
  • Increased emotional instability in those experiencing intense emotional distress such as grief
  • Mild stomach upset and nausea while microdosing psilocybin
  • Fatigue, mainly reported while microdosing psilocybin (see the Nightcap protocol)
  • Difficulties sleeping
  • Psilocybin can cause headaches in some people
  • People diagnosed with bipolar disorder reported that they benefited from microdosing during their depressive phase but would discourage it during a manic phase

Lesser known risks of microdosing include:

Visual tracers in men with color blindness

In Dr. Fadiman’s collected reports, some men with color blindness reported seeing tracers in their field of view. Sometimes those images or lingering colors persisted for days. Not all people with color blindness experienced this, but there is a chance that it will occur.

Long-term microdosing may exacerbate pre-existing heart conditions

One potential concern for microdoses of LSD in people with pre-existing heart conditions, which comes from studies demonstrating that fenfluramine, when taken daily, doubles the risk of Valvular Heart Disease. Fenfluramine binds to the same receptors as LSD and psilocybin, but the quantities used for microdosing are extremely low in comparison. More research is needed to know if this potential risk effectively translates to humans who microdose with LSD or psilocybin.

The current stance by microdosing experts is that the microdosing protocols of 10-weeks, with a 4-week pause afterwards, are generally considered safe for those with pre-existing heart conditions. If you have a pre-existing heart condition, it’s advised to avoid extended periods of microdosing.

Tinnitus

People experiencing tinnitus have reported that their tinnitus (ringing in the ears) worsened during microdosing, it didn’t stop their tinnitus, or it stayed the same.

Therefore, when is microdosing not recommended?

  • For people under the age of 18 
  • In combination with alcohol or other drugs
  • During pregnancy or breastfeeding
  • In combination with lithium carbonate medicine (Lithium) or Tramadol
  • Those with a family history of psychosis
  • During periods of intense emotional instability, such as grief
  • Men with color blindness
  • Those who suffer from paranoia/suspicion
  • Those who suffer from tinnitus
  • Those with anxiety or an anxiety disorder. The fear can be magnified, or they become more aware of their fear. On the other hand, for people who suffer from depression and have anxiety, it can help to ease their fears.

General note: the full spectrum of potential risks of microdosing alongside mental or physical disorders are not yet sufficiently known.

What do we know safety and microdosing?

  • Many medications and supplements can be safely combined with microdosingNOTE: This statement only applies to microdosing, not for higher dosages. Psychedelics containing MAO inhibitors, such as ayahuasca, shouldn’t be combined with some medications.
  • “Set and setting” are not microdosing requirements, but microdosing with a good mindset and proper setting can work to your advantage.
  • Due to lack of understanding on long-term effects of microdosing, it is recommended to avoid microdosing every day.
  • Completing multiple microdosing cycles throughout your life probably doesn’t cause any harm. Albert Hofmann has microdosed the last decades of his life (to the age of 102) to his satisfaction. 

Are these findings and comments decisive when it comes to safety? We don’t think so. The long-term effects of microdosing are not yet known. Dr. James Fadiman especially wants to emphasize that the benefits of microdosing far outweigh the risks. And not all disadvantages mentioned are also a risk of microdosing: some might be merely a point of attention or something to consider.

 
 

Other potential pitfalls with microdosing:

  • Taking a dose that is too high can cause discomfort during your daily activities. Learn how to take shrooms for the first time here 
  • Those predisposed to periods of anxiety have frequently reported that they felt okay with microdosing, but they felt depressed in the weeks they didn’t microdose. 
  • When microdosing too often (every day), the body builds tolerance, meaning you have to take more to achieve the same effect. Tolerance for LSD  psilocybin and mescaline has not been demonstrated. Adhering to a microdosing protocol can help prevent tolerance build-up.
  • Without microdosing, you no longer feel cheerful, creative, or productive enough. As a result, you become psychologically dependent on microdosing. 

Microdosing in combination with medication

Another frequently asked question related to the risks of microdosing is if microdosing can be combined with medication and supplements. Dr. James Fadiman and Sophia Korb have compiled a list of medications and supplements that—to date—have not been reported to cause any adverse side effects when combined with microdosing.

This list is a result of their long-term research with hundreds of subjects worldwide who have microdosed independently with (mainly) LSD, 1P-LSD, and psilocybin.  We want to emphasize that this list does not guarantee that you can microdose safely and responsibly while taking any medications listed.

While some may feel that microdosing is a better alternative to other medications, always consult your doctor first if you plan to combine, stop or phase out any medication.

Have you experienced any interactions with microdosing in combination with your medication(s)?  Please, let us know. 

What do experts say about the risks of microdosing?

David Presti, professor of neurobiology at the University of California, Berkeley, and expert on the effects of drugs on the brain, stated that microdosing is much safer than taking antidepressants. James Rucker, a psychiatrist affiliated with King’s College London, has called for psychedelics to be reclassified—making them better examined and more available to researchers. However, he’s cautious. In the interview with BBC, he said: “If you look at the medical side of microdosing, we don’t know anything yet. We don’t know the long-term effects yet”.

It becomes clear that microdosing needs to be recognized by (medical) researchers and the authorities to be further examined. Dr. Fadiman thinks this won’t take very long; “As long as we continue to find that microdosing has a very beneficial benefit-risk ratio, we expect more pressure from the medical world to use [microdosing] with complaints or disorders that we have not been able to help so far”.

The Trimbos Institute is a Dutch independent knowledge institute for alcohol, tobacco, drugs and mental health. They don’t recommend experimenting with LSD itself. “It is very difficult to measure what exactly microdosing is. You may want to take 10 micrograms, but it may also be that the drop of LSD is not evenly distributed over the seal. Then you take a lot more than you think. Also, there are resources that are sold as LSD, but contain other trip products. There is also a risk there.”

In a perfect world, I think we would microdose LSD instead of giving teenagers Adderall. But I’d like to see it studies first.

Ayelet Waldman

More research needed

It becomes clear that microdosing needs to be recognized by (medical) researchers and the authorities and be further examined. In other words, we need more research. Dr. Fadiman thinks this won’t take very long; “As long as we continue to find that microdosing has a very beneficial benefit-risk ratio, we expect more pressure from the medical world to use this in people with complaints or disorders that we have not been able to help so far”.

Medical Applications of Microdosing

In addition to many wellbeing benefits of microdosing, effective medical applications have also been reported. Depression, ADHD, and cluster headaches are perhaps the most significant of them. In Dr. James Fadiman’s research, the most satisfying results were reported in the following complaints/disorders:

  • Depression
  • ADHD and ADD
  • Cluster headache
  • Migraine
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)
  • Eating disorder
  • Premenstrual syndrome (PMS)
  • Hair loss
  • Addiction
  • Recovery from stroke
  • Allergies
  • Social anxiety
  • Burnout
  • Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)
  • Hormonal imbalance (menopause, PMDD)
NOTE:  This is anecdotal evidence. Clinical studies into the medicinal effects of microdosing in patient groups (randomized double-blind with a control group) are needed for more accurate data. 

Microdosing and depression

Several participants in Dr. James Fadiman’s study reported that microdosing relieved their depression. Depression is a mood disorder that can be described as feeling persistently sad with a loss of life’s joy. Additionally, a study from Toby Lea, Ph.D., showed that many people successfully use microdosing to battle their depression. 

One person who had Parkinson’s disease described that after a month of microdosing LSD his Parkinson’s symptoms didn’t improve, but his underlying depression did. Fadiman emphasizes that the data his subject provided is based on one month of microdosing. It has not been shown whether microdosing can relieve depression long term; thus, it needs further investigation.

Microdosing and cluster headaches

Microdosing shows very promising to be medically applied for cluster headaches, which is often described as an unbearable headache that feels more intense than, for example, childbirth or kidney stones. Dr. James Fadiman quotes a patient who managed to get rid of her “ice pick headache” through microdosing LSD. She was able to achieve the same result several times over the next few months. Since then, her cluster headache has stayed away.

However, Clusterbusters, a platform for cluster headache patients, takes the lead in research into psychedelics as a potential treatment. While all other treatments have been unsuccessful, many patients (~80%) have found significant relief from their cluster headaches through LSD, 1cP-LSD, magic truffles, or magic mushrooms. The doses were generally a bit too high to be considered a microdose, yet there is sufficient evidence that microdoses can equally be effective. 

Luckily, scientific research into treating cluster headaches with microdosing is starting in the US and Canada. This is expected to definitively demonstrate the effectiveness of (microdosing) psychedelics as a remedy for this terrible disorder. 

Microdosing and ADHD/ADD

As microdosing psychedelics can positively impact one’s focus, it might be a suitable substitute for ADHD medications and other pharmaceutical cognitive enhancers. A participant in Fadiman’s study reported that microdosing helped him to phase out his use of Adderall. Adderall is a notoriously addictive ADHD drug that, like Ritalin, is also used by college students for all-night studying. Albert Hofmann said that if LSD had been legal, it would be a side-effect-free substitute for Ritalin or Adderall. Nowadays, many people with ADHD and ADD who microdose use the legal variants of LSD; 1P-LSD & 1cP-LSD.

Adderall is nothing more than the amphetamine (speed) that is sold on the street and in the nightlife scene. So the drugs that are bad for your brain and which possession is illegal are the same drugs that we give to hundreds of thousands of children every morning.

Carl Hart Ph.D., professor of biochemistry at Columbia University
 

Are there any risks to combining microdosing with medication?

Fadiman’s research team has compiled a list of medications and supplements that so far have not caused any adverse side effects when combining them with microdosing. This data comes from their fieldwork research in which 1850 people who microdosed with LSD, 1P-LSD, or magic mushrooms on their own initiative shared their experiences, findings, and insights. 

Research into the medical applications of microdosing is desperately needed

For many people, conventional treatments are insufficient and often cause many side effects, while microdosing provides a solution. Without a doubt, medical applications of microdosing should and need to be clinically studied by the (medical) scientific community. That is the first step to make these resources (legally) available to authorized doctors and health practitioners, so people can be relieves from their symptoms. 

It’s clear there are various mental and physical health areas in which microdosing shows promise and could potentially significantly improve people’s lives around the world. Therefore, despite the illegal status of psychedelic substances, we advocate that patients for whom microdosing is an effective medical treatment should be granted safe and legal access.

FAQ

On this page, we have collected all frequently asked question (FAQ) about microdosing, psychedelics, and research. If your question is not answered here, please contact us.

Medical Applications of Microdosing

In addition to many wellbeing benefits of microdosing, effective medical applications have also been reported. Depression, ADHD, and cluster headaches are perhaps the most significant of them. In Dr. James Fadiman’s research, the most satisfying results were reported in the following complaints/disorders:

  • Depression
  • ADHD and ADD
  • Cluster headache
  • Migraine
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)
  • Eating disorder
  • Premenstrual syndrome (PMS)
  • Hair loss
  • Addiction
  • Recovery from stroke
  • Allergies
  • Social anxiety
  • Burnout
  • Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)
  • Hormonal imbalance (menopause, PMDD)
NOTE:  This is anecdotal evidence. Clinical studies into the medicinal effects of microdosing in patient groups (randomized double-blind with a control group) are needed for more accurate data. 

Microdosing and depression

Several participants in Dr. James Fadiman’s study reported that microdosing relieved their depression. Depression is a mood disorder that can be described as feeling persistently sad with a loss of life’s joy. Additionally, a study from Toby Lea, Ph.D., showed that many people successfully use microdosing to battle their depression. 

One person who had Parkinson’s disease described that after a month of microdosing LSD his Parkinson’s symptoms didn’t improve, but his underlying depression did. Fadiman emphasizes that the data his subject provided is based on one month of microdosing. It has not been shown whether microdosing can relieve depression long term; thus, it needs further investigation.

Microdosing and cluster headaches

Microdosing shows very promising to be medically applied for cluster headaches, which is often described as an unbearable headache that feels more intense than, for example, childbirth or kidney stones. Dr. James Fadiman quotes a patient who managed to get rid of her “ice pick headache” through microdosing LSD. She was able to achieve the same result several times over the next few months. Since then, her cluster headache has stayed away.

However, Clusterbusters, a platform for cluster headache patients, takes the lead in research into psychedelics as a potential treatment. While all other treatments have been unsuccessful, many patients (~80%) have found significant relief from their cluster headaches through LSD, 1cP-LSD, magic truffles, or magic mushrooms. The doses were generally a bit too high to be considered a microdose, yet there is sufficient evidence that microdoses can equally be effective. 

Luckily, scientific research into treating cluster headaches with microdosing is starting in the US and Canada. This is expected to definitively demonstrate the effectiveness of (microdosing) psychedelics as a remedy for this terrible disorder. 

Microdosing and ADHD/ADD

As microdosing psychedelics can positively impact one’s focus, it might be a suitable substitute for ADHD medications and other pharmaceutical cognitive enhancers. A participant in Fadiman’s study reported that microdosing helped him to phase out his use of Adderall. Adderall is a notoriously addictive ADHD drug that, like Ritalin, is also used by college students for all-night studying. Albert Hofmann said that if LSD had been legal, it would be a side-effect-free substitute for Ritalin or Adderall. Nowadays, many people with ADHD and ADD who microdose use the legal variants of LSD; 1P-LSD & 1cP-LSD.

Adderall is nothing more than the amphetamine (speed) that is sold on the street and in the nightlife scene. So the drugs that are bad for your brain and which possession is illegal are the same drugs that we give to hundreds of thousands of children every morning.

Carl Hart Ph.D., professor of biochemistry at Columbia University
 

Are there any risks to combining microdosing with medication?

Fadiman’s research team has compiled a list of medications and supplements that so far have not caused any adverse side effects when combining them with microdosing. This data comes from their fieldwork research in which 1850 people who microdosed with LSD, 1P-LSD, or magic mushrooms on their own initiative shared their experiences, findings, and insights. 

Research into the medical applications of microdosing is desperately needed

For many people, conventional treatments are insufficient and often cause many side effects, while microdosing provides a solution. Without a doubt, medical applications of microdosing should and need to be clinically studied by the (medical) scientific community. That is the first step to make these resources (legally) available to authorized doctors and health practitioners, so people can be relieves from their symptoms. 

It’s clear there are various mental and physical health areas in which microdosing shows promise and could potentially significantly improve people’s lives around the world. Therefore, despite the illegal status of psychedelic substances, we advocate that patients for whom microdosing is an effective medical treatment should be granted safe and legal access.

 

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